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 Post subject: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:37 pm 
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Location: Langebaan
Trip Report - KTP
25/08/08 – 2/09/08


Our last visit May 08. Greedy!? Maybe but KTP has such an effect on us that we go there at every opportunity. Drama, sadness, unexpected sightings, this is what we got this time.
We wanted to see flowers in Namaqualand too. We stopped over at Klein Pella, Pofadder district, it’s a date farm close to the Orange River. Ideal stop

Day 1
We arrived at Tweeriveren at 10.00 am Monday. After setting up camp, we prepared to go on our first drive towards Kij Kij.
Michelle Nel was in camp too and we introduced ourselves. Such a pleasant lady.
We headed out at 15.00 hrs. Just 2 kms from camp we had our first sighting. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw. There in the road was a Black Backed Jackal but in a poor state. Looking closer we noticed it had a wire noose around its neck. Most distressing for us and of course the poor animal. I won’t go into detail. Just then Michelle arrived up the road behind us. I told her we were heading back to camp to report it. This poor animal had to be put down and quickly. They stayed put to watch where it went. Back in camp I spoke on the phone to a ranger and after giving him details I hurried back. Spoke to Michelle and they pointed to where they had last seen the poor animal. They headed off and I waited for the ranger. He arrived promptly and with the police. (The ranger told me on the phone that it had probably landed in a snare and somehow made its way into the park. There were definitely no snares in the park he confirmed.)
I pointed in the direction the Jackal had been seen heading and asked the ranger if he needed any help. He said we were welcome to and we did’nt hesitate (remembering that we had seen a Leopard and cub in this area in 2007.) Off we set following very closely behind the man with the rifle. Over the rise we came across the TR airfield where the ranger told us to fan out looking for spoor. After 5 min. a man in a Landcruiser arrived and he said he had seen the Jackal as well. (We learned afterwards that this was the man who does Cheatah research in the park.) We all piled into the ‘Cruister and headed over the dunes. From time to time I had to pinch myself. I could’nt believe what we were experiencing.
After a while they decided that we needed a tracker. So off we head to the researchers house in the dunes. There we pick up a bushman tracker and head out to the place where the Jackal had last been seen. This is where the tracker took over. This for us was the highlight of our adventure.
After much circling and backtracking he went about what came natural to him. What an experience to see a Bushmen and seeing him displaying his craft.
The sad thing is we never found the poor animal, to put it out of its misery. The bushman tracker did mention that the jackal is very clever in throwing followers off its track. It obviously felt threatened. Even in its unfortunate state it somehow knew we were a threat.
Credit must go to the ranger and researcher for their dedication. Much of their work is done behind the scenes without reward or successful conclusion. I salute them for the work they do. Men like them contribute to the healthy state of the animals in the park.

Part 2 of our stay …………….to be continued.


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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:32 pm 
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Part 2

Day 2 – 26/08/08
Very cold – Temp must have been close to freezing. Downside of an air mattress is that the air inside it gets so cold and we had not taken precautions. Looked as though a late start was on the cards.
Today we would go up to Melkvlei, have a bite there, then do the round trip across the dunes from Kij Kij to Auchterlonie and back down the other river to TR.
Started out at 8:30. We were quickly warm in the car. We passed the spot where we had spotted the unfortunate jackal the previous day secretly wondered if the poor animal was still alive. Passed Samevloeing we came across a couple of cars parked. I slowly drew up alongside the first. They pointed to Cheetah some distance away. We could just make out their outline. After 15 min 3 Cheetah got up and moved even further away. I got in a couple of takes but they were too far for a decent shot. We backtracked but they disappeared eventually over the ridge to the east.
Wow only 8 or so kms and already a significant sighting. We decided to press on. Between Leeuwdril and Kij Kij we saw Tawnies, most likely the same we had seen the previous day and a snake eagle but at a distance.
After a bite at Melkvlei we headed back to Kij Kij and over the dunes. On the dunes we saw Gemsbok and quite a few Steenbok. We debated whether to take the Kieliekrankie road cause a Leopard had been seen at the waterhole but decided rather to go to the Auchterlonie museum.
What a beautiful day. Museum interesting and the restoration effort very authentic.
Took a leisurely drive back to TR. No dramatic sightings apart from the Cheetahs in the distance, but a pleasant day nonetheless. We were still on a high after our previous days experience.

Day 3 – 27/08/08
Cold night but we had taken precautions and much warmer. We replaced our mattress sheet with an open sleeping bag. After the noise in the camp long after ‘lightsout’, with music I might add, we had a good nights’ sleep.
We decided that today the game would come to us! So we packed a hamper and reading matter and sat at Samevloeing all morning. We saw Springbok, Gemsbok and a Corrie Bastard. Uneventful!! no cause how often do we take the time to sit and watch these beautiful animals. You can actually learn a lot about behaviour.
Take the Springbok for instance. There must have been a 150 plus Springbok all heading in the same direction in steady stream. Their pattern was to walk up to the water, drink, socialise, then drift away. Then when they got to a certain point 300m or so away from the water they would suddenly start a pronking routine. Each one would start at the exact same spot. I then realised that there was a carcass lying in their path that was spooking them. What a photo opportunity. So I positioned the car (legally) and started shooting these gracefull buck as they each went through their paces. Thankyou Digital technology!! What a pleasure.
After a very pleasant morning of honing my SLR skills we headed back to TR. Little did we know that there were exciting sightings still ahead for us this day.
Back at camp we each headed for the showers. There I saw Michelle’s SO and he told me of lions they had seen at Houmoed. I made a prompt u turn, got the SO and off we headed to Houmoed.
When we arrived we immediately saw a lioness and 3 cubs on top of a dune but that was not what the other spotters were looking at. I drew up next to my camp neighbour and he pointed to a male lion lying next to the road. The few cars that were there made it difficult to get a clear view but fortunately my neighbour gave up his spot for us after a while. I managed to get a few shots each time he lifted his head. He was doing what lions do best ….sleep and in a not too gentlemanly fashion. Suddenly he got up but immediately we could see he was injured. “Oh no, not another injured animal” cried my SO. He had bite on his right thigh which looked quite serious and he moved with great difficulty. Later we saw the rest of the pride at a distance, with a dominant male. We reckoned “our” lion had come off second best in a scrap with dominant male and would eventually become an outcast.
My best lion photo ever, is of him. Whenever I look at it I wonder what could have happened to him. I console myself that there is no pain in his eyes. That’s nature I suppose….survival of the fittest to insure a healthy bloodline.


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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:33 pm 
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Award: Travel tale of the Year - Other Parks (2012)
Thanks for the update Tony. I am loving your report! :dance:

Tony T wrote:
Downside of an air mattress is that the air inside it gets so cold and we had not taken precautions.


Tony a good tip is to take some newspaper with you and place it under the mattress. It really does help keep the cold from the ground at bay!

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:12 pm 
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I must apologise for taking so long to post the rest of my TR. I won’t make any excuses. So here goes………


Part 3

Day 4 – 28/08/08

Today we were breaking up camp and heading for Nossop. Another cold night. Not only am I a cry baby when I go to bed but getting up in the am. too. We were booked for 5 nights in Nossop so we decided to have a hearty breakfast and take our time. I’d also forgotten to charge my cam. batteries. :roll: :redface:
My SO collected our permit at reception while I filled the car and checked the vitals. There was a fare amount of activity at the pumps. Business and other. Some locals were catching up on news and there was much banter and laughter (the culture of these folk fascinate me; not unlike the Namibian culture having vacationed there for 40 odd years.)
The significance of all this is that the pump guy and I were distracted and as I discovered later, I drove without a filler cap all the way to Nossop. Lost, who knows where.
Off we set to Nossop. No the SO had not seen the asst. ranger or the Cheetah research guy at reception (you’ll remember our adventure on Day 1).
As we passed the place where we had come across the jackal in distress we wondered what had happened to it.
We settled down to enjoy our trip and by this time it was a pleasant 27 deg. We saw the usual array of buck, wilderbees, jackal, goshawks, a Tawny and a Snake Eagle in flight.
At Kij Kij we did our usual mini detour and were very happy to see a Cape Fox sitting on the edge of what looked like a lair gazing intently into the distance. Today was not going to be my day for photo’s. First the uncharged batteries. Then when I later looked at the photo of the Cape Fox, it was out of focus! :redface:
We stopped off at Melkvlei to stretch the legs then headed off to Nossop. We had an uneventful trip except for a juv. Bataluer at Cheleka.
Arrived at Nossop around 15.00h, the SO did the necessary while I selected a camping stand. Very happy to get the same spot we had in May (I even had a stored pic of our camp setup I took in May so we positioned the camper in the exact same spot, saving a lot of time in the process – tks to digital photography!).
Once setup we started a fire and I then set off to look for owls. Not far from the airfield I came across 2 Spotted Eagle Owls just over the fence. Very lucky too to see them mating.
After supper we hit the water hole –saw a Barn Owl flitting in and out of the light. I’m always amazed at how silently these birds fly.
The night was cold – bone chilling dry cold. On our way back to camp we gazed up at the stars. No trouble with city lights here…..Words can’t describe the sight.….spectacular!!!

To be cont …..


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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:53 am 
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Part 4

Day 5 – 29/8/08

Our first night in Nossop. What is it about the desert and the cold. All part of the fascination as my SO would say. The bushman of old must have had their way of keeping warm and we complain with all our modern conveniences and warm clothes.
Early morning coffee in the Kalahari (along with a KTP sunset)….the finest time of day, in my book. We packed the picnic basket and set off north. We had checked the sightings book but no cats spotted the previous day, in fact not for some time. “We are never disappointed –there is so much else to see”, says the SO (but what can beat the ultimate sighting of a dominant male lion, I think to myself.)
Lovely and warm in the car -19 deg. We look out for Bateleurs. Between Nossop and Cubitje Quap is a good place to spot them. None this morning though.
We stop at Kwang, one of our favourite waterholes. Someone called it the drive–in theatre of the Kalahari. In May we saw Wildebeest having a mud bath. It was funny. :lol:
This morning Wildebeest, Gemsbok, jackal, and the ever present Springbok. Hundreds of doves darting from the trees to the water and back in frantic fashion, no doubt aware of the threat in the form of Lanner Falcons. A Secretary bird takes a stroll to the water. I track it with my camera and then it suddenly flies off. I get a good shot. :cam:
It is suitably warm now but for a cool breeze. For me this one of those serine moments of our trip (wish I had a descriptive quote written by some nature lover to put the feeling I had into words.)
After 2 hours or so we decided to head back. Shortly after leaving Kwang my eye caught a bird on the ground that I had not seen before. A Double banded Coarser. I get some good shots of it. :cam: A magnificent little bird and foraging in wheat coloured grass in keeping with its colour. I could’ve missed it so easily.
We saw nothing else of note on our way back. We prepared for an evening braai and decided we would try out our new “pot brood” recipe. But the day wouldn’t be complete without a quick drive out to Marie se draai.
Nothing in the form of cats there either or much else for that matter. We were not worried we still had another few days at Nossop. Spent a half hour at the waterhole then headed back to camp.
At sun down the same time and same place as the previous day saw the 2 Spotted Eagle Owls go through the same mating routine. What a nice way to end off an uneventful yet peaceful day. (The “pot brood” was a success by the way.) :thumbs_up:

To be continued……


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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:04 am 
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Part 4

I would like to recap on my trip report until now and with photo’s.

You’ll recall we came across this unfortunate Jackal that had been caught in an illegal snare. I wrote “I pointed in the direction the jackal had been seen heading and asked the ranger if he needed help. He said we were welcome and we did’nt need a second invite……”
In discussion with ranger, cat research man and bushman tracker.

Image

After a fruitless search.

Image

In Part 2, day 3 “….we packed a hamper and reading matter and sat at Samevloeing all morning. We saw Springbok, Gemsbok and a Corrie Bastard”
Pronking springbok

Image

Gemsbok drinking

Image

That afternoon “….I saw Michele’s SO and he told me of lions they had seen at Houmoed” and “I managed to get a few shots each time he lifted his head…”
Thankyou Trailer Trash

Image

In Part 4, day 5 at Kwang waterhole “ A Secretary bird takes a stroll to the water. I track it with my camera and then it suddenly flies off. I get a good shot.”

Image

On our way back to camp “A Double Banded Coarser” and “A magnificent little bird and foraging in wheat coloured grass in keeping wit its colour. I could’ve missed it so easily.”

Image

…and later the Spotted Eagle owl in Nossop camp.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:28 pm 
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Location: Cape Town-but dreaming of KTP
Quote:
That afternoon “….I saw Michele’s SO and he told me of lions they had seen at Houmoed” and “I managed to get a few shots each time he lifted his head…”
Thankyou Trailer Trash



It is a pleasure Tony...and I am glad that SO could help the "other Trailer Trash " out !!!! :D :D :D
Thank you so much for posting photos....they are awesome!
I just love the way the owl is glaring at you...what did you say to him?????? :shock:
Come on Tony don't stop now...I am sure you have more up your sleeve !!!!!! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: 9 glorious days in in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:27 pm 
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Hi Caracal,
Thanks for the comments.
The owl was most likely PO'ed with me for interupting its mating session earlier, hence the look. I mentioned somewhere that each evening they would go through their mating ritual as the sun went down, I think for 3 evenings in a row.
It was difficult too 'cause the light was bad, shutter speed low so I had to use a tripod. The owl was blinking and turning its head to look at its mate. All in all a lucky shot.
@ P@m - Thanks P@m -we noticed that they were all pronking in the same spot (then saw a carcass on the ground which appeared to be spooking them). Then it was just a matter of patience and setting the cam on continuous shooting and a lot of pics later.


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