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Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

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zuppi
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Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by zuppi » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:13 am

After I have been in the Kgalagadi in June last year, I could not resist to come back this year. I will not document my entire trip, I simply do not have the time for it, too much has happend, too many photos :-)
But like my last travel tale 'A day in the Kgalagadi, June 2016' I will tell you about one, really exiting day.

I was lucky as I was able to secure 2 nights at Urikaruus out of the 12 nights I stayed in the park. I left as the 'gate' opend, because there was little activity at the camp itself, too much rain fell in the previous weeks and the animals where not so dependent on the waterholes. I drove up towards the 13th waterhole and parked there to observe the action for a while. Not much happend, it was quiet.
So the usual debate (stay or go) formed in my head and eventually I decided to move on to the next waterhole.

Just after the turn-off to the 14th waterhole I see four cheetahs walking on and next to the road. It's my lucky day :lol:
20170121_063308_south_africa_153.jpg

The sun was just above the horizon, so the entire scene was lit up just perfectly. The cheetahs waked towards the 14th borehole, I started to drive ahead to get them while they where drinking.
20170121_052455_south_africa_569.jpg

It did work out, one by one came to the waterhole to drink, in the water I could see their reflection.
20170121_063327_south_africa_163.jpg

Eventually all four there present.
20170121_053616_south_africa_577.jpg

20170121_053636_south_africa_583.jpg

What a treat! It turs out that the four cheetahs are the four musketeers: d'Artagnan, Athos, Aramis and Porthos. A group of males.

to be continued...

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salamanda
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by salamanda » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:26 am

What a wonderful beginning to this special day zuppi. Beautiful cheetah, thanks for sharing.

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hilda
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by hilda » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:37 am

Lovely start to your special day in the Kgalagadi Zuppi! Stunning Cheetah sighting with beautiful pictures of them! :clap: :clap:
"There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity". - Samuel Johnson.

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:53 pm

What a wonderful moment. I really love the reflection photo.

zuppi
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by zuppi » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:59 pm

Thanks, it gets better :mrgreen:
The four cheetahs eventually walked off towards the other side of the valley and disappeared in the bush. I tried to catch up with them on the other road, the one that goes through the dunes, but I failed to pick them up again.
I decided to slowly move on, constantly scanning for other interesting sightings. I did not have much success, was able to take a nice picture of this (unknown to me) little bird:
20170121_090200_south_africa_260.jpg

and some bird of prey which presented itself near the road:
20170121_075340_south_africa_237.jpg

Then just near the last river crossing before the Kalahari Tented camp a large number of cars indicated something of interest. A group of cheetahs, a total of five of them (gets better :) ) was lying under a tree, about 20 Meters from the road. Eventually I got int a good position, took some photos and waited. The photos were not great, the cheetahs in the shade and a lot of gras and branches in front of them. One car after the other left, as nothing was happening. I decided to stick around, despite the increasing temperature. Eventually I was all by myself, all other cars gone.
20170121_090731_south_africa_607.jpg

After while a police care pulled up behind me and the driver started taking some pictures with his phone... what a cool work environment 8)

Eventually I noticed that the cheetahs got alert. At the same time I see a group of wildebeest following the river bed below. I immediately understand...they going to hunt! I started driving down into the riverbed to get into position, probably breaking all the traffic laws there are (wrong side of the road, no seatbelt, camera im my one hand,eyes on everything except on the road... and a police car right behind me :lol: ).
I'm halfway down the slope as the world explodes into a mixture of panicking wildebeests, dust, cheetahs and me of course nowhere near ready for all this.
The first thing I see and can photograph is a cheetah on the opposite side of the valley with a young wildebeest:
20170121_101916_south_africa_303.jpg

I drive closer and get into position, the cheetah is killing the prey about 5 Meters next to the road:
20170121_101954_south_africa_306.jpg


to be continued...

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salamanda
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by salamanda » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:04 pm

Wow zuppi, your patience really paid off! Cant wait to see the next pics.
Last edited by salamanda on Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zuppi
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by zuppi » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:28 pm

After the kill the cheetah carries the prey around my car into the shade of the tree on my right. Too close to get everything into the frame:
20170121_102051_south_africa_312.jpg

I'm in a prime position, about 5 meters away from the kill and prepare myself to fill my memorycard :D
I take photo after photo, in the mean time more and more cars start arriving and get into position. I'm a bit selfish, I will not give up my position, my apologies to all fellow observers.
Here a selection of the photos:
20170121_102427_south_africa_333.jpg

20170121_103017_south_africa_353.jpg

20170121_110215_south_africa_08.jpg

20170121_111434_south_africa_28.jpg

20170121_113558_south_africa_70.jpg

20170121_113625_south_africa_79.jpg

and this one a special favorite...
20170121_094554_south_africa_619.jpg


more to come...

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salamanda
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by salamanda » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:05 pm

Amazing photos! I love the spots on the mother cheetah in that pic where she has crossed in front of your car to the near side of the road. Its always good to see cheetahs enjoying their food, it is so often taken away from them!

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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by zuppi » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:45 pm

And here are some portraits:

20170121_104307_south_africa_371.jpg


20170121_095053_south_africa_668.jpg


20170121_094732_south_africa_637.jpg


20170121_094543_south_africa_618.jpg


and a wideangle shot of the entire scene...
20170121_110909_south_africa_20.jpg


to be continued...

cheetahlady
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by cheetahlady » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:05 pm

Wow, what an exciting start to the day.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better
Albert Einstein

KNP June 2017 Mopani, Shingwedzi, Letaba, Satara, Pretoriuskop, Berg-en-Dal

zuppi
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by zuppi » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:25 pm

So I spent several hours watching the five cheetahs feeding. It was fascinating. Eventually the finished the prey and started to settle down in the shade.
I was talking to a couple I meet earlier from car to car, as I noticed one of the young cheetahs getting alert again. I quickly scanned the valley and there was a small herd of springboks walking along, with them a few young ones. I interrupted my chat and started driving back into the riverbed. I was keeping at a low speed, because I expected the cheetahs to cross the road and I did not want to hurt one of them.
A few seconds later I got overtaken left and right by running cheetahs. This time I managed to get some shots of running cheetahs, unfortunately only from the back.
20170121_115352_south_africa_101.jpg


A moment later one of the cheetahs caught a small springbok. Again it was carried back into the shade... that's when I could take this shot:
20170121_105443_south_africa_704.jpg


This time it was too far to get decent shots of the feeding, but, hey, to watch two successful chases in one day, that's difficult to top!

The rest of my day was good, some nice shots of a cape fox, some other pictures, but to compete with all these cheetah sightings, is difficult!
20170121_173411_south_africa_725.jpg


The cheetahs where identified as Hanri (the mother) with her two cubs Kerru and Kian as well as two cubs Froone and Sagan which she 'adopted' from her sister Corinne.

The next day I saw the entire group again, very close to the road for a short period before they mad off along the river and disappeared from my sight. ANd a few days later I saw a single male near Grootkolk doing a chase, he was however not successful.

Kgalagadi at it's best!
Hope you all enjoyed my day in the Kgalagadi!
Regards from Switzerland! I'll be back! :thumbs_up:

Thanks to Mattew from the Leopard/Cheetah research project for identifiying the animals.

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billyf
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by billyf » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:39 pm

What a brilliant cheetah day, lovely pics too :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :thumbs_up:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

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salamanda
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by salamanda » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:46 pm

What an amazing day zuppi. many thanks for sharing it with us. Love the photo of the Cape fox.

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WillieV
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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by WillieV » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:56 pm

How lucky can one be zuppi. :mrgreen:
Thanks for sharing your wonderful sightings with us. :clap: :clap:
KGALAGADI AUGUST 2016. BIRDS OF PREY.
Kgalagadi May 2014 with Lion vs Leopard

Award: Sighting of the year - Predator (2014)

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Re: Another day in the Kgalagadi, January 2017

Unread post by hilda » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:34 am

What a special day this was zuppi! :clap: :clap:

Beautiful pictures of the Cheetahs, with a brilliant shot of the beautiful Cape Fox! :dance: :dance:

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful day with us! I thoroughly enjoyed it! :clap: :clap:
"There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity". - Samuel Johnson.


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