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 Post subject: Kgalagadi Feb 2007- late report!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:41 am
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Location: cape town
Have decided to create a trip report for my February trip to Kgalagadi, to help pass time will My Kruger trip.. Will try to follow it with July addo trip report!

So, we left Cape Town at 4pm for Augrabies on 28 Jan. The 4 of us snugly in Nissan, the 2 in the back seat still fast asleep! We’re all friends from Varsity, studying variants of the same degree.

Made good time although there was a lot of mist on the road out from Cape Town.

This holiday was the brain child of a quite braai, when SO’s family had gone up to KTC, and were making us jealous of all their sightings!! (They had watched a lion Kill from their tent) and I had been longing to go back since my last trip about 8 years before.

We arrived at Augrabies at around 2, and spent the afternoon on a short game drive, seeing baboons, and a Few good birds. Then when we got back, it was a long long swim, and a walk down to see the falls which 2 of my friends had never seen before. They were beautiful!!
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The next day, we rose at a reasonable time and spent the day on a drive around the park. We went to see the little mound of Rose Quartz, very beautiful and stopped for a Pic Nic at one of the get out spots.
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It was extremely hot to say the least! The aircon in the Navara was tested to its limit!
That evening we enjoyes a delicious meal at the restaurant, Ostrich Fillets and a few bottles of Orange River Rose, always goes down well in the Heat!

We found the nights extremely difficult, as at around 10 the aircon would switch off, and we’d be lying there as hot as anything til it was time to get up.. Stepping into the car in the morning was a treat!!!

The following morningit was off to the park for us… The road we felt is so dangerous, as its straight as an arrow as far as can see, and barren on the sides! However, we had purchased The Da Vinci Code on CD, so listened to that, making time pass quickly and uneventfully! Saw some nests along the way and unfortunately a Caracal which had been knocked over by a car 

Our first night at Twee Rivieren we booked a night drive.We had a fantastic guide, who was entertaining and informative at the same time. We figured it would be your usual night drive, but we were very very wrong! We went off up the Nossob River bed, and about an hour into the drive, we stopped for a leg stretch. As we were standing in front of car chatting to the guide, we saw a massive sand storm coming. There were 2 German ppl with us who jumped into the car and got out their emergency Blankets, u know those silver crinkly ones for when you’re stuck on top of a mountain in the cold  Anyway, we all eventually climbed back into the 4x4 and began driving to find a leopard which had been sighted.

All of a sudden the heavens burst forth into a dramatic thunderstorm, which soaked the 4 of us as we had chosen the front row of seats, it only took about 30 secs til we were soaked! The air was still warm, that electrical fuzzy warmth, so no hard feelings to the rain! So spotted the leopard just as it took shelter under a bush and we were able to watch it , with difficulty due to the pounding rain, for abou 20 mins! There was lightning on all sides of us, beautiful Golden and Blue streaks that seemed to touch the earth, with the blackened sky as a back drop.

The tourists behind us were very proud of themselves and kept showing us their emergency blanket, and making crinklr crinkle sounds!!
It was an incredible storm to witness, and one of the most unforgettable aspects of the trip, I would go back solely to be on that drive again. We eventually had to move on from our leopard, as te guide was afraid that we might get stuck, with the river bed turning into wet clay, the water was already up to more than half the tyres!

The following day we took a drive up the other river, the Auob. The Nossob had been closed off to all cars, and remained that way til after we returned from Nossob.
So, up the Aoub, we had many Meerkat sightings, some ground squirrels and beautiful mongooses (or mongeese?never know)

Also saw Gemsbok, springbok etc, but no giraffe  and no cats! Were really hoping for African Wild Cat, which we did eventually get!!!
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will add pics as soon as I teach myself how to resize them!...taught I think!!
To be continued….. :D

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:03 pm 
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Location: cape town
2/2/07
Today we left for Nossob, along the longer route, past KielieKrankie. We had a very enjoyable drive, saw many Wildebees, Hartebees, Gemsbok, the usuals. Watched 2 Gemsbok fighting too, which was great to see, there huge horns knocking together!Image
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Also saw a couple of Ostriches on the dune road crossing between the 2 rivers.

On our way we however had an incident which scared the living daylights out of friends and I. We were driving along, at about 20kph. I was driving, and my two friends in the back had their windows open and were resting their feet on the window frames. All of a sudden, just before I knock into it, I see a Long, rather large Cape Cobra lying in front of the car. My SO screams Drive Drive, as te Cobra, obviously surprised as we were, had brought its self up to wndow striking level and was hissing and trying to strike as hard as possible. Never have we ever had such a fright on our lives!! Both my friends kept their feet very firmly on the car floor from then on! :lol:

When we arrives at Nossob, we booked a night drive, hoping to see a brown hyena, my favorite of animals (hyena in general).

Didn't see one on our drive, however did get to see an African Wild Cat stalking in the bushes, too quick for a decent photo, and a huge Puffadder soaking up the last heat from the road...
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Also saw quite afew bat eared foxes, but couldnt get a good photo, still learning how to use cam!!Image
All in all was a good drive.When we arrived back we had a quick dinner before the electricity went off, leaving us in the stiffling heat, but we solved that problem with wet towels, and manage to get some sleep!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:20 pm 
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Location: cape town
3rd Feb

Today we took a drive south from Nossob. We knew lions had been seen in the area, and were hoping to find the, Frove back and forth past a 10m stretch of grass and the waterhole (the name eludes me now) and eventually saw a swish of a tail...we had our lions!
Unfortunately it was a bittersweet discovery as is transpired that they were very sick looking.
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She was the more healthy looking of the 2, the other lioness was all skin and bones. It was so heart breaking to watch them licking and reassuring each other, when there was clearly no way they could hunt or survive.

When bac at the camp, we asked the ranger about them, and he said that they were 3 siblings, and the brother had recently died and they had been so hungry that they had eventually eaten part of his carcuss.


The following day, we went back to see how they were doing, and they had barely moved, and the one was no longer breathing. Her friend was just lying there licking her face over and over. Its certainly the saddest thing Ive ever experienced in the bush, them being so intelligent, and the sad way she licked her sister made us almost all cry. Would have rather not seen them, our hearts are just a little too soft.
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Didn't see much else around Nossob, except another Cobra, and this snake...
Can anyone ID?????
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the 4th of Feb we left Nossob to return to Twee Rivieren, with heavy hearts.

Saw bat eared foxes on the way down. We decided to see if the Nossob route had been reopened since the storm...

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:34 pm 
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Location: cape town
On our way down, we passed a tree that had vultures in huge numbers under it, must have been 20 at least. So, I thought to myself, there must surely be a kill in the area somewhere!!! maybe our chances of seeing cats have just gone up!!

here are some of them having a drink...
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This beautiful guy was drying in the sun!
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A bit further down we came across the part of the riverbed which ad flooded. There were tyre tracks along the side of the water, and no no entry signs so we figured that everyone was using the route again, and off we went!

Had a few moments where we thought we'd get stuck tho!!
The bird life was prolific, everywhere u looked there were birds queing up along the banks, the were huge flocks ofsmall lbj's, it was such a beautiful sight!
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That night we signed up for another night drive, and were in the front seats again, it was quire an empty drive, and aain, our guide was great (cant remember name :redface: )

About 100m out the gate we came across 3 beautiful healthy lionesses, strolling next to the road...They had the sun right behind them , making photography very difficult, but Ill post the pic for sake of showing u them!
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They eventually disappered over the dune
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(apparently they had a den on the other side? the guide had seen them on a few walks..) :mrgreen:

Saw quite a few beautiful owls on the drive, and a coo, which isnt even in the bird book for that area!! but had obviously come because of the rains..
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Tomorrow... day of extreme luck and nearly missed sightings...

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:44 pm 
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Thanx lovehyena! A great start to your report! :thumbs_up: Interesting snake encounter, lovely suricate pic and a very sad tale of the lionesses! :cry: It is awful when you come across such a situation, but it is nature and the kalahari is a very tough environment, which we tend to forget. The waterhole appears to be Rooikop! (first waterhole south of Nossob?)

More please! :)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:24 pm 
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Better a belayed report than none :dance:

Thanks for your lovely report - I felt very sorry for the lions but as wanderw already mentioned this is nature - only the strongest will survive. :(

Thanks for sharing - More please. :clap: :clap: :clap:


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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:28 am 
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Thanks for this sad story... :cry: and for your report :D
the snake is a black mamba ?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:19 pm 
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What a dramatic report, wonderful!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:44 pm 
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so, this second last night in Twee Rivieren turned out to be very eventful. We all went to sleep relatively early, tired from the Night Drive... And it tranpired that we hardly slept at all!! There were bats in out Chalet, and not the sweet quiet kind who leave and spend the night forraging. These were the kind who spend the night hissing and dropping things all over the floor! We had moved the 2 matresses from the kitchen to the bedroom, so all 4 uof us could sleep with the aircon. All night long we keep hearing these bats hissing at each other, and can almost feel them swooshing overhead! I have a very good friend who has now developed a phobia of bats, whatever its called.

We awoke somewhere around 4 am with a loud bang, as something hit the floor. Each one of us thought we were the only ones who heard it, and eventually I pipe up "did anyone hear that?" EVERYONE answers! An argument ensued over who got the honour of reaching their hand up into the bat filled air to switch the light on...
Once it was on, we had to coax my friend who now has a bat phobia out from under her sheet, where she had spent the whole night cowering. As she sits up she realises that all around where her head was, there is a nice neat circle of bat droppings etc... not impressed! she hadnt slept a wink all night! and the next night she slept (or tried to) in the car, and the rest of moved bungalows...

The staff were happy to move us, and said it was strange, no other chalets seemed to have bat problems! :shock:

the hissing noise they make really sends shivers all down your spine, u can almost feel your heart vibrating, and Ill never forget it! Made the trip memorable, we laugh alot at it now :)

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:01 pm 
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Now for our best day.....

So, seeing as we were all nicely awake, and quite happy to leave the bungalow, we left as the gates opened. Decided to go along the Nossob route, because of the Vultures we'd seen yesterday, hoping for some Cats! No matter how many I see I always get such a thrill, and we had spent 5 days savouring the smaller things...

About 3 Km's along, I look up and see 3 shapes in the distance, distinctly Cat like, and all of a sudden a hush descends over the car... As we get closer we see, ...3 cheetah standing under a tree, sniffing...
The scent mark the tree and then calmmly walk over the road in front of us!!! Only the 3 of us first out the gate see all of this, so if we hadnt been woken, we would have missed it. After reaching other side of road, the take off and dissapper over the Dune!! There's now a lot of excitement in the car, and friends have all decided it was well worth the no Sleep!!

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So, alomst ready to turn back, feeling like we've seen it al, we leave the sighting. The 3 cars from the cheetah sighting all together!

No more than 2 km's along the road, we see the other 2 cars stopped...no way can it be another exciting animal?? Oh yes, on your lucky days , You're lucky!! All the time!

This guy is busy eating a rabbit on the side of the road, and hangs around for about 20 mins before walking off and sleeping under a tree out of sight! Once again, timing is everything, what luck!!

We can honestly not believe it in the car, theres lots of chattering and giggling goin on. Even with no sleep, we suddenly no longer feel tired!
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So, as we can no longer see him, off we go again. We've not reached the waterhole with the vultures yet.

Not more than 2km's later we pull up to the waterhole, and who is having a leasurely drink and a tumble, but a small pride of 5 lionesses and 2 quite old cubs, still clearly spotty, but no longer small...
It was amazing, could have jumped up and down. We felt like that good feeling u have after a really excellent mea and some tasty Merlot to wash it down!

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So, it was some very satisfied people that returned to camp for some brunch and a long long Swim...

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:59 pm 
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Thanks once again Lovehyena,

for this great report - I especially loved your story about the bats - lovely - and of course the sightings of your next day. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Hopefully there is still a bit more to come. 8)


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:24 pm 
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Thanx lovehyena! What an awesome day! :dance: :clap: We also had a messy meeting with one bat in TR one night. One bat was bad enough! :shock: I can imagine what you and your friends went through!


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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:46 am 
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Oh, what an exciting day you had. Reading your report, is almost like sitting next to you in the car :)
Thanks for sharing this wonderfull experience.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:32 am 
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lovehyena wrote:
The staff were happy to move us, and said it was strange, no other chalets seemed to have bat problems! :shock:
Was it chalet no 1 perhaps? A bat 'drove' my SO out of that chalet in 2000. It is a problem that needs to be sorted out once and for all. I realize that we are visiting a remote wilderness area and that there will be wildlife in strange places, but there are bats in Skukuza, just go to the shop and look under the eaves, how do they keep them from nesting in their chalets, or do they :roll:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:53 pm 
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Think it was no 13 or 14? not sure tho... but My friend decided no sleep in the car was better than being terrified and not sleeping in the house! Plus she got to watch Jackals emptying the bins at night....

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