28 November 2011 continues
We finished the packing up our tent just before 9 am and joined the others at the gate for the start of the the 4x4 trip. The other forumites on the trip was Scouter and family, Weskusklong (video operator), Switchback, Jo and dad, Bush Baptist, Barcud, Right Said, Bill (in the red fire engine) and the Flintstones. The first part of the trip was driving north up to Polentswa where we turned left on to the dune route and where the trail actually starts. The dune route up to Rosyntjiebos camp is about 50 km with one difficult dune that challenged our guide a bit.
Some sightings along the road were steenbok, gemsbok and wildebeest after leaving Nossob. The lion under a tree near Kwang did not get much attention from anyone including SO.
Birding was a bit quiet, but at least we got a Kori bustard and Hamerkop.
The landscapes was great and many more will follow. We were lucky to experience rain and thunderstorms in KTP, which gave fantastic background for landscape shots.http://www.driveout.co.za/4x4/trails/nossob-4x4-eco-trail29 November 2011 (2nd day on the 4x4 trail)
Our first camp was at Swartbas not too far from Nossob. The facilities are very basic and you need to be self-sufficient bringing along your own tent, wood, water and shower bucket/bag. November is not the ideal time to go due to the heat and long day light time, which means the best times for me was at the camp from late afternoon to early morning. The distances are very short leaving you with lots of time to pitch camp and breaks along the road, but unfortunately in the heat trying to find some shade moving along as the sun moves over.
The camps are unfenced, but we were lucky not to encounter any predators and slept safe in our ground tents. Most made used of ground tents and the roof-top tents were the odd one. The only visitors we had were scorpions, which we found when we packed up the tent.
Just after we left Swartbas camp the guide showed us the the camp area used by hikers on the !Xerry Wilderness Trail
!Xerry Wilderness Trail
Named after the diminutive steenbok which frequents the area, the !Xerry Wilderness Trail is a 2 day, 2 night self-catering overnight trail, departing from Nossob.
The participants board a Land Rover that takes them to their base camp, from which they will depart on morning and afternoon walks in the veld, accompanied by experienced guides. The afternoon is spent in the camp relaxing and sharing the outdoor experience.
The base camp is very rustic, and consists of an enclosed boma, and has a long drop, braai & preparation area and bush shower with shower bag – everything else needs to be provided by the tourists.
•The trail departs from Nossob at 11:30 on Wednesdays, and returns to Nossob at 12:00 on Fridays.
•It departs every Wednesday from 1 April to 31 October.
Due to the summer heat, the trail is closed from 1 November until 31 March. The trail caters for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8 persons; no-one under the age of 16 is allowed on the trail.
Information provided by Sanparks
After leaving the !Xerry camp two spotted eagle owls in the tree. The one flew away while one remained in the tree.
Our next stop was at Eileen pan, nearly the size of Bitterpan where we found leopard spoor. And then "die manne" battled it out trying to conqueror a dune, named Bertha. Isuzu and Landcruiser won, but the Landy was defeated. Our Pathfinder follows the straight path and avoided the detour over a dune.
We reached the 2nd night's camp early in the afternoon and parked in the shade waiting until its cooler to the pitch the tents.
Sunset at Rosyntjiebos camp: