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 Post subject: *Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
O no! It's still over 60 hours before we leave for one of Africa's jewels! :dance:

Why is it that time in the office seems to slow down exponentially the closer it gets to the time for leaving this busy and chased lifestyle behind in exchange for almost two week of bliss in the Kalahari?

After almost a year's wait, preparation and anticipation it feels like I'm bursting out of my seams of excitement about the comming days in KTP!! I just received a sms from SANParks reminding me about their gate times, distances, conservation fees etc. Needles to say my concentration on work was broken for good from work!

Although I haven't been to KTP before, I know the Kalahari well and I believe I leave a part of me behind every time I leave the area. I've got a fondness of the place that cannot be described in words, it's a place that draws my heart and thoughts like a magnetic.

BUT: I'm not only going for the awesome sunsets, beautifull landscapes and wonderfull animal life, but to capture all these on my camera sensor. I truly hope for a blessed time photographing some of nature's million and one poses and have images worthy to be stored in my archives and to share with you, of course. Finally I will be able to share more of my photography with you as all my other wildlife photo's are non SANParks related...

The shopping is finished for our trip (I had a light heart attack that KTP has to cure after I saw the bill... :big_eyes: ) and tonight starts the packing of the DC. From today the DC is out of action and will only move again when I point her noise South West to the Kalahari!

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:16 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
My goal with a trip report here will not only be to share what we saw in KTP, but to share the whole experience, all inclusive! I am going to try and answer questions that even up to now I don't have answers for, for those who seek as much as I do!

I'm a person that plans camping trips, hikes and 4x4 outings meticulously, but still a few things about our comming trip eludes me. Not that I mind that too much, I always leave room for the unexpected! :wink: I'll strive to bring back and share more than the usual, unfortunately, you will have to wait a couple of weeks and by then I'm sure this post may be long forgotten, but I'll find it and revive it with everything the Kalahari has to share! :thumbs_up:

Thanks for all your well wishes, trembling does not cut it close, I really can't remember when last I felt so excited! Come to think of it, up to know only my wedding day matches the way I feel right now! :D

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:25 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Part of the fun of a trip is doing the planning and packing, of course. Here is just a quick snap while I started to pack tonight. The freezer all packed and set, water containers cleaned, toolbox and tents loaded, food crates being organized and cooler box being loaded:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:08 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Ok, my brain is definitely switched off from work and switched in gear for the Kalahari! :dance: All packed, the double cab is locked and loaded, batteries is charged for the cameras and we've got enough food to keep us alive (hopefully! :lol: ).

I'll "see" you guys and gals in two weeks time again! :thumbs_up:

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15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 6:46 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Silence... You know the kind of silence when everything else switches off and you are left with your thoughts, rolling it over and over in your mind?

Yes, we're back... :cry: It was SO sad to leave the park, our last afternoon most of the regular animals "said" goodbye to us... BUT, oh boy, do I have much to tell you!! We had a sighting that was just WOW WOW WOW!!! I have always dreamt of something like this so when it happened, it was SO much more amazing than I would have expected! What was it, well, you'll have to wait until day 10 or 11, I think. All I can say is, Mum cheetah is doing good... :wink:

Ok, just got home now, visited in Kimberley at my folks after our trip, so STILL have to go through over 3000 images! :shock: I'll report back as soon as possible and will start telling our story hopefullyu still next week.

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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:47 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Wow, where to begin, well, obviously day 1... :roll:

Day1:

So after MUCH anticipation and preparation, it is finally time to leave for KTP!!! Even though it was 3AM in the morning and we packed until 11PM the previous night, I was wide awake. I did not even have trouble to wake up SO to get up that early.

All packed, batteries charged and coffee flask full, we hit the road to Augrabies at 4AM. We were two vehicles, myself and my wife and in the other car my friend and his wife. Off we went past Krugersdorp and hit the first stop and go...

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On with the trip and after a few stops here and there, we arrived at Augrabies at about 4:30PM. The river is not in flood anymore, but still produced a great show! It was quite cloudy with the sun breaking through only now and then, so did not get great results with photos, but here are a few of the falls:

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


Last edited by Switchback on Mon May 03, 2010 9:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:14 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Just to show off my SO :mrgreen: , here we are at one of the lookout points at the falls:

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All around the falls area are very cute lizzards, my knowledge lies with mammals, so if anyone can identify, please. Here's a female that was looking for any possible ray of light she could find:

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The male however was quite a bit more shy and couldn't care less about any sun rays...:

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We went further down the falls and the clouds started to break up a bit and provided some better light for photos. I'm only sharing a few here but around every corner a great landscape shot was possible!

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I'm not an expert with making HDR images, but here is an attempt with photoshop after I took one photo underexposed, one normal and one over exposed:

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Well, it was about time we go back to Upington, get a good night's rest and leave early again for KTP. The excitement still ran high and oh boy we couldn't wait for our adventure to start!! :dance:

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 10:58 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Yip, let the adventure begin, yeah! :dance:

Ok, so Day 2:

The day started at 4AM, not as early as I wanted, but I got convinced by 3 other tired travellers that they desperately needed 1 hour's sleep more after a long drive and a hectic last week of work. Oi, ok, so I was out voted 3:1, but 5AM we left for Twee Rivieren, FINALLY!! :dance:

On the road to Twee Rivieren we got greeted by a splendid sunrise, what a way to greet the Kalahari:

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Driving past the Molopo Lodge and seeing more sand dunes alongside the road gave me a real knot in the throat, I am so fond of the area and couldn't be happier to visit the area again!

Arriving at the reception, obviously the construction was still continiuing and the sun was right on top of reception, so couldn't really get a nice photo of it, but I was so eager to get inside, that wasn'r really on my mind...

Driving from reception into the park via the "back" roads, I prepared my camera, snapped on the 500mm lens, got out the beanbag and off we went! We were acting like real tourists, stopped for every little animal, bird and action! (We later had a good laugh as brand new "visitors" to the park is easy to spot - I guess we were easy to spot as well as new arrivals... :redface:

The first birdie to visit us next to the road was the North Black Korhaan:

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We drove over another dune or two and spotted a Kori Bustard, we were so excited seeing this bird not noing how common they would become in the park... (We later gave nicknames to all the common animals, but more on that later...)

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Moving on, we took the left detour turn to Auchterlonie as the road to Nossob past Kij Kij is still closed. We got to the Auab River and what would greet us there? Our first lion sighting! Two females lying in the shade, the one only briefly lifted her head and went back to rest - we stayed only a few minutes as we still had a long road ahead of us:

Image

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 11:37 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Ok, so moving on from the two female lionesses, we came accross a herd of springbok and a few blue wildebeest. The blue wildebeest in this park really has a funny side to them, never have I really seen the kind of behaviour they portray in this park! :lol: Here is one forexample that either had a bad itch, or he was so glad that the lions didn't catch him that he did a victory roll!

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The springbok just looked at him, had a good laugh and the one ram even stuck his tongue out for him! :lol:

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At the top of the dune a lone gemsbuck bull was just looking over at these antics going on and just shook it's head...

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So we moved on from them and saw a couple more springbok, blue wild omies (as we got to name them...), got to Aucherlonie and decided to take the bottom dune road to Nossob. Not much ever happens on these Dune roads, except for plenty Steenbok sightings - they always are so cute!

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Past the little Steenbok ram, we had our first glimpse of a Pale Chanting Goshawk, although they are plentifull in the park, this one did not warm up to us and decided to take off... "Ok, fine, we'll get some decent shots then of your cousins then..."

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Moving on again, I truly felt as if the animals are rejoicing with us that we have finally arrived in the Kalahari Paradise, I mean, look at this ostrich, we got welcomed by him by a special Ostrich Kalahari Dance!

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Getting to Kij Kij, we saw our first herd of Gemsbuck, the pride of the Kalahari! Man they are so gracious! (PS: My one business is named after these magnificent animals...)

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Overlooking the herd was this hadnsome little fellow, a Rock Kestrel:

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(PS: I am no bird expert, so if at any stage I make a naming mistake, PLEASE correct me!)

Ok, so after the Rock Kestel, we found a PCG sitting still on a branch next to the road. If you ever wanted to know what they do when you whistle at them, here it is:

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They look from side to side, up and down to find out who's whistling at them! So funny!

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:50 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
fenwickh wrote:
The kestrel, I think is a greater kestrel. Its head isn't blue enough for a rocky.


Aaaahhh, you see, I wasn't sure, thanks! :thumbs_up: Ask me anything about mammals, but I am still getting into my birding... :redface: (What about the Lesser Kestrel...?)

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


Last edited by Switchback on Tue May 04, 2010 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 1:19 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Ok, so moving on from whistling for the PCG (still funny... :lol: ), we drove, IMHO, the worst part of corrugated road in KTP between Kij Kij and Dikbaardskolk. Also encountered 'n Disco3 with a trailor that broke down - help was already at hand and we just quickly checked in and moved on.

Not much was seen until we got to the picnic spot at Dikbaardskolk. Here the friendly local family of yellow mongooses came to say "Hi!". Well, actually they came to see what we have for them to eat...

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We didn't give them anything to eat, so they moved on to the next car that stopped... Anyway, here is a pic of the toilets at Dikbaardskolk and our 2 vehicles under a tree:

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And so our road continiued further North West to Nossob, but it seemed as if we weren't the only ones around that was hungry... A Pale Chanting Goshawk (ok, later on we started calling them Goofy birds because Goofy from Disney always said "Gosh" to everything...) helped himself to a mouse: (could not identify exactly which one)

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After his meal, he flew up and came to see if we've brough along any more mice for him to feast on, we unfortunately just ran out... Sorry buddy, next time!

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Before reaching Nossob, I of course just HAD to go past Marie Se Draai which everybody always talks about. Only a few Gemsbok and Springbok hanged around, but did manage to spot this Secretary Bird having a drink.

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From Marie Se Draai it was a rush to book in at Nossob and to pitch our tents as we only arrived at Nossob at 5PM - so no more pics for the day, sorry! (Oh yes, VERY friendly staff at Nossob by the way - also LOVE the Viewing Board!)Tip from us: If you have to get to Nossob or even further up north from Twee Rivieren in one day, don't stop as much as we did...

Will carry on tomorrow with day 3 and more pics, at the moment we just HAVE to get our tents up, gas cookers cooking for supper and beds pumped up for a good night's rest... That is if the jackals will allow us... See ya all tomorrow!! :thumbs_up:

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
15 -21 June: Letaba Camping


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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:11 pm 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
OOPS!! I almost forgot, before we left Marie Se Draai, a Abdim's Stork came to have a drink and also said: "Welcome to our home!" :dance:

Image

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KNP: 14 June: Skukuza Camping
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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Switchback i had another good look at your Kestrel and SO and I both think that you were right first time - :redface: It is a rock kestrel! The eyes are dark and the wings are spotted whereas the greater has stripy wings. The head just didn't look quite right - but perhaps its the light.
Fantastic report again - and outstanding photographs.:clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 7:59 am 
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Thanks all Dreamers! :thumbs_up:

Day 2 ended with haven lekker supper: Mince with Mixed veggies - quick and easy to prepare after pitching our tents. We prepared our snacks, lunch and coffee flask for the next day and off we went to a very relaxing and QUIET rest. Oh man it's nice not to hear the sounds of the city and have it exchanged with the sounds of the bush! :D

Day3:

05:50 AM the rooster crowed... NO! I want to sleep more! It's still dark and it's chilly! Oi, I know out there is great photos to be taken and it's best making use of the sun early mornings... SO and I got up reluctantly and went for a shower. The ablution blocks was still very empty and I managed to get a dry shower, yeah! The facilities at Nossob is VERY nice and clean - great job guys! :thumbs_up: After shower I boiled the water for coffee SO got our breakfast ready and 06:50AM we started our diesel engines, zipped up the tent and got out the cameras. 07:00AM we got our permits and off we went!

First up was a Gabar Goshawk, good morning!: (Mmm... He was also chilly and enjoying the first rays of the day)

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Continuing on our way to Marie se Draai, I saw a car in the road. Mmm... Possible sighting? "Lion lion lion in the road!" I cried over the 29MHz radio to my friends. Yeah, what a great start to the day! A small pride of 5: 2 females and 3 young males.

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They didn't keep much together, the one lioness only peered at us over a bush:

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The one young male walked right past us and boy are those yellow eyes intimidating!!

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Knowing lions, they ALWAYS have time for a play or two, I was so focussed on the young male that is passing us, that I almost missed out on their playfull behaviour!

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Not only is there time for a play, but what about a scratch...? Mmm... These SANParks speed signs come in handy...

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Some Red Hartbees ran along the river, but quite a distance from us and of course the lions can't help but to investigate. So they climbed up the hill next to us, but now they are between us and the sun! Not great for photos, so I decided to do some silhouette shots of them. I call the first photo "Prince" and the second photo: "The lion's whisper":

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 Post subject: Re: Switching OFF to KTP - April 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:05 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
After a couple of minutes, the small pride started walking out of sight into the Nossob river and we decided to push on to Marie se Draai. We got there just in time to spot a big male comming to drink with an even bigger tummy! He clearly got it all this morning!

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Looking back every now and then, just checking on the females that they don't eat too much of his breakfast of course:

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The urge was big to go back and eat some more, but he was so thirsty, he spent about 15 minutes at the water drinking every so often:

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Marie se draa is a very nice place for sightings, the animals are a distance away from you though and a long zoom lens is handy here. Even with my 500mm the male lion occupied only a few mega pixels on my shot. Anyway, moving on a couple of metres, we saw the rest of the pride quite in a distance away at the gemsbok kill:

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Continuing the loop from Marie se Draai, we came upon two love bird (well, actually, two White Backed Vultures) busy preparing their love nest:

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On our way back to the camp site before heading up north, I got sight of this little birdie: (help indetify please)

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One other birdie that greeted us on our way back to camp that I do know, was this Fork Tailed Drongo:

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