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 Post subject: *Lionspoon-Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:25 am 
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I can’t believe it myself, but we’ve only got 4 nights in our own beds left before we’re leaving for SA again!!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Our flight leaves Hanover Thurday evening with a stop over in Frankfurt. We’re scheduled to land at O.R. Tambo on Friday at 10 am sharp. Then we shall be patiently (?) waiting for our luggage, grap it hastedly, elbow our way through to the passport control :twisted: and run off to the rentals to pick up our car for the day in Jo’burg.

Our original plan was to go to Upington on the same day, but a change in the flight schedule of SAA made this undertaking impossible. We’re not too saddened about it, as it means an extra day in SA for us. :dance:

After getting the car we’ll be heading straight to our abode for the night, drop our stuff, throw some water into our tired faces and rush out again to get to the Lion Park in Randburg. Lionspoon goes lion cuddling! Image Can you fathom how excited I am already about this event on our upcoming trip???!!! Next up another thrilling action - an early dinner with a well-known forumite. Image More about it, when everything is fully confirmed. :twisted:

After probably sleeping like logs – despite the excitements of the first day in SA or exactly because of it – we’ll be taking the morning flight out to Upington where our rented 4x4 will be awaiting us at the airport. Hopping on it and off to the supermarket it goes for a shopping spree to get by a 10 day stay in KTP. (I already fear, that this will not be done in under an hour or so – the list is massive already... :roll: )

Again we amended our original plans here: At first we were set to stay for 7 nights, everything was nicely booked and confirmed, when we found out that it was rather difficult to get hold of a rental on a Saturday. With Europcar that is. I know, some of those who read my last TR are now rolling their eyes at me and asking “What, didn’t she say, Europcar was such a pain in the backside for them, not being able to deliver the cars, that were booked and fully paid for???” Well, I guess you’re right :roll: , but we do get a kind of discount which makes that company cheaper for us than all the others... Anyway, while trying to work out the problem of getting a car an idea formed in Spots’ mastermind: “We could just stay two more nights and have at least the hassle of returning the car out of the way. Whatcha think?” What do I think??? Image Yes, yes and yes!!! So, 7 nights turned into 9 nights. The amendment of our booking went smoothly and so did the car thing in the end: We contacted one of the companies that I was advised to by several forumites. Thanks for you help here! :thumbs_up:

Talking about forumites: This will be our first time in KTP and it’s only down to you guys and gals who wrote those brilliant TRs about the Kalahari that I developed a longing to see that place myself. So, if you want to keep KTP a secret, you might want to stop showing off all that colourful, magical, outstanding, ... photography. :twisted: However, it’s too late in my case anyway. :tongue: Lionspoon and Spots shall enter Twee Rivieren on the 20th March 2010. :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:31 pm 
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The challenge is on!

I decided to improve my birding skills further and expand my list. I still think it’s more fun and more effort involved if I got to pay for it. :twisted: BUT I’m fully aware to find more species this time, so the ‚prices‘ need to be amended otherwise I’ll have a problem with my bank manager AND my SO. :roll:

Here it goes:

As an avid cammer, I want to split the amount between a donation towards the cams and to conservation and I shall donate

10 Rand
for every new species to go on my list

and

15 Rand for every
bateleur.
secretary bird

I haven’t seen or heard about my other favourites – African snake eagle, saddle-billed stork, southern ground hornbill, yellow hornbill – being around in the park. Correct me, if I’m wrong, they would go on the 15 Rand as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Only one sleep (?) to go. :mrgreen:
Three lessons to teach. :whistle:
38 hours before I can put my foot on African ground again. 8)
42 hours until I get to cuddle a lion. :dance:
46 hours till Spots and I will be having a nice early dinner in Jo'burg. :D

And our company during dinner is now confirmed. :thumbs_up:
It's the popular Meandering Mouse! :yaya:
I'm so looking forward to finally meeting her! :dance:
This meeting definitely marks a highlight on our trip. :mrgreen:

Although I'll probably be in and out the forum tomorrow until pick up time, I'll say goodbye till the 4th of April now. (I still can't believe that I'm so lucky...)

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:55 am 
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Just to let you know that I met up Lionspoon and Spots after their trip to the lion park. They loved the baby lions, all the lions. 8) Both looked well, but after such a busy day, must have been a bit tired. They were having to leave earlyish the next morning for Upington.

A wonderful time was had by all, experiencing a bit of an early evening highvelt thunderstorm that can so suddenly appear. Lovely food, laughter, too much to say, just pure enjoyment.

You guys rock :thumbs_up: I so enjoyed our little meeting. The only problem was that it was far too short. Hope that the rest of your visit is filled with great memories. Looking forward to reading more.

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:38 pm 
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Back home

from the most awfully gorgeous place in the world I have experienced so far. :twisted:

Don’t go there

1. if you don’t want to do a lot of shopping before your stay to make sure you’ll always have enough supply, because the shops don’t offer fresh fruit, veg and meat,
2. if you can’t stand heat,
3. if you are phobic to vast landscapes,
4. if your favourite colours are black and white,
5. if you can’t stand loneliness,
6. if you want your sleep undisturbed from the nightly concerts held by all kinds of creatures,
7. if you are looking for a variety of four legged critters like you would find in KNP,
8. if you are afraid of the kitties who try to hop onto your car in order to sit next to you and stare at you with that vicious look in there eyes saying ‘You could make a nice dinner.’,
9. if you don’t care for the small creatures to spoil your meal at night,
10. …

:whistle:

I’ll start the proper TR soon, but I still have to work on the pics for the first installment. Too many to chose from and not resized yet. :doh: The writing is finished for the first couple of days. Courtesy of SAA who delayed our flight back from Jo’burg by 5 hours and allowing me time to sit at the airport and start typing. :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:40 pm 
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Day One 19/03/2010 - Mini-meet with the Mouse

We arrived in Jo'burg 10 minutes ahead of schedule. The weather was warm (to us that is :lol: ), but overcast. We went to the car rental only to find out that the Alamo station was now managed by Europcar. But - surprise, surprise - the renting process went smoothly this time :thumbs_up: and we arrived at our B&B at 11.30pm. Basically, we just dropped off our bags and got on our way to the Lion Park. I'm going to cut this short as it is non-SANPark, but I can’t help posting at least these:

Image

Don’t they just look so innocent when asleep?

One came walking up to me as he obviously couldn’t stand the wooing of some fellow tourists anymore. He settled down to lick my feet Image

Image

and then moved on biting into my trousers :naughty:

Image

But what a moment of intimacy when he looked me in the eyes. Image I still get goose pimples when I think about that… Image

And another cutie showing all the signs of ‚Ag man, I’m so tired…

Image

On our last loop in the park, just when we were about to leave, we had one of the park rangers reversing into our car. :slap: Till then we had had a fantastic day, a wonderful start into our holidays in SA, but now our spirits sank considerably as we suspected a long ordeal of sorting this issue. And we were meant to meet Meandering Mouse soon. No, actually right then. :doh: At the end of the day, it didn't take long at all to get the matter sorted and spirits lifted again. :D

We met MM for an early dinner in a restaurant close to her home and on our route back to the B&B. Unfortunately, we were only able to spend a few hours with her, but these few hours were filled with lively talk and it felt like knowing MM for ages. :dance: Both, Spots and I enjoy this encounter thouroughly. No pictures though. Time was too short to remember that as well and on top of it, Lionspoon didn't look (and smell I suspect :redface: ) her best after a night on the plane without the morning shower, but a humid (to us that is again) day instead and wouldn't have wanted to appear on the forum like that. :twisted: Anyway. Thanks again for this beautiful evening, MM! :thumbs_up:

Back at the B&B, we grabbed a cold Castle each to wind down before heading to bed for a dreamless but resting sleep. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:26 am 
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Day Two 20/03/2010 - Jo'burg - Upington - Twee Rivieren

Our morning started early, but bright and shiny and full of anticipation of what was about to come. Our B&B was only 10 minutes from the airport, the flight to UTN was scheduled for 9.20am and we got on our way at 7.45am. Well in time. We thought. First delay was caused by a traffic jam on the R21. We still managed to get to the airport in time. It was shortly after 8am. Task at hand: check the screens to find out where to go to check in for UTN. Then shock hit us: Upington closed it read on the monitor. :shock: Right, don't panic, Lionspoon said to herself and went to find an SAA counter. Easier said than done, but with the help of some nice police officers we finally managed to get where we wanted. Before joining the queues for the check-in for nothing we thought it fit to find out, if the flight was still on at all. I didn't get a straigth yes, but at least something like: "Don't mind the screens, just go to check-in." We did. Only to find out after having had queued for a while, that UTN was done somewhere else. :roll: Right, grabbing the bags again and hunting down the proper booth. The guy there told us unecessairly that each of us had 2.5 kg extra weight on the suitcase and made it clear he wanted us to pay for it. Cases were taken off the weighing conveyer again and heavy stuff was transferred to hand luggage which was almost empty anyway. In the meantime the check-in guy left and wasn't to be seen anymore. :evil: After what appeared to be ages a friendly lady showed up and finally finished the check-in process. We made it to our plane just before boarding was over. :dance:

Arriving in Upington was like entering a whole new world. Boy, it was hot and it wasn't even noon yet. Our car rental process went smoothly and we set out to buy out the local supermarket. I can't remember ever having spent 1.5 hours on food shopping before. Around 1pm'ish we excitedly started our journey towards KTP. Holiday had arrived!
The ride to Twee Rivieren wasn't all too interesting and it seems to stretch for ages when you can't wait to lay your eyes on the magic park for the very first time. Image

Checking in at TR went smoothly with Annietjie being very friendly and helpful and I had all my unit allocation requests granted. Spots and I proceeded to the camp and headed straight for unit no. 4 only to find it occupied by other people. :big_eyes: Back to reception then and we were quickly put next doors into no. 5.

Image

Of course, we didn't have much time to loose to get on our first drive. And we were captured by the beauty of the park instantly. And our first sighting was an oryx. YAY! The symbol of the Kalahari came to greet us in the very beginning of our adventure.

Image

We took the way up to Houmoed, stopping by at Samevloeing. The latter being dead quiet, not even producing any birds. Oh well, there is always the way back to check it out again.

The oryx was quickly followed by a cute little steenbok

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and an ostrich running for the red dunes.

Image

The Aoub riverbed then finally produced our first springbok, the impala of the Kgalagadi, as we named them.

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Our first wildebeest grazed at the other side of the riverbed

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Our next sighting was a kind of a YR one. Well, another driver waived us down to because of our YR. It turned out to be Asterix and Obelix. :D We had a nice chat before they continued their trip towards TR.
When we approached Houmoed the waterhole was deserted as well. We turned the car around and were about to settle in for the critters to show, when this - what we would later find out - reliable chap came for a drink.

Image

The jackal took off and we stayed to look at the butterflies assembling in the mud

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and a collared dove strutting around

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After a while we started our journey back accompanied by a mind-boggling landscape

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Image

only to find Samevloeiing still not uttering anything. Except for some good winds blowing up the red sand.

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5 minutes later it looked like this:

Image

When we arrived at TR, we settled down with the obligatory frosty before getting the fire for the braai started. However, while we were sitting there the wind picked up again and it started to rain. But it didn't last any longer than an hour or so.

Before going to bed we checked the amazing star lit African sky and were really happy to escape the light pollution of the larger camp and get into the wilderness for a better view on the night sky.
We slept like logs that night, extremely happy and content to have arrived in that extraterrestial spot on earth...

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:56 pm 
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Birds of the day

Ant-eating chat
Image

Juvenile southern pale chanting goshawk
Image

Crowned lapwing
Image

Namaqua doves
Image

Namaqua sandgrouse
Image

Verreaux's Eagle Owl (Thanks for correction, ndoto!!!)
Image

Swallow-tailed bee-eater
Image

Secretary bird – none :(
Bateleur – none :(
Yellow hornbill – none :(

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Last edited by Lionspoon on Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Day Three 21/03/2010 - TR to Urikaruus (Part One)

The next morning started bright and early with us leaving the camp shortly after gate opening time. We hadn't put much pressure on us for making it earlier out of the camp as we felt we were on holiday and with another 8 nights in the park there was no reason to rush. Actually, I believe the park does that to you. You get in a relaxed mode very quickly and very easily. The sighting day started off with meeting Asterix and Obelix again. :D
At Samevloeing we parked the car again to scan the area. I took joy in watching this little fellow and I'm convinced it liked me as well as it was nicely sitting for some good shots.

Image

Otherwise it kept quiet at the waterhole apart from the odd lapwing and dove. Further up the road we had ostrich - again, disappearing into the dunes - again :roll: ,

Image

Some gorgeous bee-eaters waited in a tree for me and my cam to arrive:

Image

At Houmoed our little friend from last night awaited us patiently,

Image

but the rest of the critters stayed away from this waterhole. Well, at least for the moment. Even the majestic oryx took a detour on the other side of the riverbed.

Image

Further on a springbok resting in the riverbed.

Image

More general game was to follow in form of a lone wildebeest

Image

and a small herd of hartebeest with this youngerst among them

Image

and the rest of the family

Image

I can't resist the icon of the Kgalagadi, especially if it's posing in such a setting:

Image

Of course we checked all the waterholes on our way up, but Montrose, Auchterlonie as well as Gemsbokplein were dead quiet and the only thing I saw in the riverbed was what seemed like tons of secretary birds. I knew there were many in the park, but not THAT many. :shock: The calculator in my head was working overtime and I started to feel like passing out if I kept up this rate of sightings. Image
Auchterlonie was a convenient stop for a break and you have to have a picture taken of the cute little museum.

Image

Past Batulama we found our first KTP traffic jam, consisting of 3 cars. :lol: We knew there was something, so we stopped and inquired and were told - CHEETAH! Boy, adrenaline started rushing through my body. We had only seen one cheetah in the wild so far and even if this one was just as far off as the one we saw in Kruger, I now had a better lense and surely I was able to get a bit of a better picture. Lionspoon did what was to become her daily exercise and climbed into the back of the car to get the camera settled. Well, here is the result - the bigger lens didn't really do the job all too well. Or maybe it was me? :slap:

Image

To be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Day Three 21/03/2010 - TR to Urikaruus (Part Two)

Patience always pays off. Only 15 minutes after our arrival the cheetah got up to give me a better photo opportunity. Or so I thought. :doh:

Image

But, hey, what's that? Another two popping up out of nowhere!

Image

Being focused on getting a clear shot of the first, I hadn't noticed the springboks who had made their appearance in the meantime and that all three cheetahs set out to hunt one of them down. I didn't get any photos of the actual chasing :slap: , the above pics were pure luck as my cam was still focusing towards that direction. And cheetah number one came so close when speeding after the antelope that Lionspoon just froze and gaped with her jaw safely resting on her knees where it couldn't shiver anymore. What an incredible encounter and sooo close. WOW!!! :big_eyes: But I wasn't the only one watching the action in awe. I think, these cute little guys were quite impressed as well considering their posture.

Image

The cheetahs were still baffled about the miss, but they gave me great photo opportunities and with the pictures the possibility to say that we had our first (!) encounter with Lisette and her girls. :dance:

Image

Image

Image

Once the three of them settled in the shade of a tree,

Image
*Yawn* - That was streneous!

we decided to move on. We still had so much to explore!

Next up at Kamqua were seven of the few giraffes in the park.

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Two of them throwing up a lot of dust:

Image

Image

Image

And one watching it all from the soothing shade:

Image

Then we had one of the very rare experiences of a car waving us down to exchange intelligence about sightings. We told him about the cheetahs and he gave away the lions he had seen at Veertiende Boorgat. Thanks for that! And then shortly before the turn off to Urikaruus we met Mr and Mrs p@m for the first time. We had a brief first chat with them, well knowing we would meet up again in the camp this evening.

To be continued...

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Last edited by Lionspoon on Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:48 pm 
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Day Three 21/03/2010 - TR to Urikaruus (Part Three)

Approaching the waterhole we found it empty. Obviously the lions were gone. :? We couldn't detect them in the place they had been located to us. But wait, what's there in the shade further away? Right! 5 lions. :dance: Looking like a male, a female and two cubs and a fifth one which we couldn't really identify as we couldn't see it properly. p@m told us later that it had been another male.

Image

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As the lions didn't even bat an eyelid and did what lions do best - sleeping - a quick decision was made to travel further north. Springbok and secretary birds were virtually everywhere and allowed me some nice close-ups.

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We went all the way to Mata-Mata as we were in dire need of a loo. I was still able to absorb the beautiful sheep clouds though.

Image

On our way back we surely checked on the lions at 14th again, but they hadn't moved and inch and even the two springboks at the waterhole couldn't lure them to any physical exercise in the soaring heat.

Image

Image

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Spoilt by the sightings of the day and because it had been a looong drive, we decided to follow Marius' wish "I prefer you staying in the camp." and did exactly that.
Even though the waterhole wasn't all too busy we still had stunning views.

Image

Image

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In the evening we met up with p@m and SO again and had a nice chat until it was time to get the braai going - or actually until it was almost to late too do that. :lol: Inbetween a little steenbok came to drink at the waterhole but my cam was safely left at our unit. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:59 am 
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Birds today

Black crow
Image

Marico flycatcher
Image

Northern black korhan
Image

Martial eagle
Image

White-browed sparrow weaver
Image

Southern pale chanting goshawk
Image
(I know, I had one yesterday. But I thought it was a snake eagle, so I'm paying some kind of penalty here...)

Spotted eagle owl (Thanks for ID'ing it for me, Niall!!!)
Image

Secretary birds – 7 :whistle:
Bateleur – none :roll:
Yellow hornbill - none :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:35 am 
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Day Four 22/03/2010 - Urikaruus (Part One)

It was still dark when we rose the next morning. But we like to have a relaxed start with coffee and all the rest of it, plus it just amazing to watch the day dawn. A BEF searched the riverbed left to our unit. :dance:

Image

Once out of the camp we laid our eyed upon a tawny doing his morning wash, but the light was still poor and my shot came out blurred as it was too distant. :wall: Shortly after that the giraffes bid their good mornings to us, here is one of them:

Image

followed by a lapwing.

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We had decided to go down south again to see if we the cheetahs were still around. Every waterhole on our way was meticulously examined but there weren't many critters around and the springbok was already taking off again:

Image

Batulama where Lisette and the girls had been close to yesterday was unoccupied and we moved on towards Gemsbokplein. Suddenly we noticed a movement in the dunes to our left and there was a cheetah again! :D It was a collared one, so we assumed it must be the same then the previous day.

Image

And out of nowhere (again) the first other, then the second other head appeared.

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It soon became clear that they were stalking this little cutie :?

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The little one was joyful and running around together with a friend but alas in the wrong direction towards the cheetahs :shock: . It did take us all of nine minutes to wait until the hunting started to unfold. This time I was prepared and although I felt for the little springbok :( , it was still an amazing experience to observe cheetahs hunting. :dance: Mum took the lead:

Image

Image

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And the girls took over:

Image

If someone could just teach those cheetahs not to do that on the side where you have to take photos against the sun... :slap:

To be continued…

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Last edited by Lionspoon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:32 am 
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Day Four 22/03/2010 – Urikaruus (Part Two)

It soon became clear that it wasn't hunting for food (Sorry, to have to tell you that, KTF hooked) but the cubs received a hunting lesson from mum as they chased the springbok,

Image

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got it down

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and let it escape again several times.

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Another lesson to be taught – drag your prey into the shade and save some energy:

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And the little lamb’s family was watching in horror.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Surfing the colours of the Kalahari (March 2010)
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:57 pm 
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We left the scene at some point as traffic had built up and were desperate for the loo again anyway. Kamqua was the place to go as we wanted to head up north to find out whether the lions would be as cooperative as the cheetahs. Kamqua waterhole was busy with oryx.

Image

At 14th Borehole one of my favourite and most expensive birds patrolled the waterhole,

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a skink lurked out of a dead branch.

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As it was approaching noon fast and we had yet to have our breakfast we turned around to get back to the camp to eat and for an afternoon siesta. On our way back we came across another kill. This time it was a PCG feeding on a little mouse.

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While I was napping, Spots played the cam and captured the visiting tawny showing off as if he was the king of the waterhole.

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But then the wildebeest arrived causing a mayhem, the tawny though better of it and fled:

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Once all the antelopes had left, the tawny returned to subject at least a crow to its rule:

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Our evening drive led us back to the cheetah spot. But before we left I had to take a photo of the stunning clouds in the lovely blue sky again:

Image

And more gorgeous scenery in shape of this giraffe

Image

and with the promise of a Kgalagadi thunderstorm:

Image

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Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by sandpatrys at 17:15:15 Submitted by salamanda at 18:05:37 Submitted by Stampajane at 18:01:40 Submitted by teddy_rsa at 15:17:26