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 Post subject: Kgalagadi January 19 to 29 2008!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:13 pm 
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Although I noticed the very popular trip reports by Kathy and Francolin, Doug & Michele, :D , here is ours which I hope might give some hints to others without experience of the Kgalagadi.
But first I would like to start by thanking the guy who stopped in the park to tell us where to find a cheetah and her cub (Jan 20). Incredibly, we had met him 4 months before in the Kruger park and chatted for one minute. He then told us of the Kgalagadi as the best park!
What a small world he said, when we met again (he also reminded me that South Africa won the rugby world cup :evil: )!
If he reads this, I hope he sends me a PM.
And as a starter, here is one of the pictures we could take thanks to him.

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But let’s go back to square one. We picked up our rental car in Johannesburg airport, a Nissan automatic x-trail. What a good choice for our trip! The car is high so you can better see the animals, very smooth, comfortable and quiet. We left the airport around noon and headed to Kuruman, our first stop.
Rain nearly all the way!
In Kuruman, we chose, at random, a lodge called “Die ogg”. It was good, but a bit noisy, too close to the road.

The next day, we took the untarred road via Hotazel (the rain stopped there!), sonstraal, Van Zylrus and Askham, to get to the park. There had been storms the days before, and we felt better with the 4X4. It would have been possible with a sedan but not si easy. Here is a picture of one of the muddy spots, and nice landscapes along the way.


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Day1: Twee Rivieren
We reached the parks gate without any trouble around 4PM, checked in at Twee Rivieren and decided to go for a first drive on the road to Mata-Mata. We saw very few animals except a few Springboks and red hartebeests. But on our way back, without any warning, bang! Two lionesses in a beautiful light! This is one of my favourite pictures (about 1km before Monro from TR).

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To be followed, if you wish...


Bigger pictures here (work in progress!): http://vahipik3.blogspot.com/


Last edited by Pikasso on Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:27 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:21 pm 
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To Lirritma: I will think about Dr Mils.

To Safarigirl: I read your report with the heart breaking story of the Jackal! It made me very sad!

To everybody: thanks for the encouragements!

Let's roll then!

Day2: Twee Rievieren
We left our chalet around 6.20 and decided to take that same road to Mata-Mata again, hoping to see the lionesses! No lioness, but actions: wild cat, gemsbok, springbok, heron, and at the end of the day, Mr Lion among yellow flowers!

One remark that might trigger reactions: we found people on the way and in the Kgalagadi friendlier and faster than in the Kruger area. Anybody with the same opinion :roll: ?


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But can somebody imagine a day without sunset?


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... and a full moon?


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Bigger pictures here (work in progress!): http://vahipik3.blogspot.com/


Last edited by Pikasso on Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Mashona wrote:
We left our chalet around 6.20

Why so late.............normally the mob are at the gate at 05.30

Thats an hour lost .....missing an hour in the Kgalagadi is like missing the World Cup Final........ :P

Thanks for the very good photographs, the flying AWC is a stunner.

Glad you enjoyed your trip, you will be back, Kgalagadi is like an itch...........you have to come back time and time again


Steve




Well, the gate opened at 0600 :roll: ... and we usually get up around 1100 here in France (working evening shift). But incredibly, we were up everyday at 0520 without alarm :mrgreen: !



As the pics show, let's continue (got to beat PeterBee :yaya: !)

Day3: Twee Rivieren to Mata-Mata, what a day!
We took the road to Mata-Mata again, our next camp. When we reached Monro, we saw a car stopped by a tree. In this tree so close to the road were two leopards! They were resting in the branches, next to what was left of a recent kill. Soon the first car left and we stayed alone for a long time. At this time the angle was not very good, with a poor light and a white sky, so the pictures looked bad. But you never know if you will be able to take others, so you shoot anyway! Looking around, we saw some blue sky coming slowly toward us. We waited for more than one hour, finally having some blue sky, good light, and a much better view of the two leopards as they had moved towards their kill. Here is the result!
After these shots, a few cars came to watch the animals, so we decided to leave, after three hours under the same tree.




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Some action too, this gemsbok ran for some time parallel to our car:


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That's it for the morning, but afternoon will be as good!


Last edited by Pikasso on Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:39 pm 
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Sometime later, we met the guy I mentioned at page 1. He told us that we were a half hour from where he had seen the cheetah and her cub killed a springbok, and that they should still be there, eating. His indications were sharp, and we found the cheetah 15 meters from the road at Dalkeith. We spent again three hours with them, moving along as they changed of spot (but incredibly staying within reach all the time). Here are few of the too many pictures we took!

On the last picture, you can notice a bad spot like skin problem on the cub (rear leg). Please note that I cheated a litle, and erased the transmitter on mother (must be part of the cheetah projetc?).



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many beautiful babies springbok on the way!!!

Then, the cheetahs!!!!! :dance:

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Oooooops, maybe I ate a bit too much?????



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It was time then to reach the camp as we were supposed to be in before 7.30. On the way we saw again one cheetah but far away, and 5 lionesses (far away too) on a hill, waiting probably for a pray to come within reach


Last edited by Pikasso on Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:02 pm 
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Just a few more pictures to add to SO trip report



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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:11 pm 
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Thank you everybody!
The level is so high here for the pictures that I hesitate to post more...

Day4: Mata-Mata to Nossob
Early morning we could see a group of more than 10 jackals around something we imagine was some dead animal. Then we fell on a few hyenas, two male cheetahs hardly visible hadn’t we been told where to look, and again our female cheetah and her cub but in the distance too. Later,a wild cat hidden behind a tree (vahiné will post the picture). Nothing as great as the day before, but still a good day in the Kgalagadi!
We carefully went back to camp before 7.30 in order to refuel and by enough water for the next tree days, as we will go to Grootkolk!
To end the day we stay for a while in the hide facing the waterhole that we can watch thanks to the forum web cam, and chat a little in English with a nice couple crazy for photography. I guess they are South African, they are Belgian ! The man wants to take a series of the rising moon, so I try to do the same, not being ready and without experience of this kind of pictures. The result is so-so, but I post it to attract the attention of this nice Belgian couple, should they wander on the forum...

One very good thing in the Kgagaladi, is that you meet people again and again and finally get to talk to them a little. It seems less impersonal than in the Kruger (that I love too, anyway!).

Some slow action!

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Last edited by Pikasso on Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:55 pm 
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So,... here is the wild cat !!! .....just behind the grass , if you can see him !!! :wink:

He could be one of our small familly !! (We have 5 cats at home !! :) )

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Last edited by vahine on Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Got to catch up with Peterbee :lol: !

Day5: Nossob to Grootkolk
Around Kwangpan, two cars are stopped and we can watch for only a few minutes 2 male lions next to the road. Soon they head for a place with more shade, still visible but a bit too far. One of the other car was a small Opel Corsa, from which it was absolutely impossible to see them, as most of the roads in the park are lower than the sides. Luckily, we have the big 4X4! A few kilometres away, we will see two lionesses in the bush. We crossed the Opel again and tell them where the lionesses are, but it is still impossible for them to see anything (even for us it is a bit difficult). We would have missed a lot without our high clearance car!
We reached Grootkolk at 1PM, and rested a little before going out again. The place is very beautiful and quiet, with a little waterhole in front of our chalet. Gert, the friendly tourist assistant on duty, told us that sometimes predators stop here to drink. As we hear a sound, he tells us that it is a jackal and that it means that a leopard or a lion is in the area! But we won’t see anything until our next drive.

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Day6 and 7: Grootkolk
Our chalet was facing the waterhole some 40 meters away where animals usually come to drink. But because of all the rain there was enough water everywhere for them not to depend on it. So we saw nothing next to the waterhole, though we heard roaring the second morning.
Here is a sample of what we could see from Grootkolk to Union’s end.

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So much rain that you can't follow the road.... but it makes a nice place for the red hartebeast!




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The lion finally gets up around 6pm after a good rest all day long! A look at the red heartebeast, but still too far...


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Gert, our friendly yet discreat tourist assistant in Grootkolk!

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Grootkolk's Alarm and welcome post!


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:41 am 
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North of Grooktolk.

A new day has come and we head up north again!
The red heartebeests are still next to the waterhole made by the road and give us beautiful reflects...

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Some 50 kilometres away, we will find this gorgeous lioness, next to the road, roaring. To us, she seems to be calling somebody, as if she was sad from loneliness.... (again, does anybody know the meaning of this roaring?).
She will give us some of our best pics, to my opinion!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:30 pm 
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Senyetse wrote:
Quote:
(again, does anybody know the meaning of this roaring?)


Communication, maintaining contact with the pride, as in this is where I am, where are you? Letting any neighbouring prides or nomadic lions know that the area is occupied.

Absolutely stunning photos :clap:.


Thanks Senyetse, good to know!!!!
- Going back to Nossob





Time to leave Grootkolk and drive slowly toward Nossob... nothing to see on the way, so we start to doze a little as Vahiné has the wheel... whooopppps... STOOOOOOOOOOOOP, Vahi, you just past by 5 lions resting on the bank of the road!
The cats were a bit scared as we hadn't slowed down before them, but they instantly go back to sleep, ignoring our beautiful 4x4 (that's for Arks :lol: !). They form a bunch of good old buddies sleeping on top of each other or in indecent positions!!!


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Vahiné, pretending there's nothing behind her :lol: ...



As they obvioulsy won't move before the evening, we decide to go to Nossob and come back later.
In Nossob, we meet 4 French people and tell them where they can see these lions... this will lead to a "funny" situation!
Back at the spot, 2 cars are already there. The lions begin to move. I saw earlier in the forum pictures of very young lions biting cars mirrors! Well, I guess they grew up somewhat!
One of them come close to our car. I lose view of him, but I assume he is beginning to bite our rear tyre (on our way to the KTP, I saw in a newspaper a 4x4 with it's tyre destroyed by a lion). I move the car slowly just a little bit, and our lion goes to the next car (our French partners). The mirror looks good to him, and we imagine the people in the other car beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable, especially as he looks straight at them, his nose touching the window! Already, a small plastic part of the mirror has gone! Suddenly, the car backs up a bit fast...!!!
Back in Nossob, we have the explanation: the lion was lifting the handle with his teeth and was about to open the door :shock: !!!!!!!!!


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Looking straight at them! A part of the mirror missing!


ImageTHE LOOK!


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Lifting the handle!


As the sun goes down, they leave us slowly towards the springboks...

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Innocent look... or pretending.

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The band of 5 seems to circle the springboks... but it is still too soon! The night will probably be hot!


Last edited by Pikasso on Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Mashona wrote:
Five MALES together

Thats an interesting sighting

The question now would be are they a coalition or part of a larger pride.

Again well done on such a rare sighting


Steve


I would think this is a group of youngish bachelors that have been kicked out of the pride. Judging by their manes they seem not to be fully grown yet. I suppose when they are older they will , if they have already not formed a coalition and attempt to take over a pride.....only speculating!!


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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:03 pm 
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25 Jan 2008. Nossob.

Before getting up, we can hear lions roaring not far away! Of course we are at the gate at 0600 and only some 50 meters after the gate can we see a male a bit far away coming to the Nossob waterhole in front of the hide!
Damned, we could see him better have we stayed in the camp!
We wonder if somebody is on line to capture the picture of the lion drinking on the web cam!?
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After the lion, a lioness comes toward us, and quickly disappears in the bush. we are sorry as we could not take picture of her! But then, another one appears and walks slowly straight to us! she will nearly touch the car and then follow the path of the first lioness!
We imagine that they have been hunting all night with other lions that we will see in a bigger distance.
The light was very good, and I think this is my best shots of the stay. Sorry to put so many pics of the same lioness, but I love them!

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The one I prefer!

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Last edited by Pikasso on Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:07 pm 
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Thanks everybody!

This day was pretty productive. No long after the beautiful lioness, we meet another one with her two youngs! I stop a bit far of them, no wanting to scare the little beauties! I guess I should have moved a bit more ahead but, too late, and the pics are not as good as they could have been...

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Mummy... Mummy... wait for us!!!!!

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Hey, wait for me Bro!!!!


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Pfffffffffffff I'm there, finally...!!!

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Who's looking at us like that, huh Mummy...???


As we continue toward TR, we see more birds. It is unbelievable how you can get close to them before they take off, compared to what happens in France. In KTP, you can make a good picture with some luck! In France, it's a miracle!

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But more will come in the evening!


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:53 pm 
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Ok guys, let's continue!

As we have booked the next night for killikranlie, we head to TR as it is clearly written that you must check in at TR before going to the camp. That's 50 kilometers more to make. At TR reception, they tell us that we could have gone straight to the camp! Too bad, but it will turn out to be a good thing. We leave TR, and again in tne Monro area, we will find the same lions that PeterBee mentionned in his trip report!
They are relaxing in the shade and although we will stay from 5pm to 7pm, they will give us nearly no action!

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It's good to be brothers!

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Familly tenderness

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Babies want milk from mummy, but she doesn't seem in the mood!


Last edited by Pikasso on Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:25 pm 
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I had forgotten these two ones of the whole family. Daddy's in :dance: !!!

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