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 Post subject: Morkel777 KTP Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days,Oct '10,04/12
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Okay - so I've been promising many of you that I will start catching up with my outstanding Trip Reports! So here's the next one in the queue. I've got 3 KTP trips, 1 KNP trip and a Golden Gate & MZNP combo to work through in the next few months...... :doh: :big_eyes: :hmz:

So get out your :popcorn: and let's GO!!
:dance:

This trip in October 2010 was a spur-of-the-moment one. A friend and I were partaking in a "Spirit of Africa" 4x4 challenge using the (then newly launched) Volkswagen Amarok bakkie (pickup truck). This event took place on Goera Pan - which (if you know your road between Upington and Twee Rivieren) is a large salt pan about 150km from Upington towards the KTP.

Since we were going to be there driving around the dunes and salt pan like mad rally drivers from the Friday to the Monday, we decided to pack in a small tent and some additional supplies and camp in the Kgalagadi from the Monday to the Friday before we headed home. :clap:

After getting our respective SO's blessing to stay away from them a little longer :lol: :gflower: :k we were ready to go...
:tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Welcome aboard RichardJ, Anne-marie, Wildflowergirl, Sharifa and Lion Queen! :clap:

Let's kick it off.

I will share a few images of the 3 days spent in the Goera Pan area...it's still the Kalahari after all? And you know how I love a good landscape-photography opportunity! :big_eyes: :dance:

First off - these were our "toys" for the weekend...all lined up and ready to go...

By day:
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And by night (we didn't drive at night, though! :P )
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In motion!

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The Kalahari sunsets...

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...and sunrises...

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...and of course...my favourite...the Kalahari night sky!

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A very enjoyable weekend with temperatures in the salt pan reaching 50 degrees Celcius (a veritable boiling pot).

Now, with that out of the way, let's get on with the good stuff!
We finished up after lunch on the Monday afternoon, and immediately pushed North to cover the 100km or so remaining to get to the gates of the Kgalagadi...

:mrgreen: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:05 pm 
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Thanks for all the kind compliments so far, folks! :lol:

Here we go... :popcorn:

DAY 1: Twee Rivieren

We got to the Park at about 15h00, and after setting up our little camp we decided to go and sit out the afternoon at Samevloeiing waterhole.

There was a herd of Wildebeest hanging about...

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Eventually they became thirsty...

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The clouds in the sky made for a wonderful scene. We hoped that the desert might receive its first rains that evening...it was not to be... :?

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We headed back and started up the fire.
It was a quiet start...but we had no doubt that the Kgalagadi would envelop us in its magic pretty soon!
:dance: :cam:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:52 am 
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Thanks for following along, folks!

DAY 2: Twee Rivieren Part 1

The next morning, we were up early and first out of the gates.
Destination: Leeuwdril!

As we approached Samevloeiing I saw something running away...

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BROWN HYENA! :big_eyes:
STOP!

He turned around for a moment...crap photo but still a great sighting.

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I think this is the same guy we found lurking around here on our June 2010 trip... :hmz: :thumbs_up:

One last glance before he disappears...

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Finally the sunlight showed up...

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A Meerkat family was out basking in the sunrise...

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We sat for a while at Leewdril.

A Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk flew right up to the waterhole.

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After a while the Sandgrouse started to arrive. I was hoping for some Lanner Falcon hunting action but there were none around...

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After enjoying Leeuwdril for a while, we decided to head back to the Auob side since the road ended here due to roadworks...

To be continued... :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:55 am 
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Thanks for the wonderful comments, folks! :lol:

DAY 2: Twee Rivieren Part 2

This little guy was hanging around their dens...

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So we drove back to the confluence at Samevloeiing and took the dune road to get to the Auob river.
Once over, we passed a quiet Houmoed...and just as we were rounding the bend at Monro waterhole, a lioness SHOT across the road, chasing a gemsbok over the calcrete ridge. We JUST missed the chase. It seemed well orchestrated - but it just wasn't successful. The lioness was chasing the gemsbok from the left to the right up the ridge...and these guys were supposed to catch it but the antelope didn't really go where they were hoping...

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Yeah - our first lions... :clap:

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This was a pride of about 6-7 young adults who were hanging around this area, and we would have some good times with them over the coming 2 days :dance: :popcorn: :thumbs_up:

This one surveyed his kingdom...

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(I don't like the morning light in this region of the Auob - totally wrong for where you see most of the wildlife :( )

The rest of the way to Auchterlonie was also quiet as the heat was building up.

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After a short pee-break at the iconic farmhouse museum, we turned around and started heading back...

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....to be continued... :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:05 pm 
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Thanks so much for hopping along for this ride folks! :D :clap:

Here we go with the rest of that morning's drive! :popcorn:


DAY 2: Twee Rivieren Part 3

We turned back and had an uneventful drive until we got to the lions again...

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Look at the variety here at Kamfersboom:

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When we approached the lions at Monro again, we noticed that a couple of thirsty Gemsbok were getting dangerously close to the lions in their quest for water...they did not even notice the pride lying on the calcrete ridge! :big_eyes: :hmz: :thumbs_up:

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We thought we might see our lion kill after all! :dance: :cam:

Suddenly, the slight breeze changed direction, and the gemsbok knew that something was amiss! (The game rangers say that a lion smells a lot like a dirty dog right after you soaked it with a hose :hmz: )...and they BOLTED!

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Leaving the lions to lay around still hungry.

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We drove back to Twee Rivieren to look for the swimming pool as the October heat was starting to swelter...

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:07 am 
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Thanks for turning the page Suej!
And welcome everyone!

@ UKBadger - thanks for the compliments. Obviously not every image shared on this TR will make it into my 'portfolio' at the end of the day, but I enjoy sharing the dynamics of the sightings as they developed instead of just the 'best shots' in these TRs! :lol:


Shall we continue?


DAY 2: Twee Rivieren Part 4

We rested a while, took a swim, and had a miniscule lunch of John West pilchards and crackerbread (we couldn't bring any fresh supplies due to the 3 days camping in the salt pan that preceded this trip :big_eyes: We did buy some meat for braaiing at the camp shops though).

We set off up the Auob river. We'd heard reports of a leopard cub in a tree by the roadside at Montrose. I had never seen a leopard in KTP before and really wanted to now!

This secretary bird was still feeling the heat...

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We made it to Montrose but found nothing of the leopard cub. At this point my friend was VERY sick from the pilchards (I was fine, though :hmz: :tongue: ), and we needed to turn back as he was becoming paler and sweatier by the minute. We found out the next day the leopard cub was but 1 or 2km further, even saw the spot where the branch comes over the road with a large sociable weaver nest on it!! :big_eyes: :wall: :doh: :rtm:

Anyway - bygones are bygones. We headed back, and were happy to find our lion pride from this morning passed out under a tree right by the road. The sun was going down fast, and we knew they might become more active soon. I convinced my friend to keep his lunch down for a little while longer :big_eyes: :redface: :roll:

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And of course, at these sightings you always have this idiot (I think he was French - not that it matters, but it made communicating the rules to him difficult):

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I eventually had to shout at him to get back in the car. The lions were literally about 7-10 meters from him... :evil: :wall:

This one even checked him out:

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Then the big yawning started... :wink:

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...and some scratching...

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This young male got up and plonked down even closer to us.

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His brother then got up and attempted to get rid of some fleas. Looking at him you'd think he'd be more concerned about the tick infestation on his body! :big_eyes:

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He then got up and joined his brother. They were definitely starting to wake up for the night's hunt...

(more lion images to come!) :cam:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:09 am 
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Thanks so much Meandering Mouse, Meerkitty, Wildflowergirl and SusieB! :P

Here are some more pictures, this time of the "girls" in the pride, to keep you busy until the page turns...

DAY 2: Twee Rivieren Part 5

How's THIS for a low angle??? I promise you :pray: , I was in the car shooting through the open window for these...they were really lying at such a cool angle up against the dune :big_eyes: :cam:

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Then the sisters started some mutual grooming... :clap:
First the one... :P

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...and then it was her turn to receive some! :wink: ...

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...to be continued...

(I hope my lion pictures aren't boring you! :doh: :naughty: )

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:38 pm 
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Glad to hear that no-one has fallen asleep yet or - even worse - experienced "death by lion photos" :big_eyes: :clap: :lol:...

...cause here come some MORE... :thumbs_up: :cam:


DAY 2: Twee Rivieren Part 6

And the grooming continues...

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With some playfulness thrown in... :popcorn:

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Until eventually one of the lionesses got up and strolled towards the males...

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She plonked down on the dune and started to perform a pedicure on herself - it seems there was some thorn or something stuck under her paw... :mrgreen:

(by now the sun was way behind the riverbank/dune and the light was poor, so I was shooting at ISO settings of 1250, 1600 and 2000 for those camera-savvies among you :cam: )

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The pedicure complete, time for yawning and scanning the riverbed for potential dinner...

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The males were still VERY tired, as male lions often are... :wink:

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With that, we had to leave them. Not just in fear of missing gate closing time (as we were still at Monro!) but also because my friend was feeling even worse for wear...

We saw nothing special in particular on the way back to TR, and I ended up braaiing alone because my friend had lost all his desire for food after losing his lunch upon arrival back at camp... :redface: :|

We were looking forward to moving up to Mata-Mata the following day... :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:49 am 
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This gives a new meaning to "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"!!!!!

Awesome photos and that friend of yours is a friend in deed!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 10:41 pm 
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Thank you very much for the encouraging comments. :dance:


SusieB - at this stage I was still a Canon user and was shooting most of these images with a Canon 7D and 100-400mm L IS USM lens. I found I could safely push this camera to ISO-1600 and deal with the noise that came up in post-processing. :D


Carrying on! :whistle:


DAY 3: Twee Rivieren to Mata Mata Part 1

So we slept well...erm okay I slept well :lol: , my friend was up and to the bathroom a few times... :( :big_eyes: ...but by the early hours of the morning it seemed that most of the bad fish vibes had left him! :clap:

We got up early, packed up our tents and stuff and got out of the gate only 15 minutes or so after opening time. Today we would head to Mata-Mata for 3 nights of camping... :D

We passed an empty Samevloeiing :( (we had hoped to see Maya the leopardess but as it turned out we arrived in the Park just a day or so after she was caught on the Botswana side after scrapping a goat or something on a farm, and she was subsequently released further north... :cry: )

Anyhow, crossed the dune road and found Houmoed empty as well (except for general game on the way).

Then, as we came close to Monro, we knew we had to keep an eye out for the lions...and found large tracks on the road...FRESH...and moving north towards Gemsbokplein...moments later we came around the bend and the bigger male of the pride (still a young one though) was patrolling the riverbed! :dance: :cam:

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The light in the morning in this part of the Auob is horrible...but I tried to make the best of it!

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We ended up driving next to him for about 8-10km! With only one other vehicle in tow...that's why I love this place! :lol: :dance:

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Sniffing something...perhaps another lion... :hmz:

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Love the dust he kicked up here...

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"Hey Herb...do you think he saw us??? :big_eyes: "
"I dunno, Joey...let's stand still and maybe he'll go away"

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As he eventually neared Gemsbokplein it seems the pride was waiting for him!

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By now the light was just plain shoddy... :(

They all sauntered over to slake their thirst.

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We sat watching them for a few more minutes, and then decided that it was time to push on........ :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:43 am 
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Thanks so much Bushbuddies! :mrgreen:


DAY 3: Twee Rivieren to Mata Mata Part 2

We carried on.
The obligatory Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eaters...

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And a curious Ground Squirrel on the way...

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The hyena den just north of Urikaruus was still in use during that time. They were having a siesta...

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The rest of the road to Mata-Mata was quiet, except for this Martial Eagle scanning for lunch...

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More to come soon...

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:03 pm 
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Gee, thanks guys...you caught me before I could even post the next episode (wanted to post them back-to-back but my Saturday ran away with me :doh: )... :D


DAY 3: Mata Mata Part 3

So after pitching our camp in Mata Mata, and having a nice swim to cool down from the October heat...and of course a bite to eat (my friend still warily but able to finish the meal :| )...

We headed south for a nice afternoon drive...

A dust storm was building up, and these ostriches were right in its path! :big_eyes:

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"Let's get out of here, babe!"

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A herd of springboks were patiently waiting out the storm in the shade...

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As was this jackal...

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The road was quiet...but on the 14th borehole loop we found this immature Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk.
How about a "take-off" sequence? :hmz: :popcorn: :thumbs_up:

READY!

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STEADY!

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GO!!!!

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Finding nothing else of interest, we enjoyed a lazy drive back to camp...when we spotted the elusive lone Springbok, what a RARE find! :lol: :wink:

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The Kalahari then treated us to a lovely sunset as we coaxed back through the Mata Mata gates...

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We enjoyed a lovely evening under the big Camelthorn tree by the fence, watching the spotted hyena patrol up and down, having a braai...and enjoying the Kgalagadi peace and quiet.

Who could have known that TOMORROW MORNING we would have an absolutely unbelievable amazing encounter????? :big_eyes: :dance: :roll:

But you will have to wait a bit for that...it was time to go to bed... :thumbs_up: :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Okay, okay, noble followers of the report...you have turned the page, and I will oblige!! :clap: :lol:

(thanks for the kind words too!! :popcorn: )

DAY 4: Mata Mata Part 1

The next morning was crisp and cool, and we got up, drank some nice strong coffee and stood in line for our permit. What a day this would be...one of those MAGICAL Kgalagadi days that make up for 200 bad days... :big_eyes: :dance:

The drive past Sitzas was quiet...but as we drove on the long straight stretch before the looooong turn towards the approach to Craig Lockhart, we noticed something darting across the road...CAT-like!

Too small to be a leopard...too nimble to be a jackal...
What could it be??
We rushed forward at max allowable speed...

And there it was...
After 20 years of visiting the bush regularly...
My first ever CARACAL :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :cam: :tongue:

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Shoddy photos as he was just too far by the time we reached him. I was kicking myself - we had stopped earlier as I tried to get some photos of a flippen' Kori Bustard. A Kori Bustard, people!! And I could have gotten this customer walking straight at our vehicle and over the road in front of us had we been 1 minute earlier... :wall:

Still - we enjoyed it for what it was worth!

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He disappeared into that thicket - only to get chased off by the yelping of some jackals who seemed to have been hounding and driving him from their den...

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We stopped and waited. This sighting was one we would stick with for a while...
He eventually emerged from the other side of the thicket, and proceeded to walk up the Auob (still too far for decent pics :evil: :slap: )

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A quick look in our direction...

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I was amazed at a few people driving up...spotting the caracal...and then driving off as if it was nothing unusual to see... :big_eyes: (what are you doing in KTP, people???)

We reversed to follow him. Eventually he started crossing into the dunes.

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We sat watching him until he was only a speck of movement walking off into the Eastern dunes...

:whistle: :mrgreen: :thumbs_up:

And we pushed on...I would have been content with this sighting...had I only known what was coming that morning... :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Blitzkrieg: In and Out in 5 days, October 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:13 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thank you so much for the kind comments, folks... :dance: :lol:
Glad you enjoyed this after the cliffhanger.

Would you believe it if I told you that...

this sighting was not even the best part of the day???
that even BETTER Kalahari MAGIC was still coming???


Watch this space!!
:big_eyes: :popcorn: :popcorn: :cam:


DAY 4: Mata Mata Part 2

We carried on...
This vulture was soaking up the morning sun.

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As was this jackal...

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Craig Lockhart was quiet.
Dalkeith was quiet.

As we turned into the 14th Borehole loop, we saw this lazy boy... :whistle: :roll:

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We found out from another vehicle standing there that he had an injured back paw and had been lying there all morning. We stuck around for about 20 minutes but he was firmly planted.

So we left him...to find this herd at the waterhole

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But soon we left them as well to check out 13th Borehole...

And would we be GLAD we did!!!! :dance: :clap: :mrgreen: :thumbs_up:

....... :whistle: .......

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