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 Post subject: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:16 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
03.11.08

It was early afternoon when we arrived at the entrance gate.
The last 60 km were very comfortable to drive. It only ended 10 km before we reached the gate and even then it was an easy drive.
As we came closer to the gate another surprise awaited us. A new building. :shock:

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Later we were told that it is a new reception for both South African and Botswana immigration and KTP. So the new tar road will never meet up with the old entrance gate I think. :|

Checking at Twee Rivieren was like coming home. So many familiar faces and all the same friendliness we experienced already during previous stays. *Sigh* relaxation right from the beginning.

We moved into our bungalow #16.Unpacked the car, made a reservation for the restaurant later that evening and after a nice cup of coffee were on our way for our first drive during this years trip.

We slowly made our way out of the gate and shortly after that had our first sighting.
A Whistling Rat. We enjoyed this sighting even more, as it was quite rare to see them last November.

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Whistling Rat

Later at Samevloiing we discovered Ducks!!!
Quite a strange sighting we thought.
South African Shelducks.

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A Yellow Billed Kite flew over the waterhole in search for food .The Ducks did not really enjoyed the sighting as much as we did.
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Ducks at Samevloiing

From here we decided to drive over the dunes to Houmoed waterhole.
We sighted a lot of Southern Black Korhaans. Ostriches in the distance, but not much else.

This female Korhaan was so kind to stop a few seconds for a photo.

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After the dinner we went to bed tired but happy to be back in KTP.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:45 am 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
04.11.08

Waking up just before sunrise and sitting outside awaiting the day with a cup of coffee in your hand at Twee Rivieren. How much better can it get …..

I was surprised to see a little bit of morning fog looking over to Botswana. We never experienced that before.

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Our choice for today was driving to the Mata Mata direction , having breakfast at Auchterlonie and returning to camp again.

Just after we had left the dunes we discovered some movement close to the road.
Meerkats!!
We could not believe how lucky we were to see them again and on our first full day. :dance:

Moreover after having a closer look we saw that there were about three babies amongst them.

But oh my are they fast….
It was really hard to capture them. Running around and making the cutest sounds.
We stopped for quite a while and observed them.

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Meerkat

Meerkat Babies

But then they moved further away into the river bed and we left them.

The Bee-Eaters are always such a nice sighting.
They are real acrobats of the air. How fast they can change directions to catch their prey.

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Another animal we like very much in KTP and always intrigues me with it’s colours and primeval appearance .

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And then a Steenbok came along our way.
They look so delicate and perfectly blend into the colours of the landscape.

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A Dove was having a drink at Houmoed.

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Commencing our way to Auchterlonie we could see how terribly dry everything still was.
Last November there had already a fair amount of rain. Now the animals and landscape were still waiting in anticipation.

At Kamfersboom a Kori Bustard completely ignored our presence.

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So then we had breakfast at Auchterlonie and it felt as if we had done so the last time, only a couple of weeks ago. We simply could not believe that it was already 11 months ago.

We discovered this Armoured Ground-Cricket on the window shutter of the toilet.
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And we could observe this Flycatcher collecting worms etc. in the walls of the well.

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It was already really hot on our way back to TR and so the sightings were quite scarce.

But on top of one of the dunes we saw this Gemsbok.
This is so much Kalahari. And I just had to take a pic.

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South of Monro our eyes detected something under a tree that does not seem to fit into the landscape.

A Lion!
As always lying on his back with the paws into the air, lol! :roll:

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Then he rolled over , stood up and moved a coupled of metres before he lied down again and fell flat on his side. :lol:

Lion near Monro

We had our siesta at the Camp , later a cup of coffee with the company of a nice little Marico Flycatcher.

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And went again to Houmoed in the afternoon. Most of the sightings had been on that side (according to the sightings board at TR) .
But again very little activity now.

At Houmoed Sparrows were now enjoying the water coming out of the pipe.

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Sparrows at Houmoed

That was our sighting for that afternoon.

We checked Samevloiing and drove a bit till Leudrill, but nothing here as well.
Having a closer look at the trees along the way back to TR always produced nice Owl sightings last November , but it seemed that they had moved somewhere else.

Nevertheless we had a great first day with lots of very nice sightings.
And the baby Meerkats are for sure something very special and we count ourselves very lucky that we saw them . 8)

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Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:06 pm 
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05.11.08

So it was time to leave TR.
We checked the waterhole near the camp gate and Samevloiing, but without any success.

Close to Leeuwdril we saw our first Owl on this years trip.
A Spotted Eagle Owl. In a tree together with some Weavers, they nearly drove her crazy.

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Later we spotted an African Wildcat , unfortunately quite far from the road and not in mood to stop for a second or two.

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We stopped at the huge Sociable Weavers Nest on the left hand side of the road, that a lot of you guys might know very well.
As usual there are dozens of those black little Lizards right underneath the tree.

These two were enjoying the sunshine.

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600 metres before we reached Rooiputs we discovered a car that we know very well.
Unbelievable we met a nice couple again that we kept meeting again and again during our last years trip.
They pointed a Cape Fox den out to us. Unfortunately only the mum was active and not a single trace of the little ones.

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Cape Fox

So we left them and drove on till Melkvlei.
Here a whole bunch of Scaly-feathered Finches joined us for breakfast.

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Further along the road we met quite a few Springboks. The first bigger herds so far.
With younger ones as well.

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We saw obviously very pregnant Springboks too. Maybe we are lucky enough to see them giving birth during this trip..

Then we discovered this….
Can someone tell me what it is?! Please don’t laugh.

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At Dikbardskolk we had more company for our break.
Red-headed Finches, Starlings and the ever present Mongoose.

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Then we discovered this Juvenile Pale-chanting Goshawk in a tree. He was suspicious but curious at the same time.

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This Secretray Bird was mobbed by a raptor who permanently bomb dived the poor bird.
He was really excited.

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Secretary Bird

It was not him.

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And another one of my favourite models.

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And yes yet another one….

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Checking in at Nossob was like coming home.
Bungalow 10b was allocated to us and right at reception we ordered Roosterkoeke for that evening.

Later we left again into the direction of Cubitje Quap. Unfortunately it was already quite late and so there was not much time left for an extended drive.
But just a couple of kilometres outside the camp Francolin made me stop the car, she detected a movement in one o the bushes along the road.

A Spotted Eagle Owl with a chick right underneath a tree.

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Spotted Eagle Owl with Chick

What a beautiful sighting at the end of the day.

Now it was really time to return to camp.
On the way back we saw this Gabar Goshawk having his dinner.

Gabar Goshawk

After a nice braai with Roosterkoek and shooing away some Jackals, it was time to visit he hide.

It is one of the many advantages of Nossob to be able to sit at the hide and there is nearly always something to see at the waterhole.

This time a Wildcat had a Jackal encounter.

Jackal and Wildcat

A Dikkop and an Owl came to the waterhole.

Dikkop and Owl

And a Barn Owl rested on a tree stump.

Barn Owl

We simply love Nossob.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:02 pm 
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Location: Lausanne (Switzerland)
first the mushroom... :wink:
it's a "coprin chevelu" - coprinus comatus, see here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprinus_comatus

then...

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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:47 pm 
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Great stuff KDU :clap: ...and of course the spotted eagle owl is just the best..maybe because owls are my favourite birds. :clap:
Thanks for continuing your trip report. I know that this Silly Season is not really conducive to trip report writing.....so well done there !!! :thumbs_up:

@ Anne-marie...spotted eagle owls tend to nest in many different sites including on the ground...so maybe the little one did not fall from it's nest :D

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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:26 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
06.11.08

It was a long evening at the hide so we did not start off to early that morning.
By the time we left the camp, you could already feel that this was going to be another very hot day.

We went to the northern direction and checked Cubitje Quap.
As we stood there and scanned the area a nice herd of Wildebeest came to have a drink.

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Wildebeest at Cubitje Quap

The bushes to the left and right of the waterhole were occupied by hundreds of small birds.
Weaver, Red-headed Finches, Quelias etc.

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They kept flying to the waterhole for tiny sips of water.

We commenced our way to the northern direction and saw lots and lots of Crowned Plovers, some of them still accompanied by Juveniles.

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Further on a couple of Spike-heeled Larks.

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Today seemed once again very good for birds of all kinds.

So we discovered another first.
A Double-banded Courser.

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It was time to return to the camp.
It was getting hotter and hotter and very windy.

Just as we reached Cubitje Quap again we were amazed to find dozens of Vultures there.
It was an amazing sight.

Every now and then a new one arrived, others started and were gone.

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The wind got stronger and stronger and there was a lot of dust in the air.

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Then a Juvenile Batleur just landed amongst the Vultures to have his share of the water.

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The waterhole was getting busier and busier. Three Secretary Birds approached the waterhole and had a drink as well.

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Vultures and Secretaries

Between Cubitje and Nossob we saw this Black-shouldered Kite.

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In the afternoon we went to Mari se Draai without any success. We saw nothing, it was still very windy and unbelievably hot. Not even the Lizards and Mice were out in the open.

So we returned back to have yet another nice braai.

Of course we could not go to bed without visiting the hide.

One of the Barn Owls was sitting in the tree right beside the hide. What a beautiful bird.

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Barn Owl

A beautiful ending of the day.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:06 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
Thank you nightjar,p@m,anne-marie,billyf,Pumbaa,Giraffe,lorrainepring,
Mashona,Zypresse,Elsa,Ingrid,wanderw,icurrie and mikerid
for your great comments 8) they are very much appreciated.

@ Mashona
I bought a Nikon D 300 in December 2007. I was using a Nikon D 70s when we met in KTP. I already used the D 300 in Kruger in combination with the Sigma 170-500 DG and wasn't always that happy with the results.
This trip I was using the Nikon 80-400 VR for the first time and I think it worked great.Sometimes the autofocus was a tad too slow, but I was lucky to have brought that lens with me.

And yes I look at the pics and can feel and smell the Kalahari again,*sigh*...

@ Ingrid
I love Vultures , they are really impressive birds, especially the Lappet-faced Vulture. And it was great to see that many in one spot.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:11 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
07.11.08

Getting up in the morning we were already very excited.
We were moving to Grootkolk that morning for the very first time. Everybody we knew and who stayed there before, raves about that special camp.

So while we were still busy putting our stuff together and preparing some coffee one of the female staff members at Nossob rushed to our kitchen door and told us something about a Lion. She told us to follow her and we did. We could see from the fence close to # 10b that a male Lion was right at the waterhole at the hide.
We thanked her and rushed back to get our cameras and off we were to the hide, that was already by now bursting with people. Some of them had just returned back to camp and you could see that they left their cars in a hurry as it was quite a traffic jam at the gate. Some of the cars had their doors wide open.
By the time we got to the hide the Lion had turned around and was ready to leave.

This is the only decent pic I managed to take ( after taking pics of the Jackals in camp the nigh before I forgot to switch the ISO back from 3200…, and I was too excited to realise that :roll: :redface: ),all others were far too bright and with a lot of noise.

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So this was already a brilliant start into the new day. We had our first Lion sighting while still in camp.

We were leaving Nossob with a thrill of anticipation.

En route I tried to capture one of those many little birdies that are always so very difficult to photograph.
They can really give you a hard time ( I am sure everybody knows what I am talking about), so this little fellow looked at me as if he wanted to tease me. And I was only able to have a small glimpse before he was off again, chirping. Or was he laughing at me?!

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So we drove on into the direction to Kwang.
A lovely place to have a coffee.

Coming closer I realised there was something lying close to the water tank.
And indeed, it was a Lion.

But why on earth did he choose to rest close to that ugly thing… :roll:

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Nevertheless we took some pics and stopped underneath the trees of the parking space, hoping that he might got up and walk over to the hole to have a drink.
Soon after we stopped he did us that favour.
Walking veeery slowly over to the waterhole. He really struggled to get to the water to have a drink. The hole was deep and I think in that hole was nearly no water at all. He just did not realize that this wasn’t the actual waterhole. That was only a few steps away and filled with water up to the top.

Lion at Kwang 1

Then he turned around and discovered the proper waterhole, with a kind of surprise.
''Oh, water!'' :lol:

Lion at Kwang 2

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He must have been very thursty, as he drank for more than 15 minutes.

Then he stood up and walked over to our left were he lied down in the shade of the trees.

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All the time we had the whole sighting all by ourselves.

While the Lion was drinking at the waterhole, two Jackals waited for their turn to have a drink. When they first arrived they were appalled to see a Lion drinking from ''their'' waterhole.

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Leaving Kwang we had one last glance at the Lion.


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Not too far away from that point we could see a movement in one of the bushes.
So we stopped to have a closer look. And discovered some furry and brown in colour.
A Shrub Hare!
Amazing , we never saw one during the daytime before. 8)

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Shrub Hare

We stopped again at Bedinkt waterhole. There were 5 Secretary Birds. This year we were pretty surprised how many Secretaries we saw. Always a couple of birds on one spot.
The largest group was near the end of our trip at Rooiputs were we counted 9 birds.
Has anyone an explanation for that ?

Coming in to land.

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We had a small break at Lijersdraai.
And were greeted by our little friends, the Lizards.

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But by now we were eager to finally reach Grootkolk so it was just a very short stop there.
This year we seemed to have luck with the Spotted Eagle Owl. We could detect yet another one I a tree along the road.

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At Kannaguass Waterhole we saw a nice herd of Oryx seeking the shade of the trees at the waterhole.

Oryx at Kannaguass

But then we were finally there.
Grootkolk!
We moved into tent #3 and loved it right from the beginning.
The outdoor kitchen, the view to the waterhole, simply everything.

At Nossob I had made a bird bath using one of the empty water canisters. It was hard work…:lol:
Now we filled it with water and were amazed.
The bush just in front of our tent seemed to explode and we had all kinds of little birdies coming for a visit.

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It was already a little later, so we decided to stay in the camp to savour every single moment of that special atmosphere.

Here are our visitors.

The Red-headed finches were nearly posing for photos...
What are you doing there ?

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A typical Grootkolk scene.

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Later 3 Hartebeest came to the waterhole to have a drink.

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And we could enjoy a very nice sunset.

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We are sitting outside in the darkness and everything is calm. Only the sounds of the nights surround us.
Suddenly we could make out a movement at the waterhole.
A Brown Hyena came to have a drink and disappeared into the night soft-footed as it came.

I think I have no more words to describe our feelings.
But I am pretty sure you know exactly how we felt. Image

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:10 pm 
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08.11.08

It was wonderful to wake up in the morning in Grootkolk.
Grabbing a coffee and having a look at the waterhole.

Unfortunately we were not as lucky as many other Forumites before us, but we enjoyed t nevertheless.

Again the Red-headed Finches were already around.

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The view to the waterhole from our ''kitchen''.

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And another of our vistors.

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But it was time to leave as we would love to drive to Unions End today.

We stopped for breakfast and coffee at Unions End Picnic Spot .
A lovely little spot. As usual birds were all around us, but then suddenly something changed. The birds were gone and instead staying with us and observing us, they started a hullabaloo and were really very excited. This made us feel a bit uncomfortable and we instantly checked the area. And indeed there was something cooking.
A nice Cape Cobra just made her way all across the picnic spot accompanied by very angry and loud birds.

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We had a good look were she was heading and to our surprise was heading straight to the toilet.

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Cape Cobra

Just before she reached the toilet building she was ''attacked'' by a brave little bird ( have a closer look and you can see the bird just right above the snakes head).

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It then disappeared in the ladies toilet.
So we decided that we don’t need to go to the loo anymore :lol: and left the picnic spot heading towards our destination.

We stopped at Unions End Waterhole. In the morning Cheetahs had been seen there, but now we could only see their tracks in the sand.
But it was lovely to see hundreds of Finches, Weavers and Quelias flying the waterhole.

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Birds at Unions End Waterhole

Then we were finally, Unions End. New Ground for us.

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Francolin at Unions End.

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The Yellow Ribbon book.

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Me signing the book.

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How awesome to read entries of other forumites there.

Unions End is a spot in KTP were you really feel the vastness of that place. What a feeling to know that you are hundreds of kilometres away from the next town .

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On the way back we discovered this flower. Can someone tell me what it is?! I am completely lost when it comes to ID plants.

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At Kannaguass we found again a whole group of Secretary Birds.

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It was hot, late and time for a siesta….

Francolin used the time to take some pics of the camp.
The view to the neighbouring tents.

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(taken by Francolin)

And the view to the waterhole.

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(taken by Francolin)

Of course we observed the birds again. And discovered a Red-billed Quelia which looked a bit different. Unfortunately I am not really happy with this capture, but it was the only pic I managed to take of the Breeding Red-billed Quelia.

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In the afternoon we drove again to the direction of Unions End, as tomorrow we are already leaving Grootkolk.

On the way we sighted Meerkats, but very shy and very far away from the road.

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We stopped again at the waterhole.
The sun already disappeared behind some clouds .

The birds came again.

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The only mammal that visited the waterhole while we were there, was this very curious Jackal. I really love the bended tip of his ear.

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The sun was fading and the clouds were coming in.

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We thought it was time to return to camp.

Here are some captures taken on the way back.

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The sunset just before we reached the camp.


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We enjoyed the evening sitting outside, with just lit candles and a glass of wine.
A little later a Cheetah was coming to the waterhole. Unfortunately the waterhole is too far away for any videos. But like seeing the Brown Hyena yesterday it was awesome.
The Cheetah made the acquaintance of two Bat-eared Foxes right at the waterhole.
I never heard such a sound before, the Bat-eared Foxes were not barking or howling, they were frantically screaming, almost screeching, in a very high voice. Still got goosebumps thinking about it. The Cheetah simply ignored them and went away after a while.

I think I do not have to mention that we were not too happy to leave the next day…… :(

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:15 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
09.11.08

Last morning at Grootkolk :( . Time to leave, but already sure that we will be back in November 2009 . :wink:

A last shower in a shower with a view.
The pic was Francolins idea. I just had to take it.

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A Crimson-breasted Shrike came for a visit.

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And not only the birds loved our birdbath at Grootkolk.

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Heavy hearted we were on our way back down south.
At Kannaguass we met our Secretaries again.

Secretaries at Kannaguass

A stop at Lijersdraai Picnic Spot. Some of our very friendly neighbours from Grrotkolk told us that not too far away a Leopard was lying in a tree. So we skipped the toilet break once again and went straight to the spot where they left the LIT.
And indeed the Leopard was still there trying to find a comfortable position to sleep.

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Leopard at Lijersdraai

Reaching Cubitje Quap we discovered that there were again some Vultures, Secretaries and later again a herd of Wildebeest accompanied by a Cattle Egret.

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Gathering at Cubitje Quap

Then we were welcomed at the reception in Nossob and this time we moved into bungalow #7.
Although we had to leave Grootkolk it was still a good feeling to be back here.
At least we still had lots of days still to come….

Starlings awaited the birdbath.

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Our choice of direction for the afternoon was Marie se Draai.
We drove up and down the road and sighted nothing. We were already thinking about returning to the camp, as it was unbelievably hot, when we met a couple we already know from last years trip. They told us that there had been a Lion sighting at Marie’s this morning so we decided to drive the loop one last time entering from the south.

So we slowly drove along. A Jackal was crossing the road just in front of us, stopped on the other side of the road and started to bark.
We stopped and scanned the area, especially the direction he was facing.

Jackal

But….there was just a bush.
Hey, wasn’t there a movement under that bush ?!

And indeed very slowly a Lioness and two cubs made their way towards the road.
She was a beauty and the two cubs looked very well fed and healthy.

Lions 1

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Lions 2

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Lions 3


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The couple we met was travelling with a baby. The two youngsters were very interested in the sounds they heard out of the other car, moved closer and closer, with their eyes glued to the car.

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Brother , where are you going to ?!

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Lions 4

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The two looked so beautiful in the last rays of sunshine.
What a special sighting.It is alway so great to observe the interaction between a Lioness and her cubs.
We stayed with them for 1 1/2 hours. 8) Before we had to return to Nossob to be back to the camp in time.

Shortly after we left it started to rain. In fact when we reached our bungalow it was pouring.
But only for about 20 minutes. And that was it…
Little did we know that in TR there was a hell of a storm…..

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
10.11.08

The last few mornings there had always been sightings of Lions and even a Leopard at Cubitje Quap.
So we were heading to the northern direction and hoping for the best.
Our destination again Kwang.
But even as we stopped for quite a while at Cubitje no Lions or else showed up.
So we drove on.
First sighting was this preening and calling PCG.

Again we saw lots and lots of Lizards.

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I always try to capture one of the little Mice that are climbing in the bushes along the roads. But most of the times they already back to the ground as soon as I stop the car.

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On the way back from Kwang to Nossob we observed this starling trying to eat some kind of huge worm.

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Closely observed by this Crowned Plover, that initially caught the worm. :roll:

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Than I managed to capture one of the Agamas that always are in the tops of the bushes, like sentinels along the roads.

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Back at Cubitje Quap we could observe a waterbird foraging for food.
I am always surprised to see a bird like this in such a dry environment like the Kalahari.

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The we enjoyed our siesta back at camp, as it was once again a very hot day.

Our birdbath was regularly frequented by all kinds of visitors.

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The Squirrels tried to cool down a bit in the soil.

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For the afternoon our choice was once again the southern direction.
We drove very slowly and our first sighting, after we had passed Marie se Draai, was this lovely Kori Bustard.

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Kori Bustard

And lots and lots of these cute little Mice.

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I think this one is still a baby.

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And where there are mice there are raptors…..

So we discovered this Spotted Eagle Owl.

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And that Gabar Goshawk.

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Just as we decided to return back to Nossob we sighted two African Wildcats. Unfortunately not the best light. :|

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This one did not like the paparazzi.

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Spotted Eagle Owl and African Wildcat

By then it was time to return back to camp.
Again it was one of those last evenings, but the fact that we already are going to return during this trip made it not too bad. :wink:

We lit the braai and were soon joined by one Jackal.

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It seems that they are still having their share.

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Tomorrow we are driving to Urikaruus and are already so much looking forward to our stay there.
Hoping to see the young Hyenas there and hoping for nice sightings along the Boreholes and the waterhole in camp.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:54 am 
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11.11.08

So we are leaving Nossob, for the second, but not fort he last time during this years trip.
Of course we could not leave without paying Cubitje Quap a last short visit.

The Waterbird was still there.

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And of course the Doves came for a drink in their dozens.

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But apart from that nothing else. So we thought it was time to return to the southern direction as we just could not wait to get to Urikaruus.

Now we had a really nice surprise.
Once again Francolin made me stop the car. Since she discovered the little Owl with her Mum under one of the trees along the road we always check very carefully that specific area and indeed her she/he was.
The little ne was no longer on the ground, but stood there snuggled against a tree trunk, just on the hight of our eyes.

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We were very happy about Nossob bidding us such a nice farewell.

So we passed the gate one last time before heading for Urikaruus.
Along the way we saw a lovely herd of Hartebeests. This time they were not running away as soon as we stopped the car.

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Well at least not these three, all the others were already running away… :lol:
And again an Owl sighting, we could not remember to see so many Spotted Eagle Owls before. Last year they had been quite a rare sighting. :hmz:

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And before we reached Dikbaardskolk for breakfast we saw this Juvenile Pale Chanting Goshawk on a tree stump looking somehow very bewildered.

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We had breakfast at Dikbaardskolk, before heading for the Upper Dunes Road.
Of course the resident Mongoose was around while we had the break.

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I do not really like driving the Dunes road, as a lot of people use them to speed from one riverbed to the other and you are not sure if after passing one of the little hilltops you find someone driving on your side of the road. Moreover I always find it to dangerous in most of the parts to stop to take a photo because of the facts that I mentioned above .

This time we met not one of those lunatics. :dance:
And I even managed to stop in a safe spot for a pic of an Ostrich family.

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Ostrich Family

Driving the Upper Dunes Road we could already see the impact of the rain we had two days ago.
On the complete first stretch of the Dunes road there were huge puddles of water and mud. They very suddenly stopped after 25 km all of a sudden, as if it stopped raining just there.

So we arrived at Urikarus and were greeted by Oliver, he told us that he was just about to leave and that the tourist attendant who is usually based at Urikaruus, was about to arrive soon.
Marius, what a surprise, we already know him from KK during our last years trip.

Now we moved into our ''new home''.
Hut #3 .
A feeling of comfort and coming home. This had been our very first hut on our very first trip to Urikarus.
And an even bigger surprise awaited us upstairs.
We discovered something new while having a look around.
A sightings book. What a great idea 8) .
And so very well executed.

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Turning the book around we saw who donated the book…..
Thank you so much Michele (Caracal) what a brilliant idea. :clap:
We even discovered familiar names in this book and the book in unit #1 (where we stayed just a couple of days later).

We enjoyed a cup of coffee on our balcony. Closely observed by this Dove.

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But of course we could not wait to drive up to the boreholes. So we left soon after that.
After passing Urikaruus Waterhole we kept our eyes open for the Hyena den. But without success.
Our first sighting were the Giraffes.

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Then little later we were trapped in the rush-hour… :lol:

Springbock Rush-Hour

We drove up to Dalkeith, but discovered nothing apart from many (as it seemed, older) tracks on the road at the boreholes.

Just as we turned around I discovered an unusual shape in one of the trees. So I stopped and indeed there was a Small Spotted Owl.
They are so tiny….

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Pearl Spoted Owl

We stopped again at every single Borehole, but nothing. Not even the frequent visitors like birds could be sighted.

Then as we just passed the last of them, an African Wildcat came along our way. Of course she completely ignored us.

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Close to Urikaruus Waterhole we saw this Kori Bustard. A little bit puffed up.

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Kori Bustard

Back at camp we prepared dinner and waited for the things to come.
Our neighbours with a very impressive torch discovered a Giant Eagle Owl at the waterhole.
It is nearly full moon.

Giant Eagle Owl

But nothing else visits the waterhole on that evening.
Later lying in our beds we could hear a Hyena in the distance.

Isn't life wonderful…… Image

_________________
The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:17 pm 
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12.11.08

Although it was piping hot during the day the night had been a bit chilly.
We enjoyed an early morning coffee and a toast on our balcony with waterhole view and soon we were on our way to the Mata Mata direction.

Our first stop was the Dertiende Boorgat.
He we observed all the small birdies coming for a morning drink and a little later Sandgrouses arrived in dozens.
Suddenly something came flying from a behind and a Gabar Goshawk caught one of the smaller birds.
Unfortunately he chose to eat it well hidden in between the bushes.

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Not long and the birds were back again.
We observed the Sandgrouses arriving, collecting water and leaving again.
But the waterholes are dangerous.
And out of the blue a Lanner Falcon approached.
He circled the area.

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There must have been a Sandgrouse still hiding on the ground. Suddenly he dived to the ground and departed with a Sandgrouse grabbed with his talons.
Unfortunately everything happened so fast and all of a sudden that I did not manage to take a decent pic of the whole incident.

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Now it was time to drive on.

Our next sighting was a lovely Striped Kingfisher.

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Striped Kingfisher

Close to Craig Lockhart we discovered this Crimson-breasted Shrike who just caught himself a nice caterpillar.

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Further along the road two Common Scimitar-Bills.
Earlier I tried (without success) to capture them at one of the picnic spots. :roll:
Now I had a better chance.

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At Sitzas Waterhole we found a herd of Haartebeest with quite a few youngsters.

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Haartebeest at Sitzas

Before we reached Mata Mata we saw this group of Springbok youngsters beside the road. So cute!

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We used the visit at Mata Mata to have a look at the sightings board, buy some fuel and stock up on ice, coal etc.

We found out that close to Dalkeith a Lion had been seen this morning. So we decided to have an extra open eye in that area.

In the big tree at Craig Lockhart waterhole we found a lovely pair of Giant Eagle Owls. But only one was kind enough to pose for a pic.

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Coming closer to Dalkeith we indeed found the Lion…..
He was very tired and I am not even sure which direction he was facing. :lol: :roll:

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Near the Dertiende Boorgat, we saw this PCG obviously searching for something to eat between the leafs on the ground.

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Time to return to Urikaruus for our siesta.
Of course we were looking forward to have a look at the waterhole and waiting for potential visitors.
But only a Long-billed Crombec was our company or lunch.

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In the afternoon we drove of course into the direction of the Boreholes.

Between the Veertiende Boorgat and Dalkeith we discovered a White-faced Scops-Owl on a nest.
She wasn’t really amused that we stopped for some photos.

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White-faced Scops Owl

As we saw nothing else along the boreholes, we decided to return back to camp.
We wanted to light the braai and I planned to make some fresh bread on that evening.

Just after we made this decision we saw an African Cuckoo and after following for a while were able to take a photo and even recorded his call on video.

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African Cuckoo

Back at the camp I took a photo of a really wonderful full moon.
It was simply amazing to see it that clear. You never do that in a city!

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Just after I had finished to make the bread…

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…….Francolin called me to come outside onto our balcony.

We finally had our visitor at the waterhole.
A Hyena!

Urikaruus Hyena

Was this the Hyena mum with the two pups?

She walked off again and little returned….indeed with one pup. :dance:

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Hyena with pup

But where was the other pup?!

The Hyena and pup walked away from the waterhole, into the direction of hut #1 and suddenly started to call.
Francolin was able to record that.
Not long and we could see that the second pup was running towards her.
We could see them through a hole in the bushes and hear them making the most wonderful sounds, when the pup finally reached her.

Unfortunately we somehow had a technical failure :wall: and so the video footage ended with the calling of the Hyena. :shock:

Hyena calling

Francolin was very disappointed that she was not able to record that special moment.
I thought she was nearly ready to drown herself in the waterhole… :cry:

It is such a shame that we can not let you participate. But we still have the moment in our memory and hearts.
We can still recall the sounds we heard, the goosebumps it created and our watery eyes while witnessing this hear-touching scene.

I am pretty sure you all understand what I mean……

Again a last evening in a wonderful camp, but we are going to return again, already on this trip :wink: .
So we were looking forward to Twee Rivieren and it’s surprises that were hopefully waiting for us.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:44 pm 
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13.11.08

We are leaving Urikaruus for the first time this year.
Not too sad as, like in Nossob, we are already returning within this trip.
After passing Kamqua Picnic Spot we saw a Cape Fox den very far from the road in the riverbed.So unfortunately no good photo opportunities. But still so nice to observe.

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Cape Foxes

At Gemsbokplein we remembered the dead Eland we saw there lying in the road last year.
Soon after that we saw a beautiful Tawny Eagle in a tree.
They are such magnificent Raptors.

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Suddenly we discovered that he was devouring something. Indeed we could see that it was a Snake.

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Tawny Eagle

Of course we were stopping at Auchterlonie for a toilet break.
The Cricket was still there.
Outside a Lizard observed us while having breakfast.

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It was already so very hot. We had nearly no sightings on the way to TR, only some Meerkat tails far away in the riverbed.

We were looking forward to drive the Nossob road in the afternoon.
I was very eager to visit the Cape Fox den close to Rooiputs to have a look if the Mum and cubs are still there.
I think you can understand how disappointed I was when we saw the yellow road closed sign at Sammevloeiing.

Check in at TR was done in no time as always. This time we had # 9.
We asked since when the road was closed. And were told that there was a huge thunderstorm and heaps of rain on Sunday and that the road had been closed since then (now it was Thursday !! :shock: )

We had our usual coffee and did some shopping, before heading towards the Mata Mata direction in the afternoon.
Before reaching the T-junction we saw a Pal-chanting Goshawk with some kind of prey under a tree. Even on the photo we are still not able to tell what it was.

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After crossing the dunes road we saw another Whistling Rat.
Already now we saw more of them, than last November. Yet it was still a rare sighting.

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We checked Houmoed waterhole only to find nothing, checked Monro with the same result.
A few kilometres after passing the waterhole we saw a movement to the left of the road.
Cape Foxes! 8)
How nice after the disappointment that we were not able to drive the Nossob road we had a ice sighting of Mum and Dad Cape Fox with two Cubs.

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Cape Foxes

By now it was time to return back to TR to be back in Camp in time.
We saw nothing in the riverbed on the way to the den and now the riverbed was filled with a lovely huge herd of Spingboks.

Springbok Herd

We visited the restaurant and later went to bed hoping that the Nossob road is going to be open the next morning.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Katydownunder and Francolin in KTP 2008 - The Full Story
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:21 pm 
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14.11.08

The decision which way to drive was and easy one this morning, as the Nossob road was still closed….

So we drove the dunes road to reach the Auob Riverbed.
Just as we crossed the dunes we met the Meerkats again. Just too cute for words and were so lucky to see them again.

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Bon appétit…

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Mum is watching.

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Mum is there anything I can eat down there ?!

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Keeping it’s balance is not easy at all :lol:

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And makes you veeery tired.

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Francolin took a brilliant video footage, maybe you can hear the sounds of the Meerkat babies…
If I were a Meerkat mum it would drive me crazy :roll: :lol:

Meerkats 1

Meerkats 2

The Meerkats moved away from the road and so it was time for us to leave.

We discovered these lovebirds under a bush in the riverbed.
Two AWC. Unfortunately quite far away.

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After that I did my best to capture a pair of White-backed Mousebirds. Which was hard enough as they never sat still.

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Soon I discovered a Springbok baby just beside the road. OMG where was mum. :shock:
Soon after that I discovered her in the riverbed. She called the little one and soon they were reunited again.

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Springbok Mum

Only a few kilometres further on we saw a movement on top of the ridge. Francolin said: a Lioness. But then we thought, well the tail is too long for a Lion and having a look through the binos we saw hat it was a Leopard. :redface:

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He moved along the ridge before lying down in shade of a small tree.

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Along the way he made the acquaintance of a Porcupine.
Have a look at the video, you can see the Porcupine walking away during the last 5 seconds of it.

Leopard

Again we had breakfast at Auchterlonie and after that made our way back to TR, when we discovered something in a tree.
A Cape Cobra!

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She made her way down the trunk and disappeared behind some wood on the ground.

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Cape Cobra in tree

Not too many kilometres down the road we saw another Cape Cobra, this time she was raining a Weavers Nest.
The Weavers watched close by. I felt sorry for them, they were so excited. Some of them even tried to attack the Cobra.

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Cape Cobra raiding Weaver Nest

We spend some time in TR before heading towards…..
Yes you guessed ….the Mata Mata direction. The Nossob road was still closed.

We sighted “our” Cape Foxes again.
This time they were far more active.
First we saw mum.

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Then one of the youngsters popped out of a hole.

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Then a second pup appeared.

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Here comes trouble…

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Oh I am a poor little puppy.


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And aleady so very tired.

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Cape Foxes

They were so cute to watch, but it was time to leave o return to TR in time.

At Monro waterhole we saw a Giant Eagle Owl Chick ( ok it was already pretty big) with one of the adults in a tree.

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Giant Eagle Owls

And further south befoe we reached Houmoed we met our lovebirds again.This time they were sitting right beside he road and pretty surprised that a car approaches them.

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Then they realized that we were watching them :roll:

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….and walked or better ran away. :lol:

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AWC

What a wonderful sighting at the end of another brilliant day.
We celebrated the day with yet another great dinner at the restaurant .
Tomorrow we are leaving for Mata Mata.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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