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 Post subject: Safarigirl`s Kgalagadi Christmas 2007 Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:49 pm 
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In December 2007/January 2008, my husband and I went on our first self-drive tour to Southern Africa. We spent 2,5 weeks in southern Namibia incl a 1-week safari in Kgalagadi.
This trip report features the Kgalagadi days of our tour. (sorry for some not-so-good-quality-pics, but we are just hobby-photographers)

Day 1: 19th Dec 2007
Mata Mata - Twee Rivieren
We crossed the border into South Africa at Mata Mata. We were very excited about our upcoming adventure and we were really enthusiastic when we saw the beautiful Kgalagadi landscape that met us: red dunes covered in lush green vegetation and yellow flowers everywhere! It seemed as if the whole Kalahari was in bloom!

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Here are some pics of the animals which we saw on our way from Mata Mata to Twee Rivieren that afternoon!

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Springbok, sleepy lions, colourful bird at Kamqua picknick site and an Ostrich family with little ones!

Image Image Thirsty jackal!

To be continued...


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:36 pm 
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Thank you wanderw & Ralph vV! We really miss being in Kgalagadi! :(

Day 2: 20th Dec 2007
Twee Rivieren area
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We had spent our first night in the park in our roof-tent and we also braaid for the first time in our life on the campsite at Twee Rivieren, which was really adventurous! There were a lot of curious ground squirrels at the campsite and birds singing in the trees. It was though a very busy campsite and some people played loud music until late at night. In the morning, we quikly packed away our roof-tent as we had decided to go on a guided morning game drive.
It was still a little dark at 5am in the morning as we spotted an African Wildcat at a treebransch next to the road, not far from TR. We also saw an owl, but it was very difficult to get a sharp picture in the darkness (they also hide very well among the leaves!).

Later on, we saw a lion on a dune at sunrise, too far for a good pic and jackals, oryx, ostriches, more springbok, ground squirrels everywhere, many predator birds and two lionesses walking along the road. We turned at Kij Kij into the little dune road and saw two shy steenbok, who quikly ran away.
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There were two hyenas at the "pool" at Kamfersboom who slowly lifted their heads to look at us as we arrived but then they went back to snoozing again. It was very hot, +39 degrees in the shadow. The landscape in the Twee Rivieren area seemed much drier and arid to us than the MM area.
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And then there was a lioness with 4cubs under a tree at the opposite site at Humoud waterhole. They were very far away, sleeping at mid-day and we were hoping for some action and waited for a long time, but nothing happened.
Image Image
We decided to come back later in the evening to see if anything else would happen...


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:23 pm 
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Thanks for all your replies and comments, christo, pumbaa, africandreams and hippopat! And yes, we really enjoyed our stay in beautiful KTP, there was always something new happening every day & we loved being able to go on a self-drive in a NP! *longing back*

Now, on with the trip report...

We had braai lunch at Auchterlonie picknic site that day, where we also visited the small museum and had a stroll, but we drove on quikly as it was so very hot! Here are some more bird pics of a pygmy falcon we saw and an agama on top of a bush!
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In the late evening, we drove back to Humoud waterhole and see - the lioness with the 4 cubs was up and walking along the dry riverbed! :dance:
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I was very excited about the so cute cubs and we watched them walking, suckling, growling, chasing butterflies and playing for about an hour! Three of the cubs seemed to be of the same age while the 4th cub looked a little older and it often walked a little off-side?! Maybe it was not her own cub?!
Sorry, about some of the pics being very dark, but we found it hard taking pics into the shadow, where the lions were.
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Bigger brother/other lion cub interestingly watched the three younger cubs suckling and playing with mom!
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I was very happy this evening about the lion cubs sighting! I really want one of these cute little things ;) and we just made it inside the gates at closing time that night!

To be continued...


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:19 pm 
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Very enjoyable report, Safarigirl, and excellent pix! 8) How lucky you were with the lioness and cubs! :mrgreen:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Thank you all for your nice comments Elsa, wanderw, icurrie, p@m, arks and katy&francolin ! :D

@katydownunder
Yes, we just loved KTP and we`re sure that we`ll be back some day! There just is something magic about this place!

I`ll try to continue my report today!
Safarigirl


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:07 pm 
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Day 3: 21st December 2007
Twee Rivieren - Nossob

We left TR early for our game drive on our way up to Nossob. We were very enthusiastic of what this new day might bring. On the way, we watched a beautiful african sunrise and we saw a hairy brown hyena on a dune. It was very far away, but here is a pic anyway. The brown hyena seemed to be in a hurry and it didn`t stay long until it dissapeared into the dunes and out of sight.
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Shortly after, we couldn`t believe that we saw another lion - a male lion next to the Rooiputs turn-road (there are lions everywhere in Kgalagadi!!), he was laying peacefully on a little hill, catching the first rays of sun.
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Two different african wildcats followed in the Kij Kij area at two different occassions. It seemed as if they were both out on a hunt, very concentrated, looking into all the holes, scratching the ground here and there and they ignored our vehicle totally. It was very fun to watch though and we stayed around for a long time.
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In the end, the african wildcat gave us an angry look and we finally decided to drive on and leave her alone.

Some springbok were fighting on the plains, which we watched interestingly for a while.
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And at the Melkvei picknick site, we saw beautiful little bee-eaters. (my favourite bird on safari-trips!) *happy*
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We had lunch at the following picknick site and in the afternoon, we continued to Nossob. On the way, we saw a lion carcass at Kaspersdraai. There were jackals around. No idea, what the lion had died of. At Marie Se Draai, 4 female lions were laying under a tree in the distance sleeping. There was also a wildebeest kill nearby.

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Sandy road to Nossob, curious yellow mongoose at picknick site and a lilac-breasted roller!

Nossob! The fuel station, our 4X4 vehicle with roof-tent & us and an owl in the tree behind the reception!
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Our campsite neighbours had put out a fruit banquet and two hungry ground squirrels were there!

Nossob waterhole kept us busy that evening, watching the Lanner Falcons on the trees and red hartebeest coming and going. Jackals also visited to come for a drink after darkness at the waterhole and there were white butterflies everywhere, which the jackals chased and then ate.
At night, I woke up to the growling sound of lions calling. It was a little terrifying to hear that sound so close to the camp. It sounded really scary! :shock: Apparently, a male lion had been visiting the waterhole at Nossob that night, we were told the next morning...


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:53 pm 
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Love your AWCs, safarigirl! :mrgreen:

However, sorry to see that your campsite neighbors were feeding the squirrels as this is not only against park rules, it's also bad for the squirrels :twisted: :roll: :twisted: Unfortunately, far too many visitors think that camp animals (and birds) are an exception to the no feeding rules — they're not!


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:51 pm 
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I´m not sure where I can see (when posting) if I am inside the 1000kb limit for pics, hopefully there is still some "space" for the next pics on this page! :?

Day 4: 22nd December 2007
Nossob area
It was a wonderful early morning. As we opened the zipzaps from our roof-tent and sleepily looked out, we saw that the sky was all red and as we drove out the gates, we saw a beautiful sunrise!
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On our morning game drive up north from Nossob after a few kilometres, we soon met the male lion, who we had heard calling during the night. He was walking beside the sandy road and there was quikly a traffic jam with approx. 10 cars driving all over in front of us to try to get the best spot for pictures. We kept our distance and awaited what would happen next.
The lion obviously wanted to cross the road, but as soon as he moved forward, the first car in line moved forward, too, and blocked the way. The lion started to shake its head and he seemed very unhappy about this situation. This continued several times.
In the end, he crossed the road somewhere in the middle between all the uplined cars in front and dissapeared into the bush for peace and quiet.

Image Image

We drove further on and left the other cars behind. It was a cloudy day.

At Bedinkt waterhole, there was only one other car and we joined them, switched off our engine, had coffee and just waited. After a while, something black appeared far in the distance in the dry riverbed on the left side. My husband looked through his binoculars and said that it was something strange that looked all black, strolling around and it had a white stripe along its back. As it came closer, we realised that it was a honey badger! :dance: We had never seen one before, so we were very enthusiastic about this sighting! The honey badger was around for quiet a while, but not very close, unfortunetly. He moved on after approx 20minutes and dissapeared out of sight on the right side then.

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As we were making a cross in our animal book "Mammals of Southern Africa" for "Honey Badger", my husband suddenly said "Look, there are two more coming!" and he was right! :shock: I couldn`t believe my eyes, when suddenly two more honey badgers were coming from the same direction to the left as the other had done before. It seemed as if they were tracking the first honey badger, as they were sniffing on the ground all the time, following the tracks. A predator bird appeared in the distance, approaching the honey badgers and they suddenly stopped with what they were doing and ran off to the same direction from which they had appeared.

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We were very happy, but hungry and decided to get back to camp for breakfast. On the way, we saw some wildebeest with calves and a curious oryx.

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We relaxed in the heat of the day, watching the busy ground squirrels and listening to the birds` song and talking to our campsite neighbours about this morning`s sights. Apparently, they had seen some lions south of Nossob on their game drive. We also went to the hide and saw some Hartebeest and the Lanner Falcons in the tree again at the waterhole, which from time to time came flying down to have a drink.

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In camp, there was a little green creature sitting next to the reception and we just had to take a photo of it! (It looked like a grasshopper or similar?!)

Image

In the afternoon, we went back on another game drive up north of Nossob. We stopped at Kwang waterhole and switched our car`s engine off to see what was going on here. We were the only car around.
There was a jackal laying beside the waterhole, oryx drinking some steps away and there were also some wildebeests just standing around a a few metres from the waterhole. It was very quiet.
And then, something very sad happened...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:06 pm 
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What happened next at Kwang waterhole wasn`t easy for me and I wasn`t sure if I should add any pics or not, but that`s nature, so I will post some pics anyway! (no offence)

I´m trying to get my pics sorted, will post them soon!
Safarigirl


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:33 pm 
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Thanks all! :D

Well...
When the "sleeping" jackal at Kwang waterhole tried to rise, we noticed that something was wrong. He seemed very weak and skinny and he walked as if he was "drunk" and fell to the ground several times. He had some bloody spots on the back and the neck. Maybe he was injured?!

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Sometimes, he laid on the ground for minutes and we were wondering if he was still alive, but then he got up again, he was shaking from tip to toe and took a few more steps. The oryx seemed bothered about the jackal`s behaviour and they shook their heads and waved with their horns and walked towards the jackal, who tried to escape but was too weak and he fell to the ground over and over again.
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Suddenly, he lifted his head and looked into our direction. He then got up again and ran towards us, but he was too exhausted and fell to the ground half-way to rest. The oryx followed him a bit. My husband said then "He is trying to get near us for protection" and he was right. When the poor jackal had the power to get up again a little later, he ran towards our car and lay down under it for shelter.

This worried us though. We could hear him breathe heavily from time to time through the open window from beneath the car, but some minutes, it was all quiet. I suddenly felt very sad when I realized the situation : that we probbaly had a dying jackal under our car. :cry: We couldn`t see him, we couldn`t help him and we couldn`t get out of the car to look for him. There were no other cars around and we just sat there waiting. From time to time we could hear him try to rise and he bumped his head onto the car from beneath but then it was all quiet again. Some thirty minutes later, he suddenly had the power to rise again and came out from underneath the car. He looked up on us as if he was saying "Thank you!" and then he ran over the road and a bit up the dune on the other side. There, he fell to the ground.
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We waited and waited, but he didn`t move anymore. Tears came to my eyes and I couldn`t help but cry like a little child and the only thing that comfort me was my husband`s words "At least we gave him shelter under our car for the last minutes of his life! And now, he is in another world with no pain and a happy jackal again!".
It was a very sad experience for me, but I guess, that`s nature.

We hadn`t realized that it had become very windy. Soon, there was sand blowing everywhere, the oryx and wildebeests at the waterhole seemed restless, scattered and ran away and then we suddenly were in the middle of a duststorm. A thin layer of sand - like a cover in his last rest - fell over the jackal and burried him. As we drove back to camp, it started to rain.
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In the eveing, it quietening down a bit and it was wind-still but as it became dark, it started to rain again and it poured down all night.

The first thing we saw next morning, when we had packed our things and went on our game drive on the way south, was a jackal. He was standing on a hill and he looked at us. He was healthy and happy and it looked as if he was smiling at us.
Image

To be continued...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:56 pm 
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Wow Safarigirl, you have had an adventurous time! Sad about the jackal but at least you gave him some shelter.

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Trip Reports:
The stuff of daydreams ... - Kruger
Kalahari Dreamin' - KTP
Just What the Doctor Ordered - West Coast, Augrabies, KTP

Next Trip : September 2012 - Agulhas, Tankwa & KTP :)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:56 pm 
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It's a very sad story indeed safarigirl :cry: poor little guy!!
I guess it's nature way, but if you have not experience it oneself, you can't really relate to it, but i can imagine how you have felt because i feel the pain through your writing... Thanks for sharing this with us..... :cry:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:13 pm 
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Thanks for sharing with us Safarigirl. It is so sad, yet the cycle of life has been completed. For every beginning there is an end ... I would have cried too :cry:

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:26 pm 
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Thank you all for your kind comments! Maybe I`m just a little girly or sensitive, but I was really sad about the poor jackal that day. It was a sad experience. :(

Well, on with the report & some new sightings! :D

Day 5: 23rd December 2007
Nossob - Mata Mata (via TR)

Strangely we couldn`t see any proof of the rain from last night anywhere as we drove on our way south of Nossob. We would spend our next night at Mata Mata campsite, but because we were out of some food, we decided to drive through Twee Rivieren and also look for the leopards in that area. We saw another brown hyena in the distance, but as we had taken up our cameras, it was gone over the dunes. Many predator birds were sitting in the trees on our way, but most of them were very shy and flew away as soon as we stopped our car.
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We saw Oryx with little ones, jackals, ostriches and springbok on the way.
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And an African Wildcat in a tree close to Kij Kij.
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A very muddy car (we noticed that it was very dirty but didn`t think of it anymore) had stopped close by and they were looking into the dunes, but we couldn`t see anything, so we drove by and asked what they were looking at and we got the answer "Lions!". And there they were - a whole group of lions - resting between some bushes in the dunes. They were very far away, but I took some pics anyway.
As we got close to Kij Kij waterhole, a sign blocked the road. The road to Twee Riveren was closed!
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So we were forced to take the little dune road to Twee Rivieren. We weren`t too happy as we still had a long drive ahead of us, as my husband on top of a dune suddenly said "There was something yellow on the road side!". I hadn`t seen anything, but he wanted to rive back and see what it was. As we got closer, we saw that it was a yellow snake. It was a Cape Cobra and it had "folded out its neck" and it didn´t seem too happy. :shock: :redface:
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We took some photos and then continued on our way to Twee Rivieren and we started to see pools everywhere on the road. At the reception, we found out that TR had had some heavy rains that night and that the road from TR-KijKij was closed because of the mud. We did some shoppping and continued on our way to Mata Mata. Just outside the gate, we came across a little tortoise on the road!
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At Montrose waterhole, there were several wildebeest carcasses and on the other side of the dry riverbed, 4 lions totally, were sleeping under two different trees. We stopped for a while and waited and one lioness came to drink at the waterhole, but otherwise not much happened. It was mid-day and very hot, +40 degrees celsius in the shadow.
Image Image

To be continued...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:51 pm 
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What an exciting trip you had!
The pic of the scenic view during sunset is just awesome :clap: , thinks we have to learn to get up that early as well. It sure pays off.
Sad story about the jackal :( , think I would have cried as well, although knowing that's nature.
Again, thanks for the well-written report and stunning pics.

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