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 Post subject: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
Posts: 18
Hi. Hope I’m not posting this too late given that its almost October but we had such a good time in the KTP this August that I wanted to write it all down. We first fell in love with the Kalahari last year in August 2008 where, in the fading evening light near Twee Rivieren, we were treated to a big male leopard walking alongside the car.


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 Post subject: Re: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
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We began, as almost everybody does, at Twee Rivieren. It wasn’t a great start. Our British friends had to pay an astronomical entrance fee just because they came from overseas. I felt so embarrassed especially as they had already spent so much on flights. The road to Nossob was closed too so we ended up in a long convoy over the dune road to the Auob. But the Kalahari never disappoints and by the second night we were witness to a couple of cheetah that came down from the dune to drink at the first waterhole.
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There was an interesting standoff with a thirsty jackal but we couldn’t stay around because we had to get back by gate closing time.

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We continued on up the Auob the next day, stopping at the Auchterlonie museum for a leg stretch and hot chocolate for the kids. We turned back even though it was only 9am, conscious that the little ones had had enough in the car. But the drive back took a lot longer thanks to a big male leopard that decided to mark out his territory along the ridgeline. As he moved through the rocks and dead ground, we had to guess where he would next break cover but we spent the most wonderful hour following him along the road in bursts and starts.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
Posts: 18
Hi everyone - thanks for all your comments - gives me a bit of confidence to continue.

Anyway, the next morning we headed for Nossob. It was a long hot dusty drive with only the gemsbok and wildebeest for company. Thank goodness for children’s DVD players! Nevertheless and at almost mid-day, between the Gunong and Kransbrak waterholes we stopped to watch a group of kudu plodding slowly up to the top of the dune. As we looked upwards there was the unmistakeable silhouette of a cheetah. But the kudu hadn’t spotted him! Despite the Bob the Builder soundtrack, we were glued to the binos as the first kudu started to crest. Suddenly the kudu realised there was a predator there and came thumping down the dune with cheetah running almost parallel to him at equally astonishing speed. The other kudu all turned and hurtled down the slope at breakneck speed too. Sorry for the photo but it all happened so fast.

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I was amazed that none of them fell over. They ran full tilt in front of our cars. But the cheetah had stopped - panting and unable to keep the pursuit. It turned back towards the dune and it was then that we saw another cheetah with it.

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The two cheetahs padded disconsolately over to a big tree at the bottom of the dune. It was then that we saw the mother cheetah who had been lying there all the time ! The two we had watched were just youngsters testing their hunting skills. So I guess it was a case of Madmen, Englishmen and young cheetahs out in the midday sun !


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 Post subject: Re: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
Posts: 18
Anyway, we finally got to Nossob and the kids got their ice-creams which we’d hidden in the car freezer. We stayed in one of the huts at the top of the hill which can open up to fit two families so it was really good for us all to be together. The pool was a bit cold but the boys made a bow and arrow and target practice on a milk bottle kept them amused for hours.

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At Nossob we took on babysitting duties - the men went out on a night drive the first night, with the girls on the second night. Good sightings by all including some faraway lion, a wild cat and this brown hyena which was on the marie se draai loop.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
Posts: 18
Well we had a good time at Nossob and more than once listened to the lions roaring - they seemed so close although each time we rushed down to the waterhole there was nothing to be seen. Anyway, it was when we left Nossob to go to Mata Mata that we had our sighting of the holiday (or so we thought...!). A caracal. Sitting on the kerbside just after Rooiputs. At first I thought it was a wild cat becuase its head was quite small but once it got up to move you could see it was actually quite a big cat. Unfortunately it was well camouflaged and it didn’t stay for very long– forgive my photography – the camera kept focusing on the long grass so this is the best shot I got. Sorry.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
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We got to Mata Mata in good time and settled in. The first evening was uneventful although a wildcat darted past the car whilst we were enjoying a sundowner.

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It was the next day that really blew us away though. We stopped at a Hyena den just north of the Urikarrus turn off (we had seen it used in August the previous year) and watched as three little black cubs annoyed their mother by jumping on her and biting her ears. By this stage the kids were getting a bit fidgety so I know how she felt!

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Then, only a kilometre or so beyond the den, we saw a new born springbok calf and watched for about 20 minutes as it wobbled precariously and tried to get to its feet. Eventually it made it and suckled from its mum.

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As we were all cheering, something caught my husband’s eye on the other side of the road. It was another springbok, with, as my youngest son so aptly put it, “something coming out of its bottom”.


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And we watched for a good 45 minutes as the springbok gave birth right on the side of the road. It seemed to take a long time and at one point we thought the fawn had got stuck and/or was going to be stillborn.

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Even the male springbok rushed over at one point to see what was going on.

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But eventually the baby just dropped out and then just when I was wondering how to explain to my boys that the miracle of birth didn’t always work out too well, the little springbok stood up, albeit unsteadily, and immediately suckled from its mum.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Trip August 2009 - Cheetahs, caracals and cubs....
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:39 pm
Posts: 18
Sorry everyone - no more caracals. But even after all of these wonderful sightings the Kgalagadi still had a little bit more in store for us before we left. Bat eared foxes, tawny eagles, giraffe, jackal, secretary bird and last but not least, the beautiful gemsbok.

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So sad to leave - but our journey took us on into Namibia and then through Namaqualand and on to the Cape which was great fun. Took the train back to joburg as we couldn't face any more driving ! Anyway, we will be back to KTP 6 - 14th November. And now I've joined the forum, I'll be sporting a yellow ribbon and hopefully posting a new report ! Thanks for reading. Deirdrej.


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