With so many beautiful trip reports being written for this forum, and the added fact that both KDU and JUMBO were in the park at the same time as me, (and are doing wonderful trip reports) I have decided to just give a few impressions of a wonderful week spent in the park during November.
As always this is a park that is full of contrasts – the highs are really high and the lows can be fairly miserable, but as usual I left the park after 7 nights feeling that my thirst for nature, photography, inspiration and some solitude had been amply quenched, and once again I could look forward to time spent in my studio.
To start off with, it has to be said, that the park is very, very dry.
So dry in fact that there was a serious shortage of sightings at times and many hours were spent driving without seeing very much at all. The Whistling Rats (and Goshawks etc… that feed on them,) were conspicuous by their absence as were the Red Headed finches and Queleas that crowd the water holes in sweeping waves in the afternoon light. Few Falcons guarded these last outposts, preferring to seek out their prey in greener pastures further north, but then on the positive side, there were plenty of Lions and surprisingly good Leopard sightings, so plenty to keep my interest. And in these conditions, the Kgalagadi landscape has a charm of it’s own, the red dunes and dusty plains, windswept and barren, are perhaps more ‘true Kgalagadi’ than some of the summer vistas I have seen in recent years. Some dramatic sandstorms and even a bit of rain kept things interesting at times, adding to the challenge of good photography.
Day one probably had enough in sightings, all in the first 3 hours, to fill this whole report, so I will have to split it into 2 parts.
Settings out as the gates opened, I came across this lone mother drinking only a few meters from the camp gate. I don’t often see Brown Hyenas but the trip showed me 2 great sightings. (The other near Nossob)
Shortly after leaving her, and heading towards Mata Mata, I came across a few cars watching Lions very far away across the river bed, but I decided to stay and get the cameras set up. To my amazement, the lions decided to walk towards us and after walking up to, and looking straight into one of the vehicles, they crossed between the cars and posed on the dunes for a few pics. Seems luck was on my side this morning. Little did I know.
Here the mother is keeping an eye to see if junior is coming as she told him to.