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 Post subject: silvia(almost)all the Kgalagadi in 11 days Dec 2011 Jan2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Here we are, this is our first TR so please be patient! :mrgreen:

After a wonderful 4 days in KTP two years ago, we decided that this time our South African holiday would have been all-KTP. At the time of booking the SA camps were packed, so we arranged our program between SA and Bot side, that proved to be a very good idea for us!

The first night was booked at Two Rivers, but the plane had a 9 hours delay :-? , so our final program was the following:

Day 1 - Dec 29: from Upington to Matopi 2
Day 2 - Dec 30: Mabuasehube Area, night in Bosobogolo
Day 3 - Dec 31: Mabuasehube Area, night in Matopi 2
Day 4 - Jan 01: from Matopi to Grootkolk
Day 5 - Jan 02: from Grootkolk to Thupapedi (Swartpan Area)
Day 6 - Jan 03: Swartpan Area, night in Thupapedi
Day 7 - Jan 04: from Thupapedi to Gharagab
Day 8 - Jan 05: Nossob road, night in Polentswa
Day 9 - Jan 06: Bitterpan
Day 10 - Jan 07: Auob road, night in Rooiputs
Day 11 - Jan 08: Leuwdril loop, Kieliekrankie road

We saw a lot of animals, most of all lions (we counted 34 of them...), plus 2 cheetas and a leopard.
But the best thing was the Kgalagadi itself, the vastness of the landscape, the quiet of the evening, the incredible light of evening and morning...
ok if I go on I want to come back :roll: , so I will continue with my TR!
Before starting the story I leave you just one shot of th biggest lion we saw:

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 0: shopping in Johannesburg...

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Day 1:
After a 800 km ride the day before, from Johannesburg to Upington, we leave Upington and go straight to Twee Rivieren.
Fuel, take the tyre pressure down, then we meet KG, who says "going to Matopi? uhm, it's 11 am, and it's very hot..." :whistle:
It's a long way but we do it, we also have time to see the first lion!
After a short stop in Nossob, we cross the river and start to know the Botswana roads... very different from SA ones! The first victim of the road is a liter of fruit juice, that with all the shaking breaks and goes all inside the car...
We arrive at Matopi before sunset, just in time to start the braai and open the rooftop tent, for our first night in the wild.

lion near Leuwdril:
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secretary bird:
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vulture:
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red hartebeest:
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crossing Nossob river:
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Botswana road:
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someone lost something:
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Matopi 2 campsite (this is ALL the campsite):
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preparing dinner:
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the first of a series of sunsets:
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Last edited by silvia.n on Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 2:
Early wake up, coffe and rusks at the camp and we leave for Bosobogolo, our camp for tonight.
Here we have breakfast (we soon get used to South African way: braai every evening, bacon for breakfast, biltong for snack...).
A man passing from Bosobogolo tells us that there are 7 lion cubs near Khiding, so our first destination in Mabuasehube area tour is Khiding: here we find the 7 big cubs under a tree! :mrgreen:
Then we continue the tour of the area, with very nice landscapes. The pans are beautiful, most of all Mabuasehube Pan, that has some water and a lot of animals.
We get lost a couple of times, because Bots roadsigns are not the best (you find a sign with a lot of names but without any arrow... :hmz: ) and the map printed from the website doesn't show some roads around the pans (later we bought the map from Nossob shop and it is more detailed also on Bots side). Fortunately we meet two nice guys in a camp who give us indications and we come back to Bosobogolo.

ready to leave Matopi:
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Bosobogolo: here there is the "A" shelter:
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and also the long drop:
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road across a pan:
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sandy road:
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who lives here?
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to be contiuned...


Last edited by silvia.n on Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 2 (continued)

Lions at Khiding Pan:
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Mabuasehube Pan:

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back to Bosobogolo camp:
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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 3:
We leave Bosobogolo and we are ready to complete the tour of Mabuasehube area.
First of all we go to Mabuasehube Entrance Gate, where the lady at the gate gives us a more detailed map of the area and tells us that we could find water in Lesholoago camp. So our destination for breakfast is Lesholoago: surprise, there is a shower with water! :dance:
Feeling restored after a good shower and breakfast, we continue the tour, and in Khiding we meet a non-registered guest in campsite no 1...
She must be the mum of the cubs we met yesterday! now only the dad is missing: we find him on the other side of the pan.
We have lunch in Mpayathutlwa camp, then make our way to Matopi, where we have to prepare our New Year's Eve dinner :mrgreen:

Bosobogolo Pan:
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Mabuasehube Entrance Gate:
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some flower:
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kori bustard:
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Lesholoago camp, with shower and sink:
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curious squirrel:
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trying to cook it...
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greater kestrel (thanks to arks for the name)
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cattle egret
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kudu:
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to be continued...


Last edited by silvia.n on Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 3 (continued)

Lioness in Khiding camp no 1 (where are the owners of the tent?):
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yesterday we were in camp no 2 for coffee break (some 50 meters away)...
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who wants to scratch her belly?
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In the meantime 3 guys from the Park arrive to clean the dustbins and the long drop: they jump from the car close to her and go on with their work... :shock:
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she is annoyed by their voices and goes away...
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...under the nearest tree:
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to be continued...


Last edited by silvia.n on Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 3 (continued)

Khiding Pan:
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vulture:
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lion at Khiding:
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near Mpayathutlwa:
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New Year's Eve in Matopi:
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can't miss some sunset:
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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:22 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Posts: 3716
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Enjoying your adventures, Silvia, and your two "mystery" birdies are a greater kestrel and a cattle egret :)


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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Location: Italy
Day 4
After sleeping not too well in the camp (something very noisy continued to hit the tent, could be a gecko, a bat or I don't know what...) we leave Matopi for Nossob. No particular sightings, we just enjoy the landscape and the road.
In Nossob we stop for lunch and to buy water and supplies, then we leave to reach Grootkolk.
At the camp there are two lionesses under a tree near the waterhole: our neighbours say they have been there the whole day!
We set up our braai and relax in the splendid colours of the evening.

morning in Matopi (we don't leave Italy without our moka...):
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ant nests (is it right?):
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gecko tracks:
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from Matopi to Nossob:
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Nossob river:
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Nossob:
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to be continued...


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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Location: Italy
Day 4 (continued)

small dust storm near Nossob:
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Grootkolk camp:
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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:48 pm 
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Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 5
Today we only have to go to Thupapedi, because we will sleep 2 nights in the same camp. We enjoy the morning quiet in Grootkolk, looking at some red hartebeests and blue wildebeests at the waterhole.
The landscape from Kannaguass to Kaa is different from the one to Mabuasehube: it doesn't have dunes, and the road seems to be less used.
After check-in in Kaa with a very kind ranger, we arrive in Thupapedi camp around midday and spend the afternoon trying to rest in the tent: it's very hot and a couple of times we must move the car to follow the little shadow of the tree.

Grootkolk:
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road from Kannaguass to Kaa:
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Kaa gate:
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Thupapedi camp, from the other side of the pan:
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Thupapedi camp at midday:
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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 6
Today we explore the Swartpan area, following the Swartpan Loop.
We stop for breakfast at Gnus Gnus camp and for lunch at Swartpan camp, then we make the inner and outer loop of Swartpan: it is the biggest pan of the area and there are lots of herbivores.
During the whole day we meet only one car in the late afternoon, probably they are camping in Sizatswe, and nobody else!

morning in Thupapedi:
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ostrich:
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Gnus Gnus camp:
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what we called an "approximate" road:
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Swartpan camp:
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Swartpan:
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road signs (where are the arrows? :hmz: ):
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back at Thupapedi:
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Last edited by silvia.n on Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 7
Leaving the Swartpan area to come back to SA side. At Kaa Gate the ranger says he has a "New Year present" for us: just outside the gate there is a big male lion, and he let us go out for a while to see him. It is the first time we see a male lion so close, he is very impressive!
Very delighted, we take our road towards the Nossob. We go to Union's End, then to Gharagab.
Here before sunset three lions arrive, mum with two cubs. We have visited three Wilderness Camps in this tour and each time we saw lions, is it included in the room fee?
After dinner (eating meat so close to lions...) we go to the lookout to take pictures of the sunset. I come back after a while and Stefano remains there. Suddenly one of the cubs arrives and takes a seat 10 meters from the lookout! He doesn't seem to be in a hurry... Stefano waits for a while (his thougt was where is the mum?), then it's getting dark, so he decides to come back to the room...

Kaa:
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on the road to the Nossob:
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back to Nossob river:

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Union's End:
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to be continued...


Last edited by silvia.n on Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:36 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 7 (continued)

road to Gharagab:
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Gharagab:
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here they come:
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the curious one:
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...until dark!
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 Post subject: Re: (almost) all the Kgalagadi in 11 days... December 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Posts: 62
Location: Italy
Day 8
We have time to enjoy Gharagab, so we remain there until late morning.
Lunch at Lijersdraai, then we stop at Polentswa waterhole and see many raptors. Again I don't know their names, could you help?
We arrive at Polenswa campsite in the early afternoon, in time for a nap before the braai. In the evening we enjoy a thunderstorm somewhere, and we meet a jackal who is patrolling the area.
During the night we hear many jackal and hyena calls.

sunrise in Gharagab:
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road from Gharagab:
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to be continued...


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