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 Post subject: jb72 in KTP December 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:58 pm 
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It's been a while in the making, but at long last I've put my head down and got this trip report going. If only my sightings were as spectacular as Michelle's..... :lol:

We decided to leave late on Christmas day, and drive to Van Ruynsdorp, to make the drive on the 26th a bit shorter. What a pleasure!!! Absolutely no cars on the road, and we did the short trip in no time at all.

We were up early the following morning, and there was a lot of rain and huge puddles of water around all the way from Calvinia north. We were wondering if any of it reached KTP. We reached TR just after 1pm and sure enough the Nossob road was closed due to some nice rain showers the 24th.

We quickly unpacked the car, put a six pack in the deepfreeze, and we were ready for our first game drive by 3. We headed towards Mata-Mata, with a quick stop at the confluence, but all we found there were loads of carcasses (I'm sure we all know the story by now). The road to Mata-Mata was fairly quiet, with temperatures high into the 30’s. We saw a couple of herds of Springbuck, and some Wildies at Munro waterhole. Shortly after Munro we also saw our first Pale Chanting Goshawk for the trip.

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The amount of Raptors we saw on this trip is quite unbelievable. The summer sure is the time for birds in KTP. I’m only a learner when it comes to birds, so I’ll be asking for quite a few ID’s along the way. I hope someone will be able to help with this. We also saw a Giant Eagle Owl in a tree next to the road, but he was way too camouflaged for a photo.

Just before Auchterlonie we spotted our first meerkat.

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We waited a while for his friends to show themselves, but soon he disappeared over the ridge, and no-one else appeared. Not too bad though for the first day, as we’ve heard that some people were battling to find them. We turned around at Auchterlonie, and headed back for an ice cold beer (or three) and a lovely braai under the most beautiful skies in the world. Aaaaahhhhh – it’s amazing how good life can be…..


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:37 pm 
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The following morning we were first out the gates. We were heading towards Nossob, and had to take the lower dune road due the flooded roads. It’s amazing how much life there is on the dune roads early in the morning. First up was a wildcat crossing the road and disappearing under some bushes. There were also loads of steenbokkies and gemsbok on the road. With all the rains it also meant baby time in KTP, and we were very lucky to spot lots, and lots of those. First up were an ostrich family on the lower dune road.

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Soon after that we also found this youngster next to the road.

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Just after Kij Gamies we found a Cape Fox den, but they were extremely shy, and quickly disappeared before we could get any pics. There were also loads of lion spoor around, but the beggers were nowhere to be seen. When we reached the Nossob road it was bird time again. First up was this giant eagle owl.

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Then our first lanner falcon for the trip. Please tell me if I’m wrong with this ID.

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And then this beautiful bateleur.

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About four kilometers after Gunong waterhole we came across two lionesses next to the road. It’s amazing how you can find lionesses in KTP in the middle of nowhere, as this was miles from any waterhole.

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Our first tortoise spotting in KTP was soon after. I’m not sure but suspect that this might be a Kalahari tent tortoise. Once again please help if I am talking nonsense here, but it was amazing how long his legs are and how fast he could move.

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Next up on our list of babies were these beautiful red hartbeest.

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I think I've reached my limit for this page, so we'll call it a night for now.
TBC with Marie se draai, and all Nossob can offer !!!!


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:20 pm 
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Hi guys - thank you very much for the comments.
Unfortunately I'm heading up the West coast for loads of crayfish and snoek :dance: tonight, so I'll only be able to continue the trip report next week..... :cry:

Meanwhile a couple more family photos:

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Have a good weekend !!!!! :D :D :D


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Whooo Hoooo...another KTP report!!! Methinks you have been badgered into this...but really jb72...you cannot go to the KTP and not tell us about it ..it is just not done!!!!

Quote:
If only my sightings were as spectacular as Michelle's.....


Oh really now!!! I am almost done with my report and nowhere is there a photo of a meerkat :evil: My sightings were spectacular and judging by our few chats that we had so were yours !!!! The sightings were just different that's all ! It just goes to show that two people can be in the park at the same time...but that does not mean that the sightings are going to be the same. That is what is so great about trip reports..now we really know what goes on there!!! Keep it coming jb72...still cannot get over the fact that you got a photo of a meerkat! :evil: :mrgreen: :evil:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:10 pm 
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OK - time to move on.
Thanks for all the lovely comments guys - really appreciate it.

When we reached the loop for Marie se Draai there were loads of vultures nesting in the trees. I am not sure if vultures have a nesting season but there were at least 8 to 10 trees with resident vultures.

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We arrived and checked into Nossop and were told about a lion family on Marie se draai, consisting of two females, a male and two small cubs. Perfect…. I am sure that like the leopard cub and mom at confluence I was sure to find them at some stage over the next ten days. Famous last words.

We went for a quick afternoon scouting session along Marie se draai confident of finding them, but due the extreme afternoon heat there were once again very few animals to be found. Once again KTP just showed us that even if there are no animals around there will always be loads of birds to keep you company.

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This pair of tawny eagles had us baffled. Would the light coloured one be a juvenile?

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After driving back through Marie se draai we returned to Nossop for another delicious braai and more freezing beers.

Tomorrow morning we will be first out the gates to find the lion family.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:49 pm 
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The next morning we were no 3 in the queue but the first car to turn south. Ever hopeful we did Marie se Draai but unbelievably found nothing, not even anybody at the waterhole. We decided to head back to camp and drive north towards Kwang. Just before Rooikop waterhole SO spotted movement in the shrubs. It was what at first seemed to be a bat-eared fox standing in a very peculiar pose. On closer inspection we saw that she had 4 cubs drinking on her while dad lounged under a bush nearby. What a beautiful sight. Having sated their hunger the cubs then started a bit of rough and tumble with mom and dad. These photos really do not do justice as we found it terribly difficult to focus on the foxes amongst all the shrubs. I profusely apologise for the quality of the photos ! Times like this you wish you had done that photography course and invested in one of them bazooka lenses!

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We stayed with the family for ages until they decided to move on and out of sight. We might have missed the lion family but this was definitely better. We headed north and when we reached Cubitje Quap we were told that there had been two male lions but they had moved off into the dunes. We drove further north to Kwang and found these jackals having a morning drink.

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We sat around for a while and decided to head a bit further north even though it was starting to get hot. Before I continue, for those of you who don’t know, before we left I had mentioned on the forum how I had yet to see spotted hyena in KTP and this was on my wish list of sightings for the trip. Anyhow, we left Kwang and around 4 km further in the distance saw the unmistakable gait of four spotties heading our way. I could not believe my eyes or my luck. We stopped and they soon crossed the road right in front of us, stopping to say good morning and have a good old sniff at the car, before they headed off into the dunes.

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We drove on to Bedinkt, turned around and headed back to camp. On the way back we saw our first baby wildebeest.

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We also drove past this secretary bird. This was the first one that was willing to hang around for a photo.

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Back in camp it was time for my usual spot the owl expedition. This trip I was lucky enough to find a pair of spotted eagle owls in the tree behind reception, and a pair of white faced owls in the trees in front of chalets no 6 & 7.

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Meanwhile, at the waterhole these abdim storks had moved in and were feasting on the abundance of insects. Some mathematician was brave enough to have a go at counting them and told us there were around 160. Another rare sighting !

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That's it for now ! Have a good evening folks !


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:38 pm 
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jb72 wrote:
These photos really do not do justice as we found it terribly difficult to focus on the foxes amongst all the shrubs... Times like this you wish you had done that photography course and invested in one of them bazooka lenses!


We also did see a bat-eared fox family with little ones at their den on our KTP December 2007 trip (in the Mata Mata area) and I also thought the same as you - very hard to take any clear pics of the bat-eared foxes with scrubs and bushes everywhere and - it would have been nice to have a really big zoom lens! :roll:

Even though, what a wonderful sighting! And the hyena pics are just fabulous, not to speak of the owl pics! Wonderful photos! :clap:

Looking forward to the next installment!
Safarigirl


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Wow...just awesome jb72. :dance:
By the way I don't think it is too late to invest in a bigger lens or photographic course...at the rate you are visiting the park :roll: :evil: you will surely get your money's worth!!!! :wink:
Enjoying this report ..jb72. I still find it amazing that we were both there at the same time but we saw such different things. I am very :mrgreen: of your baby bat-eared foxes!


Last edited by Caracal on Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:45 am 
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michele nel wrote:
Wow...just awesome jb72. :dance:
By the way I don't think it is too late to invest in a bigger lens or photographic course...at the rate you are visiting the park :roll: :evil: you will surely get your money's worth!!!! :wink:
Enjoying this report ..jb72. I still find it amazing that we were both there at the same time but we saw such different things. I am very :mrgreen: of your baby bat-eared foxes!


Yeah - I have two more trips booked for this year so far, and I'm working on the third and fourth..... :D

I'm sure you saw the bat-eared fox family on 14th borehole though ???? I gave such good directions there is no way you could have missed it. You're probably just keeping us in suspence.... :twisted:


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:57 pm 
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Quote:
I'm sure you saw the bat-eared fox family on 14th borehole though ???? I gave such good directions there is no way you could have missed it. You're probably just keeping us in suspence....


You hid them all away from me remember :twisted: ....that is why I hid the leopard and cub. :wink: Either that or you got your numbers mixed up...maybe you meant 13th and not 14th. Maybe the Windhoeks and the sun were not a good combination..or was it that champagne!!!! :dance:

Come along now jb72...stop faffing and get on with it. We would like this report finished before your next trip :wink: :wink: :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:42 pm 
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On with the story we go.....

In the afternoon we went for a quick drive on Marie se Draai. Again things were fairly quiet, just a couple of lanner falcons and a snake eagle. Obviously no sign of the lion family....

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When we arrived back at camp we were surprised to find the two males lions seen in the morning at Cubitje Quap waiting for us at the waterhole. It’s amazing how far these lions had walked in the heat of the day. Obviously thirsty work from the amount of water they were drinking!

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Sorry for all the photos, but i just could not decide which ones to post :redface:

They stayed at the waterhole till around nine or so before disappearing into the night. And so another great day in Africa comes to an end…..

The following morning we set out for Grootkolk. Things were fairly quiet until we reached Polentswa where we found another hyena family having a bath / drink.

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Once again - too many photos, too little space. Big time apologies ! I think I'll wait for the page to turn before I continue....


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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:25 pm 
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Thanks again for the comments guys - very much appreciated.

On with the show.....

We stayed with the hyena's for a while before we headed further north. We drove to Lijersdraai picnic spot to see if there was any sign of the leopard but no such luck. At Lijersdraai watering hole we found three lioness under a tree. We sat for a while but they were clearly settled for the day.

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At Kannaguass we found lots of lion spoor but nobody around. We did find a secretary bird and some baby red hartbeest.

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It was amazing how beautiful and green the Nossop riverbed was up here. There were massive springbok, wildebeest and red hartebeest herds everywhere. This was truly beautiful.

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Here is a photo of one of the big springbok herds. Once again not the best quality I'm affraid, but just look at the amount of springbucks !

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We continued on to Grootkolk. This was my first time here and I could see this was a special place. The view down on the waterhole was just breathtaking.

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After unpacking and resting for a couple of hours we headed back down towards Kannaguass. About half way there we spotted some kudu in the distance. They were a bit far for a decent photo. But here is proof anyway....

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No sign of the lions but on the way back we noticed a storm brewing in the distance. I couldn’t help but wonder if this storm would reach Grootkolk......

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Back in camp the animals started arriving at the waterhole. First were the red hartbesst.

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And next were the wildies.

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Well, the fire was burning, and the beers were flowing (trying to cool off in front of the hot fire), when the storm made an appearance. And a spectacular storm it certainly was ! Problem was that my fire was just burning, and it would still be a while before I could cook.

More about that later....


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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:57 pm 
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Time to move on... This was definitely the most spectacular storm I have ever witnessed. I decided to attempt a couple of photos of the storm but here is where you must realise I know absolutely nothing about photography and I was basically just aiming at the clouds, waiting for lightening and pressing the button. Might not be the best but I'm quite proud of my timing at least :D

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While the storm was moving in from the east, the sun was disappearing in the west. Quite a contrast!

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While the show was continuing we were getting worried that we would not be able to finish cooking dinner. Never the less I opened another beer and sat back and enjoyed the show. To our amazement the storm never did arrive. As we would discover the next morning the storm came to within 10 km of Grootkolk. I am not quite sure if I am disappointed that I never got to witness the force of the rain but at least I got to witness the power of nature from a close distance. The other down side was that no further animals came down to the waterhole.

The next morning we were up and ready to leave at 5.30. I really wanted to stay a little longer but we had to travel all the way to KTC. As we got into the main road we spotted a cheetah being harassed by 7 jackals. Now for total amature hour - I should not be admitting this but thanks to all my fooling around with the camera trying to take spectacular lightening photos the batteries had gone flat and I managed only one photo before the cheetah disappeared. Unfortunately this photo was of terrible quality still too. :redface:

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We drove around trying to see if there was a kill somewhere but could not find anything. I wonder why the jackals were chasing the cheetah like that.

Near Kannagaus we picked up fresh lion spoor. We followed it up to the waterhole and beyond and were just about to give up when the tracks left the road. This is still the great thing about KTP - following the spoor for miles and hoping to find the king of beasts at the end of it. After this guy had left the road we thought it was over but just a couple of hundred metres further we found him lying next to the road in some bushes! I think we might have missed him if we had not been looking for him. He sat around for a while before he walked further into the riverbed and gave us an incredible display of lion roaring.

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This turned out to be the most beautiful morning ever. There were animals everywhere and it's like the rain from the night before had everbody in good form. This would also turn out to be the morning for bat-eared foxes as we saw four different sightings before Polentswa.

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Along the way we also found this ostrich and gemsbok posing for pics.

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We drove on to Lijersdraai where the 3 lioness had been but there was no-one around. We sat at the waterhole for a while and suddenly SO saw something running in the distance. Through the binocs we could see that it was another spottie running towards the riverbed. We decided to backtrack for a bit and see if we could catch him crossing the road. A tricky job if you don't know where that point is. Suddenly he appeared out the bushes a little in front of us. Next thing he came running towards us to see what we were. He had a quick peek in the window before he set off down the road.

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Meanwhile the after effects of the storm were everywhere to be seen. But more about that later.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Love your lightning pix and very :mrgreen: :mrgreen: of your batearred foxes. As for the flat battery, all the more reason for having a car charger! :wink:

A backup battery (or several) also comes in useful. I have both, as I travel too far and too infrequently to take any unnecessary risks! I don't have the luxury of visiting even once a year, let's not even think of how :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I am of you visiting 3/4 times in a year!

@MN: No matter how bad the KTP roads are, and we know they can get pretty dreadful, I would NEVER want them to be tarred!! :roll: That would totally destroy KTP's special bush character!

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:11 pm 
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Thanks again for all the comments guys - good to know we were'nt the only ones battling with flat camera batteries !
As for the bat-eared foxes - we were very lucky again this trip. We saw loads of them, and two dens two. I'm quite surprised Michele did not mention the den at 14de boorgat in her report.... :twisted: I also went on a night drive from TR, and we must have seen at least 8 bat-eared foxes, and 10 cape foxes on that drive ! Just goes to show that there are so many of them around you just need to be out early in the morning or late at night to spot them. Anyhow - let me not go into too much detail, I'll get to all that at some stage in the report.....


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