We just returned from yet another memorable 4-day trip to the Kgalagadi. My time is very limited so for now, and as Part 1, I will stick to a few comments on (1) animal sightings (because in the end that is why most people go there) and (2) general comments on the Park, including those roads (yep), people’s behaviour in the Park, service levels, etc. I’m still working through my photos, so I’ll follow this up with Part 2 consisting of some photos, and specifically bird photos too (including very special Owl sightings).
As far as animal sightings go, Kgalagadi again did not disappoint. In our group, we had six separate (including some very close) encounters with lions, two of which were at fresh kills. Add to this two separate cheetah sightings (including a close experience with three cheetahs), a fleeting glimpse of a leopard, 2 brown hyena sightings and 1 spotted hyena sighting, an aardvark (!) and a gazillion African Wild Cats (and all of this during only a four-night stay) and we can surely count ourselves very lucky. We were also spoilt by quite a few Eland sightings, including two separate sightings, right up North at Mata Mata, of what must be a herd of approximately 50 Eland.
We had quite an even spread of sightings between the Nossob and Auob side, though the Nossob side did deliver four of our six lion sightings and the special cheetah sighting, so contrary to some recent views on the Forum (that the Auob side seems to be the way to go), the Nossob side did deliver for us.
Needless to say, no matter how bad the roads, if you want to see the big cats, you know where to go.
The Park in general
Speaking about the condition of the roads, we have seen worse than this time around. Sure enough, for some stretches it still gets really bad and some people would continue to stay away from Kgalagadi for this reason alone. However, in my personal (selfish) opinion maybe it is better that way, as it will ensure that only the people that it is really in love will Kgalagadi will continue to return and it will also ensure that one can still enjoy truly special sightings without any traffic jams.
As far as the people’s behaviour is concerned, I was quite vocal after my previous visit to the Park about the horrible behaviour of some of the visitors (including getting out of cars at sightings, speeding, etc.). This time around, I can honestly say that we have not witnessed one incident of bad behaviour. Maybe we were just lucky in that we missed all the transgressions, but I am holding thumbs that this is indeed a pattern which will repeat itself during future visits. The worst it got was when my own little one (not yet 2 years old) inadvertently hooted while we sat at a lion sighting at Marie se Draai. There were a few other cars around and they must have thought this was done on purpose, as it resulted in one of the lions getting up and coming to investigate. I did not see any yellow ribbons around, but my sincere apologies to any forumite that was possibly also around, as this was truly an accident.
Service levels from everybody we had dealt with in the Park was excellent, from the efficient ladies at Twee Rivieren and Mata Mata’s reception, the very friendly staff and guide at Nossob and then in particular Jan Kriel, who went way beyond his call of duty to give us a truly memorable morning walk. All in all, we had nothing to complain about.
In conclusion therefore, yet another very special visit to a very special place. If only we could have stayed longer ...