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 Post subject: AFRICAT'S KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:28 am 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
I have decided to do this trip report using entries beginning with each of the letters of the alphabet. The KTP is both Ed and my favorite park, and it has absolutely everything to offer, from the simple to the spectacular to the sublime. The entire spectrum of experiences awaits those lucky enough to visit.


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:36 am 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
A: “Amerikins Arrive in Africa”

I’m not an anorexic amputee. That’s the BAD news.
If I were, I would have enjoyed the plane ride a whole lot more.
I’m Ed, Africat’s SO, or as she refers to me more often, SOB.
Here in the Deep South (now ain’t THAT an oxymoron!), we find boardin’ planes confusin’ at best. You see, they board by row numbers, so if you ain’t in row 1 - 5, you don’t have a clue when to get on. Good thing they don’t do it alphabetically, is all I gotta say.
Anyway, I was lookin’ out the window at the airplane parked next to ours, (I think it was that Italian airline GENITALIA), and I was amazed at how itty bitty the wheels were. My pickup’s got bigger wheels than a big ‘ol aeroplane?? I can even change the oil in my truck without duckin’ my head.
Soon we were takin’ off and on our way! I had brought along a BestSeller that I picked up in the nickel bin at the Flea Market, “101 Uses for a Dead Cat”. I knew right away it wasn’t written by a Southerner ‘cause he misspelt “fer”. When I first saw it I thought it was a cookbook, then I saw the author wasn’t French. Or Chinese (but then it woudda been titled “101 Uses for a Dead Dog”).
Before we left home my fishin’ buddy asked me if I was gonna become a member of the MHC (Mile High Club). I think if you’re already a member of the OHC (Out House Club) you should automatically be grandfathered in seein’ as how they’re both about the same size. Only difference I could see is the airplane toilet paper didn’t even have any page numbers on it. (I wonder if you can be a member if there was no one else with you in there at the time?) I’d hate to be disqualified on a mere technicality.
We were served up some kinda food, but I don’t know exactly what it was. I know it wasn’t spam or possum (the OTHER white meat), cause they’re my favorites. (And don’t those pangolins look like possum on the half shell?)
After dinner I went into that itty bitty bathroom again to brush my teeth...which got me to thinkin’. The toothbrush must a been invented by a Redneck, otherwise it would a been called a “teethbrush”. And who would ever need a TOOTHpick? A TEETHpick, that would be more understandable..
I was gonna clean my naval while I wuz in there, but I was afraid all that dawg hair would clog up the drain.
I returned to my seat and decided to practice my armpit-burp animal sounds which I had intended to use in the Hide when the ‘lil missus (thar’s a knee slapper!) wasn’t lookin’. Boy, that activity was nixed straight away!
“Stop it! That’s so juvenile. You’re not in 5th grade anymore!”
“ Don’t knock 5th grade. It was the best six years of my life.”
“Act like you’ve got some culture!”
(I actually did, once. Unfortunately, it came back “positive”...)
I would like to have been able to play with my Southern version of a Swiss Army Knife I’d bought just for this trip, but I’d had to pack it in my checked luggage. It has a pee shooter, a sling shot, a beer bottle opener for those without enough teeth, and a flask. The gals version even has a tobaccy pouch.
I was lookin’ at the pictures of Africa’s animals (thinkin’ ‘bout which one would make the best coon skin hat). I think I would like one made out of somethin’ called a Honey Badger. (Back home we got another name for that: WIFE)
Sleeping on a plane is so inconvenient, with having to get up to go to the bathroom ‘n all. At home I just leave a empty beer bottle by the bed post. Africat nixed that idea too.
Anyway, we finally landed after many, many hours and after shoppin’ for vittles ‘n moonshine, we were on our way to the KTP!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:52 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
B: braiis, brazilians, and barking geckos

I think no matter your age, cooking out is one of the rituals that we all associate with some of the very best times of our lives. When we were children we had beach cookouts, backyard cookouts, and wilderness cookouts. It seems as if everything tastes better when cooked in the great outdoors, and even better still, when cooked outdoors in Africa! “Braii” was one of the very first words we learned in South Africa, and we so looked forward to our first evening cooking outside on this trip. It is then, on that first night when the fire is roaring once again, after such a long anticipated return to the beloved KTP, that the feeling of being back where we belonged enveloped us and told us we were indeed Home once more.
This was our first visit to Kielie Krankie, and what a magnificent setting for a fire! Big-sky country if ever there was one. Miles and miles of sage and emerald colored scrub sprinkled amid the terra cotta dunes met by a robin-egg blue sky. Such joy coursed through my veins just at the sight of such spectacular scenery that I just wanted to sit and stare forgetting there were dinner preparations to be made.

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As I began to unpack the food,I became aware of a rustling noise behind me, and I turned to find a snake entering the open door of the kitchen. Wonderful! I have escaped “civilization” and was delighted to be reminded of that. A gentle “shoo” turned it around and I took its photo as it tried to escape up the side of the walkway wall. I showed it the proper exit, than finished my meal prep with a grin on my face and in my heart.

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As dusk set in, the barking geckos began to meow (joke), the owls called back and forth, and the jackals’ alert calls were punctuated by the lion that had forced them into action. The smell of the wood, a gorgeous sunset, what more could a mere mortal ask for?
How about a deep golden full moon peeping over the horizon, seemingly the size of Earth itself!

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It’s resemblance to the garnish on our cocktails was not lost on us.

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We sat out long after our dinner was over, and our evening ended with a shooting star that sped over the moon to its fiery death.

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Brazilians??? What does that have to do with the KTP? Well, there’s a story here in the USA that goes like this:

The Department of Defense briefed the president this morning.
They told Obama that 2 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.
To everyone’s surprise, all the color drained from Obama;s face.
Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in his hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears.
Finally, he composed himself and asked, “Just how many IS a brazilian?”

So now whenever we see alot of anything, we always joke that it’s a brazilian so-n-sos. There were a brazilian stars in the sky that night, and a brazilian springbok in the park this year, more than we’d seen before,

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as well as lots and lots of “brazilianopedes"

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There were also a brazilian barking geckos every evening as daylight faded. I was fully convinced they were either ventriloquists who threw their voices just so you’d never be able to find them, or they were in fact a very strange entity with only vocal cords, but no real bodies. Search as we might, we have NEVER been able to locate one even though it seemed at times we were mere feet away from it. Finally, this trip we managed to discover that they are wonderfully cameoflaged underground denizens, sticking their heads out briefly, then quickly retreating at the first sign of movement. We had been searching in the shrubs and grasses, assuming they were amongst the branches, never thinking them to be so tiny and in even tinier holes! I finally managed some photos, but it wasn’t easy. Great patience, and even greater searching, finally paid off!

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(It seems the males have an orange or yellow heart shape on their throat, so this is obviously a male. Their prey consists of termites, ants and small beetles. Their burrows are complex with many blind passages...which serve as escape routes from predators such as small snakes and meerkats.)

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Are they adorable or what?! (And who knew they have buck teeth!)


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:12 am 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
It’s me, Ed. The so-called “Southern gentleman”.
My take on our first night, billyf, was pretty straightforeward and simple.
When you consider my idea of a real good evening outside is a six pack and a bug-zapper, you can see I’m easily entertained.
After all the shenanigans in Kruger last year, I was just hopin’ for good neighbors that evening.
Edit by Bert


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:53 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
C:Carefree days and Creedence Clearwater Revival

Oh how I cherish the carefree days when the only items on our “To Do” list are sharing the entire day with a loved one watching a surreal sunrise, smiling at creatures great and small, then watching the sun close out yet another stressfree day. Being in the KTP is like being in a perpetual state of childhood exuberance and contentment., where you are only aware of all that is around you, mindless of self and self consciousness.

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On our first game drive, I was busy photographing meerkats we’d been lucky to find near the roadside,

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when Ed says, “Is that a lion!”
“No, it’s a meerkat.”...eish!
“Not over there, look on the other side of the road! No, it’s not a lion...it’s a leopard!”
Sure enough, nicely camouflaged against the background, far up the ridge, was a magnificent leopard. We stared and stared until it finally sauntered over the ridge, and we both realized how quickly sightings can come, then go.

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I knew when Ed , sitting by the fire later that night, announced “Next year I wanna stay 6 weeks!”, he’d finally been bitten by the bug just as badly as I have always been.

But now that I’m back at home and once again into the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I am nostalgic for those carefree days. I often find myself day dreaming to the tune of something like Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor”:

Just got back from KTP, yearning, yearning, woe is me!
In my mind, I reminisce
‘Bout those souls I sorely miss.
Doot , doot, doo, Sittin’ on my front porch.

Oh my word! What’s that I see?

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Meerkats staring back at me!
Doot, doot, doo, Sittin’ on my front porch.

Wildebeest and ostrich, break dancing on the lawn

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My very own menagerie, coexisting peacefully

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Doot, doot, doo, sitting on my front porch.

Geckos barkin’ to the beat, squirrels a tappin’ tiny feet,

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And look at all the springboks a takin’ flying leaps!
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Bother me tomorrow, today I have no sorrow,

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Doot, doot, doo...


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:56 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
D: doves, and drama at Mata Mata
There are 5 types of doves found in the KTP, and I was able to find 4 of them. It seems there is no difference between doves and pigeons, other than the fact that larger doves are referred to as pigeons. The one I couldn’t find is the Rock or Speckled Pigeon, which is really gorgeous, so I disappointed. Next time, perhaps.

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After two glorious nights at KK, we moved on to the Kalahari Tented Camp, also a favorite. On our morning game drive we met some friendly people who told us about a kill that had taken place just that morning right in front of Mata Mata. We decided to turn back and take a look for ourselves.
It seems that a mother cheetah (Elena?) had taken down a springbok right there in front of the area where the new bungalows were being constructed! The early workers witnessed the whole thing, as did the shop workers at Mata Mata! I was so hoping someone had been right there and would post photos on the Forum, as by the time we got there, the springbok had been moved farther away, and my photos left alot to be desired.
That didn’t dampen our enthusiasm, as we could see very clearly through the binoculars. The springbok was lying under the tree, but the mama cheetah and her 2 cubs had already stuffed their bellies to the point of bursting, and settled in for a nap.

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We decided to return that afternoon, assuming the young ‘uns would be hungry once again.
Predictably, one of the cubs awoke and approached the springbok.

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Soon mom came down and began to haul the carcass out of the sun to the other side of the tree.

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There they ate their evening meal out of sight in the shade.
We knew the scavengers would be the next wave of activity, so we returned the next morning to see if, per chance, there was anything left of the kill. Amazingly, we arrived just in time (and were the only car!), to see a hyena dragging its prized possession to the Mata Mata waterhole, lest another thief steal it away while unattended.

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After quenching its thirst, the hyena carried its breakfast off into the higher brush

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and while we could still hear the bone crunching from afar, we could no longer see anything, and moved on...

We have learned over the years to stay with a sighting long enough to watch what may unfold. As newbies, I would take my photo and move on to the next sighting, but have since learned that these are not static opportunities and single snapshots don't always capture the whole encounter. The decision as to when to move on is sometimes very tough indeed. What am I missing elsewhere? What will I miss if I leave here? A rather delicious conundrum to be in...


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:26 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
E: esprit de corps
The concept of pulling together in pursuit of a common purpose is a lofty ideal, though unfortunately not achieved often enough in human endeavors. To see animals exhibit such selfless teamwork, and enjoy the deep camraderie that goes hand in hand with it, is a humbling and inspiring experience. We witnessed such a dance of three cheetah brothers whose very heartbeats seemed to be synchronized, They were the epitome of unconditional love, of the “you’re not heavy, you’re my BROTHER” mentality . It was a thing of beauty, and if I were an artist, I would try to capture it on canvas...

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These three cheetah brothers moved in tandem, groomed one another in turn, and were so completely trusting and comfortable with one another, that rather than go AROUND each other, they simply went UNDER...humorous to watch.

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And after all their thirsts were quenched, they laid down together with no concept of “personal space”, and shared a few laughs...

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...and it brought me to tears.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


Last edited by AFRICAT on Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:54 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
Hi billyf,
Miss you too (Ed here). The warden's asleep, 'cause she has to work all night to keep me in the lap of luxury, i.e. in the style to which I'm unaccustomed.
Jes' wundering if yuz ever 'sperienced springtime in the veld. The flowers is too die fer...
The fragrance, the symmetry of them petals, the nuances of the pistils (where I come from "pistols" has a whole 'nuther meanin'), and even the harmonious sounds of all them bees, not to mention the glistin' sunbird's irridescence...
My, oh my.
Won't you tiptoe thru the tulips, thru the tulips with me.
Jus playin it safe, no feather-russlin' no more.
"Scuz me, gotta go shave all the hair off ma' chest soz I can fit in with you "proper folk".
All this is in jest...(jest in case "the warden" sees it.)


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:07 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
F: Fox Family Album (Part 1)

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....to be continued.


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:05 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
F: Fox Family Album 2009 cont...

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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:42 am 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
G: generations
I know so many of us have followed the lives of our beloved lions, leopards, and cheetahs on the Forum. Some of the ‘mites have started threads so we can watch the lives of those we fell in love with,( either after visiting the KTP or reading about them here), unfold. We have rejoiced, shed many a tear, and fretted often, over news or lack thereof. They are members of our extended families.
I will first relate something that happened while on our way to Grootkolk and then the following morning, and while the actual photo is practically useless visually, but the sequence of events, as they took place were very poignant to me.

On our drive to Grootkolk, there were two lion brothers who had taken down an adult hartebeast.

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They were fat and full, and laying in the road, bellies processing their meal for tomorrow or the next day’s energy to hunt yet again.

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The dead hartebeast, ruby red rib bones shining behind an equally dead tree stump, was a forgotten soul. I wondered at the time if the hartebeast’s family remembered, and were puzzled by his absence. Or was he just a lone creature, dear to no earthly heart.

Our next day’s early morning drive included a hartebeast couple who had just given birth to a newborn, who was suckling for the first time, though very, very far away.

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The afterbirth, still attached, reminded me of the glistening crimson blood of the dead hartebeast. Death, birth, and renewal. It’s a harsh reality, as well as a promise for tomorrow.

So it is that spirit that I share with you some of tomorrow’s rising stars who you may meet in your travels along the Kalahari roads.

As we travelled the dune road to go to Nossob, we could see there was a leopard at the waterhole (the one set farther back off the main road), so excitedly took the small approach road. The bushes obstructed our view, so we just stopped to wait and see if it would emerge. Suddenly, not more than 3 meters from my window, out popped a gorgeous face!

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Ed quickly raised the window, as she was SO close...and we could now see she also had a youngster in tow, so didn’t want to risk her feeling threatened.

She decided it was safe to cross the road, did so, and disappeared over the dune. Her “kid” was more leery, but finally bounded out of the brush and quickly caught up with his (?) security blanket.

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I don’t know which leopard this may be, so if any of you do, please let us know.

Another newborn sighting was a first for us, and we initially thought the jackal had stolen a baby fox,

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but after reviewing the photos back at home, we realized it was her own baby she was moving to a new place. ADORABLE!!

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Some Forum members will remember the lioness who, 2 years ago, carried her dead newborn, then 2 other live ones, and put them under a “tree” right beside the road on the Marie se Drai loop. Well, deja vue! This year that very same tree has 2 more teeny-tiny just born lion cubs! I could never get a decent photo, as the branches are now practically impenetrable, but here’s a photo of mom keeping a careful eye on them from across the road. Is it in all likelihood the same lioness?

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And lastly, we watched a future star in the making,( though I don’t believe that we’ll be able to know exactly which one he is as he grows up. )

There was a large lion carefully guarding a kill behind alot of brush and a fallen tree.

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Late that afternoon two lion cubs emerged from over the dune and made their way through the grasses toward the food. The male quickly let out a few loud growls and snarls. The one little cub cowered, and shrank down into the long grasses, where dad glowered and intimidated it into submission.

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The other little cub would have no part of this false bravado, and continued to emerge from the grass, approached the carcass, and engaged dad in a staring contest that seemed to go on and on. They were on opposite sides of the wildebeest, and the little cub just kept its eyes glued on dad’s eyes, and e-v-e-r so s-l-o-w-l-y moved closer, closer, closer to the food. We could see very clearly through the binoculars, but the brush made for lousy photos, so we just enjoyed watching the challenge. Eventually the cub made it close enough to take a bite, and dad must have respected the cubs REAL bravado, and they both ate together peacefully.
After the two "men of the house" were full, mom came down and escorted the shy one down for a bite to eat as well.

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This cub will be a force to be reckoned with in the future!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:54 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
H: Herpetology
Ed here. The warden granted me a reprieve. Said she wuz writin’ on “herpetology” this time, so I said I know somethin’ ‘bout that there subject matter, so can I write the introduckshun? She said don’t make her sorry, or I’ll be sorrier.
Herpetology is the study of herpes. Yes, I got pitchers, but they ain’t purdy. Now what kind o’ person wants to be a herpetologist when they is all growed up?? My best guess is the same kind that wants to be a proctologist (the study of “procts”, I’m guessin’, but I never actually heard ‘em called that before.) I got a hunkerin’ everbody in proctology school flunked herpes school, and that wuz their only choice in life. That is, if they wanted to go on livin’. Just my own opinion here, but if those wuz my only two choices, I’d go ahead and throw m’self under the bus. I’m jus sayin’...

...oops, I better hit “Submit”, the warden’s home.


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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:48 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
Herpetology is NOT the study of herpes...
It is, instead, the branch of zoology which includes the amphibians and reptiles of the world.

Even though the KTP is a very barren and dry region there are 5 amphibian species that live in the park. The life lines for these amphibians are most probably the man-made pans, waterholes and boreholes. None of the amphibians that occur within the parks boundaries are common and I read that the best chance of seeing these frogs or other amphibian species is probably in summer when the African Bullfrogs are breeding. I have, lamentably, not seen any of these frogs, but I'll keep searching!
African Bullfrog
Bushveld Rain Frog
Common Caco
Tremolo Sand Frog
Olive Toad
There are at least 55 different species of reptiles in the KTP.
Snakes, geckos, skinks, lizards, agamas, monitors, chameleons, terrapins and tortoises make up the KTP reptile list. Some of these reptiles are seen quite easily because of the prime reptile habitat that the park has to offer. The Cape Cobra, Puffadder, Fork-Marked Sand Snake and Mole Snake are the most often seen snakes and the Ground Agama and Bibron's Gecko are lizards that occur in most areas, so if you keep your eyes open you will very likely see these beautiful reptiles.
I'll cover snakes here, and lizards and geckos when the page turns, due to photo restrictions.
This trip we saw more snakes than we ever had in the past, but only of the more common variety...but I love seeing them nonetheless! We figured that we ended up seeing 30 to 40 snakes in 28 days (at LEAST one per day on average, and more on some days).

We saw the juvenile Mole Snake, the plain phase adult, as well as the black form (if I have misidentified these, PLEASE CORRECT!)

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The Fork-Marked Sand Snake (there are 3 races of Sand Snakes found in the region):

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Everybody knows the Puffadder:

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And one of the icons of the Kalahari, the Cape Cobra!

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While on a morning drive out of Kielie Krankie on my own, I was privileged to witness an encounter between a Cope Cobra and a Mole Snake, that absolutely fascinated me! The cobra had obviously found a mole snake in a burrow, and was in the process of pulling it out of its hideaway, and swallowing it, even though the mole snake was BIGGER than the cobra! I was mesmerized the whole time, and only one other car joined me at the very end. I am supposing the cobra can crush the skeleton of the mole snake via peristaltic action in order to be able to swallow the larger prey, but please add your better informed comments so I may learn more about this:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
On to the lizards, skinks, geckos, and agamas...I finally gave up on identifying them, as there are so many color forms, male, female, juvenile forms, etc etc...I think alot of them are the same species. But I did find some of them very beautiful, not to mention entertaining.

Geckos:

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Lizards and Skinks:

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Agamas:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP: From A to Z...
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:34 am 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
I: Icons of the Kgalagadi

These following photos are of the things I associate with every trip to the Kgalagadi. I so miss them when I'm back at home, and can't wait to see their precious faces again...

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Last edited by AFRICAT on Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by teddy_rsa at 13:50:52 Submitted by BevAnn at 13:32:31 Submitted by BevAnn at 13:18:30 Submitted by BevAnn at 13:29:34