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 Post subject: Rookie Sun, Sand and Cicada! Dec 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Sun, red sand and Cicadas are 3 things that I associate with extreme heat and I was not disappointed!

The scene set

I had been to a couple of CT meets, but not been to KTP yet, and I felt as if I was missing out on something special. When you speak to anybody who has been to KTP, you can just feel the passion that they have for this place and I needed to find out for myslef if I would too become an addict! :hmz: :hmz:

So, with my SO (Rob) and myself only having the week between Christmas and New Year on leave together, I started hatching a plan and hit the SANparks website in search of a park to visit. :tongue: I seriously didn't think that I would find anything, but to my amazement, I managed to get a couple of days in KTP. Now, I don't camp - I do not have the equipment to camp and sleeping on the ground is also not on my list of favourite things to do since having a knee replacment makes getting onto or up from the ground really rather difficult!

I sort of suggested visiting KTP to Rob in an e-mail and he didn't say yes, but he didn't say no, so I took the gap and sent a mail to my favourite lady at the Sanparks desk at Canal Walk and within the blink of an eye, plans were made!!

So, I must confess that I lost my virginity :redface: :redface: in the week between Christmas and New Year and headed to the far Northern Cape to see what all the hype was about.

The itinerary was as follows:
Dec 26 - Augrabies national park
Dec 27 - Twee Rivieren
Dec 28 - Nossob
Dec 29/30 - Twee Rivieren
Dec 31 - Augrabies

Now I know that the "old hands" are looking at this and bemoaning the fact that we are chicken! :roll: We had never driven that far before and Rob opted to break the journey in both directions for our maiden voyage (in hindsight, we may have rather stayed the extra days in KTP, but we all have to learn the first time).

So join me as I take my maiden voyage and try not to compare it with the only other park I know - Kruger!!

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Addo - booked 14-17 June
KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Day 1 - 26 Dec - Cape Town to Augrabies

I wanted to leave at about 05:00, but we ended up leaving at about 07:00, with the Suzuki packed with every conceivable thing I may need. I had got invaluable info from Caracal about what was/ wasn't available at the various camps, about the goggas and the lack of electricity at Nossob etc.

We headed for Springbok before turning towards Upington. I went through little towns and places I had only ever heard of and finally found out where Pofadder was!

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The road stretched like a grey ribbon before us and as we passed all the sociable weavers nests on the telephone poles and the raptors perched on the wires, searching for their lunch.

We arrived at Augrabies at about 15:30 and booked in to our chalet, unpacked all the stuff and headed for the falls.

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The damage from the earlier floods still evident

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As we waked along the boardwalk, the amount of litter really struck us - plastic cooldrink bottles, beer bottles, tin cans etc.

We were fascinated by all the lizards.

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We headed back to the chalet for a quiet braai and had some visitors.

Please help with the IDs where possible.
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A masked weaver
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A pale-winged Starling
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These swallows had a nest under the eaves of our chalet
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As we sat outside, a thunderstorm brewed and we watched the lightening show (and tried for about an hour to catch it on camera! :lol: )

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We were so thankful for the aircon, turned in for the night and lay listening to the rain drops falling heavily onto the roof!

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Addo - booked 14-17 June
KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Caracal wrote:
Hi Rookie....my word you are on the ball with your TR.
I think your swallows are possibly Martins...either House or Brown throated. Sorry my bird book is still hidden somewhere under the debri in the kitchen. :roll:


Thanks for the correction Caracal. I make no secret of the fact that my bird knowledge is to say the least - diabolical, so this is not the last one that will be miscategorised or totally unidentified! :lol: :lol:

Maybe I must look at some of the other photos I have of it and see if I can get a clearer indication coz it don't look like the ones in my book! :wall: :wall: :tongue:

You may also have to help on the locations of the various sightings as I am sure you would have seen similar/ same ones and I am not very good with knowing where things are. :redface: :redface:

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KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Day 2: 27 Dec - Augrabies to Twee Rivieren

If gates open at 05:00, I am there, so it was a reasonably early morning as I sat outside the chalet enjoying the cooler morning air. The air was alive with birdsong and other critters.

The first was this little squirrel.

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and again a multitude of birdies

I would be guessing a female masked weaver, but I don't see the red eye. :?
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Again, this sunbird, also possibly a Dusky??
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and this Quiver tree
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I managed to drag the SO out for a quick drive before heading off to KTP and saw this Juvenille Black Stork?? I didn't see any adults in the vicinity.
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Odd rock formation - not sure if it is Darth Vader's mask or an elelphant on its knees.
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We saw numerous babboons and vervets, but not much else, so it was "hi ho, hi ho, its off to KTP we go!"

As we headed towards Upington, the Pink Padstal called our name – we just had to go and have a look. What a quaint little place, but being after a long weekend, they had very little choice of cooldrinks, so fruit juice it was! We used the little boy’s and girl’s rooms…….and I am sure that my mother made me some of the dresses on the patterns displayed in the ladies room!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Right, now that we were on our way, it was easy – KTP was just a short drive away….WRONG!! :naughty:

We got every red robot in Upington! We needed money and found a bank….with NO ATM and after popping in at the petrol station, we took off down the road, only to discover that we were on the wrong road and needed to retrace our steps and head to Namibia! Who knew!! :?
OK, you can all stop laughing now – it was our first trip and we had the choice of plugging the Garmen or the Cooler box into the cigarette lighter….and the food won!! :wink:

I loved the scenery and the Salt Pan that I eventually got the SO to stop long enough for that I could take a photo.

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We finally arrived and checked in quite quickly (it would be nice if they could put the forms on the website so that you could fill them all in in advance) and got our chalet key. Unpacking was done in an instant and we hit the road for our first foray into the unknown!

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We had to stop at the first large Weaver’s nest tree and took a not very good photo of the occupants.

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A little further on, we came across this family of ostriches.

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The little ones are really cute, and were shouting a welcome at us.

We turned onto the Mata-Mata road and gave this little one a fright as it ran out from under the bush. I initially thought it was a BBK, but I now think that it may be a Cape Fox – please confirm for me.

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Our first Springbok
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And a bird which we did not know, so had to take a picture of it for later identification. Our book says it is a Lanner Falcon.

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We spotted Jannie’s camera at Houmoed, (but somehow didn’t quite get to see all the animals that he has posted from that camera…maybe next time!)

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The Wildebeest were resting in the shade….as were all the others!

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This Spotted Thicknee was hiding next to the tree very well camouflaged.

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The next minute I was sounding like my mother trying to get to the right child’s name…..STOP, a cheetah, no a leopard, no a ….yes it is a cheetah! :doh: Now as you may realise that it is IMPOSSIBLE to stop quickly on those roads!! So we eventually get the car to stop bucking like a bronco over the corrugations and reverse, slowly………!

Lying under the tree not 20 m away from us was our first cheetah. We are still trying to determine if it is a female or a male and whether it is collared or not.

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It was really nice to see all the springbok with their babies

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To top off our first afternoon’s sightings, we spotted a very flat cat – young male lion, Black Shoulder Kite, this Swallow-tail Bee-eater (do you realise how many blurry photos we have before we managed to get this ½ decent one???) :lol: :lol: and these "we don’t know whats", so please help (think they are Sandgrouse of some sort).

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Sjoe, what a day! Just what will tomorrow hold?

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KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Quote:
and these "we don’t know whats", so please help (think they are Sandgrouse of some sort).



Indeed Rookie, a Sandgrouse...a Burchell's Sandgrouse to be precise !!!
MY word you saw an awful lot on your first drive out into the park :shock: ......my first drive produced a Ground Agama...but I love photographing Ground Agamas :clap: !!! But I think you realised that when following us down from Bedinkt :redface:

Lovely photos Rookie !!!! :D :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:58 pm 
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Quote:
We turned onto the Mata-Mata road and gave this little one a fright as it ran out from under the bush. I initially thought it was a BBK, but I now think that it may be a Cape Fox – please confirm for me.

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I think the above photo of yours, Rookie, is that of a BBJ.

A comparison pic of mine of a Cape Fox.

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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:53 am 
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Loving your trip report Rookie, thank so much - its very entertaining and your photos are great !!! I think your photo is of a young BBJ too :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Thanks for all the kind comments. :redface: :redface:
Here is the next part.

Day 3: 28 Dec - Twee Rivieren to Nossob Part 1.

While SO was checking something under the bonnet (think he just wanted to make sure we hadn’t rattled the engine loose), Jannie, Vanessa and little Stephan wandered past, saw the Yellow ribbon and introduced themselves to Rob and we were chatting about the drive up to Nossob the next day and he suggested we take the upper dune road. :hmz:

As I have already indicated, I am up at Sparrow’s and got my permit and headed towards Leeudril while Rob slept peacefully.

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The sunrise was just stunning.
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These Shongololos seem to have got themselves in a tangle…..
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Further down towards Leeudril, the sun was rising over the dunes.
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Perched on the top of the tree was this PCG looking for a snack.
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I spotted a major traffic jam (about 6 cars) and on the side of the dune was the reason – a stunning lioness…and she was watching…..
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The reason for her interest….a herd of Wildies, with 4 babies
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Having seen a lion kill in KNP recently, I knew that it was no use sitting in the traffic queue watching her if I wanted to see the action!! I trundled off down the road about ½ km. The Wildies crossed at Leeudril and stopped just next to the dune to the left of the waterhole. I turned, stopped and waited!!

These birdies were flitting round the waterhole.
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They look like some sort of sparrow, but help with the ID would be appreciated.
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I could see the chain of cars slowly moving in my direction, following her as she trotted along the dunes.
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She crested the dune on the left of the waterhole and……………
She got such a fright that they were standing right in front of her that she launched herself into the middle of the herd….
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Wildies went in a million different directions, bleating, ….dust was flying, I was trying to get the video to work while I contorted myself around to get a picture and she was…..totally unsuccessful!
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I am not sure if I was relieved or sad for heras she stood forlornly on the dune.
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As I made my way back to pack up, shower and get moving onto Nossob, I saw this peaceful scene
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this bird – is it also a PCG?
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We took the Mata-Mata road once more, hoping to repeat the sightings we had had the previous afternoon, but sadly this was not to be. This noisy Northern Black Korhaan was hiding at the side of the road.
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These beautiful flowers made such a welcome break from all the dry grass ans red sand.
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We did see a little ostrich family near Monroe and a BBJ at Houmoed….wonder if it is on the camera trap?? My photos were not decent.
We stopped at Auchtalonie and watched the busy ground squirrels trying to dig their way to Australia!
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And couldn’t resist taking a piccies of the ruins.
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We did try the Bee-eaters again, but still not a very good photo – hopefully we have some success later.
This slender mongoose scuttled past in the undergrowth
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As we got near Gemsbokplain, we spotted a Kori Bustard on the opposite side of the riverbed, so these are not the greatest photos (really at the limit of my zoom!)
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He stood under the tree and then suddenly headed out into the sunlight with purpose and as we watched, he picked up a snake, shook it about and ate it!! A kill!! We saw it!!....and we were the ONLY car there!
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This little bat-eared fox came towards us and seemed very agitated as she stopped at each of 3 mounds of earth near the road. She sat down, panted a bit, crept towards the mounds, sat down again, looked at us….I am not sure if this is where the den is, but we didn’t see any babies.
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There was a large herd of Springbok near Montrose and we captured this elusive Crimson Breasted Shrike just before turning off onto the upper dune road.
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The dune road welcomed us as we took the right hand turn, headed for Nossob.
Part 2 to follow......

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Addo - booked 14-17 June
KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:29 pm 
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Oh wow Rookie...the KTP was kind to you. Amazing lioness action and I never realized that Kori Bustards would eat a snake :shock:

Your sparrow is a White-browed Sparrow-weaver. But your "other" PCG has me a bit confused. I first thought it may be a Black - chested Snake-eagle but I don't think so :hmz: Do you perhaps have some more photos of the bird?


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:08 am 
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Caracal wrote:
Oh wow Rookie...the KTP was kind to you. Amazing lioness action and I never realized that Kori Bustards would eat a snake :shock:

Your sparrow is a White-browed Sparrow-weaver. But your "other" PCG has me a bit confused. I first thought it may be a Black - chested Snake-eagle but I don't think so :hmz: Do you perhaps have some more photos of the bird?


Thanks Caracal.
This is the other one....hope it helps!!
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To actually get 1 photo of a bird is a miracle for me! :wall: :wall:

This is what I thought was a Black Chested Eagle which we saw in the same area 2 days later, so you may well be right.

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I don't know my PCG from my Pygmy Falcon from my Black Chested Snake Eagle it would seem.....and I have the cheek to attempt the Bird ID challenge ( :redface: :redface: ), but how else do you learn!!

To Pumbaa, Kallis1786, p@m, anne-marie, RichardJ, Hilda, Barryels and of course Caracal, thanks for staying on the boat and for all the nice comments. I am having fun and doing this made me realise how much we saw that was the "normal" animal sightings.....those are still to come....so as they say in the classics

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Hang in there!!

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KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:55 pm 
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Day 3: 28 Dec - Twee Rivieren to Nossob Part 2.

I loved the dune road, not for the sightings, because there weren’t too many, but for the fun factor….I felt like I was a kid on a roller coaster! Up the dunes, slowly over the top and then doooown the other side.

Again, the karaak karaak karaak of the Northern black Korhaan rang out.
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And then we caught a glimpse of a little bokkie that we had not yet seen. High up on the dune was a little steenbok, not very clear, but identifiable none the less.
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This beauty was just waiting for us to take its photo (and hopefully this time I am right in saying that it is a PCG!!)
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At Vaalpan we found this Secretary bird – pretty sure of that ID!! Playing like a “dippy duck” (for those of us old enough to remember the dippy ducks and the glass of water!).
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I started getting interested in birds when, in KNP during March, they were all we could see because the grass was so darn high, so you will just have look at all the ones I took pictures of. These Kestrels were sitting in a tree together….now the question is, are they Greater or Lesser Kestrels and are they male and female – their size and colouring was slightly different.
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There was nothing seen before we got to Moravet waterhole and here we were entertained by a couple of Secretary birds, but I am not sure who was entertaining whom as we were trying to get a picture of them in flight and they were teasing us and needless to say, none of them were great.
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We watched the delicate Gemsbok come down to drink
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and these Black-headed Herons, Great White Egret and Black-winged Stilt (no I haven’t suddenly got clever, I asked for some help with the ID). I am told that this sighting of the Egret is extremely rare as it is way out of their range. Did anybody else see it at Moravet recently?
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We saw a lot of Gemsbok on this road and male ostriches which looked like they were standing guard on their territories – 1 on this dune and 1 on thaaaaat dune.
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I got so excited to see my first Red Haartebeest! Huh, :doh: :doh: is she crazy getting worked up over a hartebeest, they are everywhere…..you need to understand that I have mostly been to KNP and never seen one there (and only 1 in the Pilanesberg), so this was a great sighting for me.
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After seeing an eagle way off, we had the privilege of this little Steenbok standing still at the side of the road, allowing us to get a semi decent photo of him before he shot off at top speed.
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Before we reached the end of the road, we had another viewing of the every present PCG and on arrival at Dikbaardskolk, spotted this little family of Kudu.
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The road from there up to Nossob was very quiet, however we did spy a couple of stunning Tawny Eagles just before Cheleka w/h.
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Can somebody please confirm the ID of this birdie for me please?
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We didn’t take Marie se draai, but kept going straight to camp, checked in and headed for our chalet.

Now neither of us are blonde, but the layout of the chalets in that block was 1 on either end and our chalet facing backwards in the middle. In the bedroom there was a door which was “locked” so we assumed that it was an interleading door to 1 of the other chalets. SO asked if we didn’t have a WC and shower and I said “Yes”, but do you think we could find it! :hmz: :hmz: Off I strode to the office….”I booked a chalet with a shower and WC and there isn’t one!!” :rtm: “That is the chalet you were allocated on the system ma’am” “But it is not what I booked!!” “OK. I will get the duty manager and come and see” BTW, most of this was in Afrikaans to top it all!! :? Off we went, an entire posse in search of the missing WC and shower. They walked in, through the bedroom and gave the “interleading“ door a good shove and voila – a bathroom with a shower and wc appeared!! :wall: :wall: :redface: :redface: I apologised profusely, thanked them and couldn’t help thinking “Stupid SO, why would they put an interleading door in a chalet!” but I suppose I should have checked. :tongue:

So, with WC found and car unpacked, we headed off to the hide to have a quick look – nothing.

I then convinced SO to take a ride to Bedinkt. I would just like to say to those manufacturers of the “vibrating slimming machines” – your product cannot possibly work because after travelling on that section of road – I should be Twiggy and I am not!! :naughty: Corrugations I can deal with, but the valley of a thousand hills I was not prepared for.

There were 2 cars in front of us and once we arrived at Bedinkt, we discovered that it was Caracal and her family. :o I commented that the roads were bad and her SO replied “we were just saying how good they were – they have been much worse!!” Well, for a 1st timer, they were teeth rattling! (Note to self: develop a 4x4 bra for next trip)
Again, nothing much except these sweet little squirrels checking out the underneath of Caracal’s van
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We headed back to camp for a quiet braai and a good night’s sleep!

More tomorrow....nighty night.

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KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:27 pm 
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Hi Rookie
Enjoying this lots :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
Your previous bird that you thought was maybe a PCG is a PCG ....I think ...still open to correction on that one. :roll:
The bird needing ID in your last post is a juvenile PCG. :)
I am not very clued up on Kestrels but I do think that yours are Greater Kestrels because they seem to have whitish eyes ...that points to Greater Kestrel.

We also saw the Great Egret at Moravet on the 27th and again on the 29th. :clap: Although I did not see the Stilt I saw some other little waterbirds that I have still to ID. It was an interesting stop at Moravet !!! :thumbs_up:
But now Rookie, you should be well pleased to see Kudu in KTP :D .....they do not always feature on everybodies sightings list.

And looking forward to the rest of your TR.... :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:25 am 
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Very much enjoying your entrtaining TR rookie! Also concur on the juvenile PCG and the greater kestrel(s) (one might be a juvenile?) and am really :mrgreen: of you very special sighting of the great egret and the stilt. As well, I've never seen Moravet with water — it looks amazing!

Apart from your super sightings, I especially like your photo of the salt pan en route to KTP. I actually remember those salt pans from my first visit (when it was still the Gemsbok Park) in 1992, when you drove across them! Then what is now the tar road was the 'alternate' route and after having driven north on the then-main route, I decided to be adventurous and take the alternate dune road (in a Toyata Corolla!) when I left the park. Those salt pans were an awesome surprise and unforgettable (sadly not nearly so impressive now since the tar road bypasses them rather than crossing them).

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20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:41 am 
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Thanks again to all the followers.
That bit of historical info was great Arks, I wonder how many of the "old hands" did that or remember that road?

Day 4: 29 Dec – Nossob to Twee Rivieren Part 1.

So, the fire is lit and the foodies is ready. For clarity’s sake – I love animals and wildlife, however, I DON’T like flying things, not birds, but buggies and beetles. This stems from a childhood incident and I go almost hysterical when bugs fly around me…..so now do you get the picture……..fire lit, light on, sitting outside ………..and a deluge of BUGS! :slap: :slap: Oh, and the other thing that is not really top of my “like” list are geckoes, this because I had one fall into my hair one day and then proceed to lose its tail there – gives me “grils” just thinking about it…..and where did I opt to stay – you got it NOSSOB where they have the fattest geckoes and a myriad of bugs. :wall: :wall:
Gecko
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Toktokkie or some other such beetle
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I ate my supper, ducking and diving like a mad person.
We then had the camp visitors sitting on the wall just next to us, waiting for some food. Don’t even know if you can see it in this photo.
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We took a trip down to the hide to see what we could see, but boy, was it full, like a queue in PnP, take a number and wait until somebody decides it is time to leave. :big_eyes:
The jackals were having a ball drinking the water, trotting off a little way, returning to the water and then……………..the blasted lights went out!!! :tongue: Now while the spotlight was on, the buggies were swarming around it, far away from me, but as soon as the bright sparks next to me, with their high powered torches lit up the world, the bugs came heading straight for it and thus ME! It was time to go! :(
We traipsed back to the chalet and only then did it actually sink in that when they say everything goes off……they mean everything! No fridge, no FAN!!! :whistle: :whistle:

What else to do except sleep – I WISH! Hot flushes are reserved for the menopausal women and should not be thrust upon us who are not quite there yet and the SO…who was not quite as polite about the fact that it was hot! :eviltreath: :sleep
Again, I had listened to the info that Caracal had been nice enough to give me, so wet towels and ice bricks were the order of the day, or should that be night. I did wake for a short period because of the Jackals making a horrid amount of noise…and having now read the thread “what happens at Nossob when the lights go out”, I suppose I should have got up to look, but PJs were not…..oh forget it, you get the picture! :sniper: :sniper:
My alarm infiltrated my state of doze and I quickly got up, washed my face and headed off, first to the hide, just in case there was anything there…..this sunrise greeted me.
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Got my permit, and headed South. Now I must just comment that the sign on the gate at the camp fascinated me “Gates closed due to dangerous animals” Well thanks guys, so you now expect me to get out of my car with all these dangerous animals around, open the gate, get back in, drive through and then repeat the process……..should the gates not be automatic if this is the case?????? :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
I survived the gate opening/ closing ordeal and headed off to Marie se Draai. I saw plenty of general game, with the RHB dotted around the landscape and these Gemsbok and Springbok in the morning sun.
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I sat and watched this little mouse (which seems to have sat in a pot of blue paint) for a while. There were other siblings, but my reaction times were not good enough to get any of them.
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A Cattle Egret came wading along
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And this 1 horned Gemsbok came closer so that I could have a good look at him.
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Not seeing any cats, I headed back to shower, pack up and collect the SO for our trip back to TR.
On the way back, these Wildies bade me farewell
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and this SWBE stood still long enough for me to get a piccie (I have 7 others of the same bird that really were not even worth attempting to post).
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I did pass Caracal going in the opposite direction but didn’t stop as I had an urgent “nood/ need” which the corrugations were not helping with and I needed to get back to camp.

While I had been out, the SO had also been taking pictures around camp.
His sunrise
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The Glossy Starling
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A Red-eyed African Bulbul with its breakfast
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We packed up, filled up and headed out. For the 3rd time today, we went down Marie se Draai, but still only general game was seen and some birdies in the trees.
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This one thought it was a birdie
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Just after we turned onto the main road, I spotted tracks in the sand at the side of the road and asked SO to stop and tell me what they were. He doesn’t have a clue, so says “it has a pad and 4 toes” “how big?” “big….and it is going thataway”. Now you must realise that “thataway”, is not “thisaway” which is the direction we are going in, so maybe, if we had stayed on the main road instead of doing the draai, we would have seen our cat….but anyway!

These 3 PCGs were having a family meeting
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And we watched this little BBJ drinking at Kaspersegat.
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On we went and a car going past us, I suddenly realised, was flying both yellow and red ribbons…STOP, go back. So we both slowly reversed towards each other, giving lots of space coz you have no idea which direction the road can make your car suddenly buck in, and it was……you guessed it……Duke and Sharifa. Such nice people. We had a general chat and he told us that they had had wonderful sightings up at Khalahari tented camp that morning and were now on their way to Grootkolk.

Hhhmmm, :hmz: my brain started kicking in. Look on map…….take the upper dune road…..turn right at Kumqua towards Mata-Mata…………now to convince the SO to go that way without actually asking him….must let him think it is his idea……..It was already 29 °C and it was only 10:00….would the heat stop us? :hmz: :hmz:

We stopped at Dikbaardskolk for a pit-stop - men's loo was out of commission! As we were watching the birdies and taking a break, this silver BMW 7 series pulled in! All you had to do was look around and see the bakkies, 4x4s and other vehicles (even our Suzuki SX4 looked a bit out of place) and read the info that says "internal roads not suitable for sedans" to realise that this man must have been crazy to take a vehicle like this on those roads....the only conclusion we could reach was that it was a company car so he couldn't care less. :doh: :doh: :twisted: :twisted:

So, did we, or didn’t we and was it worth it…………. :popcorn: :popcorn:

_________________
Addo - booked 14-17 June
KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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 Post subject: Re: Sun, Sand and Cicada!
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:18 am
Posts: 300
Location: Cape Town
OK girls....time to stop all the giggling and get serious.....NNNNOOOOOOTTTTT!!!

Day 4: 29 Dec – Nossob to Twee Rivieren Part 2

Just before Dikbaardskolk, we saw this Red-headed Weaver, another first for us. Neither pictures are great!
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Another blurred SWBE – I am determined to get a decent photo of this bird!! And will keep trying until I do, and what I thought was a dove……but clearly when I cropped it, I see it isn’t, so please could somebody help with the ID?
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The entire dune road yielded an Ostrich family and a Scrub Hare :slap: …..was this the wrong decision, what if we didn’t see anything on the Mata-Mata rd, what if the direct Nossob rd was alive with lions :pray: …..well toughies, we would never know what we missed on that road and you will need to keep reading if you want to know what we saw on the Mata-Mata rd.

We turned at Kumqua and about the only thing we saw at this waterhole, was a secretary bird or two. We then saw a couple of cars stopped and over on the other side if the riverbed, under a tree, was mom cheetah and her 2 babies – too hot to do anything.
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We chatted to the occupants of one of the cars for a while and he said that he had seen 8 lion on the Nossob rd the day before. :wall: :wall: :wall: Darn, darn, darn!!! Did we make a mistake?
We drove further on and saw so many dark maned lion in the grass hanging off the trees and bushes at both 14th and 13th Boorgat, but no real ones.
We did see this Martial Eagle though.
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We also saw the grader, tyre-pulling thingy, but I think he has on lunch coz he waved at us as we went by. :tongue:
We went all the way up to Urikuruus turn off without seeing anything else and as it was extremely hot, we didn’t think that we would see any animals anyway, so decided to head back down to TR and check in. We were a bit disappointed, but you can’t control the movements of animals. :rtm: :rtm:

On the way back we saw our 1 and only Giraffe. He posed so beautifully for us at the top of the dune, but was still a long way away.
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About 1 km from 13de Boorgat, now I was driving at this time, I nearly put SO through the windscreen as I “screeched” to a halt. The cheetah mom had kindly moved from under her tree on the far side, to a camel thorn about 5 m from the road…on my side for a change!
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The little ones were still so fluffy and I guessed were about 6 months old. Maybe somebody can confirm their actual age.
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I was so excited to actually see them up close. I actually have 20 photos of them, but thought I would just put up a few.

Now we could relax, that sighting was worth taking the dune road option.
But Mother Nature has other ideas!
If I was my SO, I would have put on a seatbelt….this was not the last time I would brake heavily as the old brain processed what the eyes had seen and came up with a STOP instruction!
About 1 ½ km before Montrose, I got spots in front of my eyes….was it dehydration in this heat……NO, it was Cheetah!! Collared mom (I think Lizette) and her 4 cubs were lying ever so lazily under a tree…..using each other as pillows in an effort to get comfortable in the heat.
I know some of the photos are very similar, but that's what happens when you are in the same car. :tongue:
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She looked very uncomfortable in her collar, almost like it was just too tight in that heat and she desperately wanted it off. I felt sorry for her.
They were a little bit further away, but still clearly visible.

WOW, 8 Cheetah in the space of ½ an hour!!

Mother Nature has the same warped sense of humour as I have, and, I kid you not……about 500 m on the other side of Montrose, I caught site of this youngster on the side of the road.
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Doing what they do best, but you could see that he would grow up into a beauty.
I couldn’t understand why SO was not taking photos of him when I realised that under a little tree on the opposite side of the road, was the rest of the family!
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It looked like a lioness, with a sub-adult male and another sub-adult, but could not make out the sex.

So hold it, that is 8 cheetah and 4 lion in the space of 40 minutes!! I have died and gone to heaven….just bury me there. :dance: :dance:

I still secretly wanted to see a Leopard though!! :twisted: :twisted:
It was heading towards 15:00 and the temp was 36 °C, so camp was definitely calling with the cool aircon!
On the way back, this poor little Wildie was hiding under its mom to try and get some shade
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And the adults were crammed into any little bit of shade they could find.
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_________________
Addo - booked 14-17 June
KNP - booked 21-28 Sept
KTP - booked 27/12 - 3/1/14


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