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 Post subject: BluTuna goes West - KTP June 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 2:14 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Since I was at primary school I've been told to "Go West young man". They think they are being funny but it got old really quickly. I usually treat the instruction with the contempt it deserves but as July marks the 10th anniversary of our first and only KTP trip I thought that it was time to GO WEST again.

I have mixed recollections about the first trip, the most enduring was the state of the roads.

The last 60Kms of the R360 before Twee Rivieren still ranks as the worst piece of public highway that I've ever driven on, the washboard effect was so bad that it took 90 minutes to cover the distance.

The roads inside the Park were not much better and the excuse was that the KTP's grader was broken so we had bad 'vibes' for the whole holiday. My poor old Toyota Venture never recovered from the trip.

I swore that I would not return until the R360 was fixed and last year I learned that it has been tarred, so, KTP here we come.

I also remember the good vibes - the eye-popping scenery, the exquisite morning and afternoon light, the magnificent vista of the Milky-Way at night, the exotic animals and birds that we don't see in the KNP and how numbingly cold it was in the early morning :)

We are setting off early on Saturday 1 June from Johannesburg and are overnighting at Kahalhari Guest House which is 50kms north of Upington on the R360. An early start from there should get us into the park and up to Mata Mata for our first night with plenty of time to spare.

You will have to wait until we get back to civilisation before you get to hear about our adventures unless I get the itch to do something when we are staying at Twee Rivieren.

Meanwhile, here are some of the pictures I took way back in July 2003.

Spingboks
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A slightly blurry Bat-Eared Fox - the best pic I managed of this animal
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Yellow Mongoose
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Ground squirrel
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Oryxes
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A Camelthorn tree with Sociable Weaver nests
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A BBJ
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And some that my son took on the same trip :-

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:45 am
Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day minus 1, Saturday June 1, Johannesburg -> Kalahari Guest House.

Amazingly, we were on the road at 07:30 for the 850Km trek to our overnight stop just north of Upington but about 10 minutes later the SO realised that she hadn't put her medications in the car. We were lucky we had only been going for 10 minutes!

Amazingly, we were on the road at 08:00 for the 850Km trek to our overnight stop just north of Upington - with the medications. It was a long journey but the BluTuna never missed a beat, eating up the kilometres with ease on single carriageway but well maintained roads. We were loaded to the gunnels, I had to sit on the trailer lid to get it closed and the tent was strapped to the top it. The back of the car was full up with a valley down the middle so we could see the trailer in the rear-view mirror.

We stopped at Ventersdorp for some brunch which took about an hour and there were some road works outside Delareyville and more on the approach to Kuruman which cost another hour or so. Between Olifantshoek and Upington was a 160Km stretch of open road where we upped the speed a bit and flew along but I had to stop and get the camera out for these scenic views.

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We arrived at our overnight stop at about 19:30 to find the place seemingly deserted and we stumbled around the place for a while before we found someone. I had been trying to phone them but kept getting errors and I later found that they only have MTN service and not Vodacom that we both use.

The guest house was very comfortable and we got settled in and scoffed down some home made soup we'd brought along before I went outside to try some night photography.

This was the first time I'd tried this with a digital camera and I didn't quite get the settings right. This was the best I managed, the exposure time is too long (2 mins) which makes the stars into lines and not points. I tried some more of this later in the trip with much better results.

Image

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:45 am
Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 0, Sunday June 2, Kalahari Guest House -> Mata Mata.

On the road at about 08:30 for the last 200Kms of the journey, we got to Twee Rivieren and entered the park......

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just in time to miss breakfast at the restaurant which stopped serving at 10:30 - Breakfast is served when everyone is out on their morning drive. There is a snack bar so we got something to eat there - much cheaper too.

First pics in the park, the ubiqiutous Familar Chat.

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121Kms to Mata Mata according to the map.....

We started off slowly but had to speed up as the afternoon went on or we would have arrived at MM after the gates closed.

There wasn't much in the dunes but as soon as we hit the Auob river, there was lots to see.


Oryx
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Ground Squirrels
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The Moon and the dune
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Black Crow
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The vista from one of the view points
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Springbok
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More Ground Squirrels
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Pearl-Spotted Owlet
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To Be Continued......

That's half the pictures I have from the drive to MM and I've hit the maximum images for a page. I'll only be able to post the rest after another page turn.

The sighting of the day is yet to be revealed........

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:31 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 0, Sunday June 2, Kalahari Guest House -> Mata Mata. Continued....

Wildebeest
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Image
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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:31 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Giraffe
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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:32 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
A very special appearance by this beautiful Leopard
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who showed his contempt for the paparazzi who were following him.
Image

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:34 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
The first of many, many Jackals we saw during our visit.
Image

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:34 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Mr. Ostrich
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and his SO
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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:35 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
More Springboks
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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:36 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
and just before the camp, more giraffes
Image


We finally reached Mata Mata at around 16:30 and managed to set up camp before it got completely dark.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:29 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 1, Monday June 3, Mata Mata.

Our first full day in the KTP and it was cloudy and drizzling - HUH, that's the last sort of weather I expected in the desert in the winter.

There were a few nice cloudscapes, including one with a rainbow.

Image
Image
Image

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:30 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
A few Ks down the road we found an Ostrich creche.

Image
Image

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:45 am
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Just before Veertiende water hole a couple of PCGs (Pale Chanting Goshawks) caught my eye and when I got the bins on them, there was the Honey Badger :)

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Then a car pulled up alongside us and I found out that we had a potential disaster on our hands!

To Be Continued......

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:08 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
DISASTER STRIKES!

The driver who came alongside held up a tow-hook and asked me if I knew who it belonged to. It was mine and had fallen off because I hadn't replaced the split pin when I unhooked the trailer. The steel pin which holds the tow-hook to the car was missing so I had no way of securing the apparatus to the car and hence no way to tow my trailer. I had visions of having to drive to Upington to get a new tow-bar fitted and I mentally beat myself to a pulp as We drove back to Mata Mata at 10 km/h scanning the road for the pin to no avail.

I did stop to snap this Jackal along the way but I was so focussed on the road that I'm sure I would have missed a pangolin standing 5 metres away and waving at me.
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I went to reception and asked if there was a workshop at the camp and if anyone could help me fix the problem. They recruited the garage attentant who took me through to their junk room. While we were looking through some boxes of miscelleneous bits of metal a truck arrived with some of the maintenance guys. One of them found an old cold chisel which fitted the pin-hole almost exactly and I soon had an operable tow-bar again. A BIG THANK YOU to the guys who helped me out and to the man who found my tow hook, I am sincerely grateful!

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: BluTuna goes West
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:52 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
By this time the clouds had all gone away and I took a stroll around the camp and found

Some White-Browed Sparrow-Weavers
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A Fork-Tailed Drongo
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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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