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WackoRhino Red sand on the soles of our shoes AUG '12

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:53 pm Unread post
Lala lala lala lalalala la lala …

People say we’re crazy we’ve got red sand on the soles of our shoes… :dance: :dance:

This modified version of Paul Simon’s hit stayed in my head for quite a while during our long trip from Switzerland to KTP.

It took Meerkatitude and I about 24 hours to go from Geneva to Windhoek, and then we stopped for a night in Rehoboth, rose before dawn and took the long road to Mariental, Stampriet and Mata-Mata. This may not seem the eaysiest way to reach KTP from Switzerland but as we were going to tour for 2 weeks in Namibia with MA’s mother after our 6 nights stay in Kgalagadi, I guess that it was the more sensible option.

From Rehoboth, it took us 61/2 hours to reach Mata-Mata (and I did not play) where we arrived at 2:30PM Namibian time on the 29th of June.
We went through the customs easily, checked in KTP the same way…
And get back to our car at 4PM South African time! :big_eyes: :slap: :tongue:
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Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:00 pm Unread post
Day1: rush to heaven

So what do you do when you have to be at Kieliekrankie before 6pm, that it is 4pm and you are in Mata-Mata, 88 km away?
You put the cruise control on 50, look straight ahead and hold your breath :lol: :lol:

That is nearly what happened, only that I did the cruise control myself and allowed me to breath a little bit some times. We still managed to see our first Oryxes, many Giraffes and Kori Bustards, some Wildebeests and some birds, but don’t expect any photo! :naughty:

We arrived at KK at 5:58 PM, talk about Swiss punctuality. :clap: :clap:

The ranger greeted us with a big smile, saying that he had radioed to MM to know if we were on our way and that he was happy to see that we were right on time.
Happy we were too and soon much more than that we he showed us our bungalow. MA and I have to say that KK is one of the most beautiful places we have been in Southern Africa, and the bungalow the best we stayed at in a SANPark! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
We just dropped our things inside and sat on the terrace to witness a glorious sunset. Now we had time to take some photos and this is how it looked:

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Call me Wacko Rothko :P

After nightfall, we kept an eye on the waterhole and proceed to cook our diner. Those that have read about our adventures in Kruger may remember that we had not been very successful with brais, so this time we decided not to take any chance. We bought a big bag of macaroni in Mariental, along with some sauce and cheese and canned vegetables and fish. This combination would constitute most of our evening meals during our stay in KTP.
So, after a hearty meal on the terrace, we had the luck to observe some black-backed jackals at the waterhole, and then two steenboks, then the resident Barn Owl get around. A lifer for me, as I never managed to see this elusive bird in Switzerland.

Due to the long travel day (something like 560km) we were then very tired and soon went to bed. We did not pull the curtain so we had the marvelous Kgalagadi sky in front of us and I could even look at the waterhole if I sat in my bed. I am not sure it can get better than this for a sleeping place! :thumbs_up:

I woke up several times during the night, each time I admired the sky and looked at the waterhole (more jackals and steenboks) and each time I said to myself “what a wonderful place, what a wonderful place”


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:04 pm Unread post
Heksie thanks a lot for the nice words !
I have trouble to understand what the meat tells me when I am in South Africa, must be a language problem :wink:
billyf you know for us Swiss people time is sacred 8)
DuQues I was talking about Tyto alba, look further

So, here comes the next episode


Day2, part one: a slow morning

In the crisp morning light KK proved to be even more beautiful than in the evening before.

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Some Cape Sparrows were hanging around the terrace, maybe expecting some crumbs.

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But even if we had stayed up to 9AM to enjoy the place, it was already time to leave KK, a place where we really want to come back someday.
I went to see the ranger to get back my permit and asked him about the resident Owl. He obligingly showed me where was their nest, so I could take some photos. Thanks a lot mister! :clap:

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As we had traveled the Auob valley on the day before, we decided to take the dune road to the Nossob valley. The road was very quiet; still we saw BH Heron, Ostrich, Greater Kestrel and Steenbok.

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At Kij Kij, there were some Oryxes drinking

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Here I have to mention that the photos of this TR were taken either by me or by MeerkAttitude. We shared my 500D and did not took note of who did what, so we will share your praises too. :redface:

At the turn off we went left. Even if we were to sleep in TR this night we wanted to see first a bit more of the valley in the direction of Nossob. We first came upon some ground squirrels

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Then, some kilometers after the turn off, a nice gentleman told us to look carefully beneath the trees about one kilometer away, for there was a male lion doing what lions do best.

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Not seen from the best point of view (or is it? :tongue: ) but still our first Kalahari lion!

We did not stay very long because his majesty was obviously in a deeep slumber and proceeded to Melkvlei Picnic site. On our way we found Red Hartebeest and Kori Bustrard.

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We arrived just in time for the lunch break. I really enjoyed Melkvlei and the other picnic sites. The possibility to step out of the car, be more in touch with the nature. :thumbs_up:


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:29 pm Unread post
Thank you everybody for your kind words! The Barn Owls "next door" were indeed something very special!

I am just back from the mountains, sorry for those who saw their popcorn get cold...and here come the next episode.

Day2, part two: news from the family

From Melkvlei we drove to Gunong but did not see much, so we decided to turn back and head to TR. The drive was also quiet, yet we saw Secretarybird.

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Pygmy Falcon

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A huge sociable weavers nest with one part that had fallen to the ground

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Plus a facetious Oryx

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We were then happy to drive the old Botswana road from Kij Kij. It was a nice way, if not official, to get back to a country we visited last year. Arriving at TR, we had mixed feeling about the camp. Even if the setting was ok and the bungalow adequately furnished, it felt some kind of a letdown after KK...

So, after unloading our luggage, we decided to drive to the Auob valley, go to the section of road we had not seen the day before. It was about 4PM by now and it seemed that the animals were becoming more active. We saw our first Northern Black Korhaan

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A fiscal Shrike

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A yellow Mongoose

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Then our first “big” herd of Sprinboks

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Some Hartebeests with youngs

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And a Greater Kestrel

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On the way back from Kamfersboom, when we reached Houmoed, I suddenly saw several tails running away from the side of the road. I shouted “Meerkats!” and indeed the family was there. :dance: :dance: :dance:

We stayed quite a while to observe them, as they definitely were one of the main objectives of our trip. They were foraging a bit far from the road for my 300mm so this is a heavily cropped photo just for souvenir.

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We finally had to go back to TR. The golden light was giving the Oryxes a wonderful hue

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And we even saw our first Burchell’s Sandgrouse as a final treat for the day

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Once at the bungalow, MA and I agreed that the day had been slow to take momentum but that it had globally been very productive with birds (13 lifers!). :thumbs_up:
The sighting of the Meerkats was voted “best of the day”, and after one more quality meal, we went to bed with some anticipated excitement for the day to come. :) :)


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:07 pm Unread post
Thank you Anne Marie for reading me :)
Thanks Tom for the nice smiley and for turning the page :wink:
Normana, there IS more to come
Lion queen, MeerkAttitude loves Meerkats and so do I :D as you will see in the next episode :

Day3, part one: a morning with Meerkats

Our next night was reserved at Urikaruus, so we decided that the program of the day will be to go back to Mata-Mata (on a slow pace this time :lol: ) and then turn back to reach Urikaruus in the afternoon.

Our first stop was of course at Houmoed, where we found the family enjoying the morning sun. :dance:
We stayed with them for quite a while, doing just the same (but from the inside of our car :whistle:).

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A bit further we saw a second group of Meerkats. :dance: :dance:

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And even a third group ! :dance: :dance: :dance: with definite proof that not all herdsmen in Kgalagadi are human.

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There were many raptors around, like this beautiful and classical Tawny in a tree.

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Speaking of classics, we witnessed several similar scenes

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Then, just on the side of the road, a small bird caught my eye. I barely had time to look at it that it flew in the tree that was on the other side. :slap:
By chance it stayed there and I could take photos of the Pearl-spotted Owlet. :dance: :dance:

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I love Owls and they are very difficult to see in Switzerland, so I was really hoping to see some in KTP and that was already the second one now! :thumbs_up:

The end of the morning had one more surprise for us, two bat-eared fox hunting in the grass. :D

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And on the last section to Mata-Mata we met this black-backed Jackal

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Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:45 pm Unread post
Sharifa I have read many of your TR and really liked them so your compliments goes to my heart!
Anne-Marie you know how great is the light in KTP...

Day3, part two: mixed feelings

Our first stop at the camp was for the fuel shop, where it became clear that I had a slow puncture (I mean the car). :redface:
The man from the shop offered me to fix it for a very good price and of course I agreed. I guess that considering the very bad state of the roads in the Park, people are used to do these repairs. The man did a very good job in a short time and I thanked him very much. Coming to Mata-Mata had definitely been the right decision. :thumbs_up:

On the way back to Urikaruus, raptors were all abroad. Like this Black-shouldered Kite

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This PCG

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And this Black-chested Eagle at the waterhole (one more lifer) :dance: :dance:

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This striped mouse was also a lifer :D

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And we met several group of Giraffes, one of them with youngsters (this shot is clearly from MeerkAttitude, she loves so much the young animals)

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So we finally reached Urikaruus around 5PM with some mixed feeling again (at least for me, MA is more of the optimistic kind). We were already almost at the middle of our stay in KTP, and even if we had seen many animals and birds, we had “only” seen one big cat and no spotted ones.

So maybe my expectations were too high, maybe I did not realized that these travel tales where Lion tangoes with Cheetah while Leopard plays the fiddle were just…tales :P , but I could definitely feel some kind of disappointment in me. :?

On the other hand, Urikaruus just sent us to heaven. The terrace in front of the “exclusive” waterhole, the kitchen and room on stilts, all this felt so good that I could have said that it was the best place in a SANPark, had I not been to KK. :thumbs_up:


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:56 pm Unread post
Thank you so much to everyone for your nice comments about my TR and our pictures !
In the next episode there is only a few photo but it was...

Day3, part three: a night to remember

So we sat down on the terrace, enjoying the peace and quiet of the place, taking some photos of the scenery and the almost full moon that was rising.

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The night fell, we had an exceptional meal of red beans and corn, still "nothing" was happening except for the flight a Barn Owl and the visit from an Acacia tree Rat who was obviously very interested by our food stocks (a macaroni lover of Italian descent maybe?)

We had bought firewood in TR just to have a nice fire at Urikaruus, so I proceeded to light it and we waited a bit more… :pray: :pray:

Suddenly we heard some Hyena call and two animals quickly arrived at the waterhole, then another…and another…plus two :shock:
Wow there was 6, no 7 Hyenas just in front of us :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
They drank rapidly then drew nearer, probably because of the smell of the brai (not ours of course :lol:).
Some of these Hyenas were huge; it was really impressive to look at them just behind us through the terrace floor. :big_eyes:
I tried to make some photos but I could not get the right setting, I don’t know I have a problem with night shots with my camera. :wall:
So I just concentrated on the Hyenas. They did not stay more than 2-3 minutes, but offered us our best ever Hyena sighting. To be in the open at Urikaruus and not in a car was also really a plus. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

Maybe 5 minutes later, as we were still high from the Hyenas episode, I saw something cautiously approaching at the very edge of the light circle. At first sight I thought that it was a Wildcat…then I looked better and realized that it was a CARACAL. :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

The Rooikat walked slowly to the waterhole and began to drink. He was very cautious, lifting its head now and then to check the surroundings. He stayed there for what seemed a very long time to me, in fact maybe something like 5 minutes.

I had time to realize that we had a small video camera with us and I tried to use it. The result is not great so I will not post the video but I exported some jpg and after some fooling around in iphoto I came up with this. :cam:

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MA thinks it looks like a Kangaroo but a Caracal it is :thumbs_up: :D

When the beautiful animal finally left, I was shaking with excitement. A Caracal at a waterhole for 5 minutes was something I did not even dare to wish for when I arrived at KTP. :dance: :big_eyes: :dance: :big_eyes: :dance:

Now the evening felt almost perfect. The nearly full moon on the backside of the bungalow, the Southern Cross in front of us, only the cold was beginning to annoy us so we huddled closer to the fire. 8)

Some time later a very shy bat-eared fox came around, so shy that it did not even come to the water. Still I thought that even if Anne-Marie’s last year sighting was exceptional I somehow preferred to see both animals alive. :wink:

The fire died out and we went to bed, still mesmerized by the evening sightings. We had our only very cold night in KTP. Urikaruus design does not offer much insulation but we had thick socks and beanies and great memories to keep us confortable.

During the night, I woke up from time to time with the intent to have a look at the waterhole but it felt so cold out of the bed that I just stayed put. When I saw the beginning of the dawn switch off the stars one by one, I rose and went to the kitchen to make some tea. :whistle:


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:54 pm Unread post
One more episode before the night :)

Day4, part 1: ups and downs

With the rising of the sun, small birds began to visit us, like this White-browed Sparrow Weaver.

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It was one of these glorious mornings, when even the clouds look beautiful

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We left with heavy hearts and the promise to come back someday; and as we had traveled through the Auob valley on the preceding day, we decided to take the dune road to reach the Nossob Valley, and then from Dikbaardskolk we would turn south to reach TR where we would stay the next two nights.

The dune road was very quiet. We still managed to see these Black-headed Herons guarding the solar pump

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And these two greater kestrels

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At the end of the rollercoaster dune road, things were even quieter. We drove to Melkvei, seeing nothing. :(
At the Picnic site a Kalahari Robin greeted us

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Then we went back to TR. There were almost no mammals around, the land felt strangely empty. :?
But the raptors were there, faithful to KTP reputation :thumbs_up:

Lesser Kestrel

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Lanner Falcon

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Juveniles Bateleur

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Tawny Eagle

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PCG

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Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:55 pm Unread post
Thank you barryels, hilda, normana, PetraJ, saraf, Anne-Marie and Pumbaa for encouraging me!
billyf I totally agree with you about the night in Urikaruus :thumbs_up:
and now, next episode

Day4, part 2: the small ones make the day

At the camp, as we had two nights in TR, I tried to change my reservation for the second night (Nossob, KK :pray: ) but everything was fully booked. I also tried to have two seats on the sunset drive but for once it was fully booked too. :shock:

So, after a short rest at our bungalow, we decided to have our own “end of afternoon drive” in the Auob river valley.

On the first dune section I finally managed to take photos of Anteating Chats

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And of a Familiar Chat

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The Meerkat family was not showing at Houmoed, but on the way to Monro we came upon 4 Bat-eared Foxes searching the grasses near the road. :dance:
They quickly retreated a bit farther

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Yet we were able to observe them with our binoculars for quite a while before it was time to turn back to TR.

At Houmoed MA’s relatives were back :dance:

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A bit further a Fiscal Shrike paused obligingly

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And some Red Hartebeests composed a typical KTP scene

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Now we really had to “speed” to the camp (as always :redface: , but in due respect of the limitations of course :rtm: ).
Still we had to negotiate this roadblock.

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Our first snake in KTP and first Puff Adder ever! :dance: :dance:

Finally, we had our own sunset drive :thumbs_up:

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Even if we were going in the wrong direction...

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(This one obviously shot by MA :lol:)


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:50 pm Unread post
Heksie I am sure you would love KTP :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

so here comes the next one

Day5, part 1: the power of the yellow ribbon

In the morning, after having made the reservation for the sunset drive, we faced the traditional Twee Rivieren question: Auob or Nossob ?
We had 2 points in favour of Auob, first that we had had better sightings in Auob in the preceding days and second that our next and last night in KTP would be in Nossob, so today was our last chance to drive in the lower Auob Valley.

It was a cold morning in the Valley, the Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters huddled together.

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There was not much to see, we had the feeling that “everyone” was waiting for the sun to bring some heat. The Meerkats at Houmoed were obviously still in their den.

So we kept on driving north and eventually crossed two people with wide grin who told us that 4 lions had killed an antelope close to the road further up north after Montrose. They also said that the lions were quite aggressive, one having even tried to jump on their car.

Lions at a kill in a SANPark would be a first so we were quite excited. :dance:
We proceeded with due speed, but remembering some travel tales episodes from the forum, we locked the doors and closed the windows. :wink:

What we saw first on arrival was the dead Eland “guarded” by a lion,

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Then a second lion a bit sleepy

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Then the rest of the team VERY near the road and the cars

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The male along the road gave MA a rare opportunity to shoot close-ups

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Then suddenly our model noticed the yellow ribbon at our side-view mirror. His expression changed from “bored” to “inquiry mode” and the way he looked at our car made us feel like…prey. :shock:

As he was approaching the ribbon, I made the mistake to move the car (I did not want to have to explain to the rental car company that the damaged mirror was due to a lion :tongue:).
Just as an illustration of the famous “scream don’t run” saying, the movement triggered the lion attack mode and he pounced the car once.
Now I thought that I would have to tell the rental company about the scratches on the car backside... but I decided to postpone the inspection of the damage :roll: (luckily there was none, his majesty did not used claws apparently).

Maybe disturbed by this episode, the lion went back to the Eland and tried to turn the body on its back without success.

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Ever thought about becoming vegetarian?

After some munching, the lion retreated under the shade of the trees with his teammates; the four of them were obviously ready for a nap now.
During our stay at the scene a giant traffic jam had coalesced (giant for KTP I mean, that is about 10 cars) so we left the place and continued north.
We were so happy to have witnessed one of these famous “lions encounter scene” from KTP. :dance: :dance: :dance:

BTW, a view of the intact mirror with the yellow ribbon taken some time later

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At Kamqua picnic site everything was quiet, the Black Crow seemed to be waiting for something to happen, pacing impatiently

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MA and I were just enjoying the view

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Then we had a talk with some French tourists (first in English of course, before we realized by their accent that they spoke French; just like every South African driver begins to talk to us in Afrikaans before switching to English when he notices our puzzled look :?).
We told them about the 4 lions and they told us about one lion under a tree at the 14th borehole. This is what we call “un échange de bons procédés” and that is one of the joys of the SANParks. :thumbs_up:


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:25 pm Unread post
billyf "lion interaction" is the words I was looking for :)
barryels you must come to see KTP!
anne-marie don't worry I am sure you will see some Elands, they are such wonderful creatures
Nina! I hope you will see the batties and barn owl...and that you will post some photos after :wink:


Day5, part 2: how much spots would spot Woodspot?

So the french people went South and us North. We found the lion sleeping under the tree but as he was rather far we did not take photos.
Resuming our northward course, we soon found two cars stopped at the roadside, obviously observing…something. :hmz:
We talked with the driver (you know, first in Afrikaans…) who told us that there were two Cheetahs lying in the grass…somewhere. :hmz: :hmz:
We had to make him repeat his explanation twice before we could spot the spotted ones. :doh:
Can you?

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Just for the fun, I have tried to process the photo. This is a heavily cropped and contrast enhanced version of the former shot

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A definite proof that we indeed saw two Cheetahs in KTP :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

After having lastingly diminished our vision capabilities on these two beauties, we turned back at Dalkeith and drove south to our rendez-vous with SanParks people. On the way, we saw one more of these beautiful Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters

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Driving by the killing scene we noticed that activity was subdued :lol:

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Further south on the way back to TR we did not see much, except this Fiscal that looked a bit like a Brubru ...

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And a Pygmy Falcon

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Last edited by WackoRhino on Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:02 pm Unread post
Welcome on board GavinW, don't feel embarassed :)
Pumbaa, Leanawel and anne-marie thank you for your kind words about our photos, I will tell Meerkattitude about it :D
Next episode has few photos though, because it's a night one...


Day5, part 3: fireworks on the 4th of July

We don’t have any special ties with the U.S. but as you will soon see we had things to celebrate on this particular occasion. :clap:
The day before, I had been a bit upset not to be able to go on the sunset drive but now I have to say that it was probably luck that prevented us to do so.
On this day of celebration, MA and I were the only customers. So we had our very nice young blonde and knowledgeable driver/guide (how is it possible that I forgot her name :roll:), her assistant/tracker and a young trainee woman from SanParks just for the two of us.
When our guide asked us before leaving what we wished to see this evening my first answer was Owl (not to howl mind you :lol:).

Is it not written somewhere “ask and you shall receive”?

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These two Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl were having a conversation from one tree to the other, not far from TR’s entrance gate, on the road to Leeuwdril. One more lifer for me, and one of the birds I most wanted to see in KTP. What a beginning! :dance: :dance:

Things got slow during the next 45 minutes, with “only” Black-backed Jackal, Oryxes and Springboks sightings, but the dusk was about to change everything.

First we saw an African Wildcat staying on a tree stump for several minutes, then a Barn Owl, then a Bat-eared Fox, then another Wildcat hunting beneath a tree, then a Spotted Eagle-Owl on the road (one more lifer, the 4th Owl specie of our stay :dance:).
All those just one after the other, like in a wildlife TV show! :big_eyes:

We barely had time to catch our breath with some Black-backed Jackals when we saw a third Wildcat hunting in the grass and then playing with the poor rodent it had caught.
Then, MA spotted “something like an Owl in a tree”. Once we had drove a bit back we realized that it was in fact…a Wildcat high in a tree, on a branch with its head standing out of the leaves. It was our fourth Wildcat sighting of the evening and a funny one. :lol:

I really regretted no to be able to take any photos (still this night setting problem :wall:) but somehow it allowed me to concentrate on the sightings.

I was beginning to wonder, “How could it get better” when MA spotted a STRIPED POLECAT :dance: :dance: :dance:
The animal was very shy but we still had a good view of it for some time.
As we told our guide that it was a first for us, she replied “for me too”. 8)

We were so excited by then that we barely noticed the many Springhares hopping around and the Black-backed Jackals who should have felt like “the 5th wheel”.
Now we were on our way back to camp and we began to freeze in our seats. Strangely enough there was no blankets in the truck and even with our warmest clothes it was becoming very difficult.

A second Bat-eared Fox tried to distract us from the temperature but he was less successful than our last sighting of the evening, a Small-spotted Genet. :dance: :dance:

At the camp the 5 of us were literally shaking from cold when we congratulated each other for this fantastic drive. :clap:

I promise that I would never say again “on a night drive you don’t see much”. :naughty:
2 new species of Owls, 4 AWC, 2 BEF, uncounted Springhares and BBJ, the Genet that I wished so much to see and the Polecat as “the nut on the baklava”; long live the United States! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:11 am Unread post
Day6, part 1: the long road to Nossob

On the next morning, after such a great day, our expectations were sent through the roof. We were going to Nossob for our last night in KTP, so the itinerary was obvious: TR-Nossob in the morning, some part of the upper Nossob valley in the afternoon.

So we paid our respects to the Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl at his nest then took the old Botswana road for the last time.

Well, things were very quite, again. But the raptors, again, were showing up. :thumbs_up:

Rock Kestrel

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Bateleurs

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Tawny

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Please help me to ID

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Cape Vulture

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The two highlights of the morning happened in a 15 minutes time, as often when things are quiet.
First, we saw 3 young Wildcats playing on the road, just like cats in our backyard. We had noticed their presence from far so we were able to observe them for several minutes with binoculars. When we tried to get closer to make some photos, they just disappeared in the grass. :roll:
Second, we saw a group of maybe 12 Elands crossing the road at full speed right in front of us. :shock:
We wondered if they had been frightened by lions, so we stopped and waited for a while, looked around very closely, but we found nothing. Nevertheless we now had seen living Elands in KTP. :dance:

At Didbaardskolk Picnic site, smaller cratures greeted us

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Many small birds were also there:

Chesnut-vented Tit-babbler

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Marico Flycatcher

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Sociable weaver with its wonderful collar

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And a Crimson-breasted Shrike obviously more an adept of Van Halen than of Paul Simon

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We resumed our drive to Nossob, with high hopes for the 40km of totally new road (to us) that were left.

We saw almost nothing except this beautiful Secretarybird

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And some Namaqua grouses with Oryxes at Marie se draai.

Nevertheless we arrived at Nossob with high spirits. At last were we at the door of northern KTP. :thumbs_up:


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
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Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:35 am Unread post
Thanks anne-marie I think you are on the right track...

next episode is short


Day6, part 2: desolation road

After a quick check-in and luggage dump, we went to the hide…nothing. So we took the car, let the volunteer gatekeepers boys do their job and hit the road north.

During the next few hours, where we went up to Kousant and back to Kwang, I took one photo :cry:

Chat Flycatcher (?)

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We crossed several cars and asked several time if they had seen anything special but the answer was always the same. At Kwang, we stopped for a while, noticing that some people we saw on our way up were still there. We asked them if…but no.
Finally I took this photo that clearly says that if you are going to drive the desolation road, you will end up spending time…with beasts. :twisted:

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So we went back to Nossob with mixed feelings again. We witnessed our last sunset in KTP right behind us

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And tried to stay positive as we still had the evening to go to the hide. But after dinner, when we arrived at the hide it was pitch dark. There was a technical problem with the lights! :slap:

As we say in French “quand ça veut pas, ça veut pas” (literally: when it doesn’t want, it doesn’t want)


Re: Red sand on the soles of our shoes

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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
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Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:27 pm Unread post
arks, I think fiscals don't have reddish color on the flanks, and the white stripe on the back? I will see with the experts.
Hilda and Leanawel, sunsets in KTP are so fantastic!
barryels, "lurking" is a fine way of saying it :wink:
Elsa, thanks for the info about the guide, I will try to check. For Nossob, you will see in the next episode...


Day7: grand finale

At breakfast we did not have to discuss itinerary. We had to be in Mariental before the night, so it was straight down Nossob valley to the dune road then back up to Mata-Mata. As for my expectations, our trip to Nossob and around had been so unproductive that I just wished for a safe journey.

Our first sighting was a juvenile Eland with a group of Oryxes. We wondered what this young one was doing alone, and then we noticed its mother patiently waiting further away.

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There was a beautiful light this morning, giving nature a special shine. The photo above may seem over processed but it is not; it is the natural light of the moment.

Some kilometers further we “bumped” into a car stopped at the roadside. Looking in the same direction as the occupants of the car, we noticed a couple of Lions walking in the high grass at the foot of the hill. They were quite far so no photos; but in the glorious light they were the center part of a wonderful scene. It was of course not our best lions sighting but it was the most graphic, a great moment to reconcile me with the Nossob valley. :thumbs_up:

At the next waterhole, we found some Kudus, the firsts of this trip. Here again the light was great, and there was a juvenile (MA is very found of juvenile mammals).

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Then we saw some Oryxes with many Namaqua Sandgrouses and, contrary to the day before, I was able to take some photos.

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We stopped at Didbaardskolk for 5 minutes, just to say goodbye to the Nossob valley and took the dune road. I wanted to drive fast (50 that is :) ) on this section because we never saw anything special on one of these dune roads, but the rollercoaster effect made MA sick, so I had to slow down. It is probably because of our slow pace that a nice lady that we crossed stopped and told us that there where 5 lions resting in the dunes some 5km away.

We only saw 3 of them but still; lions in the red dunes were something I was not expecting! :dance: :dance:

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At Kamqua we had to turn right, despite our desire to go left, and we soon arrived in this section between the 13th borehole and Craig Lockhart that is for me one of the most beautiful of the park. The dead trees I have found especially fascinating

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The living trees proved also very interesting, bringing us not one but two more sightings of cats :dance: :dance:

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We also had the luck to see two juveniles Oryx, one seemingly more fit than the other.

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In one morning, we had seen the juveniles of the three species of antelopes resident in KTP that were once classified under the Tragelaphus genus. 8)

Now I realized that the call of Harry had been slow to come out but finally I was receiving it loud and clear! :thumbs_up:

At last we arrived in Mata-Mata, and before to cross the border, I had a last thing to do. I went back to see the man of the petrol station and asked him about any resident owl in the trees of the camp. He was happy to show me my last lifer for this stay in KTP, the Southern White-faced Owl. :dance:

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30 minutes later we left the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park through the Mata-Mata borderpost…
With red sand on the soles of our shoes.

TANA NANANA TANA NANANA, TANA NANANA TANA NANANA
TANA NANANA TANA NANAA NAA, TANA NANANA TANA NANAA NAA…
We've got red sand on the soles of our shoes...
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