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 Post subject: Scouter-Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren-Apr 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:07 pm 
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This next spontaneous trip to KTP started just over 2 weeks ago during a routine phonecall to my daughter in Stellenboch. Between all the "how's your week been" and "isn't it stinking hot again..." she mentioned how much she wanted to go back to the kalahari - I think I got her hooked during our January trip this year :whistle:

We decided that asking the SO and father to cough up once again on chalets was asking a bit much so she promptly got on the SANParks website and checked to see if there were any campsites available - and lo, there was one lonely one for the time we wanted....it was surely a sign.....so we phoned the SO who was in Joburg and he graciously agreed that we could go and camp for 5 nights - just the daughter and me !!!

Spent the last 2 weeks making lists and planning and hauling the tent out of the rafters and checking for rat-damage ( just one teeny tiny gnaw-hole ) and mking this incredibly HUGE pile of stuff in the garage that was going to be essential for our comfort.....and today we shopped because tomorrow morning we leave - 5 nights in Twee Rivieren - and hopefully no bats this time !!!

Caracal has said she will post for me on this thread if I will sms her all our wonderful sightings ( ha ha very confidant aren't we) - think this is tempting providence a bit but we will see how it goes :tongue:

Till next week then.............

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:31 am 
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Thanks everyone :thumbs_up: - leaving in15 min !!!! Going with an open mind and excited to be seeing the Kgalagadi in a different light once again....

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:22 pm 
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Ha, yes, I think so too Micetta - and now I am juggling TWO trip reports and as you know, they take a looooooooong time to put together ( or maybe I am just really rubbish on the computer and that's why they take so long :lol: )

I am contemplating renaming this TR " Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren, where English, she is NOT spoken and the visitors travel in large packs - usually consisting of Ouma and Oupa, Boeta and Kleinsus, swaer and skoonsuster and a whole bunch of lighties of varying ages and noise levels"..... ok, now I think you might be getting a vague idea of the holiday.... :twisted:

So, as you know, this was a very quick trip and only staying at Twee Rivieren for 5 nights so I'm not going to go into all the gory details but rather post lots of photos and give you a photographic TR this time as the roads we travelled were pretty much the same for the whole 5 days :tongue:

The grass was really long and starting to dry out and the park was FULL......NEVER going in school holidays again if I can help it :roll: - I have decided I like camping in KTP very much (even surviving a horrendous thunderstorm with lashings of rain on the Tuesday night) but I DO NOT appreciate the cosiness of our neighbours who have NO sense of personal space nor the nocturnal sounds of a full campsite - I like to listen to the jackals calling and hyenas whooping and lions roaring, not the camp burping, f*arting, sneezing, coughing and snoring in perfect harmony the whole night :twisted:

The journey up with the daughter - henceforth known as Elf - was good ...

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...we left about 7 which in retrospect was a stupid time to leave, as we caught all the "going-to-work" traffic, but luckily it wasn't too bad. The roadworks on the other hand were tedious to say the least......

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A quick stop in Calvinia for the nice red postbox shot and a change of drivers..

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and after another stunning evening at our now favourite stop-over place on the Orange river, we were ready to tackle the last few hundred k's to Utopia with some stunning cloud scenery along the way

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And Elf doing some fancy shooting in the car rearview mirror of the sunrise as I drove...

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And THIS is what a locust looks like when it hits your windscreeen while you are doing 120km an hour - we drove through about 5 or 6 huge swarms - luckily most of them missed the windscreen but we got about 7 or 8 of them splattered all over...and rather impossible to clear with the windscreen wipers which tended to just smear them worse :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:37 pm 
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Everyone, my humblest apologies - I didn't know it was going to be so difficult to keep 2 trip reports on the go at the same time - and this one has been badly neglected :cry: I am going to try and finish "How green was my valley" in the next few days and then I can carry on with this one.....but here's a little bit more so long...

We got to KTP at just before 9 - reception was hectically busy, being the first Saturday of school holidays and all - but we saw this gorgeous old Bedford truck on its way to do a pipe delivery and Elf couldn't resist a photo - isn't it a beauty....

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We were out of reception in about half an hour - not too bad and enough time to hopefully get a lekker campsite, set up camp and still go out for a decent drive while still early. We had a good look round, this being our first time camping and eventually decided on the first campsite on your RHS as you enter - nice and big with one of those nice afdakkies for shade - are they meant for your tent or your car ??? We saw someone who had parked their car under it for shade and had to wonder...? We unpacked and had our camp set up in just over half an hour and we were very comfortable too....

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We also had an unwelcome visitor who was determined to make a meal out of our tyre or so it looked like - maybe he had eaten all his friends .....yuk....... koringkrieks are NOT my favourites, especially in their cannabalistic stage - and there were hundreds of the b*ggers all over the place......and so many in the roads that you couldn't help squashing a few as you drove :twisted:

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Jannie and Vanessa and Stefan popped to say hello on their way up to Nossob - it was a quick visit as we would be seeing them later that evening for a braai but it was lovely to see how much Stefan had grown in the 3 months since we had seen him ... we decided to head out up to Houmoed as Jannie had mentioned that there were lions there :roll:

We saw some nice birdies along the way and Elf grudgingly allowed me to stop long enought to take a few photos - I was told very clearly before this trip " we are not stopping for every single teeny little bird ok, only the medium and big ones " and with that I had to be content but still managed a few of the smaller ones too :lol:

Fork tailed drongo

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and a lesser grey shrike

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and this lovely little Marico flycatcher with his breakfast

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


Last edited by Scouter on Sun May 08, 2011 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 6:03 pm 
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Nice birdies, Scouter :thumbs_up: I think it is a marico flycatcher :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:40 pm 
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So sorry – started this early this morning and forgot to save it and then had hordes of folk for tea and somehow managed to delete it .... but we are back now :slap: Thanks anne-marie and sorry, will get this one done soonish I promise! Elf is also the name of my daughters little car - a dark green tiny Daihatsu - small and green, hence "Elf" :lol:

Ok Caracal, I know the rules about going on another trip before you have finished your last report so I had better get a move on as we are popping up for a very quick visit in 2 weeks time to deliver something to Jannie – I know, school holidays AGAIN and freezing cold winter – we must be MAD, but hey, I’d rather take my chances with the hordes and the icicles than not go at all .....

So, to continue, Elf and I hopped into Kat and trundled off across the dune road in search of the Houmoed lions ( my favourite bunch after those darling little cubs at Marie se Gat) but we got to Houmoed and there was nothing – oh well, its never a good idea to go looking for something someone else said was there, so we carried on up the road, stopping every now and again for a medium to large-sized bird that I was allowed to stop for :roll: . It was pretty quiet, even for the holidays and there weren’t many cars about yet. At Kamferboom I stopped – there was a nice Lanner perched in the top of deadish tree on our left but too far away for a good photo – or so I was informed – so I accelerated off again – and had one of Caracal’s “oh sh*t” moments - said VERY loudly I am ashamed to admit – while slamming on brakes at the same time .... barely half a metre away from where we had stopped and where we were gazing into the sky at the Lanner was this ...

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and we had nearly driven right past them without seeing them ..... :big_eyes:

Two of our beautiful Houmoed boys .... we sat and watched them snoozing for a while until one of them sat up and had a quick wash - look at the size of this guys belly - they had obviously eaten well .....

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This has got to be one of my favourites – he has such a gorgeous distinctive face and we recognised him from our previous trip in January – he has a Mohawk ....

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And the sweetest face ......

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His brother was just as cute

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Especially when pulling funny faces

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I was pretty upset with myself that I had almost managed to drive right past them without seeing them when another car approached us from behind, pulled up next to us and looked at us and the Lanner who was still sitting there in the tree and drove off while I was sticking my head out the window to tell them about the lions right under their noses, when they too slammed on brakes and reversed the 2 meters back – I smiled at the passenger who was looking at me with :big_eyes: and we both grinned and then the penny dropped – the lions were lying in a slight hollow beneath the tree and behind a shallow rise and they were invisible until you had actually almost driven past them – I reversed and we tried again – yip, there they were – popping out at you like a jack-in-the-box as you drove past – I felt better then I must admit :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:50 am 
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Lion queen - yes, I wonder .... :hmz: they probably are - seems to be the same area ..... We've seen the same bunch around there on each of the 3 trips we've taken so far - quite a big pride - about 7 if I remember correctly :lol:

So, after having told in no uncertain terms that I HAVE to get this TR finished soon, I will carry on – my daughter suggested I only do one post for each of the 6 days we were there – ha ha I told her ....

We left our lovely lions after spending at least an hour with them – by this time the queue of cars had built up around and behind us as it can only in the holidays

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and we meandered up to Gemsbokplein where we decided that we had had enough of the appalling roads and we turned around to make our way back. Just before the waterhole we found the suricates – yippee – at least this bunch were out and about although they were quite far from the road I did get a shot or 2 of the closest one which made me very happy

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We made our way back to our lions – mercifully the cars had left and we had them all to ourselves again – there still hasn’t much action though – just the occasional yawn and stretch and then back to sleep

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Look at the eyelashes on this far lion – why do boys always have such loooong lashes – not fair

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On our way back we found some cute baby ground squirrels ( just for Micetta) sitting IN the road – I was terrified they were going to get run over as they were in the shade and not very visible ( and they were rather doff and didn’t get out of the way till the last second) ..

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This one had a little more sense and was off the road, doing the whole sunshade thingy with his tail

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:49 am 
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Just caught up again. :thumbs_up:
What a nice time you were having.....and another trip imminent. :dance: :dance:

Could you (or somebody else) help me with a question please.

I have seen programmes about meercats on the TV, but I notice you and other mites talk of suricates.
Are they the same animal? :hmz:
Please excuse my ignorance, but I had not heard the word suricate until I joined the forums!! :redface:
:popcorn: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Wow, have just had the WORST storm I can ever remember - thunder right overhead and lightning lighting up the whole place like the Blackpool Illuminations and hail that I'm sure put some dents in the car - and a horse having hysterics in the stable and a cat having hysterics in the house - phew !!



We got back to camp, blew up our nice new airbeds and were out again – this time to Leeudril. There were some nice big herds of springbokkies drinking the nice clean rainwater out of the puddles in the road...

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And the road is always just beautiful – and usually nice and smooth too :dance:

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I managed at long last to get a decent photo of a Namaqua dove which I was pleased about – normally they are off long before I can get them into focus properly, never mind actually push the button ... this is always why I am green with envy at other ‘mites stunning bird shots :mrgreen:

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About halfway up to Leeudril we saw a whole bunch of cars stopped – at least 5 or 6 – which as you know normally heralds a phenomenal sighting – normally a decent predator or 6 if you are lucky, so we drove slowly up so as not to disturb anybody or anything – and we looked and looked – we looked far away and after our near lion-miss of this morning, we also looked under our noses but couldn’t see a thing. Eventually, after creeping past the last few cars in the queue, we relented and stuck our heads out of the window to ask what all these people were looking at .... the answer ..... “luiperd “ ....
........ ”SKILPAD” !!!!!!
( as in leopard ... tortoise ) WHERE ??? Over theeeeere ........ geez, about 30 or 40 metres away is the blessed tortie ambling along – were they serious ?? Apparently so ..... !! Some rather unmentionable words were uttered until the absolute hilarity of the situation hit us and we dissolved into hysterical laughter - that all these cars were stopped for a tortoise so far away it almost looked like a rock.....

Still emitting un-ladylike snorts and hoots of laughter we continued up to Leeudril when all of a sudden I let rip with another un-ladylike vloekwoord and slammed on brakes so hard the ABS kicked in as this long thin thing shot out in front of the car – “snake” I yelled ....“take a photo quick” ...... but I had forgotten Elf’s snake phobia and all I got was a blistering glare and a snarl ... so I grabbed my camera and managed to get a quick shot before he disappeared into the grass on the other side of the road

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We eventually got to Leeudril once my heartrate had returned to normal and were just in time to meet Jannie and Vanessa coming through the chain on their way back from Nossob. We stopped and had a quick kuier and swapped out our respective munchies we were both enjoying – Vanessa is one very good cook !!!!

The rest of the drive home was very quiet – not even a faraway tortoise to send us into raptures but it did mean we got back in time to sort out the braai before Jannie and family arrived. We had an amazing evening catching up on all their news and had a (only slightly I promise) raucous time around the fire much to the interest of our (new) neighbours who were also entertaining.

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We fell into bed at about 10 and tried to get to sleep but there had been a LOT of noise from the Botswana side of the park since about 8 that evening, and as the night wore on the party got louder and louder and louder. I managed to drift off for about half an hour but was woken up by the volume being turned up even more ( if such a thing was possible) and Elf telling me that they had played the same song over and over for the past hour .... suffice to say it was the worst night I can EVER remember. Eventually at about 2am the party ground to a halt and then the merry band of Twee Rivieren staff started wending their long drunken way home – up the road and past our tent – screaming and laughing and shouting and having a very merry time indeed... We both fell into a fitful sleep once we had calmed down enough to GO to sleep, which was another hour or more. NOT the best start to our holiday that’s for sure ....

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:19 pm 
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:lol: - no problem - hope it clears it all up - we do tend to snaffel Afrikaans words and make them our own don't we 8)

That snake was REALLY long - I got such a fright when it shot out in front of the car and then an even bigger one when I saw how long it was !

Ok, so the trip report I just finished last week was the one both kids and I took in Jan this year - spent a few days in TR and also Nossob then back to TR. This one is the other spontaneous one my daughter and I took in her April vac this year - just 5 nights - all at TR - and camping - hope that helps sort it out :wink:

anne marie :thumbs_up: - yes it was a beauty ( and I don't mean KG, although he isn't bad looking either 8) :lol: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:57 pm 
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My word Scouter --that's a big cobra :shock: And they move so fast too :shock:

The little man is growing like a weed in all that fresh KTP air too :lol: Lovely pic of him & Elf :thumbs_up:

Some pics of who, I think, is your young prince (and family) here : viewtopic.php?f=27&t=31672&start=0

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Thanks for the link to your TR p@m - I read it and really enjoyed it so much and seeing our "boy" as a youngster :thumbs_up:

So after our hideous night we woke at a little after 7.30 – tired and grumpy and very out of sorts. We dragged ourselves into the car and the first stop was the Botswana side of Reception where I encountered a very bleary-eyed and still totally hung-over receptionist and demanded to know in a loud voice what the Hades had been going on last night .... when her eyes eventually focussed on me she just looked at me, then shrugged and looked at the floor until I asked her if she had heard me .... no reaction, so I then proceeded to ask her AGAIN, louder this time. I could see the SA side all peering at me over the countertop, hoping for some action :roll: but I stayed calm – surprisingly - and glared at her until she eventually muttered something about a colleagues farewell party. Anyway, after some venting from my side and some grudging apologies from hers, I left, still shaking like a leaf as I don’t do confrontations very well and we headed off over the dune road again ( because there was nowhere else to go and now that I had alienated the Bots side I couldn’t even go and ask for a permit for the Rooiputs road :wall: )

Our 2 boys were at Houmoed this morning – but far away sleeping under a tree on the other side of the riverbed so we carried on and found some lovely gemsbok having a drink

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And I was allowed to stop for this bad photo of a kestrel ( I think – Caracal, “HELP”)

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We decided to head up as far as Kamqua – but after a while I was regretting the decision .... the mood in the car was not happy .... the road was too bumpy, the fridge was making annoying squeaking noises, we both had nasty headaches and we were not in the best frame of mind, AND the merkats were nowhere to be seen this morning.... At Rooibrak there was a car stopped, so we stopped and looked too – there was a cheetah lying under a tree on the ridge on the other side of the river – very far away and very minuscule, even with the bino’s . Cars came and went but we stayed and eventually she sat up and started walking, down the ridge and across the riverbed towards us. By that time I had turned the car round so Elf was on the correct side for taking photos and she eventually came closer until she was walking right next to the car – note how long the grass is though ... (closeup pics by Elf)

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I could see that she wanted to cross the road but by that time there was quite a queue of cars all following her and a bakkie that was driving next to us looked like it was going to shoot forward so I waved my hand out the window at them (feeling a bit bad as I did so ) to tell them to hang on as she was getting rather agitated and with that she took off across the road in front of us and the bakkie and was soon up the dune on the other side

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I honestly did feel really bad about telling the couple in the bakkie to slow down as I thought they might be angry with me being a bit cocky but amazingly we saw them later on at camp and the lady thanked me for telling them to wait as she had got the cheetah beautifully on video as she crossed in front of us and she was so happy. Phew !!!

The cheetah, Elena judging by the collar, then walked along the ridge and finally crossed over and disappeared

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Kamqua was a nightmare, with cars everywhere and far too many people around for my liking. The only consolation was that Elf got over her aversion to leaving the car at picnic spots – her rationale being that while there were hordes of little kids running around, they would be the easier target if there were any lions around with designs on someone for a snack, so she was reasonably safe :tongue:

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On our way home we saw this lovely lappet-faced vulture – a first in the park for me so I was really thrilled – a bit far away, but no matter ...

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There were also lots of big herds of springbok

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And also this poor little car that had come a cropper – not sure what broke but its wheel doesn’t look right does it – don’t tell me the roads aren’t bad :evil:

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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:20 am 
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Back at camp we decided to treat ourselves to a nice Cornish pie from the shop for our lunch – I asked the lady there which ones were Cornish and she told me “those” so I bought 2 of “them” – imagine our dismay when we chomped into them to find they were not Cornish after all but spinach and feta :evil:
Oh well .... we ate them anyway, although I must admit a bit “langtand” .... had a bit of a rest and a shower ( much nicer to shower in the middle of the day when the bathrooms are empty ) and then proceeded back to our lions to see if there was any action on that front. On the way a stunningly close Gemsbok that Elf managed to capture beautifully – they are normally very skittish and turn tail as soon as your car slows down next to them but this one seemed really chilled ....

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And our boys were STILL under the same tree, doing exactly the same as this morning, sleeping - well, we sat in the heat and watched them sleep and sleep and pointed out to numerous cars that that slight fawn coloured blob under that tree faaaaaar away on the other side of the riverbed, WAS actually a lion and not a rock .... and after about an hour of watching them sleep, they eventually stirred ...

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And with much stretching and yawning they proceeded to make their way slowly up the hill

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Where they found the nearest decent looking tree and gave it a good going-over just to make sure their claws were nice and sharp for the nights hunting .....

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.......before they carried on mooching along and eventually went over the ridge and out of sight. Speaking to Jannie the next day, he told us that the dominant male of the Houmoed pride was in the process of making whoopee with one of the females and so our 2 young boys had been kicked out of the pride for a little while while he had his wicked way ......

We just had enough time to make our way back to camp and then got caught up in the most horrendous traffic jam just inside the gate – the culprit – another cobra lurking in the bushes under the tree – I was praying frantically that it made its way out of the camp gate again and not in the other direction towards the campsites!! Tonight we made sure that we had a little something to help us sleep well :whistle:

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Elf also managed to get a photo of our Twee Rivieren Steve who hung around our campsite the whole 5 days we were there – it was nice to have some more company ...

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:23 am 
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Thanks p@m - true, jeans are a favourite too as are cardboard boxes, especially ones you have packed with precious stuff in (like scrapbooking papers) :lol:

Micetta - yes, we were very glad we had stayed and watched them sleep :whistle:

Caracal - you are so right - I need to get this one done asap - I honestly can't cope with trying to juggle 2 TR's at a time - hold thumbs for that 40D today :pray:

lion queen - :thumbs_up: - ha ha , we have 3 of them and they are all going on for 13 so they aren't as agile as they used to be :whistle: and the ginger one also likes to leap onto your back and clamber up to your shoulder from the counter-top or table, especially when you are bending down to pick something up or getting something out the cupboard and least expect it - and he weighs abt 7 kgs - talk about nearly giving you a heart attack - and numerous punture holes in your body from those ragged claws :slap:

Lionspoon - hmmmm, maybe all those Bots receptionists are the same :hmz: and not very helpful or communicative ..... do you think one of the job requirements is the ability to stare blankly through people :lol: pretty sure it was Elena but will double check with the other photos we took of her - I don't know about the collar though ...

Monday dawned bright and clear and we were up early and out the gate as soon as it opened, refreshed by a good night’s sleep ( the Amarula might have helped :twisted: ) and off to Leeudril - ever hopeful of the cheetah and leopard abounding in this area :wall: . Needless to say we didn’t see any .... but Samevloeiing delivered for us in other ways with these black winged stilts – another tick for me and a sigh from Elf .... ( sorry about the awfully cropped photo) ...

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And then came the magic – I should call this next part “The day of the Jackal” ( with apologies to author Frederick Forsyth) We drove down from the elevated area at Samevloeiing and drove next to the flooded area near the trees - The following 3 photos are all by Elf and I think are some of her most stunning yet ...

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And then he started trotting off and I managed to get this one before he was off and out of sight through the trees ....

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Elf took this shot of a canary at Samevloeiing too – could it be that she was getting into her birding in a big way ? Unfortunately not, she was only taken by the beautiful yellow of the birdie against the startling blue of the sky ( graphic designers :roll: )

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We continued down the road to Leeudril seeing our first steenbokkie that was gone in a flash as well as our first batties of the trip but they were way too far away for a photo. On our way back, a campervan was stopped with a humungeous lens out the window .... I’m sure he got some stunning photos but we had to be content with this, our first pic of a Brants whistling rat ... I was really happy though .....

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We then decided we were going to brave the roads and go all the way up to Mata Mata today. On the way up to Auchterlonie there were some nice herds of wildies and lots of huge herds of springboks – definitely the biggest we had seen on any trip so far and impossible to get all of them in one shot - they would have looked like ants :lol: - this was about half of the herd ...

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As we got close to Auchterlonie we could see a mass of cars blocking the road from both directions so we were pretty excited knowing it could only be a cat ( although we did think about Saturdays tortoise sighting :whistle: )

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: Scouter and Elf escape to Twee Rivieren
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Ok ok :lol: here's a little preview

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Or this one

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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