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 Post subject: KTP & Augrabies in 12 wonderful days - June 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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We arrived back from a wonderful trip to Kgalagadi Transfrontier and Augrabies Parks.

It took us three days from Limpopo to get there, because our vehicle is a very slow one (big body, small engine). When we picked up the first item to start packing, I told SO that the holiday has already started. That helped a lot to take it easy and not getting excited about all kinds of things.

We spent the first night with family in Gauteng. The second night was spent on the banks of the Orange River at a wonderful lodge, some 40km before Upington. It was done like this to give us the opportunity to do some last minute shopping at Upington and have enough time for the notorious access road. But the difficulty started the moment we left Upington. A cold front hit the Cape, and we got the wind, a HEAD WIND, that is. At some stages we could only manage 65 km/h! Thanks to Michele Nel, we took the donkey track on the 40km dirt road section. It helped a lot.

We arrived at the gate at about 15h00. After getting a camping site, we went for a short game drive. Apart from the common game, we saw about 20 Bustards, of which at least 6 were Ludwig’s!!

ImageImage

And the Ostrich family was there as well.

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June 26 Twee Rivieren

We went for a drive on the Nossob road, took the lower dune road and back to camp on the Mata-Mata road. We saw the famous leopard and her cub at the 10 km mark from Twee Rivieren. She was at her den, and a bit far for pics. The cub played with mother, but stayed behind the bushes. No pic.

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At Leeuwdril, we saw these birds. Initially, we thought they were Sociable Weavers, but after we looked at the pics again, we realised they were Cape Sparrows. And there were hundreds of them!!

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And things got better: we saw this guy near Rooiputs.

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I told SO that we mustn't spent too much time with this one, because we are going to see many more. After all, we have another 9 nights in the park. BIG BASIC MISTAKE: this was our last lion we saw!! We were at the wrong place for lions at the wrong time. At Nossob, we got reports of nice lion sightings at Mata-Mata. At Mata-Mata, we got reports of lions walking in the road, 1 km from Nossob camp, the day after we had left!! But the absence of lion sightings made no difference to our enjoyment of the park.

On the birding side, we saw these ones:

ImageTawny ImageNamaqua Sandgrouse

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And this little one we are not sure of. Our guess is Tractrac Chat.

That night, the cold front hit us, and temperatures dropped to far below zero.

TBC...


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:02 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Glad to see you too have started your “report-back”, Skopsie! I am :mrgreen: about your Ludwig’s sightings!

Skopsie wrote:
And this little one we are not sure of. Our guess is Tractrac Chat.

This bird is a Leucistic lark, probably Sabotas… Very special sighting! See this link.

BTW, the recognition for the avatar - :redface:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:54 pm 
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Hi Skopsie
So pleased to see another KTP report!! Johan has come forward with the name of your 'white' bird.
So pleased to see this as it confirms our sighting outside TR on the Auob last year. It was also through the help of other formulites that it was identified as a Sabotas Leucistic Lark :clap:
Patiently waiting to see more of your report and pics - thanks for sharing with us.[/img]


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:58 pm 
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Johan, thank you for the id of the Lark. Would never have done that on my own.
Dreamer, we saw it on the Auob as well.

June 27 Twee Rivieren to Nossob

I mentioned that the temperatures dropped. And they did just that!! Here I am with one of SO’s tops in my hand. We did some washing the previous afternoon and we left the wet clothes on the washing line to dry (freeze up) during the night. For someone living in a frost free area, this was a rarity.

Image

We were on our way to Nossob for the next four nights.

When we arrived at the leopard’s den, we saw a big traffic jam in KTP terms, about seven cars. Someone saw her hiding in the bushes while some Springboks were going past. For a more complete report on happenings, read this link on Candy’s Style’s trip report. The Great Escape
We didn’t put on our YR :redface: , and we didn’t see a YR. We were two forumites at the same sighting at the same time, without knowing of one another.

As soon as the Springboks went passed, we drove off, because we knew the road was bad, and we want to have time on our hands, in case something went wrong on the road. We didn’t see her, as CS did.

At Leeuwdril, we saw this AWC.

Image

Just for nostalgic reasons, I include this pic of Dikbaardskolk. KTP is a very special place.

Image

And a pic of one of these guys:

Image Whistling Rat

Close to Melkvlei, we had our first sighting of these beautiful cats.

Image
Image
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The road to the north of Melkvlei was really bad, and at some stages we had to speed to soften the effect of the corrugation. This was not conducive to game watching. Apart from this, we saw our first Hartbees (is this the correct Eng name?) and later Bat Eared Foxes at Marie se Draai.

Image

We arrived at Nossob at 16h30. It turned out to be our favourite camp. We heared the lions were very busy the previous evening, and we expected a noisy night. Close, but no cigar!!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:24 pm 
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Yes , Skopsie, the name is correct.....mostly known as Red Hartebees.
I love your pics of the cheetah....good sighting :clap: I hope you have sent your photos in to the research team because one can clearly see the inner part of the legs....which is what the researchers need to id the cheetahs.
Lovely report.....more please :dance:
Oh, to be at Dikbaardskolk with a mug of steaming tea in my hand


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:21 am 
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Great vehicle for Skopsie's excursion, I agree, Bert. No cigar though - you are seeing a Toyota in disguise. :lol: I'll leave it to Skopsie to explain further. Their vehicle deserves a chapter of its own!

Thanks, for chapter 2, Skopsie. I can't wait for the next installment!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:12 pm 
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Johan, you are putting me on the spot here. I didn’t plan to say too much about our vehicle, but now that you and Restio asked….

I bought it about a year ago from a family member. It is a camper; build on a 1991 Toyota Stallion 1500 bakkie chassis. The body is made of metal and fibreglass, and has a kitchenette, fridge, freezer and couch/bed at the back. It works wonderful for travelling in a park. As you can see, we live in Limpopo province, 1 single hour’s drive from Kruger. And that is the main reason why we have the vehicle. This pic was taken at Shingwedzi, close to the day visitor’s area. One thing about it: you better never, ever be in a hurry when you’re on the road. Its slow man, slow….

Image


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:19 pm 
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And I see the rat in the second post went under ground, before I could get hold of him. I think I have him now onder full control:

Image


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:40 pm 
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Skopsie, you are leaving all the good stuff out - all those handy compartments for things like field guides, binocs and cameras. And the battery equalising systems...

If thy love thy wheels, brag, bro'! :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:07 pm 
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Johan, Johan

We installed a dual battery system in the car. The second, deep cycle battery is responsable for the freezer, camping- and interior lights, recharge of camera batteries etc. It sometimes gets run down, because of the slow driving and short distances in the parks. We solved the problem by installing a "clever" battery charger. If the electricity is connected to the car, this charger detects the state the battery is in. If it needs lots of recharge, it is done in a slow and proper way, etc.

Above the drivers and passangers heads, we installed 3 compartments; two at the end for bino's, and the one in the middle for the maps, birding books, and very important, the permit. When nearing the gate, you don't go into a frantic search for the permit, which was put here, and is no longer here….. It create space for all the stuff that lays around. The camera now has the lap for himself.

At waterholes we easliy made yourselfs breakfast on the gasstofe etc. The whole experience of the park is more relaxed and adaptable.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:13 pm 
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Yes, Man! Now people will understand why your Penguin is so special! :lol:

Only thing is - I still don't know why its called Penguin :hmz:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:52 pm 
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Michelle, I am glad you mention the insides of the legs. I will go through all of them, and sent them in. I have the pamphlet with all the relevant info on it. Thanks for your comments as well.

June 28 to 30: Nossob

We spent 4 nights at Nossob. The Jackals are really a nuisance in the camp. You can easily loose your meat from the fire if you are not alert. Luckily, they only got hold of some of our snacks.

We had a slow start on the first day. We slept late and then went to Marie se Draai. At the waterhole, we saw our only kill of the trip!! A Jackal was trotting towards us in the road. It stopped and looked around. Suddenly it dashed into the bushes and started digging ferociously. It turned around and started digging again, this time some two metres away. It caught a rat, and in absolutely no time, the rat was devoured. The Jackal trotted away, liking its lips. Unfortunately, no pics.

A White-backed Vulture was practising its take off and landing skills, and gave me enough time to compile a sequence of the action.

ImageImage
ImageImage
ImageImage
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The afternoon we went north for a short drive. We saw a herd of more or less 400 Springboks at Kwangpan, and a huge herd of Bluewildebeest and Springboks at the hide. The sun had already set and the light was low. Before that, the Kalahari delighted us with this picture:

Image

It was one of the expectations I had: to see typical scenes like this one in late afternoon lighting conditions. This is really a special place, and if it is even remotely in one’s abilities to visit the park, do so. Do not expect the same as, or even compare, this park with any other park. It has an atmosphere of its own. And the only way to experience it, is to be there.

We set the next morning at 8h00 of for Union End, a camp-like set-up in SO’s view. The ride was very corrugated in areas, while in other areas, the road was perfect. The total distance for the day we travelled was more than 300km.

Again, apart from the normal game, we had some special sightings. Today, it was the Kudu bull we saw in the distance, as well as the herd of Eland. They sped away the moment they see you. Apart from them, this herd of Red Hartebeest was one of the several sightings we had of them.

Image

And this one as well:

Image

The special sighting for the day was these two warthogs. They are not that common, and they gave me enough time to take a pic or two.

Image

SO was hugely disappointed in Unie-end. She expected a shop of sorts. There is a sign with distances and some more info about the place. Nothing more. To me, it was great to be at a place where 3 countries meet.

The following day was a day of not much driving around. We went again to Marie se Gat. We saw a badger in the distance, doing his thing. A jackal was around all the time, just for in case a lizard or rat is missed by the badger.

At the hole, we were just in time to see this Kudu leaving.

Image

When we arrived at the camp after 12h00, we heard that we missed all the action. At the hide at Nossob, a cheetah caught a Springbok. Unfortunately, the actual killing was behind the big trees in the riverbed!!! When we arrived, they already ate what they thought suitable is for well raised cheetahs. We watched them for about half an hour. They got up and left. The result of this action was that almost everybody in the camp ran for they’re cars, almost like those races they have where the drivers had to ran a distance before the actual race started. And I mentioned the racing capabilities of our 1500 cc Camper. None the less, the last oxen also get in, or is it out of, the kraal. We managed to get some pics of the mother and her 3 cubs. Just look at those stomachs!

Image
Image

After all the excitement, we went to Marie se Gat to relax. As usual, the Gemsboks were there, constantly coming and leaving after they had a good drink at the hole. And the opportunistic Jackal was around, just in case something eatable pops up.

ImageImage


TBC…


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:26 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Those desert warthogs somehow look different from those we normally see in Kruger - maybe narrower across the shoulder or longer in the leg?

You had a very special day!

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:09 pm 
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:lol: It's deffinately a small world... Great to see your a member of the forum to :D

Love the cheetah and gemsbok drinking pix. Very :mrgreen: that you saw cheetah, twice!!
Thanx Johan for the correct Identification of the "tractrac chat". I tried my hand in finding what bird it could be and suggested a tractrac chat as well :redface:

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:18 pm 
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Yes, those warthogs look as if they are higher on their legs. And the kudus look as if their bodies are smaller than Kruger's.

And CS, we were twice at the same place at the same time, and didn't meet. Shame on us!!! :redface: The other time was when we saw the white lark. We even spoke to one another.


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