Our last day in the park. Leave tr just after 7:00am and travel the nossob road. We heard at reception last night that lion had been seen on this road the day before. In the KTP if you hear of lions, it is worthwhile going to see - they do not move around that much. Namaqua dove is first up.
And then we spot Alise’s bakkie stopped ahead. She has followed lion spoor in the road and found a lion pride. On a small ridge next to the road are 5 cubs and 2 females, and lying down in front of the ridge are 2 beautiful black maned males. We stop and watch. The 2 males get up and walk up onto the ridge. The cubs are as amazed as us (we have seldom seen kalahari lions walking around - they are normally fast asleep) - and watch from the ridge.
After watching for a while we drive on, and about 10km further on we find cars stopped at a lioness next to the road - she seems to be very pregnant. A jackal hovers close by - Jannie told us that the jackal follow the springbok to eat the afterbirth, is it the same here, or are the remains of a kill nearby? Her face is very bloody ans she cleans herself with massive paws.
Moving on we spot a little banded goshawk, the usual PCGs (adult and juvenile), martial eagles. Then we stop at melkvlei for lunch, park the car get out and see lion spoor all over the picnic site, even over the car tracks and no-one else is there. We look around very carefully before relaxing (with one open eye).
The white browed sparrow weavers, mice, ground squirrel, glossy starlings all crowd around. Alise pulls up - she had also seen the lion spoor and had driven the short loop to see if she could see them, but no luck. We have lunch together and drive up to gunong, but only see raptors (only?). Then head back to tr.
A black-breasted snake eagle soars and swoops on another perched one forcing it into the air and away. The pregnant lioness is still there but the family has moved on.
Then a juvie black-breasted snake eagle taking off. Some more tawnies and martials - you see so many eventually you get blase about them.
A gemsbok with a wickedly crooked horn - apparently they get damaged when young.
At TR we pop across to 2 rivers to make sure they open at 7:00 am so we can leave early, and see a family of mongooses just outside the office.
After a rest, we decide to take a last drive over the short dune stretch to the auob, because my son wants to see some korhaans. But only some kb’s and jackals. We arrive at the aub, and about 500m on see 2 cars stopped. Approaching slowly, we see another leopard in a tree, this one with a jackal - do they eat jackal often? Never knew this. A really clear sighting, no covering branches. We sit and watch. It only stays about 5 minutes, but what a 5 minutes, then slinks down into the grass and away.
We drive a bit further and find a giant eagle owl in a tree near the road and then more gemsbok, wildebeest, and a pair of jackals posing at the side of the road.
Another pale tawny and a lanner falcon dive bombing a jackal buzzard and chasing off, and then its time to head back to camp. And in the dunes we find the khorhaans we were looking for, both the african black and black bellied korhaan (now bustard). To bid us farewell a last glorious sunset.
The next morning we are up early and get to 2 rivers just after 7, but it is deserted. We knock on doors and eventually find some-one to wake up and get checked through the border, and travel the botswana road back to molopo, and then on to cape town via brandvlei, a 12 hour trip.
And so our trip came to an end. In 3 ½ days we have been incredibly lucky and seen some fantastic sights - I think Jannie had secretly lined everything up for us. This was our 3rd visit to the ktp., the last 2 in previous julys. Every trip is better than the last, and we have grown to love this park. Be prepared for bad roads - these were a shock on our first visit, but we have got used to them. The bad roads move around the park depending on where and when the last grading was done. July is very cold at night (freezing, especially in the wilderness camps), but during this trip the temperature was very pleasant both day and night. Favourite main camps are nossob and now mata mata, and bush camp urikuruus. We did pop into kalahari tented camp and will try to stay there next - looks good. At TR the reception desk staff are very friendly and helpful, but not very knowledgeable about the animals and birds (recommended we take a broom and kill the bat in our cottage) - how about an information officer at reception at TR? At the other camps the staff have always been fantastic and very knowledgeable about the latest information on the surrounding areas - keep it up. The park is a photographers dream - clear sightings and piles of animals, raptors and other birds, and great vistas. We half hope that the last 60 km stretch never gets tarred so that the park does not get flooded with people. The only big complaint is the speeding in the park. A number of times we have just missed being wiped out by some vehicle tearing round the bend nearly out of control on the wrong side of the road. Perhaps sanparks should look at ensuring that people do not spend the first and final night too far from the gate, and also do some speed trapping.
So thanks sanparks, and keep up the good work, it is much appreciated.