Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 2
 [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Craig & Caroline in KTP - Sep/Oct 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Hi All,

We've just returned from a 2.5 week trip to KTP, and it was amazing! We will begin posting trip reports in the next few days, but just to whet your appetites here are some photos from our previous trips.

2000: http://www.cconline.org.za/gallery/17-kalahari_august_2000
2005: http://www.cconline.org.za/gallery/55-ktp

This year we stayed at Twee Rivieren, Kieliekrankie, Nossob, Mata Mata, Gemsbokplein Centre (Photo Safari) & Urikaruus.

We saw 85 (or thereabouts) lions! Granted some of those are the same individuals, but these were seen on separate occasions and with different interactions with other individuals.

Stay tuned!

Cheers
Craig & Caroline.


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Craig & Caroline in KTP - Sep/Oct 2007
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 1 - 24.09.2007

Camp: Twee Rivieren

After driving from Durban, with an overnight stop in Kimberley (+/- 1500km), we arrived in KTP on the 23rd, sans 5th gear which decided to take it's leave of us somewhere around Groblershoop. Ah, who needs five gears anyway! We stayed in the campsite at Twee Rivieren. The campsite was very busy as it was a long weekend and the start of school holidays so we drove around looking for a good spot to pitch our tent. Being relative newbies to this camping thing our first attempt at selecting a good spot failed after discovering that we were miles from an electrical point! We had already put down the groundsheet and were starting to erect the tent when we discovered this. We packed up and again started looking for a site, this time near an electrical point. :roll: They were scarce, but we did find one, unfortunately it was in full sun as we were to discover was our next camping mistake. We pitched the tent and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. (Already watching squirrels and yellow mongoose around the camp.)

The next day we rose early (05:30) to get ready for the morning drive, and at just after gate opening time we departed on our first wildlife viewing drive of the trip. We opted to drive the Nossob road up to Melkvlei picnic spot and back, at a leisurely pace.

On this road we found cats, lots, and lots of cats. First up was three lions resting on the dunes, followed by a mating pair, and finally a pride of ten lions (we think, maybe more) on an eland kill. In between we also had a cheetah (coming towards us, across the road, and up the dune on the other side), and one African wild cat, too far off for pictures unfortunately.

We were quite surprised at the amount of jackals. They seemed to be everywhere and at one point we surveyed the scene and counted at least fifteen, and this was within maybe thirty metres. We saw in excess of fifty in this one drive alone. There were also quite a few vultures around, which we hadn't noticed so much in our previous trips to KTP.

Other general wildlife observed included eland (our first sighting of eland in KTP), springbok, steenbok, gemsbok, wildebeest and ostrich. We noticed many carcasses on the ground, most of them eland. We were told later that they were coming over from Botswana and were literally gorging themselves on the available food and water and pretty much dying on the spot from over-eating. There were a few carcasses at the first waterhole (Samevloeing) which is where we photographed the jackals stripping a carcass, that we later learnt was from a lion kill a day earlier.

We rested during the day in our flaming hot tent, and vowed that the next campsite we chose would have an electrical point AND shade. :redface:

In the afternoon we drove along the Auob river road to Auchterlonie picnic spot and back, and saw virtually nothing. It's a lot drier on the Auob side, which is saying something since it's extremely dry on the Nossob side as well.

Enjoy the photos.

- Craig & Caroline

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image

Image


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 2 - 25.09.2007 - Morning Drive

Camp: Twee Rivieren

This morning we decided to take the Nossob road up to Melkvlei for coffee and back to Kij-kij, across the lower dune road to Auchterlonie and back to Twee Rivieren on the Auob road.

Just outside of the camp we found a beautiful Verreaux's Eagle Owl perched in a tree, and two that looked like they could be juveniles on the ground.

Image Image

A little further along we spotted a juvenile Gabar Goshawk.

Image

Around this time we noticed that the clouds in the sky looked like the clouds at the start of The Simpsons. Unfortunately the long lens of the camera has compressed the clouds together so it doesn't look quite like it did in real life. In any case they were very pretty, so we took a picture.

Image

Next up along the road was possibly the most beautiful lioness we had seen. Perhaps it was the light, or the colour of her coat, but either way we decided there and then that we prefer the female lions to the males. They may be majestic, but we think that the males are a bit over-rated!

Image

Male lion on the dune.

Image

And another Verreaux's Eagle Owl.

Image

When we arrived at Melkvlei we took the same table that we had had the same day. Got some coffee and biscuits, and made sure that we were extra clumsy while eating the biscuits. Down from the tree came the same assortment of birds that we had seen the previous day. These are probably the clever birds that wait for picnicers make crumbs and then come down and eat them. We remembered how they went mad for the spilt coffee the previous day, and didn't want to get them on a caffiene high, so I went and put a bit of water in the lid of our biscuit container. Mr Barbet came and drank straight away, the others were a bit more cautious.

Image

On our way through the dunes we stopped to look at an interesting thing. An eland had died, again near a waterhole, but there didn't seem to be much in the way of predation or scavenging. It was like the eland had just lain (is that a word?) down and died, and then had dessicated in the sun, effectively becoming mummified. There was powdered blood around the face and on the sand like the dryness had sucked the liquids out of it. Of course just for effect there was a crow pecking at the eye socket like something out of a horror movie. :D

Just in case there are sensitive viewers here I'll post links to these two photos instead of posting them inline.

http://www.cconline.org.za/images/phocagallery/ktp_2007/20D14046.jpg

http://www.cconline.org.za/images/phocagallery/ktp_2007/30D16362.jpg

Looking to the left my eye caught the windpump at the waterhole (probably Tierkop) - I know that technology is always getting better and the solar pumps are probably much easier to maintain, but there is always something beautiful and aesthetically pleasing about the old style windpumps. Well at least that's how I feel. Some people consider them eye sores.

Image

Further a long the dunes at the Kij Gamies viewsite we saw a large group of ostrich, and a Gemsquash (I mean Gemsbok). We had of course already seen many of these, but sometimes we take a picture and sometimes we don't. This time we did.

Image Image

We arrived at the Auchterlonie picnic spot and again sat down to drink some coffee. We were greeted by the completely mad Cape Crow. Actually I think all Cape Crows are mad. We don't get these in Durban, are they as mad elsewhere in the country? But still when they don't go on and on too much their fluid song is, well, interesting! :D

Image Image

Finally, we saw an ostrich giving itself a sand bath.

Image

We again didn't see much on the Auob side south of Auchterlonie, and we returned back to camp to rest until the afternoon drive.

Cheers
Craig


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:32 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Thanks so much for all your comments!

---

Day 2 - 25.09.2007 - Afrternoon Drive

Camp: Twee Rivieren

The second drive of the day was from Twee Rivieren to Kij Kij and back. To be honest we didn't see much compared to the morning drive. That said of course, we did see one African Wild Cat, five lions, Yellow Mongoose, Squirrels, Whistling Rats and the usual other animals.

African Wild Cat

Image

Kori Bustard

Image

Yellow Mongoose

Image

Springbok

Image

Extremely malnourished Red Hartebeest

Image

Full Moon from Twee Rivieren camping site.

Image

Cheers
Craig


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 3 - 26.09.2007

Camp: Kieliekrankie

We left Twee Rivieren a bit later today (08:30) as we were moving camp and had to take down the tent. Fortunately we were going to Kieliekrankie so there would be no need to put the tent back up at the other side.

The day did not yield much in the way of animals, so we took the oppotunity to put the short lens on the camera and do a bit of landscape photography.

The route that we took was from Twee Rivieren up the Auob river to Kamqua picnic spot, then back down again to Kieliekrankie. Again we saw the usual suspects, eland, gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest, ostrich, jackals and squirrels.

We also saw a Pearl-spotted owlet which was quite a nice find.

Image

This was our first time at Kieliekrankie and we were quite happy with the accommodation. The units are brick and mortar shells merged with canvas on the waterhole side. Unfortunately as is the case with most of the units that use canvas, the zips and velcro are degraded and don't close as they should. They're not badly worn, but my feeling is that for luxury accommodation these should be always in the best condition possible.

Image

When we arrived and had been shown around we took a look at the waterhole and found two Secretarybirds drinking. (only one pictured)

Image

The view in the other direction.

Image

The units closer. Very nice.

Image

Our second drive of the day was from Kieliekrankie to Rooibrak and back. To be honest we enjoyed the accommodation so much that we considered not going on a second drive, but eventually sanity prevailed!

We noticed that there were some really interesting clouds in the sky. It looked like a storm was coming. Little did we know at the time what kind of storm was on its way.

Image

On this drive we saw virtually nothing except some Crimson-breasted Shrikes.

Image Image

And an African Hoopoe

Image

Playing around (we tend to get silly when there are no animals to satisfy us!), I did a self portrait.

Image

The dunes were particularly beautiful with the backdrop of heavy skies and whispy clouds.

Image Image

Returning to camp we took a photo of the solar panels. We are techno-enviro-geeks after all. :lol:

Image

The clouds had moved on over towards Nossob and Botswana. The sunset was awesome, but we should have known what was coming soon.

Image Image

As the sun set, the dunes turned even redder than they had been.

Image

And after the sun had set I got to work on another of my photography passions, night and star photography. With the moon being full or nearly full, and rising right after sunset, it really didn't give me much of a chance to do good star trails. Plus I really didn't want to leave our camera out in the middle of the Twee Rivieren camp site. Finally I would be able to play a little and get some good shots. Or would I?

This photo was taken just after the sun had set. I used my torch to illuminate the building and grasses a little.

Image

This was the only star trail I managed to get that evening. It's only about a 10 minute exposure. It was actually one of my test shots to check if the horizon was level (which it wasn't). Normally I would then recompose and shoot the full 40 - 60 minute exposure, but that wasn't to happen.

Image

During the "proper" star trail I decided to go and shower. While in the shower I noticed that the canvas was flapping around a bit. A minute later and it was flapping around A LOT. A few minutes later a howling gale was blowing outside and I wondered if the camera and tripod were still on the verandah. I had almost finished showering when I heard Caroline shouting from outside. She wanted to know if she should bring the camera in. I could hardly hear her despite being only five metres away. I replied but she didn't hear me.

Eventually I stepped out of the shower, put on a towel and shouted back out of the door. This time Caroline heard me and brought the camera inside. The exposure was of course ruined (although not as badly as I would have thought). After dressing I peeked out of the canvas and waved the torch about a bit. You couldn't see a thing for the sand-storm that was blowing, you could barely see the end of the verandah, so how Caroline was managing to hang on to the tripod is beyond me!

At some stage I went out the front to see if the car was still there, or that it had not been blown over! Fortunately it was fine, but really, that's how hard it was blowing, I was convinced that that might happen!

We made dinner and went to bed, there really wasn't anything else to do with the wind blowing in through the zip that wouldn't fasten. It blew throughout the night, but when we awoke in the morning the storm had passed and it was time to move back to Twee Rivieren.

Cheers
Craig


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 9:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:47 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Durban, KZN, South Africa
Quote:
You couldn't see a thing for the sand-storm that was blowing, you could barely see the end of the verandah, so how Caroline was managing to hang on to the tripod is beyond me!


It's called dedication, sweetie. :D

Don't forget also, that the pasta was boiling away in the kitchen while I hung on for dear life! How that didn't end up ruined is beyond me.

Cheers,
Caroline


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:35 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 4 - 27.09.2007

Camp: Twee Rivieren

Really nothing much to report for this day.

In the morning we left Kieliekrankie and headed towards Mata Mata, across the upper dune road and down the Nossob road to Twee Rivieren. Nothing special was seen.

In the afternoon we took the Nossob road up to Kij Kij and back, again not much was seen.

First thing in the morning before we left I took some photos of the moon setting over the dunes at Kieliekrankie.

Image Image

And the sunlit clouds just before the sun came over the horizon.

Image

Image

Road and dunes at Kieliekrankie

Image

Steenbok eating a tuber

Image

Kieliekrankie Dunes

Image

Image

Black-backed Jackal

Image

Springbok

Image

Sociable Weaver nest

Image

Image

We arrived at Dikbaardskolk picnic spot to find this jackal begging. It had what looked like a t-bone, which had obviously been given to it by a careless person.

Image

Image

Sociable Weaver

Image

Dust devil. The horizon is very skew I know, but at least the dust devil is straight. :doh:

Image

Juvenile Fork-tailed Drongo

Image Image Image

Ground Squirrel

Image

Cape Sparrow

Image

Môre is ons Nossob toe. :lol: (Tomorrow we go to Nossob)

- Craig


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:28 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 5 - 28.09.2007

Camp: Nossob

Today we headed from Twee Rivieren to Nossob, which took us 6.5 hours to do.

Wildebeest and dust in the morning light.

Image

Jackal on a carcass.

Image

We had some lion just before Melkvlei, a male walking next to the road, and a pride of ten on a kill, this could be seen from Melkvlei picnic spot.

Image Image

Image Image

The lions had been all over the picnic spot, their prints were all over the picnic spot. In fact the canvas window of the mens toilet had been ripped out presumably by the lions as there were prints all around the area and what looked like a urine marking on the outside wall of the toilet.

Image Image

Image

Image Image

We saw two Cape foxes, two separate sightings, along the way between Melkvlei and Dikbaardskolk.

Image

Interesting wording on a sign at Gunong waterhole.

Image

Pale Chanting Goshawk

Image

We arrived at Nossob and after eating some lunch (pies from the shop) we looked for a place to pitch the tent. There was a nice big tree that looked like it do just fine. An elderly couple had pitched their tent in the adjacent picnic spot. We must have been learning a thing or two as we had shade and an electrical point, and I think we had the prime spot. We pitched the tent in record time and sat around for a while relaxing.

In the afternoon we headed north from Nossob to Kwang and back. We didn't see much, but there were four lions along the way. We also noticed that there was good photographic light in the right direction at Kwang.

Wildebeest

Image

Springbok

Image

Lion

Image


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 6 - 29.09.2007

Camp: Nossob

On our second day at Nossob we decided to take a drive around Marie se Draai. We did this loop perhaps five times between the morning and the afternoon. The morning drive was good with some good lion sightings and bat-eared fox. But the afternoon drive was quite disappointing, as we were starting to discover, the morning drives were far more lucrative than the afternoon ones. We're thinking that 15:00 is still too early to go out in the afternoon. Since we're not seeing much on the afternoon drives we might as well relax a bit more at the camp and leave a bit later. (Of course this would come back to bite us the next day.)

We came across something unusual in KTP, a traffic jam. Apparently a lioness was hiding her week old cubs in a piece of scrub under an old dead tree. We stopped and looked and you could see that there was a lion in there, but we could not see any cubs and it was obvious that she was not in any mood to get up, so we drove on, reluctantly.

In the afternoon we returned to the spot which was easy to find, just look for the cars. She was still in the same place and a bit more visible, but still no good view of the cubs and no vantage point good enough for photos. We'll try again tomorrow.

A fairly angry looking lion!

Image

A pair of Black-headed Herons at Maries'

Image

Lion crossing the river.

Image

Now scent marking the bush.

Image

Checking if that was a good enough job.

Image

*Really* checking that it was a good job.

Image

Image

Coming across the river in another area

Image

Image

Bat-eared Foxes

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

The night sky in KTP is awesome. Even in the campsite with all the peoples' lights on the Milky Way is quite visible. But wait until everyone has gone to sleep and take a look at the sky then, millions and millions of stars gaze back at you, sending their light that is millions of years old.

The first image is at ISO 800, f/4 and the shutter open for 20 seconds. This allowed me to capture the stars and Milky Way with a minimum of sensor noise, but the Milky way is not quite as visible as I would like it to be. You can't lower the ISO too much as this will require either a faster lens, or a longer exposure. If the exposure goes over 20 or 30 seconds you'll end up getting star trails instead of the intended star field.

Image

In the next image, I upped the ISO to 3200 and left the shutter open for 30 seconds. You can see in the dark areas that there is a lot of image noise, but you now have a clear and amazing view of the Milky Way. (And in my opinion, you don't really notice the noise much since there are stars all over the place anyway.)

Image

The final star field image was taken next to the fence and including the fence to give the image a bit more interest. The lights of the nearby tents illuminated the fence and trees enough to make them visible.

Image

We then went to see what was happening at the waterhole. As it turned out there was a mad herd of Gemsbok chasing each other around and around the waterhole.

Image

And then in the distance, over the dunes, the moon rose.

Image

Cheers
Craig


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:20 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 7 - 30.09.2007

Camp: Nossob

Today we decided to go north up to Leijersdraai and back.

At Cubitje Quap we came across some wildebeest in good light and that would let us get close to them.

Image Image

Image Image

Some of the roads up here are terribly corrugated.

Image

Langklaas waterhole is empty, and Kousant is nearly empty. Grootbrak is nice, so full that the water is overflowing on to the ground, making a wide area of water. Springbok and wildebeest were there, as well as good numbers of Red Hartebeest.

Image Image

At Leijersdraai picnic area we saw cheetah tracks but there was no sign of the cheetah. While we were having coffee we noticed this Familiar Chat inspecting our car. We have no idea what it was up to.

Image

On our way back we saw a Bateleur drinking at Grootbrak, but unfortunately it had taken off by the time we got there. (photo cropped and enhanced, just like in CSI :lol: )

Image

We also saw this one horned springbok.

Image

Back at the camp we spent some more time with the squirrels and mongoose.

Image Image

Image Image

Image

We left the camp again at 16:30 for Marie se Draai. The lioness with the cubs is still hidden and difficult to see, but we did have one lioness strolling up the river bed towards camp.

We saw a black-backed jackal near Maries se Draai.

Image

Not much to see on the loop road, we came back to camp just before gate closing time to find a lioness on a dune right next to the camp.

Image

And a puffadder on the road.

Image Image

Image

Back at the camp we did some more star photos.

Star field with the Nossob camp fence.

Image

Star trail with the Nossob camp fence. (This was a 40 minute exposure)

Image


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
First let me apologise for the amount of photos. Hopefully when you see what they are you'll forgive me. I know some people may be on slow dial up, but when you take as many photos in a day as we do, it's sometimes hard to whittle them down to just a handful. I do try to minimize the amount though!

Day 8 - 01.10.2007

Camp: Mata Mata

Today was the day that we had to leave Nossob. We were going to be staying at Mata Mata for the next four nights. Of course this meant taking down the tent and packing things back into the car. We ended up leaving camp at 07:30. As we were just leaving the camp, we met Wynand, who we had been camping next to for the last couple of days. We had chatted a bit about where we come from, and like quite a few people had come over to ask the mad man (me - and my wording not his!) why he was taking pictures of the sky at night. :D We had a decent chat, I showed him some of the photos we had taken and we agreed to meet up again in Mata Mata as he would be there on our last night there. Wynand alerted us to the fact that the lion with the cubs was in the process of moving them, and that we should get there fast as she only had one left to move. Naturally we high-tailed it to the place (within the speed limit of course), and got there just in time to see her coming out with the last cub.

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

There were also two males and another lioness nearby watching the move.

Image Image

This was special. There aren't many times in your life that you can say that you have witnessed something like that. I'm hoping that we'll get to see it again in the future, but for now I'm very happy.

Unfortunately we didn't see much else at Marie se Draai, and likewise on the rest of the roads until Urikaruus. We took the Nossob road down to Dikbaardskolk and then the upper dune road to the Auob side. We then took the Mata Mata road, to strangely, Mata Mata.

Just after Urikaruus we saw this cheetah resting under a tree. Unfortunately it didn't do much else!

Image

We also saw some more lion at 13de Boorgat and Giraffe near Craig Lockhart waterhole.

When we got to the camp we went to the shop for the obligitory pie for lunch (you'd think we don't get pies in Durban) and headed off to the camp site to select a spot.

When we got there there was a crowd under what looked to be the best spot in the place, they hadn't set up their tents but we assumed that they were also just having lunch before doing that.

There were people already set up in the other areas with shade, so we took a spot under the remaining tree with shade, that was unfortunately miles from an electrical point. That's no problem we have a 30m extension cord for times like this.

We had just run the cord when we noticed the people under the big tree all get into their cars and drive off. They left no indication that they were claiming the space, and as far as we could tell were just using the shade to have their picnic. Now I don't mind people using a campsite for a picnic, although that is what picnic spots are for. But to claim what looked like four electrical camping spots in a camp that doesn't have that many spaces already, just to eat your lunch is a bit rude I think.

Anyway, I guess they saved the best shade for us, so we moved over there after they had gone and started to set up the tent.

We left camp for our afternoon drive at 16:00, but not before noticing very dark, heavy clouds coming over from Namibia. We wondered if we would be lucky enough to experience a Kalahari storm, and we were not to be disappointed.

Image

The ground smelled strange. Not what I would recognise as the typical bush after rain smell that we know from KZN and Kruger. This was more like rain on recently burnt grass, and it was pungeant, almost over-powering, but we enjoyed the rain none the less. Unfortunately we were not able to find a herd of springbok to take pictures of in the rain! :twisted:

There were some amazing clouds around and the scene changed many times in a short period.

Image

After a little bit more driving we were treated to a spectacular double rainbow, and some stunning scenes.

Image Image

Image Image

We decided to drive down to Urikaruus waterhole and back to see if the cheetah was still around. It wasn't but we did get to see some lions cross the road at 13de Boorgat and then up the dune to meet the rest of the family including some more cubs.

Image

There was a Pale Chanting Goshawk nearby as well.

Image

And huge herds of synchronised springbok.

Image

Later on at Craig Lockhart we saw the giraffe again. This time they were in good light.

Image Image

And a black-backed jackal graced us with its presence.

Image

On our way back to camp we also got to see an amazing sunset.

Image

And finally I took a photo of the hide at Mata Mata at night (with the stars of course)

Image

And a shot of the stars over the Parkhome chalets in the camp.

Image

That night it was very windy and we thought we might blow away! It sounded like it was raining, but there were no clouds in the sky. What could it be? In the morning we would find out. Stay tuned.


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 11:18 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 9 - 02.10.2007

Camp: Mata Mata

All night long it was windy. We thought the tent was going to blow away. Yet interspersed with the wind was times that it sounded like it was raining. We had looked outside but the skies were clear, what could it be?

The next morning we found out. Exiting the tent it became evident that what we had been hearing was not rain. It was in fact hundreds upon hundreds of catepillars of all different sizes. They obviously live in that type of tree and either came down during the night on little strands of silk, or fell out. Either way there were catepillars everywhere. What we had heard as rain was of course the end result of the catepillars gorging themselves on the leaves of the tree. We had been poo'd on. This didn't sound like a good omen.

We couldn't be bothered to move the tent, we would just have up put up with them, and become one with nature. :D We went about our morningly business getting ready for our morning drive. This included boiling water to make coffee for the flask. The water was already in the kettle from the previous night, all I had to do was boil it which I did. Fortunately our kettle does not make it particularly easy to see when it is boiling so you have to remove the lid and peer inside. When I did I found catepillars. Only a few, but there is no way that I'm going to drink boiled catepillar juice! :lotsocoffee: I hate to waste water, but I had to discard that and boil a new kettle full.

MENTAL NOTE TO SELF: Next time camping check for a) shade; b) electrical point; c) catepillars.

So eventually we get to go out on a drive. It's now 06:00 the gates have just opened and we're one of the first out of the gate. We head down to 13de Boorgat. Since it had rained the previous day we noticed that there was quite a bit of mist about, unusual we thought for the Kalahari, but pretty.

Image

A little further on we passed one of the waterholes (Sitzas I think, but not sure) and the sun was starting to come up. I love sunrises (& sets), wind-pumps and mist, so we just had to take this photo.

Image

Along the way we saw this Kori Bustard.

Image

And a large herd of eland, running away of course!

Image

Image Image

We saw pretty doves with nice reflections at one of the waterholes.

Image

Image

And a naughty looking Jackal, probably hungry for some dove.

Image

Peace, Man! Two types of dove drinking. Laughing Dove on the left, and Cape Turtle Dove on the right.

Image

And taking flight.

Image

Then just as we were about to drive on, the sandgrouse arrived.

Burchell's Sandgrouse.

Image

Namaqua Sandgrouse.

Image Image

Sandgrouse flying.

Image Image

Image

Some ostrich came in to drink.

Image Image

And a Gabar Goshawk waited in a tree opposite.

Image

Then the sandgrouse came back for another turn.

Image

One of them wasn't so lucky though and was caught by a Lanner Falcon. We didn't actually see the action but we know that they wait in the trees for the birds to come down and then swoop in and ambush them.

Image

A bit further on we found some Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters. Such a pity that a piece of the tree was in the way for the first photo.

Image Image

Image

We also came across a Crowned Lapwing (still can't get used to calling them lapwings. I think they'll always be 'plov-plov's to us!)

Image Image

On the afternoon drive we saw virtually nothing, other than spingbok and this White-backed Vulture.

Image

We waited at Craig Lockhart waterhole for a good while hoping to catch the wildcat at home, but it was not to be and eventually we headed back to camp.

In the evening I did, you guessed it, some more star photos.

Light from Mata Mata waterhole and fence with stars (facing roughly north)

Image

Stars and Milky Way from Mata Mata (with a satellite glinting in the lower right corner - looks like a short horizontal line)

Image

And finally a short ten minute star trail, with the Milky Way.

Image


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 10 - 03.10.2007

Camp: Mata Mata

Before we left camp, actually after we woke, the first thing that I did was to get a good shot of the moon.

Image

Today we took our usual route down to 13de Boorgat and back.

On the way we saw this lovely giraffe in the morning light.

Image

We saw some springbok fighting.

Image

And a Rock Kestrel in a tree.

Image

At Dalkeith we saw two lions. One was already at the waterhole and the other was walking towards it. We watched as they gulped down water for over 20 minutes. Together they must have drunk over 100 litres. You could see the level that the water was before they started and what it was after they left, and the water level must have gone down at least 5 or 10 cm.

Eventually they crossed over the road and up into the dunes and lay down in the shade.

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

When they left the waterhole they flushed out a Cape Fox who was hiding in a nearby bush.

Image

On the way back we saw a Pale Chanting Goshawk that was very close to the road and I started taking photos of it. Caroline then told me about a Cape Cobra that was right next to the bird that I hadn't seen through the viewfinder. Unfortunately by the time I had seen it it had slithered off into a hole.

Image Image Image

At the campsite there were lots of squirrels who were begging for biscuit scraps. When they weren't begging they were very naughty chasing each other around the camp. Very cute little things though!

Image Image

Image Image

Image

Then I went and did a bit of birdspotting in the camp.

A White-browed Sparrow Weaver.

Image Image

Along the way, I found this tree with lovely bark.

Image

We also had a Yellow Mongoose at the camp and there were springbok and wildebeest at the waterhole.

Image

Image

In the afternoon we again headed towards 13th. We saw the Cape Cobra again at the same spot as earlier but again it was too quick for us and disappeared into a hole.

The lions were also still in the dunes but they were too far off for decent photos. We saw White-backed and Lappet-faced Vultures, and a Tawny Eagle.

At Craig Lockhart, we saw Gemsbok.

Image

Back at camp, Caroline also saw a tree rat that jumped out of a tree and then scuttled right back up the tree.

That evening we were invited to sit with Wynand and Annamie. We chatted about the previous few days sightings and we showed them the photos of our sighting from the days before. While we were chatting we set up the camera and did another star trail. It was a lovely evening and before we knew it, it was time to go and sleep with the caterpillars and rest for the next day. Thanks Wynand & Annamie, we had a great time.

Image


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 1:12 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 11 - 04.10.2007

Camp: Mata Mata

Today we again took the route towards 13de boorgat and back (because where else are you going to go from Mata Mata? :D )

On the way there we saw a Tawny Eagle quite close (although this is a cropped photo).

Image

Closer to 13de we saw two spotted hyena being chased by lions. The lions chased them all the way up and over the dunes. All the while, the rest of the pride was following behind, two lionesses and six cubs of varying ages. They eventually went up to the crest of the dune and stayed there - we left after a little while as they were showing no sign of moving.

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image

Near the lions was a large herd of springbok.

Image

For those who are interested to know how they grade (repair) the roads in KTP this photo is for you. It's a contraption made from steel and old tyres, with a rock on top to provide a bit more weight! :roll: :lol: - I shouldn't laugh it does sort of work. They drag this thing along the road and it smoothes out all the bumps, for a little while at least. Give the speedsters a day or so and the road is back to where it was.

Image

We did see something funny later in the day. On our trip back we noticed the guy who was earlier towing the grader thing, this time he was without the grader, so it was just him in the tractor, steering with one hand, and holding his rifle in the other hand with the butt of the rifle apparently on the floor of the cab. We didn't take a photo, but this looked funny to us. We're not sure where his finger was on the gun, but hopefully not on the trigger! We imagined that this may be the way that they test if the road needs grading. When the gun goes off too many times the road is bad! On a serious note though, the poor guy had to sit on this tractor all day in the searing heat. The tractor had four poles around where the seat is to hold up a roof, but there was no roof or canopy there. I don't even think the guy was wearing a hat. Please SANParks, fix your tractors so that these guys at least have a little shade while they do their work.

Other animals that we saw were:

Two tawny eagles eating chicks in a vulture nest. A third was sitting on a tree off to the side, perhaps a juvenile.

Image

Whistling rat.

Image

The lions were still on the dune in the afternoon, we waited for them a bit more but they still didn't come down.

We also saw a ground agama.

Image

And some giraffe fighting.

Image Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

Image

And lastly, the rare, very seldom seen, two headed, eight legged siamese giraffe. Wow, we were so lucky to have seen this! :dance: :twisted: :roll:

Image

Tomorrow we leave Mata Mata for the KTP Photo Workshop at Gemsbokplein Centre. Woohoo!!!


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Day 12 - 05.10.2007

Camp: Gemsbokplein Centre

Today we left Mata Mata. We decided to go down to Twee Rivieren to get some supplies before arriving at the Gemsbokplein centre for the start of the Photo Safari.

On the way down we came across the graders fixing the road. These made the road silky smooth (for a while).

Image

We didn't really see a heck of a lot today, but we did see suricate (meerkat) on the way to Twee Rivieren, just before Munro waterhole we spotted the meerkat in a small bush performing the job of lookout. A few minutes later we saw the whole mob looking for food on the other side of the road.

A White-browed Sparrow Weaver nest.

Image

Yellow Mongoose.

Image

Meerkat.

Image

Image

Image Image

Image Image

We arrived at Gemsbokplein Centre at about 14:30 - Madach, DuQues, PhilQ and Else (SO) were already there, we introduced ourselves and chatted a bit. A bit later Toddelelfe and his sister arrived. We met George who was our ranger, and Alastair our guide. George would stay with us the entire time that we were going to be at the centre, and Alastair would return the next morning at 08:00 with the game viewer.

We stayed in the main dormitory. Madach says that we were supposed to stay in the rooms that are normally used for the teachers/supervisors, but they didn't have the keys for those rooms. It didn't matter as the dorms were quite acceptable. All the bedrooms, the dorm, the ranger and guides rooms and bathrooms were in one fenced compound. The dining room was in its own separate compound about 50m away which was also fenced. Although I should mention that the fence is only about 1.2m high and not electrified! :lol:

Since we were not going on any official photo safari drive this afternoon we went out ourselves. We drove up to Urikaruus waterhole and back, but we didn't see much.

Another yellow mongoose.

Image

Image

Interesting Clouds.

Image

Image Image

Tomorrow the photo safari starts proper!


Last edited by Craig on Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Sebakwe at 08:45:56 Submitted by grannyb at 14:08:39 Submitted by grannyb at 14:05:22 Submitted by Luca at 14:02:02