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 Post subject: P@M-Kalahari Re-Visited-October 2008
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:20 pm 
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As I wrote somewhere else :lol:

Quote:
To cut a long story short : with hubby's business trip overseas cancelled, he found he had a couple of weeks with no work lined up, so we are off to KTP

Our last visit was about 15 years ago, when there were only 3 camps, so we are looking forward to seeing the changes.

Our bookings :
21st Oct -- TR
22 & 23 -- Nossob
24 & 25 -- KTC
26 -- TR
27 -- home

Any advice or tips gratefully received and I promise to take lots of pics and to write a trip report


So we hit the long road up there on Monday.
Caracal has kindly offered to post any sms sightings we send :lol:
That will only be the first day and last day.
So hold thumbs we manage to see something to report on :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:04 pm 
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Overview.

Thought I’d start this report with a general overview of how we found KTP – mainly as a direct comparison to KNP.

First – the heat.

Let me first say that it was not really hot while we were there.
It got up to 39 degrees on 2 days only – otherwise hovered around 30 or slightly more.
Certainly livable.
But the heat is a lot more bearable than the Natal coastal heat or KNP heat as it is a dry heat and not humid.
It does, however, make you very thirsty and, at times, makes you feel a bit like a cross between a wrinkled prune and a piece of over dry biltong :shock: All the moisture sucked out of you. :lol:
And the advice to drink lots of fluids is a double-edged sword as the loo stops are few and far between. :big_eyes:

The roads.

Really not as bad as we were led to believe. Certainly a lot better than they were last time we were there. Yes they are badly corrugated in many places and have thick sand in some places, but they are on a par with many of the gravel roads in Kruger – the Sweni road in April comes to mind :shock: They are just a lot longer and there is no break (by using the tar , as in KNP) as they are the only roads :D
Loo stops are few and far between though. So 70 km of bad gravel and a full bladder from all the extra liquid does not make for a comfortable ride :big_eyes:
The dune roads are really good. Last time we were there we were unable to travel the dune roads in a sedan (yes – last visit was in a station wagon) as they were just sand.
Which brings me to the next point ….

The Dust

It gets into everything.
The texture of fine talcum powder, coloured anything from pale khaki to red sand.
Unless you travel with all the windows permanently closed (even for photo’s) there is no escaping it. Even then I’m sure it will manage to get in :D
And it does permeate everything – even closed containers, unless they are sealed.
But you get used to it and a shower in the evening is not only welcome, it is a necessity.
The ultimate dust meter is how much of a stripe you have across your chest when you leave the park and use your safety belt again :shock: :lol:

The animals I won’t comment on at this time except to say that there are far fewer varieties or species than in Kruger. Same with birds. But that is because they are totally different parks in totally different areas.
Would we go back ?

ABSOLUTELY !!


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:40 pm 
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Mon 20th Oct

All packed up and ready to go.
Left home at about 9:30 and headed north.
The N7 is really no advertisement for roads in SA – it is narrow, badly maintained and very busy as it carries all the traffic from Cape Town to Namibia.
Also there are no Ultra City or One Stop type petrol stations with a shop and snack place as there are on the N1 and N4 routes.
We did find a Wimpy at a filling station at Klawer and grabbed some brunch :D
It was a relief to turn off the N7 onto the route via Calvinia.
Arrived at our delightful overnight stop in Keimoes (thanks Michele Nel) at about 5:30.

Animals seen on our trek north – zebra, baboons, ostrich, camels, mongoose and springbok :D

Some of the springbok wandering around the lodge.

Image Image


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:19 pm 
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Tues 21st Oct

After a good breakfast, we drove to Upington where we stopped to do some shopping.
We bought our meat from Skaapland (as recommended on the forum) and it was really good and at a good price ! (guess any price is good when you are used to Cape Town prices).

We only had about 9km of dirt before the gate and noticed that the tar was complete, but not open, to within a km of the gate. They are also building what looks like a new gate, so maybe the tar will join up with that when it is complete ? We also noticed a difference in the standard of the new tar road. In some places it looked (and felt) as though they’d just tarred over the corrugations :shock:

Arrived at Twee Riviern at about 1 pm and access was quick, efficient and friendly.

Checked into our bungalow and unpacked only the necessary as we were only there for one night. Stocked up on ice, deflated the car tyres and were ready to go out for a drive by 2:30 although it was still a bit hot – 36 to be exact :D

We decided to head along the Auob river towards Mata-Mata.
First thing we noticed was that the road does not follow the river – it heads across a roller-coaster of dunes before joining the river-bed at Houmoed.

There were ostrich in the dunes and the grass was really high and thick.

Image

Further along there were gemsbok in the shade

Image

And some of my favourites – ground squirrels – making their own shade :lol:

Image

Wildebeest were in the shade (you get the idea it was still hot – only 34)

And the inevitable springbok – some little ones too – looking more like grass-hoppers

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Image

We also stopped to watch this guy stomping around in a bush. But it was too far away to make out what he was trying to catch – or had caught :D

Image

Any ideas on an id ?

A bit further along there were wildebeest who’d been for a drink

Image

And, at Auchterlonie, our first (of many) jackal for the trip.

We made a stop at Auchterlonie and wandered through the museum, trying to imagine what it would be like to actually live there – a very tough life :shock:

Then it was time to head back towards Twee Rivieren.

We stopped to attempt a photo of a very pretty crimson breasted shrike who simply refused to pose – nor would he sit in the sun for us ! This was our best attempt (and naturally he turned his head at just the right moment!)

Image

(cont...)


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:25 pm 
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Thank you all for your comments -- will try to post an episode a day, but still have lots of pics to re-size.

Caracal -- don't think you can take all the credit for getting us back to KTP :lol: It has been on our to-do list for a long time -- just that hubby seems to do a lot of work near KNP -- so it is always easy to visit him and take time to pop in there :roll: Then it becomes a habit -- like KTP for a lot of you :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:30 pm 
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Tues 21st Oct cont..

Just before Munro we came across a delightful family, but mom would not let the kids out to play. :cry:

Mom and dad

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Mom on guard

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Mom and babe – if you look really carefully at the bush !

Image

We sat for a while hoping the little ones would come out, but no such luck. Mom and dad soon left to collect supper.

Thrilled with our cape fox sighting, we continued to Munro where we found a Kori bustard drinking

Image

Then a jackal drinking

Image

And a gemsbok silhouetted against the dunes on his way to bed as well

Image

Soon we were back at camp to light the fire and enjoy our very first braai in KTP.


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:49 pm 
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Wed 22nd Oct.

We awoke bright and early to a chilly morning – all of 14 C with a really cold wind.

Packed up and left for Nossob just before 7.

When we got to Samefloeiing, we had an “aha” moment. The road into the waterhole used to be the old road to Mata-Mata – it even has pegs across it at the back to restrict passage.

Look as we may, we couldn’t find wanderw’s leopard.

In the middle of no-where, we came across this little springbok fawn that had been “stashed” behind a bush (not a very big one). We looked and looked but could see no sign of any other springbok. Very strange.

Image

Image

A little later we stopped to take a picture of a bird in a tree, but he was having none of it and left :lol:

Image

We also saw a little mouse hanging onto the bushes next to the road (saw a pic in Scipio’s report – thanks Scipio) but were unable to stop as we had another car behind us.

The road left a lot to be desired. There were a lot of standing puddles, and detours around them. Where the mud had dried, it was really hard and ridged by tyre tracks. And then there were patches of what can only be described as talcum powder !
We learned later that there had been a big storm 2 days before and that explained all the water !

Shortly after Rooiputs, we came across this gemsbok sporting a curl

Image

He was part of a crowd in a hurry to go somewhere – in single file.

A short while later we had some excitement – we got too close to a cobra crossing the road and he got upset & showed his hood – we weren’t quick enough with the camera, but got this shot of him as he continued his journey

Image

Next to the road, where he was headed, was an even bigger cobra

Image

He also re-acted to our stopping by shooting towards the trees at top speed. Can they move :shock: We hadn’t realized just how fast they are :big_eyes:

The first one waited for the other one to get to a pile of brush and then followed and they both disappeared.

There were some squirrels in the vicinity and we wondered if they had seen the cobras.

At that stage we had seen about 7 or 8 different jackals, but they were all very busily going about finding food and would not stop long enough to pose.
Two of them were obviously tag teaming in the bushes after mice, but we didn’t see them catch anything and they were mostly hidden in the shrubs – but fascinating to watch.

Melkvlei appeared and with it a break from the car – or so we thought :shock:
The wind was so cold that we decided to have our breakfast in the car rather than at a picnic table – so, after a quick visit to the loo, we were on our way again.

Cont ...


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:47 pm 
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Wed 22nd Oct cont

As I was saying -- the wind was too cold to sit outside at the picnic tables, so we ate our sandwiches as we travelled :D

That was the excuse for the quality of the photo’s when we came across a couple of red hartebeest with a herd of wildebeest ! There may well have been more over the dune – although we could not see them. The pic is not good – just proof :)

Image

Gunong waterhole was under construction :lol:

Image

Image

Image

Well done to all concerned :clap: :clap:

A good looking martial eagle that didn’t fly away (probably because he was so far away anyway)

Image

And then some fun watching secretary birds.

Two of them were busy hunting

Image
Image

After a while, one got tired and decided to take a nap

Image

Which did not escape its friend’s beady eye for long

Image

The friend soon rushed over, and chased the napper back to work – very funny

Image

Cont...


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:20 pm 
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Wed 22nd Oct cont......

We left the squabbling secretary birds and continued towards Nossob.

Next up was another jackal, not sticking around to pose -- but made for a "bum" shot :D

Image

Is this a gabar goshawk ?

Image

Then a welcome break at Dikbaardskolk, although it still hadn’t warmed up enough to want to tarry outside for too long.

There were some springbok and gemsbok enjoying the water hole.

Image

Shortly afterwards we encountered a total moron – one of very few for this trip (I must add – unlike KNP) :twisted: This landy came hurtling up from behind us, flashed his lights at us and hooted to get us to move over, then disappeared in a cloud of dust :sniper: To give him the benefit of the doubt, he may have had a genuine emergency and been rushing to Nossob -- although we did presume he was heading for Grootkolk or Gharagab and was running very late. It was after 2 pm at that stage and we were still at least 30 km away from Nossob.

Next up was a little steenbok hiding in the bush

Image

We noticed a lot of white backed vultures in the trees all the way up from Kaspersdraai and presumed they must be nesting along there.

Image

And, at last a pic of a pale chanting goshawk that didn’t take one look at us and leave !

Image

We noticed that Marie se Draai was now an optional loop. It used to be the only road.
Naturally, it was our preferred route.
And then we arrived at Nossob to a closed gate with a sign – Please keep this gate closed at all times to prevent problems with jackals.

It had taken us 7 ½ hours from Twee Rivieren. And the temperature had struggled up to all of 24 – certainly not warm enough to tempt me to remove my fleece top.

Check in was quick, efficient and friendly (KTP style) and we were soon in our bungalow, unpacking.

Cont...


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:27 pm 
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Wed 22nd Oct cont ......

Unpacking done, we went off to he office.
A check of the sightings board confirmed our suspicions – it was very quiet game-wise. Lions the day before at Cubitje Quap, but nothing that day. And nothing else to mention either – certainly none of the elusive meerkat :(

For our evening drive, we decided to go down to Marie se draai and just chill.
There were some gemsbok around

Image

But little else.

While chatting to the guy parked next to us, we learned that there had been 7 lion there 2 days before, but they hadn’t been seen since, so everyone was waiting for them to put in an appearance.

Then the jackals arrived. Now I really like jackals and find them fascinating to watch.

Image

First one, then another arrived and went down for a drink

Image

At one stage we could count 6 in different places.
Then an argument broke out and jackals scattered in all directions.
Someone must have trespassed on someone else’s territory :shock:
Unfortunately we were unable to get a pic of the wonderful body language of a subordinate jackal greeting the “boss”.
The victor also came for a drink

Image

Followed but a wary subordinate

Image

We tried to get a photo of the striped mice foraging around under a tree, but no luck.

After an hour, we decided that any lions obviously had an appointment elsewhere and went back to camp to cook supper.

It was not very pleasant outside, so we decided against a braai. It was also very quiet – the occasional bark of a jackal and that was all.

We did, however, see a jackal come through/under the fence and head towards the campers :lol:

We also had weird neighbours – they sat outside all evening with their outside light off and, as soon as they went to bed, they turned it on :shock: Very odd :D
Fortunately, we were at the end, facing the fence, and it didn’t bother us when we, too retired for the night.


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:50 pm 
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Thurs 23rd Oct.

Today we decided we were heading north, so that is he gate we used to exit camp.

For those who do not know Nossob – the gate from the south enters camp one side of the hide, the gate to the north goes out the other side of the hide, and the gate to Bitterpan is the other side of the camp – so you have to enter Nossob even if one is just driving past.

The temperature was all of 11 degrees – chilly :shock:

First up were wildebeest, followed by a steenbokkie and, a little further, some springbok.

Just past Cubitje Quap were 6 spotted hyena and a couple of jackals arguing over what was left of a wildebeest carcass.

Image

Image

Image

Image

We watched the interaction for quite a long time – jackals making off with the horns. Only to have the hyena reclaim them.

Heading on, we found Kwang waterhole dry.

A little later, a huge thrill – bat-eared foxes hunting :dance:

Image

Image

At Bedickt, both lappet faced and white backed vultures on what was left of something or other. There were jackals in attendance as well.

Image

Then what we thought was a tawny eagle -- actually a juv bateleur !

Image

By the time we got to Lijersdraai, (for a much needed loo stop) we decided to go on up to Union’s End as we had enough time to do so. It had been very quiet sightings wise.

And I had better wait for a new page before going on :lol:

Cont.........


Last edited by p@m on Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Thurs 23rd Oct cont.

Refreshed by our stop at Lijersdraai, we continued heading north.

A cute springbok posing at a waterhole

Image

Union's End

Image

Image

The picture of the signboard is more to show the storm somewhere over Botswana – the day was very cloudy and threatening at times, then would lighten again.
By now the temp had reached 30.

On the way back we saw a herd of gemsbok in very weird light from the clouds

Image

Followed a bit later by a two-headed specimen :shock:

Image

Wildebeest resting in the shade

Image

And, back at Cubitje Quap, a very pregnant, hot jackal :lol:

Image

Back at Nossob, we wandered down to the hide as I had promised Pjw to give her a birthday wave from there :D

Cont...


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:56 pm 
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Thurs 23rd Oct cont..

Nossob waterhole from the "inside" :lol:

The waterhole at the hide has been altered in shape and size. Probably as a result of it being damaged by wildebeest in late Sept (I think)
From the following pics you can see the changes.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The flat area at the back is a natural pan that fills with water after heavy rain.
The old waterhole was a lot bigger and seems to have been filled in (earth in the foreground – behind waterhole) The new waterhole is shaped and much smaller and narrower in the middle.

Cont ...


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:05 pm 
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Thurs 23rd Oct cont..

For our evening drive, we decided to go down to Marie se Draai again.

The usual jackals were there, but little else

Image

Even the striped mice were hiding from the weather !

Just before it was time to leave and head back to camp, three kudu made their way warily down from the far dunes.

Image

Image

They didn’t come down to drink, but we were thrilled with the sighting as they are not common in KTP.

Back at camp we decided to braai.

(Hold on for the gripe :D )

Two jackals made their way through the fence and came to lie quietly under the tree outside and watch hubby. They were being very quiet and well behaved and lay there minding their own business until our neighbours happened to catch them in their torchlight. They then chased them away. What for ? They ( the neighbours) had already finished their supper and the jackals had not been trying to pinch anything. They (the jackals) then made their way down to the camping area where we could hear them being chased again. I know that they are a nuisance in camp and that they pinch if given half a chance and that they shouldn’t be there in the first place, but, if they are lying quietly, why not leave them alone ? They weren’t bothering anyone at that stage. Just don’t understand people half the time :evil:
(gripe over :D )

When the nieghbours went to bed, we had a repeat of the night before – the outside light was immediately turned on :shock: Maybe they were afraid of the dark ? :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Kalahari Re-Visited
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:05 pm 
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Friday 24th Oct.

After a very quiet night, it was time to pack up and head for Kalahari Tented Camp. The sky was very dark and threatening and I joked with hubby that, if the rain came down, we may be stuck in Nossob – as had happened to some other forum members.

Image

Image

The morning was a lot warmer than yesterday – 21 C.

As we headed out hubby asked what on earth I was going to write in my trip report as we had now spent 3 nights in the KTP – half way through our visit -- and hadn’t seen any sign of any cats. We joked that I would have to admit to being the first forumite in history to spend a week here without a sighting of a Kalahari lion :shock:

There were some wildebeest and springbok at the waterhole just outside camp, and some jackal wandering around down in the river bed – maybe the ones that had spent the night in camp ? :D

Next up was this lovely tawny eagle

Image

As we got close to Marie se Gat, we noticed what looked like cat tracks in the sand – many cat tracks :dance: There were a few cars parked at the waterhole – some-one held up both hands and indicated a tree in the distance – 10 lions under a tree – the drought had been broken :dance:

They were very far away, so not many pics came out too well.

Big daddy

Image

Young male – do their manes usually grow out black on their chest ?

Image

Two of the lions decided to come and lie under a closer tree

Image

While the pride male wandered off to join the rest of the family under the faraway tree

Image

Then a gemsbok made his way towards the waterhole. He was very aware of the large group of lions, but totally unaware of the closer ones, who were very interested in him !

Image
Image

Although they crouched to stalk, they were really only pretending. They were either not hungry enough, were too young, or too far away from the main pride.

We spent about 45 minutes watching the lions, who were obviously going to settle in for the day, then continued on our way.

cont ...


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