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 Post subject: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Hello everybody,
I have just returned from our second visit to the KTP. As we were fascinated by the landscape, the animals and the peacefulness in KTP when we visited it last August, we decided to return again and this time we spent almost three weeks in this lovely park! And the visit was definitely worthwhile (I wouldn't want to miss a single second) -- we had some great sightings and enjoyed the quiet evenings in the wilderness camps. I could have stayed even longer .... but unfortunately there's work to do back home.
I'm just sorting through the pictures we took and once I've figured out how to post pictures here I'll start with my report.

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
So, let's try to get this started:

Day 1: Tuesday August 12th
We already had arrived at Upington Airport on Monday and had done the essential grocery shopping to get the most necessary supplies for the following 18 days in the KTP. The next morning we woke up quite early (although we actually hadn’t planned to) because we were already anxious to find out what the KTP would have in store for us this year. We enjoyed the breakfast in our very nice B&B and at about 9 am we were on the road heading north.
Compared to our last year’s trip the journey from Upington to KTP seemed much shorter --- probably that was due to the fact that almost the whole road was tarmaced now (there were only about 15 km of gravel road left).
So we checked in at about 11:30, unpacked our stuff and had a nice, relaxing break.
Finally at 3 pm we started on our first afternoon game drive. At first we didn’t see very much wildlife: Just a few ground squirrels and some springbok and gemsbok.
Image

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Shortly after the 10 km sign past TR we spotted a nest of a pair of Martial Eagles. Just when we arrived, one of the eagles was flying out of the nest, but too quick for us to take any really good pictures. This was the best I could do:
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We waited for some time for the eagle to return to have a second chance – but without luck. Time passed without any special sightings and we were already on our way back to TR when we saw our first cats in KTP this year: 2 young male lions were crossing the road !!! :dance:
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Unfortunately they walked away from the street and the sun had already disappeared behind the dunes – but it was a great start to our trip to the KTP anyway. When we sat down at the braai fire that evening we enjoyed the Kalahari sky and sounds and hoped for more lions and other nice sightings to come.
And I can already tell you in advance: Our hopes did come true (sooner than we thought they would) !!! :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Thank you for all your encouraging comments !!! (I hope I don't make too many mistakes as English is not my native tongue.)

But now that the page has turned - it's time to continue with our first FULL day in the KTP:

Day 2: Wednesday August 13th

While we were having breakfast at 6:30 we already heard a lion roaring in the distance – so we were eager to start our gamedrive as soon as possible. We decided to head into the direction of Nossob. And right at the first waterhole we came to --- I still almost can’t believe it --- there was a pride of lions :dance: .
There were 4 young cubs with their mother and about 4 subadults (we were so excited and so busy taking photos :cam: that we actually forgot to count them)!

Image

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Especially the little ones were so cute:
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--- they were playing around, ...
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chasing each other, ...
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… it was so much fun to watch!!!
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There was that much action, that we sometimes didn’t know where to look and what to take pictures of. We could have watched that funny rascals forever, but after a while (much too early) the lion mother decided that it was time to move on - out of sight of the many people that were now watching them.
But although it was short this was definitely one of my best sightings ever !!!
As the group of lions had almost completely disappeared and we were already on the way on, we saw the “king” of this pride following his family:

Image
--- he crossed the Nossob river bed and then also disappeared behind the dunes of the other side. What a great start to our first full day in the KTP!!!

As I have almost used up the 1000kB I'm allowed to post on one page with the many lion pictures, I' ll have to interrupt here and wait until the page has turned. And all of you have to be a little bit patient to find out what else we saw after this first great sighting .... was there something else?

To be able to post more pictures maybe someone of the more experienced forumites can send me a pm and explain to me how I can post smaller images and link them to bigger ones. So that when you click on the small image you see the larger version. I tried it according to the guidelines I read somewhere else in this forum, but it didn't work :doh: .

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Thank you for your magic help to turn the page :wink: !!!

So let's continue with the rest of the day:

After all this lion action early in the morning we drove on along the dry Nossob riverbed. We saw the “usual” game – but I think that this year we noticed much bigger springbok herds than last year. We tried to photograph them running and jumping but this wasn’t that easy.
Here is a lucky shot taken by my SO:

Image

At Kij Kij we took the first dune crossing – as expected we couldn’t spot a lot of game in the dunes, just some jackals and gemsboks but there were a lot of birds.
On the Auob side we tried to spot the suricates that some of the SANParks forumites had seen in the region around Auchterlonie before but first without luck. But we finally spotted them :dance: (the first suricates we have ever seen in KTP)--- near Houmoed --- they were nice to watch but still too far away for any good pictures. Hopefully we'd see them closer to the road again in one of the next days. :wink: As we drove further south we noticed a car parking near Munro waterhole – when we came closer we saw that the jeep was from the Kgalagadi Cheetah Research Project and now guess what they were looking at? Beside the road in the shade there were two cheetahs :dance: – a collared mother and an already pretty grown up youngster. We managed to take some photos before they walked away:

Image

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For our afternoon drive we wanted to check out the Martial Eagle nest out again to maybe take some pictures of a flying or landing eagle. On the drive to the nest we saw a pale chanting goshawk (PCG) sitting on the ground next to the roadside – while we were watching it we noticed a brown, furry thing moving in front of it. At first I thought that it was a rat that the bird had just caught --- but I was wrong. It was a honey badger digging holes deep into the sand – he was almost completely buried under the red sand of the dunes and at first we only saw its “butt”. The PCG was waiting right next to the badger --- maybe it was hoping for something to eat, too.

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We followed the badger moving along the dune and digging for prey, but he never stood still (which makes it quite difficult to take a good picture).

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After a while we became witnesses of an amazing interaction between the 2 animals – but it all happened very fast: The honey badger was digging head down in one of the many burrows in the red sand again, then we heard a squeaking sound, saw a whistling rat running and only a second later the PCG had it in its talons and flew away with it. And the honey badger had to search on …
This interaction seems to be quite common (as I later read in the Kgalagadi guide) - but I had never witnessed it before.

After this exciting observation we drove on to the eagle nest, but without any real success --- after waiting for almost an hour the eagle landed on the tree but we couldn’t take any pictures because it all happened too fast!!! Still waiting there we heard from some other people that there was a cheetah kill further north near Rooiputs – so we decided to drive up there. And there they were: 3 cheetahs were lying in the distance next to a springbok kill. It was quite far away and against the sun but we spend the rest of the afternoon watching these guys.
Maybe they'd still be there in the morning (in better light) and we'd be be able to take some photos then :huh: ???

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Sorry, that you haven't heard from me for so long ... but I'm still alive (dreaming of the KTP most of the time :wink: ).

So here's what happened on the next day:

Day 3: Thursday August 14th

Today we had to change camps - we were already looking forward to the next three nights in Urikaruus. We'd already been there last year and liked it VERY MUCH!!!

After all the excitement yesterday this day started pretty quietly. Compared to yesterday there weren’t many animals around on the first kilometers north of Twee Rivieren.
We drove directly to Rooiputs where we had seen the three cheetahs the day before. And they were still there !!! Two of them were feeding on the springbok kill, the other one was lying in the sun.They still were pretty far away, here's a record shot:

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Then one of them started to walk away towards the other cheetah lying on the dune. The had a hearty welcome:

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After some time waiting for them to come closer, we decided to move on.
On the way further north we saw two more honey badgers :dance: - as usual always on the run :D !
This is one of them:

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As we were driving the first dune crossing we were impressed by the great number of birds and spent some time taking photos of them. Here are some results:

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A Chat-Flycatcher

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A Spike-heeled Lark


Also on the dune road we spotted three bat eared foxes :dance: --- they were rather shy and tried to hide in the tall grass so that it was difficult to see them:

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When they got fed up with us photographers :D they finally decided to run away.

On the way up to Urikaruus we saw a parked car, when we asked what they were looking at they said that they were waiting for some lions to return. Next to the road there were the leftovers of a kill and up in the dunes we noticed the head of a lion. As it was already really hot and we didn’t expect the lions to come down again in the middle of the day, we decided to check in at Urikaruus first, have a nice lunch break there and then return later. But things should turn out differently … .

In the afternoon we wanted to drive a little bit north first and then south again (back to the lion kill) ….
But on the way south there was a car blocking the road and two women standing next to it. Their car (a sedan with verly low clearance) was completely stuck in the sand. We tried to help them to get there car moving again … but it wasn’t that easy. We tried to push in both directions but the car didn’t move ….. Finally after a while another car arrived - maybe they could help here?! The driver of the car decided to deflate the tires and after more and more cars arrived and with the help of many mor people we finally managed to get the car out of the deep sand !!!
But unfortunately we had lost so much much time that there was not enough time left to drive south to check on the lions --- too bad :cry: .
But instead we enjoyed a nice sunset and a perfect braai at the wilderness camp. And as a special night surprise we had a guest, too --- after we had finished braaiing a gennet :dance: came to visit us !!!

Image

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:41 pm 
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Location: Benoni, RSA
Tigerlillie - your pics really have the WOW factor!!! Well done, can't wait to read more.

PS: the little genet visited us at Urikaruus last year. We didn't know about him/her and left our apples on top of the fridge :redface: .....needless to say I think the genet didn't need to eat again for a week afterwards :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Thank you all for your encouragement !!!
The little gennet really seems to be a common visitor at Unrikaruus (I read about it before, too, and was hoping to see it - nevertheless I was quite startled when I noticed something moving on the balcony :D )

Although it's weekend I have been working really hard processing the next images for the trip report. It always takes longer than I expect, but here are the first results:

Day 4: Friday August 15th- PART I
As we had missed the lions yesterday we decided to drive south in the morning and check whether they were still around. And we were lucky: At Rooibrak we found a group of lions :dance: (not the one we saw at the kill yesterday - but who cares :D ) – one male, 3 females and an older cub. First they were just lying around:

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The cub seemed to be more curious and started walking towards us.

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picture by Jochen

It sat down close to our car ... and made fun of us :tongue: :

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The rest of the group on the other hand started walking further away, up the dunes and so the little one soon followed.

Further down the road we found the kill again we had seen the day before, it had been dragged more into the middle of the riverbed. There were no lions around, but a couple of jackals were feeding on the kill.

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We were watching them for some time when to our surprise a brown hyena :dance: suddenly appeared ...
... first it "deflated its bladder" :D

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then it walked towards the carcass ...

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and took its share of the kill:

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It then ran away with a leg of the gemsbok. While we were waiting at the carcass it came back a second time and we also could watch some Tawny Eagles that also were interested in the feast.

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It was just great to sit back and watch, take photographs from time to time and sip some coffee :lotsocoffee: .
After some time we decided to drive further south. On the way we saw another lion – a young male- lying at the other side of the riverbed watching an unsuspecting wildebeest:

Image
picture by Jochen

After all these cats it was time for the birds now --- on the drive to Houmoed (where we turned around) we took some nice pictures of a Fork-tailed Drongo

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and a Pygmy Falcon (with a lizard - you can just see its tail).

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to be continued .... (once I've processed the next bunch of pictures :D )

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Hi everybody,

Thank you for all your kind replies and for patiently waiting for the next installment. I'm so busy at work at the moment that it always takes some time ....

Pumba, you are right, we really saw A LOT OF different animal species this year, but there were still a few that we missed (caracal, pangolin, ... :wink: ).

@ icurrie: We'd be glad to meet some other forumites in the park :D !!! This year we met none, although we had our yellow ribbon :cry: .

@ anne catherine: We used different lenses (depending on the situation): we both have a 200-400 mm zoom lens and to get closer I have a 4.0 400mm that I mostly use with a 1.4 extender (Jochen even uses a 4.0 500mm, but this lens is definitely too heavy and not handy enough for me :wink: ).

So let's continue where I stopped last time:

Day 4: Friday August 15th- PART II

After lions in the morning and the brown hyena and other scavengers at the kill we were already VERY content with this day and had a nice lunch break at Urikaruus - the perfect place to relax !!!

In the afternoon we decided to drive north to look for the hyeana den that had often been described in this forum. We didn't see it the day before, but today we couldn't miss it, because there was a lot of action going on :dance: !!! The cubs were outside playing while the mother watched them from the distance.

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One of the cubs had a piece of bone that the other one wanted to take away from it.

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They were so funny !!! And we spent a looooong time watching them. Sometimes they came a little bit closer and posed nicely for the cameras :wink: :

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And later on the mother (or father?) even got up and joined the cubs. Here's one of my favourite pictures (I must admit I love those "tongue-pictures" :D ):

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When the sun disappeared behind some clouds (our first clouds in KTP) – the we drove south to search for the lion family we saw this morning .
On the way we saw some running wildebeests:

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pictures by Jochen

The dusty sand is always great for action shots (unfortunately most of the animals don't know that or don't seem to care :wink: !!!)

Further down, not much time before the gates closed, we spotted the group of lions again :dance: . This was totally unexpected, because according to our experiences you usually never see the same things twice at almost the same place.
The lions were walking down the riverbed towards the waterhole. As I already posted some pictures of the lion cub here are some pictures of the group's impressive male:

Image

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Jochen's picture.

They gathered in a big, dead tree in the riverbed and climbed around.

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Jochen' picture

But although we would have loved to watch them much longer we had to leave them there and head back to camp. A very spectacular sighting at the end of the day !!!

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Thank you everybody --- with all this encouragement it's a lot of fun to post this trip report !!!

There WERE some quieter (I wouldn't say boring days) in the KTP. But it all depends on the way you look at things: For this years trip we had planned to be really patient and appreciate all the small creatures, the landscape and being far away from home without cell phone reception :wink: !!! So we had a lot of fun --- even if there were some days without any special sightings - but I think I must admit that we were quite lucky this year (last year we didn's see that many cats) !!!

So, but let's continue with what you've probably been waiting for:

Day 5: Saturday August 16th

It had been our second night at Urikaruus and compared to the night before it had been REALLY cold --- so getting out of bed in the morning was especially hard :? .Nevertheless the hope of finding the lions we had seen the evening before again made us rush.
We drove south right away, but unfortunately the lions were nowhere to be found. There also weren't many other animals around --- you see we also had "boring" morning drives.
So we drove back to the hyena den but the parents and their cubs were lying far away from the road. We decided to drive to Mata Mata as we needed some gas anyway --- as we were driving along we were already wondering where all the other cars were and we already suspected that something worth watching was waiting up the road. :whistle:
And we were right: Between Craig Lockhart and Sitzas we came across an enormous Kgalagadi traffic jam. As we came closer we saw what everybody was looking at: Two cheetahs – a mother and her cub – were lying next to a springbok kill. At first the cub was still feeding:

Image

Then it walked over to its mum and they slept hidden in tall grass in the shade. We waited for more than an hour for them to move but they weren’t very cooperative :( .

So we filled up our car with gas in MM and when we came back not much had changed – so we drove back in the direction of Urikaruus for a break.
At Dalkeith we almost couldn’t believe our own eyes: In the middle of the day a lion mother was walking along with a little cub!!! We were hoping that they would walk to the waterhole and drink and that’s what they actually did :dance: . The mother was a beauty - and the little cub was so cute that we couldn't stop taking pictures.

First the the lioness checked the situation:

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She decided that it was safe to go and have a drink. So the cub followed her clumsily to the waterhole:

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When they had finished drinking the cub looked one more time back over its shoulder:

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Then the two lions walked back into the direction they had come from. They walked some time next to the road along the riverbed:

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After a while the little cub seemd to be tired from walking and sat down --- but soon its mother urged to walk on:

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They walked on for a few meters and then they crossed the road directly behind our car and disappeared behind the dunes.
I would never have expected to witness something like this at all - and especially not in the middle of the day (around noon) !!!

After this fantastic distraction there wasn't much time for a long break - we just ate some sandwiches, I had a qick shower and soon we were on the road again.

We wanted to check on the cheetah kill, but of course everybody else wanted to have a look at the two as well and it was VERY crowded.
Although the afternoon light wasn't very good I got a nice "bloody" portrait of the cub:

Image

We didn't stay very long this time, because we were soon annoyed by the great number of cars and spectators. So we decided to search for something else and to enjoy the silence of the KTP rather than to be stuck in some Kruger-style traffic jam.

And we actually observed our “own kill” later on, when we watched a secretary bird catching and eating a lizard – something we’d also never seen before.

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And at the end of the day we enjoyed this beautiful full moon rising above the dunes:

Image

This is a blend of two shots because of the already unfavorable shutter speed - one focused on the moon and one focused on the landscape.

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Sorry that I have kept you waiting for so long again :redface: !!!
Finally here's what happened on our sixth full day in the KTP:

Day 6: Sunday August 17th

As this was the last morning in the Urikaruus Wilderness Camp we decided to drive south, away fom Mata Mata to be one of the first cars on the road for a longer time. I think it's one of the great advantages of a wilderness camp: There is a maximum of 4 cars in the morning -- so the time shortly after the gates open in the morning or close in the evening is beautifully lonely and quiet.
The drive was very peaceful but we didn’t see many animals, just a nice pair of giant eagle owls in the very early morning light,

Image
picture by Jochen

some springboks,
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… and the usual game. After a while we decided to turn around and to drive to MM where we’d be staying tonight. On the way three honey badgers :dance: crossed the road - but much too quick for any photos.
Shortly before MM we saw the two cheetahs again – they were still feeding on the springbok:

Image

I never thought that it would take them so long to finish their kill. It seemed as if there weren't any other predators around. Only sometimes we saw some jackals but they didn't try to get near them. So the mother and her cub stayed there the whole day long but remained mostly in the shade during the warm hours of the day – so there were no really good photo opportunities.

We checked in at Mata Mata around noon. In the afternoon we saw and photographed many, many birds:

1) a pair of swallow-tailed bee-eaters,

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2) a white-browed sparrow-weaver:

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3) a marico flycatcher:

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4) a kori bustard:

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5) and an ant-eating chat:

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Please correct me if I made any mistakes in identifying these bird species.
Whenever there were not many bigger animals around we tried to photograph the birds --- there were quite a lot of birds around this year and especially in the Auob riverbed they were not very shy! That's one of the reasons why we never got bored throughout our whole trip -- we actually could have stayed there MUCH longer :D .

On our way back to the camp I managed one more photo of the cheetah cub. There was actually no sun, but still this is one of my favourite photos because of the intense stare and the muted colors.

Image

As we were staying in Mata Mata over night we were of course hoping that the two cheetahs would stay close to their kill (or what was left of it) over night and we'd have the chance to see them again the next morning :roll:!?

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Hello everybody !!! Sorry that you had to wait so long for this posting. But last weekend the weather here in Germany was so good that I prefered to spend most of the time outside and not in front of the computer. However, the weather forecast for this weekend isn't very good -- so I might even be able to do two postings this weekend :D .

Let's continue with the next day:

Day 7: Monday August 18th

Early in the morning we drove to the site of the cheetah kill again--- we actually didn’t really expect them to be still there, because they had already been there for more than two days.
But believe it or not: they were still there :dance: lying around in the very first morning light:

Image

After a while the cub got up and walked around:

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From time to time it went back to the kill (there was still something left) and had a little "snack":

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Then it came running back to its mum and they played around for a while:

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It was great to spend some time with the two cats in this beautiful morning atmosphere – and most of the time there was no other car around . Either the people were bored by seeing the cheetahs for three days in a row now or they couldn’t get out of bed. No matter what we enjoyed the situation and were able to shoot some nice portraits in really wonderful light.

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After watching the cats for more than two hours we drove on to the next waterholes --- at Dalkeith waterhole there was another surprise waiting for us :dance: :

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A lioness (this time without cub) came to drink there. She seemed to be very thirsty and it was great to watch and hear her swallow down several liters of water.

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When she was finished her she walked away and we followed her for a while until she disappeared out of sight.

Later on when we had a closer look at the pictures we noticed that it was the same lioness that we had seen at the waterhole the day before together with her cub. We were wondering where she had left her cub this time and were actually a bit worried that something had happened to the little one. Especially because the lioness had a little wound at its leg.
Do lionesses sometimes leave their cubs behind when they go and have a drink ??? Maybe someone else knows more about that --- it would be great to know whether the little cub that we saw the day before is still doing fine.

We drove on to the next waterhole and we almost didn’t believe it – there we spotted a second lion :dance: . A big male was walking along the riverbed in some distance:

Image

– this really seemed to be a very good day for cats!!!

The afternoon drive on the contrary was rather quiet. The cheetah mom and her cub had finally left their kill and only their footprints in the sand showed us that they must have crossed the road and headed into the riverbed in the early afternoon.
Later on we photographed some confiding Crowned Lapwings

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and spend some time with a huge herd of wildebeest. Here's just one of them:

Image

We drove to the waterholes again to check on the lions that we had seen in the morning. At the 14th borehole loop we spotted the male lion again lying far away in the sun now.
The last thing we saw on the way back to Mata Mata was this bateleur sitting on a tree very close to the road:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Thank you again for all your comments !!!
Now that the page has turned there's no reason to keep you waiting for more - so here we go:

Day 8: Tuesday August 19th

This morning was the first morning during our trip we didn’t see the sun. It was completely overcast and later that day even a few drops of rain fell. I think this weather was pretty strange for the Kalahari in this season – last year at about the same time we didn’t see a single cloud throughout our whole stay and it was MUCH colder.
Hoping that the overcast weather conditions would make the animals stay out in the open riverbed a little bit longer than usual we started on our morning drive.
Unfortunately our hopes did not fulfill. We didn’t see much on the whole drive from Urikaruus to Kieliekrankie until shortly before Auchterlonie, when a small furry thing with a long tail was running across the road. It was a meerkat :dance: !!! -And there were many of them around, this time very close to the road. They were all running around digging for food and they almost never stood still.

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So it wasn’t very easy to take good pictures of them. They stayed close to the road for about half an hour --- it was great to see them that close. I must admit that I didn't expect to be able to take some good pictures of them at all, in particular as we hadn’t seen a single surricate during our last trip to KTP.

And from time to time they even stood still :D : on the look-out for any kind of enemies:

Image

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Happy about the nice ending of this morning we checked in at Kieliekrankie at noon. When we went into our cabin we were even happier: What a view !!! :o
The setting of KK is just brilliant – from your balcony you’re looking down into a valley of dunes - up to the horizon only red sand! So we really enjoyed our lunch break there and around 3:30 pm we started on a short drive down the Auob riverbed where we saw and photographed some birds:

First, a beautiful swallow-tailed bee-eater:

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Then some kind of lark --- I think it's a Sabota lark:

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And finally a singing ant-eating chat:

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Afterwards we spent some time with a big herd of springboks at Monro waterhole. I really loved this young one --- it has such a beautiful face:

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Suddenly the springboks got frightened, one by one they nervously walked away (some even ran) and made their warning sounds – so we guessed that there must be a predator around :roll: .
We looked everywhere but we couldn’t see anything – nevertheless we decided to spend some time waiting there ..................
After a while we noticed something moving far away on the top of the ridge. It was a leopard :dance: !!! It started to move down into the rivervalley.

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Of course we were hoping that it would come to the waterhole to drink but unfortunately the cat didn’t seem to be thirsty. It didn’t walk into our direction but down the valley. We followed the female (we think that it was one) for quite a while and waited for her to come closer to road – she kept her distance, but we were still able to get some decent pictures of her with some nice flowers in the background.

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After more and more cars had stopped to watch the leopard it walked further away again and finally disappeared behind the ridge again.
Now it was about time to drive back to the camp again – shortly before Auchterlonie we saw something we’d also never seen in KTP before: a moving bush ---- as we got closer we saw that it was a porcupine! :dance:

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picture by Jochen

The day ended with a great evening at KK --- our neighbours invited us over for a nice braai and we had some very good food and some good laughs at the campfire.

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please also visit: www.focus-on-wildlife.de


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 Post subject: Re: 18 great days in KTP !!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Germany
Thank you for all your comments --- you're right we really were lucky with all the sightings we had -- I'm still longing for all the special moments and would love to go back there right away :D .

As this isn't possible I'll have to spend some time dreaming of the KTP and keep myself busy with preparing the next posting:

Day 9: Wednesday August 20th

By now almost have of our trip is over --- why is time always running so fast when you’re doing something you enjoy? But we are happy about the great time we’ve had so far and the many things we were privileged to watch and experience here in KTP.

The morning started with some clouds again – when we were driving along the dune road we saw many very shy steenboks, Koorhans and a number of other birds.
For example this familiar chat in the early morning light:

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As we reached Kij Kij there were lion footprints all over the place --- we looked around and soon we knew why: The lion pride we had met at our first full day in the KTP had been there shortly before.
Now they were lying far way in the distance on the top of a dune. While we were watching the lions more cars arrived and some people started to get out off their cars :evil: :evil: :evil: to watch the lions with their binoculars. More and more people folowed their bad example ---- it was unbelievable !!! We asked them to get into their car – but they didn’t really understand the reason why. During our whole trip we noticed more and more people leaving their cars without any reason or leaning all the way out of their windows. I think this kind of behavior is unacceptable …. But sometimes there are some really ignorant, stupid people around who don't understand that such kind of behavior disturbs the animals as well as the other people who'd just like to sit in their car and silently want to observe the great nature of those national parks.

As we were fed up with this whole situation and didn’t think that the lions would come down after all this turmoil we drove on into the direction of Twe Rivieren where we wanted to get gas and to fill up our stocks. A little bit further south we came across this good-looking fellow searching for food:

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After some more kilometers we came across two cars parked in the road, with the passengers looking up the ridge. As we couldn’t see anything at first we asked them what they were looking at. They showed us a leopard :dance: that was lying far away on the ridge. It was perfectly camouflaged so you couldn’t see it if it didn’t move. After watching the cat for some time the van with the “crazy bushhikers” arrived again and - believe it or not - they got out of their vehicle again :evil: :evil: :evil: … . Some people never change ....
We drove on but didn’t see anything special on the rest of the drive - except for these fighting springboks that were great to watch:

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For our last afternoon drive from Kieliekrankie we chose to check the Auob riverbed again as we were heading to Nossob tomorrow and were going to spend the whole next week in the Nossob riverbed. Near Munro we found another group of Meerkats that were busy digging for food.

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Maybe the warmer weather and the great number of insects that was already flying and crawling around was what the Meerkats liked and made them more visible than last year in August.

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Our last year’s August trip to the KTP was much different – it was MUCH colder but the air was always clear and in the morning it was often a little bit misty. Since we came here this year the temperatures have gone up continuously and the last few days it has been really hot at day and exceptionally mild at night.
This day didn’t bring us any more special sightings - we only took some more photos of birds.
E.g. of this sociable weaver:

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After a nice chat with our new neighbours in the camp and an excellent dinner we enjoyed the sounds of the barking geckos for a while and then went to bed - looking forward to the next days in the Nossob region.

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please also visit: www.focus-on-wildlife.de


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