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 Post subject: wild man-3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP-November 2008
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 24
3 weeks and 2 days to go!!

With all the wonderfull advice that I have picked up from reading all the TP I thought it only proper for me to do one myself.

3 of us will be travelling from a small village in the Western Cape and the other 2 will be travelling from JHB.

It has always interested me in the way time seems to stand still when you are waiting for a much anticipated trip.Next thing you know its down to the 3 weeks to go and then all the pre-trip action starts to happen.Organizing who will bring what,what food to take and one of my jobs the various routes that we will be taking.

Our trip is as follows:

Augrabies falls - Fri 14 nov
Two rivers - Sat 15 nov
Nossob - Sun 16 nov
Gharagab - Mon 17 nov
Bitterpan - Tues 18 nov
KTC - Wed 19 nov
Kielie-krankie - thurs 20 nov
Two rivers - fri 21 nov

I am not very technologically minded so wont be doing trip report from KTP.Do promise to write one as soon as possible once we are back.

Hopefully the 3 weeks will fly by and soon will be sipping a G&T watching the african sunset with a roaring fire going surrounded by good friends.

If any one has recently been to the KTP or is going and will be back within the next 3 weeks would really love to hear from you regarding sightings,rain etc.

Thanks.
Wild man


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:33 am 
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Thanks to All for all the well wishes - 3 weeks to the day to go!

Dreamer I am one of the Kaapies living on a farm just outside a small town about 2 hours from Cape Town.

Would be difficult for me to come to one of the get togethers - not impossible though.Would enjoy it am sure they are interesting.

Wild man.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 24
WOW!

What a trip.We returned yesterday from our week in the KTP.Our first time ever in the KTP.

Finding all the tip reports so interesting and helpfull.That I will be writing our trip report within the next few days.

I have been going to KNP for the last 12 years and even though I did not,and do not want to compare the two it is only human nature that you end up doing exactly that.

All I'll say ight now is that we will definately be going back and are talking about doing a trip in Sept 2010 and increasing the numbers to 8 people.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
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Day 1
Friday 14 Nov
Home - Augrabie falls national park

It started to rain on tues,rained all wed and all of thursday.The roads to Worcester,Montagu were closed on thursday.Later on thursday we heard the road to Ceres and Tulbach were also closed - was our long awaited holiday on the verge of not happening because of rain,Fiday would tell...

We packed in the rain on Thursday night wondering would the rain stop would the roads open.I sat down with the map book and worked out many alternative routes to get to the N1 or onto the N2 to get back to the N1.How long would it take-we had no idea.

Friday we had decided to leave at 6 am.We collected the final member of the Kaapie trio at 6 and headed of.As we approached the road that goes over the breede river just on the Roberston side past the bridge was a huge amount of water covering the the road would we get past.I was packed we had to give it a go.First gear floor the gas... we made it now is the road to Worcester open.Stop at the police in Roberston and yes it was open.Our holiday was still on track.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventfull.We arrived at Augrabie falls national park at 15:30.Booked in and went to our rooms to unpack.Very hot.Unpacked and went to the falls.As will be a commen thread through out - I was not sure what to expect. The falls wee great good to see.All the lizzards running aound made for great photo shots.(I will be posting the photo at the end of the whole trip report which will give me time to get all the photos from everyone and time to figure out how to submit them) We met Donald Strydom the owner of Khamai reptile park in Hoedspruit. Unfortunately for him he was bombarded with questions ranging from camera eqiupment to handling snakes.Had a awesome sun downer with salad for supper and headed to bed with great anticipation for tom to come our first day in KTP.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
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Day 2
Sat 15 Nov
Augrabie falls - Two rivers KTP

We woke up ealy due to the exictment and the light chalet!

Had a walk around the falls and the gorge.Booked out and drove aound the game area.Saw springbok and gemsbok.Went to echo corner and did the tourist thing "HHEEELLLLOOOOO" and heard the echo "HHEELLOO HHHEEELLLOOO hhheeelllooo".

Then left augrabies and headed for two rivers.

It was amazing to see how you go from barren land to abundant crops which are grown from water pumped from the orange river.

It was only the last 10km which we had to drive on gravel roads and we were driving olong side the tarred road (on the sat that we left to go back home we drove the whole way on tar.I think they have still some work to do on the tar.).

We arrived at Two rivers to be greeted by my friends from JHB who I last saw 9 months ago.

We booked in,unloaded and sat around, catching up whist having a late lunch.

We were al to tired to go into the park.

After our braai we had the most awesome moon rise which seemed very fitting and a perfect start to our journey.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
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Day 3
Sun 16 Nov
Two rivers - Nossob

We were all so tired from the driving and late night watching the moon rise!!

We packed up and managed to leave two rivers at 9.

Finally we were in the KTP proper!

The right hand fork of the road to kij kij had been damaged from the previous Sundays thundestorm so we headed of to Auchterlonie.Crawling along at 20km to make sure that we would not miss anything.

First animal we saw - well guesed a springbok! Ofcourse it had to have his photo taken!Then our first gemsbok - more photos! This angle - this side.

As I said earlier I was trying hard not to compare KTP to KNP but could not - so I'll share my views,they are my views so before anyone jumps down my throat I am just being honest.The things that first struck me was the completely different bush or make it the lack of bush.The landscape is so different to anything I have ever experienced.The red sand dunes,the trees dotted here and there with as many animals that could possibly fit under it.Then we get the lack of other cars - Wow we could actually spend 5 min with a springbok just admiring it without 50 people stopping and looking at us as if we were mad!!

We very quickly realised that you dont have to look everywhere,just look under all the trees and the shade is packed with animals.

We realised to keep up this pace or lack of it we might take a week to get to Nossob - so upped the pace.

We took the kielie-krankie road to kij-kij and as we rose up one of the dunes we spotted our first lions doing as many people rightly say - sleeping.Chilled under the shade of a tree 3 females and the tree next to them a male.Wow kalahari lions.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventful the usual game.I was amazed at the amount of secretary bird every water hole had at least one if not two prowling the ground looking for a tasty morsel.

Ariving at Nossob my first honest opinion was "A boring tasteless camp.Definately built a long time ago and not incorporating any of the surrounding landscape." The big bonus is the pool.I have read in other threads that some say that the pools are a waste of water.Well I disagre - it was so hot that the pool was an oasis.Not only were humans enjoying it but many birds were enjoying the spilt water.As far as I am concerned more camps should have pools - would make the summer much more bearable and enjoyable.

The water hole is awesome always something happening.Gemsbok,springbok,wildebeest and ofcourse our secretary bird.

After another good supper of to bed - what will tom bring...


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 24
Day 4
Mon 17 Nov
Nossob - Gharagab

Well it was goodbye to Nossob.Honestly I dont think I will go back,so many more interesting camps.I really do think that it needs a face lift or more like a complete overhaul.Yes,I realise that economics comes into play.

An interesting area many birds and facinating landscape.At Langklaas,something under a tree,behind a bush creep foward - a big black maned lion wow this size,the strength.It certainly has presence.He slowly rose from his sleep walked right infront of us glancing a look at us as to say "Just you wait for me to pass,you know I am the boss".He found another tree to lie under and back to sleep.

I have read a lot about Grootkolk so I racked my brains how can we go see it.Aah women need the bathroom.In we roll and find the assistant.Explain to him the women are in need of the bathroom.Sure he says.He was cleaning the one unit so we could get a good look at it.What a camp such an awesome design.The central kitchen and braai area a huge plus.The assistant tell us how in the one corner of the camp the day before was a leopard and on the other side a pride of lions.Amazing.Sorry we had missed them.A camp I will definately be staying at in the future.

Bundu bashing our way to Gharagab we felt like pioneers findingh our way to camp.Vey exciting.

Arrived at Gharagab.Heat more heat wow the heat.Unbearable.Swimming pool were are you?The little water hole looked very tempting.If there were not the possibility of wild animals I would of been right in there.

Unpack as quickly as we can.Sleep.Too hot inside move my bed on the verandah.Sleep wonderfull sleep.
Went up the look out tower had an awesome sight 360 degrees.Wow.

The evening braai was amazing roast pork on the cobb braai.Lightning in the back what a back drop.

My views on Gharagab.Nice camp not the best would rather stay at Grootkolk.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 24
Day 5
Tues 18 Nov
Gharagab - Bitterpan

Well this is the day that I have been secretly excited about.Let me explain.Only once I hade made all the bookings did I realise that Bitterpan is on a 4 x 4 route.After many phone calls and being passed pillar to post.I got hold of a park official who told me that he can not say that a 4x4 is necessary its more for the clearance of the vehicle.My friend from JHB has a toyota hilux 4x4 and we have a toyota hilux 4x2.We chatted about it and decided well it is part of the adventure and seen we are driving in convoy we will make a plan if I get stuck.

The drive from Gharagab to Nossob was uneventful.Really good scenary.The usual animals,springbok,gemsbok,wildebeest and a variety of bird life.

Arrived at Nossob filled up with diesel bought some refreshments and headed off.What will this route bring... Will we make it.

Something that I highly recommend if you are travelling in convoy is two way radio's.They are great fun and you can be in touch all the time.

We had our plan worked out if we got stuck.A would climb on the roof and be look out.C and D would get the tow rope and hook it up and J and J would get the two spades and start digging!!Need I add that 3 of the 5 are women!!!

Went over a couple of dunes and I thought well this is not to bad if its like this all the way it will be a breeze.

Then came the beast.C was driving his 4x4 in front so that if I got stuck he could pull me out.As we rose over a smallish dune,the beast rose above us.We stopped and watched as C drove up bouncing all over the show-sand flying every where and it looked like he just made it.My turn.Diff on.First gear.I had left myself about 65m run up to gather pace.Told my 2 tropps in the car to hold on its going to be rough.As we hit the bottom of the slope the 2 girls started a mini war cry.GO GO GO I felt all I needed to do was give each of them pom poms and they could be cheerleaders.Halfway up the diff kicked in and gave us some much needed help.I could feel us being rocked and pushed in all directions.Slowing down try to give some more gas but still slowing down.As we reached 5m to go I doubted,would we with the final revolution of the wheel we reached the summit.Yes we had done it.As we crested the dune the radio came to life.Well done-they thought we could not do it.What an adrenalin rush.I stopped the vehicle and took a sigh...The rest of mthe route was not to bad nothing to compare to the beast.Animals on the way were just about none.Saw lots of steenbok lying under small trees chewing the cud.

Arriving at Bitterpan we are greeted by the assistant who shows us around.Wow what a setting over looking the pan.He tells us how almost every night the lions come to drink at the small water hole by his bungalow.

Here goes the comparisson again.Sorry.Where in KNP do you get something like Bitterpan.The remotness.Quitness.Peace.No fences.It almost feels raw nature.I know it is not for everyone but the feeling of being out in the bush without a fence it almost feels like it is yours.Amazing.Not much in the way of animals but if you are a nature lover you get the whole picture.Little things begin to be important.The lizards,ghekos even watching ants is interesting.Whilst in KNP most of the people (not all) are chasing the big 5.

We had our usual afternoon nap.Then we went up the tower over looking the camp.What a view.360 degrees.Looking under every tree trying to see something.Nothing.Started the fire,you almost feel you need a big fire to keep away the lions.

What an awesome dinner. Ribs from the famous rib shop in honeydew.MMMMMMmmmmmm.

We all retired to bed.What would the night bring?...Lions?...

I awoke to the call Lions!!

Looked at my watch 12:03.

Went outside on the walk way.The assistant had his light on the small waterhole.There she was lying down drinking.I heard a noise to my left.Shone my torch a not more that 5m was another female.Time to get the others up.C no answer C still no answer.C there are lions everywhere.Up the jump.Bring out their torch.3 of us stood on the one end with 2 lions and the other 2 stood on the other side with 3 lions and 2 where at the waterhole.We did not see the big male but all the time he was roaring.Wow amazing.Then all the toches started to fade.No light.You could just hear them moving around.What an eerie feeling knowing that you are surrounded by lions but unable to see them.Well what could we do nothing.We went to bed and listened to the male roaring the whole time.For some reason I fell asleep really quickly.And slept really well.Which is odd seeing that lions were everywhere!!!

In the morning we could see the spoor.Not more that 2m fom yhe bungalow.Right at the fire pit.Seems they also like the smell of the ribs!

Well time to pack up and move on.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:32 pm 
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Posts: 24
Day 6
Wed 19 Nov
Bitterpan - Kalahari tented camp (KTC)

After looking at all the spoor from the night before it was time to pack up and move on.

My impressions of bitterpan - An awesome camp.Such a wonderful vibe to it.You really get the bush experience.Its a bit of a conundrum on the one hand it is difficult to get there but that in itself makes it special.

At this point I would like to raise a suggestions for the unfenced bush camps.I realise that that money etc. has to be looked at.A camp like bitterpan has no real drives that you can set out for say 1.5 hrs - 2hrs in the am or pm.It is on a one way system.So if you are staying more than one night and you want to go for a drive you must drive to moravet to dikbaardskolk to nossob to bitterpan this must take at least 4-5 hrs.So if they put up another assistant chalet and they offer guided walks say for 2hrs in the am and 2 hrs pm.Have an extra cost for this which covers the extra assistant and you have the option of this available to you.Pay on booking your trip.I am not sure if I would go back to bitterpan not because of the camp but because if you go for more than one day what would you do but if you could go on a guided bush I would definately go back.

One other thing.Yes we made it in a 4x2 but I would not try to attempt it if I was not in convoy with a 4x4 with someone driving who I trusted.Just not worth the chance.

The rest of the trip had very few animals.Mostly steenbok which we saw at least 15.As we were coming over the last dune on the way to craig lockhart waterhole a whole herd ogf giraffe.Wow amazing no sign of them on the whole trip and then suddenly a herd amazing.This stretch of road from craig lockhart to KTC was full of herd game (springbuck,wildebeest) and I am assuming lots of predators following them.

Arrived at KTC.Now in my opinion this is the best camp in the park.It has been kept small.I stand corrected I think it has 16 units.Its unfenced so still has that wild factor.Has a swimming pool.Big plus for days when it gets to 40 degrees.Over looks a dry river bed which has a water hole in it.Is close to mata-mata,4km so if you need anything (fuel,drinks etc)you can get it and has awesome waterholes around it.Not that I recommened it but in a 2hr drive you can get to 5 waterholes!The tents itself are awesome.Spacious well designed and the kitchen tent with the braai is amazing.Well done who ever chose this spot for the camp site.

We unpacked and seen it was so hot we wollowed at the pool for the rest of the afternoon.A couple that was at the pool told us that last night hyenas had chase a wildebeest under one of the tents and had killed it there.This all happened at 4 in the early morning.An elderly oversees couple was staying in the tent and when they emerged the lady was looking rather frazzled after a rough night!

The carcase of the wildebeest had been drag out to under a tee on the edge of the dry river bed. :roll:

The same couple at the pool told us about a cheetah mom and her three cubs at dalkeith waterhole.The one cub they said had a broken leg and was not looking to good.Apparently a parks official,they were not sure if it was the head of the park or the vet had gone out to asses the cub.If anyone out there knows what happened if they could let me know I would be gratefull.

The rest of our group retired for an afternoon nap.I wanted to go and find the cheetah.After a lengthy negotiation with my SO off I went.My drive to dalkeith was uneventfull yet really beautifull.There were storm clouds gathering and a rainbow and you could smell the rain in the air.Only saw the usual game.Saw a lot of birds of prey.

I had taken my torch to mata mata to charge.I stoped at the road to KTC should I go back for a bit or go straight to mata mata.Thought I'll get into the good books with my SO so went to KTC and as I arrive there in the river bed is a cheetah.I could of saved a few rands on diesel.The cheetah was followed every where by to jakal.What an awesome sighting.

As we went to mata mata we came across a herd of 15 giraffe.Plenty of springbok and wildebeest and not to forget the gemsbok.On the way back it started rain.Was interested to see how the animals put their bums into the direction of the rain.

Had an great braai and off to bed.

Was awoken by hyena calling.This one hyena sounded like his voice was breaking and could not get the whoop at the end right.This caused great ammusment for me and I lay there giggling away with my SO saying "Its not funny-who strong is this tent?"

Well goodbye KTC I'll definately be back!


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:37 am 
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Day 7
Thurs 20 Nov
KTC - Kielie-Krankie (KK)

When leaving KTC we were asked to collect a radio at Urikaruus and take it to Willem the assistant at KK.This would give us a good excuse to have a look around Urikaruus.

Along our drive we did not see much game just the usual springbok,wildebeest,gemsbok and giraffe.

There was a car stopped on the side of the road just passed dalkeith and lying in the shade of a tree was a cheetah.I am almost sure that this was the mom that we had been told about.We could not see the youngster at all so we thought that the worst had probably happened.If it had died I am sure that it was a relief even as harsh as this must sound.It was great just to spend time with the cheetah even though it was only lying and sleeping.Interesting how she would sleep for a few minutes at most then lift her head and do a scan around.I am sure this is a combination of two things.Looking out for possible prey and looking out for any threats (lion).

We moved on and soon arrived at Urikaruus.Picked up the radio and unfortunately seeing that there were people staying at the camp we could not have a look.From what we could see looks like a good camp if you are in a group as the chalets are linked with a raised walk way.The big bonus of Urikaruus seems to be the location.You have three options available to you.A camp I will definately stay at in future.

We were ambling along not much to see.We came across a thick bush/tree that had fallen over and had regrown.Out of the corner of my eye I spot something slam on brakes.Refind it yes its 2 small african wild cat kittens.We looked at them they looked at us and then quickly scurried away.Really cool.

We arrived at KK with cool cat Willem clearly in charge of his 'plaas' as he puts it.We were told to keep our doors closed as they have plenty of cape cobras around - how to make one welcome! We were allocated unit 4.Thanks to Michelle Nel for sponsoring the guest books.Very interesting to read what previous guests had seen.

My only two complaints of KK. 1 its rather long walk to carry all your equipment,fridge/freezer and SO bags need I say more!
2 the chalets are not connected with each other via walkways.So if you are staying as a group rather stressfull when you have to retire at night!

Willem very dutifully kept his torch going back and forth like a light house.We spotted black back jackal and a african wild cat.Who apparently has her nest/den/cattery under the chalets.

A nice camp.Would only go back if it was just 2 of us.Not really practical as a group.It is close enough to 2 rivers to make it the first camp and therefore cancel out 2 rivers.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:09 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
wild man wrote:
We unpacked and seen it was so hot we wollowed at the pool for the rest of the afternoon.A couple that was at the pool told us that last night hyenas had chase a wildebeest under one of the tents and had killed it there.This all happened at 4 in the early morning.An elderly oversees couple was staying in the tent and when they emerged the lady was looking rather frazzled after a rough night!

The carcase of the wildebeest had been drag out to under a tee on the edge of the dry river bed. :roll:


Hi wild man
I feel that out of respect for the woman who experienced this rather frightening ordeal (she is one of our pilates instructors) I need to correct you on the age. She is only in her early thirties :D :D and if she looked a tad harrassed :shock: it was because they had to cut themselves out of the bathroom with a pair of nail scissors. They did this as the hyenas started eating the wildebeest while it was still alive and the horns of the wildebeest started to lift the floorboards in the bedroom along with the beds and side tables. Have just seen some of the photos and WOW a rather large part of me is very glad that it was not me...... :dance:

Am loving you story so please continue
Debbie

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Being in the Kalahari is like making your heartbeat whole again


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:45 pm 
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Thanks for the correction Wannabe Nerd,always a bit dangerous to include a story that you have not witnessed yourself! Please apologise to your pilates instructor,the Women in question from me as I know to be labelled as elderly and you are only in your thirties is rather offensive.The story was to good too leave out even though I clearly was being mislead.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:24 pm 
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Posts: 24
Day 8
Fri 21 Nov
KK - Two rivers

By this stage we had our morning routine waxed.Wake up at 7.Have breakfast.Pack kitchen stuff and load into vehicle.Shower.Pack suitcase and load into vehicle.Pack toiletries and load into vehicle.By this stage everything had its place.Fridge/freezer back right hand corner of the load box.Suitcases next to them etc.Run the lead for fridge/freezer over the top under the back seats under the driver seat around the gear lever and into the lighter socket!Be ready to leave camp at 8:50 so if there are any delays we have 10 min spare!

The route between KK and two rivers was very very unsuccesful.This trip only took us 1.5 hrs.At two rivers we unpacked everything,cleaned everything and then repacked everything.Only keeping out the necesaties.

The afternoon was spent around the pool and sleeping.We had our final braai and meal in the KTP for now.

Early wake up call.Want to leave two rivers at 5:30 so we will be home to watch the boks play England.We achieved this and watched in great spirits as we thrashed England.Thanks bokkies.

CONCLUSION

The aim of our trip was too, as none of us had been to the KTP before, see as much as the park as possible and see as many of the camps as possible.To spend quality time with loved ones and friends that we had not seen for sometime and also to relax and destress from 'normal' life.Not to forget - eat well.All of these we achieved.We managed to see every camp.Luckily we were used as the local courier co. which we did not mind as it gave us a good excuse to see the camps we were not staying at.I would not do a trip like this again as the unpacking-repacking gets tiresome doing it every day!

For us the perfect trip would be:
home - kielie-krankie 2 nights
kielie-krankie - grootkolk 2 nights
grootkolk - KTC 3 nights
KTC - two rivers 1 night
two rivers - home
arriving on the friday and leaving the following saturday.
All the assistants told us the best time of year to visit is march/april or september.We will be planning our next trip to KTP in September 2010!

In comparing the KTP to KNP.They both have their great points as well as their not so great points.They are so different in many ways,that neither one is better than the other.For us in future we will be alternating each year between the two.I feel that we as South Africans are so fortunate to have these two parks in our country and that we should support them in every way possible.

In closing I thank everyone who has replied to my trip report it has been an experience to write it and has felt like I have relived my trip.

I also want to apologise for my spelling.Never been my strong point.

Keep well.
Wild man.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 Kaapies and 2 Joburgians in the KTP.
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:34 am
Posts: 24
So you want some pictures ...!

Well I have managed to transfer my photos from my camera to my computer to a disk and that is where my technical/computer knowledge stops!

I am waiting for my SO to get back from Joburg,next wednesday and she will be able to help me, I hope.Also waiting for the rest of the gang to send their photos. (these people with real jobs really...)
I see that you go to some site called tinypics.com and load them there?

I'll give it a try and see how far I get!


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