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 Post subject: canon Dancing with the Stars - KTP & Mokala -Aug 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 1

When contacting Twee Rivieren office the day before we departed for our August visit to KTP to confirm our bungalow numbers I discovered to my horror that we had got our dates horribly wrong. We had booked to sleep in Upington en-route with the intention to take a slow drive up to Twee Rivieren the following day. As I said cheers to the lady in the office I said "Sien julle oormore" to which she replied "Nee, meneer is more aand by ons". Ouch!! I checked our booking and sure enough she was correct - we would have to do the Grahamstown to Twee Rivieren trip in one day! Well that was that and there was nothing that we could do about it - thank goodness I had contacted them.

We left Grahamstown at 04h30 on a really cold and wet morning which made packing up a bit uncomfortable. En route we encountered a snow shower between Middelburg and Hanover just before sunrise. What a contrast in weather conditions awaited us - snow in the morning, Kalahari sunshine and clear skies in the evening. The trip up through deAar, Britstown, Prieska to Upington is really a relaxing drive with very little traffic. We arrived in Upington at 12h30, did a bit of last minute shopping and then headed off on the scenic trip into the dunes. This is where the heart starts beating slower and it finally dawns on you that the beautiful Kalahari is just around the corner. It is, however, disturbing to see the number of Bat-eared foxes that get killed by vehicles on this road - one wonders why the venture onto the road!

We finally arrived at TR at 15h30, check in was quick and we were soon settled in at unit 31 which would be our one night stop before heading north tomorrow. A quick cup of coffee was very welcome before heading up to Rooiputs for an evening drive. We were quite excited because on our previous three visits this road was closed due to construction (which I believe has ground to a halt). Whilst enjoying our coffee this Golden-tailed Woodpecker paid us a visit

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Samevloeing was quiet but we did encounter a huge herd a Springbok a little way further up. We were very pleased to be welcomed by this family of Suricates

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This new section of road was an absolute pleasure to drive on but unfortunately the good road conditions seemed to encourage much excessive speeding - much to our annoyance. We always seem to blame the GP vehicles but in this instance all the 4x4's that hurtled past us sported CJ, CT and CL registration plates! This was the trend for most of our trip. It appeared as though these folk only had one thing in mind and that was to get from point A to point B and were not bothered in game spotting.

Just before turning for home at the Leeudril waterhole we saw this Secretary bird who was on a serious mission to find a meal - he did not bother to even look at us!

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Next up was our first ever sighting of a Sotted Eagle Owl. We had to take a photo mark the occassion!

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It was getting late so we headed home - things were rather quiet but we did see this Whistling Rat basking in the evening sunshine

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A few Gemsbok had gathered at Samwvloeing - there were certainly keen on munching the Calcrete. You could hear them crunching the stones between their teeth.

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A cold beer (or three) was welcome, the fire was lit and we sat back and marvelled at the beautiful clear skies. The Southern Cross and its Pointers showed us where due south was and this reminded us from which direction we had travelled 1153km from today. That was now behind us and a fortnight of true bliss awaited us. We both fell asleep with a contented smile on our faces.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:14 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 2

We decided to have a relaxing morning in camp before heading off to Nossob. We had slept off the jet lag and were looking forward to a slow drive via the southern dune road to Nossob. The ever-busy white-browed sparrow-weavers were nesting next to our chalet.

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The quality and abundance of bird life in KTP should never be under estimated. A quick stroll through camp yielded a couple of crimson-breasted shrikes as well as black-chested prinias.

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A quick stop at the filling station to top up with diesel and to check tyre pressure became a long drawn out affair. The service here is extremely poor and nothing had changed - during our prevoius visit the same problem occurred. I ended up doing bthe tyre pressure checks myself and nearly offered to fill up myself as well! Nevertheless this did not dampen our spirits and we set sail for Auchterlonie for our breakfast stop. A quick visit to Samevloeing yielded nothing. Between Houmoed and Monroe we spent time with this very busy suricate family

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This crimson-breasted shrike was hovering around - possibly waiting for the suricates to disturb a tasty morsal which it could catch for breakfast

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The Auchterlonie picnic site was very quiet but chilly as well. A number of "visitors" converged on us and one cheeky fellow helped himself to a strawberry from our table!

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Other visitors were a spike-healed lark

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and a familiar chat

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 2 continued....

After a good break at Auchterlonie we headed across the southern dune road towards the Nossob valley. These dune roads are often under estimated with regard to game viewing and as a result folk speed across the dunes to get to the"more productive" river valleys. We had great fun on this trip by taking these drives at a slow pace looking out for all creatures "great and small". It was quite clear to us that there was much more animal life in the dunes this year - maybe this could be attributed to the good summer rains which had left an abundance of good grazing out there. This attracted the antelope which naturally were accompanied by the predators.

We had not gone far when we came across a pair of rather noisy northern black korhaans. This fellow stopped briefly to have his photo taken

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A stop at the viewpoint overlooking Kij Gammies waterhole is always a worthwhile exercise. We spent a while here simply soaking up the Kalahari atmosphere. There were a number of Herons at the drinking trough which amazed me - what brings these water birds here? Tierkop, one of my favourite waterholes was quiet, in fact if appeared to be dry, so we continued on our merry way. Once entering the dunes near the Nossob valley we encountered this roadblock. The female Ostrich was eating the stones on the road and had no intention of moving. We watched for a while before edging our way past her.

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We decided not to stop at Melkvlei (our favourite picnic site) because it was getting late and the afternoon sun had really heated things up. The game viewing was slow which made the appalling road conditions even worse. I know the road maintainance is an ongoing problem but there must surely be a solution - maybe speed bumps across the roads would slow the traffic down! We all know what to expect from the roads when visiting the KTP but it can be quite stressful putting your hard earned money spent on the vehicle to such a grueling test.

This Black-backed Jackal, seen near Cheleka, crossed the road in front of us. He appeared to be using the road to hide himself from potential prey which was clever of him.

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There were Black-shouldered Kites a plenty this year and we had a number of really good sightings of them. This fellow sat calmly next to the road as if he was there to direct the traffic - wish he could issue a few speeding fines!!

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We decided to follow the extra 10km route via Marie se Draai. There was nothing to see at Marie se Gat but we did see a Gemsbok using his horns as a very effective back scratcher.

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Near Nossob camp we saw our first of many stately Kori Bustards

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Check-in went smoothly and we were allocated unit 10d which we had requested. Whilst unpacking a slight movement in the tree in front of our unit caught my eye. On closer inspection I was very excited to see our first White-faced Scops Owl. This fellow spent the next couple of days using the same perch in the tree and was very difficult to photograph him- in fact he must have got sick and tired of having SO and myself looking at him from all angles hoping for a clear shot (with the camera of course)

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 2 continued...

A quick afternoon siesta was just what the doctor ordered before heading up north towards Bedinkt waterhole for our afternoon drive. A large number of Turtle Doves had gathered at Cubitjie Quap waterhole for their afternoon drink. We sat there for a while hoping to see a Lanner Falcon make a kill but this was not to be.

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There was, however, a Bateleur sitting in a distant camelthorn tree keeping an eye on proceedings

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Near Kwang waterhole there was great excitement - our first sighting of a Red-necked Falcon. It was very kind to us, posing beautifully for his photograph before flying off into the distance.

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Time did not permit us to get all the way to Bedinkt (a pride of lions had been spotted in this area in the morning) so we turned around and headed back to Nossob. Near the camp we spotted this raptor which really puzzled us - need help with an ID. Our guess was that it was a Snake Eagle our a Juv Bateleur. I would be interested to hear from the fundis

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The customary fire was lit and tonight it was a potjie with the obligatory bottle of cabernet to wash it down! The stars danced for us as we sat around the fire hearing nothing but the bubbling of the pot and the call of the distant BBJ. What more could we wish for.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:23 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 3

Before going out for our early morning drive SO and I decided to take a walk around the Nossob camp. We discovered a lovely walk which follows the perimeter of the camp - I wonder how many Nossob regulars know about this. This Red-eyed Bulbul was spotted on the loop

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Word had obviously got out about the lions at Bedinkt because most of the early morning traffic headed off in a northerly direction this morning - some at break-neck speed!. We decided to avoid the rush by having breakfast in camp first before heading out. This Ground Squirrel joined us - they really are cute despite the fact that they can be a nuisance!

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At Kwang waterhole we came across this Ostrich frolicking around in the dust

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A number of Wildebeest had gathered at the waterhole to drink. These waterholes don't seem to have the capacity for large herds of antelope. The first group empty the waterhole which means that the remainder sometimes resort to climbing into the trough to get to the water from the ball valve, as can be seen in this photograph. This soils the water and must make it very unpleasant to drink. Anyway they seem to survive!

Soon after leaving Kwang we saw this raptor which we could not identify. Could this be a Dark Chanting Goshawk or a melinistic variety of another raptor?

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Well there were no lions at Bedinkt - the early morning rush hour were now all heading back to Nossob. We continued on up to Bedinkt and found a large herd of Springbok at the waterhole. This really is a great waterhole for photography.

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We stopped off at Cubitjie Quap for a while in anticipation of a Lanner Falcon ambush but once again it was not to be. Back at Nossob we spent time in the hide before heading back to 10b to relax. This afternoon we planned to head south via Marie se Draai.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by saraf on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 3 continued...

We headed out at about 15h30 hoping to see some action at Marie se gat. You will have observed that thus far we had seen no predators. We promised ourselves that we should not let this consume our time in KTP because it was inevitable that they would show themselves at some or other stage. Time will tell!!

This Violet-eared Waxbill was sunning itself at Marie se Gat

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Whilst still on Marie se Draai we witnessed a kill but not at the hands of a predator. This Juv Pale Chanting Goshawk swooped down in front of us and caught this poor mouse. WARNING : Not for sensitive viewers!

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There was not much else to see except for this young Gemsbok and its mother. The adult was digging in the ground and eating what I can only assume to be essential minerals. This seemed to be common practice amongst the Gemsbok at this time of the year. Could somebody explain what causes this behaviour.

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We relaxed and enjoyed our last night at Nossob and came to the conclusion that out stay here was too short. The camp really has a special feel to it. Tomorrow we would be heading up to Grootkolk.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:07 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 4

It was an early start to the day because it was our intention to take a nice relaxed drive up to Grootkolk which is without any doubt one of our favourite camps in KTP. We stopped at the lookout point near Cubitjie Quap and enjoyed a cuppa whilst taking in the view. We heard BBJ calling in the distance which made us wonder if there had been a kill nearby.

On the plains before Kwang we came across these BBJ's who, judging by their bloodied snouts, had clearly had a good meal recently

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As one heads north up this road you get the sense that everything winds down and that you are entering your own territory. There is very little traffic around and in a sense the animals seem to welcome you. Bedinkt was quiet again but, judging by the vehicle tracks, there had clearly been action recently. Most likely the lions. En-route we saw this Purple Roller and a stately Tawny Eagle

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We stopped at Polentswa waterhole and spent time watching the interaction between the Red Haartebeest and Blue Wildebeest who were around the waterhole in large numbers.

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These guys were full of energy, dashing around and then squaring up to each other. A couple of BBJ's came down to drink as well as this Scaly-feathered Finch

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The Leijersdraai Picnic site was our next stop where we had a nice brunch. One feels quite vulnerable at these remote picnic sites because there are seldom other peole present and when the grass is as long as it was on this occassion you certainly need eyes on the back of your head.

This majestic Gemsbok gave us an approving look as we headed north

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Over the years we had been very unlucky with regard to Honey Badger sightings - usually getting fleeting glimpses of these iconic creatures. Today was nothing new - this fellow dashed across the road and disappeared near the Kannagaus waterhole

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Soon we were at the Grootkolk turn-off and heading down the road to this delightful camp. We held our breath hoping that we had been allocated No 1 as requested and much to our relief we had. We soon settled in and decided to spend the rest of the day watching the waterhole (only about 50m away) from the confines of our stoep. The new fenced areas in front of the units is a great improvement which does give one a bit more space. SO immediately fiilled up the water container on the pole and soon we had our usual visitors arriving - Sociable Weavers and the occassional Red-headed Finch

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Soon the Sprinbok came down to drink and then spent a good while lazing around the waterhole.

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Later a small herd of Kudu appeared at the waterhole. Quite an unusual drama then played itself out. A very grumpy and aggressive Gemsbok had been at the waterhole for quite a while and he simply refused to allow the Kudu the opportunity to drink at the trough. Each time they ventured nearer he charged at them and chased them away. Clearly these poor Kudu were very thirsty because they kept coming forward to drink with the same result. This eventually became quite frustrating and the Kudu gave up and disappeared after sunset. Maybe they came back to drink after dark.

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There are 4 units at Grootkolk with a central unit which hosts a communal living area used by groups who book this camp out in its entirety. This picture was taken from our unit

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It was soon time to light the fire and witness this magical sunset

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Unfortunately the light at the waterhole was out of action so activity at the waterhole after dark could not be seen unless using a spotlight. The full moon did help and we were fortunate to see a Brown Hyena walk right past our unit on its way down to the waterhole.

Tonight we WALTZED to the beat of the Kalahari

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
Touareg : This was the first time in 3 visits that I have seen Violet-eared Waxbills. There were a lot of them in Nossob camp as well as in the vicinity of Marie se Gat.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:47 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 5

What a day this proved to be - most importantly it was our beautiful daughter Candice's 21st birthday. We were desperate to speak to her in Stellenbosch but had no means of communication. In desperation we approached the camp attendant and managed to get a SMS through via the Namibian network!

We were in no hurry to leave camp today - decided that the best place to be would be at our very own waterhole. The early morning rush from the Turtle Doves kicked off the activity at the waterhole.

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We also had visits from our feathered friend, this Red-headed Finch

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The kudu herd came down to drink and were not disturbed by the Gemsbok this time

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At about 09h30 I was sitting on the stoep reading when out of the corner of my eye I caught movement about 10m from our unit and there she was - the most beautiful Leopard coming down to the waterhole. She was so close that we could hear her paws on the sand as she walked. She slaked her thirst and then walked towards us and had a great time rolling in the sand, smelling the scent grass before leaving back along the same route that she had come along. We had this magnificent creature all to ourselves for about 20 precious minutes. Judging by some of the photographs I would hedge a bet that she was pregnant. I will let the photographs tell the story

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Wow, I still get goose bumps when posting these pictures - you can imagine the trouble I had with the camera shaking all the time. To see this all unfolding right in front of us - what a privilege.

Once calm had been restored I had great fun watching the Striped Mice that abound in this camp

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Then another pleasant surprise - two Spotted Hyeanas. They had a drink and then loafed around the waterhole for a while. The one poor lass had a rather painful hairdo - porcupine quills. I wished that she would come right up to our fence so that I could pull the quills out for her. She too looked pregnant.

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We decided to do a short afternoon drive in the direction of Unions End but at the same time were reluctant to leave our waterhole. Anyway we decided that we had developed a dash of cabin fever so we set off. This Scaly-feathered Finch came for a drink before we left

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The drive was quiet but it was nevertheless great to get out a bit. We saw this Juv Pale Chanting Goshawk

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When we arrived back at camp there was herd of Blue Wildebeest slaking their thirst. Whilst watching them I lit the fire and we drank a toast to Candice. The beautiful sunset capped a great day in the desert.

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:48 pm 
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Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 6

This morning we never set the alarm clock - simply relied on the birds to TWEET us! The mice were very active early on and we had great fun watching them whilst enjoying our early morning cuppa.

This Shrew was very skittish and would not come out into the open

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There was no need to clean the braai grid from last night - it was done for us free of charge

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The Striped Mice certainly know how to warm up on a cold winters morning - this patch of sunshine was very popular

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The same two hyenas popped in for a visit and in fact this one came right up to our fence - had the lady with the porcupine quills in her head done that I could have pulled them out for her!

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An amazing array of birds came to the water bowl - thought I would share them with you

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At about 09h00 we decided to take a drive up to Unions End to sign the register. The drive was relatively uneventful but nevertheless great to be out in such a remote area.

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Whilst at Unions End a Parks Board Isuzu bakkie came driving up along the fence from a southerly direction. It stopped at Unions End, we drove off and a little while later this vehicle overtook us at breakneck speed. I estimate the guy was driving at about 80km/hr. This is extremely disappointing to say the least.

We decided to stop off at the Unions End waterhole for a while - what a lovely quiet spot. There were a number of Gemsbok drinking at the waterhole and one of them had a severely deformed horn

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A number of Namaqua Doves flew in to have a drink.

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 6 continued...

We had just got back to Grootkolk when a Martial Eagle flew in and landed at the waterhole. It stood around for a while and then hopped into the drinking trough to cool down in the water

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It must have bathed for about twenty minutes before getting out of the water

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The ME then simply stood motionless next to the trough - not sure if it was weighed down by all the water in its plumage but it stood there and moved nothing but its head, keeping a good look out all the time

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An interesting scenario then unfolded. A lone springbok came down to the water trough, clearly neeing a drink. The ME showed quite a bit of aggression towards the Springbok which backed off each time it got close to the ME

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Eventually the ME had had enough of the Springbok and made a lunge at the buck which then bolted and disappeared over the horizon

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The ME once again had full control over who drank at the waterhole. It sat around for a while before flying up into the tree where he ruled supreme for quite a while before flying off.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:22 pm 
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Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 6 continued...

The afternoon activity at the Grootkolk waterhole was dominated by a visit by a herd of Kudu. This time there were a number of young bulls amongst them which made us assume that these were different kudu to those that came down to drink yesterday. It did surprise me that there were no big bulls though. We had never seen so many kudu in KTP before.

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Clearly something had disturbed them because they made a hasty getaway. We scanned the vicinity hoping to see Lions or maybe our Leopard. During the night we saw two honey badgers and a huge kudu bull at the waterhole, thanks to our spotlight.

As the sun set on our last evening at Grootkolk I took some photos of this idyllic place to give readers some idea of what it looks like

This is the view of the waterhole and surrounds - the waterhole is under the tree. The wide angle lens used makes the waterhole appear to be rather far away - in fact it is a mere 50m from unit No1

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Our unit, No 1, taken from the western side. The fences around the front of the units are a new addition and really are a big improvement because it definitely affords occupants of the units a bit more space. Sitting under that camelthorn tree watching the waterhole is an experience to remember. The shade cloth over the stoep is also new and I can assure you that the shade is an absolute godsend.

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These are the side and front views

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Sadly our stay at Grootkolk came to an end far too soon - early start the next day en route to Urikaruus. We savoured the sunset and did a slow dance with the stars.

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:38 pm 
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Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 7

It was an early start for us due to the long distance that we needed to travel to get to out next destination - Urikaruus, another of our favourite spots in KTP. It was still very gloomy outside when I heard SO say that there were animals at the waterhole and that she thought they were Lions. A quick look through the binocs confirmed that they were in fact Lions - there were two Lionesses and one lonely cub. Unfortunately the photos are not great because of the poor light conditions. Nevertheless I cranked up the ISO and this was the best that I could do.

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It was hard to believe that these were our first Lions of the trip and we had already been in the park for a week - maybe this was a good omen!

We stopped at Leijersdraai Picnic Spot for a cuppa - the silence at this place was deafening! Soon after heading off again we saw this Red Haartebeest soaking up some early morning sunshine.

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Polentswa waterhole was un-characteristically quiet untill this BBJ arrived for an early morning drink

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This Greater Kestrel was perched in a nearby tree

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Between Bedinkt and Kwang waterholes we stopped for a while to watch this rather large group of female Ostriches dashing around.

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We sat there for a while while they entertained us and suddenly a few dark shapes under a camelthorn tree in the distance caught our attention. A quick inspection with the help of the binocs confirmed that the shapes were in fact a Cheetah with two cubs! Unfortunately they were quite far away on the opposite side of the Nossob which means that the pics had to be severely cropped which had an adverse effect on their quality but at least we had the proof. These were the first Cheetah cubs that we had seen

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A quick stop at Cubitjie Quap yielded this Namaqua Sandgrouse

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We were being pressed for time so our pitstop at Nossob had to be a hasty one. I quickly went to check if our friend, the White-faced Scops Owl was still on his perch in front of 10b - well he did not disappoint except this time he was fast asleep and not in the least even interested in greeting us

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Here are a few images taken of Nossob Camp

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Between Cheleka waterhole and Dikbaardskolk we stopped to watch a pair of Tawny Eagles feeding their chick - once again a bit far for good pics.

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This Ostrich cut a handsome figure strolling down the dune

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The northern dune road was quiet which could be expected at around 13h00. This Secretary Bird was having a drink at the picturesque Morevet waterhole

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The trip to Urikaruus had been a long but rewarding one. We were once again lucky to be allocated No 1 which is the unit we had requested. This herd of Springbok were at the waterhole in front of our cabin to welcome us to Urikaruus and YES, the floors still creak!!

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We unpacked and sat and relaxed on the balcony for a while before heading up towards Mata Mata for an afternoon drive. We saw a Blue Wildebeest and then stopped at the Hyena den which appeared to have nobody at home. Our patience was rewarded when this young fellow came out to greet his visitors

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We turned around at 13de Boorgat and headed back to Urikaruus. The weiry travellers laboured up the creaking stairs, went straight to the fridge , got a cold beer and went out onto the balcony and would you believe it - there was a Leopard coming to the waterhole for a drink. Lion, Cheetah and Leopard in one day - not sure it gets better than that.

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My, was that beer sweet!

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:02 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 8

This morning SO decided to sleep in so yours truly hit the road towards Mata Mata. The advantage of staying at Urikaruus is that you can cover a lot of ground in both northerly and southerly directions before hitting the Mata Mata - Twee Rivieren traffic.

Before departing I saw an aborted attempt by a Lanner falcon to catch a Turtle Dove here at the waterhole. In fact this LF clearly was not a ngood hunter because during the course of our stay here we witnessed several such botched attacks.

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The air was very crisp as can been seen by the puffed out feathers of this Lilac-breasted Roller

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The hyena den was quiet so I headed on up towards 13de Boorgat. Here I was fortunate enough to get a really good sighting of a Spotted Eagle Owl perched in a Grey camelthorn tree.

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There was plenty of general game and birds to seen around 13 de boorgat as can be seen by the following photographs

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I had made good time so headed on up to 14de Boorgat where this Black-shouldered Kite displayed his aerial prowess

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This stately Springbok ram had a good view of the valley from his vantage point on the calcrete slopes of the Auob valley

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The 14de Boorgat loop road was in a terrible state and I was about to turn back when I saw movement up in the dunes. I waited for a while and this paid off because this Cheetah (collared) crossed the road into the valley and then proceeded to walk down the Auob river bed in the direction of the waterhole, stopping from time to time to scout the area. There were a few springbok at the waterhole which I guess she was eyeing for breakfast!. By now a few vehicles had gathered, the occupant of one them was in fact working for the Cheetah Reaearch Project. Interestingly she was of the opinion that this cheetah had cubs stuck away in the dunes. The cheetah lay down in the long grass, clearly wanting to ambush these springbok. Unfortunately time was running out and I had to leave so whether or not she got her meal I will never know!

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For our evening drive we once again headed north and had good sightings.

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This Kori Bustard formed a lovely silhouette in the twilight

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When we lit the braai fire on our balcony this Cape Fox came at sat patiently below us - I suspect it had been fed at some stage.

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Once again the sunset was magnificent.

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dancing with the Stars - KTP trip report
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 9

We decided to make an early start this morning to head north towards Mata Mata again. We felt that we should visit this area as often as possible because our next stop was to be Kieliekrankie which would enable us to visit the area south of Urikaruus quite regularly. The temperatiure at 07h30 on this morning was a seriously cold -2C! Here is an early morning pic of the view from our cabin - the moon was still up.

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This really bedraggled Secretary Bird was, I am sure, getting really cold

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It soon warmed up as we wended our way up towards 13de Boorgat. Here we came across a huge herd of Giraffe. It is great to see so many of them - we counted 39. Apparently a number of years ago about 19 or so we re-located from Etosha to this area. Judging by the number of young Giraffe there is no doubt that bthey are breeding really well and have adapted to the area.

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The scenery in this area is really beautiful - I take a pic of this tree and dune every time we visit the KTP

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The only life at 13de Boorgat was a Yellow Canary and a Turtle Dove

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The Canaries really do add colour to the Kalahari. The game became more plentiful further up towards 14de Boorgat. A large herd of Springbok were grazing in the Auob

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We saw a lone Giraffe heading over the dunes

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An interesting sequence of events took place a little way further along the 14de Boorgat loop. A Black-shouldered Kite swooped down and caught an unsuspecting mouse on the dunes, flew up into the tree in front of us and in no time at all gulped the mouse down WHOLE. It must really have a strong digestive system because, failing that, it would have a very sore tummy.

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From here we headed all the way up to mata Mata for lunch. We spent some time walking around in the camp looking for resident owls but by all accounts they had "fled the camp" this year. The Ground Squirrells hounded us whilst making jaffles for lunch - clearly they have a field time in this camping site. Each time we visit MM I wonder why the water hole was moved away from its original position in front of the camping site - it seemed far more appropriate there.

On the way back to Urikaruus we saw this African Grey Hornbill near Dalkeith waterhole

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This Ostriches seemed to be practising a dance move and the Gemsbok was training for the Durban July!

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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