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 Post subject: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP July/Aug 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:41 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP

What a lovely winter. What a BLESSED winter!
We had the opportunity to do 2 things that we've never done before:
1. To visit the KTP :thumbs_up: and
2. To stay in a private lodge in one of KNP's concessions 8)

It was a wonderful journey, full of great experiences and we brought back precious memories and of course... :cam: ! I'd love to share some of them with you...

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:35 pm 
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Location: Centurion
PART 1: KTP - FIRST TIME!

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For many years we've heard all about the KTP - about the black-maned lions, the red sanddunes and the peaceful atmosphere. This year we finally decided to dig deep into our pockets and go to the KTP in style. 8)

We flew down to Upington and rented a Daihatsu Terios 4x4. The next day we drove up to the park and we had the following itinerary planned:
Day 1 - Twee Rivieren
Day 2&3 - Mata-Mata
Day 4&5 - Kalahari Tented Camp
Day 6&7 - Nossob
Day 8 - Twee Rivieren

On our "wishlist":
The SUPER 3 - the 3 cats: Lion, leopard and cheetah
As well as: Bat eared fox, caracal, honey badger and brown hyena

In the end - of these 7, we saw 5 on our trip! We were more than happy...

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:02 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
Day 1: 24 July 2010

Today we awake in Upington after flying in the previous afternoon. It is SO's 30th birthday :dance: !!! He woke up and got a birthday card from me - filled with the good news - my gift to him: A 2 night stay at a private lodge in one of Kruger's concessions the weekend after getting back from KTP! But more about that weekend later...

We left Upington at about 8:30, after picking up our order from Skaapland butchery (to be recommended). At 10:30 we entered the park and checked in at the Twee Rivieren reception.
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First things first:
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So off to the petrol pumps
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Our chalet was not ready yet, so we decided to go for a short drive up the Nossob side to Leeuwdril (where the road is still closed) and back to camp.

We were greeted by the old symbol of the park - Gemsbok!
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We were also greeted by many of our feathered friends:

The Fork-tailed drongo (Mikstertbyvanger)
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A Pygmy falcon (Dwergvalk)
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The beautiful Namaqua sandgrouse (Kelkiewyn)
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A Marico flycatcher (Maricovlieevanger)
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The majestic Tawny eagle (Roofarend) - which I found much easier to ID than in Kruger - where there are just SOOO many look-alikes!
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This Black-headed heron (Swartkopreier) - seeming so out of place in this dry landscape
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Back at TR - this lovely sociable weaver (versamelvoel) nest welcomed us back at camp
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_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


Last edited by Bushbuddies on Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:33 pm 
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Location: Centurion
After settling in in our lovely chalet at TR, we decided to take an afternoon drive up to Kamfersboom and back.

This little steenbok was awaiting us just outside camp
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On the sanddunes - this Northern black Korhaan (witvlerkkorhaan) was doing his rounds
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Once next to the riverbed - we saw this herd of Gemsbok
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One of our first PCG's (Bleeksingvalk) - and did we come to realise there are MANY...
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And at Kamfersboom a mixed herd of blouwildebeest and gemsbok
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We spent our last hour sitting at Samevloeing waterhole - watching the birds and one lonely springbok come to have a drink before the day ends.

Had a decent night's rest in our TR chalet. Here we also had first-hand experience with the "bat-problem" in the chalets... Read all about it before we left and felt quite :shock: . Luckily it was only in our TR chalet, and although they woke us up with discomforting noises, they never fell on our beds (or worse - ourselves!) - as so many others reported.

Image

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:02 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
Day 2: 25 July

This morning we awake at TR. The plan for the day is to drive up to Mata-Mata where we stay for the next 2 nights.

We were second to exit the gate at 7:30, and found it strange that there was only 2 cars at the gate at gate opening time :huh: .

Our first sighting was a BBJ walking to and fro, calling very intently - maybe to find his/her pups? We waited a while, but nobody responded to the desperate calling, and the BBJ ran off to go try another spot.

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A pair of Lanner Falcons (Edelvalke) greeting the morning
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A small herd of springbok in the riverbed
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This Kori Bustard (Gompou - directly translated: Glue Peacock!?!?) was just asking to be photographed...
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The lovely Crimson-breasted Shrike (Rooiborslaksman) - very difficult photograph - they just NEVER sit still! :roll:
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This beautiful and majestic young Martial Eagle (Breekoparend) - our only one for this trip!
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And then a breakfast of rusks and tea for me, and buttermilk rusks and cold milk for SO (his favourite!) at Auchterlonie.
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Here SO also sustained an injury - a flask-fell-directly-on-the-toe injury! He gave many grunts, oohs and aahs - untill we could finally perform "emergency surgery" that night at MM... Made a hole in the toenail - and all was better.
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(SO wanted me to take a current pic as well - it looks worse and will get more sympathy - men...! :roll: )

If only we knew who was walking our way a few hundred metres on - we might have packed up sooner... :twisted:

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19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:44 pm 
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Location: Centurion
As we left Auchterlonie picnic site and turned right, up to MM, there was a decent traffic jam of at least 5 cars.

"What are you seeing?"...

"LEOPARD!"

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This leopard (I think it was a female), was walking against the top of the dune towards Auchterlonie picnic site.

She stopped to smell the bushes on her way...
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Paused for a moment to have a rest...
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And lied down to look at the valley and all the people admiring her from down below
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Then, instead of continuing on to Auchterlonie, she turned back, and started walking towards the road
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Again, she stopped to look at all her spectators...
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And continued towards the road
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She seemed very nervous as she got closer. All of a sudden, she picked up speed, ran across the road and into the bushes on the other side of the road, and disappeared out of sight.

A Leopard :dance: ! One of our "Super 3" cats - our first wish came true!

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
The rest of the day consisted of driving up to MM, checking in, and then later on a short afternoon drive before the gates closed.

On our ways we saw some Springbok - taking a peaceful rest
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And some, well, not being so peaceful...
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The usual crowds were hanging out at the waterholes
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And of course we saw some of the birds showing of their coloured feathers.

The male Ostrich (Volstruis)
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The Lilac-breasted Roller (Gewone Troupant)
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The Yellow-billed Hornbill (Geelbekneushoringvoel)
Image

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:47 pm 
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Location: Centurion
We also got to tick off another animal on our wishlist - the cute little bat-eared fox! Unfortunately - he was a bit shy...

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Just before MM - this spotted hyena crossed our road

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I'm sure it had to be the same one doing her rounds around camp every evening - she seemed very confortable around the cars

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It was evening. Time to relax, braai, and drink of the Kalahari's peaceful atmosphere...

Image

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
Day 3: 26 July

This morning we were up early to leave camp at gate opening time. Unlike our experience at TR - there was quite a queue of cars waiting at the gate.

After getting our pass, we took a leisurely drive to Kamqua for breakfast.

In the early morning we were greeted by this Crowned Lapwing (Kroonkiewiet)
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These "Gnu's" were off for an early morning drink
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This little BBJ was catching up with some sleep after a night filled with mischief...
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Some BWB-action:
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And then I had a Crimson-breasted Shrike that challenged me to a photo shoot-out! Moving about every time I pressed that shutter release button... :cam: ! I think I won...
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Some critters playing around in the riverbed
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And then our first (and only) sighting of kudu in the KTP - this small herd at Dalkeith
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During our afternoon drive we saw this PCG looking for something to eat
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Another first (but definitely not only) sighting for our KTP trip - Giraffes on their way to drink at Dalkeith
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Some more wildies - resting - for the end of the day had come
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Back at camp, we decided to go for a walk and see the rest of the camp. Went into the hide - but nothing much to see. Then off to look at the border with Namibia. Here we were entertained by some yellow mongoose. They seemed to be part of an international syndicate... :shock: Digging tunnels underneath the borderfence and smuggling goods from Namibia to SA and back with impunity... :wink:
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And so we came to the end of another day in the magical KTP.

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
Day 4: 27 July

This morning we leave MM to move just a tad bit South -for 2 nights at Kalahari tented camp.

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While packing the car, SO started chatting to the neighbour - also packing his car. They've been in the park now for 6 nights - and heading home today. SO enquired: "Any lion or cheetah sightings?" You see, SO was starting to get anxious to see more cats - he is a HUGE lion-fan. He wanted to see the black-maned Kalahari lions BADLY!

"Two cheetah sightings" the neighbour replied, and then with a downcast face "but no lions..." :( He obviously also wanted to see them - but 6 nights and no luck! We couldn't help but wonder - will we see any lion...? :hmz:

After everything was packed, we headed to the gate and left camp again at 7:30.

Our first sighting - this giraffe
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SO was starting to complain about the condition of the roads...

THEN....

Image

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:33 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
As I was saying... :wink:

As we approached Sitsas waterhole (subsequently SO's favourite waterhole), we saw there were 2 cars standing still in the road adjacent to the waterhole. We were still quite a distance from there, but I tried to look and see if there was anything to see... Started seeing a creature walking from the waterhole towards the road... "LION!!!" I yelled. SO's right foot became heavier all of a sudden and we started approaching the sighting a "tad bit" faster to be able to still see the lion. As we got closer the lion started settling in right next to the road, and we got a prime spot...

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It looked like an older male lion, and it looked like he needed a dentist...

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We looked towards the other side of the road - and :big_eyes: - ANOTHER seemingly younger and more beautiful black-maned kalahari lion!

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We were extatic! :dance:

The older brother got up and moved across the road

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He greeted his brother - in that way that is so characteristic of lions...

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The younger brother was truly a beautiful specimen

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The older one had that "wild look" in his eyes...

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They had obviously had a good meal the previous night - their stomachs were BULGING!

The younger one decided to get up to go to the waterhole for a drink

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And after a minute or two, the older one followed...

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They shared a drink at the waterhole

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The younger lion finnished drinking first and went off to go for a lie-down under a distant tree.

The older one still was drinking for quite some time, but then also got up, walked towards us...
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...across the road and into the distance.

During this time we also managed to spot another creature of note...

The neighbour from the morning was there as well - EXTATIC at finally seeing lions and showing us the thumbs up sign repeatedly! :thumbs_up:

After this sighting, SO was smiling, he couldn't remember his old toe-injury and he never again complained about the roads... :D

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:51 pm 
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
From there, the very happy and content Bushbuddies drove on to Kamqua for breakfast.

On our way there we saw these two having a "tiff"

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After our breakfast at Kamqua, we headed back up North. At 14e Boorgat some giraffe posed for a close-up :cam:

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The Viljoen's from Caledon (who drove through KTP in the white Toyota Camry all the way), stopped us to let us know they saw some lions at Craig Lockhart. :thumbs_up:

So off we went to Craig Lockhart - and sure enough - there were 2 lionesses lazing around

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Every now and then one would get up and move to a spot with more shade

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Some Gemsbok approached the waterhole without first noticing the lions...

We thought we were about to witness some action...

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But the Gemsbok sensed danger soon enough and stopped

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The lionesses didn't seem too hungry and went back to lazing around.

Untill some Wildebeest arrived...

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But they too sensed danger in time and decided to first wait for their enemy to move on before coming for a drink

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We waited for 2 hours there. Many more animals arrived to come for a drink, realised the lions were there, and moved to a shady spot to wait untill the lions would go away.

The lionesses, however, had no such plan

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So we decided to move on.

Our next sighting was this lovely Secretary Bird (Sekretarisvoel)

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After a day of wonderful sightings of the kings and queens of the Kalahari, we decided to rest at our tent in the Kalahari Tented Camp for the rest of the afternoon

Image

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:48 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
Day 5 - 28 July

This morning we had a COLD awakening. Every morning while standing in the queue to exit the gate we noticed that some people were dressed in beanies and scarfs - and we really had moderate temperatures! It never dropped below 0! But after our first night sleeping in a tent at KTC - we realised - those guys had to be campers! The tents get MUCH colder at night than the chalets.

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Our first sighting this morning was just 1km before Sitsas waterhole (where we saw our male lions the previous day). Sitsas was becoming our favourite waterhole! This was a cat of a different kind.

It was an African Wild cat!

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And a good looking one at that

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We had the privelage of spending at most 2 minutes with this lovely creature before it disappeared. We felt very lucky!

The combination of early morning light, dust and animals walking in herds to the waterholes, made for some good opportunity to experiment with photography

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We also crossed paths with a few lovely birds

The Twany Eagle (Roofarend)

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Secretary Birds (Sekretarisvoels)

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A Pygmy Falcon (Dwergvalk)

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Now we had been very lucky with sightings so far. But still we wanted to see some cheetah. From chatting to other visitors in the area, we gathered that most of the cheetah sightings had been between Auchterlonie and Kamqua. So we decided to drive down to Auchterlonie this morning, in the hope of maybe seeing some cheetah on the way.

About 1 km before Batulama - we had a sighting of BBJ's feasting on, and sometimes fighting over, a springbok carcass

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And so the guessing game started. Who made this kill? Were they still around? It didn't seem right for a leopard kill. Surely a leopard would have dragged it into a tree or something. And lions - no. Lions would have left much less leftovers for the BBJ's to enjoy. Cheetah, maybe. But no cheetah in sight all the way to Auchterlonie.

After breakfast we returned to find one BBJ still enjoying the last few scraps

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We drove on. And then we spotted the likely killers... :big_eyes: And thanks to this forum - we knew their names!

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:21 pm 
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
There they were - a collared cheetah mom and her 2 cubs:


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The one cub's foot (resting on the mother's back), was still quite bloody. It seemed that we have found the springbok's killers!

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Now we knew about the collared cheetahs and their cubs from the forum, even before we left. Was this Elena with Simon and Garfunkel, or Lisette, Pudding and Pie? :huh: We were looking to the mother for some clues...

And then we saw it - the base of her antena-thingy was red. It was Lisette and the girls!

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Lisette was starting to look around, and became less peaceful as more cars arrived

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Then, she got up, took a goooood stretch...

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...and lead her cubs across the road where they settled in a shady spot.

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They stayed there for a short while, but then mom decided to get up...

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...and with her cubs, go over the dune for some more privacy.

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What was very interesting during this encounter, was that there was a single BBJ who kept following the three. He remained about 50-100m behind them, and always out of their sight. But everytime they got up, he followed, and when they stopped, he also stopped and took cover under the nearest tree. He also followed them across the dune.

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Clever little fellow - he knows where is next "left-over" meal might be coming from!

On our way back to KTC, saw these giraffes drinking water at Craig Lockhart WH. It remains fascinating to watch these giants drink...

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Back at camp - there were some beggars awaiting us - luckily not the type you see on every Gauteng street corner!

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What a day - AWC AND Cheetahs! :big_eyes: Our cat-appetite was satisfied indeed. :tongue:

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:56 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1191
Location: Centurion
Day 6 - 29 July 2010

This morning we leave the Aoub river bed and leave from KTC to Nossob for two nights. We've been very lucky on the Auob side - seeing all 3 of the big cats we wanted to see - as well as the smaller AWC!

We left at gate opening time (7:30) from KTC and headed South. Soon we were met by quite a few fresh footprints in the road...

Image

The tracks were continuing on in the road, and then turned off the road, towards the riverbed. We looked up towards the riverbed, but saw no lion. Instead we saw these beautiful giraffes walking in the morning light.

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When talking to some people further down the road, they pointed out to us that there was INDEED a lion at that point in the riverbed :big_eyes: - just as our basic tracking abilities had led us to think! But the giraffe had distracted our attention from him :doh: ! It was apparently a huge male lion on a kill, and you had to look backwards in the riverbed, while we looked forward towards the giraffe! Well, I guess you can't get them all... :tongue:

The next sighting was, in my books, the best of the trip. It didn't matter that we missed the lion - this was far better. But to be able to fit all the pictures in, I think it'll be better if we turn the page first... :twisted:

_________________
19 June - Skukuza
20-22 June - Tamboti
23-25 June - Shimuwini
26-29 June - Shingwedzi


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