We decided to sleep in a little as we had a long day’s drive to Nossob ahead of us. Little did we know that today would be the day of the Lions! After packing the car we got away at 08h00 and shortly before Craig Lockhart we found the area’s speciality at last! Giraffe! At the waterhole we were thrilled to find some more, together with some gemsbok and a lone wildebeest
As this morning would be our last realistic chance of seeing the Giraffe it was a very happy car that made its way to Dalkeith. Lying next to the watertank was a very sleepy lioness
and nearby was her sleepy mate.
She did not move at all and for a while I thought she was dead, but at last I saw her ears twitching. It was very hot already (36 degrees) so they had probably settled in for the day
After a toilet stop at Kamqua we took the dune road. There were lots of Tsamma melons over the first 5 kilometres. They are literally everywhere! As usual in the dunes we also saw Steenbok and lots of Black Korhaans and at Vaalpan a lone Secretary bird. On previous trips a sighting of a Secretary bird was a cause for celebration but on this trip they were everywhere
. In keeping with todays theme we were about 4 kms short of Moravet when SO spotted a very young male lion close to the road.
We had never seen Lions in the dunes before and he seemed as surprised to see us as we were to see him. We called him Abraham Lincoln as he had a trendy beard and he also had a nervous disposition. Are dune lions less accustomed to cars we wondered
At Moravet there was water in the pan and lots of birds enjoying a drink, accompanied by a large herd of Gemsbok. The dune road is one of our favourite drives due to the incredible scenery, but people seem to treat it as a highway and drive far too fast!
Another issue with the road is that (like with many other people I am sure) the kids got car sick from the undulations
. We stopped at Eland to get their tummy’s stable and while there saw a Dusky sunbird and a lovely Steenbok with a broken Horn and Ear.
We stretched our legs at Dikbaardskolk and I kept a close eye out for any Cobra’s trying to hitch a lift under the bonnet
! A quick lunch and then northwards towards Nossob. The difference in the vegetation between the two river valleys was vast and it was clear that the Nossob Valley had received far more rain. What was also immediately apparent was that the Raptor population on the Nossob was incredible. About 5 kms short of Kaspersdraai we found our third Lion sighting of the day, 4 young lions sleeping in the road
I have seen pictures of this from other forumites but this was our first experience of this behaviour in the Kalahari. They were so close I could have reached out and touched them and as they were completely unperturbed by us, this is something that this group does on a regular basis. I had fun taking close ups of their paws
I also noticed that we had just discovered our letter K for the Scrap Book
As we drove further North we saw more and more raptors and near Rooikop found an area that had Steppe Buzzard, Bateleur, Black breasted Snake Eagle, Lappet faced and Whitebacked vultures, lanner falcons, Greater Kestrel and 2 secretary birds, all in a space of about 400 metres. Many of them were on the ground in the riverbed but we could not see what they were after. It was too early in the day for a termite hatch
At Nossob we checked into chalet 1 and a temperature check revealed a healthy 41 degrees. The fans help, but not much. Soon after checking in screams from the Kids bedroom revealed a very nervous Bat who had fallen from the ceiling onto C’s bed
. Tupperware saved the day and I was able to gently capture him without any fuss. I tried to use the opportunity to showcase one of nature’s smaller furry creatures to the kids, but a scared 6 year old is not a great audience when it comes to these things and they insisted that I take it outside ASAP
. I put the Bat into the tree outside and he quickly clambered out of sight.
To calm everyone down we went for a refreshing swim and then decided to drive to Kwang. SO insisted that I thoroughly check the kids room for any more nasty’s before we left and I was sorry to find another Bat on the window sill, this time deceased
. I think he had collided with the ceiling fan when he dropped from the roof. I did not tell the kids about this one
At Cubitjie Quap we found a Bateleur having a drink,
and then bounced and rattled our way to Kwang (the road North of Nossob was in a pretty bad way
At Kwang we were thrilled to see an Abdims stork for the first time, all on his own at the waterhole. In keeping with the findings earlier that day, Raptors were everywhere at Kwang. Lanner falcons, a Tawny eagle, Bateleur , Secretary Birds and Kori Bustards walked about on the ground, and Whitebacked Vultures did their best Jungle Book imitation from the trees. Kwang had clearly received some nice early rain as it was far greener than anything we had seen at that time in the park
While braaing that evening we saw 3 Pearl Spotted owls in the tree opposite our chalet, and a Rufous Cheeked Nightjar flittered about in the firelight. The sound of barking Ghecko’s and numerous Barn Owls calling also makes Nossob a very special place for me
I was amazed though at how many people were walking to the hide past our bungalow without shoes on and with no torch
! I had just muttered something to this effect to SO when a movement near the fire caught my eye. I turned on my spotlight and trundling towards me with purpose was a thick tailed scorpion. He settled down happily on the edge of the veranda much to my (and children’s) consternation. After showing him to the neighbors and a barefoot passerby (who looked suitable sheepish
I was left with a dilemma. What to do about this unwelcome visitor? I tend to believe when it comes to nature that if you leave them alone they will do the same to you. My 3 year old however does not yet understand this concept and to prevent disaster I decided to use the braai tongs and see how he liked the coals
. This approach was clearly not new to the visitor though because when the tongs came near his tail he scuttled off at high speed in the direction of the petrol station. It was a good lesson for the family though and I no longer had to nag to get them to put their shoes on in the evening. Only 1 Jackal was seen in the camp which is a big improvement on my previous visits to Nossob
. When the fans went off at 23h00 it was like an oven in the hut and after a long, hot and exciting day out A woke us up from 01h15, every hour until 04h30. I think he was just too hot and perhaps he still had memories of the Bat on the bed earlier! We nonetheless had visions of an early departure the next morning, but as with KTC it soon transpired that you don’t have to leave camp to see some fantastic things…..I will reveal all in the next installment