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 Post subject: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:46 am 
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Okay - so @ 02h00 tomorrow morning we will be leaving for our long-awaited trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. :clap: :dance: :shock:

The last time I was there was in 1995, I was in Grade 7, and it was still called the 'Kalahari Gemsbok Park'. :redface:

There were really only 3 camps - Twee Rivieren, Mata Mata and Nossob. No extra accomodation as far as I can remember.

Our itinerary is as follows:

12 September - Twee Rivieren (camping)
13 September - Twee Rivieren (camping)
14 September - Kalahari Tented Camp
15 September - Kalahari Tented Camp
16 September - Nossob (camping)
17 September - Nossob (camping)
18 September - Mata Mata
19 September - Urikaruus

Trip report will be started as soon as I get home and am able to work through the gigabytes of photos I will capture :cam: :big_eyes:

In the meantime, if you haven't already - you can have a look at my Kruger Trip Report (click on the link in my signature) - I'm nearly finished with that one.

I will try to remember to tie a yellow ribbon to my car as it is my first trip to a NP since becoming a 'forumite'.

Cheerio!!! :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:06 am 
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I'm back!!! It was amazing to say the least...just love the place and I definitely won't wait 13 more years to be back...hopefully even next year!

I've got more than 2,500 photos to work through so I promise I will be as quick as I can with the start of the TR... :big_eyes:

I was slightly dissappointed with the amount of predator sightings - maybe because I had built up excitement by looking at all the marvellous TR's that were undertaken during the time of the rains - this time the grass was very long and there wasn't that many animals in general. We still had some great sightings, surprisingly Nossob was very quiet and we had much better sightings in the Auob riverbed than the Nossob riverbed.

Will get cracking ASAP!!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:34 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Okay folks...let's dive in!!!

I've got over 3,200 photos to work through so I can't make promises on how quickly I'll be able to move from one day to the next...
:big_eyes: :cam: :wall:

Day 1: Twee Rivieren
Route: Along the Mata-Mata road...

We spent the Friday evening packing - it took a loooong time to figure out because everything had to fit in specific ways in order for us to get everything in and fit 4 people into the car! :big_eyes:

Here's how we packed:
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Our party consisted of me and my wife, and two of our good friends who are also married.

We left Pretoria @ 03h00 in the morning and stopped in Upington for breakfast, supplies and of course my maiden yellow ribbon :D :dance:
It was sad to see so many bat-eared foxes ending up as roadkill along the approach road from Upington to the Park :cry:

Arriving in Twee Rivieren be booked in and started setting up camp. With this task completed, we thought it prudent to take a short late-afternoon drive to see what was lurking around TR...

Right out of the gate we saw some springbok and wildebeest:
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Over the first dune we went and saw our first Burchell's Sandgrouse (hope I've got the ID correct?):
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...and a whistling rat...
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What would a visit to KTP be without oryx? Last time I was here was when it was still named after the oryx - the 'Kalahari Gemsbok Park'...
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We turned back about halfway over the dunes to Houmoed, and as we crossed a dune we startled a Kori Bustard who launched into flight and landed further off:
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Samevloeiing waterhole was very quiet, but we enjoyed sitting there in the silence, just taking the Kalahari in...what gorgeous colours the sunset/sunrise delivers in this place...
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We arrived back in camp, grateful to be in KTP and enjoyed our first night which turned out to be quite cold...what would tomorrow bring????

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Richard, Salva, p@m, Micetta, Marge, Pika, Batsman, flying cheetah & Caracal :dance:

here's the next chapter...

Day 2 (part 1): Twee Rivieren to Houmoed
Route: Along the Mata-Mata road...

We got up before sunrise and forced the ladies to get up too :lol:
Picking up your permit at the gate before leaving was something new to me! :rtm:

We left at about 6h30 (gate opening time) and cruised slowly down the road leading out of Twee Rivieren. The sun peeked over the horizon in all its African splendour:
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The first herd of springbuck grazed on the dunetop:
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About 1km before the split in the road at Samevloeiing waterhole, we noticed some movement on the left-hand side of the road, right next to the car...it had spots!!! Our first cheetah!!! I couldn't believe it...the last time I'd spotted a cheetah in Kruger was about 6 years ago, and never so nice in the open:
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The light was still quite challenging to get photos with decent exposure without blurring - but I did what I could...
The graceful feline sat on top of a small dune, then crossed the road behind our car and went to sniff against a camelthorn tree:
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Then, he gave us one last look over his shoulder, and disappeared into the distance.
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We pushed on - and found nothing at Samevloeiing except a lone springbuck. We would have loved to drive the Nossob road to Kij-Kij but alas... :cry: :doh: We sat quietly at Samevloeiing, drinking coffee and eating rusks and a great sense of relaxation came over me! :whistle:

Being nature-lovers who stop at anything we find, as we crossed over to the dune road leading to Mata-Mata we saw some lovely birds, ranging from Ostriches (male and female) to Ant-eating chats:
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The day was shaping up nicely, and for the first time on our trip we crossed the dune to drive down the Auob riverbed...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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thanks so much for viewing iNkwazi, Elsa, Micetta, billyf, Richard, Katja, Lionspoon & Jo :D

this time - we also went prepared with a video camera.

here is a short video of the cheetah sighting - as you can image all our videos of the trip are fraught with the sound of cameras clicking away - we had 3 DSLR cameras in the car :big_eyes: :wink: :cam:


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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
okay, at last I've got time to continue!! :clap: :lol: :cam:

Day 2 (part 2): Houmoed to Monro
Route: Along the Mata-Mata road...

We continued to Houmoed waterhole, and at last I saw my first sighting of a bird I had hoped to get good photos of...although this wasn't to be the one that gave me good photos :(

The Crimson-Breasted Shrike
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Right next to the road we saw one of the smallest inhabitants of the park - the striped mouse. Unfortunately not a good pic:
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There was a large herd of springbuck taking some time off at Monro, and they really gave us a great show for the next 30 minutes! The females had just lambed and there were hundreds of lambs all hanging around their mothers and grazing lazily.
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The males were already starting to sort each other out and measure strength to gain the right of mating. This gave us plenty of opportunity for photos:
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We were still watching some males bout it out, when all of a sudden all the lambs started running like crazy down the length of the riverbed!!! A few adults followed, but mostly it was the young ones who took off at a pace with the adults still doing whatever they were doing - grazing, headbutting, drinking water...quite strange! The lambs only ran about 800m further up the river and stopped... :huh:

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We took a few more photos of the males settling the rank of authority amongst themselves:

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As we got ready to move on, we saw a dust cloud arise up ahead...the lambs were coming back!!! There were a few adults guiding them on - it was almost as if they were teaching them how to run from danger :big_eyes: :hmz:

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As I said, it was very intriguing and entertaining to behold. We decided to push on to Auchterlonie...

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Last edited by Morkel777 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks for the compliments Marge, rhinoSeeker, Salamanda, Katja, billyf, Pumbaa, Richard, Micetta , iNkwazi & flying cheetah :D

for your further enjoyment until I work through the next batch of images - here is a short video snippet of the 'springbuck chaos'...


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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 9:57 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
not to worry - here I come! :big_eyes: :popcorn:

Day 2 (part 3): Monro to Auchterlonie
Route: Along the Mata-Mata road...

We left the rollicking Springbuck herd and pushed on in the direction of Mata-Mata, seeing some nice feathered friends along the road:
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Including a few pygmy falcons which were very cute:

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Along a bend in the road we came across a juvenile brown snake eagle sitting on a rock high against the dunes, surveying the area. It was a bit far for my lens but I still got a shot:

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It is about time that the ever-present ground squirrels made an entry into my TR...

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We went past the Auchterlonie turnoff and decided to drive a few kilometers onto the dune road towards Kieliekrankie...and this black-shouldered kite sat right next to the car.

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I hoped he would take off in my direction - but alas - he veered slightly away (in bird photography you need to get eye contact and the head turned towards you :():

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Close to the Kieliekrankie turnoff we found our first Steenbuck of the trip, and as we turned around we also saw our first oryx of the day...

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We decided to pull over at Auchterlonie for a bathroom break, and I shot this HDR image of the museum (HDR = high dynamic range, a method in which you blend multiple exposures of an image to better show the range of light that the eye picks up, but a single shot with a camera rarely does)... :huh: :cam:

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It was time to head back to Twee Rivieren since we wanted to have a bit of relaxation before a possible afternoon drive...

(...to be continued)

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:59 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Micetta, Dreamer & Lionspoon.
Lionspoon - if you just came back you gotta start your TR!!

here we go again...


Day 2 (part 4): Auchterlonie to Twee Rivieren
Route: Along the Mata-Mata road...

So after our leg-stretch and visit to the museum we headed back to Twee Rivieren.

We spent a few minutes having some fun with a couple of swallow-tailed bee-eaters, although I need to go back and practice on them some more as they are really quick and unpredictable...
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A few kilometers on we encountered a lone wildebeest, as well as a large herd coming over the dune toward the Monro waterhole.
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There was already a herd of oryx drinking at the waterhole, and then a large bull walked towards the herd of wildebeest, gave them a stare, and started walking in front of them as if leading them to the water! Quite strange...
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The oryx herd was quite large, with a few great specimens amongst them:
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And also a few who didn't get the looks in the family ;)
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The oryx bulls were also gearing up for the rut - and they gave us a few sparring poses, but never really got into a raunchy fight...
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These tourists were obviously not aware of the rules:
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:big_eyes:

The rest of the road back to TR was very quiet, and we got back to camp and relaxed for a while, playing bouche and reading. We tried to take a nap but the tents were way too warm - ended up going for a nice cold swim in the pool...
:tongue:

It was almost time for our afternoon drive...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks flying cheetah & Micetta :whistle:

hehe Micetta :cam: :big_eyes:
have a look at this and you will know what I mean:

http://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/forum/pho ... oto=197023" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This was shot by Wim van den Heever, a full-time nature photographer with some of the best skills in the business.

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:49 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Salamanda, Lionspoon & iNkwazi

iNkwazi - it's a creative photographer's paradise...keep your eye on this TR for some 'amateur' examples ;) :cam:

Micetta - thanks :), but how about this one by the same photographer:
http://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/forum/pho ... oto=195384

:shock:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:14 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Day 2 (part 5): Twee Rivieren/Samevloeiing/Dune road
Route: Close to Twee Rivieren...

I don't know if all the 'Days' of my TR will be as long as this one - but given the fact that I took in excess of 3,200 photos on our trip - it could well be the case :big_eyes: :cam: :dance:

I forgot to post a meerkat (suricate) image from our trip back to TR - close to Houmoed:
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Our afternoon drive from Twee Rivieren was very quiet as far as wildlife goes. We had hoped to spot the cheetah again, as he was spotted again close to the camp later that morning after we had our initial moment with him. We spent a few minutes at Samevloeiiing, hoping for a glimpse of the resident leopard(s) but nothing but a few doves showed up. As the sun began to set we decided to drive a few kilometers on the dunes towards Houmoed and turn back to be in time for the close of the gates.

We witnessed a fantastic sunset...and luckily I love photographing landscapes just as much as wildlife :tongue:

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We came across a herd of oryx grazing on the crest of a dune - and the pics came out stunning!

Now for a Forumite Poll...Which of these 2 is the best? The 1st is a silhouette, whilst the 2nd is another HDR image where I blended 3 exposures to get the best overall exposure:

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Give me your feedback on these 2 please :huh: :pray:

Here's another silhoutte and HDR attempt:

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We came to camp just in time for gate closure and feasted that night on Mediterranean lambs shanks cooked in a pot over the fire...with 6 more days ahead of us...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:49 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thank you so much for the feedback on the photos everyone!

here is a short video on the wildebeest herd being led by the oryx - quality isn't good on the Youtube clip, sorry :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:12 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks icurrie!! :)

here we go again
(I'm struggling to find time to work through my photos, which is frustrating to say the least! :wall: )

Day 3 (part 1): Twee Rivieren/Samevloeiing
Route: Close to Twee Rivieren...

We woke up early and decided to go and have coffee at Samevloeiing before packing up our camp and heading to the Kalahari Tented Camp where we would sleep for 2 nights.

We first took a few kilometers' drive onto the dunes before heading back to Samevloeiing - and got some nice shots of the sun rising in the riverbed:

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On the Mata-Mata road we encountered a few Northern Black Korhaans, females and males:

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We also encountered a very cute Whistling Rat, looking for some breakfast:

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The clouds at this stage were magical - I created a 3-image HDR blend of this scene:

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Samevloeiing was very quiet yet again - disappointing since I'd heard so much about the waterhole and especially the leopards that are resident in the area. Alas, except for a few springbucks it was just us, warm coffee and the sunrise. In the end it was a great quiet time drinking in the smells and colours of the Kalahari :D :dance:

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We headed back to Twee Rivieren slowly and started packing up all our stuff. This ugly bugger tried to stop me:

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We decided - with the road to Kij-Kij still closed due to construction, that we would take a looooong drive - over the Kieliekrankie dune road to Kij-Kij, then up to Dikbaardskolk, then across the dunes again to Urikaruus and then up to Kalahari Tented Camp where we would stay for 2 nights...

More on that later...
:popcorn: :D

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:52 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks a lot Richard, Elzet, p@m & Jo!!

hope you're ready for some great sightings to come soon. how does honey badgers NEXT to the car and in the road sound??? :whistle:

Day 3 (part 2): Twee Rivieren to Kamqua via Kij-Kij and Dikbaardskolk
Route: Mata-Mata road, Kieliekrankie dune road, Nossob road, Urikaruus dune road...

As stated previously, we went in for the long haul here. We figured with our itinerary there was no other chance to drive the lower Nossob road between Kij-Kij and Dikbaardskolk so we strapped ourselves in for a 250km drive on corrugated gravel roads :big_eyes: :wall:

The weather was starting to build up with the promise of the season's first rains - and I got a nice shot of the same tree I captured at sunset the previous evening:

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Just as we reached Houmoed, we saw some suricates (meerkat) on the slope next to the car! At this stage some droplets were starting to plonk on my windscreen...

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We found the same large herd of Springbok at Munro, and didn't spend a long time with them this time due to the long road ahead.

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At Auchterlonie there was another lone wildebeest - otherwise the road was very quiet.

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We crossed over to the Kieliekrankie dune road - and what a beautiful stretch of road it is! The flowing red sand dunes captivated my eyes even when there was no animal or bird life around.

At the Kij Gamies waterhole we found another korhaan which flew up without offering me the chance to photograph it, as well as a very edgy oryx (we would later find out why! :cry: there had been lions around this waterhole earlier the morning! :wall: )

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The scene at Tierkop waterhole was also very appealing, with a herd of oryx standing close to a large camelthorn tree against the backdrop of a large red dune:

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A little further on we found 2 black-backed jackals on a dune. They were looking up to mischief:

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The one scrambled down the dune:

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Then something funny happened - the one jackal decided to do his 'business' in a bush. I later found out that this is how they mark their territory! :big_eyes: :naughty:

I caught it on camera - hope you don't mind - it was rather funny as he was giving us the look every now and then as if to say: "Mind your own business!!"

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We saw some kori bustards (not close enough for a photo) as well as some goshawks - and this one in particular was being harassed by a fork-tailed drongo...I'd heard of this behaviour by drongos before but never witnessed it (sorry - not a good photo):

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We crossed over the dunes and reached the Nossob riverbed for the first time during our trip. Between Kij-Kij and the Melkvlei picnic site we encountered our first decent sighting of a secretary bird!

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Anyone for ostrich?
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The rest of the Nossob road was very dry and very quiet. We enjoyed the scenery and tried to keep our teeth from chattering on the corrugated roads ;)

Little did we know that the day would get very exciting later on...

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