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Kgalagadi Nossob 4x4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:39 pm
Posts: 48
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Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:36 pm Unread post
Thanks for the explanation Switchback. In the interests of soft roader owners like me, what would I actually use this "lock" option for, and what is the difference between the lock option and the auto option on this vehicle. Every trail I've done(grade 2 or 2.5), I've always just slapped it into "lock" and hoped for the best!
Regards.
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Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 817
Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
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Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:40 am Unread post
Hi shfish,

You were correct in using your central diff lock when going on a trail. It is best, safest and recommended to use your central diff lock when off of tar road. As soon as you are back on tar roads or hard rock surfaces, best to switch it off again.

I am unfamiliar with your vehicles "auto" option? Any more info you can give me on it?

Cheers :thumbs_up:


Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:39 pm
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Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:27 pm Unread post
Thanks again Switchback. I suspect this "Auto" option is similar to Traction Control. I've always been led to believe that, in this option, the vehicle will determine which wheel has the best grip and send power to that wheel.
So it would seem that the Auto option is good for a slippery dirt road and the Lock option would be helpful on a rocky or slower trail.
It seems that neither is ideal for serious sand driving....low range is a must!
Keep well.


Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:04 am
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Location: College Station, Texas
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Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:51 am Unread post
Wow, thanks for the feedback - encouragement, information and advice. I think that based on what everyone has written, my sister and I can "do" this trail and not end up as "laughing stock" in the morning tabloids! I look forward to being back in your amazing country - this time enjoying the "still" of the Kalahari and the Karoo - in 5 or 6 months. Again, thanks for your willingness to share your time and expertise. :thumbs_up:


Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Location: Northwold with KTP on my mind...
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Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:21 pm Unread post
Pleasure! :thumbs_up:


Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Legendary Virtual Ranger
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
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Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
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Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:56 pm Unread post
Also just back from the trail.

Didn't go into low range at all in my elderly Hilux. Had to rerun at 2 dunes owing to the fact that I was last out of 9 vehicles and had not yet got the hang of it.


Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:22 am
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Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:03 pm Unread post
BB, I hear tell, you just have to buy an Isuzu to do the trail, no previous experience needed. :twisted:


Re: Driving Skill Needed for the Nossob Eco 4x4 Trail

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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
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Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
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Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:09 pm Unread post
Not just ANY Uzu Scips, judging from the units on display. :wink:


Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
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Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:00 pm Unread post
Hi all,

This is a thread where I’ll be posting short trip reports and sightings from the Nossob 4x4 Eco Trail, a KTP activity which I’ll be leading over the next few months.

About the Activity:
The Nossob 4x4 Eco trail is a 4 day, 3 night self-catering activity that runs every Monday to Thursday. Participants drive their own vehicles, and are led by a guide in their own vehicle through the dunes. The trail departs from Twee Rivieren (on even months) or Nossob (on odd months).

The overnight camps have basic amenities, with toilets, shower (BYO water), and communal braii pit.

Each day’s trail averages 50km, with frequent stops for sightings and interpretation of the natural environment, as well as a break for tea or brunch.

For additional information on the 4x4 Eco Trail, including details on costs, see here:
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kgalagadi/tourism/nossob4x4.php

Please note: All bookings and related inquiries should go through Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park:
Tel: +27 (0)54 561 2000
Fax: +27 (0)54 561 2005
E-mail: jan.kriel@sanparks.org


For more about me and my adventures, check out my (ongoing!) trip report here:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=59857


I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have in this thread, and will update this post with a FAQ if needed.


Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
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Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:08 pm Unread post
Feb 13 – 16

My first 4x4 trail started off amazingly! We set out in the cool morning and spent most of the day marvelling at just how green the Kalahari was. Absolutely everything is bright shades of green – and what isn’t is blooming in vibrant shades of yellow, red and purple. There are many points where the trail looks more like it’s a country road through New Zealand or Europe in the heights of summer, then it is through one of the sandiest and most arid places on earth!

At our rest stop for brunch, we surprised an African Wild Cat out from the shade of our Sheppard’s tree – a rare sighing for the height of day! We got out of our cars to peer at it, while it sat under some brush peering at us, before it scurried off over the dunes. It was a wonderful sighting – and I was so surprised by it that I didn’t even grab my camera! It now sits in my lap the entire drive!

After the wild cat surprise, things calmed down and we saw plenty of your more “standard” game: herds of gemsbok and heartebeest, secretary birds, a particularly calm Black Snake Eagle, and several baby gemsbok (the youngest was likely no more then a week or two old!). We also found some lion tracks heading along the trail, but it looked like they had been made a day or two earlyier, and we were unable to find the big boy who made them.

We arrived at Witgat to find the entire valley in bloom, with the 5-petaled doublejke flowers blanketing the landscape before us. It made for a truly stunning backdrop for our dinner and first night under the star-strewn Kalahari sky.

Our second day dawned cold – surprisingly so for mid-summer – but clear. A quick investigation of our camp ffound the tracks of a Brown Hyena that had wandered through in the night after stopping at the waterhole – quite the exciting find!

We continued along the trail towards the second camp and continued our luck from the first day, seeing two small herds of Eland – an exceedingly rare sight on the main roads, as they greatly prefer hiding among the dunes – several Southern Masked Weavers building their nests out of the greenery, tracks of a small group of Spotted Hyena making their way through the dunes, and plenty of Kori Bustards, Steenbok, Gemsbok, and Heartebeest.

At one point, we came over the rise of a dune to find a massive party of animals in a flower-strewn field, consisting of at least 150 gemsbok, 10 Eland, 3 ostrich, and 7 Heartebeest. It was amazing to watch this huge number of animals move through the field as we slowly drove past.

Once at Camp 2, I walked a quick patrol around the camp to make sure that the area was safe and the washrooms and shower block was in good order, when I came across exceedingly fresh tracks of a very large male lion. Retreating to my car and fetching the rifle – just in case! – I investigated to find that the lion had wandered through the camp earlier that day, and had taken issue with our middle toilet stall, walking all around it before attacking and killing the toilet seat cover! After vanquishing this foe, the lion had scent-marked the chewed remains, and (to my relief!) wandered off.

The excitement didn’t end there! After we’d set up our tents, we heard the snorts and alarm calls of a pair of gemsbok. I initially thought that the lion had returned, but it turns out that these two big males were only having a disagreement, and they spent the next 10 minutes chasing each other in circles around our camp site, trashing bushes with their horns, clashing against one another, and generally causing quite the ruckus for our amusement.

We had an extra big fire this evening, just in case the lion decided to return and start in on our shower station, but the night was uneventful, and we rose refreshed and set off on our third day of adventure.

Our third day was wonderful, starting off early catching a Red Crested Korhaan displaying right beside my vehicle! This species’ plummeting display always looks remarkably dangerous to me, but I guess the female korhaans like daredevils. We also found some fresh looking Spotted Hyena tracks walking along our 4x4 track, but unfortunately were unable to find whoever made them.

We spent a couple hours relaxing while overlooking Eileen’s pan, sitting in the shade while watching a herd of 12 Heartebeest wander through the foliage below, a secretary bird hunting, a steenbok warily eying us, and a male ostrich on the far side of the pan calling – a rare sound to be sure! The clouds slowly rolled in – but stayed dry, thankfully, only serving to give us some very welcome shade, and make our scenery photos all the more dramatic!

We arrived at camp to watch an amazing sunset, with the sun illuminating the gently puffy clouds, relax, and have a light dinner before turning in to a well deserved rest under another beautiful starry sky.

Our fourth day, sadly, was quite abbreviated. My guests were looking at a 500km drive into Namibia, and elected to take the “emergency” route out of the 4x4 trail, through the dunes and down the bitterpan road into Nossob. While short (only around 12 km), the drive wasn’t uneventful! We managed to find a large herd of Heartebeest with babies, 5 steenbok, and the fresh tracks of a male leopard walking down the bitterpan road away from Nossob.

It looked like the leopard had been scouting out Nossob in the night, and had walked off into the dunes very early in the morning, as we could see a light spatter of rain on the prints, and knew that the rain had come and gone in the short hours before dawn.

And so we entered Nossob, and I bid my guests a fond farewell!

A wonderfully eventful trail, with amazing views and excellent sightings!


Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
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Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
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Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:10 pm Unread post
Feb 20 – 24

We started off splashing through the remnants of last night’s rain, which took the humidity for our first day of travel through the roof, unfortunately. We all got to camp rather hot and sweaty, but thankfully we’re currently doing the South to North run of the trail, which means our first camp is Witgat, which has a very nice swimming pool!

Ok, actually, it’s the cistern for the waterhole at the camp… but it’s wet, it’s clean, and - as long as you can clamber up the 10 foots sides – it makes for a wonderful swimming pool!

Despite the heat, we had some excellent views this first day, enjoying our tea under a large Sheppard’s tree while a small herd of gemsbok and a handful of red hartebeest wandered through the pasture-like dunes. Eland, Springbok, and – as per usual – many Steenbok were also in evidence.

The birds have also been agreeable to us this first day, spotting many flocks of namaqua doves, Pale Chanting Goshawks (including several juveniles), Tawny Eagles, Kori Bustards, and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters.

The Kalahari remains unbelievably green, but is now also turning into beautiful fields of red, purple and yellow as various flowers begin to bloom. The Mouse Whiskers have just started blooming this week, and there were several valleys between dunes which were absolutely covered in their delicate yellow flowers. It reminded me of fields of canola like I’d see back home in the prairies of Alberta in summer – not desert like at all!

After arriving at camp we had only a few short hours to set up and relax before one of the rather imposing looking clouds that had hovered on the horizon all day finally rolled overhead and dumped down upon us, sending us all running to batten down the covers of our tents and seek refuge in our vehicles. Thankfully, this rain let up after about half an hour, and was just enough of a soaking to bring the barking geckos out early, serenading us over dinner.

The rain came back well after midnight, and we slept cozy in our rooftop tents listening to rain on the canopy, thunder to the south, and lions roaring to the north.

The second day dawned wonderfully cool – and, thankfully – dry! We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while watching the sun rise and slowly burn away the clouds before setting off back into the dunes.

Our second day was wonderfully relaxed as we took in the sights, enjoying several sightings of hartebeest and gemsbok – each with young only a few scant weeks old – secretary birds, many (many) Pale Chanting Goshawks, and the usual bevy of steenbok. We were also treated to a sighting of an African Hoopoe out in the dunes, as well as a Black-chested Snake Eagle and small group of Red-necked Falcons soaring overhead.

We stopped for tea in the shade of a nice big Buffalo thorn, and I set out to check and ensure the latrine was safe. Not 5 metres away from the long-drop, I came across fresh – very fresh – lion prints. I retreated warily to the truck to retrieve the rifle (no, I’ve not learned from last week!), and I set back out to have a look and ensure that the lion was no longer around. Thankfully, it looked like he had departed earlier that day, as his prints were on top of the rain of last night, but had been walked on by a brave steenbok at some point since.

As we made our way back to the vehicles, we came across a Black Backed Jackal den! As we talked about how the dens are created and used, we were all surprised when a Jackal emerged from the den and took off at full tilt away from us! It was an excellent sighting, and hopefully the Jackal will remain in the area.

As we arrived at our second camp, we set up with a wary eye to the sky, as the grey storm clouds of the previous evening were slowly gathering again. We were less critical of the wonderfully cooling breeze that the evening brought with it – sorely needed after a very humid day!

I scouted the camp (rifle in hand, this time!), and searched for signs of recent activity, but found only the prints of a couple of gemsbok.

Our second night, thankfully, was a dry one, and our third day dawned warm and very humid with a clear sky above us, and beautiful puffy clouds along the horizon in every direction. We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise while listening to an ostrich calling in the distance, before setting off on our day’s journey.

Our third day was eventful if only for the 3 different Red Crested Korhaan that displayed quite close to our group – though I swear the latter two were displaying just to spite me after I gushed about how rare seeing the display! We also saw several groups of Gemsbok – including one demonstrating the Fhlemen grimace – each with small youngsters, porcupine quills, many korhaan, bustards, and steenbok, as well as a very agreeable herd of hartebeest of 7 adults and 4 babies which were very relaxed as they stood in the shade just beside our cars.

We spent tea at Elieen’s pan again, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch while watching hartebeest graze, gemsbok run for the hills, and a bustard wandering about the pan, all while big, puffy clouds drifted across the sky above us.

Once we arrived at camp, a wind came up and finally blew away the humidity… but also blew in imposing looking clouds, and the sound of thunder heading our way. We set up and prepped dinner as quickly as we could, but our haste turned out to be unnecessary, as while we were surrounded by lightning on all sides, we somehow managed to miss all the rain.

Our fourth day dawned clear and –thankfully – dry! We headed back towards the main road through fields of grass and three-thorn scrub, seeing black-shouldered kites, tawny eagles, pale chanting goshawks, and yet another mid-display red-crested korhaan (grrrrr. Silly birds!). But by far, the best sighting of the day was a black-backed jackal that decided to go for a morning jog beside our vehicles, keeping pace for a good half kilometre.

We stopped for tea just off the main road where we found a female leopard track, but sadly no leopard. And then, sadly, I bid my guests adieu and ended yet another wonderful trail!


Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 10:23 pm
Posts: 813
Location: Cape Town
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Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:11 pm Unread post
Hello Miros :D
Lovely to have a new face here and especially one from Twee Rivieren!!
Hope you have as much enjoyment here as we do and by the sounds of the above two trails we are going to thoroughly enjoy you here too! All the best for a great stay in KTP :thumbs_up:


Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:16 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Fairest Cape
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Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:29 pm Unread post
Welcome Miros :lol:

Really enjoyed your trails stories :thumbs_up:

Hope to see a lot more of you on the forum :clap: :clap:


Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:45 pm
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Location: southern gauteng
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Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:00 pm Unread post
I hope to read more reports !


Re: Kgalagadi: Nossob 4 x 4 Eco Trail

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Junior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:34 pm
Posts: 251
Location: SAffie in Southend
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Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:18 pm Unread post
Welcome to the forum Miros!! :thumbs_up: it's great to hear how your trails are going so please keep the news coming :D
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