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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:09 am 
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Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October (Continued)

On our drive north the waterholes got quieter as it was starting to heat up. We did manage to catch.

Namaqua Sandgrouse

Breeding takes place at any time of the year and is dependant on rainfall. Usually the nests are solitary but sometimes several pairs of birds choose sites near each other. The nest is a scrape in the earth, scantily lined with dried plant material. Two or three pinkish-grey eggs with brown markings are laid over the course of a few days. Incubation starts after the last egg has been laid and lasts about 22 days. The female does the incubation by day and the male does a longer shift at night, starting about two hours before sunset and finishing two hours after dawn. The chicks are precocial and able to leave the nest on the day they are hatched. The male brings them water absorbed on the specially adapted feathers of his breast. The chicks grow rapidly; they are fully feathered at three weeks and able to fly at six.

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Blue Headed/throated Agama

Males: Tend to be bigger than the females, with a large head and a broad yellow/green vertebral stripe, their main colouration being a grey/brown. They display a Blue head during breeding season, when feeding and at the hottest parts of the day. Male Atricollis have large teeth at the jaw apex this helps them to chew bigger prey. You can search for many pictures of them online showing complete body colouring they rarely reach this in captivity but do still have some fantastic colours. Their colours change very quickly due to their scaling. A full size adult male will be around the 15 inches head to tail, the tail making up more than half of the total length. Nose to vent in an adult male being 5-6 inches.

Females: They tend to be an olive colour with black marbling, the patterning on their backs being very distinctive. They also display, mainly when gravid, two series of orange to yellow dorsal spots.

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We are now near Lijersdraai and SO turns to me and says wonder what if anything we will see today.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:18 am 
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I love the Sandgrouse, delicately beautiful. Thank you for the information, it has served to increase my appreciation... as for the Agama, true survivors.

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:31 am 
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Trrp-trrrrrrrr - Glad you are on board and enjoying. yes lots more to come.

barryels - Thanks for the nice comments and the campsites at Nossob are very nice. It has taken us a few years to get all the gear but it was well worth the effort.

gatita - Thank you for the nice words and sorry you did not see any BEF's they really were scarce.

hilda - Thanks and regarding the dove photo's they really are the classic photo to show KTP so we had to take some. I few times on the trip we had waterholes that were busy but it was mostly in the middle of the day making photo's a challenge due to the sun.

Pumbaa - I am with you I wish I had more BEF to post as they are one of my favourites but they were not around this year for some reason.

Nina! - Thanks for information on the picnic spots and as you said there were bees everywhere. More to come I promise.

Lionspoon - you right I think I should get Penny to write, edit and process the photo's for the next instalment. you might get it in 2014. These photographer's thing the hard bit is taking the photos haha. thank you for the nice comments and as you said BEF was scare as we really looked for them.

SurfCindy - thank you and I am so glad you are enjoying the report.

MxM - yes there is a gas stove to boil water but some camps not the best and it takes long so sometimes we utilise our own gas bottle. The little guys can provide hours of entertainment if you have the patience.

Son godin - I also like the one starring into the log which is a little bit different. Regarding the young ones only really springbok, we saw one gemsbok little one but no wildebeest.

Carol g - Yes we had an amazing time and KTP remains a special place.

barryels - thank you for the nice comments.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:07 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October (Continued)

For those people that do not know Lijersdraai well as you turn of the main road there is a slight rise in the road so you cannot see the waterhole till you crest this so it builds the excitement.

After cresting the rise you get a glance of the 2 water points and even thou there are not a lot of trees there are enough to create some shade. We stopped about 150m from the waterhole to scan around and saw no animals but as we got closer this is what we saw (guess we need new eyes).

Lion

The lion's worst enemy might come as a surprise, as the culprit is the size of a small dog: turns out the porcupine is the thorn in the big cat's side, or rather mouth, as a lion tricked into sniffing the clever porcupine's sharp quills often ends up with one or more stuck in its jaw for life.

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The female then decided she was hot and wanted a drink.

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While SO was taking these shoots I scanned around and under the tree in the shade of the waterhole we had 4 spotted hyena, one more than yesterday and 2 BBJ's. The hyena decided to get up and occupy the other waterhole as if to say to the lion you can have that one but this one is ours.

As you can see from the photo's the lion look in great shape and full so the mating pair must have eaten during the night.

Spotted Hyena

Cubs fight viciously, often quite literally from the moment they're born. A hyena has given birth to three cubs, and two are already fighting savagely -- until they notice the third, still being licked dry, and attack it. As many as 25 percent of all cubs may die from such fights before adulthood. The worst fighting is between two sisters in the same litter. As soon as she can, the stronger female will kill the weaker. Unlike most carnivores, hyenas are born with their eyes open and teeth functional.

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OK now I can finish the spotted hyena story from yesterday. The rest starts by telling you we meet gatita at the waterhole and had a nice chat. The information she provided helped us fill in a part of the jigsaw but it is still a mystery.

My previous instalment showed the hyena with what may have appeared to some as a kill next to her. This in fact was not the case it was a premature baby hyena. If you review that post you will see and also observe that you can clearly see the sadness in the mothers eyes. We saw them at around 10h15am and gatita saw the same hyena at 2h30pm the same day and the baby was gone.

The question was who ate the premature baby. Remember the only animals there at the time were the 3 hyenas. Later on during the trip we meet up with Jan and asked him what he thinks could have happened. He advised us that in some cases they would each the premature baby but the mystery is still which hyena. To this day we do not know whether it was the mother or not - guess we will never know. It was just very sad!

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:12 am 
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What fabulous pics and thanks for all the information

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Trip Report Photographs and Memories Kruger June 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:28 am 
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Kesheshe,

Really enjoying your TR :thumbs_up:

Photos are just fabulous of ALL :clap: :clap: ...Thanks for all the information included. :clap: :clap:

Those Lions sure are very healthy looking lot. :dance:

Hyena which was premature. :( ...Also wonder who the culprit was. :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:00 am 
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Nature can be cruel at times, but I guess that's part of the parcel...
Very interesting observation though, methinks. :thumbs_up:

Those lions don't only look fat, but also blood-smeared all over their fronts.
Must have been a real feast! :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:30 pm 
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Lovely Lion sighting kesheshe! They really are well-fed! :clap: :clap:

So sad about the Heyna mom and premature baby! :(

Thank you for all the information too! Very interesting! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:10 pm 
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stunning pictures, kesheshe :clap: :clap:

Fortunately, no one shot a picture of us, sitting between lions and hyenas, chatting about trip reports and sightings. :whistle:

Where did you see the hyena the day before - under the tree? I checked my pictures and cannot find a single
hint (blood or wet spot) that there has been a premature baby. It must have already been gone a long time before we arrived which according to my pictures was only at about 5pm.

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KTP 23.09.-08.10.2014
TR KTP 2013 http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=75196
TR KTP 2012 It is almost time to go back to KTP
TR KNP 2013 Gatita's KNP - will we visit a green park again? March 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Really like your gorgeous squirrels, Kesheshe :dance: :dance: :dance:

and for sure the lions and the hyenas :P The belly is looking really full :tongue:


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:32 am 
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Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October (Continued)

We decided after a while to continue our drive north to Grootkolk where we would be spending 4 nights. Our next sighting was a bird we saw a few times during the trip but was extremely difficult to get a photo of in fact worse than the crimson breasted shrike.

African Hoopoe

Egg Size: 26 x 18 mm Egg Weight: 4.4 g (of which 8 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
clutch Size: 7 - 8 eggs
Incubation: 15- 16 days by the: Female
Fledging: 26 - 29days
First Clutches Laid: Does not breed in Britain, or too few Nest Records
Number of Broods: 1(2)
Adult Survival: 0.380

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We arrived at Grootkolk at 12.30pm and were met by Andries. He allocated us to unit number 3 (yes seems we are doing 3’s) as our stay would be for 4 nights we really had a lot of unpacking and organising to do which took us a lot of time.

After unpacking we were hot so decided on nice cold water with ice and cheese and biscuits for lunch. We eventually settled for an afternoon rest as it had been a long drive not so much for the distance but the sightings etc. We awoke at 4h30pm and it was just starting to cool a bit so we had a nice cold drink and started the van around 4h45pm to take a drive north to unions end. I cannot give you a reason why but both me and SO think this is one of the best drives in the park and it cannot be for animal sightings as it has not been overly productive for us.

In saying that in general all our late afternoon drives were nowhere near as productive as our morning drives and I cannot really understand why.

We made good time as the sightings were limited and reached unions end where we signed the book. We turned and on heading south we encountered our first snake of the trip.

Cape Cobra

The snake makes use of a neurotoxin that targets the respiratory system. If the cape cobra bites an adult human, there is a 60 percent chance of death if no antivenom is available. Bite victims die from respiratory failure, due to the onset of paralysis from the venom. Large amounts of antivenom is needed to treat a bite. Because this cobra has the most powerful venom out of all African cobras, it has the highest rate of fatalities.

These photo's are not great but it at least told us they were around.

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The remainder of the drive back to Grootkolk was quiet but as we turned right into the entrance road we had a chance to sit and absorb this.

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Each night we were there we good the same view so look out for it. Best position was a couple of hundred metres from the turn in to camp. Just for information the gate in October closes at 7pm. We arrived back around 6h50pm handed in our permit and had our first drink in our hand by 7h05pm.

We elected not to take any photo's tonight and just mess around with the new spot light and just observe the goings on at the waterhole. It was productive with the usual but not big predator's. It was SO's turn to cook dinner which was rice with savoury mince.

Just a note the gas stove worked but it takes a while which is not really a concern. We used our water to cook with as we did not want to take any chances so early on in the trip. The new light worked very well and so did the red filter. The red filter does however diminish the light and the distance quite a bit but then again it has a purpose to protect sensitive keys when animals are fairly close.

After dinner we sat and relaxed for a while before getting into the unit to shower and go bed at 9h50pm.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:37 am 
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Kesheshe - what a lovely series of photos of the lions and hyenas. You were certainly blessed with many amazing sightings.


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:58 am 
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Location: Pretoria
Meandering Mouse - Thanks for the nice comments and glad you finding the information useful. I still do not really understand how anything survives in KTP as the environment is harsh at times.

Cape of Storms - Thank you very much for the nice comments.

Trrp-trrrrrrrr - Glad you are enjoying and yes they are just about the most healthy lions I have ever seen.

Lionspoon - Yes nature can be cruel but it gives us time contemplate why it fascinates us as humans. I agree the lions must have had a feast definitely not a small kill.

hilda - I agree very well fed lions. The hyena situation was very sad to see.

gatita - firstly I am enjoying your report. Thank goodness know one shoot us just chatting as they would have found it quite strange with all the activity around us. Regarding the hyena yes under the tree on the right as you come up to the waterhole. The fact that it is not in your photo's means it was eaten between 10h30am and 5pm. Where the lions there?

Pumbaa - Thank you and nice to see someone else enjoys the squirrels. They are to cute.

Foxy - Thank you for the nice comments and you are correct we had an amazing trip with some special sightings.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:26 am 
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Day 7 - 9th October

We had a very good nights sleep and awoke ready to tackle another day in KTP where you never know what lies ahead.

It was 5h15am and see sat with coffee outside and discussed like many other people whether to spend the day in camp or drive. We decided on a mix and match day and agreed we would stay in camp to about 8-8h30am and then drive.

The sun was starting to rise behind the units and spreading this gorgeous early morning light over Grootkolk. There is certain times where words cannot accurately describe a situation and this is one of them. As they say silence is golden and in this instance me and SO just sat with our own thoughts. Africa is just amazing!!!

First to visit us at the waterhole.

Brown Hyena

These species get sexually matured at the age of 2 or 3. The females usually mate with males of their group. The pregnancy period lasts for 97 days. The males usually assist their partners for a good upbringing of the babies.

The mother gives birth to 1 – 5 offspring somewhere in the outskirts of sand dunes protected from other hyenas and lions. Usually the cubs weigh 1 kg at birth. The female reproduces every 20 months. It is mostly the powerful females who reproduce.

When 3 months old, the babies start feeding on solid foods. At this time, the mother usually shifts into their caves. The mother including the rest of the partners arranges food for the babies.

The eyes of the baby brown hyenas are closed when they are born. They usually open their eyes after 8 days from their birth. The younger ones leave their mother when they attain maturity after 14 – 15 months.

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:17 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Just caught up with your TR now kesheshe! Great detail and observations as well as superb pix! :clap: :clap: :clap: Lovely batty sighting - they were definitely scarce. We saw a few at Houmoed and one at the Grootkolk waterhole late at night. And you had a great brownie sighting at G as well - they only showed themselves to us after dark at G! :roll: Gharagab - looks beautiful! We have never stayed there but definitely need to in the future.

The Ljiersdraai Mystery - We were travelling from Grootkolk on our way to Mata Mata on the 7th. We arrived at Ljiersdraai waterhole around 9.45am. There were 3 hyenas there(ground clear), also with a buck lying down in close proximity to the hyenas? At around 9.55am, one of the hyenas(older one,looked bloated and very uncomfortable)started vomiting/ regurgitating something? I have had a look at my pix but cannot make out a baby hyena. Will get SO to check his pix as well. We left them(and the buck) at around 10.05am.

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