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 Post subject: Touareg KTP heat, dust and antihistamine. Dec 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:28 am 
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Location: Somerset West
KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.

Why the title of our latest highly anticipated KTP adventure? (By ourselves anyway) Well, having been back a few weeks, I am still undecided if this was a special trip or not. Of course any trip to the KTP is special I hear your say, but if I have to compare my images of this trip to the last three, I am undecided if it was special from a sightings point of view. Over and above that the expected heat was extreme on one or two days with temperatures maxing out at 43 degrees on one day. This in itself added to the weirdness of the trip as the gates open at 05:30 and close at 19:30, and us not wanting to waste a moment by being in camp when we didn’t have to, made for looooooong, hot days in the car and loooong sleepless hot nights in hot bungalows. So within a day we found ourselves in a bit of a zombie like state. Add to this the antihistamine to deal with the intense dust from the very dry and windy conditions; your senses become blunted quite severely :roll: . Not always a bad thing…

It sounds like we didn’t have a good time, but this was most certainly not the case. Mattanator (son aged 12 going on 17) and I had a blast. We went there with expectations to see more birds of prey and cats than other times of the year, but I do however think that due to the heat and late rains causing dry conditions in December that the small animals i.e. mice etc were absent causing the birds of prey to hunt elsewhere. The other elements which I think we missed was luck and timing. Sometimes you make bad decisions and don’t see much, other times you hit it exactly right to see something great.

Having read the above you may think we didn’t see anything of note, once again not entirely a true reflection so keep on reading.

We had planned this trip in April already and through the months made a few tweaks to the itinerary which then ended looking like this.
16 Dec – Kieliekrankie
17 Dec – Nossob
18 Dec – Grootkolk
19 Dec – Nossob
20 Dec – Mata Mata
21 Dec – Mata Mata
22 Dec – Urikaruus

A huge excitement for us on this trip was that my trusty VW Touareg of 5 years (hence the name) was traded in for a Discovery. No I won’t be changing my name and no it doesn’t have funky number plates.

We left a dry Somerset West at 03:40 and hit the wet weather at Malmesbury. From there we had rain all the was past Calvinia. Welcome rain for a very dry part of the country. On the way as usual there was new music and cds to listen to, and this time I was excluded from the buying process. So we had Now 56 (I think) and Whackhead Simpson, Phowned to keep us entertained. Now Whackhead is a funny guy, but the pranks are only really funny the first one or two times. When Whackhead wasn’t playing, my son was reciting the pranks back to me, voices and accents included. Now that is funny, especially the Chinese accent. The car went like an absolute dream and we soon found ourselves within sight of the Twee Rivieren check in. Close to the gate, a goat decided to run across the road causing me so swerve out and narrowly missing it. Luckily I was going slowly anticipating these dumb animals to run across the road at the last minute. We checked in just after 14:00 which would leave us 5 hours to drive around and get to Kieliekrankie. But not before meeting Jan Kriel and giving him some reading books and magazines. Say hello to Jan when you check in, nice chap.

So from previous TRs you will have read about our diesel shortage experiences at Twee Rivieren, so the strategy was that if there is fuel available at the camps I will ensure the tank stays as full as possible. After having tied the yellow ribbon, reduced the tyre pressure and filled up we headed off into the park. First stop Samevloeing and then off to Leeudril for a look see.

This was not the best time of the day to drive around as the temperature was already in the mid 30s with the resulting lack of most animals. We did see Springbok, Gemsbok, and Hartebeest under the trees and Ostriches having a dust bath, but nothing more.

Over the dune road we went and a big cheer went up when we hit the river road. Now we have arrived.

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
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Day 1 – TR to Kieliekrankie

We proceeded past all the waterholes, looking in every tree and under every bush. But the specials were absent. We did however see for the first time (for me) large numbers of Spotted Thicknees under the trees.
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We also stopped and watched a Secretary bird going about its hunting and by the looks of it was quite successful with many mouthfuls of what looked like crickets going down the hatch. They are quite aggressive judging by the way they stomp there feet on the unsuspecting prey.
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We did do a short pit stop at Auchterloni, which was totally deserted. Its quite strange being the only ones up there. A very warm dry wind was blowing across the desert with not a cloud in the sky. What a place. I did sneak a slow peak over the low wall between the loos to check for a sleeping predator. All clear.

Back on the road and we headed North for a short while, not seeing much. We decided to call it a day and head to Kieliekrankie for an early night. A sight for sore eyes.
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At camp we were greeted my Willem and shown to number 3 where we were also greeted by a huge Gecko in the kitchen. We quickly unloaded and stored the frozen goods in the freezer. The Gecko disappeared through one of the holes in the kitchen screen, not to be seen again, Tonight wasn’t going to be any braai as we were being fuelled by Woolies snacks an we needed to get through quite a few mini hamburgers, samoosas and cheese and bacon filled pancakes topped off with an anti-acid or two. Well maybe a few more in the hours to come. The view from the units is unbelievable and the quiet is overwhelming.
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The buzz you hear in your ears is still the city buzz. After a while here you hear nothing. Wonderful!

Somewhere when changed lenses my Canon 1D Mk IV sucked in some dust and I was shocked to see how much. I then spent the next hour or so carefully cleaning off as much as I could see given the low light in the tents. It would have to do.

A nice shower and off to bed. We left the doors open but I woke sometime during the night with a itchy throat and ears and a tight chest. Hay fever ?? Not something I normally get. Luckily my SO packs a mean medical kit and has everything in it from runny nose to a DYI snake bite kit, so down went the first antihistamine and into bed again. Well not into more on top off. The desert cools down at night but on this night not too much.......

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Somerset West
Day 2: Kieliekrankie to Nossob:

Day 2 had dawned and we had coffee and rusks on the wooden deck while watching the sun rise over the dunes. I packed up and we were ready to leave by 05:30 destination Nossob. We were advised that lions had been seen on the lower dune road the previous mornings, but told we had a better chance of seeing more if we proceeded towards Mata Mata and then over the top upper dune road. This was our choice for today and we headed off. For the first 3 ½ hours we didn’t see another vehicle and not much else in terms of large game. I did stop to shoot the following.
Tawney Eagle
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Fork Tailed Drongo in the early morning light
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Kalahari Scrub Robin
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Anteating Chat
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There we so many Northern Korhaans on the dune road but most of them retreated into the veldt as soon as we approached. This one however decided to stand its ground and put up a big racket allowing me to get some interesting shots.

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Although the river beds were bone dry with sparse patches of slight greenery, there were patches in the dunes that were beautifully green and the Gemsbok seemed to be concentrating here.

Thanks to Kgalagadi Guru for identifying this very interesting plant as:

Amaryllis family – Amaryllidaceae, Boophane disticha , Kopseerblom/gifbol/tumble weed or Bushmans poison bulb. The bulb is poisonous and is used for arrow poison. The bulb is also used for headaches, chest pain, abdominal pain and insomnia. Small overdoses can be very fatal.

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Another sighting for me was this Greater Kestral tucking into what looks like a lizard.
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As I said it was more than 3 hours before we saw the first vehicle coming across the dune road towards us. No stopping, so I presume the rest of the read was going to be quiet as well. Pit stop, leg stretch and a quick cold drink and we’re off again. The morning air was dead quiet and the heat was building although only 10:00. Everywhere the animals were retreating to the shade of the trees. The only creatures enjoying the sun were the Tree Agamas sitting at the top of the low bushes.

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The roads were great as the graders have been out and about so no issues with loose dentures or parts falling off the new car.

We reached Nossob about lunchtime, checked in and proceeded to unpack. We were allocated bungalow 10b as we had been on all our previous visits. First priority is the frozen goods as they are ok and tend to stay frozen in the Safari chillers, but I wanted to get a long freeze as we would be in Grootkolk the next evening.
The hay fever was taking its toll on both of us and we took a “non-drowsy” tablet. Yeah right. Maybe it was just the lack of sleep or early start, but both of us decided a quick nap was in order. An hour later we were up, fed, car packed with drinks and we were off. North. One neat addition to the Discovery 4 is a small fridge in the arm rest in between the front seats. It takes 4 cans and 2 two Liqui fruit type boxes, and man does it get cold. That was always stocked. The other thing was that we took along 40 litres of water for the two of us for the 8 days. One 10 litre can always stays in the car for emergency.

Where was I? Ok we headed North through the now always open Nossob gates. Why I don’t know. They will face a situation as in Lower Sabie recently where lions wondered into the camp and one lion had to be destroyed when they couldn’t get him out of the camp. Not very forward thinking SAN parks. I don’t think anyone minds opening and closing the gates. It would certainly help to keep the jackals out who now come to within a few metres of you as you braai. Causing a slight heart flutter every time they come into the light of the fire.

The main plan for the afternoon was to stake out a water hole and shoot whatever decided to come and visit. We drove up all the way to Polentswa and then back to Cubitje Quap where we decided to sit. We were rewarded with visits from a Lanner Falcon for a quick drink, but then it looked up and departed in a hurry as a juvenile Bateleur came in for a drink.

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Sitting there and waiting, we also had great fun trying to get decent shots of the Turtle Doves swooping in, taking a quick drink and then departing to the closest bush or tree.

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The local mice were out foraging and keeping a careful eye out for any predator from above.

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We also had a visit by the Pied Starlings:
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The heat and occasional dust storms was intense. I was watching my new car becoming dustier and dustier inside. What we wouldn’t do to be immersed in the KTP experience.

The day drew to an end and we made our way back to Nossob for a light snack. As we spent most of the day in the car, snacking on biltong and biscuits we didn’t have a huge appetite for a braai, so we decided to do one of the quick Woolies dishes in the micro. While we were downloading the days pics we had a quick meal and then planned our next day to Grootkolk before lights out. Another hot night ahead. The hay fever was really getting to both of us and we looked and felt like we had the flu. A dose of antihistamine and off the bed.....tbc

_________________
[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


Last edited by Touareg on Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:56 pm 
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Location: Somerset West
Day 3: Nossob to Grootkolk.\

We woke at 04:15, had a quick cereal and coffee, packed the car and headed for the gate by 05:15. Man were we tired after another restless night. The two graders were also ready to leave towards the north, so we knew that they would be ahead of us for most of the day. When we returned to camp the previous evening I was filled with dread when I saw the diesel thirsty graders, but fortunately there was enough diesel in the underground tanks to serve everyone. This is a good thing in terms of the road surface, but in terms of sightings, I have my doubts as I believe they must disturb the animals as they go by. The excitement of the day ahead however drove us on. We collected our permits from the friendly staff and set out second in line today.

I believe the distance to Grootkolk from Nossob is just over 100km, so we had plenty of time to get to Grootkolk. As check in is after 12:00 we couldn’t arrive to early either. We stopped at every waterhole to look and wait. At the Polentswa water hole we watched some BBJs playing in the early morning sun.
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I was starting to wonder where all the animals were. On previous visits the question around animal density also crossed my mind. Driving for long distances and not seeing a single animal. I know this is a National Park which has been operation for many many years and that nature takes its course and balances the resources with the animal numbers, but it just seems like the Park could support many more animals. I would love to hear your views on this.

We did see a number of very young Wildebeest next to the road.
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This group was enjoying a deep drink.
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Another youngster was this juvenile PCG.
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The landscape is really amazing as you would find parts where the old trees are still plentiful and look strong where in other spots you would find what looks like the aftermath of a nuclear attack with dead trees everywhere. Is this due to fire or lack of water in certain areas?

Another interesting this to us was the concentration in certain areas of termite mounds. Literally hundreds of them in one area.

Anyway. We had and uneventful drive to Kannagaus where we met 3 visitors from Argentina who had seen a pride of lions at the Kannagaus borehole the morning. We will come back and check in the afternoon. The wind was up and dust was everywhere.

We reached Grootkolk where we were met by a friendly Franco who showed us to our bungalpow We were given bungalow number 2 and promptly unpacked. What a wonderful setting. I can see why visitors to Grootkolk want to come back time and time again. We were told that there were 2 lions at the Unions End borehole, which was perfect as we wanted to go to get our obligatory Unions End pics taken anyway. So after we unpacked, we sorted the drinks and car out for the afternoon session. We couldn’t wait so in the heat of the day (13:00) we set off North to go and find our first Lions of the trip.

We stopped at the Unions End waterhole and searched for the sleeping lions. There they were…lying in the shade of a bush next to the water tank. Great.. 2 lions …no 3, a young male appeared and promptly moved into the deeper shade and lay down. This was going to be a long wait. I found a spot of shade under a tree, let the windows down a bit and switched of. We sat there for about an hour with the only thing happening, the lions moving around their bush/tree to stay in the shade. We decided to continue North and get our pics taken at Unions End and then come back.
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My son found the thought of being on the border or 3 countries very interesting and knowing that Namibia was just on the other side of the fence really intriguing. Other questions like, “were do you think this road that runs along the fence ends”
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“Can’t we just go down this road to see if there are more animals” :D. More roads to travel on in the park would be fun I guess.

Well after the formalities we set off to our lions again. About 1km before we reached the water hole we saw a large herd of Wildebeest next to the road. The herd included quite a number of recently born. Aha…maybe we will see something after all.

Back to our spot under the tree, windows slightly open (and closed again when the dust storm blows by). Eventually what looked like a young female woke up and move to where we could se her. She was looking very keenly at a Secretary bird that was walking around.
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The young lion then proceeded to stalk and then chase the bird over a small rise. Needless to say the bird escaped and the lion returned to its shading spot just slightly more hot and bothered. A second much larger lioness woke and joined the first under the tree. They both had there noses in the air in the direction of the Wildebeest herd. Good.
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A while later the young male woke and also joined the females. He was going to be one good looking Kalahari male.
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After he joined the females and they were sure he was now awake, the females left in the direction of the herd. The younger one sat down under a small tree about 40 meters from the male and the large female moved another 50 to 60 meters and found her own tree. This was very exciting and in between our sneezing and wheezing we watched these predators silently organise themselves. They stayed in these position for about 40 minutes and then got up and returned to the male lion under the tree. After a while the male got up and walked towards us and the water hole for a long drink.
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The smaller female followed.
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After the drink they lay down again. At this point it was nearly 5 hours since we arrived and we were faced with the option of staying with these 3 for the next hour before we needed to head back or go down to Kannagaus to hopefully find the pride of the morning.

Sometime during the afternoon a Stellenbosch vehicle had passed us and drove in the direction of Unions End. It hadn’t returned and we were worried something could have happened to the people so we drove back to Unions End to find out if they needed assistance. No sign of them, but then realised that there was a turn off to Gharagab, one of the other wilderness camps that they could have taken. O well!

After a short deliberation we headed south. We had just arrived at Kannagaus and positioned the car to make the best use of the light when an old male lion came walking up the road towards up.
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He was an old warrior and even had a porcupine quill stuck in his chest. He drank for a long time and then headed off into the desert again.

We sat until we really had to leave to make it back in time. Shortly after arriving at camp we informed by our neighbour that the 3 lions at Unions End had in fact taken down a young Wildebeest close to the water hole. You can imagine our disappointment. Choices, choices, choices. At least we got to see the old warrior. Tonight was braai night so we built a fire and got it going. I wasn’t keen to be out here in the dark. I also filled a little plastic bowl with water and put it on the wooden fence post. My son asked me what the bowl was for and he looked at me in total disbelief when I answered that it was water for the resident Leopard. It took a few seconds to register. Good laughs all round.

Within minutes a number of sociable Weavers came to drink.
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While standing there in the fading light talking about what was and could have been today, my son said “brown hyena” and ran into the tent to get the binos. It came strolling by hut number one and walked to the waterhole for a long drink. No pics as the light was too low by now.

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We had a great meal in a beautiful setting and a cool breeze had picked up. We didn’t see anything further at the waterhole. We let down all the window flaps before we went to bed. I woke during the night a number of times to scan the water hole and drink something to relieve the itch in my throat.

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Day 4: Grootkolk to Nossob:

My son woke with a stiff neck from the breeze on him all night so not a good start. We had a quick breakfast of coffee rusks, antihistamine and a Panodo for M. Poor guy couldn’t even turn his head. He was excused from helping to pack the vehicle…doctors note :D.
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So the choice for this morning is. Head back to Unions End in the hope that the lions and other predators my still be with the carcass and that its even visible or two, head south with the hope of running into the pride at Kannagaus. We were both keen to get images of young cubs and lions drinking so we decided to head south. Not long afterwards we were rewarded with a lioness on a fast jog in the road ahead of us. She was also calling every so often. We followed her in the early morning light until she veered off the road and head into the dunes, still heading towards Kannagaus.
Further on closer to Kannagaus we spotted a huge male walking on the dune in the direction of the female. Cool, two lions for the day in less than 30 minutes. We sat at Kannagaus for a while and watched the Turtledoves and Sand grouse come to drink. Nothing else appeared while we were there.

We set off again and a bit further down in the distance I saw 4 Eland in the river bed. When they saw me, they turned and fled. The one made a huge jump over a fallen branch.
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This was exciting as it was our first Eland in the park. This was not to be our first as shortly thereafter we saw a lone male Warthog in the river bed. It too fled when it noticed us. So far a nice start to the morning. We passed all the waterholes, spending some time at each and ended up at the Polentswa waterhole. Here we practiced of skills on photographing the birds coming in to drink. Man! that’s difficult to get right. I did manage to get one or two good shots.
Sand Grouse coming in to land.
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Cape Turtle Dove taking off in a hurry.
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We arrived back at Nossob way to early but the ladies cleaning the bungalow (10b again) allowed us to put our stuff in the freezer and unpack the car. Again we set off, this time towards Marie se Draai with the intention of settling at Cubitje Quap for an afternoon session at the waterhole.

Marie se Draai was very quiet with not even the local Vultures being around. We did see a number of very tiny Springbok and Wildebeest.
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It was the middle of the day and once again extremely hot. By this time the two of us had already emptied the first 10 litres of the 40 litres of water we brought along. What was very disappointing so far was the lack of birds of prey on this side of the park. In previous summer reports, it has always been reported that the birding this time of the year would be exceptional. I guess the lack of rain has a huge part to play here. Any insights Kalahari Guru?

Back to Nossob for lunch and a short much needed nap.

We headed out again at around 15:00 to set ourselves up at Cubitje Quap. On the way out of camp we spotted this Ground Scraper Thrush.
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As we approached the water hole we saw about 10 Lapped Faced and Vultures around the hole. There were no other vehicles in sight so I stopped well before the tree in the hope that they will get accustomed to the silver thing inching forward until we were in a better position to take pictures. Some of them hung around for a while, but by the time we had moved closer all of them had taken off.
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We parked and waited. Not long after we settled in, a Juvenile Bateleur came in and landed beautifully for us.
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We felt like anti aircraft gunners looking into the sky and calling when we saw something coming in to land. Then it was action stations with the lenses trained and shutters firing away.

The one Juvenile took off and a another juvenile came in for a long drink.
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All the while we noticed an adult circling above, hopefully wanting a drink as well. Indeed when the adult came down one of us was ready for the landing and it wasn’t me. Missed the landing!!!!. M did manage to get some nice shots of adult coming in to land. He is getting quite good with the settings, with me just advising shutter speed and aperture from the front and him sorting himself out on the back seat stiff neck and all.
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I nailed the take off with some nice shots. It is quite a learning process with the birds in anticipating their actions and take-off timing. Also to judge direction of departure in order to get the full wingspan in the frame without clipping the wings.

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Also had fun trying to get the swallows over the water. This is a huge crop.
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We spent a wonderfully rewarding afternoon with the birds and then headed back for a braai. While the fire was burning down we were downloading and backing up pics we had a visit by two BBJ not more than 3 meters from us. We shooed them and they trotted off only to return a little while later leaving us to wonder what else is watching us from the shadows.

Our bodies decided it was time to go to bed :wall: …….but the lions decided it was time t get up at 03:00 :doh: .

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:47 pm 
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Day5: Nossob – Mata Mata

Yes, at shortly after 03:00 a lion roared, we sat up. Shot out of bed….got dressed in the light of a shared maglite torch and headed for the hide. The roar came from the north of Nossob and we waited and waited. A few other people arrived in the hide also visibly from a deep sleep. When the next roar was heard it was even further to the north so at 04:30 (ish) we left the hide to go and pack up. What happened next (in our absence again) was that about 10 minutes later 3 lionesses arrived at the water hole with 4 young cubs, had a quick drink and left in the direction of Marie se Draai. Another miss for us. The plan for this morning was to go and stake out Cubitje Quap for two hours and then head south towards Mata Mata. The previous morning Mybs had seen a large male at the waterhole so we were hoping it was still around.

We sat there photographing the Doves in the early morning light for two hours and had visits from 3 separate BBJs. One had an injured left front leg which looked quite painful as he walked with a limp.
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I must say I enjoy sitting at the waterholes when the sun is in the right position for photography as you can keep really busy with the small things. These waiting times at the water holes is also M’s nap time and he makes full use of this time and come to think of it any other time he feels like it. The joys of being a child :D

Nothing else so we headed south all the way to the dune road at Dikbaarskolk. Along th e way we did the usual check ins at the waterholes and spots where we saw Suricate in the past, but to no avail. Very little was moving.
It was an absolutely beautiful morning and promised to heat up quite nicely again. I am generally excited taking the dune roads as it invariably throws up a surprise or two. Today was to be no exception. On the previous trip you will recall we had two Badger sightings with 4 Badgers, so today we were super focussed on finding more Badgers. We saw something different. About 10km in we saw many small birds of prey in the sky feeding mid air. We slowed down hoping to get a good shot or two and then coming over a rise the road was littered with large Birds of prey feeding on the ground. There were Bateleurs of all ages and Tawneys of all colours.
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The sky above had Lanners and Red Necked Falcons. I thought we also saw what looked like Booted Eagles. They were feasting on flying termites and allowed us to get quite close. Once again we were alone on the stretch of road so we could manoeuvre to get ok shots in the midday sun. What a sight to see so many big birds together. So this is where they were feasting, in the desert on termites. Who knew?

This was special sighting for us, so much so the M didn’t even continue his nap and was directing me so that he could get good shots, even anticipating take-offs and landings.

The rest of the dune road was relatively uneventful after that adrenalin rush. As it was so hot by the time we arrived at Kamqua, we decided to continue north to Mata Mata and not stop for lunch. We were learning to be flexible on our eating times. Well with all the fluids we keep consuming the appetite stays under control. Certainly something I can do with :redface: .
We kept a lookout for the Hyena den and actually found it and a youngster peering out at us briefly before retreating to the coolness of the den. We marked the spot on the GPS and continued.

Check in at Mata Mata was a little slow with a few visitors arriving at the same time and a lady giving the staff the riot act about water running from the ablution blocks for the last 3 days and that she had reported it on several occasions. Not sure what happened just know there was scene. I also ran into Jumbo and Aninet again. We live less than 60km apart in the Western Cape and have only once seen each other outside the KTP. Nice to see you guys again and congrats again on the awesome pics that won all the awards.

This is our 3rd stay in the riverside bungalows and as always was a pleasure. There was a bit of pre-planning in the itinerary as these two nights would give us air-conditioning at least for a part of the night. We unpacked…grabbed a lunch and a quick 30 minute cat nap before excitement got the better of me and we jumped in the car again. It is hot outside and we may see nothing, but being indoors we will definitely not see anything. In addition the aircon in the car works a treat.

In these next few days, I intended to do the loops over and over and over again.

Back down to Craig Lockhart and then Veertiende Boorgat. This is where another wait commenced as there were two young male lions lying under the trees next to the road.
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No shade for us so we switched off and waited. Here we also met Mybs for the first time and he told us about the Bat-Eared fox den a few hundred meters back, so we decided to go and have a look while these big fellows were having a snooze. Sure enough we found the den and the two adults lying in the shade close by. Unfortunately we didn’t’ get to see the young ones. Maybe later? We returned to our previous spot with the Leos and assumed the waiting position. A few cars came by and left, but we sat it out and the one lion got up and flopped down on its back in the road next to the car. He was so close we couldn’t even risk letting the window down to grab a shot or two. He looked to peaceful and utterly huggable…well if you were a lioness.
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The other lion had gotten up and walked past us up the hill. We sat and eventually we noticed a big old male lion with an injured bottom jaw (no bottom lip or teeth left) come wondering down the hill next to us on it's way to the waterhole. What an old warrior.
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We felt sorry for the animal as its mouth looked quite sore, but it looked in OK condition. As it walked back past us up the hill we saw more lions on the hill, where they had probably been the whole afternoon. This just reminded us that seeing nothing doesn’t mean there is nothing.
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Be vigilant at all times.

This was turning out to be a nice day in terms of sightings. We left in time to reach the gates by 19:30. For this I use the Garmin to tell me when I need to leave as indicated by its estimated time of arrival. Works great. A dusty retreat back to Mata Mata.
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I just managed to make it in time to get the tank filled and also had a nice chat with a gentlemen from Durbanville who is also a KTP addict. Back at the Chalet it was Woolies for and leftovers for dinner chased down with a antihistamine for good measure. All batteries were charged and replaced in the cameras. I even put the flash guns on the cameras just in case we needed them during the night. The aircon in the room was absolute bliss and soon we were in dream land. I woke sometime during the night to the sound of absolute quiet. (well once I stopped snoring, which M later told me was off the Richter scale tonight). Apparently it was akin to two large predators in a fight to the death. I walked out on the stoep and just enjoyed the cool night air and quiet interrupted only by the occasional Jackal call. What a place and how privileged we are to be here. It was also a good time to briefly reflect and be thankful for what we have. Having been fortunate to have travelled to many countries in the world, there isn’t a single other country I would move to that can offer what South Africa means to me, warts and all. Enough said.

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:14 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
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Location: Somerset West
Day 6: Mata Mata and surrounds:

Today we were not moving so we got to lie in….well sort off. We only only got up at 05:45. We arrived at reception early again but that ok, because you get to study the sightings board and plan the day a bit better. I wanted to get to Craig Lochart in the chance of seeing the Brown Hyena come and drink. The road to Craig Lockhart and the waterhole itself was quiet, but the as we got to Dalkieth the lions were around again and game is a few nice images. The youngsters were playing around and and the whole pride of 9 Lions was still very much awake. There were the two large males, two lionesses, two young cubs and 3 juvenile males. The two youngsters were looking across the river bed towards where one of the adult males was lying. One of the youngsters walked across towards the male keeping a very submissive posture. The adult accepted first the one and then the other and it looked as if they were very close. Maybe the father?
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The lions were spreading out in the developing shady spots so we decided to head off to the other loops to see what was showing.
Along the way south we saw this young Springbok and also a Bee-eater sitting still for a change.
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Coming to the end of Dertiende boorgat loop we saw first one and then three more lions walking in loose single file towards the water hole. They were having a long drink and then one by one made their way to the tree.
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This one didn't fancy getting it's paws wet and made a jump for it.
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We sat with them for a few hours. This one could maybe use some antihistamine as it was sneezing away.
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We popped in at the hyena den and managed our only sighting of the young pup.
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Back at Dalkeith we saw a Shaft Tailed Wydah and a Cape Crow.
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We ended off the afternoon at Craig Lockhart on a "stake out". We saw many birds and also a few BBJs coming in to drink. One BBJ came straight towards us, stepped into the waterhole and suddenly retrieved a Cape Turtle Dove.

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I was so surprised, I only managed to get off two shots. This is the better of the two.

We also saw a Crow come in to drink and then suddenly fly off.
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It was only a week or so ago that I saw whet the reason was for its sudden retreat. A Terapin was trying to grab it. I understand from other posts that they take the birds at the water holes. I will be sure to keep a keener eye out next time.

And so comes to an end another day of surprises dished up kindly by the Kalahari.

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:05 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
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Location: Somerset West
Today we were heading straight to Craig Lockhart to see if we could spot the local Brown. We were also moving to Urikaruus for our last night, so we were packed and ready to go by 05:15. As soon as we could pick up our permit we were on our way. Quick stop at Craig Lockhart, but nothing on show, so we headed of Dalkieth in the hope of spotting the pride from yesterday. Indeed, as we approached in the early morning light, we spotted the lions. All of them spread out in the river bed, but still active. We spotted the two cubs arm wrestling :D
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The one decided that after all the arm wrestling he needed a drink, so we were in luck to get a few shots, although the light was still very low.
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All of a sudden all five the adult lions started to roar. A sound you cannot describe to anyone unless you have experienced it yourself.
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Here is another shot of one of the youngsters.
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This kid was already starting to kiss butt :D
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And the leader if the pack and king of the Kalahari.
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The youngsters were very playful and were chasing the sub adult males around tapping their hind legs as if they were prey.
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All the lions were drifting towards the various trees and falling down in what was to be their resting time for the rest of the day. We headed off in search of new sightings. All the way through the loops to Dertiende Boorgat without further results. I decided to head back on the top road and before we reached the exit of the Dertiende loop, we were rewarded with another lioness on the left. She was very focused on the horizon, but clearly in hunting mode.
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Just a few meters further on our right another lion appeared, this time a young male.
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And another.
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This was the same pride we spotted the previous day, so we were still one male lion short. The female was walking further up the hill on the left and also moving forward. The young males, without seeing her we also moving forward cautiously. Were we finally going to see a kill. The excitement in the car was immense :pray: . We spotted the intended target of the lions, a huge herd of Wildebeest. We moved forward slowly with the pride. Two other vehicles joined behind us. Suddenly the herd exploded in a cloud of dust and ran away from us into the river bed. We then spotted the reason for their flight...lion number for. He was way ahead of the other on the other side of a little hill on the right. HE was obviously not following instructions. All 4 the lions regrouped and walked right by our car.
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The flopped down under a bush.

With the action most definitely over for the time being we moved north. The Wildebeest herd had calmed down and was walking toward Veertiende Boorgat.
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Further along we spotted this Springbok on a trot.
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At the waterhole we sat and watched a big herd of Springbok and Hartebeest including quite a number of young.
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Towards the end of the day we spotted this BBJ drinking at one of the waterholes.
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We checked in at Urikaruus for an early night and sat in the afternoon light watching nothing come to drink. A very pleasing day overall.
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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: KTP heat, dust and antihistamine.
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
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Location: Somerset West
Here is the last VERY overdue last episode of the trip. We stayed in Urikaruus and rose before sunrise to sit outside and watch the waterhole. Nothing moving so we packed up, said our goodbyes to Jacques and headed north. The plan was to head north, do the loops and eventually start the slow drive south and out of the Park. Before we reached the Hyena den we stopped suddenly as 3 adult spotted Hyenas can running in our direction in the riverbed. We managed a few shots in the early morning light.

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Decision...do we follow them to who knows where or continue north. North is was. At the den the little one was out briefly.

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Not 5km further we came to stop in a cloud of dust...reversed and came to a stop next to this beauty.

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The Cheetah was calling all the time. It's calls sounded like that of a small bird.

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We moved off as the Cheetah walked off over the dune. We entered the loop of Dertiende and slowly approached the waterhole. Let down the windows on the waterhole side and crept towards the waterhole and lion drinking water. Around the bush and ..craaaaaaaaaa£...move, move...lol..turn up the windows. A lion was standing behind the bush and as we came around he walked straight toward us and the open windows. Wow!...huge adrenaline rush. We did manage a shot afterwards of the offending lion.
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Further on in the loop we saw this Martial Eagle.
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We turned round and headed south. Really uneventful with the exception of this baby.
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Out of the riverbed and onwards to TR. The Blackberry's light started flashing and flashing and flashing, 179 new messages. Welcome back to the real world. We stopped at Samevloeing in a last ditched attempt for a exceptional sighting. While there, I caught up on my new messages. Eventually we had to leave.

The END

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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