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 Post subject: GavinW Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Christmas Trees in the Kalahari- KTP May 2012

(By GavinW and pics by Wannabe Nerd)

Planning for our annual pilgrimage to the Kgalagdi this year was plagued by my employers who were unwilling to grant me the dates we wanted, which resulted in a fair deal of date swapping and negations both at home and at work.

Eventually with about 4 weeks to go our dates were set and included stays for the first time at Rooiputs and Polentswa, which we were both excited and a bit nervous about.
We would be camping in a ground tent, in an unfenced camp for the first time.
In addition, the date changes had resulted in us having to cancel 3 nights in Mata Mata before going to Rooiputs. Now we would be heading straight to Rooiputs from Cape Town. Talk about a baptism of fire!!

Packing started over the Freedom Day long weekend (When we really wanted to be in the park already), and soon our little home looked as if a bomb had gone off in it!

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Packed and almost ready to go:

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We left Cape Town in rainy weather at 2.30 am on the 1st of May. We had a quiet and relatively uneventful trip up to the park, arriving almost exactly 12 hours later.


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We so needed this holiday and I was very pleased when at last the dates were settled upon and the packing started. I have to admit that it is one time of the year that I do not mind my house looking as though a bomb had gone off in the middle of it…….

Gav and I had both been so busy that when we at last arrived at Twee Rivieren, we had to keep pinching ourselves to truly believe that we were finally home. We had no expectations regarding this trip as both of us just wanted to be there and enjoy the solitude and the fact that we did not have to go to work.

I can honestly say that this was a trip of a lifetime and God blessed us both in so many ways and on a daily basis. I loved every minute of being in the Kalahari, even the dust, and boy!!!! Was there dust.

Wannabe Nerd


We booked at the SA side, saying hi to Annetjie before going over to the Botswana side of the reception area. Formalities complete, we quickly went up to KG’s office to say hi, did a (very) little bit of shopping and after deflating our tyre pressure, we were off into the relatively unknown ……………….

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Award: Travel tale of the Year - Other Parks (2012)
Firstly thank you to all who have jumped aboard so far. I hope we do not dissapoint you.

During April Debbie had acquired a new Panasonic Lumix FZ150 camera, which really proved to be a great addition to our armory of equipment, and I inherited the FZ18. (But still used my old faithful FZ 7 until well into the trip). As a result you are going to be flooded with mik and druk pictures for the next 21 days!!!

Sorry! :redface: :dance:




Day 1 Rooiputs Rookies

After the admin thing was done and dusted our first sighting was of Chris, a friend we had made over our last two trips. Chris’s SO had ducked into the game viewing area, leaving him chasing after his two eldest. I am still not sure who was more excited to see who….. Debbie to see the kids, or Chris to see Debbie. :lol:

After exchanging greetings and news we headed off to Rooiputs.

A competition to see who would guess the first animal seen was won by yours truly A Wildebeest, (My favourite ungulate).

Having last been in the park a year previously, we were unaware of the new detour to Rooiputs, and took the first (original) turn off to the Botswana side…. Good move. :dance:

We had only travelled 12km in the park when I spotted the guys…….

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Don't I just look so pretty!!

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Hello my lovely

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Grrrr!!

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Oh my hat :redface:


Needless to say, our plans of setting up camp and chilling for the afternoon were history.

All the time we were watching the lions right next to our vehicle, whilst on the Botswana side, we could see Chris and Kelly straining to see what we were watching from the SA road.

Eventually we decided that we had to leave the two love birds in peace as we had a camp to set up. So we carried on

Only to be delayed yet again by

This chap

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And a lonesome sentry…


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We arrived at Rooiputs and set up camp in site number 3.

Wow, Wow, Wow

That was all we could say. The setting was stunning, we had seen some amazing game within an hour of entering paradise and we had three full weeks ahead of us. Wow.

I didn’t take any photos of our campsite that evening, after we set up camp as we were pretty shattered after the long day, but we did capture our first Kgalagadi sunset of the holiday, before braaing some kebabs and hitting the sack..

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(Note to self: This is a definite MUST for next time)

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Tue May 29, 2012 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Award: Travel tale of the Year - Other Parks (2012)
Tinypic is not playing ball, and I am shattered after a long day at the office so ... Sorry for you.... You will have to wait till the weekend for the next update

Here is a sneak preview though

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And a bit later......................

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_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Thu May 31, 2012 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:24 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks everyone for being so patient in waiting for this next episode, and for all your feedback... We really do enjoy it :P

Day 2: A Rooiputs Roundabout

We woke up early the next morning after a sound nights sleep. Debbie was SO excited at last to wake up to the sound of Fork tailed drongos instead of the usual sound of sirens and trains at home. :D

We quickly got ourselves organized and were ready to leave the “gate” just a few minutes before 7am. :dance:


We had decided to venture south initially and then to turn around and head up to Kij Kij. We had just joined the South African road at just north of Leeudril when we spotted a Cape Fox running along the road. It continuously ran ahead of our car before ducking off into the bush. The light was still putrid and with us and the fox both on the move, no photos were possible.

Just past Leeudril, we chanced upon this lion on the side of the road

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As well as these two a bit further on:

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The lighting was superb, as were the subjects.

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Two of the lions were those we had seen mating the previous evening,only now big brother had taken over the mating duties from the other male.( Who was quite recognisable by the wounds on his face)

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We found this quite interesting as we had been told that lions (even in a brother coalition) do not share females.

This lady must have been covering be bets we thought.

We watched them for a while until they wandered off over the dunes.

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We decided to turn around, as was our original plan and head up to Kij Kij.

Just past Rooiputs, we spotted these meercats checking on the passing traffic.


Image

Image

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Day 2 continued…………..


As we bounced along the single track road leading towards Kij Kij and Melkvlei, we were reveling in all the sightings we had had thus far in our trip. Lions twice, Cape fox, a glimpse of an AWC and meercats (also twice). And we had only been in the park for not even a day….

Just as we were about to reach the intersection Debbie spotted to bumps up on the far dune to the left. Yes there they were… two cheetah.. Far away, but cheetah nevertheless, and they were looking hungry and alert!

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We waited patiently to see what would happen. A few cars came and went, and eventually they decided to move on over the dune.
“They are heading for the waterhole” Debs insisted, and who was I to argue, so off we went and positioned ourselves in a favourable position near the waterhole and waited.
Our persistence was rewarded. :lol:

The pictures can tell their own story:


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Apparently the sweeter water is found in the centre of the waterhole :lol:

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Sorry about the cheetah overload, but it was a pretty special and awesome sighting. Tbc?

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks for your kind words everyone... :D

There is still a whole lot more to come, but here is one of my pictures of the cheetah at Kij Kij -

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Not to be outdone by my SO

(@ billyf, yes she is getting good isn't she!!)

Anyway, after jumping over the water, the two then headed up over the dunes near the start of the Lower Dune road, by that time with a few vehicles in tow.

Image


We decided to head on towards Melkvlei.

(Now I need a page to turn to carry on!)

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:01 pm 
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Day 2 continued………again!!)…..


The trip up to Melkvlei was fairly quiet, not that we even noticed!!

We were SO over the moon at the cheetah sighting that before we knew it we were at Melkvlei ( For a much needed pee stop!!)

Whilst stretching our legs we noticed this immature bateleur eagle which entertained us for a while..

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Stretching it's wings etc

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And Debbie entertained me for a bit as well….

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We then decided to retrace our steps and head back to Twee Rivieren, only this time via the Lower Dune road.


The trip was great, with stunning scenery,( In other words really quiet)
We eventually arrived at Samevloeiing and as per tradition, we HAD to check out the waterhole….

Well were we surprised at what we saw there….

TBC

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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OK, I really want to post the rest of day 2 tonight, so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer! :D

Now you need to realise that we had travelled about 1200km to get to our spot in paradise, and the last thing we wanted to see in the KTP was an Egyptian Goose.
:big_eyes:

Well wragitie waar, what did we find at the waterhole, was not only one, but a whole family of them…..

Image

(Good news is that the Martial’s are having Gypie KFC). and I suppose it could have been worse and been a Hadida!!!
:lol:

After our visit to Samevloeiing, we popped into TR for a pit stop, touched sides with the outside world (a bit), finalized a get together that evening with Jannie and headed out as soon as possible.

The road back was interrupted by this delightful family

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And once back at Kij Kij, we were spoilt with this stunning sighting of a Tawny Eagle,

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Which after tempting us for a good while, eventually decided to return to it’s nest!


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Rooiputs that night was perfect

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We were blessed with a beautiful sunset over the veld,

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And we were finally on holiday.
We had had a stunning day where the Kgalagadi had revealed herself to us most magnificently, and furthermore, we had a wonderful evening meal in the company of Jannie, Vanessa and little Stephan.

AND we still had our whole holiday ahead of us :P

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:44 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Day 3 Spots and more spots!!!


We woke early and sorted out our lives before heading out again.
We had decided to head north this morning, but were beaten to the “gate” by our neighbours in number 4 , whose party consisted of about 4 vehicles all filled up with diesel.
They set off in the direction of Nossob. Decision made… we went south! :D


As we set off we wondered what The Kgalagadi would dish up for us today. .After yesterday’s sightings we were sort of expecting a quiet day. :hmz:

Ha Ha No……..WRONG!!!! :redface: Within the first 20 minutes we were blessed with this little chap up on the calcrete banks.

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A fleeting sighting, but an AWC nevertheless.. Just hope he managed to procure his breakfast!!

And then deja voux (ok I can copy and paste here!!)

We had just joined the South African road, north of Leeudril, when we spotted a Cape Fox running along the road. It continuously ran ahead of our car before ducking off into the bush. The light was still putrid and with us and the fox both on the move, no photos were possible

How spooky was that… :shock:


Anyway not even 500m further on I shouted… Caracal, No lion .......
No Debbie shouted that’s the leopard…..

And who am I to argue! :redface: :lol:


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Wow Wow Wow..

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So we watched the leopard as she walked along the riverbed before eventually wandering up the dune..

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Lots of leo pics……. Sorry (No not really :) ) tbc………….

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:43 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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wanderw wrote:
I think this is a new leopard! :thumbs_up:


Thanks wanderw... we will send a few pics off to Astromat so he can have a look. Unfortunatley we didn't get any really great close ups of the leopard. To continue

The first lot of spots continued


The leopard seemed to disappear over the top of the dune, so after a while we decided that we should carry on to Leeudril, which was only about a kilometer away.We waited there whilst we had some coffee, (and hoping that maybe we would get lucky) before we headed off north again. :hmz:

Leeudril was quiet bar a far off raptor. The coffee and company was good though! :lol:


When it was time we left the waterhole, and retraced our steps….

OOPS Traffic jam (4 cars!!) :big_eyes:



Our leopard had returned, crossed the road in our absence, and was next to the side of the road….(only in quiet long grass)


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As we got closer she moved off and promptly climbed into a (not so) nearby tree, where she proceeded to play hide and seek with us for a good time afterwards.


Image


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Our first LIT :dance: :dance:

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:12 pm 
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The second lot of spots for the day

Looking at the sleeping beauty in the tree, we decided that we had seen enough of her, and carried on. :)

Our trip up to Kij Kij was uneventful. Yet again this didn’t really matter as we were on such a high we hardly even noticed the kilometers tick by.

We did happen upon a family of whistling rats on the side of the road which were great to see

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A few kilometers before Leeudril we came across another car looking into the dunes…. Upon investigation we were directed to these cheetah high up on the dunes.

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After a short while, they moved along the dunes in the direction of Leeudril, and settled under a cameltorn tree up on the ridge.

OK so for now, we wait and watch….

We had noticed a few springbok a bit further down the road, so we were sure that we would see some action.

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Vehicles came and went. We got to meet Muhammad, (a very special forumite who we had been really hoping to meet).

We had to make a quick trip up to the One Stop at Melkvlei, and quickly returned to the cheetahs. Luckily they were still under the tree.

Eventually the cats started to move.

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The cheetah moved down the ridge, and into the riverbed.

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The youngsters couldn't resist playing a bit in the dead trees

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They walked along the riverbed, very aware of the springbok, who unfortunately for everyone (except the springbok I suppose) noticed the danger and moved off promptly. (Probably due to the kids pranks!!)

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And giving the Gemsbok a miss!!

The cheetah family followed suit and disappeared over the dunes.

Image

We then returned to Melkvlei for a break.

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:10 pm 
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The rest of Day 3


We left Melkvlei and headed back to Twee Rivieren via the Lower Dune road and Auchterlonie, and made a note not to repeat the trip again in the foreseeable future. It just seemed a very long way back :redface:


We did see this herd of springbok at Kij Kij,

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as well as these rooi hartebeest along the way.

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At Samevloeiing we met up with our friends from Cape Town again, before another fleeting visit to TR .


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And a stunning martial eagle (Thanks for the correction Peter)

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The road back to Rooiputs was quiet. We were content, and then we came upon this juvenile martial, hiding in the shade of a large tree, concealing his supper from us!

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For the third night in a row, we were blessed with a stunning sunset at Rooiputs

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We slept well that night, looking forward to what day 4 night hold in store for us!

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:29 pm 
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Day 4 Rooiputs



The next morning we set off in the direction of Samevloeiing, in the hope of spotting our leopard again. It was our last full day at Rooiputs before heading north to Nossob, so we wanted to experience what the lower Nossob River had to offer..


We got to Samevloeiing just too late to see this martial take out one of the Gypies…

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He also proved to be pretty elusive and ducked off (Ha Ha ) pretty quickly up into a nearby tree


And proceeded to watch us with one eye from above……

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That's better!
:D

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He eventually flew off leaving us all alone :cry:

We did however still have the comfort of this stunning sighting of this Gemsbok at the waterhole.

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With not too much happening this morning along the Nossob river, we set off over the dune road to the Auob side..

We were rewarded with sightings of this pygmy falcon,

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and this juvenile PCG



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And a few male lions hiding in the shrubbery


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But our day had only just started...................tbc :twisted:

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:30 am 
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Four beauties on Day 4


Whilst we were watching very sleepy lions, we met up with TonyT and his SO who kindly told us that 4 cheetah had been spotted about a kilometer back towards TR, and that they were looking pretty alert and (hopefully) hungry!

The lions weren’t going anywhere so we set off in search of the cheetah.


The cheetah were high up on the ridge and behind some shrubbery.

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We watched them for a good while until they decided to move….

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Only to the shade of a nearby camelthorn tree..

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There they spent a good part of the day, as did we.


Occasionally we would take a chance to see if the lions had moved.



I really don’t know why we bothered, but you know what it’s like…. Greener grass etc etc


Eventually our patience was rewarded and Mommy cheetah felt it was time to make a move.

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She started off down the dune with cubs in tow.

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There were a few buck nearby which had her attention.


She came down off the dune, and crept alongside the road, whilst the cubs waited obediently


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After a while some idiots in nearby cars got too close to her and interrupted her stalk.

To say that we were annoyed is an understatement!! :evil:

We did however manage to get a few stunning pics of the family.

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With the plot lost the 4 went over the riverbed and lay down under a tree.

Time was running against us and we were forced to carry on to Twee Rivieren.

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Our last evening at Rooiputs

We returned to Rooiputs that evening via Twee Rivieren, and had a really pleasant evening in camp.

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Watching the sunset,

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Planning next years trip (Which HAD to include at least 4 nights at Rooiputs again)

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And enjoying a quiet braai, along with a glass or two of wine.


Then at about 8pm Debs said…. “Gav isn’t that a hyena?”

“Where?”

‘There man….how many wines have you had?”

She was right, lurking just in the shadows was a spotted Hyena, :shock:
which quickly disappeared once we turned on a torch. It moved up to campsite no 4, who must have also seen it judging by the amount of torch beams flying around up there!!

We went to bed that evening very happy, wondering what the next leg of our holiday would hold in store for us….. Could it get any better? :hmz: :P

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

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

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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