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 Post subject: Where the wild things are - Restio and family in Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:48 pm 
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Where the wild things are - Restio and family in the Kgalagadi

Introduction

I'm going to steal a leaf out of TXDrifter's book, and do my trip report from a different point of view. On this trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP), much of our focus was on the needs, wants and desires of the youngest member of the party. His nickname is CB; he is four; and he is our only child. Since I won't be able to leave him out of the story, I'm going to explore the wonder and delicious terror experienced by a small boy in the Kalahari. And since he loves Maurice Sendak's stories, the title of this report is "Where the wild things are."

Rest assured, this report will not just be the wittering of a devoted mother - there are lots of wild things coming up! In fact, we reckon that we saw 25 lions. So here's one to keep you salivating for more, just like he is:

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Our itinerary

We were in KTP from 12 - 22 October, and spent our first night and last nights at Twee Rivieren (TR). The rest of our time was divided between the Kalahari Tented Camp (KTC) and Nossob, and we spent four nights in each camp.

I thought carefully about the itinerary, and took the following factors into consideration:

1. Driving from TR to most of the camps (except Kiliekrankie and perhaps Urikarus) takes us the better part of day. We thus prefer to spend our first and last night there. My SO and I don't like to rush. CB doesn't know how to rush. Hurrying is not part of the skillset of a four-year-old.

Plus we like TR - we always see mongeese in camp, it's got the best shop, and the chalets are air-conditioned. But we do prefer the camps further into the park.

2. Too much packing/travelling/unpacking can fray the nerves, so we chose to minimize the moving. Less variety, but more importantly less stress.

3. I only chose camps that had swimming pools. I knew October would be hot, and we all love swimming. It's the perfect activity for CB because he enjoys it, and he can work off some of his boundless energy.

4. TR, Nossob, Mata-Mata and KTC are the only camps that offer family accomodation. The wilderness camps (with the exception of KTC) consist of 2-person units. SANParks Central Reservations said that we'd need to book two units to accomodate the three of us, so that ruled those out. (In retrospect, I think we would have got a more flexible response if we'd phoned KTP directly to book.)

5. We wimped out and stayed in chalets. I do love camping, but it's hard work at times, and both me and my SO badly needed a restful holiday.

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 Post subject: Day 1
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:42 am 
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Photographic credits

My SO is the photographer of the family, and in most cases he took the pictures, and deserves all the credit!

Day 1: 12 October

We had overnighted in Uppington, and we left after a quick visit to the supermarket. The road to KTP runs straight as an arrow through some beautiful red dunes, dotted with big flat pans with evocative names. My favourite names are Vrysoutpan (transl: Free Salt Pan) and Potsepan (transl: Pot's Pan).

At one of our stops, CB decided to make use of his new toy lawnmower.

One boy went to mow,
Went to mow a desert,
One boy with his goggles on,
Went to mow a red dune.

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Finally, we arrived at Twee Rivieren. After travelling more than 1000 kms, we had reached our destination.

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When we arrived at our chalet, we had our first sighting: a friendly yellow mongoose.

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The ground squirrels were a little bit too friendly. Obviously they were used to being fed, and they were quite pushy.

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In fact, our neighbour fed them, until she was politely asked to stop. "Oh!" she exclaimed with a surprised expression, "I didn't know we weren't allowed to feed the animals. There is no sign up in the chalet!"

We went for a quiet evening drive up the Auob - the Nossob river was closed due to flooding caused by heavy and unseasonable rains. We saw a lovely Kori Bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird.

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Later that evening, we had forum micro-meet. Jannie and Christelsabine came round for drinks. It was wonderful to meet them, and we chatted away until late. :D

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 Post subject: Day 2
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:57 pm 
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Day 2: 13 October

Today we moved from TR to KTC. We got off to a late-ish start, and only managed to leave by 9h00.

It was a hot, windy day, and we had a quiet drive up the Auob. It was great to meet old friends, and we saw all the usual suspects: ground squirrels, wildebeeste, springbok and gemsbok. We saw our only suricate of the trip - too far away for a photo, but lovely to watch. There were lots of secretary birds (including two fighting in flight), swallow-tailed bee-eaters and black crows.

As usual in KTP, ostrich were abundant. This "angel" ostrich was enjoying a lovely refreshing swim.

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Springbok are beautiful. In my family, we call them "butterflies" because they are so pretty. This one looked heavily pregnant.

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On our way, we stopped at the museum at Auchterlonie. The early residents of the Kalahari led hard, hard lives. I was amazed to read that they dug wells by hand! In some cases they used to dynamite to blast the wells to greater depth. "Once you lit the dynamite, you needed to jump out of the well quickly," an interviewee for the museum project recalled, with phlegmatic understatement.

Our next stop was the picnic site at Kamqua. SANParks has done a wonderful job of upgrading all the picnic sites in the Park, and the design of the tables is very stylish.

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That evening, we had a peaceful drive south from KTC, and spent a happy hour observing the mini-ecosystem under a large camelthorn (Acacia erioloba). The tree boasted a magnificent sociable weavers' nest.

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There were many mice and birds foraging busily on the ground beneath the tree, including a pair of spotted dikkops (or more correctly, spotted thick-knees). They really are amazingly well camouflaged! One of them was sitting on a nest, and it took us ages to spot her.

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We saw lots of African hoopoes on this trip - not a bird that I have seen much in KTP on previous trips (and there have been many of those).

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That evening, poor CB had a terrifying experience. A gecko fell from the roof of the tent on to him! He was traumatized, and it took us ages to get him to go to sleep that night. CB also found the grasshoppers in the tent scary. But lions and hyenas didn't faze him much. :roll:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:19 pm 
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Day 3: 14 October

I woke up bright and early, and ready for an early morning drive. SO blinked blearily and muttered darkly, so I left him and CB sleeping. They missed out!

The sunrise was beautiful - pink and orange clouds covered the sky. I drove through the glorious golden morning light to my first sighting - two busy ratels (honeybadgers) scurrying out of the dunes, across the road, and on into the Auob riverbed. They didn't even deign to look at me. No photos, as they were so quick, but it was lovely to see them going about their business in their typical no-nonense fashion.

I stopped to take pictures of the whistling rats in the dunes. They are so cute.

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CB loved the "whistle rats" - they were his favourite animal in the Park. Luckily, there were so many whistle rats that it was easy to keep him happy. I was amazed to see how many rodents there were. On previous visits one always saw some rats and mice - but on this trip, KTP seemed like Hamelin before the Pied Piper!

In fact, according to Alistair (the guide at Nossob) and Jannie, there has been an explosion in the rodent population, as the park has had three years of good rain in a row - very unusual. I'm afraid that it's due to global climate change. :( But it's good news for KTP visitors - with the good rains, the rodents are plentiful and that means lots of jackals, secretary birds, owls and raptors. The insect population has also increased, and hence the large numbers of hoopoes and bee-eaters.

My next sighting was eating a whistling rat.

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She bit the rat, and worried at it - then swallowed it whole with one gulp.

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The Cape fox den was right near Dalkeith waterhole, so I decided to watch her for a while. After while, to my delight, another Cape fox emerged.

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Finally, there were four Cape foxes: mama and three cubs. They were difficult to photograph because they were moving so much - playing, frolicking and exploring. There was another car there with one of those massively long lenses - I'm sure his pix were magnificent. I was just grateful to have the experience, and sorry that SO and CB weren't there to enjoy the cubs.

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Back at camp, we had a peaceful day punctuated by swims and two short game drives. CB decided to try his hand at photography, and had an unusual angle on the world.

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That evening there was a big storm.

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We sat on our tent's deck, listening to the hyenas calling, and watching the distant flicker of pink lightning over the dunes. Electrical storms in the Kalahari are magical, and we were lucky to experience them almost every day of our trip. As each lightning flash illuminates the landscape, the red sand of the dunes reflects back onto the clouds, causing the distinctive pink lightning.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:08 pm 
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Day 4: 15 October

We saw lots of black-backed jackal on our morning drive. I find them very endearing - in part because they remind me so much of my dog Bella:

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My SO and I were looking for some big cats to show CB. He decided to find "lionbears." According to their creator, they live in trees, and only come out at night. CB made up a song about them:

Quote:
The lionbears are coming,
The lionbears are coming,
The lionbears are coming,
They'll eat you all up!


Well, we didn't see lionbears, but we all really enjoyed our next sighting - a snake coiled up in the road. It lazily uncoiled itself, and then, with a considerable effort, squirmed up the bank, and off into the Auob riverbed. The snake was brown on top, and a rather lovely pink underneath. Is it a mole snake?

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Although it wasn't that early in the morning, the springbok still seemed sleepy.

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DOOMED! This Spotted Eagle Owlet only had moments to live...

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"Ah cute," said CB, "Me love baba owl." (He can speak grammatically, but lapses into babytalk for things that are cute.)

SO and I looked at each other. Yes, it was adorable, but an owlet that had fallen out of its nest was not going to survive. Carefully, we drove closer and took some pictures of it out the car window.

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"Look!" exclaimed CB, "The mama and dada owl are watching their baba." Indeed, the pair of Spotted Eagle Owls were in nearby trees, looking a little frantic. We moved a few metres down the road to admire the owlet's parents.

WHOOOSH. A big twin-cab bakkie barrelled down the road towards us. I waved at it, pointing to the owlet at the side of the road. The driver waved back at me - and drove right over the owlet.

CB burst into tears.

Later in the day, we saw these giraffes lining up to drink at Dalkeith.

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And when we got back from our evening drive, there were hyena in the camp. "Hyenabears," said CB. "Whoo-hooop."

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:16 am 
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Day 5: 16 October

As usual, we woke up early and headed off on our morning drive, nursing cups of hot coffee. (Cupholders in cars! Gotta love them!) We ambled down the Auob, enjoying the early morning light. As we neared Dalkeith, we saw our first lion of the trip - a beautiful lionness, very close to the road.

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She was patrolling the dunes next to us, and I kept pace with her, reversing slowly for a couple of hundred metres. She was not at all perturbed by us. Eventually, she found a suitable vantage point, and lay down to survey her kingdom.

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After watching her for some time, we drove on, very happy to have had such a wonderful sighting.

On the Dalkeith loop, we saw a male and female lion lying under a tree quite a way off the road. We heard that they were a mating pair, but they were resting when we saw them.

Near the Dalkeith waterhole, mother fox was soaking up the early morning sun. Her cubs must have still been sleeping.

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Driving back to camp, we saw a pair of African wild cats. One of them deigned to pose for us.

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Later that day, SO and CB went to Mata-Mata to fill up with petrol. Forewarned by Dreamer's trip report, they climbed up to see the Barn Owls - now looking quite grown-up.

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As always, in the heat of the day we spent happy hours at the KTC swimming pool. It really is idyllic. The water was very cold - especially in comparison to the 35 degree heat.

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On our evening drive, we headed back to Dalkeith. We could see people watching the pair of lions that we had seen in the morning. SO and I decided to park by the waterhole and wait for them to come to us. And in time, they did, joined by the lionness we had watched in the morning.

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The male in the pic above is the same one who was salivating in the first photo of this trip report. Now he's sticking his tongue out. :huh: Guess he was very thirsty. :roll:

SO and I watched the lions drinking, soaking up the experience. CB was impressed with the lions, but after a while he decided that it was much more fun to build a house in the back seat of the car.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:38 pm 
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Kalahari Tented Camp

Since Day 5 was our last full day in KTC, I think this is a good time to post my reflections on the camp.

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I've already posted a photo of the swimming pool (see Day 5) It surely must be one of the nicest SANParks swimming pools? The pool is directly behind the reception (see pic above), has a wonderful deck, and is shaded by a lovely old camelthorn.

The tents are very well set up, with a separate kitchen tent, containing a gas stove and fridge/freezer. The bedroom/bathroom tent has an additional shadecloth over it, which also provides a carport.

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The tents boast a lovely view of the Auob riverbed, with a waterhole right in front. I kept a list of the birds and animals that I saw from the tent deck. I saw nine mammal species: black-backed jackal, springbok, blue wildebeest, ground squirrel, gemsbok, whistling rat, striped mouse, spotted hyena and unidentifiable (well, at least for me) bats. I also saw eleven identifiable bird species, plus assorted LBJs. SO and CB saw a Cape cobra in camp, and I saw a pygmy falcon near the pool.

In her report, Penny mentioned that with the strong storms, some of the tents had lost their shade cloths.

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Luckily our tent was intact. There were some very strong wind storms at night while we stayed in the camp, and it even rained one night. Not all of the velco windows stayed closed in the strong winds, and the zip for the insect net was broken. I agree with Penny that maintaining the tents may prove to be a challenge for SANParks.

However, one of the aspects that I love about KTC is its sense of impermenance. It sits lightly on the desert landscape, and you feel that if it was left untenanted, then the desert sands would soon erase it. For me, that is a large part of its charm.

KTC practical tips

    - The water in this camp is so salty that it's undrinkable. Don't even use it to make tea or coffee. Take your own water with you, or buy bottled water from Mata-Mata (4km away).

    - Our kitchen had three small inhabitants - striped mice. They were very cute to watch, but nibbled through various plastic packets containing food. Keep food in the fridge/coolbox unless it's in a sturdy, mouse-proof container.

    - Spotted hyenas visit KTC practically every night. It's wonderful to see them so take a good torch or a spot. Hearing them call loud and clear is one of the pleasures of KTC. On the downside, they are bold: we even saw them in the camp in full daylight. Make sure that all food, utensils and other items are packed away in the tents at night, and that both tents are properly zipped up. Don't leave ANYTHING out. I've even known hyenas to chew on a camp kettle!

    - Aside from the striped mice, we had birds visiting our tent regularly. A very familiar chat seemed to live there, and if we left the bedroom tent door open, then she would make frequent forays into the tent, each time emerging with a grasshopper caught in her bill. Barking geckos also helped to keep the insect population down, and it was a treat to see and hear these beautiful animals. (Except, of course, the one that fell on CB...)

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:10 pm 
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Day 6: 17 October

Today was a travelling day. We said farewell to KTC, and moved to Nossob for four nights.

Near Sitzas, we saw a male lion dozing under a tree. Further on down the road, CB made his first real spot: a giraffe! On the road through the dunes, we saw this dainty little steenbok:

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To our surprise, we saw three black-headed herons at Vaalpan. Later on, we also saw more black-headed herons at Rooikop. I don't remember seeing these birds in KTP before. I guess it's because there's been so much rain.

In fact, there had been so much rain recently that there were puddles on the dune road. We saw a gemsbok with a crooked horn drinking from one of the puddles - I'm sure the rainwater is much sweeter than the salty borehole water.

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On the Nossob road, there were many tsamma melons. The striped mice loved them!

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Those of you who have not been to KTP before may be interested to know that the sand in the Auob mostly has a reddish cast, whereas in the Nossob, a fine powdery white dust predominates. Compare the pic of this snake (another molesnake?) with the one from Day 4 taken in the Auob, and you'll see the difference.

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That evening, we did the Marie se Draai loop, and saw some kudu, which is unusual for KTP. Here is a not-so-great photo of the kudu. Pretend it's a landscape shot. :wink:

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We saw a herd of 30-40 wildebeest strung out in a line. It was the biggest herd we'd seen yet. CB pointed to the first one. "That's the leader. He's the king of ALL wildebeest!" he proclaimed in tones of absolute authority.

Who can resist photographing a photogenic lilac-breasted roller?

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Back at camp, my SO whizzed up a delicious chickpea and feta salad for supper. It was the perfect dish for the 36 degree heat. We ate it by candlelight, drinking ice cold sauvignon blanc, watching the jackals run around the camp, and listening to the lions roar. Heavenly!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:42 pm 
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Day 7: 18 October

CB and I went off for a morning drive together, leaving SO snoring quietly. We saw some lovely birds - the best was a Brown Snake Eagle. CB "spotted" lots of thorn trees. I had to reverse and admire each one, while he made sage comments about how giraffes liked to eat them. North of Cubitje Quap we saw two "fat-eared boxes" in the distance.

On our way back, we saw a lion and lioness about 1km north of Nossob. We went back to camp, roused SO, and took him for a brief drive to see them.

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Back in camp, a kindly petrol attendant pointed out that we had a puncture. "Caused by a thorn," he ventured. CB was very excited to have a tyre to change, and the petrol attendant did a temporary patch-up job on the tyre for us.

Later on, we visited the Nossob hide. It really is very special! According to others in the hide, there was a lioness sleeping in the shade underneath it. We didn't see her (at least, not that day :wink:). We did see a PCG being attacked by a crow, and later on the same day a juvenile PCG being mobbed by black-shouldered kites.

That evening, there was the most beautiful golden light:

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The storm clouds promised rain, and indeed we drove through a few showers.

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It made for a lovely sunset.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:03 am 
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Day 8: 19 October

Early in the morning we visited the Nossob hide. Apparently we'd just missed the lions (again). :roll:

At Cubitje Quap, the Burchell's sandgrouse were flying in for a drink.

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It was very hot (37 degrees again) so we went swimming (again). The new Nossob pool is great! I think it'll be even better when (if?) the grass grows.

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The Nossob campsite is also looking good, although I have fond memories of the old days when it was much smaller, and the sand was raked every morning. Very Zen garden, it was!

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The yellow-billed hornbills are active in the camp, foraging happily and always on the lookout for a tasty morsel.

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On our late afternoon drive, we saw this sleepy spotted eagle owl.

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In the Kalahari, the sky is half the landscape.

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That evening I did a sunset drive - but that deserves its own post (not for the pictures, but for the story).

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:01 am 
restio wrote:
In the Kalahari, the sky is half the landscape.


What a beautiful way to describe it! :clap:
This is so true Restio, this even counts at night with the star-filled skies. The ultimate however is, and seems you had a real treat, when there is a thunderstorm or just a build-up of clouds….the colours are beautiful. 8)
Thank you for this fantastic report…really makes me home-sick. :wink:

Your snake, to me, looks like a mole snake.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:18 pm 
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Nossob sunset drive

CB was too young for the activities - a three-hour drive would have been just too much for him - but my SO graciously offered to stay behind while I went on a sunset drive. They waved goodbye to me (CB a bit sad that he couldn't come too).

Our guide was called Alistair, and he was very well-informed about the area. I asked him lots of questions! :wink:

Our first sighting was four white-faced Scops owls in a tree right near Rooikop. If you look closely at the photo below, then you can see all four owls:

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It was another stormy evening, and the wind was blowing the branches of the tree around. I tried to take a close-up of one of the owls, but he kept jumping out the frame. Plus the digital camera seemed to have a very long time-delay between the button-press and the image-capture. (Well, probably that's something I was doing wrong.) In the event, I quite liked one of the out-of-frame pictures. It looks as if the owl is peering out.

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Further on, we spotted a lion and lioness, quite far from the road. Then we stopped to admire the sunset and have a drink.

Despite the storm, it was still hot. This is the only night drive I have ever been on where I wore a t-shirt and shorts from beginning to end. Usually you get quite chilly when the sun goes down, even in summer.

Soon after we got back on the vehicle, it was time for the spotlights to come out. There weren't many people on the drive, and none of them seemed to want to hold a spot, despite my regular offers, so I had one for the whole trip. It suited me perfectly - I love being the spot-lighter.

As I had expected, we saw lots of eagle owls (spotted and giant), jackal, wildebeest and springbok. There were scrub hares, lolloping along. A pair of African Wild Cats on Marie se Draai. Bat-eared foxes searching for insects. And a tree rat's bright eyes shining back from a far-off tree.

Then there were the unexpected sightings...

A springbok lamb, lying right next to the road. Instead of freezing, and trusting its camouflage, it startled and ran.

Roosting raptors, resting for the night, had their sleep interrupted by our bright lights. We woke up a few PCGs, a tawny eagle and a black-breasted snake eagle.

Springhares hopped up and down, transfixed by the lights, in their typical aimless, brainless fashion. Our guide said there were many species of predators, including lions, that ate springhares. I had expected to see these "meals on wheels."

What I didn't expect was to see so many springhares. Everywhere I shone the light, it struck a glittering eye bouncing. We saw more than fifty springhares. Their population has also exploded with the good rains.

The electrical storm was truly magnificent, and the rosy lightning flashes were brilliant and beautiful. As I said in an earlier post, KTP lightning is pink, because the clouds reflect the red dunes.

As we drove back towards camp, we had what was for me the best sighting of the whole trip: a big, shaggy brown hyena, right in the road. He looked right at us. I was spellbound! Then he trotted off into the night. I have been going to KTP regularly for more than 30 years, and this was my second brown hyena sighting. And to have such a wonderfully clear view of one - it was a dream come true. I only wish that I could have taken a photo to show you all.

We drove back to camp along the fence line. As we passed the campsite, our spotlights found more lions. Five of them - a lioness and four sub-adults. They were in poor condition, and looked hungry. They were lying right up against the Nossob camp fence, gazing meaningfully at the braaiing campers. Our guide clucked his tongue at their bad behaviour.

The campers came over to see what we'd found. A startled British accent floated out on the still, warm night air. "Oh my @%&#$, Harry, we've been hearing the lions calling all this time, and we knew they were close. But not THIS close!"

"I'm sleeping in my car tonight," muttered one of the Dutch tourists on the night drive vehicle.

When I got home, my SO had cooked me delicious tomato pasta. I asked him excitedly if he'd seen the lions.

"Oh yes," he said. Earlier that evening, CB and his dad went to the hide. Once again, there were lions underneath the hide. Other people visiting the hide fled, but my SO wasn't too concerned - the hide is stoutly built from wood. Access to the hide is via a long walkway with sturdy poles on either side, and even poles making a roof overhead. There are lots of gaps in the construction, but not big enough for a lion to fit through.

My SO laughed wryly. "Some of the people who were too scared to stay in the hide went and stood at the gate and shone their torches at the lions. That looked much more dangerous! The gate would be an easy jump for a lion."

"Wasn't CB scared?" I asked? Remember, this is the child who skriks for geckos and grasshoppers.

"No," he said. "On the way out of the hide we walked right past the lions. They were on the other side of the fence - so close I could have put my hand out and touched them. Even then, CB wasn't scared. I was a bit nervous!"


Of course, now that we're back in Cape Town, CB is regaling his doting grandparents with terrifying tales of how his parents nearly let the lions eat him... :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:37 pm 
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Day 9: 20 October

On our morning drive we saw the same four White-faced Scops Owls in the same tree - so it seems that was their roosting spot. I'm posting another picture, because I can't resist its quizzical expression:

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Then we went home and had Nossob roosterkoek with butter, cheese and marmite for breakfast. Delicious!

After lunch, we went for an early afternoon drive. We did this often, but the point was really to escape the heat and spend some time in our air-conditioned car. We didn't expect to see much game on these drives, and nor did we, aside from some lovely birds. But this day was different.

We drove north, trickling slowly up the road, enjoying the odd antelope and bird sightings. It was a very hot day, and not much was stirring. We decided to go as far as Bedinkt, and turn around. When we got near the waterhole, we saw six lions sprawled in the shade.

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They were really close to the road, and we had a fantastic view of them. In fact, as you can see from the photo above, we could have driven much closer, but it seemed impolite to disturb their siesta.

There were two lionesses, a young male (still spotty and bit cub-like himself) and three small cubs. "Ah, cute!" said CB.

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After a while, one of the lionesses stood up and walked off, passing right next to our windows. The young lion followed, and then the other lioness, leaving the cubs alone. We stayed for a while and watched them.

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Then we decided to find out where the three older lions had gone. Of course, they were at the waterhole having a drink. We watched them drinking thirstily, and then took some closeups of them lying under trees close to the road. Well, actually the trees were really in the road, like the other one they had been lying under before.

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Even with our not-so-serious camera, we could get some close-up shots.

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In this one, you can see that the sub-adult male is still a teenager, with spotty legs, a stubbly mane and a slightly confused expression in his beautiful golden eyes.

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After a while we went back to see the cubs. They seemed a little nervous, so we didn't stay too long. We didn't want to scare them.

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We drove back to camp, surprised and delighted that our beat-the-heat drive had yielded such a wonderful sighting.

The day ended with another magnificent sunset.

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:35 pm 
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Nossob Camp

Since Day 9 was our last full day in Nossob, here are my reflections on the camp. It's our favourite "traditional" camp in KTP.

To start with, a view of Nossob. Note the yellow ribbon on our Forester! :)

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I've already posted a photo of the swimming pool on Day 8. Here is another view of it. As long time visitors to this camp, we are delighted that it now boasts a pool. :thumbs_up:

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We stayed in one of the old Nossob chalets, #2, which has since had a nice facelift. Last time we stayed in 10b, which was much nicer, but I liked #2 for old times' sake.

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The chalets have fans, which is necessary in the heat. We found the outside room (a converted stoep) to be much cooler at night than the inside room. Conversely, the inner room was cooler during the day.

One advantage of the traditional camps over the wilderness camps is that they have electricity. We quickly charged our cameras, cellphones (no reception - but they are useful alarm clocks) and laptop.

CB got to watch some DVDs - oh dear, I'm sure I shouldn't admit this :roll:, but it did make him happy in the 37 degree heat.

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Our chalet had a nice sitting and braai area out the back.

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The Nossob campsite brings back many happy memories:

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Nossob practical tips

    - Probably the best thing about Nossob is its wonderful hide. The bird life is good, and a variety of predators come to drink regularly at the hide, including lions, brown hyena, bat-eared foxes and black-backed jackals. It's well worth a visit at all times of the day and night.

    - The famous Nossob roosterkoek (griddle cakes) can be ordered from Reception - order in advance, as it takes a while for them to be cooked and delivered. They are R2 each. You can also order bread for R10, which will be delivered at 18h00 the next day, still warm from the oven. We preferred the roosterkoek, as they were less oily.

    - Although the camp has electricity, it is provided by generator which has specific operating hours. When we were there, it was on from 5h00 - 23h00. Take a torch in case you wake up in the middle of the night - it is pitch dark.

    - My SO witnessed a very unhappy guest complaining that there were not nearly enough hangers in the chalet cupboards. Reception tried to explain that they were stolen, and were difficult to replace given how far Nossob is from the nearest shops (i.e. Uppington, a good day trip away). Guest was not impressed by this explanation. If hangers are important to you, I suggest you take your own. ;)

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:18 pm 
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Day 10: 21 October

This was our last day in KTP. We drove from Nossob to Twee Rivieren, where we spent the night, and then the next morning we left early to start the long drive back to Cape Town.

Nossob to TR is a long drive that takes us the better part of a day. According to the official SANParks info, it should take at least 3.5 hours. We've never managed to do it in less than 6. It took us closer to 8 hours this time.

Our first sighting was a small herd of red hartebeest a few kilometers north of Cheleka. As slowed down to admire these sleek, powerful animals, we noticed that there were four cars stopped ahead. Now I'm a great fan of hartebeest, and they are an unusual sighting in KTP - but four cars? When we got there, this is what we saw:

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There were three lions on wildebeest kill!

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We watched them for a bit, but they were taking break from feeding, and we had a long way to go, so eventually we continued. We stopped for at Dikbaardskolk for breakfast. The sociable weavers were keen to share our meal!

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As we went further south, we clearly see that there had been good rains. There were large puddles of water on the road, and the veld was flowering. The driedorings (Rhigozum trichotomum) were in bloom.

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We saw two more small groups of hartebeest, the first vultures we'd seen on our trip. We had a quite few sightings of white-backed vultures (or perhaps they were Cape - so difficult to tell). We also saw some lappet-faced vultures.

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Just after Melkvlei, we saw a car stopped by the side of the road. We slowed down, and they waved to us excitedly. There were two cheetah on a springbok kill under a bush!

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The cheetah were well-camouflaged, so we were grateful for the tip. We had a lovely view of them as they were close to the road, but they weren't easy to photograph.

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If you look closely, you may be able to see that one of them is wearing a collar. Jannie confirmed that this is part of Gus Mills's cheetah research project.

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


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