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 Post subject: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:29 pm 
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Introduction


In December 2008 we managed to get a short trip to the KTP. It was only our second trip to the KTP and we absolutely fell in love with the place and therefore had to make a much longer trip to see and experience as much as we could about this great wildlife area.

ABC also denotes the top three animals on our KTP wish list:

A – Aardwolf
B - Brown Hyena
C - Caracal.

We have just spent 15 days in the KTP and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am actually writing this from the tranquility of Twee Rivieren, we leave for home tomorrow (3 January). The KTP is truly one of the great conservation areas on planet earth.

Each day starts with a spectacular sunrise,

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revealing animals catching the early rays of the sun.

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While others lie low so as not to be detected.

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A park of wonderful landscapes and alluring red sands that you want to get between your toes

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A park where there is a minimal development and the balance between ecotourism and development seems right so that much of the park is still in the same pristine condition it has been since time immemorial. We are reminded of our own primal beginning and how our ancestors must have lived. The challenge for all of us is to ensure it stays this way and does not succumb to “progress and development”.



The sightings are of incomparable quality: no cell phones ringing, radios blaring, traffic jams and jeep jocks. You will be the only car at many of the sightings and generally people are well behaved around sightings.


As the day unfolds in summer the mercury soars above 40°C and even flirted with 48 on one of the days we were there. The animals now seek water and shade. There is no surface water in the KTP and it is remarkable how the animals of the KTP have adapted to this harsh environment. There has been aid in the form of the “water for wildlife” project. Many of the animals get their moisture from the vegetation they eat or the prey they kill.

To get respite from the heat animals sit and wait for it to cool down

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Even a secretary needs a break

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As evening sets in the animals get a spring back in their step

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And each day ends with a sunset as spectacular as the sunrise it began with.

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This is a wildlife experience par excellence. If there is a better wildlife area for raptor and cat sightings then we have not found it yet (we have the KNP for pachyderms, rest of antelope/bird species, etc).

Hope we bring some good memories for those who have visited the KTP and inspire those who have not been there to make the trip. JenB and MM, hope this helps with planning of your trip.

Back soon, just the little matter of sorting out through the 659 pix I took and the 1271 taken by Sharifa.

References used for this trip report:
1. Peter Derichs – The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
2. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. SANParks official Information Guide

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Last edited by Duke Ellieton on Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:49 am 
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p@m :thumbs_up:

Thank You lp and sorry we missed you for the October meet, we were in Botswana at the time.

19 December 2009 – Twee Rivieren.

We arrived at TR at 16h15 and it was a scorching 43 °C. After off loading and settling in we could not resist that first game drive despite having driven the whole day.
There was no mistaking which park we were in:

Gemsbok

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Springboks

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20 December 2009 – Kielie Krankie

We were on the road at 05h30 and full of excitement. All our trips to the KTP have started on the Auob side. There was no game around but we were not concerned as we have never had much luck on the road from TR to Auchterlonie, not even at the famed Samevloeiing.

As we could only take up our accommodation at noon, we decided that we would go as far up towards Mata Mata as we could and then back track to get to KK at noon.
Just before the Batulama waterhole we had our first major sighting. Considering that our last cheetah sighting was a dead one in a tree, killed by a leopard, it was fitting that we came across 3 cheetah feeding on a kill they had just made

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Last edited by Duke Ellieton on Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:53 pm 
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Thank You for your comments icurrie, annalie, billyf, p@m and Pumbaa.

We had our fill of the cheetah sighting and it was only 9h00 so we carried on north. The temperature was already 34.

We saw a Verreaux's eagle owl. Actaully saw a few of these and always on the ground, not in a tree. Perhaps cooler on the ground??

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and a black shouldered kite.

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At 13 borehole we came across some playful hyenas and it seems like the young ones were now leaving the den and accompanying the adults.

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This one got too close to the spare tyre for comfort

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After this it was back to Kielie Krankie which is set atop a dune.

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It has breath taking views and we found it to have the best sunsets of all the camps (susnset photo in introduction also taken at KK)

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It is the first time we were doing the wilderness camps and we loved all of them,with the waterholes in view from your deck and it was very relaxing to wait for the animals to come to you.

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It needed a mind-set shift for us as we KNP folk are used to driving around looking for game and at the KTP wilderness camps you can wait for the game. The dilemma is whether you go for a drive or sit on your patio :hmz:

We missed a few sightings going for drives but then we saw other things on the drive so not complaining.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:58 pm 
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21 December 2009 – Kielie Krankie

We were out at 05h30 again and the temperature was a comfortable 24. There was a typical KTP storm the night before. We were doing the dune road to Kij Kij and then up till Jan se Draai as this was the only opportunity we would have of doing this part of the park.

At Tierkop waterhole we found 2 lions sunning themselves (see photo in introduction).

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They got up for a drink and I was amazed to see how much water this guy drank

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On the Nossob riverbed, the raptors were out in force.

Martial eagle

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Lanner Falcon

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Greater Kestrel

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Bateleur taking advantage of rain water

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Booted Eagle???? I Think?????

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PCG

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Tawny eagle

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On the afternoon drive we found our cheetah trio again at Batulama and on the way back to Kielie Krankie we met laeveldleeu and SO at a bat eared fox den situated on the dune road just after the turn off from the Auob river road

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:43 pm 
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Lionspoon wrote:
Love that drinking lion! And otherwise I'll second arks: The bird photos are fabulous! :thumbs_up:


Hi Lionspoon and Arks. Thanks for your comments. It is difficult to include everything when you were on a 15 day trip but please note that there is also a BEF den about 1km from Tierkop towards Kij Kij where we saw these little ones

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and another den about 2 km from Kij Kij on the road to Melkvlei

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More on BEF's coming up.......................

p@m, the hyenas have grown and Marius at Urikaruus told us that they not den bound any longer.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:07 am 
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Wannabe Nerd wrote:

How did you find KK in the heat of summer. My SO and I are planning a trip for mid Nov and we are not sure which is the better in the heat - KK or Urikaruus?


Debbie


Hi Debbie, Good to hear you enjoying out TR. KK and UK are equaly hot and equally wonderful. KK boasts better views and sunsets but the waterhole at UK is closer to the cabins and attracts more game.

We had temperatures of over 40 everyday. Our modus operandi was to go for a drive at 05h30 and return by about 10h00. Then it was a cold shower and sitting in the shade and waiting for the game to come to the waterholes or having a nap with the ceiling fan going. It was bearable for the most part except in Nossob where the bedroom had no windows and the the power went at 11.00pm so no fan after 11.00pm

Personally I would go for UK simply beacuse you have easy access to 13 and 14 boreholes and also Namqua and all these had plenty of action as you will see.....

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:44 pm 
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Thank You kamadejo, icurrie - hope it warms up soon, wanderw, billyf and MM.

22 December 2009 – Kalahari Tented Camp

We were done with our stay at KK and the next 2 days were going to be at KTC. We left at 05h30 again. The Auob river bed north of Auchterlonie has always been very good to us and today was going to be special.


There are days in KNP, and in the KTP too as we are discovering, where the magic is just turned on and you have one of those exceptional days. No matter what you decide or which road you take it all just works out. The next two days were such days. It reminded me of a song by Van Morrison with a lively beat, a real feel good song.

When it's not always raining
there'll be days like this
When there's no one complaining
there'll be days like this
Everything falls into phase
like the flick of a switch
Well my momma told me
there'll be days like this………………………….


At the BEF den the little ones were out and really performing this morning, running and scampering and we really enjoyed them. Difficult to focus on them as the camera was focusing on the grass all the time but we did get some pix and I regret not videoing this delightful scene.

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At Batulama our cheetah trio had made another kill, although they were further in this time. Two kills in 3 days – well done trio :dance: :dance: :dance:

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It was nice to see cheetah doing well as they are so vulnerable and are easily driven off a kill by other predators.

We found a dead lioness at Rooibrak :(

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I know I said this was a feel good day but this is all part of nature and there is this wild dog virus (canine distemper virus) going around in KTP at the moment. Curious to know why the jackals and bat eared foxes were not affected as the ones that we saw seemed in good nick.

We reported the dead lioness and it was removed by a ranger for a post mortem and I guess to prevent spread of the virus.

We soon forgot about the dead lioness as coming round a bend near Kamqua picnic site was something to cheer us up.................

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Last edited by Duke Ellieton on Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:57 am 
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thanks Katja :thumbs_up:

………….coming round the bend was his majesty. We are not lion chasers like we used to be at one time and the standard lion sighting is a male and some females sleeping under a tree with nary a worry in the world.

So, when you get sighting like this it is very impressive and you can only admire the beauty and strength of this magnificent animal.

His majesty was on territorial patrol and walked right pass the Kamqua picnic site. I could see he was going to walk right pass us so stopped the car but left it on and in gear just in case and shot video through the windscreen while Sharifa did the stills.

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Getting close now

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That moment when you make eye contact and time stands still and you have this adrenaline rush and are in awe. A special experience to get so close to the king of beast

Here’s looking at you baby

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View My Video



He walked for about 3km regularly marking trees and eventually had enough

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BEF, Cheetah and his majesty and all to ourselves and another surprise awaited us at 13 borehole
:dance: :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:21 am 
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It was not 9.00 am yet and we had all these wonderful sightings. We continued and at 13 borehole we found Lisette and her cubs (think it is Lisette as she was collared so correct me if I'm wrong)

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Video of Lisette and cubs
View My Video



We moved on and at Dalkeith we had some great Giraffe sightings and behaviour. Those of you who have been to KTP recently will know that there is a giraffe carcass at Dalkeith.

I have read about and seen on a David Attenborough Documentary, Giraffe chewing on bones, to get calcium and phosphorous and here we were witnessing this phenomenon.

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On our first trip to KTP in May 2006 we saw some giraffe around Craig Lockhart. The giraffe in the KTP come from a stock of 8 that were relocated in this area in 1990 and I remember saying to Sharifa at the time that we have seen all the giraffe in the KTP.

So I am really pleased to say that this is a success story and we saw many giraffe on this trip and as far south as Urikaruus and one vening had 11 at the Urikaruus waterhole :dance: :dance: :dance:

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Video of giraffe chewing bones
View My Video

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Last edited by Duke Ellieton on Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:35 pm 
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Wannabe Nerd :thumbs_up:

Wanderw, giraffe sighting very special and a first for us too.

Katja, mineral supplements :wink:

Sometimes too quick for my own good lionsppon as I missed the second 2 pix of the sequence of giraffe coming up with a bone. It is just as strenuous as a giraffe drinking water.

Got the bone

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Oops dropped it again now have to start all over

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:30 am 
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Between Craig Lockhart and Sitzas, more lions, this time on a wildebeest kill. There were two adult females, a young male and two young females. The young females were feeding.

One young female headed for Mummy on our arrival

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but the other one was too far into her meal.

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After some head rubbing she too headed for Mummy

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who was so much better at head rubbing.

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Half the wildebeest was still not eaten so we wondered where the “Big Daddy” of this pride was………………….

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:02 am 
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Thank you all for the comments.

There was no more activity so we headed for KTC where we were going to spend the next 2 nights.

We found KTC to be a delightful little camp.

The tents are well spaced out and therefore very private

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and overlook the riverbed.

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You also get a view of the riverbed and waterhole from the bedroom, and ideal way to spend the afternoon with a good book and keeping an eye out for any activity at the waterhole.

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After unpacking and settling in we headed for the

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Which was just what we needed to get relieve from the heat.

23 December 2009 – Kalahari Tented Camp

We were out at 5h30 again and the temperature was already 27° C. Yesterday was a wonderful day but if anything today was going to be even better. Need the second verse from Van Morrison’s song to set the feel good mood.

When you don't need to worry
there'll be days like this
When no one's in a hurry
there'll be days like this
When you don't get betrayed
by that old Judas kiss
Oh my momma told me
there'll be days like this


We came across the Sitzas pride again and there was now some serious feeding taking place.

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View My Video

We wondered again where the “Big Daddy” was and on cue a lioness appeared from the distance followed by Big Daddy. Only a female in oestrous would keep Big Daddy away from food.

He was not in a good mood :x :x :x His expression said, “While I’m working my butt off spreading these wonderful genes you guys having a feast.”

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He showed them who the Big Daddy was

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Let rip

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And then did some marking

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See the video of the "Big Daddy" show
View My Video

Wow Big Daddy that was an impressive show :clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:35 pm 
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lp - welcome back and thanks for comments :thumbs_up:

Micetta - not even a bone to pick :wink:

Caracal - no arguing with this dude :naughty:

Elsa - thank you for the encouragement and appreciation :thumbs_up:

Salamanda - glad that we are able to bring thr magic of the KTP to the forum :thumbs_up:

Lionspoon - thank you again :thumbs_up:

MM - just do it, we already planning our next trip to the KTP

p@m - bid daddy was very impressive :thumbs_up:

owlet - it was our first time in the wilderness camps and we thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I am sure other forumites will know a lot more but here is my 5 cents worth. We were in tent 3 at KTC which had a good view of the waterhole and I would say anything from 2 to 5 should be great. At KK there are only 4 chalets and all hve a good view of the waterhole. At Nossob make sure you don't get the chalet which has a bedroom without any windows - but then again it may not be so hot in April.

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:14 am 
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Hi Arks and OWLET,

We had a CH2 chalet so first check if you have a CH2 chalet. I think some bigger units were converted to give 3 smaller CH2 units. We were in unit 5B. So, I guess it will be best to contact KTP and request you do not get Unit 5B or similar. Caracal was in unit 5C and her unit had bedroom windows.

Continuing south we came across some nursing mothers

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There were some young springboks pronking and testing their speed, it was amazing how fast these guys were moving

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Some very cute jackals that obliged us with a pose for the camera

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and at 13 borehole there were 7 Ludwig’s Bustards :shock: :big_eyes:
I could only get 3 in the shot.

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We noticed several STB had their nest in the bank alongside the road. We should all be more careful when doing our 3 point (13 point :) ) turns not to damage the nests.

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Ground Agama

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About 2km from the turn off to Urikaruus camp, we were stopped by another tourist who asked us if there was anything interesting ahead. We told him about Big Daddy. Had he only turned right instead of left when coming out of Urikaruus, he would not have been asking us anything………………………………

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 Post subject: Re: Discovering the ABC of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:28 am 
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So we proceeded pass Urikaruus and about 1km beforethe Kamqua waterhole we found "Small Daddy" and his 3 lionesses feeding on a gemsbok. A very healthy looking pride but very edgy and were not happy with us at all.

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View My Video

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She watched us very closely and 1 lioness disappeared up the hill having had enough of us

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Small Daddy
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Eventually they relaxed and Small Daddy cleaned himself

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View My Video

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Last edited by Duke Ellieton on Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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