Hi, my first written posting.
After many vists to KNP, my wife and I decided to give KTP a try, afterall it is closer to home. Tried all the 'roadside' camps. TR, Urikaruus, KTC, MM, KK, Nossob, Grootkolk, Nossob, TR and back home.
On 21 June 2008, my sister's birthday and winter solstice, after washing off the ice on the windscreen we left Nossob heading to Grootkolk.
The combi in front of us stopped, cameras with long lenses came out, when a 'streak' crossed the road. Shame they hadn't seen too many jackals yet... so I waited for them to take their photos. Eventually I crawled past, exchanged smiles..then a jackal came trotting down the road towards us...called them and they replied that they were/had been watching a AWC!
Oh well, we did see it ?!? A km down the road there was another 'streak' across the road, and this time I was eye to eye through my binocs with my first ever confirmed AWC
Further down the road a dark creature crossed the road.. our first ever.... H badger
We lost count of the number of sightings of B E Foxes and saw our only meerkats of the trip. Arrived at Grootkolk at 13h00, our ranger said that we had brought good luck. During the night a lion had kept him awake all night 'performing' close to his 'cabin'...and midmorning walked through the camp to the water hole, drank and moved off.
He was not ready for us and suggested that we offload our luggage and go for a drive.
A couple of kms towards Union's End an oncoming vehicle told us that there was a leopard in the road in about 7 kms. There were plenty of fresh lion 'spoors' in the road... but we were off to see our fisrt leopard sighting of the trip... tyre marks and tracks but no leopard ... anyway, went on to UE. On the way back saw the road markings and still nothing
Just past the Geinab WH two vehicles were parked off, the first, our camp neighbours to be, who live in Nelspruit, the other our camp neighbours from KK and Nossob.
They were watching a Lion! 3 meters of the road behind a tree in long grass. Thanks to vehicle 1 - Nelspruiters - for tracking the 'spoor' for many km's and where it left the road ... there he was
We would most probably have missed him and not experienced the REALLY RARE Kgalagadi Sighting.....
Within 5 mins he got up and walked around the tree to the 'bank' of the river and vehicle 2 called 'leopard' ...
walking from left to right on the far side of the dry river bed app 150 -200 meters across.... probably our elusive 7km leopard. It walked on, stopping at an outcrop and spent some time there. The Lion had sensed/seen it and kept a watch on it.
Couple of mins later vehicle 1 went looking for something more exciting ?!?!?
going off towards UE and vehicle 2 went off towards Grootkolk ?!?!?
30 mins later leopard came back towards the lion and water hole, it got a third of the way across the river bed, stopped sprayed etc and for the first time probably sensed the Lion and hung around.
Checking on the animals to the right including a pair of jackals ........WOW another leopard !!!!!! walking below the 'bank' from right to left towards the Lion ..... Lion saw it and ran forward in a stalking manner and crouched .... almost face to face ... maybe 4 m apart when the leopard saw the Lion, Lion roooaaared Leopard spun around and was chased up the tree in front of us..
The poor leopard was sitting like an eagle on the thin branches of the tree ...
Lion went to lie down a couple of meters away .... and went to sleep ...
leopard was most uncomfortable!
Jackals were baying for action...
We wondered what had happened to Leopard #1, as we did not see it again. Whilst editing the the video I eventually saw it scampering off just before Leopard #2 saw the Lion!!
Vehicle 2 came back to see if anything had happened with Lion ...stopped 50 m away, awestruck asked if the Lion was in the tree !! (looking into the setting sun)
Vehicle 1 also returned ...
Two and a half hours later at 6pm we had to leave the scene to get back to camp....came across guests #4 saying there was a massive Lion heading towards us ... we said never mind go see what sight is waiting for you!!
Lion #2 came ambling down the road and apparenlty joined Lion #1 below the tree.
The ranger could not believe it, asked why we hadn't taken his camera?
Guests #4 took him to have a look.
That evening had gemsbok, BEFoxes and creatures with white tails (cape foxes?) visit the waterhole ...spotlight battery getting flat.... My wife did a scan with the torch and looking out over the doorway suddenly said heres a cat!!
Sure enough a tame AWC sat there looking at her ..... it kept us company untill we went to bed.......
WHAT A DAY IN AFRICA
WE WILL BE BACK
The next morning there was no sign of what had transpired the previous day.
Here is the video linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WV2gv1jytQ