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 Post subject: barryels: Maiden "trek" to KTP and Augrabies: March '13
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:13 am 
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After ten years of discussing the pro’s and con’s of a visit to KTP and Augrabies between me and Hilda, we decided to ignore the regular 390Km trip to KNP and replace it with a 1069Km “trek” to KTP with the red dunes unique to that Park.

We will be leaving home on the second of March 2013 and overnight at Upington for a mini meet with two wonderful people, the one and only Picnic and the Queen of the lions (wonder if there will be any sleep).
We will enter KTP on the 3rd of March for our first encounter with the red dunes and our first overnight at Mata-Mata. Lucky for us, we will still be in the capable hands of the one and only Picnic and Queen of the lions of Upington.

Reading through trip reports of ‘mites who visited KTP, it seems that some picnic spots are shared by lions and puff adders :shock: . Seems that this trip will be quite eventful :hmz: .

Six sleeps before the “trek” begins.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:28 am 
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hilda wrote:
OOOoooohhhh! I love the fact that you have already started this TR SO! :clap: :clap:

Thanks for all the good wishes everybody! We can't wait anymore! :dance: :dance:

The three nights are in KTP and the fourth one in Augrabies! This is just a "test drive" to see what is going on there after reading all the wonderful KTP trip reports, so that we can decide whether we want to exhange one of our two annual trips to KNP for KTP, which I am almost sure will be the case! I can't wait! :dance: :dance:


Could not wait anymore and hope that this will shorten the days before we start the "trek" :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:14 am 
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Morning all :D :D .

Will leave the office at ten this morning to get the 3 times 4X4's ready for their vacation, starting at 08:00 tomorrow morning :whistle: . We don't start packing with them around, because they get so stressed out that we will stay at home in the end :tongue: .

Then it is also time to prepare the wagon against all the red sand that will try to stick to the luggage in the back :hmz: .

Only two sleeps to go before the "trek" starts to the red sands of KTP :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:30 pm 
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Timbits wrote:
Sky wrote:
Just to wet your appetites
Maybe she will be waiting for you at Samevloeing :dance:
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@Sky,
What a fabulous shot of the leopard. :clap: :clap: :clap:
Have you considered adding it to the Kgalagadi Leopard Identification thread http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=18567 and sending the info to AstroMatt?

I would love to know which leopard this is.



@Timbits... In answer to your question this leopard is Rooiputs. She's recently been seen with two youngish cubs.
Thanks for letting people know about the project, i really need as many reports as possible.

@Sky....i'd love to have the full story behind your sighting (and any other leopard sighting in the KTP) for my project. Please do check out the forum thread and my site in my signature below.

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http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/~schurch/leopards/

Please use the online form or download the spreadsheet to report leopard sightings.
You can also download a free copy of the identification guides for KTP and Augrabies.
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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:54 am 
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Hi everybody! :hello:

I'm not the author of this trip report, but I just want to give you hope .... SO might just start writing today. All I can say is that we had a WONDERFUL time with two FANTASTIC 'mites who know the "ropes" in KTP and taught us a lot! :dance: :dance:

I want to thank them both from the bottom of my heart! :thanx: Lion Queen and Picnic! :k :k

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:08 pm 
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I can see that the ‘mites can’t wait anymore for this trip’s report to start :tongue: . Thanks for the patience :thumbs_up: .

Here we go with one of the most memorable visits to two of the most interesting parks yet.

The alarm clock ringing at 03:15 reminded us that the time has arrived for the “trek” to begin. We were ready with coffee and snack’s at 04:30 and started our long “trek” along the narrow and winding road to Upington with the N14.

Just to make sure that a sunrise in Kgalagadi is different from one in the North-west province, we took a pic of a North-west sunrise along the N14 that looked like this.

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Although we did not encounter any toll gates along the N14, we had 10 of these along the route to endure.

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We arrived in Upington just before shop closing time. After stocking up with food that we will need during our Kgalagadi stay, we book in at our guesthouse on the river-bank of the Orange River. This was the view from our veranda.

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And a few birdies at the water bath that welcomed us in Upington.

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We were really looking forward to our dinner date with two fantastic ‘mites (picnic and LQ).

It was unbelievable to meet them in person at last and to share stories till restaurant closing time.

We just knew that we were in capable hands when we were informed that the route for the next day when we will enter the red dunes for our first night at Mata-Mata was already planned.
We will be leaving Upington at 05:00 the next morning.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:00 pm 
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Let us start the trip

DAY 1: 3 MARCH 2013

At last the day that we will encounter KTP in its full glory, arrived. We were like two school children filled with excitement before going on a school trip. We were in front of the police station by 04:40 which gave me the opportunity to take a pic of the statue of a policeman on his camel on patrol. This statue was actually sculptured by my ex father in law.

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Our guardians really thought of everything. I was handed a two-way radio to communicate with each other during the “trek”. The tar road from Upington to KTP was a pleasure to drive.

Our first sighting en-route was probably the best ever and the four of us will surely remember it for years to come. We never saw one in real life before. This is what we saw crossing the road and climbing the embankment at the side of the road. A pangolin in full view for us to admire.

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Might this be a sign of sightings that we will encounter in KTP?
We arrived at Twee Rivieren by 07:30 and I just had to photograph the welcoming sign for future reference.

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The admin at reception was a pleasure and done by friendly and helpful personnel. It was our first time that we came across a permit system as a way of monitoring movement within the park. I found it to be excellent because it spreads the vehicles entering the park.
Our guardians had a surprise for us when we were booked to drive the Leeudril 4x4 route on our way to Mata-Mata.
At last we entered the park and drove along the white gravel road to Samevloeiing water hole. The only sighting at the waterhole was five Eland carcasses scattered around. Not a great sight for maiden visitors to the park. No leopard at Samevloeiing for us Sky.
Our first live sighting was none other than a lone springbok, lying in the Nossob riverbed.

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Our next sighting was a Cape ground squirrel

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At Leeudril we saw our first gemsbok of the trip. What majestic animals they are.

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Our first impressions of the park are the openness demarcated by impressive red dunes, the feeling of time that came to a standstill and a deadly silence that can be enjoyed.

On our way to Rooiputs we came across red hartebeest and springbok on their way to the waterhole.

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An ostrich family accompanied by a gemsbok.

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Next to the road we found this sociable weaver nest, one of many in the park. Some of these nests become so heavy that the branch will break under the strain.

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Just opposite Rooiputs waterhole we saw our first herd of Blue Wildebeest trying to find a bit of shade. .
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We turned around to start our 4x4 route at Leeudril. What will we see along the route...........

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:07 am 
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The Leeudril 4x4 route was an unbelievable experience. It was like LQ said, they took us up and sometimes straight down over the dunes. The scenery was just awesome. Here is a pic of us at the top of a dune, just before we went down again.

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The first sighting on the route was this AWC lying in the shade of an anthill.

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The next sighting was this birdie. We specifically did not name the birds in this TR, due to the fact that Sky wanted us to use them for the Duckling bird ID challenge at a later stage.

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Our first little steenbok of the trip.

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We also found these beautiful flowers (salt of the tortoise?) along the route.

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Then we saw another steenbokkie.

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The waterhole on the route was quiet and nothing to report on. The rest of the route was very quiet as well. Maybe it was the heat that drove the animals into the shade and therefore not easy to find. Next is a photo of the Houmoed waterhole from the top of the end of the 4x4 route. This landscape is just awesome and unique to KTP.

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Last edited by barryels on Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
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Near the Houmoed waterhole we saw these springbok and Gemsbok, with another Eland carcass.

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At Monro waterhole we came across this one horned Gemsbok.

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And some ostriches and springbok at Kamfersboom waterhole

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Our guardians decided to show us Auchterlonie museum and to have brunch and a body break at the picnic area. This is the museum from the waterhole and at the museum; the blacksmith’s working station with his tools.

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It was 01:00 and 38 degrees Celsius in the shade, when Picnic lit the fire and we had some hotdog buns with special Upington sausages to go with. This was another first for me and Hilda. We were greeted by an array of birds whilst eating and here are some of them.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:52 am 
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Refreshed and tummies full, we were off on the third leg of our “trek” to Mata-Mata. We did not see a single big cat yet; maybe it was the heat that forced them to take cover for the rest of the day.
We took a pic of a birdie and his springbok mate at the Auchterlonie waterhole before we set off for Gemsbokplein.

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Along the way we had the following birdie sightings and our first scrub hare.

This one is for you VVV.

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The gravel road was a real challenge at the low speed we drove due to the corrugation that existed by the traffic the road has to endure. At 14:10 the temperature rose to 41 degrees and we were thankful for the air-conditioning in the bakkie.

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Apart from birdies we did not have any sightings till we got to Montrose waterhole where we found some Gemsbok to admire.

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We took another body break at Rooibrak before we set off on our final leg of the day to Mata-Mata.
These are some of the birdies we saw along the way.

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Our first giraffe in the shade of a tree

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Last edited by barryels on Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR MAIDEN “TREK” TO THE RED DUNES OF KTP AND AUGRABIES:
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We started our fourth and last leg of the "trek" to Mata-Mata at the Dertiende Boorgat with these young Blue Wildebeest near the waterhole.

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We also came across this little springbok, keeping out of the sun.

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I could not resist taking a pic of the little guy’s antennas to help him picking up any sound from predators.

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We just love the scenery of KTP and have to share this with the ‘mites.

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Before we reach camp we found this little steenbokkie

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It was 16:40 when we were welcomed at Mata-Mata by means of a beautiful entrance gate.

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We booked in at reception and what a pleasure it was to be greeted by friendly and professional personnel again. We stayed in bungalow no 6 that is right opposite the new waterhole. What a beautiful bungalow which includes every kitchen utensil etc. that you might need. The built-in braai forms part of a private patio area. No wonder that time goes by without notice.

I took the opportunity to take a few pic’s of happenings around the waterhole in the riverbed.

Springbok at the waterhole

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Ground Squirrels playing around

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Raptor busy with his courtship

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This is my poor attempt at getting both the smoke from the braai and night sky with stars into the same picture.

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We had a great dinner consisting of T-bene, pap en sous SA styl (T-bones, porridge and sauce, South African style) and chatted away into the night.

The power at Mata-Mata is suppose to be cut off at 22:00, however for some or other reason it was still on at 22:30 when we decided to call it a day.

We went off to bed with the thought of what will KTP show us the next day.

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Last edited by barryels on Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Our maiden "trek" to the red dunes of KTP and Augrabies:
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:18 pm 
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DAY 2: 4 March 2013
First leg of day two:


What a disastrous start to the day we had. It was decided that we will leave at 06:30 in the morning, however with all the driving from Pretoria and then to Mata-Mata, as well as the unbelievable chatting that took place in the evenings, the body and soul of the Else did not combine that well between sleeping and being awake. When we woke up it was already 06:00 and we still had to pack and make coffee for the road. We never overslept before. Maybe it is old age.

Our guardians on the other hand were ready to leave, however they insisted that they will wait till we are ready. We left Mata-Mata at 06:50, filled with anticipation, because picnic and LQ heard a lion roar in the riverbed.

Our first sighting for the day was this little steenbuck.

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Then we saw this Black-backed jackal against the dune to our right.

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Our next sighting was six giraffe just passed the Sitzas waterhole. They look a shade lighter than those in KNP :hmz: .

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Next sighting was another first for us. Although a bit far for a good close-up, at least we can say that we saw a Bat-eared Fox.

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Next were these vultures waiting in a tree for something to happen.

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Just before Craig Lockhart waterhole we came across our first lion sighting of the day. It was a couple lying in the shade of a tree.

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We drove closer to the waterhole and captured this Black-backed Jackal busy quenching his thirst.

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As soon as he left the waterhole the lioness decided to also have a drink. Here is a sequence of events that followed since they arrive at the waterhole.

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The following sequence clearly shows who the boss really is. The female left the waterhole and Mr lion who still wanted to have a look around, decided that it is best to follow as quickly as possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Our maiden "trek" to the red dunes of KTP and Augrabies:
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Second leg of the day:

After this great sighting we continue to Dalkeith waterhole where we found these two youngsters to the left of the road. This was our second lion sighting of the day.

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Further down the road LQ showed us a AWC in a tree.

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We also saw some birdies along the route.

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This birdie is especially for you again VVV.

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At veertiende Boorgat we came across these Gemsbok

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One of them was busy scratching the ground to get to the salty portion of the ground.

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We saw a YR from the front and stopped to have a quick chat. It was Jen who will be at the cricket.
It was 09:30 and already 34 degrees outside.

Just have to take pic’s of these springboks. They are so perfect and beautiful to see.

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Further along the road we came across these friends who decided to stay together.

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Close to Dertiende Boorgat we met up with some Red Hartebeest and some birdies

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Just before Urikaruus we had our third lion sighting for the day. This was a lioness all alone.

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We just could not ignore the stunning scenery along the way. Here are some pic’s again.

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Although we did not see a leopard yet, we at least took a pic of a leopard tortoise.

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These are again some birdies we wish to share with the ‘mites.

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We had brunch at Rooibrak and had to say goodbye to our guardians till tomorrow night. They could not get a bungalow at Twee Rivieren and had to stay at Mata-Mata for the night :tongue: .

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 Post subject: Re: Our maiden "trek" to the red dunes of KTP and Augrabies:
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:43 am 
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Final leg of day two:

We left Rooibrak at snail’s pace not to miss anything without our friends who normally warned us of any sighting. Our first sighting was these Blue Wildebeest walking along the dune to have a drink of water at Montrose waterhole.

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We stopped at Montrose for Hilda to take a pic of the Secretary bird at the waterhole. It was only when I selected the pic’s to post that we saw two tawnies, as well as a bunch of yellow canaries in the pic as well.

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It was now 01:10 and 37 degrees outside and sightings became less frequent. We stopped at Gemsbokplein and found this couple in the shade of a tree. This was our fourth lion sighting of the day.

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We took a body break at Auchterlonie. I have to say that the cloakrooms were spotless, although it is only cleaned once a week. Thanks to all the visitors, as well as park personnel for keeping it so clean. It was now 02:06 and the temperature rose to 39 degrees.
At Kamfersboom waterhole we saw these secretary birds. There were four of them; however I could not take one pic to include all of them.

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Our next sighting was these two male and one female ostrich lying in the sun with beaks wide open.

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At Houmoed waterhole we found a Gemsbok and heron sharing the waterhole.

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The rest of the road was really quiet till I saw a Yellow and Red Ribbon on the mirror of the car approaching us. I flagged them down and it was none other than Granjan and SO. We were so happy to have met them in person.

We arrived at Twee Rivieren and booked in at reception for our two night stay. The park personnel were as friendly as ever.

Bungalow 7 was allocated to us and after unpacking I took the camera to see what sightings could be found in the camp. The first sighting was this Yellow Mongoose with her toddler that only had milk on its mind.

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And last but not least another birdie to admire.

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We poured ourselves something cold and whilst sitting on the veranda, admire the silence and veldt with a neat braai area that will be tested later.

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We really had another great day in KTP and wonder what we will encounter the next day all on our own till late afternoon.

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 Post subject: Re: Our maiden "trek" to the red dunes of KTP and Augrabies:
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:21 am 
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Sorry for the delay in starting the next day, but here goes.

Day 3: 5 March 2013

This was our final full day in the park. Without picnic and LQ with us, I decided that we will drive up to Dikbaardskolk, then along the dune road to Kamqua and back to Twee Rivieren. It was already 22 degrees by 06:25. On our way to reception I just had to take a pic of the Parks name that will form part of our travels in future.

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This is a pic of a sunrise as we went through the gate.

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Our first sighting of the day was this Gemsbok at the top of the dune.

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Then we came across one of Bush Baptist’s favourites, none other than Mr Brown Hyena. Although a bit far into the veldt, you could still see what it was.

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We stopped at Samevloeiing without any luck of any sightings other than the carcasses of five Eland.

Mr yellow mongoose stuck like a statue and not yet warmed up enough to move his limbs.

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Next on the menu was this array of birdies.

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Next to greet us were these springbokkies and ostrich family.

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What were also quite interesting are all the sociable weaver’s nests that we found. To see how big those nests are and the weight a tree must carry is mind boggling. Here is an example of such nests and what happens to a tree that was put under too much strain.

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Second leg will follow soon....

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