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 Post subject: RayK-Four Hours in KTP-November 2008
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Hi Everyone,

I've been reading and getting great advice from the Forum for two years now and I think it's my turn to add something of interest.

My wife and I have just completed our third trip to South Africa and have enjoyed every moment but until our last trip all I could do was read about the unusual experiences of others.

We spent seven nights in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with the third night, Monday, November 17 at the Kalahari Tented Camp becoming something special. We had Desert Tent #5 and I believe I read that that tent had the worst view of the waterhole of all the others but as it turned out it was the "best seat in the house".

After retiring for the night, I was awakened twice by noises. The first time was after midnight probably between 2-3 AM. I got up, looked out but didn't see anything so I went back to sleep. Then I heard noise again and got up, looked at the clock and it was a little after 5 AM. My hearing isn't very good so to wake me up it must have been quite loud. Anyway, I went to the window and this time not more than 7 meters from me, running from left to right were these shadowy figures. It was a wildebeest with two hyenas, one at either side, nipping at it trying to bring it down.

This unfortunate beast was running for its life and losing the battle. It ran to Tent #6 and wound up trying to take refuge next to or under the raised floor of this tent. The banging noise against the floor portion of the tent was quite loud. At this point they were hidden from view but once every 30 seconds or so a hyena would run out and into view, scan the area, then run back to the wildebeest. It seems that each hyena was taking a turn attacking the wildebeest which was trying desperately to defend itself.
While this was going on I was taking pictures through the heavy mesh screen of my tent so the quality of the photos wasn't that good. Then I started to get brave and went into our enclosed car park, climbed atop

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the garbage can and started taking pix from over the wall. The angle for viewing was even worse but the quality of the photos got better. All this I had to do because my wife refused to go to the scene for better photography (just kidding).

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The rest of the story was pieced together from speaking to our neighbors--especially the nice couple that occupied #6. It turns out that they were wakened by the floor shaking so violently that their night stand fell over or the items that were on the night stand fell off (not sure which occurred). Imagine waking up to that. They thought that something was trying to break through the floor to devour them so they took refuge in the bathroom (which has a concrete floor). My observant wife said that she saw their vehicle drive away but couldn't figure out how they got out since the only exit was facing us and their door was never opened. It turns out they cut the mesh of the window in the bathroom and crawled out, got in their vehicle and went to get help. I estimate they lost a few years of their lives through this experience.

Come on--you've got to admit--there is humor here somewhere. If it happened to me, I'd still be running.

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I give the Supervisor assigned to protecting us a lot of credit. He got there very quickly and knew exactly what had to be done--very professional.

Speaking to others, it seems everything started a few hours before near Tent #13 so this wildebeest was being hunted for all this time until exhausted, it lost its battle to survive.

It was now 6:30 AM and the drama was over so we decided to go for a belated game drive. We headed toward the Sitsas Waterhole when about a kilometer from it we came across a young male lion walking on the road heading for a drink. As we slowly approached he left the road and sat

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down. Being an intelligent animal, he knew exactly when I was through taking photos of him. So he got up and proceeded to his goal--the waterhole. There were two other vehicles at Sitsas but they were busy watching a pride of seven lions in the distance relaxing under a tree to the right of the waterhole. My cooperative lion finally got to the water and proceeded to drink but at all times kept his eyes on the pride under

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the tree. After about ten minutes one of the lionesses had enough and charged at the young male. As I said, this lion was smart so he did the right thing--he ran. She chased him across the road and only stopped when he disappeared over the hill. Then she went back to her group to continue working hard at relaxing.

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We left the lions and went to Craig Lockhart Waterhole to check on the resident owls (Great Eagle Owls?). After a minute of watching I looked to the right and just a short distance away was a large male lion sitting under a small tree. The way things were going this morning, could it of been any different? He might have been part of the pride that was 8 kilometers away. No cooperation from this lion so I couldn't get a decent photo but who's complaining.

Now it was approaching 9 AM so we drove back to the Camp to check on the wildebeest. There was a vehicle from SANparks and one from the police at Tent #6. Four people were busy dragging the wildebeest away and down the hill. They obviously couldn't leave the animal under the tent where it was killed but placed it so the hyenas and other scavengers could continue to feed.

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WOW, what a morning!

During our travels there were a few firsts for us:
--Bat eared foxes;
--Secretary bird in flight; and most importantly,
--A yellow ribbon which happened to be on a silver-grey vehicle. It was travelling on the road from the Nossob area toward Urikaruus on Wednesday, November 19 at 10:45 AM. Great sighting; and
--A paved road almost to the gate

Thanks for reading,
Ray

PS Kruger next September with our daughter and son-in-law. See you there.


Last edited by RayK on Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:22 pm 
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Elsa wrote:
Firstly, RayK a very warm welcome to the forum, glad you have joined us after visiting for so long. :D

Thanks so much for giving us your very exciting account of your trip, what an amazing story. :clap:
Just goes to show, expect the unexpected and anything and everything can happen at any time. :wink:


Hi Elsa,
Thank You. The literary genius forgot to add the date of the happening. I was booked at the Kalahari Tented Camp for Monday, November 17. So the excitement started the following morning.


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Pumbaa wrote:
Welcome to the forum RayK :thumbs_up:

Would love to hear more about this trip :dance: :dance: :dance:

What an exciting night btw :big_eyes:

Hi Pumbaa,
Thank You. Interesting to reflect back upon that morning. Two things come to mind: One hyena had ripped a large piece of flesh from the carcass and started to trot off with it. Although the other hyena had the whole wildebeest to itself, it had to try to steal that piece that was being carried away; then with the chasing of the young male by the lioness. Do lions rid young males from the pride after a certain age? Maybe the male was still trying to be close but wasn't allowed. Anyone know?
Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:11 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Welcome to the forum RayK! :D You definitely started off with a big bang! :shock: Eish! but that's KTP for you! :dance: To answer your Q - young male lions are thrown out of the pride at a certain age(18months to 2 yrs I think, can anyone help?) And they will try and stay around the pride for a bit - in case they can scavenge kills etc., takes less energy than hunting and killing for yourself! Also they have to learn to hunt and kill sucessfully first!

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http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/~schurch/leopards/

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:16 pm 
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icurrie wrote:
WOW :big_eyes: What an experience RayK!!! thank you so much for telling us your story and a huge big welcome to the 'mite' family :D

Hi icurrie,
Thank You for the welcome. That story was only part of the experience. When I booked in KTP, I first stayed at Twee Rivieren and had a great ostrich meal at the restaurant. Getting to Mata Mata the first thing I asked was what time the restaurant opened. It wasn't a good time to find out that there was no restaurant. We had macaroni and cheese from a packet with baked beans. If I'd have stayed another night at the Kalahari Camp, that wildebeest would have started to look very tasty.


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:32 pm 
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Hi Vlekkie, billyf, Batsman and Meandering Mouse,
Thank You. It was quite an experience. Two SANparks people mentioned that they never heard of a wildebeest being taken down by only two hyenas.

Our trip continued to Urikaruus then to Nossob. Nossob has a reputation for its lions and it didn't disappoint as the first thing we came to was this sight.

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Hard to miss considering we had to drive around her. Then there was the pride of 11 lions the next morning at the Nossob Waterhole entertaining the crowd in the hide. The lions were a bit too far for a good photo but this guy came closer for a scratch and water.

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We met two fellows at Urikaruus that were avid photographers, crossing paths with them all the way to Nossob. They had a great sense of finding things that most of us overlook. Meeting them at one stop, they were taking photos of a mouse enjoying a meal. Including us, there was a third vehicle there. In passing them, the driver said "Where else would you find three vehicles surrounding a mouse".
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I think people such as these leave a park taking with them the most enjoyment and satisfaction. In meeting such people, it enhanced my memorable experience of visiting KTP.


Last edited by RayK on Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:48 am 
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Until now, the only photo opportunities I've had with a Bateleur were with it facing away from the sun. Then finally there was one that didn't mind its picture taken. When I got my shots another eagle swooped in and chased the Bateleur from its perch and took over the spot. Is the other a juvenile Bateleur?

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Then I started discovering lizards in bushes. Amazing how many there are. Once one is spotted, it becomes somewhat easy.

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Then another photo of one of the hyenas at Kalahari Tented Camp. I wasn't sure which one to use so here's the other.

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I think this is the way we looked before the knife and fork were invented. Forgive me for that statement. I guess the shock of that moment is wearing off.


Last edited by RayK on Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:12 am 
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Hi RayK

Catching up on all forum tale and yours is amazing. :clap: :clap:

The eagle is definitely a juvenile Bateleur. Superb :cam: .

Bigal


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:34 pm 
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Thank you Rayk for adding some more photos. Beautiful Bateleur photographs. Did you know that it actually takes a juvenile bateleur 7 yrs to get those beautiful adult feathers.

I hope to see spotted hyenas while I am in KTC but after looking at that photo I hope the ones I see have already had their dinner !!! :big_eyes:

Thanks again RayK for sharing this awesome experience with us !


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:01 pm 
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Caracal wrote:
Thank you Rayk for adding some more photos. Beautiful Bateleur photographs. Did you know that it actually takes a juvenile bateleur 7 yrs to get those beautiful adult feathers.

Hi Caracal,
Seven years is a long way to maturity. I've learned quite a bit in the short amount of time here on the Forum. Thanks to people such as p@m, wanderw, Meandering Mouse and now you.

It brings to mind a photo that I took in Kruger last year at a loop road in Shingwedze. (Hope I can sneak this photo in even though it isn't of KTP.) I chanced upon this heron sitting on top of the hippo and I thought it was a unique photo op. My thought was the heron was resting or using the hippo as a platform to scan for fish. It was more elaborate than that.

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Watching a nature program on tv a few months ago there was a heron doing the same thing. No idea if it was the same one or a common occurance. As it turns out the heron uses the hippo as a dinner table. When the hippo (let me find a polite way of putting this--I guess there is no polite way) has a BM, fish are attracted to the feast. The heron then dines on the fish. Interesting to learn but I hope he skipped dessert.


Last edited by RayK on Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:45 pm 
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Hello EricExSA,
Thank You. I managed to find a few more photos from KTP.

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Hello Pikasso,
I wasn't directly involved but witnessed what was occurring. If I was in Tent #6 I don't know what I would have done. I agree about the wildebeest. I've seen a few injured animals in the parks and it's a terrible feeling knowing that I can't help. On the lighter side, here's what a waterbuck thought of me as I was taking her photo in Kruger.

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Last edited by RayK on Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:26 pm 
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Irene09 wrote:
Yes, young males do get kicked out at around 3 yrs of age, if I remember correctly. At two yrs of age they have grown just a tiny bit of mane on the top of their head. During the years that gets more and more and is sort of finished at around 4-5 yrs of age. Again: my facts may not be up to date, but something like that.
The first period on their own they try to find partners, other males that got kicked out, brothers, cousins or whatever, and so live on until they can take over a pride themselves.

Irene


Hello Irene09,
It's interesting to watch the various animals in the wild. In this case a lion. But understanding the characteristics of those animals, as you do, adds a greater dimension to viewing. Thank You for sharing some of that knowledge.
Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:38 am 
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RayK wrote:
:D :D
By the way I have seen those turtle/terrapin things feeding on a antelope carcass that was floating in a dam ...somewhere in Kruger..I forget where now. :doh: It was also a bit UGH !!!!! :shock:

Sorry RayK as you can see...I love smilies! :lol:



Hi Caracal,
Terrapin feeding on a carcass? Smilies all over the place? How does one get that Ignore List to work? :)[/quote]

:D :D :D I found my photo
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There were plenty terrapins underneath the surface of the water...those ones were definitely feeding on the carcass...we could see it clearly in the binos !!! :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:58 pm 
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Hi Everyone,
Once again I gained some room on the page so here are a few more photos from KTP.

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This was a thrilling sighting of a bat eared fox (our first). (Correction: Thanks to p@m this, in reality, is a cape fox. It's got four legs, big ears, bushy tail and covered with fur, an honest mistake).

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A yellow mongoose who was a regular at Twee Riverien. It's difficult not feeding animals such as this one but knowing the consequences, we didn't.

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This is the same young lion that was going to the Sitsas Waterhole. Quite a beautiful animal.

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I pursued this crimson-breasted boubou (shrike) for quite some time until I got a decent photo. Lilac breasted rollers sit and demand to be photographed while other birds such as this one jump all over the place.

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This minor altercation was at the Nossob Waterhole.


Last edited by RayK on Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Four Hours in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:06 am 
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p@m wrote:
RayK -- those photo's are stunning :clap: :clap:

Your fox is actually a cape fox -- very nice sighting !

As for the shrike and the jackal/bataleur -- just stunning :dance:


Hello p@m,
Thank You. A cape fox? I'm grateful for the correction. I didn't even know there was such an animal as a cape fox. I have a book of birds so I think it's time for one of mammals. This fox was one of a pair but I couldn't get a decent photo of them together. Both looked very healthy.


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