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Karoo: Photo Gallery

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra
Stoffel
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Karoo: Photo Gallery

Unread post by Stoffel » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:37 pm

We returned from a visit to Karoo National Park yesterday. It was the first time that we visited the park during the Christmas season. After watching the weather forecast for Beaufort West (especially the maximum temperatures) since the beginning of December, we experienced quite a bit of scepticism about our decision to visit the park for 11 nights between 24 December and 4 January. During the preceding three weeks before Christmas the maximum temperature forecasts were never lower than 35° C. But 37 - 38° C were more common. However, when we left Kleinmond on 24 December, the forecast was for a very moderate 23° C day. The highest temperture forecast during our entire stay was 32° C. And years of camping experience taught us to keep the caravan's backside in a northerly direction - allowing maximum shade on the tent (or rather rally's) side. We were exceptionally lucky to get a plot with lots of larger trees on our northern side and well-placed sweet thorn- and karee trees on the left and right-hand sides. This ensured that we had ample shade most of the day.

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We were also very lucky to be parked right opposite the well-maintained ablution facilities (it is the kitchen facilities in the next photo's background). The view from our 'patio' towards 'The Pointer' was magnificent.

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I know that Karoo landscapes are not everybody's 'cup-of-tea', but the following scenes always fascinate me.

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Populations of wild life increased dramatically over years since the park was established. Especially gemsbok, red hartebeest, kudu and zebra (both Burchell's & Cape Mountain) increased considerably.

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Thanks to the well manicured lawns, the caravan park is a real oasis for and exceptionally high leopard tortoise population. The first ones normally makes their appearance ± 10 am and disappears one by one towards sunset. Between 1 - 4 pm most of them seek for a shady hiding place. Sometimes you are forced to move aside from your front stoep in order for the tortoises to have a peaceful siesta.

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A day before the above pictures of the tortoise were taken, our neighbour's wife came to ask me whether I know snakes, as there was a snake in the tree behind their caravan. I identified it as a young Cape cobra (90 - 100 cm long and not thicker than my small finger). The omnipresent birds gave its presence in the tree away.

The next day, while sitting outside, my wife heard the hissing sound of the tortoise as if being disturbed. That was when the cobra passed underneath the tortoise to make itself at home under our deep freeze, which were standing outside. Needless to say, we made him feel very unwelcome by chasing it from under the deep freeze with a broom stick. It disappeared under the caravan, but hardly 5 minutes later the birds informed us that it was in the tree behind our caravan. Naturally we were quite cautious afterwards and constantly looking out for the fella, but we never saw it again.

During our previous visit (in May 2008) we travelled the new Potlekkertjie Loop every day with the hope to find the black rhinos. However, luck was not on our side. During the past visit we travelled the Loop quite a few time - without luck again. Then on 2 January, one of the honorary rangers invited me to join him on a 'rhino seeking expidition' (he saw one on the last day of 2008). And 'voila' - we found this bull and a cow 20 metres frrom the road.

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The buffalo is still eluding me. But hopefully I will tick them on on my list during my next 9 night stay in April/May this year. And who knows, maybe I'll even be lucky to find some cheetah which will be released shortly.
Last edited by Stoffel on Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Pumbaa
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Pumbaa » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:59 pm

Thanks for sharing your trip with us Stoffel,

really beautiful landscape, do love the siesta taking tortoise and moreover a black rhino. Indeed a brilliant holiday :thumbs_up:

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Bush Baptist
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:15 pm

Great blackies Stoffel. We missed them for our forum weekend in June :(
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Dotty
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Dotty » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:14 pm

Absolutely terrific photos of the dozing tortoise :clap: loved it all. Nice to see different scenery.
thankyou :thumbs_up:
KUDU's mean Well done and Thank you

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Munchkin
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Munchkin » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:26 pm

:shock: Stoffel, I am so so :mrgreen: :mrgreen: at your rhino sighting. We have only been to Karoo 2x so far (once for two nights on our return from Addo and also at the forum long weekend get-to-gether) and have looked and looked on both occasions but with no luck. Am planning a return trip (including Mountain Zebra) in the very near future. Maybe we will have better luck this time around.
:thumbs_up: Love the pic of the snoozing tortoise.
Karoo NP is certainly a very special place indeed. We loved every minute of our time in the Park. On our last trip we had 4 Zebra come into the camping area to graze at about 4 or 5 in the morning - certainly worth getting up for!
(Munchkin = Our Persian Cat - Sadly Munchie no longer with us.)

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Herman
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Herman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:38 am

We had a lovely stay there too (26-28 th Dec) but had less luck than you with sightings, but I must admit that we were spending most of our time relaxing in our chalet. Went looking for you twice, but didn't see your car, so you must have been out driving. Nice photos - really lucky with the rhinos !!

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restio
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by restio » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:53 pm

Lovely pix, Stoffel. Also :mrgreen: about the rhinos!
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:32 am

Thanks for that report Stoffel. I am hopng to stay over some time when I go to visit my daughter in Cape Town. I am pleased to hear you confirm that the animal population is on the increase.

Excellent Black Rhino pictures :thumbs_up:
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:06 pm

Wonderful pics and report, Stoffel. The rhino pics are great and you deserve to have such good sightings after so many visits!

I am glad that it is now obvious to a regular visitor that the wildlife populations have increased. Karoo NP has the largest population of Cape mountain zebra in the country at about 500.
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by bert » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:09 pm

:thumbs_up:
On my to visit list in the coming years 8)

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Addo Elephant
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:30 pm

Stoffel, I've just been checking on the rhino pics you posted and these two rhino look very much like two of the youngish females we recently translocated from Addo to Karoo. You say the rhino were a male and female - are you sure? Did you see any typical behaviour of a male, e.g. spray-marking or the male genitals? Otherwise it may well have been the two females and that would be great to see that they are doing well.\

By the way, there will be a programme on SA TV soon about these rhino. I'll post the dates as soon as I know when it will be broadcast.
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Jonkers » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:15 pm

Just came back from our 5th visit since 2004, and no luck in seeing the rhino :( and we tried very very very hard or much or .....
BUT :D we did see caracal!!! Two sitting close to eachother waiting and looking at us and then one who was after a baby springbok for dinner.
Our compliments for Joshua who was the guide on the nightdrive, he was not convinced it was just another thing and he was right.
Karoo great place to come back to over and over again.

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DuQues
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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by DuQues » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:28 pm

Thanks Stoffel for really setting the Karoo's firmly in my mind!

I have been to Namibia in 2007, and a bit to my surprise found the semi-desert like landscapes very much to my liking. Seeing this topic, and the recent one on Tankwa really get's me planning...
If Megan will allow me in that is... :lol:

And black rhino! And caracal! (My favourite cats!)

Now to buy a wide-angle lens.... And more harddisk space for panoramic photos of course! (And convince GP not to go to Kruger...)
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Guinea Pig » Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:04 am

DuQues wrote:Thanks Stoffel for really setting the Karoo's firmly in my mind!

(And convince GP not to go to Kruger...)

Who needs to convince who? :lol: He probably knows the road from OR Tambo to Vanderbijlpark and then to Pretoria and KNP better than I! :twisted: The Karoo is probably my favourite part of SA. Be it around Beaufort West or way over east around Graaff Reinet. It is awesome.
Always look on the bright side of life. - Monty Python

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Re: Christmas & New Year in Karoo

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:54 am

Ok, I've done a bit more checking up and it seems that I was mistaken in my idenification of the two rhino as the recently-released females. Sorry! :redface:
These two are a male and female (one of the recently-released ones), as you mentioned Stoffel, and apparently they have recently paired up and frequent the Doornhoek area quite often. The Section Ranger says that they might move out of the area soon though, due to the dry times, to look for other water sources.
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