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Nossob Webcam Goes Live

14 December 2007

The desert wakens with the morning sun, still and silent. You watch as a cautious Gemsbok moves towards the Nossob waterhole, and the sky turns from silvered peach, to lemon, to blue…Then you turn to your e-mails, ignore the roar of traffic outside your window, and the daily grind begins - with periodic breaks of course to check in on the waterhole via SANParks latest webcam, positioned at Nossob in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

“This wasn’t any easy camera to install”, explains SANParks E-Commerce Manager, Nedret Saidova, “but after long deliberation on the distance and complexity of the Kgalagadi settings and numerous implementation attempts, we have gone live with the Nossob webcam”.

The camera was purchased with funds raised exclusively by SANParks forum members, and involved cross country, cross disciplinary co-operation. Coordinator: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at SANParks, Danie Pretorius, based in Pretoria, spent many hours "chatting" via satellite with the technicians who made the five to six hour journey to Nossob from Upington for the installation. Pretorius was assisted in this process by the excellent (non-technical) staff at Nossob, sometimes even via text messages to the computer monitors of staff at Mata-Mata, who then radioed instructions through to Nossob when Pretorius could not 'talk' to Nossob directly due to other network problems.

“It has been challenging” explains Pretorius, “and it is still in a test phase so it might go offline now and then, angles will change, as will the picture quality-but we’re delighted it is up”.

Pretorius mentions some points to note about this webcam are that the power supply to the camera is provided by the generator at Nossob and the generator does not run 24 hours a day. This means, all going well, the webcam should operate during the following hours:

* Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri : 05:00 - 23:00
* Wednesdays : 05:00 - 24:00
* Saturday : 05:00 - Sunday 23:00

“Major problems with require that a team travel to Nossob from Upington, but the technicians have given some training to the staff on the ground, so they should be able to help with minor problems” says Saidova. Due to about 55mm of rain at Nossob earlier this week, there may not be much animal activity at the waterhole, “but we anticipate many hours of happy viewing over the course of the next few months, with activity peaking when the park is at its driest”, adds Saidova. Many highlights have already been posted on the SANParks forums.

“Whether you’ve been to the Kgalagdi or not, want to go, or have an addiction to the wide open spaces of the desert, the webcam does ‘take’ you there” says forum moderator *Jazil. This explains the overwhelming popularity of SANParks other webcams situated at Satara and Orpen in the Kruger National Park. Like the Nossob webcam, the Satara webcam was also bought with funds raised exclusively by the SANParks forum members.

This generous group of people contributes tirelessly to SANParks, sharing their time, enthusiasm, ideas and money with SANParks.

SANParks also have plans to install a webcam in Addo early in the New Year.

*Forum name