Day 2 – Games and grief to Nossob
My daughter had warned my travelling companions – all less than half my age – that I am hard core, and would have them at the gate at 6h00. The general reaction was ‘great – that is what we are here for’. 6h00 was cool and drizzling, and I was mildly annoyed that the permit guy was 5 minutes late and appeared out of the gloom when I was about to give up on him. (You hand your permit in when you arrive in camp. The theory is that if they don’t have your permit at gate closing time, you could be stuck and they will come looking for you.)
We splashed our way out of camp and down to the riverbed which was covered in shallow pools of water. I had previously said to my companions that if they think they see something, that they should ask the driver to stop the vehicle. We had already seen some lion rocks, wooden cheetah & leopard and even an elephant tree. It is a patience game that many of you probably play. The animals seemed to be still in bed (except for a giraffe near KTC) as we descended from the river bend bypass, when I heard “I am sure I saw cheetah under that tree”. I stopped the car and we scanned it. In the poor light the unmistakable shapes moved. Well spotted! 2 were sheltering peering out for any sign of breakfast. It caused a buzz even though it was far off. This is the only pic that was not completely blurred.
I have often said, with tongue slightly in cheek, that Afrikaans people are only interested in lions, and have been taken to task, but as we watched, a chap drove up, (Free State registration) glanced at the cheetahs, and asked me “Het julle leeus gesien” (Have you seen any lions). I told him about yesterdays, and he took off without another look! Nuff sed.
The giraffe family.
We had fun splashing through puddles seeing very little except this curious mother & calf down to Kamqua, where we took the dune road towards Nossob as planned.
We decided to show the group as much of the park as we could and the eastern side looked brighter. We came across this nursery which was part of a large herd.
By now it had stopped raining and the file engine had a thick coat of whitish mud and looked quite ghostly. I drove over a rise and slid past the turnoff to Morevet waterhole as I braked. I started to reverse and felt and heard a loud bang. To my horror, I realized that the other car had come over the rise and we had collided! Fortunately the young Welshman driving the other car had grown up on a farm and had expertly tried to avoid the thoughtless idiot who was reversing blind and towards the middle of the road, and managed to miss running straight into the back, but had clipped his rear fender against my rear lights.
A few minutes later we resumed the journey, thankful that there had been no injuries and the damage was relatively slight and that both vehicles were drivable. I felt a complete idiot, but as the others had accepted it philosophically, and there is not much you can do about it at Morevet, I made an effort to get over it and enjoy the rest of the trip.
As we were about to drive away from Dikbaardskolk, I told them that this was the loo where the lioness raised her cubs recently. We splashed & splashed our way to Nossob, and passed the friendly tractor guys who were looking for stuck sedans to pull out. Well done, very pro-active.
Marie se draai didn’t deliver, for once, and we had lunch at my favourite camp. I took them to the hide where at last I could tick the only outstanding stork on my list – Abdim’s.
Maybe this view is familiar.
The sun was doing its best to dry up the puddles, but we had fun helping by splashing the water onto the banks as we drove through.
Nobody has seen much so we more or less wrote the day off as far as spotting was concerned, but near Craig Lockhard we came across a Kgalagadi traffic jam, 5 cars.
To be continued…