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 Post subject: Caracal An Experimental Excuse of a Trip Feb 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:11 pm 
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An Excuse ??? :shock:
Yes an Excuse ! :D


I needed an excuse to get to the park :hmz: and this must be the best excuse that I have ever come up with ! :D

Experimental ??? :roll:
Yes experimental !!!!! :D

There are a few things that need to be tried and tested before you can embark on a 3 week excursion to an unmentionable place !!! :slap:

So the conversation went something like this....

Me: I have been thinking. :hmz:

SO : (scowls..my thinking normally ends up costing him money !!!!!) :evil:
.
What now Dear… :roll:

You know those 5 P’s that you are always on about ???

Yes Dear…..Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance! :rtm:

And you know this 3 week trip that we are planning to an unmentionable place???

Yes Dear.
( My turn to scowl..normally his “yes Dear’ means he is not listening to me !!)

Well I think we need to plan an experimental trip to prevent poor performance on our long 3 week trip.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. :hmz: ..and what do you have in mind ??

Kalahari….Rooiputs…. Polentswa…. Rooftop……

Not a bad idea Dear !!! :clap:

( so he was listening after all !!!! ) :dance:


I had already planned the trip :redface: ...booking the next morning was a mere formality.
By the time Doug got home that evening I had a SANParks reservation form in my grubby little paws.

2 x Rooiputs, 1 x Nossob, 2 x Polentswa, 1 x Bitterpan, 1 x KTC and 1x Kielie Krankie. ..starting on the 18th Feb.

All that remained for me to do was to tackle the Botswana side of things and to find somewhere to overnight en route.
Minor details….the important thing was that we were off to the KTP again !!!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:24 pm 
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Quote:
That is pure blackmail, extortion and above all manipulation.



I would never stoop to that....or would I ???? :D :D :D :D


It didn’t take long to get all accommodations sorted. ( It never does !!!! :wink: )
Not sure what had actually got into my mind with this trip…I do not cope very well with the heat. :big_eyes: December the temperature reached 46˚C and we were travelling in a car with air-con. This trip would obviously be in Monty..sans an aircon. I just put that thought on ignore and decided to cross that very hot bridge when I got to it. :roll:

In the meantime Doug had also been worrying about the heat factor…but he doesn’t sit back and hope for the best...he does something about it.

After a bit of googling, plotting and planning he came up with this......

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My very own battery operated portable air-con consisting of our cooler box filled up with ice. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:


This here fan sucks in the hot air and

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this here pipe blows out cool air.

Image :dance: :dance:

Now before you all laugh :naughty: like many of our friends did….this here air-con saved my life . :clap: :clap: :clap:

We left Cape Town at about 11h00 on Friday 18th en route to Brandvlei. It was a scorcher of a day and we were travelling through the heat of the day. As we left we filled up with ice and again at Klawer. Not only does it serve as an air-con but also as a very handy ice-box to keep our drinks cold. :thumbs_up:

The roadworks did not help with the heat :evil: but at least it was an excuse to get out and stretch one’s legs….

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And also to check that all was well with Monty !

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The journey dragged on and I kept myself busy by taking photos through my side window

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And through the windscreen

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We had a bit of rain but the major shower passed us by.

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Eventually we arrived at our halfway stop and while Doug busied himself with the fire I busied myself with my camera and tripod.


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Indeed good way to start our experimental excuse of a trip !!!!!!!
:thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:16 pm 
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19 th Feb

We were on the road again by 7.00am. A long straight road lay ahead of us.

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We were only halfway to our destination and it promised to be another stinker of a day.
No road works along this stretch but Doug has to keep his eye on Monty.


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This is why I enjoy travelling in Monty...many stops ..which means many more photographic opportunities. It didn’t take me long to find some pretty white flowers still covered with dew and a interesting looking bug.

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I actually counted 15 different little flowers growing along the verge of the road. Amazing what a bit of rain can do to this part of the world.

We topped up with ice in Upington….yes I was suffering again !!!
And after taking the traditional photo we hit the last stretch to the KTP.

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One more stop at a famous guesthouse 50km north of Upington to stock up on biltong and we eventually arrived at KTP. The temp was 42° C …but I was still alive ...thanks to my designer air con which by now had become known as the ice-con. :D

Checking in on the Botswana side went smoothly until the friendly official asked me the make of the vehicle we were travelling in. I almost said a “ Monty” but realised just in time that that answer would not suffice. The following conversation ensued.

“ Gelandenwagen” I said
Huh ????
“G-Wagon “
Huh ????
A Mecedes Benz 4 x 4
Huh ???
Oh bl**dy hell...here let me write it down for you !!!! ( I was a tad hot and bothered by now)
Model ???
My turn to huh ???
Model??? Which year??
Oh …let’s see hmmm…2011 minus 30 equals…. 1981 or thereabouts
HUH ???
Okay so it is old…..
Colour ????
“A sh*tty brown colour" almost slipped out of my mouth …. But I said “ beige” instead.
Huh ???

Oh bl**dy hell...now I am really hot and bothered.

Eventually we were done and even though they had no idea as to which kind of vehicle was parked outside we were allowed entry.
After a substantially quicker check in on the South African side I joined Doug and Monty.

What took you so long ?????
I just glared at Doug….Your Monty has confused the hell out of the officials in there. You can check in next time !!! :evil:
Well next time you can stand in this 40°C baking sun and let the tyres down while I check in!!!
Well as you can imagine that shut me up.

After a quick fill up and a quick trip to the shop for an ice-cream we were ready to make our way to Rooiputs !!!! :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Now before I go any further with this trip report I have to tell you that if you are waiting to read about some awesome sightings like we have had in the past ( eg. Hyena brawl) then you are going to be a tad disappointed. What I will be sharing with you though are better described as awesome experiences….and so without much ado



To continue…

At last we were driving through the gate into the park…but what a shock. We were expecting some green grass….but OMW this was beautiful.

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And this had all appeared in less than six weeks. Unbelievable.

Of course our first stop was at Samevloeiing….and of course there was no leopard there to greet us. :( We sat and enjoyed the scenery for a little while before we ambled onto Leeudril. This drive was surprisingly quiet…okay so everything was probably lurking in the green meadows.
We spent a while watching the nothingness at Leeudril before back tracking to the turn off to Rooiputs. Just as we left Rooiputs we saw the back end of a tortoise disappearing into the grass. This was the beginning of many backsides disappearing into the grass….
We turned off at the signpost “Rooiputs residents only ‘ and I was so excited…at last we would be staying at Rooiputs.
We could see that lots of rain had fallen and had damaged this two track road that takes one to Rooiputs. We could also see that it had been repaired in places.

About 200m into this turn off it was as if somebody had flicked a switch and turned the Kalahari on. There was life everywhere….birds, bokkies, butterflies abounded. It was absolutely amazing. This two track road runs pretty much parallel to the other road that we had just driven along which had seemed devoid of all life…and now we couldn’t keep up with the sightings.

I have never seen so many flocks of Wattled Starlings..very noisy and very busy they were…and very difficult to get on camera.

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Kori bustards, looking like periscopes in the sea, were all over the place…but somehow I did not get one on camera.

The majestic Gemsbok was willing to pose for me though

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And a springbok thought he would better the gemsbok by posing on top of the rise.

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For once the Pale Chanting Goshawk was not the Commoner…

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…that title was shared between the Tawnys and the Pygmys. Just a pity there weren’t a bit closer.

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It was somewhere along this stretch of road that I decided I would be doing a photobook of this trip…entitled “ The Green Kalahari.” So for the rest of the trip Doug had to put up with….
“ Please stop..I need to photograph that for my photobook !”

This stretch of road was by far the most beautiful of all the roads we did on this trip.

A last bird sighting…which I think is a Steppe Buzzard…before we turned off into Rooiputs.
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Finally we had arrived at our long awaited destination and I was gobsmacked….it was unbelievably beautiful. Before we got to our campsite we stopped and chatted to some FB friends that I was expecting to meet there. And yes Frank you were so right…Rooiputs is awesome. We were also meeting Dreamer and SO, but they seemed to be out on a drive.
We could see that they had the site next to us though.
It didn’t take us long to get the chairs and table out and the tent pitched.
Just then Dreamer and SO arrived and the rest of the evening was spent catching up on their stories from the last couple of days. The sunset was beautiful but I decided to sit and watch that one out. I had got very comfortable in my chair and even the thought of getting my tripod out was too much to cope with. Dreamer gave it a bash though…
Soon the guys had the fire lit …..as it had got darker I had got a bit nervous so this fire made me feel a bit better. And… then…. we heard lions …and I guessed they weren’t too far away. We all kept a watchful eye on the grass around us. Thankfully we were not on the lion’s visiting list . We did see two Cape Foxes scurrying past though.

At about 8h05 we all witnessed the most magnificent sight…..moonrise. Now this did make me jump into action. Find the tripod ..find the camera...find the cable release.
Dreamer did likewise.
Ah ..sorted.

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Not quite what I was hoping for but it will help you to picture the scene.
I decided to use a longer lens and zoom in….

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And let’s see what happens from a different angle….

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By now I was feeling quite vulnerable standing out there so I decided very quickly that I was 100% happy with my photos and packed up and returned to the safety of the fire

As we say in the classics…all good things come to an end. Well for us it was only the end of our first braai at Rooiputs but we still had the rest of our holiday ahead of us. For Dreamer and SO it was the end of their holiday...they had to start the long journey home the next day. Shame !
On that sad note they drove off to their campsite and I checked every bush and grass meadow around us before walking off to the loo which was only a few meters away. My head was telling me not to run but somehow or other my legs didn’t want to listen. They had this incredible urge to go flat out…I managed to control them until I got to the loo. I bravely shone my touch around the entrance to the loo…slowly walked in…..and Oh Sh*t !!!! :big_eyes: (no pun intended) something flew out and just skimmed the top of my head.
Oh my nerves …..that was the quickest ladies stop I have ever done in my entire life and had a very hard job trying to make my legs walk me back to the safety of the rooftop tent.
I think it might be the quickest I have ever climbed that ladder as well.


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:21 am 
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Thanks everybody for the wonderful comments and compliments....and more on the " Green Kalahari"

Oops ..I forgot to mention that these moths that were flying around in droves at Rooiputs. Every time we shone our spotlight into the bushes/grass to check for eyes..masses of these moths flew straight up into the air. Their eyes were a bright red as well.

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20 Feb

Well sleeping up there in that rooftop tent was just awesome. I felt safe and very brave :D …. I was now the King of Kalahari :tongue: and I challenged the lions to come and dispute that fact. I had my spotlight and my camera at the ready….but no such luck. Rooiputs remained all mine that night.

Our plan was actually not to get up at silly o’clock and go out on a game drive :shock: ….our plan was actually to sleep until we woke up …actually we had no plan at all. :D We would just take things as they come…most unusual for us.

I heard Dreamer and SO leave on their last leopard hunt before leaving the park…but I just turned over and wished them luck in my dreams. :thumbs_up:
When we eventually did get up a most glorious morning awaited us….I was in awe…the morning sunlight together with the cloudy skies made for such beautiful photos.
I thanked the painter…He had done a grand job. I only hope my photos can portray it as beautifully.

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And my most favourite

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Eventually we decided to go on a drive….we sort of had a plan to drive north to Melkvlei...back to Kij Kij and over the lower dune road to Auchterlonie and then south to Twee Rivieren.


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:57 am 
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Morning Drive ....north to Melkvlei.

At last the teabag was packed and we were ready to hit the road. what followed was one of the most beautiful drives I think I have ever done in the park. It was a good job that we had no real plan or no set schedule because we made very slow progress indeed...I was in photography heaven. There was so much to photograph.....
For instance...this cute springbok playing peekaboo with us.....

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and this ground squirrel busily finding his breakfast.

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and yet another "green scene" for my photobook.

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And just to see if I was wide awake these Abdim's flew past...

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Well yes, my fingers were awake and this bird perched itself on a tree to see if my bird ID'ing skills were awake. I decided it was a Black Kite..and having had a closer look at the photo I think I was correct in that assumption.

Image very cropped photo.

Not to be outdone a Black- chested Snake Eagle flew past. I wish he had come a bit closer though.

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I could not believe how many raptors we were seeing. Unfortunately I missed getting another Black-chested Snake -Eagle with it's breakfast in it's talons....a cobra!


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:19 pm 
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Thx Micetta and Kamadejo.

By the way the moth I mentioned at the top of the page has been Id'ed by Jannie as a Fulvous Hawk moth. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:26 pm 
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Eventually we got to Kij Kij…we were looking out for Dreamer’s cheetah cubs but no such luck for us. :cry: I photographed this Lanner instead. We followed our usual pattern of quickly taking a photo from a distance and then moved forward slowly in the hopes of a getting a better photo….

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Invariably the bird flies and I was ready for him. Except of course this time the bird flew right towards us...I expected it to fly away from us. He sort of bombarded Monty..as if he was trying to chase us.

Image….a huge pity I chopped off his wing !!!!

Next a Tawny Eagle posing for us….and playing games with me. He kept pretending to fly off but settled back on his perch…he never did fly. :evil:

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Up next was a a bird in flight. I could not quite work out what it was …but I managed to get a photo of it ….Brown Snake Eagle. I have not seen many of them in the park so it was :thumbs_up:

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We took the little detour over the dune to Melkvlei.

Perched on a branch up ahead was a Yellow-billed Kite. Again we approached slowly after taking one pic ...but true to form it flew away from me !

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At last we arrived at Melkvlei..taking all these photos had worked up quite an appetitie.


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:07 pm 
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I am glad that you are enjoying my drive through the green Kalahari.... :D

@ Scouter..don't worry ..for every decent bird pic I manage to get I probably have 10 for the recycle bin !!!! :D

While I was munching my way through yogurt, paw paw and muesli I noticed a few ground squirrels frolicking a few meters away from us. A bit too far for a photo and a bit too far too walk closer to so when we had finished with our breakfast and were on our way again we stopped alongside them so that I could add at least another 100 squirrel photos to the 1000 that I already have. :roll: They are so cute though :D

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It was actually quite windy outside but clever squirrel was using his tail as a windbreak.

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Back at Kij Kij the following bird gave us the run around. Eventually Doug got a pic of it for me...another Steppe Buzzard I think.

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We took the lower dune road ...and again glorious sights awaited us.

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I noticed three birds soaring in the sky. Through the binos I was able to make out a Lappet-faced Vulture as well as two White-backed Vultures There was no end to the raptors on this drive.
Again another Lanner Falcon put in an appearance. We drove up slowly and I took my photo..

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I was ready to get the most awesome photo of a Lanner in flight :dance: ..well I waited and he waited and we waited some more. :roll: Eventually we gave up because that bird was going nowhere. :twisted: I am sure somebody had glued it to the tree!!!


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:46 am 
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There seemed to be an absence of 4-legged creatures along the dune road and those that we did see just did an about turn and galloped off into the green pastures. :roll:

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I also found it strange that the sociable weavers have decided to build a nest in this windmill. Maybe they think it is cobra proof. :hmz: It will be interesting to see how quickly this nest grows.

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I suddenly noticed that we had not seen a bird in a while..not even an Northern Black Korhaan. :shock: As a matter of fact we had not see a steenbok either. I think these creatures were hiding in the grass.
So I decided to take photo of things I could see instead…

Stop…..says I !!!
What ..says SO excitedly…
Flower…..I heard that sigh Doug, don’t think for one minute I didn’t. :naughty:
Doug did stop though… very graciously… so that I could get my photos of flowers.
Again he had to put with….” I need these photos for my “Green Kalahari” photobook !!!!!

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By now the light was very bright and harsh…but the dunes still looked amazing.

And eventually another bird sighting...okay so it is a Pale Chanting Goshawk :whistle: but really sightings of PCG were quite rare on this trip.

And this is especially for Scouter. :D
Quote:
Caracal - yours is the first TR I am reading again now I can eventually get back on the computer and I have decided I am NEVER posting another bird photo again - yours are truely STUNNING



Well Scouter this bird was in a tree right next to the side of the road. You would have got the most awesome photo of it...even with your “ point and shoot”

See easy…very close !!

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But what requires the utmost of photographic skills are the next two photos :dance: …one has to be really sharp and on the ball to acquire these kind of shots. :D I really am quite practised in this art by now…I have many suchlike photos…… :whistle: :whistle: :wink:

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If there is anybody out there that is studying bird’s bums and legs I have many photos to assist you in your studies….

So you see Scouter..I take many duds as well !!!

We eventually arrived at Auchterlonie and again I had to take the obligatory photo of the museum. At least this one is a bit different ..the red dunes have been replaced by green ones. :D

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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:51 am 
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Caracal wrote:
Flower…..I heard that sigh Doug, don’t think for one minute I didn’t. :naughty:

LOL Shame I really feel for Doug :D


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Stunning pic Caracal :clap:

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:23 pm 
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After satisfying our hunger and thirst pangs we hit the road again….again I marveled at how some very busy painter had been busy with his paint brush.

Image..the Auob riverbed.

The riverbed was alive with antelope…

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But thank goodness there was a very capable bird to keep everybody in line.

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I was just getting settled into photographing this bird when a gemsbok walked right through my picture. Thank goodness the bird was just as upset with gemsbok as I was…how dare he disturb this photographic shoot.

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To make matters worse another gemsbok pushed his way in and the two of them really tried to steal the show…

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The secretary bird was determined to stay in the limelight though…

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Eventually the gemsbok sorted out their testosterone argument and secretary bird was free to pose for me again.

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Such a pity that the light was so harsh though...


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:32 pm 
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Thanks again Foxy, Pumba and Micetta :D ..and I look forward to seeing your pics click click !

..and a little bit more before I call it a night.
We arrived at Samevloeiing knowing full well that we were not going to see the leopard..it was too hot for any kind of cat to be lurking around. Samevloeiing did make for a pretty picture though…

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When we got to TR my first stop was at the shop…I needed an ice-cream. I also checked the sightings board…leopard at Samevloeiing…..aaaaaaaaaaargh!. :evil:

After a quick shower and a stop at the garage to fill up we were on our again ..back to Rooiputs...or should I say back to Raptorland…OMW..the birds kept me busy.

In our absence Samevloeiing had been taken over by at least 7 Lanner Falcons..mostly juveniles. They were foraging on the ground...eating some or other insects.

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Next we came across a Martial Eagle being pestered by a Fork-tailed Drongo

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…the Martial took off and unfortunately flew away from us.

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But wait here he comes back again ..to claim his tree.

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There were two Bateleurs soaring in the sky ..but a bit too far away for any kind of photo.
Next a Yellow-billed Kite did a fly past…

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But I was really thrilled with this juvenile Black –chested Snake Eagle….he was such a show off

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Image


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:39 am 
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We finally arrived back at Rooiputs. It had been such a wonderful drive out that we decided to spend the rest of the day in camp. Doug had a quick nap on the stretcher..by the way that was another experiment that needed to be tested. Where does one have an afternoon nap when travelling with a rooftop. That is not something that bothers me but Doug likes his afternoon nap. So while he tested the stretcher out I wandered around taking photos of the flowers. I was told that I had to be on guard and protect the camp against all intruders. I must admit I was not totally relaxed...and was very happy when the pesky flies got the better of Doug and he decided to cut the nap short ! But yes the stretcher experiment worked and we will be taking one along on our trip to an “unmentionable place”

This was our afternoon camp…lovely and cool under the shade of the tree.

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Before the sunset Doug moved Monty next to the A-frame...that was evening set up. By the time I remembered to take a photo :slap: it was a bit dark and I didn’t fancy standing out there with my back to the Kalahari. :big_eyes:
But you can see the A-frame in the following pic.

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The sunset signified the end of another truly glorious day in the KTP. Of course it was properly rounded off with a braai. It was a very quiet night...no lions roaring. :D

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This had been a magnificent introduction to rooftop tenting and I now feel like a trip to the KTP is just not going to be the same without a stopover at Rooiputs. I am also aware of the fact though that my next stay at Rooiputs might not be the same. One rarely experiences the same thing twice in the Kalahari. Our drive from Roooiputs to Kij Kij , over the dune road and along the Auob southwards to TR had been spectacular. The green grass, the beautiful flowers, clouds in the skies, the antelope and the birds just made for awesome images. Next time round it could be pouring with rain….. Whether I managed to capture it all on camera or not is besides the point. Those images are in mind and they will be there for a very long time.


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 Post subject: Re: An Experimental Excuse of a Trip.
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:21 pm 
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21st Feb

We were up early the next morning….our next stop was Nossob. The stretch from Melkvlei to Dikbaardskolk had never been our most favourite . :evil: We always see many lion tracks etc but never any animals. The reason being I think is that by the time one is able to get there the lions have settled down for the day. Because we were staying at Rooiputs we stood a chance of doing this stretch fairly early in the morning. :clap: What I did not plan on were all the birds that kept popping up. :roll:

We no sooner had left Rooiputs when a Kori Bustard put in an appearance.

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Not only was he fairly close but he was walking towards us and he continued to walk towards us….the light was not too shabby either. I mean when does a Kori walk towards you..of course you have to stop and photograph him !!!! :roll:

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About 40 photos later Doug reminded me of our mission. :evil:

But yet again….I yelled stop!!!
Another bird in a tree..this time a Gabar Goshawk. One does not often see Gabars so again I fired away…only two photos this time because the bird flew away….and I missed it !!!! :roll:

Image

Yes dear..I know we have a plan but…………wait please stop …another bird ! The light is awesome I have to have that photo….
This time it was a Steppe Buzzard

Image

And so it continued until we were almost at Kij Kij…and then we came across the most wonderful sight……


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