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 Post subject: canon Quick visit to Mokala Feb 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Location: Grahamstown
I recently had to do a trip to Gaborone which is a two day journey. When planning the route I discovered that Mokala National Park would be the perfect halfway stop and the cost of the accommodation would be less than at any other boarding establishment. I duly booked for one night on the way up and then another night three days later for the return journey. Clearly game viewing time would be restricted because I would be on the road for most of the day but what the heck - it would be great to be "in the bush". This would be my first stay in a park without my SO which seemed very strange.

A number of raptors welcomed me soon after the turn-off to the park - a Common Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite and a Steppe Buzzard

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The normal polite greeting via two way radio at the gate took place. The 6 km to Mosu Camp never yielded much to report on.. Checking in was quick and efficient which left about an hour before closing time for me to do a quick drive on the Matopi Loop. Not far from camp a lone Buffalo bull greeted me with a steely stare.

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I was granted permission to visit the Haak en Steek camping area because it was vacant at the time. The good rains had ensured that the water hole was full. A number of visitors made their appearance.

Scrub Hare

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Crimson-breasted Shrike

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Kalahari Scrub Robin (not sure so please help!)

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Fiscal Flycatcher

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Cardinal Woodpecker

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The vegetation was very lush along the Matopi Loop which made viewing rather difficult. A group of Kudu bulls were slaking their thirst at the Matopi Waterhole

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A lone Tsessebe came ambling down the road and was not in the least concerned about my presence. The animals seemed a lot calmer than when I was last in Mokala.

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Just around the corner I spotted another vehicle coming down the road!

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When I returned to Mosu there was just enough time to pop down to Mofele camp. En route I saw these antelope....

this Nyala Bull had exceptionally long horns

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...a young Kudu cow

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....a Nyala ewe

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....and a Red Haartebeest

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This was certainly a worthwhile stop-over. Dinner in the restaurant was good.

Return stay to follow.......


Last edited by canon on Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quick visit to Mokala
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:36 pm 
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Location: Grahamstown
The return trip was an interesting day - Valentines Day, my birthday and I was all on my own at Mokala! The trip back was a long one which left me with about an hour to do a quick drive. Unfortunately the Doringlaagte and Kameeldoring Loops were still closed due to flood damage so I once again took the Matopi Loop which included a visit to Haak en Steek camping site. Here is what I saw...

BUFFALO

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KUDU
This fellow was being bitten by flies which seemed to be a problem in the park

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TSESSEBE

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WARTHOGS AT HAAK EN STEEK WATERHOLE

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CRIMSON-BREASTED SHRIKE

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TSESSEBE HAVING TAKEN A MUDBATH

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TSESSEBE BULL TURNING ON THE CHARM

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DIDERICKS CUCKOO

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To be continued....

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WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quick visit to Mokala
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Location: Grahamstown
Near the Matopi waterhole a number of antelope were seen...

ZEBRA

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BLESBUCK

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KUDU
Note the flies that are sitting on this Kudu.

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SPRINGBUCK
Both these Springbuck appear to have been of the Black and White variety respectively and have crossed with the common springbuck. I would appreciate comment on this one.

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AFRICAN HOEPOE

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LBJ
Need help with ID here!

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SPOTTED THICK-KNEE

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BLACK-BELLIED KORHAAN

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KUDU
This was a magnificent speciman. Note the length of his horns in the second pic

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GIRAFFE
This guy had the same fly problem!!

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NYALA

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TSESSEBE

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REEDBUCK

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ELAND

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GEMSBUCK

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TSESSEBE
These Tsessebe calves kept me entertained by charging through the long grass - it is amazing to witness how fast they can run at this tender age.

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WARTHOG

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That brings my report on this whistle stop visit to an end. I can really recommend this park - the service is excellent and it is apparent that the staff all take great pride in Mokala. Well worth a visit.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quick visit to Mokala
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Excellent report considering the short time you had there Canon.

What a lovely selection and different species of birds and animals you saw.

With regards the Springbok and the colour variation, I can't fins any other explanation at this stage other than what my Mammal guide book has to say which is
Some farmers in S.A selectively breed Springbok with white or black coats and these may be seen in separate herds or mixed with normally coloured animals.
Also found this in the Springbok thread.

bwana wrote:
Black and White variations are very common - huge herd of them exist in the Karoo. They do probably stem from a genetic mismatch at some time but are now sub species (or whatever the correct biological term is) in their own right IIRC. The white ones are not albino's and happily produce white offspring when mating with other white springbok. The black gene is also very dominant and any common or white springbok mated with a black one will produce a black fawn - which accounts for the large numbers that are found in the EC. White springbok suffer the most from interbreeding between the colours and the degree of whiteness ranges from pure white, to buck with fawn colour flanks on an overall white body - the result of breeding with the common variety.
A recent offshoot is the Cinnamon Springbok which has a cinnamon colour (go figure) and has mostly lost the dark flank stripe. I would suppose that these have originated from very selective breeding though, and are not common at all.


As for your little LBJ, not my favourite to try and ID but I would hazard a guess at one of the Larks, maybe the Fawn coloured?

Also love your pic of the jumping Tsessebe calves. :D

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