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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:30 am 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Nossob 4x4 eco trail report July 02 – 05 2012
Day 1

Starting at Nossob on a sunny winter’s morning and after some rearranging of luggage 6 vehicles and 20 intrepid explorers and a guide began the Nossob 4X4 trail. Traveling north we came to the beginning of the trail were some useful tips and advice on how to tackle the trail was inparted we set off in too the desert for our 4 day adventure. Shortly after the start of the trail we stopped for the days lunch break were there was nervous chatter about what lay ahead. With lunch finished we set off to see what the desert and its animals had in store for us. A pleasant drive through undulating savanna that makes up this part of the trail we had sightings of some female kudu and a magnificent bull with spiraling horns, along with this sightings of gemsbok, steenbok and jackal who on this trail become come sighting yet pleasant all the same. Arriving at Swartbas the first camp on the trail, the tents and cooking places were quickly erected. We then settled in to enjoy a pleasant African evening under a full moon. With a braai fire burning the African night set in we set about braaing supper. Having enjoyed an amazing supper and each others company we began to drift off to bed one by one. As the last of us were heading off to bed their was a shout of hyena and at the edge of the camp in the torch light was a large spotted hyena. After a brief glance around around it took of into the night. There exited murmurs by those that had seen it and groans by those who had missed it. This was too set up for an exiting adventure.

Day 2
Waking shortly before 07H00 to an overcast day a check of the camp proved that we had had no other vests during the night. After an unusual breakfast we pack up the camp and set off for another day of adventure. With in the first 20 km we had stopped counting Eland at around 100 and we had seen around 5 herds with some amazing specimens among them. After having marveled over the Eland we took a short stop at Eileen pan to take in the view and share thoughts on the amazing Eland sightings. We then set forth to tackle the challenge of the trail that of Bertha dune. After briefly stopping off to look at the view and teach more about the role that silver cluster leaves play in Kalahari we arrived at the mighty bertha dune. All but one vehicle were successful in concurring the mighty dune we stopped on the other side for lunch and to discuss how each of the vehicles had tackled the dune. With all the stories finished and lunch eaten we headed off to the second nights camp sight. Arriving at the second camp site that of Rosyntjiebos, camp was quickly set up and a pleasant quit night yet very pleasant night was had under the African stars.

Day 3

Rising shortly before 07H00 to another partially over cast day and yet another night of no visitors. This was starting to build the pressure for a last night that would need some African ambiance. Striking camp we set off stopping off at the local view point to take in the vast expanse of the Kgalagadi. Other than the stop at lunch the drive through was pleasant. Yet what lay ahead. Arriving at swartbas the camp for the last night we sighted at large male off on one of the dunes. He looked at us and went back to sleep, the same drill of setting up camp and preparing supper went with out worry besides the checking of the were about of the lion, with the aid of a spot light we made regular checks of the water hole that is near the camp sight, we were rewarded with the sighting of a brown hyena that had come to the water hole to drink. While clearing up after supper we heard an African sound that goes right through you that of an African male lion calling off in the distance only for our resident male to respond thus sending shivers down our spines. This talk continued back and forth for a good few minutes about what would happen next. A few minutes later we heard the roar again yet this time they were on the move. The spot light come on and the kids were moved to safety we then saw the there were two magnificent male lions at the water hole drinking. After their fill the moved passed the ware tank and up passed the camp to within about 50meters of us and off into the night making their present heard all the time. They were on their way to investigate the intentions of the intruder in their territory. The excitement around the camp was at fever pitch and there was none stop talk of movements of the lions this was an amazing series of events too witness. It did not stop there the could be heard calling through out the night.

Day 4

After little sleep after spending the night listening to the lions again we were up at around 07h00. With the last night still fresh in our minds the morning was continue with the excitement, as we were visited on regular basis’s by brown hyena coming to the water hole to drink. After interrupting our packing up to watch the hyenas we continued on the trail. Yet not five minutes out of camp we found the remains of an Eland carcass along with a Brown Hyena white back vultures and black backed jackals. Thus the discovery on why the lions had looked so well fed could be explained. Continueing with our travels we had to contend with porcupine diggings and aardvark holes in the road which added to the challenge of navigating. We stopped at the largest Shepard’s in the park before coming to the end of the trail were we said farewells to friends who had started the trail as strangers.

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:15 am 
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Wow, quite an experiance indeed. Thanks for sharing.
Must book to do the trail again late next year!

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:48 am 
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Wow, I,m :mrgreen: about that lion sighting! "Arriving at swartbas the camp for the last night..." Was that Witgat perhaps?

Thanks for bringing back some great memories! I see all the vehicles but one made Bertha. Land Rover maybe? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Herewith some pictures of the last trip on the Nossob 4x4 Trail.

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Large Eland herd
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Kids learning the uses of a Tsamma melon
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The joy of camping on the 4x4 route.
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At Witgat Campsite.
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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Me too WKK.

I can picture the trip. I bet they didn't swim at Witgat though. :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:10 pm 
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:dance: a lot of Elands... alive... and dead...

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:03 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Kgalagadi Guru wrote:
Morning all,

Unfortunately all good things in life comes to an end :cry:

Graeme AKA 'Miros" who have done the 4x4 trail the past 6 months have left the park to proceed with his Field Guide training. 'Miros' joined the park as part of his 6 months 'lodge placement'.

Graeme did such a good job with the Nossob 4x4 trail, not only in his reports but also with his guest relations; therefore we will miss him and his sense of humour. He surely was a true ambassador for SANParks - Kgalagadi.

As management of Kgalagadi we wish him all of the best for the future and his guiding career.

Thanks Greame and all of the best.

I will make sure that the Nossob 4x4 guide will keep up with the feedback on the 4x4 trails and to keep up with the good work Miros have done.

KG



Thanks KG! It was a truly amazing experience living and working in the park - one which I will never forget! I have to thank everyone at SAN parks for making me feel so welcome and treating me as part of the family.

I have just emerged from the training camp in Kruger where I completed the last portion of my Guiding course, and so have been released back out into the wild - or, in my case, Cape Town. It's taking some time to get used to living in civilization again - just last night I heard guineafowl alarming outside my window, and was halfway out of bed to see if I could find the leopard that was upsetting them before I realized where I was.

I'm not sure what comes next for me, but I know that the Kgalagadi sand is in my blood, and I will definitely return to the park again at some time in the future.

In the meantime, I have a few more trip reports that I'm in the process of writing up, and will be posting shortly now that I once again have a working internet connection. I'm also beginning work on the 33 thousand photos that I took during my year-long South African adventure - many of them in the park, and which I will post here once I've got them sorted, catalogued, and edited... so, that may take a while.

Go well!

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:05 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
May 28 – 31

Our first day started much warmer then last week! While we are definitely heading into winter, the true cold has yet to set in – thankfully. I picked up my guests in Nossob and we headed out to the start of the trail, but really didn’t get very far. Not more then 3km out of camp, I spotted a leopard right beside the road, standing on the embankment. She sat there just long enough for me to stop and get my radio in hand before turning and disappearing into the long grass. My guests, meanwhile, were looking elsewhere, as while I was trying to find where the leopard disappeared to, a honey badger skittered across the road just in front of my vehicle!

An excellent start to the day!

We continued on to the start of the trail, and the journey from that point on was largely uneventful, passing only the usual groups of ‘boks along the way. Once on the trail, we continued with our good luck, spotting a black-shouldered kite, tawney eagle, a common scimitarbill, several swallow-tailed bee-eaters, PCGs galore, a spectacled mousebird, and crimson-breasted shrikes in the way of bird life. As for the larger animals, we saw several steenbok and gemsbok, an African wild cat that went dashing across the track and under a bush, a grey mole snake curled up in the middle of the road, as well as a cape cobra coiled partially around a tree trunk while investigating a sociable weaver’s nest!

We arrived in camp quite excited about our handful of sightings and began setting up camp. One of my guests noticed some tracks in the sand, and I tried regaling them with information about the Kalahari penguin and the kind of spoor they leave behind, but they didn’t seem to believe me that penguins are found in this area of the world! This is what happens when I wake up too early in the morning: I think “pigeon” and “penguin” escapes somehow!

I still stand by my statement that the Kalahari penguin is incredibly rare and not often photographed, however!

Our first night was a quiet one, and thankfully one of the warmest in weeks – 16oC! We had a wonderful night around thee before turning in, listening to the jackals calling overnight. We didn’t find any evidence of activity through our camp overnight, so after a quick breakfast of coffee and rusks, we headed off onto the trail.

We really didn’t get too far – only about 4kms from Swartbos – before we came across a trio of lions sitting right in the middle of our road! They were fairly calm at our approach, and helpfully moved off the road into the shade as we got closer. I decided that there was enough room for me to squeeze by them to give my guests the best possible view, and so moved forward very slowly in the hopes that I wouldn’t scare them off. As it happens, the lions weren’t all that perturbed by my advance – in fact, they were quite curious about my vehicle!

Two of the lions were clearly quite young – nearly adult sized, but still holding onto some of their orange spots that lions cubs have – and they watched with interest as I slowly slid by them. I managed to get most of the way past when one of them decided that my bukky needed a closer inspection, and started wandering right up to me.

I stopped – rather then suddenly taking off, which would most likely have caused her to start chasing me – and we had a short Mexican stand-off. I’d move slowly forward, she’d start moving to follow, I’d stop, she’d stop. Eventually, she tired of this game of “follow the leader” and started approaching closer still, so I revved my engine a couple times; a very “aggressive” sound which caused her to halt and reconsider testing the palatability of my bumper.

Eventually she decided that my truck wasn’t worth the effort, and wandered back to her sister, freeing me to move on down the road another few metres and allowing my guests to move forward and have a look. We sat with them for a few minutes before the same curious youngster got creative, wandering back behind their vehicle – as though innocently going to wander down the road – before circling back behind them to investigate the back of their landy. Before I could get my radio in hand, she’d found a lovely new play toy: their passenger-side mudflap!

I instructed them to rev their engine (as I did), and she backed off long enough for them to roll forward and out of harms way. The lion didn’t care at this point: she had torn off a small piece of the mudflap, and now trotted off, looking extremely proud of herself! Her mother and sister followed her off into the grass, and we moved off and continued down the trail a few kilometres to survey the damage – which, thankfully, wasn’t all that severe: rather a mere war wound to show off to other 4x4ers!

The rest of our second day was much less eventful, spending lunch on Eileen’s pan with the usual complement of hartebeest and gemsbok, and spotting a rock kestrel, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, pale chanting goshawks, steenbok, and gemsbok along the rest of the trail.

We arrived in camp with plenty of time to set up, and my guests relaxed while I did some minor maintenance to our shower station, re-tying the boards that made up the privacy screen which seemed to be trying to make a break for it. We watched a wonderful sunset - enhanced by some nice puffy clouds that had rolled in during the afternoon - before enjoying another nice quiet evening under the African sky.

Our third day dawned bright and clear, with no trace of the clouds from the night before. We set off on the trail and continued our luck with sightings, finding a bevy of pale chanting goshawks, steenbok, and gemsbok, as well as wonderful views of two rock kestrels, a bateleur wheeling in the distance, and several northern black korhaan.

We were also very lucky to spot a small group of eland, well off in the distance. True to form, they disappeared rapidly as soon as we spotted them, but it was still good to catch even that short glimpse of one of the harder-to-find Kalahari ‘bok. We also managed to spot three meercats (or suricate, if you prefer) who were standing sentinel beside our track in a large salt pan, not more then 10 meters away, giving my guests an excellent view! They were cooperative enough to stand still for a few minutes to be photographed, before running off into the grass.

We pulled into camp to find our usual friendly black-headed heron at the witgat waterhole – but this time he had been joined by a friend: a great heron (or white heron, depending on the age of your bird book)! This is the second time I’ve spotted one of these guys n the park, and they are well, well out of their typical range – especially now that we’re in the dry season! Unfortunately, as we set about setting up camp, a trio of pale chanting goshawks decided to give the herons a bit of a chase, sending them squawking off over the dunes. I do hope that they return!

We had a quiet night in camp, with only a few jackals calling in the distance. It wasn’t until the morning that I found the evidence of our visitors: a pair of big female lions! They wandered into our camp and peered at our setup from bit of a distance, before turning off into the bush and wandering down to the waterhole and away. We also found a nice set of owl tracks, landing in the centre of our camp and marching around a bit, before flying off again. I wasn’t sure whether it was the spotted eagle owl, or the barn owl who was responsible for the tracks, as I’d seen both flying around before we headed to bed.

Off on the trail, we had a very nice day of sightings, spotting the first ever wildebeest I’ve seen on the trail. Now that winter is descending, the wildebeest are starting to range further and further from their waterhole lifelines, and starting to come near to our track. We also found the herd of eland wandering through the bush, as well as good sightings of gemsbok, secretary birds, black-backed jackal running through the grass, hartebeest, ostrich, and steenbok.

It was a truly excellent week in the bush, with several unforgettable sightings – and events!

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:08 am 
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Morning All,

Herewith the last report of the 4x4 trail.

Nossob 4x4 eco trail report 16th - 19h July 2012

Day 1

So on a freezing winter’s morning (-3) at Nossob, 8 intrepid explorers and a guide set out north from the Nossob main rest camp to begin their adventure on the Eco trail. Stopping to admire a magnificent male Kudu although small in stature had amazing spiraling horns we finally got to the start of the trail. Here we had a short stop for some trail rules and tips on how to tackle the trail were imparted. At the lunch stop some chatter about what could be expected in the days ahead and the tracks that could be found passing through the lunch stop area was the lunch time conversation. By now the day was warming up nicely. After lunch we proceeded with the rest of the days trail through undulating savannah and three thorn thickets stopping to take some landscape photos, also stopping along the way we investigated some eland tracks and droppings. Along our trail we had sightings of vultures, batalears, gemsbok herds, steenbok, a herd of red hartebeest and closer to the camp a small herd of eland. On arriving at camp and the usual perimeter check, camp was quickly set up. Around the camp fire under another amazing African night, along with the usual chatter we also talked about the stars before the cold sent every one off too bed for the night.

Day 2

After a good night sleep with little to nose night time noises we rose a 7 to another chilly winters morning and to find that there had been no visitors to the camp sight, we did have a herd of Eland pass the camp on the western side of the camp while we were packing away, and so after some breakfast we set off for the second day of the trail. With the stop at Eileen pan we were treated to a nice sighting of red hartebeest close to the vehicles they stayed around for a minute or so looking at us before moving off to a safer distance. After some coffee and a stretch of the legs we set off for the silver cluster leaves and bertha the dune of the trip. After some mixed success at Bertha and a short stop to inflate tire’s and to need some bread for supper that night we took a leisurely drive through to Rosyntjiebos the camp for the second night. While on route we did get to see Gemsbok and Steenbok. Once set up and gathered around the fire Rosyntjiebos treated us to another stunning African savanna sunset. After a good supper and some coffee then cold again came into play with people preferring the warmth of the beds than the fire. Tonight we were treated to the sound of Jackals calling to each other.

Day 3

We woke again at 7 to another of Rosyntjiebos’s amazing sunrises, and again no night time visitor’s. With coffee and breakfast done and the camp packed away we set off for the day ahead stopping at the lookout point just outside of camp to take in the view from where had travelled and where we were heading. To keep up with the game count we were treated to two nice bull Eland, Gemsbok and Steenbok. With a very relaxing drive though and over the dunes we stopped at the old camp site for a coffee break before continuing on our leisurely drive taking in the sights and some photos along the way through to Witgat the last camp site for the trail again once the perimeter was checked we set about settling in for the last night of the trail. Once the camp fire was going we gathered around for another night under the African skies and we were not disappointed.

Day 4

We were up with a sense of urgency for an early start, and while they final things were being fetched and packed away a call of LIONS was sounded, and sure enough there were 9 of the local pride, some of the females and cubs coming over the dune from the south passing the camp on the eastern side and heading down to the water hole to drink before setting off again in an easterly direction heading off to only they knew where, an amazing serious of events to be able to watch. Thus there was now a buzz of excitement around the camp as we finished packing. With the camp eventually packed up and the excitement still in the air we stet off for the last day of the trail. Travelling along taking in the scenery that is the Kalahari we made one final stop at a large Witgat boom and while on top of the dune admiring the view down into the Nossob river bed what do we see …….. A male lion walking through the grass in the river bed. And so another lion sighting for the day under the belts we headed off to the end of the trail feeling very happy that we had been lucky enough to have two amazing lion sightings in one day. So at the end of the trail the fond farewells were said and off in our own directions.

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Excellent trails!
Thanks so much Jannie and Miros for the reports and pics. :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:54 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
June 4 – 7, 2012

A new month, a new trail! Starting down in Twee Riveren, I set off north along the main roads towards the trail with a full complement of cars behind me, and we didn’t get far before we ran into our first wonderful sighting, spotting a big male lion lazing on the crest of a dune right near the road, soaking up the morning sun. He was a nice tan-manned guy, but extremely lazy, only spending enough effort to look up at us for a bare instant before flopping back down into the sand. We continued on, and aside from passing a few herds of various ‘boks and a slender mongoose darting across the road, the ride to the trail was otherwise uneventful.

Once on the trail, we had a day of excellent sightings, with plenty of gemsbok lining the trail. We also managed to spot several kori bustards, a small group of ostrich in the distance, hartebeest, steenboks, and a black-backed jackal. In terms of birds, we saw the usual complement of pale chanting goshawks, a flock of spectacled mousebirds, a tawny eagle and a bateleur eagle soaring nearby during lunch, and our resident black-headed heron sitting on near the waterhole at witgat.

We also had truly amazing luck with eland, spotting them on three different occasions: once near our lunch spot, one another 10 minutes down the road, and another nice big herd – with some youngsters! – right at camp! We scared them off the waterhole, so I’m hoping that our camera trap (which I set up last week) will have some excellent and up-close pictures of eland when I retrieve it next week.

We settled down in camp, battening down the hatches against some unseasonably strong winds, which thankfully died down as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon. After sitting around a roaring fire for a while, we watched beautiful full moon rise orange above the horizon, and in the bright light we were able to spot a brown hyena wandering in towards camp. We stood and turned our flashlights on him to watch as he wandered to within 50m of us to peer at our camp, before turning away, marking some grass nearby (a process known as “pasting”) and wandering off into the dunes. A truly excellent sighting, and only the first time I’ve spotted this frequent visitor to the witgat waterhole.

We rose on our second day after a quiet night, but were unable to find any prints or other evidence of late-night visitors to our camp. We did, however, spot both the black-headed heron and the great egret down at the waterhole in the early light of the dawn. I admit that I’m surprised the Egret has stuck around – he’s well out of his typical range, as well as outside of the species’ usual habitat: lakes, estuaries, etc. The witgat cistern makes for a very poor lake, in my opinion!

We headed off on the trail and continued to have great luck with Eland sightings, finding two different herds out in the dune. Elsewhere on the trail, we found herds of gemsbok, steenbok, red hartebeest, ostrich, as well as a rock kestrel, black-chested snake eagle, as well as the usual complement of pale chanting goshawks – one of which was flying around with a mouse firmly clenched in one claw.

We had another quiet night in camp with the open grassland brightly lit by the near-full moon. We heard jackals calling in the night, but otherwise the camp was quiet. I had a look around the camp in the morning, but I wasn’t able to find any prints other then those of the small rodents that run around in the long grass.

We set off on our third day, and again had a wonderful day of sightings. We had yet another Eland sighting – five in one trail! – which I’m fairly sure means that I’ve seen as many eland herds on this trail as on all my other trails combined! They were quite cooperative too, standing in the open – at a fair distance, to be sure – but not immediately fleeing off into the bush, giving us a chance to get a good look at them.

Along the rest of the trail, we came across several herds of gemsbok and herds of hartebeest, several kori bustards, steenbok, a pair of namaqua sandgrouse, groups of ostrich, as well as the usual complement of pale chanting goshawks. We spent a very nice lunch at Eileen’s pan with the resident herds of gemsbok and hartebeest as well. I think the gemsbok are slowly getting used to my weekly intrusions into their territory, as they’re slowly starting to stick around slightly longer in the pan, whereas before they went fleeing off into the bush almost as soon as we got out of our vehicles.

We arrived in Swartbos for our final night of the trail, and had another wonderfully calm, moonlight night in front of a roaring fire. We were very lucky that this entire week had been quite mild, with the temperatures only just dropping into the single digits before we headed off into bed.

We woke on the final day and almost immediately spotted evidence of visitors in the night. I was able to identify three separate tracks of lions, which had come close enough to peer at our vehicles before deciding we looked unsavoury and wandering off down the road. We wandered about admiring the size of the prints before deciding to set off from camp, but really didn’t get much further then a couple hundred meters before we spotted the lions far up on a ridge! We spent quite some time sitting and watching them, while they did the same in return!

There was one adult female, and what looked to be a sub-adult, though we weren’t close enough to them to be able to tell whether the youngster was male or female. The difference in behaviour – calm and stately vs playful curiosity and mischief – was enough of a clue to determine that this was mother and cub! We’re not sure where the third lion was, but its likely that they were still too clod to come and investigate us a second time!

We continued down the rest of the trail after taking our fill of pictures and continued having luck with sightings, spotting a black-backed jackal which ran along beside us for a while before tiring of the game, a bateleur eagle flying overhead, steenbok, gemsbok, and the usual complement of pale chanting goshawks.

A very eventful final day, capping off another excellent trail!

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:28 am 
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Miros, Thank you so much for the trip report (May 28 – 31) You describbed it as it was, and I just have the urge to get in the Landy and go back. Miros forgot to mention that his guests were only "Us" so we had a personal tour of the Kalahari! What an experience. Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:40 pm 
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Aaaarg, no .... that was you Defender Taz - all those brilliant lions !! I am a tad :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I can tell you and only grateful that you are a fellow Defender driver - otherwise I'd feel a lot worse :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:12 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Nossob 4x4 Eco Trail forum report for 23 – 26 July 2012

Day 1

10 intrepid explorers and the guide gathered at Nossob on a cold winter’s morning to start this week’s adventure on the trail. Traveling north along the Nossb River and its flood plains to the start of the trail. Once arriving at the start of the trail some advice on driving the trail and the rules were given out before leaving the Nossob River and her flood plains behind we headed into the dunes for our 4 day long adventure. A pleasant drive though the Savanna that makes up the landscape for the first day we enjoyed some of the amazing views as well as the tranquility of driving in this part of the park. Stopping for lunch we got into a discussion of holiday destinations were people had been. With lunch finished we headed off to enjoy the afternoon drive to the camp sight. With some sightings of Vultures, Gemsbok and Red Hartebeest added some interest to the relaxing first days drive. On arriving at Swartbas camp site to find that there had been little animal activity around the camp as there were no fresh tracks, and so the process of setting up camp began. Once this was done and showers completed the fire started we gathered around to enjoy the African night and each others company. After supper and more fire side chatter we all drifted of to bed.

Day 2

Rising at 07h00 after a quit night we found that there had been not nocturnal visitors to the camp although Hyena were heard off in the distance during the night. Thus after some breakfast and the packing up of the camp we set off for the day ahead through the undulating dunes and seas of Kalahari sour grass that seems to dominate the landscape. With a coffee stop at Eileen pan and some informative stops we reached Bertha the dune challenge of the trail, and so after the action of the challenge we settled down for some much deserved lunch. With lunch done we headed off for the camp site again we have some lovely views of the landscape with some scattered sightings of Jackal, Eland, Gemsbok and Red Hartebeest. Arriving at the camp site with the sun starting to turn the seas of sour grass golden we began the process of setting up the camp for the second night. So with the sun setting over the Savanna planes the fire was started and the preparations for the evening meal got underway. With African night setting in the smell of meat on the fire brought the group around the fire for another evening in Africa under a night sky. With tummy’s full and the night chill setting in we all drifted of to sleep with the sounds of Jackal adding to the night’s ambiance.

Day 3

Rose again at 07h00 to another chilly morning and an African savanna sunrise to find again that there had been no nocturnal visitor’s to the camp. And so after a bite to eat and the camp packed away we got underway and shortly after leaving the camp arrived at the look out point which looks back down on the plains were Rosentjiebos camp site is situated we also can look ahead to the undulation dunes that lie in wait for us and so we set off for the day ahead. Traveling through seas of Bushman grass we enjoy the up and down of the dunes. Thus we reach the lunch stop for the day, and so a very relaxing lunch at the old camp site of Kameel Doring. So with this done and before everyone got to comfortable we set off for the afternoon drive through to Witgat camp site stopping of to take in some of the larger nest in the trees and the irregular criss cross dunes. With our sightings for the day that of Gemsbok with calves, Steenbok and a herd of Red Hartebeest we arrive at camp to find no new animal activity. So we settled in for the last night of the trail over looking the Witgat water hole. So with the dunes surrounding the camp changing colour as the sun set the fire roaring we gathered around to enjoy the last night and each others company. Our tummy’ again full and the fire roaring we talked into the night with only a brave steenbok coming close to the camp, and so with the coals dieing down we drifted off to bed.

Day 4

Rising again at 07h00 to discover that we had had some visitors in the camp the 2 big male lions who have their territory in the area had taken a look around the camp during the night, so after following the spoor through the camp we looked back to the water hole to see that they had returned and now were quenching there thirst at the waterhole before moving off in an easterly direction. The same direction we would be heading once we were packed up. So the camp was now a buzz with exited chatter of the sighting. So again camp was packed up after some breakfast we stopped at the waterhole too look at the prints that they had left behind. No sooner had we got on the road again than the two lions were spotted again now resting on one of the dunes catching some of the morning sun. After spending some time watching them we headed off for the rest of the day. Sighting some White backed and Lapped Faced Vultures we enjoyed some up and down dune driving and some dune street driving before stopping at the large Shepherds tree. Arriving at the end of the trail the strangers that started the trial bade farewell to friends and we all headed of at our own pace for Twee Rivieren.

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Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:50 am 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Nossob 4x4 eco trail forum report (30 July – 02 August 2012)

Day 1

So for the last time for a while we gathered at Nossob on a warm winter’s morning for the 4x4 Eco-trail. So 4 adventures and a guide set off north along the Nossob River to the start of the trail, while still in the river we sighted a Kudu bull and a cow. On arriving at the beginning of the trail rules and how to tackle the trail were given out. With this done we set off soon leaving the river and its flood plains behind we headed into the dunes with anticipation for what lay ahead. We entered the grassland of the dunes and began the adventure. Stopping for lunch under some trees we were soon chatting. After lunch we continued and at about 25 Km into the trail we arrived at a clump of trees to discover a female and 2 male lions resting quietly under the trees. They were very relaxed and allowed us to stop and take photos of them before we moved on again. Thus after a pleasant meander through the dunes with some wonderful landscape views and amazing lion sighting we arrived at the Swartbas camp site and began to set up camp. With that done we settled down for what was to be a pleasant mild evening around the camp fire with home made hamburgers and marshmallows and hot chocolate foe supper, before we all drifted off to bed.

Day 2

Rising at 7 to 5.4 degrees made for the start of a warm day ahead. So after breakfast and packing up camp we set off for our second day on the trail which involves a coffee stop at Eileen pan to take in the view of the pan, a stop at the look out point and discuss the role of the Silver Cluster leaves play in the Kalahari we tackled Bertha the dune challenge for the north south trip of the trail. With this successfully done another amazing view was enjoyed before heading off on a short drive to the lunch stop, where a picnic lunch was enjoyed by all in the warm winter sun. With lunch completed we set off for the afternoon drive through to the camp. To add to the lion sightings of the day before we were able to see Gemsbok, Steenbok, a Black Shouldered kite and a Gabar Goshawk to keep the animal sightings tally up. Arriving at Rosyntjiebos surrounded by seas of hay colored Kalahari sour grass we set up for another evening under the African night skies. That night with the moon very nearly full it transformed the camp site and its surrounds into an eerie wonderland, which added to the ambience of the second night.

Day 3

After a chilly night, it was 0.6 when we got up at 7 to the calls of a Jackal. Again the Rosntjiebos sunrise did not disappoint. We were to discover that a rodent had made its home under the fire place, and that a leopard had passed the camp stopping at the toilet to lie down and play with the toilet roll at the toilet. Thus we packed up and headed off to the local view point hoping to catch a sighting of the leopard with no success. Thus we stopped at the view point to look out over the plain where we had spent the night and to look forward to the dunes that lay ahead. For a km or so before the lunch stop at the old camp site we had a herd of Springbok running ahead of us in the road which made for an interesting sighting. At the lunch stop the Springbok decided to join us for lunch and stayed in close proximity for the duration of lunch. Departing the lunch site we had travelled about 3 Km’s when we came across 2 female and a male lion at an Eland kill quit close to the road on the left hand side. While the females stayed quit hidden for the duration of our sighting the male was for part of it quit visible. Thus our second lion sighting for the trail was enjoyed before we continued through to the last camp of the trail stopping at some Sociable weavers and tree rat’s nests as well as the irregular criss cross dunes before arriving at the camp. Gemsbok and Steenbok made up the rest of the days sightings. So with the full moon casting its light over the camp and the surroundings we enjoyed the last night on the trail with regular close visits by the local Gerbil community.

Day 4

So rising again at 7 to 0.8 degrees and a breeze that made it feel colder. We prepared to tackle the last day of the trail. So we set off for the last day of the trail with a nice drive through we had numerous sightings of Eland including one that was actually lying down which was a pleasant surprise. With a stop at a large Shepard’s tree we came to the end of the trail and said our good byes before heading off on our separate ways.

Pics to follow

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Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


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