Yet again we had a wonderful time in the Kgalagadi. I’m going to try and post my whole report before Friday…after that I will not be online for a while. If I do not succeed, please bare with me….the best part is at the end.
As I’ve mentioned before our trip, to me, packing to fly to Upington was somewhat of a challenge. We’ve always done such trips with a double cab bakkie where we had the luxury to pack every thing we needed, might needed and add a few thing just for the hell of it. Our foreign member will probably not understand my dilemma, but I’m sure the Saffies will know what I’m talking about. The good news is however that this is actually doable!
We were somewhat overweight on our luggage, but the kind lady at JHB Int. just gave us a sly smile and marked our baggage slip “no excess”.
During our flight to Upington I spend my time staring out of the window, waiting for that first piece of red sand.
In Upington we collected our Nissan X-trail from Budget Rent a Car. It was their first day in their new kiosk at the airport….previously only Avis had offices at the airport. From what I could see, Eurocar and Imperial also has kiosks.
We managed to get all our supplies we needed in Upington from the Pick & Pay as well as the Shoprite. The Shoprite has a wider variety of goods, including camping equipment. The Pick & Pay has nice fresh goods. Our meat and biltong we got from Skaapland Butchery….highly recommended! Upinton is a small town, it is no issue to “shop around”
We stayed at Riviera Guesthouse. Situated on the banks of the river this is a very neat and well priced B&B (R435 per room)…although parking is a bit of an issue. The evening we went for dinner at Le Must restaurant. This award-winning restaurant is a “have to do” if you stay over in Upington.
The next day we were on our way to the Kgalagadi! The 260 km to Twee Rivieren took us about 2h40min. As usual, we had the sad sighting of dead bat ear foxes ….eish!
When we took the turn-off at Andriesvale it was quite strange to find a tar road. The first 10 km has been tarred. I dunno, to me the rattling of the car on the 60 km corrugated road to Twee Rivieren always announced my arrived in Kgalagadi to me….the tar is somewhat clinical.
“Luckily” there is still a good stretch of gravel left to drive at a leisure pace, enjoying the views of a Dorper sheep on a red dune. The condition of this gravel stretch is actually very good IMHO. To the people who know the Ngwenya/Crocbridge road, I would say that it is about 100% worse than the Andriesvale/ 2R road.
On our way to 2R we had a stunning sighting of a White-headed vulture sitting on the crest of a red dune. Unfortunately he flew off before we had the time to get a photo.
At 2R we booked in and met up with Jannie. What a nice guy he is. Was great chatting with him.
At the reception in 2R there is a notice, stating that there is no wood available in Mata Mata and Nossob, only briquettes. We went to enquire at the shop about this and were told that there might be wood in these camps, but apparently they only send supplies every Tuesday and if the demand is high the shop runs out. We decided not to take that chance and bought a few bags. I think I should just mention that the wood is quite expensive: R22.50 a bag. It is however good quality wood and do add the special touch to a Kalahari evening.
At the filling station we lowered our tire pressure. They are now issuing notices at the gate asking people to do so as to prevent damage to the roads (IMHO, speed is a bigger issue, will take this up in another topic).
Day 1: Kieliekrankie
Eventually we were on our way to Kieliekrankie. O what an amazing place the Kgalagadi is! The red dunes with the golden colored grass got into our veins a few years back and I strongly doubt that we will ever rid ourselves of that.
The sightings of gemsbok and ground squirrels welcomed us to the Kalahari.
Houmoed waterhole (?) offered us some ostriches and gemsbok.
The ostriches seemed to have a bit of a squabble….even an arbitrator was called in
However, it appeared that this was an issue that would have to be resolved another day
Along the way we spotted this guy…any help with the ID will be appreciated.
Juvenile Pale Chanting Goshawk…thanks Peterpiper
Birding wise we also saw several Anteating Chats and a bird I could not resist taking hundreds of photos of during our trip, the Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. There are a lot of them and it seems they prefer the areas around the roads…maybe because the cars chase the insects up? They are gorgeous, but not easy to get a good photo of. I did however later figured out a “trick”…will elaborate on that later in the report.
On the Lower dunes-road, towards Kieliekrankie, we spotted this Kori Bustard. It is amazing how many of them you find in the Kgaladgadi!
At Munro waterhole we tried to find the leopard that Jannie promised he tied to a tree…..think the man needs to go on a boy scout course…the leopard undid the knot.
On the sightings board at 2R there were several sightings recorded of this leopard at Munro.
Along the Auob road we also found this tree that seems to have been hit by lighting. The branches on the ground were all burnt.
On the dunes road we saw our first Black Backed Jackal. Our personal observation is that they have become very scarce in Kruger and it was great to look into those intelligent eyes again.
Kieliekrankie, perched on the dune, was a welcome and beautiful sight. This is truly a great camp. We stayed in unit #4, right at the end, and had a stunning view all around.
My SO did try the pano thing…however do not have the time now to put it together…will post it under the Kieliekrankie topic at a later stage.
As I mentioned before, the units are a bit close to each other. We had our reservations when we saw that our neighbours were a group of four, occupying two units. The evening in these wilderness camps are soooo quiet, if your neighbours are just a bit noisy you hear everything. I should however apologize to these people that I might have had any bad thoughts about them
….they were wonderful and the camp was dead quiet the evening…the only sound that broke the silence was that of the Barking geckos and a jackal serenade…the way it should be!
Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr and to add bird ID