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Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

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pnm
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Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby pnm » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:28 pm

Hello all

I plan to retire sometime next year and to celebrate I am taking a road trip (on my own) in the summer months. The problems are that I will be working on a budget that while reasonable (ie I can hire a chalet but not a 4X4) is not huge. The biggest problem is that I drive 14 year old BMW 323 - perfect condition but NOT built for KTP roads. (I know KTP and surrounds is hot in summer but then Paarl in summer is pretty much the same!)

The attraction of KTP is birds, not predators.

Is the following reasonable plan:

Travel by car to Twee Rivieren and spend three nights in a chalet, and simply spend the days in camp birding. No driving on any internal roads. maybe do a guided walk.

If this is not a good idea could someone perhaps PM me the names of other places in the Kalahari I can stay that are sedan friendly and good for birding? (And will fit the budget of a retired civil servant - I have no need for private bathrooms etc but do not want to go buying a tent and camping equipment for what will be a once off trip.)

I don't necessarily need solitude - I am happy with family venues (I am a grandfather and so noisy children are part of my life).

I plan to leave Paarl, work up the West Coast, then KTP (depending on what is said here), cut across ot Pretoria (any ideas of good birding sites to stay on the way - I am in no hurry to get to Pretoria which will be a very urban stay with family), the Secunda (stay with sons), then Ndumo, then to Cradock (stay with brother), then Addo, the George (stay with friend), then home.

Any advice welcome, and please do PM if you have a good alternative to KTP.
Pete

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Crested Val
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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby Crested Val » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:49 pm

Hi Pete
I am no expert, but when we visited KTP 2 years ago, quite a few of the roads (especially around TR) were sedan friendly, so you should be able to spend some time actually in the park.

We were in a small sedan that we had hired from the airport.

As it was our first visit, and as I am disabled we decided to only stay in TR, and did day visits each day.

We loved it, and the bird life is wonderful......I saw so many lifers, as I had never been to that part of the world below.

I'm sure the seasoned KTP visitors will advise you as well.

Have a wonderful retirement and trip. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby Son godin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:34 pm

Hi pnm,

My first trip to KTP was in a Honda Ballade during the time the tar road stopped at Ashkam and you still had a terrible gravel road of 60 km before the gate at Twee Rivieren. We stayed in Nossob and only had red sand in the car for a long time thereafter.

The road up to Melkvlei is fine for a sedan and along the Auob river including the dune roads. It all depends on the season you are going in. End of Dec the roads can be very bad due to the increase in tourists over Xmas / New Year period, but should be better around Jan - Feb. The only problem in Dec and summer months up to April / May is the sudden thunderstorms that can results in the roads turning into small rivers. That can however be a bonus, because you might get very rare bird sightings e.g. of flamingo and spoonbills after a good storm.

Even 4x4's can struggle on the very wet roads, but I can add that in Dec 2011 when the road between Twee rivieren and Nossob was closed, some-one arrived at Nossob camp driving a Merc. Maybe the Merc will be better to take instead of the BMW :twisted:

If you plan to stay for only a few days TR will be fine and you will be able to venture quite far off without any problems. Why don't you think of adding another 4 days and book at Nossob / Mata-Mata as well.


I will PM you some good spots around KZN towards Cradock. Do you plan to take the Harrismith route or Transkei route to Cradock.
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pnm
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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby pnm » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:08 pm

Hi Crested Val - do you still remember being our neighbours the Christmas in KNP when the lice took over our bungalow?

Hi Sun Godin - my two trips so far to KTP have been in a Kombi (needed engine repairs afterwards as gaskets were shaken loose!) And then later in a Jetta (which nearly fell to pieces so we cut short our stay in the park.) SO and I were among the first to stay in the Kalahari Tented Camp. Those were the days when tar stopped at Ashkam. Am I right in saying the tar now goes all the way to Twee Rivieren before stopping?

Are you sure my poor old BMW (remember 14 years old - I bought it second hand 11 years ago) will cope with the road to Nossob? Nossob is my favourite camp. It is real Africa for me. The BMW is built for autobahns - the Germans really didn't have the Kalahari in mind when they engineered it! I will be quite happy to sit at Twee Rivieren and bird in the camp if I have to.

I will definitely not be travelling back via the Transkei - have you a good suggestion for the route from Ndumo (or for that matter from Secunda) to Cradock? I am lucky in that I have access to a farm near Cradock for unlimited private birding.

This whole trip is a year away but I love the planning stages.

Keep well all and thanks for the advice.
Pete

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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby forestgump » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:11 am

I would go via Durban,Kokstad, Maclear,Ugie, Elliot to get to Cradock from Ndumo. The stretch of old Transkei is relatively short on very good but winding tar.
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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby DefenderGDI » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:58 pm

Hey Pete,

With the access to Twee Rivieren being tar, you will be fine getting there, and barring extremely wet weather, you should be able to easily do some travelling in the park as long as you travel slowly. You may even find it more comfortable deflating your tyres a little bit, but obviously not too much if you are running very low profiles.

If you have time on your hands, you can take it slow and get to see Mata Mata and Nossob too.

I have seen plenty of sedans in KTP, some of them quite old, but if driven with mechanical sympathy, you can go far.

G
Can't wait to get back in May for a 4th trip.

KTP: 19-26 May 2014

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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:27 pm

:hmz:

Hey pnm, I also am set to retire next year.

My wife runs her own business and does not take leave during they year.

Since my dad (my regular Parking partner) died in 2010, I have had to make do with whatever I could plan.

I have a 'fire engine' that loves not so lekker roads, am also an avid birder, but can handle good mammal sightings, I AM like a noisy child, have camping equipment to cut costs, but also like the safari tents.

If you are also hard core, let's talk again next year. :thumbs_up:
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby pnm » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:07 pm

Hi everyone - thanks for the replies.

Defender - thanks - point taken. Like so many things if one goes slowly things are ok!

forestgump: thanks for the advice on the route. I have already looked at maps and decided to take your advice to the letter (or town) as I have never been on that part of the world before and therefore it is calling. I love small towns. Staying at a B and B in a small town and having an evening stroll before supper is a highlight of any trip for me.

Bush Baptist - now you are talking. A shared trip cuts costs and someone to chat to over the evening fire is always good. I would obviously change my itinerary and make the trip one for CT to KTP and back with you. Then later I would do the trip to my sons etc, but the idea of not being camp bound appeals to me. I am a birder but like you will never say no to a lion - actually I would say "no" to a lion but I doubt it would make much difference. Neither would "Down boy!" I would not describe myself as hardcore - more sort of medium core. But I am adaptable. While I like aircon in summer at night, my sole requirement without which I turn into a grumpy old man is a comfortable mattress to sleep on - makes no diff if it is feather, sprung, coir or blowup, I had too much sleeping on the ground in my National Service days to ever make me want to sleep on the ground again.

However, I vrek over a tent. (For overseas readers this translates as: "a tent is to die for" except "vrek" when applied to humans is considered rude as only an animal can "vrek" in Afrikaans so the saying completely loses the suggestion of a chic tent but refers to a tent in a rough sense). Whenever SO and I have to choose between a tent and a chalet in KNP, the tent always wins hands down. Those tenty things at the 4x4 Urikaruus(?) and other lonely camps are my dream tents. Would you be thinking summer or cooler months? I am open to suggestions, as long as I can go sometime between now and the end of 2015. As I said, I would split my road trip in two and the more I think of this, the more it makes huge sense to me.
Let's keep in touch.

Pete from Paarl
Pete

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Re: Query on Twee Rivieren as part of trip

Unread postby SHELEPH » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:43 am

Have a wonderful trip!
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP)
Next visit booked : 16-23 May 2015. . .


Looking for cancellations at KTP = Kieliekrankie . . . . .

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