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Kgalagadi: Grootkolk Wilderness Camp

Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld
Jumbo

Kgalagadi: Grootkolk Wilderness Camp

Unread postby Jumbo » Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:18 pm

Taken from my trip report: June 2005

Grootkolk:
Surrounding area is stunning with quite a number of game. Road, although corrugated, can be negotiated with a normal sedan.
All four of the units have a nice view of the water hole. Water hole was approximately 70m away from ours. Early evening there is a spotlight lighting the waterhole for about 2 hours.
Game viewing from your unit is brilliant!
The units are far enough away from each other and our two nights there were complimented with complete silence.
The units unfortunately are not up to standard if you compare it with the other wilderness camps. Your kitchen area is outside with no cover. Don’t think it rains too often, but if it does, you have a big problem.
The built-in steel kitchen cabinets are falling apart, thus they are using the wardrobe inside for crockery etc. Your fridge is also inside the tent; therefore the unit is very cramped.

Highlight: Leopard (10:00 in the morning) and Kudu at waterhole
Low: Having to go and make the morning coffee in minus temperatures outside.

Jumbo

Unread postby Jumbo » Mon May 01, 2006 12:09 pm

Some more photos we took at Grootkolk

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Unread postby Dreamer » Tue May 02, 2006 10:45 pm

Some pics and views from Grootkolk Camp
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Unread postby Dreamer » Wed May 03, 2006 9:01 pm

Hi Arie and DQ
Now I'll tell the whole story. It was from a walk we were SO lucky to do at Grootkolk If that was a lion under that tree, hmn! We did not see it
A pic to show you more, walking over the dune, my heart pumps faster as I recollect how amazing it was to experience such remoteness.

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Have many more stunning pics especially of Cheetahs we watched for nearly an hour, all on our own. Let me know if you would like to see any These were from the car not the walk
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Unread postby Dreamer » Wed May 03, 2006 9:42 pm

The choice is difficult, but here are a few

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Unread postby Peter Betts » Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:14 pm

Katja this is my favourite Kalahari camp. go for cabin no 1 on the left as you come in it sticks out a little bit more and gives you the feeling of being on your own. I was there May 2005 for three nights and for the first two nights we had the first 2 cabins for my wife and I and our two boys were in the one next door (We were on opur own!!!) and the last night our friends came and stayed in the other 2. I had a landy then and the camp attendant took us to the top of a nearby dune and what a sunset it was. Also saw a herd of 18 Kudu from that vantage point making their way towards Grootkolk waterhole in front of camp. in the distance. Kudu are unusual in KTP but are there especially in the north where it is more savannah (true Africa looking) than the red dune south. Mrs Spots (leopard comes down often to drink there but did not do so in our stay.

You are also going at the best time of the year too
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Unread postby Jumbo » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:02 pm

The 180-degree view from #1. The waterhole is at the tree a bit to the back, tad right.
As I have mentioned in my trip report, last year we saw the leopard at the waterhole and this year it was a male lion. 8)

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Unread postby Katja » Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:04 pm

Wildebeest herd at the waterhole, seen from #1
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Unread postby BushCall » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:55 pm

Our Favorite KTP Camp....quite a few Kudu in this Kalahari Thornveld savannah area. This pic is No1 where my folks stay and we stay next door in No 2 in the background on the left
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Grootkolk

Unread postby pathfinder » Sun Apr 01, 2007 11:02 am

I agree with the sentiments expressed regarding Grootkolk.
I stayed there in August 2003 with my wife and 1 year old daughter.
Apart from near hypothermia (there was a very cold snap over the country that week, and temperature went to minus 5 degrees), we had a wonderful stay.
During the night, 2 male lions came to our hut.
One urinated on the side of the sandbags, and then they proceeded to lick the braai grid for a while.
They were calling at a range of less than 5 metres from our heads, and I will never forget the sound.
As the sun rose they lay down in front of our hut and then proceeded to drink from the waterhole before walking off into the dunes.
My daughter slept through the whole thing!
Thankfully I think, because she would have been quite scared.
I have lived and worked in the Kruger park and have visited most of the big 5 reserves in Africa south of the Zambezi.
I have never experienced something as wonderful as this though and recommend it to anyone who wants to get as close to a real Wilderness experience as possible.
We will be in the KTP for a week in May, but now have 2 small children, so the wilderness camps will have to wait for a few more years for us.
I look forward to meeting Jannie at 2R as we will be based there.
Camping Kruger Dec-Jan 2010/11
Trip over :(
Perhaps Kalahari Dec 2011 ? :)

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Unread postby Bentony » Thu May 31, 2007 3:31 pm

We were up at Grootkolk during the middle of May and it was lovely and remote.
We went up to Unions End - having been to Crooks Corner in Kruger, we also wanted to to to Union's End and found big beautiful empty spaces up there! Gorgeous.
We did however find the game a bit thin on the ground and as a result traded on night in Grootkolk for a night at Nossob.
On the morning we were due to drive south we were happily wandering back an forth from the bakkie loading all our stuff when i suddenly looked up at the waterhole to see 4 lionesses having a drink!
Once we got over our surprise I took quite a few photos which I will try to post. (I am a bit of a tech pleb). The lionesses hung around for a while and had the odd game - one of them was half grown and then moved off in a loose hunting formation.
Then as luck would have it they lay down and vanished.

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Unread postby Stoffel » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:11 pm

Your last night in Grootkolk was my first.
I saw the Somerset West (CFM) vehicle at No 4.
I was in No 1 (the blue Mazda D/C - CAM registration).

Jannie, the tourist assistant (standing in for Gert), told me that you decided to leave earlier as Grootkolk area was too quiet.
Yes, we saw the same four lions (3 lionesses and a youngster) that morning (14 May).

Two young men took over your accommodation for the night you left earlier.
They were staying at Polentswa and had to go back to Polentswa on 15 May and returned for another one night stay at Grootkolk on 16 May.

Late afternoon of 14 May, the two of them nearly saw a kill just to the north (towards Union's End) of the Grootkolk turn-off.
The same lions nearly caught a wildebeest right in front of their landy.
We arrived a few minutes later and still saw the lions and all the evidence in the road where the wildebeest stumbled and nearly crashed into the landy - but it got away.

The next morning (15 May), we were woken by the roar of lions.
When we started packing, my neighbour in No 2 (also packing) called me and showed me where the same lions were lying behind his unit during the night.
Clear fresh spoor lead to the waterhole from there and back to the camp attendant's unit where they kept him awake for quite a bit while they were rubbing their bodies against the poles of his unit.

On 17 May (while we were in KTC) we travelled to Mata Mata for some shopping and bumped into the same two young men again (one a podiatrist and the other a graphic designer, busy with a coffee table book on KTP).
They told us that the same 4 lions caught a young wildebeest next to No 1 on the 16th May.
They missed the action, but the guy staying in No 1 was still shivering after watching the whole ado.

I agree, we did not see a lot of game around Grootkolk, but I will have very special memories of it.
On the afternoon of 13 May I saw my very first kudus in KTP (my 6th visit) from my stoep at Grootkolk. That night I also saw my very first warthog in KTP (at the waterhole). What a camp!!!

Batsman

Geinab was totally dry, as was Langklaas, as was Polentswa, as was 13th Borehole. I sometimes got the impression of some neglect of certain waterholes.
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Unread postby BushCall » Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:35 pm

They close various Windmills at times to get the animals to move around to save the riverbed systems. Some scientists have called for a complete stop to all windmills and return the area to true wilderness where animals migrate like they used to. The windmills are basically there so tourists can see animals on a regular basis...rather like having a bird feeding tray in your garden (like we do) ....nice but very unnatural so we should be thankful that there are at least some that operate

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Unread postby anne-marie » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:07 pm

Grootkolk by night from unit no 1
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and with lions
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and kudus
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Unread postby arks » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:20 pm

While I was at Grootkolk in September 2007, I took a bit of a walk around the camp (with permission from the tourism assistant) and took these photos:


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tents 1 & 2 (left) and communal kitchen, tents 3 & 4 (right)
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tourism assistant's tent (left) and view of camp from approach road (right)
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tents 3 & 4 (left) and view from west of tent 4 looking east towards tent 1
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tents 2 & 1 (left) and tent 1 with its wonderful trees (right)

The Grootkolk tents are quite a bit smaller than those at KielieKrankie or even the Urikaruus cabins, but they are perfectly comfortable, if a small bit cramped. There isn't much storage/closet space as the cabinet in the bedroom is used for the crockery. The stoep is walled with concrete "sandbags" and includes both the braai and the sink and gas rings, as well as a table and two chairs. The gas-powered fridge is inside in the bedroom area. I found the sound of the fridge disturbing and Gert showed me both how to turn it off and how to re-light the pilot. The long-handled "braai lighter" I'd bought was very useful for this!

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