Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: canon's Blown away in the Karoo NP. Aug. '13
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:32 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
During August we did a round trip through the Western Cape visiting the Wilderness NP (http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=75830), the Gamkapoort Dam and then the Karoo National Park before returning home to Grahamstown. When we left the dam the weather started turning bad and it got progressively worse en-route from Laingsburg to Beaufort West. it was cold and the west wind howled for the entire 4 days that we spent here - I suppose this can be expected in the Karoo during August.This was our second visit to this lovely park, the first being during October 2011. For some reason I did not post a report from this trip. The two visits were very different - when we visited in 2011 the veld was lush and green, the animals were abundant and in excellent condition. This time, however, it was very dry and barren, the weather miserable, the animal sightings were fewer and they were in poor condition. What I am going to do is report on this visit and then post a good many photos from the 2011 trip - this will clearly illustrate the two "moods" of the Karoo national Park.

We arrived at the gate at about 13h00 and were met by very friendly and welcoming staff. As you can see the weather was grey and ominous

Image

The restcamp is about 5km from the gate. It is really well appointed and blends in with the environment

Image

Image

The swimming pool is set against the mountainous backdrop which really gives one a sense of being in the bush - we no doubt never made use of this facility!

Image

Image

The waterhole near the rest camp was bone dry - very different from our 2011 visit

Image

Check-in went smoothly (once again very friendly and efficient staff) and we set off to the camp site which would be our home for 4 days. The camp site is positioned in aa thorn thicket near the Interpretive Centre.

Image

The camp site was very empty (only 4 other campers) . We chose the same site that we had used in 2011 which was sheltered against the west wind. We set up camp which was made a tad difficult by the wind. We decided to spend the afternoon relaxing at our "home"

Image

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by canon on Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:33 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
We batonned down the hatches and went to bed early. Our Oztent really took a battering during the night but passed the test. We were up reasonably early and decided to to drive up the Klipspringer Pass, down to Doornhoek and then drive the Nuweveld 4x4 route. We were told at reception that the Lions were currently frequenting the area on the far west of the Nuweveld Loop. Game sightings were few and far between - not even a Klipspringer on the pass! The western part of the park was particularly dry. Once we were on the Nuweveld Loop sightings picked up somewhat. We saw quite a few very energetic Ostriches

Image

A young Kudu cow.....

Image

.....and a few Gemsbok

Image

The view of the Nuweveld Mountains from the western plains was stunning

Image

We really took our time along this route - the solitude is undescribable. We often stopped, switchhed off the engine and simply soaked it all up. The Karoo really talks to you! We later turned south and decended into the "thorn leegtes" where we bumped into a family of Red Haartebeest

Image

Image

Image

There were plenty of antelope taking cover in the thorn thickets probably because of the wind. We kept our eyes peeled for the Lions but never found them. We did, however, find a freshly eaten carcass at a windmill next to the road.

Image

The Kudu were really skittish around this area - not sure if they were not used to vehicles or had possibly been harassed by the Lions

Image

We spent time at this lookout point which overlooks a waterhole - really a lovely spot.

Image

Not much happened here so after about 30 min we decided to head for home. We followed the same route back and once again decided to spend the remainder of the day in camp where the birdlife was quite abundant. A potjie chased down by a good bottle of Merlot was just what the doctor ordered. Light drizzle began to fall just as we turned in for the night. Not much beats the sound of rain drops on canvass when out in the wild!

Image

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:03 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Once again the wind blew us to sleep but the Oztent stood firm! Whilst having a cup of coffee in the morning we noticed this Fiscal Shrike tugging at something in the tree above us. On closer inspection we could clearly see that it was eating something that had been impaled on a thorn. Not sure what it was eating but this was a first for us. I had often heard that these birds do this to their prey but was sceptical about it - well the proof was there to see!

Image

We popped in at reception and were told that the Lions were still in the western section of the park. They have radio transmitters on their collars so the rangers can pin point where they are on an hourly basis. It is a long drive but we decided to give the same route another bash. The cliffs on the Nuweveld mountains are quite spectacular

Image

This group of Kudu were spotted whilst driving up the picturesque Klipspringer Pass

Image

Near the Doornhoek Picnic Spot we saw these handsome Gemsbok who kept an eye on us

Image

The western plains were quieter today. Near the turn-off to the Embizweni Cottage we saw these Eland who were really skittish.They simply refused to pose for a decent photo. You will notice that they were in poor condition, as was the case with the Kudu. The gemsbok were in far better shape - suppose they are actually desert dwellers

Image

At one of the "leegte" crossings we found this Three-banded Plover. There was no water around so it appeared to be a bit lost!

Image

A little further on we came across a parks vehicle that had just stopped on the side of the track. The 4 park employees were busy preparing the aerials of their radio transmitter. We stopped to ask what was up and they informed us that a Lioness with two cubs was in the area. There was some concern about the well being of the cubs so they were going to track her down to have a look see if the cubs were safe. We would have loved to have joined them but it certainly made us a lot more alert hoping that we may bump into them. Well we found something even better - in fact a first for us. As we crested a steep hill we saw this fellow right in front of us - we could not believe our eyes. Unfortunately it took fright and dashed off before I could take any decent photos. I was surprised at how quickly it covered ground....

Image

Image

WOW - an Antbear. It was strange to find one foraging in broad daylight.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:36 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
It is amazing how popular any trip report on Kruger or Kgalagadi is but whenever there are reports on the lessor known parks such as Karoo, MZNP, Mokala etc the interest is limited to very few forumites - these guys don't know what they are missing.....These smaller parks offer so much - they are quiet, the scenery is breathtaking and by in large they are superbly managed and maintained. I would really like to urge those that love the outdoors to take the plunge and visit these parks - you will not regret it.

After the excitement of the Aardvark sighting we gathered our thoughts and moved on - no sooner had we rounded the next bend when....

Image

.....a Porcupine! Unfortunately he had seen us first and was hot footing it into the bush. Once again rear end shots and a blurred one because I was not prepared for another treat.

Image

You won't often have these two sightings in Kruger!!!

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:58 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
All of a sudden finding the elusive Lions did not seem so important anymore! We headed for camp seeing a few "out of nick" Eland and a very thin Kudu Bull. There was no doubt that the rains needed to come soooooon.

Image

Image

We spent the afternoon chilling out, taking a walk up to the intereting Fossil Trail. Since the introduction of Lions the restcamp, camping area and immediate surrounds have been fenced off. The area is big enough to allow one to undertake a few good walks (or jogs if you are that way inclined). There is really a good variety of birds in the campsite to keep one entertained

Karoo Thrush

Image

Cape Robin

Image

Masked Weaver

Image

Masked Weaver (female)

Image

Southern Tchagra

Image

Image

Bokmakierie

Image

Image

The wind seemed to calm down in the evening which encouraged us to sit up late listening to the silence (and a bit of deep rhythmical snoring from the bottom end of the camp site). The howling of a lone Black-backed Jackal added an eerie feeling to the stillness of the night.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by canon on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:51 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
The Porcupines can certainly be a tough nut to crack - especially if on somebody's menu. I took this photo at Grootkolk (Kgalagadi) a few years ago. The fellow will think twice before tackling a Porcupine again. I must say I felt quite sorry for this Hyena - felt like pulling those quills out for her.

Image

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:47 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Our last day dawned all to quickly! It was our plan to tackle the Pienaarskloof 4x4 trail which is by all accounts quite a mission but well worth it. We had looked at the scar (road) up the kloof each day - it can be seen from the restcamp and had mixed feelings about "taking bthe plunge". This is a 5 rated off-road trail which was a bit daunting. Well the wind was blowing gales and the day was quite grotty so we decided not to take up the challenge - we felt like cowards!! Instead we decided to take a drive out on the Lammertjiesleegte road. We had been told that the two newly introduced young male lions frequented this area. They had in fact recently got out of the park and had to be re-captured and introduced back into the Karoo NP. I am not mad about this area of the park because you are in full view of civilization all the time. As the crow flies the park boundary fence is a mere kilometre or so from the outskirts of Beaufort West. However, the scenery up towards the mountains is lovely.

Image

It appeared as though this part of the park had had rain because the veld was green and there were a large number of animals to be seen.

Before reaching the Bulkraal Picnic Area we saw these Kudus taking shelter from the wind

Image

Image

The Bulkraal Picnic Area is really lovely - clean, nice big swimming pool and plenty of very secluded braai areas in the thorn thickets. Once again, if I need to be critical, one does not get the feeling that you are in the wild. I would hedge a guess that this place would be very popular for the locals on weekends.

On the way back along the loop we encountered a PCG and I Kori Bustard who were braving the wind.

Image

Image

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:13 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
There were plasnty of Ostriches to be seen. In fact this was one of the biggest flocks that I have ever seen

Image

Once back on the wind swept plains we saw Red Haartebeest lying down in an effort to get some shelter

Image

These Zebra certainly had their tails between their legs, thanks to the west wind!

Image

Image

We still had not seen the Lions so we headed out towards the entrance gate but still to no avail. We did see Mountain Zebra though

Image

Image

We headed back to camp where we chilled for a while before deciding to drive over to the Doornhoek Picnic Area where we would treat ourselves to a bit of a fry-up lunch.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:43 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
We enjoyed the drive over Klipspringer Pass down to the picnic area. It was nice and sheltered here amongst the Mimosa trees. The plenty of birds to keep us entertained

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow - not so sure about this ID so please help

Image

Fiscal Flycatcher

Image

Image

Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler

Image

African Red-eyed Bulbul

Image

Karoo Scrub Robin

Image

Bokmakierie

Image

Just before entering the camp site this lovely view caught our eye

Image

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by canon on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:02 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Kaapsedraai wrote:
canon wrote:
Kaapsedraai wrote:
Canon,
Maybe you will, but we were there in 2010 for a stay over and enjoyed it - did you spot Shoe mountain? :hmz:


Hi Kaapsedraai

I have no knowledge of Shoe Mountain - maybe we saw it but did not know about it. Do you have any photographs?



Canon, you got Shoe mountain :dance: :dance: :dance: ...at a certain angle you see the boot shape on top of the mountain. :D :D

canon wrote:

Image


What a bumper edition of lovely zebras, hartebeest, variety of beautiful birds. Thank you for sharing these great sightings. :clap: :clap:

The pics are excellent and feels as if I was there with you. :thumbs_up:
Thank you for taking the time to share your exeoriences with us - you "blew us away" with a lovely TR :D :D :D :thumbs_up:


OK great - now I have learned something. What a coincidence that I actually had a pic of SHOE MOUNTAIN!

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Blown away in the Karoo NP
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:22 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Thanks for all the interest and input from forumites. Much appreciated. We spent a while at the Interpretive Centre during the afternoon which is a really worthwhile exercise. The history of this area and the Park is really fascinating. We later learned that the two Lions that we were looking for at Lammertjiesleegte had in fact just passed through between the Interpretaive Centre and the camping site!!

There was also plenty of bird life in the gardens at the centre

Pririt Batis

Image

Image

Malachite Sunbird

Image

Cape Sparrow

Image

Thereafter the inevitable could not be avoided so we started to pack away a lot of our stuff because it would be an early start in the morning to cover the 550 km home. A lamb potjie was the perfect way to finish the visit off with and would you believe it - THE WIND HAD DIED DOWN.

Packed up and ready to leave in the morning - beautiful windless day....

Image

There still, however, a bit of excitement to come. The trip home was a leisurely affair and when we were about 40km from home all hell broke loose in the vehicle - crossing the road ahead of us was an ANTBEAR!! Here is the proof.....

Image

Image

Image

What a way to end our trip. - I wonder when we will see two Antbears again?

Well that concludes the report on our August trip. We will be away for about two weeks. On our return I will continue with this post by reporting on our previous visit to a very lush and green Karoo NP.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 11 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Jurie van Vuuren at 12:26:03 Submitted by Trudie at 17:40:30 Submitted by Trudie at 16:36:57 Submitted by grannyb at 17:57:00