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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:24 am 
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Miros, we will be joining you for the trail on the 28th to the 31st May. We are in the final planning stages, but are undecided on what to pack for meals(Supper) for the 3 nights er are on the trail? Does everyone do a communual Braai or do the parties each individually cook their own meals. I dont want to pitch and have Braai, Pasta and Stew when everyone else Braai's. Could you advise please?


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:40 am 
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@Defender TAZ,

Welcome to the forum, hope you will have a great time here.

Regarding your question about the Braai's. Guests normally do have a communal braai where everybody enjoy a meal together, each participant does cook their own meal but do sit around the fire and enjoy it together there has been instances where guests would do their own thing according to their preferences. It all depends on each guests and what you would like to do on the trail.


See you soon.

KG

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:32 pm 
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Welcome to the forum Defender TAZ.

I would also take along a meal that does not require a fire/braai, because one night we were on the trail it was too windy to risk a fire.

I suggested that the trail cost include braai wood, which the guide should bring along, but I don't know whether that has happened, so bring along some braai wood as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:34 pm 
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Hi Defender TAZ,

Welcome to the forum and I hope you will have a great time on the trip end May. It should not be too hot then, but maybe a bit chilly at night.

As BB mentioned you need to bring along your own wood to braai and water for drinking and washing on the trip.

We decided to keep the dishes to a minimum to safe on water and opted for braai only. It can caught you off-side so add a few cans of tin food and pasta plus a small hiking pot to heat up in case the conditions are not right for a fire. At least you don't have to eat Toppers and Mash, but try to add easy prepare food into your kitty. Some nice cheese, salami, biltong etc depending on what you like.

We did not take a gas cooker along and sponged a bit on the other guys in the group for hot water, but a small hiking stove can work or try to organise with the other people on who will take what.

Our vehicle was a Nissan Pathfinder and we had no luxury of extra packing space in the back as the case of bakkies. We had to fit the ground tent / water / fridge / food in the small space at the back. There was not even space for wood, but luckily the guide helped out to take the wood in his car. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:54 am 
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KG, BP and SG, than you for the replies. I will definately prepare for a "NON Braai" in case of weather or other circumstances. Other than that I am well prepared with an overlanding Land Rover Defender. We will get wood before entering the park at the the chap reccomended by KG (house with two busses) The Echo trail is just part of our trip. We will be staying at TR, KK, Nossob, Polentswa and Garaghab over the 2 week period. So now I suppose that I am registered o the forum, I can now display a yellow ribbon?


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:07 am 
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Yip....now you can show your YR.

Would be great to meet up once you are here.

KG

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:12 am 
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Welcome to the forum Defender TAZ - hope you have an amazing time in KTP and enjoy the Eco Trail - its stunning :thumbs_up: and please can I ask a favour for all us Defender drivers who have tried and failed - please get over Big Bertha for us :pray: :slap:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:40 am 
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Scouter, Ill certainly do my best... 2nd Lowrange, tyres 1 bar or even 0.8 bar :big_eyes: Have done a lot of sand driving in Moz, but I dont think the sand is as dry as it is in the Kalahari, so Im up for the challenge


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:15 am 
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:thumbs_up: Thank you !!!! We tried in November - at about 2.30 in the afternoon so the sand was hot and loose and our tyres were WAY too high we now realise - about 1.4 I think - got to about 2 metres from the top on our best try where it does a slight bend to left :( so holding thumbs for you .... only 3 cars in our convoy of 9 got over and Landies ( especially our beloved Defenders) have a bit of a reputation for getting stuck and not having enough momentum for the final push to the top ...

Enjoy the trip and especially the trail - it is so gorgeous - remote and just a thrill to drive so far away from the normal roads - it will still be nice and green in May so that should be great and the weather better than end November when it got up to mid 40's with rain and thunderstorms evry night ... Did you see the photos KG put up on the camera trap thread yesterday of all the lions and hyenas at Witgat ?? :big_eyes: Enjoy :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:38 am 
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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
Defender TAZ wrote:
... 2nd Lowrange, tyres 1 bar or even 0.8 bar


Pull away in 2'nd gear LR and then speed up to 3'rd an even 4'th LR - otherwise you won't have enough speed :thumbs_up: Tyres at 0.8 bar, and not the 0.8 bar you measured when you started the trail early in the morning, because of the heat caused by friction, the warm sand and sun etc, your tyre pressures can go up by 0.4 bar. Measure before you climb Big Bertha. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:10 pm 
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You can take Switchback's advice Defendef TAZ - he's one of the 3 that got over - first time nogal :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:15 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
April 2 – 5

This week we switched back to running the trail north again, heading out from Twee Riveren towards Witgat on our first day. We had great luck en route to the trail, finding the tiniest baby leopard tortoise I’d ever seen! It was quite clearly less then a year old, and the children I had with this group were all delighted to pet the tiny shell while the tortoise peered at them from between his feet.

This first day was one for the birds! We saw all the usual antelope, but also managed to spot a Bateleur flying overhead, several PCGs (both adults and juveniles), and ostrich. A rarer sight, however, was an African hoopoe which flew along side our convoy for a while, before disappearing up into the dunes.

We were also quite excited to find a fresh set of leopard tracks, not 5 km out from camp, which lead right up to the Witgat waterhole, before vanishing into the bush. It looked like t had wandered through the night before. The first leopard tracks I’ve found on the trail!!

Our first night at Witgat was quiet, right up until the sun rose, when one of my early-rising guests spotted a hyena wandering past the camp site en route to the waterhole while he was watching the sunrise from the safety (and warmth!) of his sleeping bag.

We checked the waterhole, but aside from tracks from the waterhole’s complement of doves, didn’t find any tracks from the night before – even the brown hyena seemed to have bypassed it. So, we set off from camp, enjoying the cool morning air.

Our second day was special for the two black-backed jackals that we spotted, right near the road, that were quite cooperative, standing and peering at us while we peered right back at them. We also saw the usual complement of steenbok, gemsbok, and PCGs, as well as an orchestra of ostrich and a massive herd of hartebeest to round out the day.

That night in Rosynjiebos, we were serenaded over night by a small group of hyenas, which called from a few kilometres away for a good hour or so. Apparently their raucous laughter woke some lions, who then took up the challenge, setting up a nice duet between the two groups, and keeping us awake well into the night – and the next morning! The lions continued calling up until around 8am, but despite crawling onto the roves of our vehicles, we were unable to spot them in the distance. They were not far off – only about 2 or 3kms by our reckoning, but they remained elusive and away from our bustle of setting up camp.

What we did find in camp, however, was no less exciting: caracal prints! The best example, unfortunately, got stepped on before I could snap a photo of this extremely rare find, but t looked like it had wandered into camp in the hopes of avoiding whatever chaos the hyena and lions were up to in the night.

Our third day was excellent for birds, but rather slow on the ground-dwelling sightings. We managed to spot Swallow-tailed bee-eaters, shaft-tailed whydah, a tawny eagle being mobbed by two PCGs, and the usual complement of kori bustards. As for the antelope, we spent lunch with the gemsbok and hartebeest that are the permanent residents of Eileen’s pan, and spotted a few other hers of each with a few steenbok in the mix to keep things lively.

As we got near to camp, we spotted a fresh set of lion prints, and found where they had spent the night. They appeared to have been running about and playing under some trees, as the tracks crisscrossed the sand and our track, before disappearing over the dunes. We continued to camp and set up for another wonderful night under the Kalahari stars, eating dinner while the jackals called nearby.

On our final day, my guests elected to take the bitterpan shortcut off the trail, as they were spending the night in TW, and wanted a slightly shorter drive for the day. We did still manage to find some spectacled mousebirds along the route before I dropped them off in Nossob and ended another wonderful trail!

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"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:17 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
April 9 – 12

Our first day dawned cold and windy - only 6oC, which felt very brisk after weeks of 30+ temperatures during the day! Despite the chilly breeze, we set off for the trail in high spirits, hoping that the cooler temperature would keep the predators active well into the day.

Indeed, our hope was not misplaced! Not far north of Leeuwdril, we came across a small group of lions near the road! A big male and two females were lying in the grass, focused intently on a small herd of gemsbok that were grazing nearby. We sat with the group for about an hour as the lionesses took turns lying down into the grass, and then sitting up to stare at the gemsbok. However, it was a stalemate: the lions didn’t make any move to stalk the gemsbok, and the gemsbok seemed content to tease both us and the lions by staying put and refusing to move towards or away from the tempted lions. Eventually, we gave up hope of seeing any action, and moved on to start of the trail.

We were greeted at the start of the trail by a large herd of wildebeest and gemsbok, grazing along the riverbed which watched us from a safe distance as I went through my pre-trail briefing and general introduction to dune driving. From there, we continued on seeing several large herds of gemsbok, several groups of ostrich, and some PCGs standing their usual sentinel along the route.

Once we arrived at Witgat (a little later then usual, thanks to the lion-hunt-that-wasn’t), we were delighted to find lion tracks all throughout the campsite. There had been some wind all day, so it was difficult to determine just how fresh they were, but the sheltered ones looked like the lions had spent the night in camp, and had moved out earlier that morning. We set up camp and built up a large fire in the hopes that they would come by and investigate in the night.

Sadly though, the night was quiet, and we couldn’t find any fresh tracks through camp or at the waterhole in the morning. It was probably due to the rather sharp drop in temperature overnight. We woke to a chilly 4oC! Definitely hard to get used to, when I’m so acclimatized to the high 30’s!

We set out from camp and had a rather quiet day, seeing only a few steenbok, ostrich, gemsbok, and the usual PCGs, but we were lucky to spot a bateleur and tawney eagle flying overhead. Our best sighting, by far, was a small group of eland, which actually stood and stared at us for a bit from a distance – very unlike their usual behaviour of disappearing over the dunes before I can even get my hand on my radio! This was the first eland I’d seen in almost a month, so it was great to finally spot them again.

One of my guests were also very lucky to spot a meercat, which dartedout of the long grass and ran along the road in front of them before vanishing into a waiting burrow. They sat and listened to it alarm for a few minutes, before it disappeared for good. We sat and waited in the hopes it would re-emerge, but the little guy remained snug down his hidey hole.

We pulled into camp and set up while the sun slowly set through the trees in Rosyntjiebos, hoping the chill from the night before wouldn’t return… which turned out to be exactly what happened! We spent another chilly evening huddled around the fire while the jackals called in the distance. It seems like winter is finally on the way.

Early the next morning, while we were still breaking down camp, we heard some lions roaring well off in the distance – right in the direction we were heading! We kept our eyes peeled, but unfortunately the lions proved elusive. We did manage to find plenty of gemsbok and hartebeest along the trail – including my usual friends on Eileen’s Pan – and enjoyed the viewpoints from atop some of the highest dunes along the trail.

We pulled into camp and set up while listening to the barking geckos barking and the jackals howling, and enjoyed a much warmer evening after the last two nights of single digit temperatures. We sat around the fire well into the night, enjoying the stars overhead, until we heard a rustling in the grass just on the other side of the vehicles. I went to investigate, and spotted a brown hyena peering at us from the safety of the shadows! I’ve found prints wandering through Swartbas every single time I’ve been there – either when we arrived, or passing through overnight, so it was fantastic to finally see him!

The following morning dawned beautifully clear, and the photographers of the group had great fun chasing swallow-tailed bee-eaters, crimson-breasted shrikes, and a massive praying mantis around the campsite (the mantis was actually quite sedate, actually. Technically they were chasing the 12 year old carrying it around!).

We took to the trail the last day, enjoying views of the usual ‘boks, ostriches, and PCGs, before I dropped every one off at the end of the trail.

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:18 pm 
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
April 16 – 19

This trail was extra special for me, as two f my guests were my parents! I was quite excited to lead them out into the bush and show them how I was spending my year in South Africa.

On our way to the trail, we were quite lucky to see several jackals, a tawny eagle, and several bateleurs – including a juvenile flying overhead. However, once we arrived on the trail we immediately got rained on – of course! We were surrounded by massive thunderclouds the entire day, and drove through small patches of rain that ranged from light spitting to sudden downpour.

Despite the dampness, we had quite an active first day, seeing plenty of the usual ‘boks: gemsbok, steenbok, hartebeest, and wildebeest. We also saw several PCGs, kori bustards, and secretary birds. But the most interesting sighting was a nightjar, which had been sleeping in the road until we rudely awoke it. We had excellent timing, driving into camp just as it finished raining itself out, and enjoyed a nice dry evening in camp. It did rain on us overnight, but by that point we were snug in our beds, listening to the patter of raindrops on canvas as well as jackals and lions calling in the distance.

To start off our second day, we wandered down to Witgat’s waterhole, and found some beautifully fresh brown hyena prints that came down to the waterhole shortly after the rain stopped. The prints were extremely crisp, and perfectly showed the clawtips, toes, and pads, as well as the thick fur that intersperse the toes in this species.

Once on the road, we had an excellent bird day, spotting a wide range of really fantastic bird life: spotted dikkops in the shade of a bush, a juvenile bateleur flying overhead, several kori bustards, a lilac-breasted roller, ant-eating chats, two African hoopoes, and a pair of spotted eagle owls sitting in a tree right beside the road.

As for non-bird life on our second day, we saw the usual gemsbok, steenbok and hartebeest – including one gemsbok with a horn that had quite clearly snapped in two! However, the most exciting find of the day was a freshly-dug aardvark hole – right in the middle of our road! It was a good thing I had glanced at the road ahead when I did, otherwise I would have sunk my Hilux straight down to the chassis!

We all got out to investigate, and it looked like the burrow had been dug overnight, as there was no sign of rain disturbing the sand that had been dug out of the hole. As we continued along the trail, we could see his perfectly formed footprints wandering along the road for several kilometres, digging little exploratory holes as it searched for ants and termites, before his tracks disappeared off into the bush. An extremely exciting find!!

We pulled into camp our second night and set up under a beautiful blue sky, with beautiful big puffy clouds covering the horizon in every direction. Our second night was, thankfully, dry, allowing us to dry out our things nicely after the rain of the day before. We had an excellent evening around the fire, and settled in listening to jackals calling in the distance and enjoying a perfectly clear sky above.

Our third day dawned bright and clear, with hardly a cloud in the sky. We set off and used the large dunes of the morning leading out of camp for several of my guests to test out the differential lock system of their vehicles. There was quite some debate between myself and my guests on whether the diff system would make the dune climbing easier or impossible. The debate only ended after each car failed to make it more then half way up the dune with the diff locks engaged!

The trick to dune driving is a combination of momentum and power: having too much of one and not enough of the other is a sure fire way to sink yourself down into the sand. While diff locks will give you plenty of power evenly distributed to all four wheels, your lack of momentum will use that power to quite quickly toss sand into the air as you try to make your way up the steep slopes of a sand dune. I tried to hide my smugness at the results (badly, I’ll admit =D), and after shovelling out the ruts we had created we continued on towards Swartbas.

As we continued along the trail this third day, we had a few wonderful sightings of red hartebeest with some youngsters, steenbok, and gemsbok, as well as some spectacled mousebirds, plenty of pale chanting goshawks, as well as a crimson breasted shrike flying along beside our vehicles, as well as our usual lunch-time companions of gemsbok and hartebeest wandering along Eileen’s pan.

We pulled into camp and set our chairs up in the ample shade of the sweet thorn trees at Swartbas, and enjoyed a fire while the sun set over the dunes. That night, we got to listen to the jackals calling in the distance, and woke the next morning to the sound of lions in the distance.

Our last day was an exciting one. It started off with some beautifully fresh brown hyena prints that wandered through our camp. I was glad to see that I’d not spooked him away when I spotted him last week!

Once on the trail, we did manage to see a porcupine scurrying away from our convoy and up over a dune! I figure it was likely sleeping under one of the many blackthorns in the area, and our passing woke it and scared it off. We didn’t get a great look at it before it vanished, but we got an excellent look at the freshly-made prints as well as the drag marks left behind by the quills. We also saw a heard of hartebeest with some youngsters, black-backed jackals, PCGs, and plenty of both red-crested and black korhaans.

A fantastic end to another amazing trail!

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"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:59 am 
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Miros, I'm so glad the trip with your parents went so well!!

We met them at Kieliekrankie and it was so nice to find out how small the world is. Having met you and then chatting to the two people only to find out they are your parents........... :dance: :dance: :dance:

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