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 Post subject: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:21 pm 
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On Saturday we'll finally be off to SA and KTP again. I've been counting the days since somewhere in the 180ies and now there is only one working day left before it's finally time to get started. In contrast to other years my anticipation has kept low profile due to work and other commitments. On Monday I started to do a bit of packing, but I didn't get very far. I also didn't manage to compile a list of what to take, but I kind of finished packing tonight. Although I got the distinct feeling that I forgot something. And that feeling has never betrayed me so far... *gulp*

My desktop pic as of Wednesday is this...

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...to remind myself what I'm in for.

Anyway, I don't expect much. My biggest wish would be to see a caracal. My secret hopes are to meet up with Mr. Handsome at Nossob again and to find Lisette and Elena roaming the Aoub riverbed. I'm in for all the smaller critters, but I sure hope to see some amazing colours again and to enjoy that small niche with peace on earth. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:14 pm 
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I'm back :evil: from the most beautiful place on earth. It was a long journey (serves us right, when we're trying to save money on the flight :twisted: ), lost a suitcase yet again - seems to get a habit when coming back from SA. But better this way than the other way around. :wink:

I'll cut it short: I never got to see that caracal - others had the pleasure according to the sighting boards. :twisted: Also Mr. Handsome, Lizette and Elena avoided me big time.

Mr. Handsome and his family moved away from Nossob on the day we were due to arrive. I still could hear him roaring the next morning, but they were obviously pretty far off by then. :wall:

Elena was seen ocassionally but again - only by other people. Lizette was / is a pretty regular at the 13th / 14th Borehole. On our second last day we kept running down those roads and never saw her. However, arriving back at the camp in Mata-Mata we found a black magnet for a cheetah sighting at the 14th... :roll:

We enjoyed our time in KTP big time anyway. So much that we now consider dropping our plans to revisit KNP in October 2012 and rather go back to KTP. :whistle: There were days that were really slow, but we had some amazing sightings as well. :dance: And the colours of the Kalahari will never seize to capture us...

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:02 am 
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Travelling from Twee Rivieren to Urikaruus

After a looong journey on trains and plains and the last leg by car, we arrived at Twee Rivieren tired but oh so happy to be back to the place where we knew we would be able to find peace and relaxation. Image

Checking in process went smoothly. Alas, Jan was tied up in other activities, so no meeting him on that day, but we would be around for some time, so maybe later in the week.

We left TR at 3.20 pm or so the permit said. No way going further into the park without checking Samevloeiing but it was as quiet as a waterhole can be. Something very generic at the moment in KTP as we would learn later on our trip. Image

Our first sighting was an ostrich, not exactly the following one, but as the original one had been in full sun I didn’t even think of attempting a picture.

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Having managed the first dune road (we can’t really claim that we are particularly fond of that stretch from Samevloeiing to the Aoub river side… :roll:) the Aoub welcomed us back with our first lion sighting. Image (Thanks, Toko, for ordering them for me!) Only the occupants of two other cars were watching the 5 lions passed out in the shade of a tree:

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One had the decency to get up for a nicer picture, but it turned out he hadn’t seriously intended to be polite but just needed a cooler place to carry on with his beauty sleep. :roll:

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Other than that the trip to Urikaruus was pretty uneventful. Mainly down to the fact that we had been up and running for almost two days with only little sleep in-between and we were keen to get to the camp to get some rest and to find our inner balance again.

Having said that, we did soak up all the beautiful Kalahari style sightings and they sure worked their magic in beaming us into a different kind of universe:

First up the gemsbok on the ridge of the dunes against the blue sky. Not the bestest photography, but it’s symbolic to me.

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Then the beautiful skies with those amazingly shaped clouds and ever changing patterns in the blue roof top.

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The springboks feeding in the gorgeous late afternoon lighting and a kori walking through to complete the cliché (Little did we know then, how much cliché we would really experience over the next days…)

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Our first road block

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And then we were home,

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although no critters greeted us as of yet. Another :roll:

Later on 4 BEF showed mercy with us and delighted us with their antics. Unfortunately the light was fading fast and for some reason I hadn’t set up my tripod yet. So a handheld effort to get at least some proof of our visitors.

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BEF now has a totally new meaning to me: Blurred-eared fox… :slap:

In contrast to the animals we were treated to a very welcoming human counterpart – Eric who used to be at Grootkolk has been at Uri for two months or so now. When I had learned about this at TR reception, I had been a bit sad about Marius being gone. But I don’t think there could be a better guy at Uri now than Eric. :clap: Plus, I’m very happy for Marius that his long time wish to live with his family finally came true with his move to Nossob. :dance:

After our arrival – frosties, shower, sunset, braai, falling asleep with the sounds of the bush – pure bliss! Image

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Last edited by Lionspoon on Wed May 04, 2011 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 9:50 am 
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Travelling from Urikaruus to Mata-Mata

After a night with howling hyneas in the camp our day started early with the moon still being full up in the sky:
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So it looked like a promising day. :D We set out to the boreholes in the hope to find Lisette again as we knew from fellow travellers that she had been regularly seen between the Dertiende and Veertiende Boorgat. The Urikaruus waterhole was the first on our route, but nothing to be watched there. Next up Dertiende Boorgat – and again a full variety of sweet nothing. A sighting that we would enjoy a zillion times again. Image
On we went to the Veertiende – another dead quiet waterhole. There were masses of wildebeest, springbok, oryx, ostriches, even kori bustards and PCG alright, but more often than not, they were too far off in the riverbed to attempt decent portraits.
We decided to settle in at the Veertiende and wait a bit to see someone would be approaching to quench his / her thirst. What a wise decision. Once the car came to a halt, the birds that had flown off when we got closer, came back to their favourite branches.

A fork-tailed drongo against the deep blue sky:
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The same goes for the cute yellow canary:
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The ever industrious crimson-breasted shrike:
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A shaft-tailed whydah was about to relief itself of an itch behind the ear:
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Doves with reflection:
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There were nesting tawnies in the distance as well, but the shots came out cr*ppy so no joy here.
After some time we headed on towards Dalkeith. On route I made Spots stop to capture a springbok close to the road in the pretty morning light. However, the bokkie wasn’t very cooperative and preferred eating to lifting its head properly to do me some favour.
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We also found a PCG who thought we wouldn’t see it as it was trying to hide behind a branch.
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Also, still on the Veertiende loop a gorgeous lilac-breasted roller…
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…and another pair of nesting tawnies, a wee bit easier to shoot:
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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Urikaruus to Mata-Mata - Part II

Towards the end of the loop we were treated to our first big critters – some giraffes! Image Now, they might be very common in KNP, but seeing them in the Kgalagadi is always a great joy. Image

These two were very sweet and caring. There were tender head rubbings…
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…and soft kisses:
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Dalkeith was just as hollow as the other waterholes had been before, but we found ostriches coming fresh out of the bath tub.
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More birds, i.e. a black-throated canary. Although a rather common bird, it made a new tick on my list:
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(Still not blurred enough, Micetta?)

A glossy starling had great fun in splashing the water:
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And the culprit himself:
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Then another common bird, but another new tick for me – a grey-headed sparrow eyeing the passing by lunch.
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A white-browed sparrow weaver with fluffy feathers against the still chilly morning temperatures:
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Yet another new tick for me, a female wattled starling next to some of her friends:
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Some raptor, which I think is a juvenile martial eagle:
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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Urikaruus to Mata-Mata – Part III

At Dalkeith also a family of squirrels attracted our attention with their antics. Two youngsters were running about and playfully fighting each other, while the elders kept munching away on whatever they could find, totally unimpressed with the mayhem the little ones were causing.
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Bum-biting…
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…on with some proper wrestling
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…catch me if you can…
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…whoosh, right into the face…
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…finally a hearty bite into the neck while another pair kissed and made up.
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I could have watched them for ages, they were just too cute looking and hilarious regarding their behaviour. Alas, it was time to heed nature’s call, so we drove on to get to Mata-Mata. Luckily, no one else intended to stop us. :twisted:

On our way back to Uri we met the same suspects again – wildebeest, springboks, oryx, koris, PGC galore. Just before Uri we found several cars parked in the road. Always a good sign! And indeed – the spotted hyenas were out and about. Well, more out than about. :roll: They were actually having a fistful nap underneath a tree. The lighting was bad, our position to the spotties not great either, so I didn’t take many pics, but here is one:
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I kinda felt like intruding the way that hyena was looking at me… :shock:

Back in the camp it was time for breakfast, it was just past 1.30pm and we hadn’t had much to eat until then. After a bit of rest (seeing Lionspoon snoring away in her bed for an hour) we set out again for the evening drive. We looked out for the hyenas again, but they were gone. However, they had just moved up the road to their den and at least one show some signs of life:
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Come ooon, get up, I’m bored!
Later that night they would come right into the camp. One patrolled just underneath our braai, two others were walking between Eric’s and the guests’ huts. Sorry, no pics. Too dark by then and I was more into experiencing their presence in the first place rather than having second hand photos. :slap:

Forsties, shower, braai, sound of the bush – bliss! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 12:54 pm 
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Travelling from Urikaruus to Nossob

After a night with heavy thunderstorms and rains, we rose early again to get on our way to Nossob. We decided to take the longer route via the southern dune road to be able to check out all waterholes south of Kamqua.
Our first sighting this morning was a kori bustard, but the light was still way too low as the sky had not cleared of last night’s clouds yet. The drive down south was laced with sightings of all general game, including ostriches, more koris and loads of PGC. The other raptors hadn’t made their way onto the trees yet. Well, apart from a lanner that was sitting in a tree very close to the road which would have allowed me a great close-up. But it said, it didn’t want to end up on the internet, not trusting the handling of personal data and all and took off. :twisted: But then we found two tawnies in a tree. Light wasn’t great but I still like this one:
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A bit further on not exactly a raptor, but a hoopoe – another beautiful bird which seldom sit stills, at least for me…
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At Auchterlonie we stopped for our first loo break and there was a tawny sitting pretty close in a tree just behind the ladies. Unfortunately, it decided to fly off when I pointed my camera at it. :roll:
ALL waterholes revealed a whole bunch of nothing again and so we travelled rather undisturbed towards the dune road. However, these wildebeest made a nice enough object for a photograph. I just love any critter on the dunes against the blue sky. :mrgreen:
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There we found several steenboks again. They seem to like it there as most of our sightings were on that road.
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Now ladies, watch for those eyelashes… Image
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Reaching Kij Kij we found a filming truck park at the road side and sure hope for something special to be around. But we were told that there was nothing to watch. However, a bit further up the road, we found this majestic martial eagle in a tree.
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Nossob riverbed was riddled with large herds of oryx, springbok, wildebeest and finally hartebeest (hadn’t seen a single one on the Aoub side till then) and also big groups of ostriches and more kori bustards. This hartebeest was taking a proper mud bath:
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Just before Gunong there was a car parked and we should soon find out why. A collared cheetah mum, named Durbyl as I should find out later, and her four cubs were stalking a lone springbok that lied innocently in the dry riverbed.
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Well as in all school classes there are always some who don’t pay attention and the same obviously goes for little cheetahs who are supposed to learn how to hunt. Image
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And then we only saw legs and tails flying:
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Looking at these photos I’m amazed again how quickly the light can change in KTP with just a bit of sun being around…

The attack was futile with all cheetahs disappearing into the dunes. The whole spectacle hadn’t last more than 10 minutes. But 10 minutes that left us full of elation and happiness. Had we been just a tad later, we would have known nothing of this. What a lucky strike of right place, right time!

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 8:32 am 
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Travelling from Urikaruus to Nossob – Part II

Shortly afterwards we were treated to another tawny, this one busy doing its pedicure:
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It started to rain and the road up to Dikbaardskolk was filled with huge puddles. Like little children and still feeling the adrenaline of our cheetah sighting we took great joy in the splashing around our car. Actually, it was at least something to enjoy because everything else was dead quiet, apart from a chameleon rushing from one side of the road to the other. But too fast and too furious for me to take a pic.
Our next stop was Dikbaardskolk – we never miss a toilet when we get one. But maybe we should have done this time. The picnic spot was quiet, not another person around and even the yellow mongooses that we had watched last year and who seem to be rather residential there, weren’t available. After having done the necessary we hopped into the car, still in high spirits after our exciting cheetah sighting. Spots turned the key… nothing… again… nothing. He tried again and again and again, but the car wouldn’t start. :shock: It refused to do anything but to give a soft click when Spots turned the key. It was around 11 am, it started to rain slightly just as we got out to have a look under the engine hood and there was still not another car in sight, nor could we hear any approaching any time soon. We did the math how long it would take for a mechanic to arrive, even if somebody should come soon to report our car break down at either TR or Nossob we would be sitting there for some hours. A wonderful prospect. :doh: And we would be missing out on all those lion sightings, unless they would find us and try to get some easy dinner… :twisted:
Merry go lucky, it took all of 15 minutes for another car to arrive down from the northern dune road. They were Germans as well and promised to report our mishap. Then someone had the splendid idea of trying to jump start the car. I wasn’t too impressed with that as I feared that if the car wouldn’t start we would end up smack in the middle of the road and blocking any further traffic. Plus I was sure that it hadn’t been the battery’s fault that you easily recognize by the whining sound it gives when you try to start the car. Anyway, looking at the layout of the road below we found there was enough space even if the car wouldn’t start. Spots gave instructions what to do inside the car and went to the back to push together with our fellow country man and woman. And it worked!!! :dance: The car did start again and we felt a great relief and thankfulness rushing through us. After having thanked the German pair several times we got on our way to Nossob again.
The rain had stopped and Spots did his best to avoid all those beetles and millipedes on the roads that had emerged by now. Other than that we arrived at Nossob without a further stop. For some reason I can’t recall anymore, I took a picture of these cute but very wet looking oryx youngsters out of the running car.
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In hindsight that had been our luck as when I got out at Nossob to open the gate our car died once again before Spots had the chance to get through. He hadn’t even killed the engine. It just died by itself. :wall: Well, at least we were close to humans who might be able to help us and maybe the two day stay at Nossob was enough to get the car sorted for good. At least there was a hide to visit and we could always try to book us game drives and walks.
But the car mechanic at Nossob worked magic and after less than an hour our vehicle was up and running again. What a joy! Spots thanked all the helping hands with an adequate tip. I had done all the formalities in the meantime including a visit to the hide and a greeting to my fellow cammers (which hadn’t been recorded as the cam was down at that time :slap: ) and we were able to soon head off to no. 9c to unload our car and get ready for an evening drive.

At the hide a squirrel trying to protect itself from the by now emerged sun
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and a yellow mongoose came to greet me as well
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While I sorted all our kitchen stuff, Spots was standing outside trying to fend off the curious squirrel who tried to get in to see if it could beg something off me in the kitchen. Spots told it to go away, but instead it invited all its family to join the party. :twisted: One of them even dared to approach my of course empty hand to sniff it! Feeling betrayed by my sly stunt it soon took off to find more fruitful begging grounds.
For our evening drive we went up north until Bedinkt. Again all waterholes were completely deserted, but the cloud packed blue sky gave us reason enough to stop for a shot:
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On our way back we stopped at Cubitje Quap to watch the doves and queleas who had arrived by then.
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I got my hands up, don’t shoot me!

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Travelling from Urikaruus to Nossob – Part III

Still at Cubitje Quap there was also a pair of lanners in a tree on the other side. They seemed to have been on no-speaking terms and decided to avoid one another by sitting on different branches.
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Closer to Nossob we were also treated to another BEF in the beautiful sun setting light :dance:
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And an oryx close-up:
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Just before the gate at Nossob, we had another thrilling sighting of what looked distinctively like a reproduction exercise of two puffies.
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Although we would have liked to sit this out – how often do get to witness something like that??? - we didn’t stay too long as other guest started to come back from their respective game drives as well and the traffic began to build up behind us. Plus, we thought some others might enjoy this sighting just as much as we did and decided they should get a glance as well.

Just before we got back, we saw this beautiful scene:
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Back in the camp we quickly got on with our evening rituals. I had actually looked forward to finally being able to blow dry my hair again, but as it was a wonderful warm night (to our standards) I decided that blow driers are completely overrated :tongue: and rather sat with the beautiful moon and the braai fire.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Travelling from Nossob to Union’s End

During the night the Kgalagadi saw more rain and the sky was still grey when the dawn set in. I had been to the hide equipped with my camera and a spot light as I had heard the lions roaring earlier. Albeit far away, I was nevertheless hoping for Mr. Handsome to turn up. As most of you know, he never did. :slap:
We were ready to start at 6.45 am but as the gate was still closed we decided to check out the hide again. A jackal came to say good morning, but I blurred him. So no photo available.
At shortly past seven we set out north not sure yet whether we would make it all the way to Union’s End. But as it was holidays we didn’t bother to make plans in order to stick to them. We rather laid back to see what the day would bring. As everybody is talking about cats not liking the wet grass and seeing that the grass was particularly high, there sure were some predators to be seen in the road?

Well, this must have been one of the most unproductive days for us on any visit in any national park. A warthog sighting just south of Union’s End actually marked the highlight of this day. Alas, it was too far off for me to manage a decent photo. So you’ll have to take my word for it.

Our day was actually dominated by rain and the thereafters. Starting with these wildebeest in the morning mist:
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The further we got up north the warmer and sunnier it got and today I ventured into those shots depicting our basically daily sightings:

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We also found two oryx engaging in some horn rutting:
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Although it didn’t seem to be something serious as they stopped right after this shot.

At Lijersdraai we talked to some other visitors to see if the ride further up north was worth. Well, those people had seen a beautiful Kalahari lion around GK, plus a pregnant and a lactating lioness. Therefore we decided to try to find them. We never did, but when we got on our way again we soon found this little ostrich chick a bit disoriented running around on the road, obviously having lost its parents

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All of a sudden a second one emerged and they were both looking very sorry for themselves.

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The tried to get up the little ridge into the grass but failed appallingly. I felt so sorry for them that I was on the verge of getting out and put them up in the grass for them to be able to go after their parents. Eventually they managed without my help, being swallowed by the tall grass in no time. I really hope they found back to their parents as those were quite far off already.

A bit further north we even had more ostriches in the road.

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Kannaguass provided us with what had become a VERY common sight on the Nossob side of the park:

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In fact this perspective was so customary by now that we had started to call the waterholes oryxholes.

In the afternoon a quick check in the mirror followed…

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… and we were off to our evening drive towards Marie se Gat. Hornbills are now only know as Mr. Vain. This one seemed to still be sitting there when we left Nossob the next day for Kieliekrankie. :twisted:

On route the sky was filled with interesting cloud formations:

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Some of them letting go of excessive liquids:

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The further we got to Marie se Gat the thicker the clouds accumulated. They had turned into a mass of grey in all kind of nuances. And it didn’t take long for the buckets to be poured down on us…

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…and on these gloomy looking wildebeests:
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The rain pouring down from the dunes slashed itself a way into the road. It was quite an amazing spectacle and we were happy to by safe and dry in our car. Although the prospect of not being able to have a braai that night wasn’t all too appealing. To our surprise we found Nossob hadn’t seen a drop of water from above, but revealed some more beautiful formations in the sky:
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Although it had been a slow game day, the Kalahari thunderstorm experience was something else! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 8:49 pm 
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Travelling from Nossob to Kieliekrankie

Today we would leave Nossob for Kieliekrankie. After yesterday’s slow game viewing opportunities we should be treated to a rush of adrenaline today. However, we just didn’t know that then.

As usual we were up and running early, even with packing the car we had time to spare until the gate opened. So a last check at the hide was in order.
It was another dull morning, but I just had to take a pic of the waterhole:

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Kaspersdraai delivered a scaly-feathered finch (new tick for me)

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Trevor Hardaker wrote:
Based on the features I can see in the photo, this is an immature Gabar Goshawk which you have obviously caught in the middle of a moult - an interesting bird!
- Thanks for the ID, Trevor!

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We had all sorts of antelopes all the way down to Cheleka, but the light still wasn’t that great, so I won’t bother you with the few photos I took. Then just a kilometer south of Cheleka we found a car that was heading south as well parked on the other side of the road. Surely there was something. And indeed! A lion’s head popped out of the grass:

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There would have been no way that either them or us would have detected the cats if they hadn’t moved. The grass was just too tall and camouflaged them very well. Despite all what is said about lazy lions this one got moving soon after we arrived.

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He then posed for a little while in this direction and in that direction and then decided that the grass is greener on the other side and crossed the road right in front of us:

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I was so excited, I nearly dropped the camera. By now I had swapped the beeeg lens against our Nikon Coolpix otherwise there would have been fur and more fur in the photo. The lion king to be climbed up the verge and stood right next to my window.

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Alas, I was shaking and the photo where he directly looked me into my eyes is all blurred. :slap:

By now his sister had gotten up as well. She had still been on the other side but felt lonely and decided to join her brother. Unfortunately for me, she did so behind the car, but I was happy for the people in the second car as they were treated to a perfect sighting as well. While her brother took some interest in a far off oryx, she fell flat on the ground again underneath a tree. I didn’t take many photos but rather enjoyed the young male walking about and listening to his roaring practise. Well, sufficient to say, he still has some work to do to be able to impress the ladies at some point.
Eventually, he was bored being the only one on stage and laid down next to his sister. Luckily we sat a bit longer with them as all of a sudden Daddy appeared out of nowhere behind our car. So our fellow peeps were treated again, but as there was no traffic whatsoever, Spots maneuvered the car in order for me to be able to take some pics of him as well.

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The proud daddy…

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… looks pretty smug.

After sitting with them for a bit longer and getting nothing but loud snores, we decided to leave the other passengers to enjoy the cats all by themselves and carried on our way to KK. We didn’t get very far before we bumped into the next road block. This time caused by 4 cute little BEFs. I have never been so close to them and this definitely marked one of our highlights of this trip.

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One even allowed me a close-up, the bestest photo I ever got of a BEF.
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They soon disengaged and made their way towards the riverbed, not to be seen anymore within split second. The grass was tremendously high.

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 7:44 am 
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An hour went by without further happenings apart from the regulars. But again, they were far off in the riverbed, the light wasn’t that great anymore as there was some cloud gathering in the sky so I passed on further shots.
Then we came upon another raptor residing in a tree, very close to the road. Methinks it’s an immature yellow-billed kite.
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Arriving at Jan se Draai we found another oryxhole:
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At this point I started to lay back a bit, as my eyes began to grow weary with all the proper bush scanning. So no surprise that Spots and I travelled past a huge stone underneath a tree which I only mentioned a good 500 metres down the road. I told Spots that it had probably been nothing, but he needed to reverse in order for me to be able to sleep at night. Another wise decision. The ‘huge stone’ turned out to be a big-bellied, albeit worn looking lion. When we stopped next to him, he felt disturbed and lifted his head.
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He gave me and my camera a few glances and then decided he was full enough and didn’t need another lunch.
This is how he looked like when we drove past.
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Seriously, he does look like a huge stone?!

Arriving at Kransbraak we found more oryx at the waterhole, but also an egret, a tired hartebeest and loads of wildebeests.

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I just love this one – so close that we were able to see its beautiful eyes.

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As we had told lots of people who were on their way up to Nossob about our lion sightings, we had learned in exchange that there were cheetahs close to Gunong. ‘There is a huge herd of springboks, must be about 200 and there are cheetahs in the dunes stalking them.’ we were told. Of course we were praying that it was Durbyl and her cubs – I assumed it had to be them as we were talking Gunong area and I knew from the sighting board that cheetahs had been seen there the day before.
We found the springboks alright. But not 200 together. They had already been disturbed. We were too late. :? We stopped anyway to get our binocs in order to scan the area. This time I can claim the honour of detecting the cheetahs far off in the dunes. They kept walking in the opposite direction of us and it was hard to keep track of them. Therefore we lost them. And I hadn’t even attempted to get a shot. :slap: Other cars had stopped and we told them what we are looking at, but they didn’t seem to be too fussed and soon drove on. Anyway, I wasn’t ready to give up quite yet and kept scanning the dunes. At some point – only God knows why – I had a close look into the direction pretty far away from us. And there they were again!!! :dance: Hiding behind a dead tree, but clearly cheetahs. Hence, I made Spot turn the car around to see if we could get level with them. But when we arrived at the spot where I had seen them there was nothing – at least not to the mere eye. The lesson to be learned – objects in the binocs may appear closer than they are… :doh:
Luckily, they kept moving and at some point I found them again (yes, me again :cool: ). And they were moving from the dunes towards the riverbed. Oh my word, I got excited! Spots, they are coming closer, I jubilated. And boy, did they come close. They were headed straight to the road and only one other car around. They had arrived when the cheetahs were still in the dunes, but they were patient enough to wait it out, just like us. They were behind us and I felt a bit sorry for them as all the action took place around our car. The cheetahs came out of the riverbed spot on where we were and walked the road up north. We followed them slowly and at some point Durbyl crossed to the other side to the left, the youngsters still in the road or next to us to our right.
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Durbyl didn’t seem to like that…

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…and gave in to her youngster and moved back again towards the riverbed which all of the five crossed and walked back up into the dunes again.

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But only after one of the little ones treated me to a COL.

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 2:01 pm 
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What an exciting morning we had had!!! I cannot put in words how blessed we felt with all of our magnificent sightings. :dance: I even got a black snake-eagle close enough to finally get a nice picture. :D

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On the dune road the oryx obliged to having taken their photos in the red dunes:

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And without any critters – I so adore this scenery.
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At Kieliekrankie we were greeted by Willem again and instantly felt home as we had before at Uri. A secretary – I strongly suspect it was the same as last year :twisted: also said hello.

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Our evening drive let us towards Mata-Mata and we enjoyed the following critters who posed so beautifully in the golden light.

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And back at the camp we got more treats:

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What a day!

We didn’t have a braai, but a fire was lit for romantic reasons anyway.
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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 6:56 am 
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Travelling from Kieliekrankie to the Botswana side

The last night had been a nature nightmare come true. Obviously there are two barn owls who feel very homey at Kieliekrankie and they staged quite a racket on our roof. :twisted: Paired with the whooping hyenas that were around the camp it became a very disturbed night. At some point throughout the night we got up as the party of the hyenas had grown so loud that it felt that they were sitting next to our beds. At the waterhole there were two of the six present hyenas. Well, Spots claimed there were two. I only saw one. :redface: Although we had a great floodlight at the waterhole from the occupant of unit no. 4 I didn’t take any photos. Too knackered to even consider. :redface: Finding the hyena tracks in the morning just outside our unit was a very exciting proof for their night visit.

The day started off with a beautiful sunrise

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and one of the plentiful crickets:

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Then a little steenbok on the entry road to KK:

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We decided to try our luck towards Twee Rivieren today. Shortly after we had left the camp, there was a fiscal shrike posing against my beloved blue sky:

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But that was it for the time being! Again all waterholes were completed deserted. At the junction at Samevloeiing we had to make up our mind if we would go to TR first or drive up to Leeudril and then turn around to get to TR. We opted for the latter. Samevloeiing kept quiet, but approximately 3 k’s into the road towards Leeudril, I thought I had spotted some meerkats. As they didn’t move even an inch, I believed them to be wooden sticks. Nevertheless, I made Spots stop the car anyway, to check the wood through my binocs. Well done to me :tongue: as the sticks turned out to be indeed little meerkats.

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But why didn’t they move? :hmz: I was still watching through the binocs when all of a sudden I saw this :big_eyes:

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Leopard! There is a leopard, Spots! I whispered before passing out. A quick mouth to mouth treatment administered by Spots and Lionspoon was fully alert again. I seriously couldn’t believe that a leopard had walked through my viewing area. But there she was – heading towards the dunes. (Up to today I still tease Spots with And guess who found us a leopard?! :tongue: )

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And we were all on our own. Not another car in sight. Only when Madame Leopard had vanished in a cave in the rocky outcrops some other visitors arrived. We told them what we had seen and that they were just a tad late for at least having been able to get a last glimpse. Anyway, they settled in to scan the area and we drove off to Leeudril. What a waste of time – all the cats that had been spotted there every day as long we had been in the park seemed to have gone on holiday. Well, Easter break was obviously about to come for them as well…

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 8:00 pm 
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Travelling from Kieliekrankie to the Botswana side – Part II

On our way back we found that the meerkats had moved to safer grounds. They were now on the other side of the road and much more active than before. So we settled in to watch our little heroes.

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But almost 3 hours into our day, it soon was time to leave for TR. But hey, what’s that movement up into the dunes??? A warthog! :big_eyes: I know – and had seen it myself – that the odd warthog occurred on the far north Nossob side, but down here? Anyway, what a joy to see one, but alas it was a bit skittish and sooner gone than I had wished for. Here is a somewhat poor proof of our sighting.

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We then made our way to TR. First stop was the fuel pump and even there you get amazing sightings! A YR! It turned out to be Tobieo. We had a very nice if brief chat and exchanged the most important experiences we had had until then and also intelligence about resident critters and where to find them. It was a pleasure to meet you, Tobieo! :D
As we had to go to reception anyway to collect our confirmation letter for extending our wild card, we decided to give the Bots side a try. For 60 Rand for the both of us we would get into an area of KTP that we hadn’t seen before. We definitely had some curious sightings there:

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And I now know what – I think, it was Caracal who said it – meant with the road between TR and Nossob being far from finished. :roll:
Although the ride was pretty uneventful, Spots and I enjoyed travelling that stretch big time anyway. What more can you ask for than a sighting like this:

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Back at the camp we told Willem about our morning sightings and he commented: You’re lucky! Everyone wants to see leopard. And yes, that’s how we felt – extremely lucky. :dance:


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