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
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.
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.
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
And a springbok thought he would better the gemsbok by posing on top of the rise.
For once the Pale Chanting Goshawk was not the Commoner…
…that title was shared between the Tawnys and the Pygmys. Just a pity there weren’t a bit closer.
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.
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.
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….
And let’s see what happens from a different angle….
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 !!!!
(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.