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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:45 am 
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jaybabe wrote:
We have been trying to get in at Uri and Grootkolk for Sep since bookings opened...me thinks its TR like yours :whistle: that's created huge demand :rtm: .
Jeanette


Sorry :redface: :redface: :evil: :lol:


Kalahari Tented Camp

The last time we had been to KTC was way back in 2008, when we were “given” a night in the Honeymoon tent by Debbie’s boss as a thank you gift. It was our first ever taste of a wilderness camp, and very special.

We booked into camp and we were allocated unit no 8.

The setting in the camp is great, but the waterhole is very far away.

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The accommodation had been upgraded since our last visit with wooden and glass doors replacing canvas flaps, which was a great improvement.

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We settled in, and after a while decided to head down south again to see if the lions had moved.

They hadn’t so we carried on down south as far as the Dalkieth loop

On the way down, a Kori Bustard actually posed for us for one second before turning it’s back to us as they all seem to do. :redface:

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We also spotted this spider’s web on the side of the road.

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This juvenile Giant Eagle Owl obviously didn’t understand the meaning of concealment, as it was on a dead tree wide out in the open

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If I can’t see you, you can’t see me! :doh:

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You could have driven past, mistaking it for a mop!! :lol:

Hoping to see it fly off we waited for a while, but it wasn’t going anywhere

On the way back to camp, one of the lions had moved into the sun, which gave us the opportunity for a far off pic.

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We got back to camp, and enjoyed a quiet evening in camp and a potjie for supper.

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_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:36 am 
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Day 18: A day for the birds

We packed up and were ready to leave KTC by gate opening time.

The plan was to head off down south, do the loops, before booking into Urikaruus for the next 3 nights.

We had just entered the Dalkieth Loop when we saw a car stopped on the side of the road. The object of their attention: This cute Pearl Spotted Owlet:


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It was positioned perfectly facing the light.

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Carrying on we soon realized that today would be a bird day, and that the larger carnivores were not playing the game.

Other birds we spotted on our morning drive were:


A pygmy falcon


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This Tawny Eagle


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A lilac breasted roller


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or two!!

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And a white backed vulture.


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By the time we had got to Urikaruus, we were way too early to book in, so we carried on south for a while.

Just past Kamqua we came across this Martial having it’s lunch.


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After a while we set off to check in at Urikaruus

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:57 pm 
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Urikaruus reunions



We eventually checked in to Urikaruus at about 2pm, and were re-allocated unit no 1. It was as if we had never left. :D

Well the hyenas hadn’t. All they had done was drag the gemsbok carcass out into the middle of the riverbed, so that the crows could have their turn at a snack of Gemsbok biltong!

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We decided to stay in camp and chill. We had been on the go for I don’t know how long, and we felt as if we needed a holiday.

Way too much action so far this trip!! :redface:

Towards evening SueJ arrived at camp. :dance: :dance:

We had first met SueJ way back in 2008, when she and her travel companions had kindly adopted us after “The Jap” broke her first leaf spring.

Our trip report can be found here:

viewtopic.php?t=22073


It was great to see her again and to catch up on their trip this year. It sounded as if she was a little disappointed in her sightings thus far, but that would soon change


See her 2012 trip report here:

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62725



We spent a quiet evening in camp watching the locals coming down to the waterhole to drink

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As well as a few sundry others:

A monarch butterfly

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a pretty piece of grass

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and a fly on the table

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The hyenas, however, were also not too far away


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And we heard them on and off all through the night!

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Day 19: An “Auob”solutly amazing day

I think I had already mentioned that Urikaruus in May was really cold. Well the 19th of May was no exception. It was the day SueJ’s toothpaste froze, and once again our LPG hadn’t survived the night. (Nothing like washing your face in freezing cold water when it is minus something in the camp.) :redface:

We didn’t really notice though, because as we were surfacing, so were our by now “resident” hyenas. :dance:

The “baby” of the group was out back playing on the trees near the parking area,

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whilst the rest of her family we either having an early morning drink at the water hole, or a snack at whatever was left of the gemsbok. (sorry proof pics only!)
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Once we got ourselves sorted, (and I got Debbie away from the hyenas), we set off towards Mata Mata

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:10 am 
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Day 19: An “Auob”solutly amazing day continued



First up after we left camp, was this stunning springbok herd. (We would pass this herd often over the next few days)

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Followed by this Gobar Goshawk,taking in some rays.

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At the start of the Dalkieth loop, we came across one of our old friends on a kill. (Probably courtesy of some of his lady friends). :D

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Old Slack Jaw.

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It was quiet apt that we saw him at Dalkieth, as it was at Dalkieth that we had seen him for the first time in 2008, whilst we were hitch hiking with SueJ and Bucky after our previously mentioned leaf spring drama. It was like reuniting with an old buddy.

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He didn’t really feel the same, and basically cocked us a deaffie (ignored us)

After negotiating the traffic around the sighting, we carried on north, and before long came upon a white backed vulture being all domestic, and making its nest


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Some giraffe also posed nicely for us as we passed by,


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And this juvenile goshawk kept us amused for quiet a while at 14th borehole

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_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Day 19: half time

We returned to camp and Debbie went for a little lie down.

I don’t really do the midday snooze thing, so I carried on doing what I love best, pottering around the cabin, and keeping an eye out on the comings and goings at the water hole.

Whilst I was sitting on the deck contemplating my naval, the camp assistant, Emile knocked on the door and asked if I could give him a lift to the pump on the other side of the river, as he needed to prime it again…… Is the Pope Catholic? :twisted: :dance:

We set off to check the pump out, and it was quite nostalgic to actually go up to the old road which used to exist before the camp was built. The old road runs in front of the existing chalets, and can be clearly seen when the vegetation is low, usually in summer

Here is a pic of the cabins from the middle of the riverbed, from the north,


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And a pic of the Jap at the pump.

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We returned to camp, and after a while Debs and I set off north (again) to continue our adventure, the details of which will be found on the next page

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:06 pm 
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Day 19 continued: An Auob afternoon of note

In the Kgalagadi, decisions as to whether we should head north or south, are always difficult, and today was no different. :hmz:


Today we knew that there was a pride of lions up north, (We had only really seen the old male), but we knew that the three lionesses in his coalition were also around even though we had not seen them, whilst SueJ and Co had had a stunning leopard sighting down south. :mrgreen:


North won!


First up were these bat eared foxes foraging for insects, close to the road.

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Ok the choice to go north was already justified! They were just the cutest ever.

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After a while they wandered off across the riverbed, and we left them to their afternoon activities.


A bit later we met up with Ron and Annette from Nossob, who told us of a cheetah sighing at the far side of the Dalkieth loop where four cheetah had made a kill just off the side of the road.

We set off in anticipation. :big_eyes:

Instead of the cheetah, what we found was this lady instead:



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She had obviously noticed the cheetah action, and had gone to investigate. By the time we got there, she had stolen the kill, chased the cheetah away, and was on the way back to her siblings on the other side of the riverbed.


This resulted in an almost divorce in the car: Drive there, no not there you idiot!! What do you mean take pictures? What do you think I am doing!! :twisted: :twisted: :redface: :hmz:

All a bit animated, but the end result was good.


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We even got to spot the disgruntled cheetah cubs. Mom was a bit further away having been chased by the lion.

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Old Slack Jaw was still in his spot having not noticed any of the action going on about a kilometer north of him, just waking up!

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We then turned around and set off back home!

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Giraffe Pilates


I don’t know how many of you know that my SO is a Pilates instructor.

Well, when we came across these giraffe doing a serious Pilates session on the way back, she was noticeably impressed. :P

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I heard comments like, “Use your core” and “Tuck in your tummy” over and over again as we watched these two have a little play battle.

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It was all really entertaining!

I really enjoyed the way they bumped their bums together.

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With the sun starting to set, we also took notice of the rest of the herd.

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The trip back to camp produced this wildebeest sighting,

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And these springbok

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(I told you that we would see the herd a couple of times!)

And had I mentioned that it was cold at night!

Image

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Night time at Urikaruus


After returning to camp and sorting out the braai and drinks, we were again visited by the resident clan of spotted hyenas


Image

We had a pleasant , if cold evening in camps and were soon fast asleep, very content bunnies after the day’s sightings


At around midnight I woke up and had a quick peek at the waterhole ( sorry I couldn’t resist!), and I said to Debs…”I am sure there is a buck of some sort at the waterhole..”

Well my SO did the intelligent thing, and picked up the binoculars



A big maned lion!! OK it is another proof pic, but so what!


Image

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Day 20 (How special is that …20 days in paradise!!)


We went north again that morning, and soon came upon a secretary bird, which by all indications, had been kicked out of bed and had been left freezing in the riverbed. (It wasn’t us I promise!)

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The idea was to go up to Mata Mata and visit Ron and Annette who were camping there, as well as to pick up a kettle we had left behind at KTP.


After seeing the (KFC) Kalahari Frozen Chicken, we carried on, and soon came upon this Lanner Falcon on the side of the road trying to get warm in the morning light

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He wasn’t the only resident of the riverbed looking for some warmth,

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But these guys are forever on tender hooks, and really don’t know how to chill!!

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Image

Image

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Day 20 cont.. Cheetah challenges;

We carried on towards Mata Mata, and just after 13th borehole a herd of Wildebeest moving along the riverbed provided us with a classic Kgalagdi scene:

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(I do so love Wildies!!)

However, they were never really blessed with the most brains in the animal kingdom, as we soon found out, as they were walking straight towards these guys:

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We were so chuffed to see the cheetah family, which was obviously on the hunt, and OK a herd of Wildebeest is probably a little ambitious, which is why they ignored the gnus.

We watched them for a while, doing what cheetahs do, parking off under a tree, them moving on, then parking off under a tree again etc.

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The family tried on a few occasions to creep up on some springbok, but were foiled by either alert sentries or pesky, interfering Gemsbok!

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We didn’t wait for them to make a kill, but that is more fool us.

We felt the need to carry on towards Mata Mata as we needed to get to KTC to collect a kettle I had forgotten there, and to meet up with some special friends at Mata Mata

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Day 20 cont... Mentors at Mata Mata

By the time we eventually got to Mata Mata it was almost 1pm


Ron and Annette….a wonderful couple from somewhere in-between Jo’burg and Pretoria, have been coming to the park for years, and whilst we briefly met them last year, it was only this year that we struck up a friendship.
They are as enthusiastic about the park as we are, and also come for about a month in May each year. We had arranged to meet them for tea at Mata Mata, and we had a wonderful time with them, whilst being spoilt with stunning carrot cake in the Kalahari. :dance:


Once we had finished downloading pictures and recharging our batteries, we set off back to Urikaruus.

Initially, the trip back was pretty quiet, but soon after Dalkieth, we came across a family of bat eared foxes

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We had just left the batties to their own devices, when we came upon a pair of Swallow Tailed Bee-eaters. They are such pretty birds, but also really tricky to photograph.

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The one plus is that they keep returning to the same branch, before flying off again, so you get loads of practice at capturing BIFs

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We spent quite a while watching them.

Closer back to camp, the day was winding up in the same manner it had started, with this Secretary bird preparing its bed for the night

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And some Giraffe soaking up the last bit of warmth of the day

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We spent our last evening in Urikaruus with (unusually) no nocturnal visitors, just good company, great food and happy recollections of yet another very special Kgalagadi day which we had just experienced.

Tomorrow was to be our last full day in the park, and in the past the last day of our holiday, the KTP had really delivered.

Would tomorrow be any different? :hmz:

I wonder! :twisted:

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:34 pm 
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Day 21: I don’t know why, but every time our last full day in the KTP tends to deliver:

Would today be any different? :roll:

We were packed up and ready to say goodbye to Urikaruus by 7-30. :(

It is always sad when a holiday starts reaching it’s climax, and today was our last full day in the park. We were leaving Urikaruus, and heading down to Twee Rivieren for our last night before heading back home tomorrow.

History had however, indicated that our last day in the park, always seemed to produce something special. It’s almost as if the Kgalagadi is saying “thanks for visiting, and look what I can still show you!” as if the ensure our return :twisted:


So it was with mixed emotions that we turned left up towards Mata Mata for the last time this trip

We were soon back in the groove of spotting, and came across these locals on our way up the riverbed.

A couple of falcons,

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This vulture tree :big_eyes:

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Followed by a majestic Tawny eagle

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And one of the only Black Shouldered kites we saw on the trip


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We went up as far as Dalkieth before turning around and going back missing the loops. It seemed as if our "last day" hopes were falling short of our expectations :redface:

We soon found these Rooi Hartebeest in the road, which were licking the minerals off the road surface,

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Debs loved the little babies in the herd :D

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A bit further on this wildebeest was seen chatting to a Fork Tailed Drongo


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Just as we were reaching the southern end of the 13th Borehole loop, I noticed a couple of cars in the loop stopped on the side of the road. We had met up with them a few times over the last few days, so we knew that they were travelling together. I suggested that we go and see what, if anything, they were looking at.

Debs was not keen as she didn’t want to interfere. I went anyway, and duly asked the question…

Two lions under that bush was the reply! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:


Now I need a new page :dance: :dance:

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Lions learning the hard way

I must admit, I was quite chuffed with my decision to go and see what the others were looking at. At least we could say we had seen some lions on are last full day. :P


The two were chewing on something under the bush, but whatever it was, it was either pretty much finished, very small or the left over’s from someone else’s supper the previous night. In any event, it was certainly not substantial.


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Quite soon after we arrived on the scene, they started moving off, in our direction.

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As they got closer, we noticed that both the lions, juvenile males, appeared to be really thin, and not in the greatest of condition.

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Our thoughts were that they had recently been ejected from their pride, and were now having to learn the hard way on how to kill and survive on their own.

The lions walked up towards us, crossed the road, and headed off in the opposite direction.

Image

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:02 pm 
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After watching the lions move off, we continued on our way down south.

Along the way we came across this springbok, who posed nicely for us


Image

Before we said goodbye to one of our favourite vistas in the KTP, the Auob riverbed near Urikaruus

Image

We stopped for a short break at Kamqua before continuing.


Totally unaware that our day was about to become better, :dance:

and then better still!
:dance: :dance:

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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