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Kgalagadi Summer: Self-Drive and Self-Catering (!) in South Africa, January 2015


Tdgraves
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I really really enjoyed the sequence of the fighting Gemsbok. They are such stunning, regal antelope.

 

Thank you

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Game around the camp in Nossob

 

There are lots of yellow mongoose in all camps, but they seemed particularly tame in Nossob. They would appear underneath the table looking for crumbs and go between your feet!!

 

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They also liked disappearing up the drainpipes.

 

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There were also jackals, who would do the rounds of all of the braais at night, doing their best doggy impressions, to make you miss your pet and therefore tempt you into parting with a part of your sausage or steak

 

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Of course, there are also plenty of birds to clean up after you

 

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This Verreaux's giant eagle owl landed just in front of us as we were lighting the braai. The pool of light behind is the petrol pump.

 

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Fantastic owl shot.
Also thrilled by the hyaena...suprised at only one though, KTP is meant to be the place for them.

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Fantastic owl shot.

Also thrilled by the hyaena...suprised at only one though, KTP is meant to be the place for them.

@@Big_Dog I guess its like any safari - luck is heavily involved. But I think if we had gone to the hide prior to our morning drives, we would have seen him again....

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Day 8 Transfer from Nossob to Mata Mata

 

It was already quite hot when we checked out of Nossob.This drive was the only time that the sightings board was of use (compared with Kruger). There was a marker for lion at one of the waterholes we would pass, so we made a note to check it thoroughly. As it happens, we didn't need to be thorough, as he was pretty obvious....

 

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Although apparently no so from the other direction, as a stream of different antelope tried to approach for a drink, before sensing danger and running off....

 

 

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I was pleased to get to the picnic site for a break. It is also a good spot for a bit of birding, as the birds are relatively tame

 

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Then it was time to take the upper dune road. It was now approaching the middle of the day, so there was not much around, although it seems to be a good place for Gabar goshawk

 

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We managed to get some oryx on red dune shots, but the midday sun is not the best for the rich colours

 

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Even the oryx were resting

 

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There was a steenbok in the middle of the road

 

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We had lunch at the picnic site at the other end of the dune road. This crow was trying to get the leftovers

 

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Not that much en route to Mata Mata up the northern end of the Auob valley, but to see the different scenery. Of course, as soon as you see giraffe, you know that you are near.

 

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We caught up with some Namibian self-drivers, who had been staring intently to one side of the road and promptly left the scene. We couldn't see what they were looking at.

 

Another hassle-free check in. We were in the new river view chalets and I was very impressed. Compared with the 1950s feel of the Nossob chalet, this was amazing. There was air conditioning, a TV (boo) and acres of space. It was a two bedroom unit, so there were two bathrooms and an open plan kitchen/sitting area leading onto the stoop. There were also soft furnishings and voile curtains. The thatched building wouldn't have been out of place on a game ranch or as a B&B, definitely a step up from the dated rooms in other camps, so I can see why they are doing the same in Nossob, as it increases visitor numbers but also at a premium price. Now, if I could only deactivate the DSTV.....

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@@Tdgraves

 

Deactivate DSTV?? Isn't this a job for On/Off button??! Or just pull the cord out of the electrical outlet :D .

 

More stunning photos, wildlife and luck loves both you and your cameras!

Edited by xelas
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@@Tdgraves

 

Deactivate DSTV?? Isn't this a job for On/Off button??! Or just pull the cord out of the electrical outlet :D .

 

More stunning photos, wildlife and luck loves both you and your cameras!

Or hide the remote, trip the fuse etc. etc.

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@@Tdgraves

 

Continuing to enjoy this report very much. Your photos of the brown hyena certainly convey an image of smelliness, right down to its drooling mouth (but I really, really want to see one).

 

The photograph of the "tame" yawning mongoose is hilarious. If he were only 20 times larger, he would be quite the beast with which to reckon!

 

Great bird shots, as always. I feel like that hyena, as I'm virtually drooling over the Verreaux's giant eagle owl. Fantastic!

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Awesome shots. The oryx really did put on a show. Does the mongoose presence rise to the level of being a problem or nuisance for anyone? They are certainly very obliging for photographs.

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Awesome shots. The oryx really did put on a show. Does the mongoose presence rise to the level of being a problem or nuisance for anyone? They are certainly very obliging for photographs.

@@Marks I was slightly nervous the first time they were wandering around under the table near to my feet, but once I realised that they were tame, I relaxed. I guess the jackals are a greater potential issue, given that they can carry rabies

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@@Tdgraves

Lots of beautiful photos - I particularly like the oryx, and the mongoose under the table (I think I would be a bit nervous at first also)

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@@Marks I was slightly nervous the first time they were wandering around under the table near to my feet, but once I realised that they were tame, I relaxed. I guess the jackals are a greater potential issue, given that they can carry rabies

Well I believe any mammal can carry rabies, but of course I've no idea how common it is in that area or species. Hopefully very rare.

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Day 8 Evening drive from Mata Mata

 

There is no angst about choosing a route from Mata Mata, as there is no choice, you have to drive south. This means that the roads around Mata Mata are the busiest in the park. Especially as Kalahari tented camp is only 3 km down the road. As a consequence, we had our busiest sightings whilst staying here.

 

Despite others stating that lilac breasted rollers are ubiquitous in KTP, it took us until today to see one - probably the longest wait of any safari we have been on so far. We were so surprised, we didn't get a picture!!

 

We were driving along when we got waved down by a South African lady "had we seen the lion?". She had been told that there was a lion along the riverbed somewhere and had gone up and down for 10km without luck. We told her that we had only just left camp and had not seen a lion. No less than 500m later, there was a suspicious looking lump under a tree and our thoughts were confirmed when there were two parked vehicles opposite - the lion. I have no idea how the lady missed it and she looked suitably embarrassed when she reappeared later having turned around, again!

 

It was very hot and she just wanted to rest

 

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However, eventually she got up and decided it was time to leave

 

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We took her cue and decided to make our way back to camp

 

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You can see that the moon was nearly full, hence scuppering any ideas of star photos :angry:

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Outstanding! I am dreaming of KTP for next year. I'm having a lot of trouble with the logistics (how does one keep food for a week or more with no electricity at night?!). After this gorgeous tr, I am going to have to figure it out. I really thought the wilderness camps are a must, but you prove that that is not true. Thank you! We have self catered a couple of times in Kruger, so it's time to graduate to KTP. Not sure I could handle the heat of January, but our normal travel time of May/June sounds really cold.

 

I have too many favorite photos to pick. There is one photo of the lioness where there are giraffes in the background. I didn't know there were giraffe in KTP. We will have to combine with a park with eles and rhinos - I can't imagine going to SA and not seeing eles. You certainly had great sightings - and beautiful proof!

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Hi @@christabir it is quite daunting, as we had never self-catered, so you already have the advantage!

 

Fridges keep cool overnight, as long as you don't open and close them all of the time. It does mean that they work overtime in the day though....the advantage of the wilderness camps is with gas fridges and solar light, it is all on 24 hours a day.

 

Giraffe were reintroduced from mata mata,so are only in that area. It is quite far from any parks with ele and rhino and given the long drive to get there and the size of the park once you are there, I would recommend just doing the ktp, unless you have three or more weeks.

 

I think the wilderness camps are lovely and are obviously much quieter than the main camps, but if you are going on twice daily game drives, you are not going to miss this so much. it seems like some people go to the wilderness camps and then don't leave again until it is time to move to the next camp. That is a completely different thing. However, Compared with the Kruger, they all feel like wilderness camps!

 

I say go for it! Although the number of STers thinking about a trip, I should be discouraging everyone, otherwise next time we want to go, it'll be fully booked!!!

 

Feel free to PM any questions

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(how does one keep food for a week or more with no electricity at night?!)

 

@@christabir, most people use vehicles with a second battery built-in especially to drive the fridge, and maybe some camping lights and to charge the camera batteries and so forth. The primary advantage of this is that if the battery does go flat, your car is not stranded.

 

However, a very good cool-box pre-packed carefully (so that one can take out the next meal without having to dig around) and filled with large ice blocks can also suffice.

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@@Tdgraves we have really enjoyed your trip report and indeed @penlova's on the KTP - did you think of doing an organised activity assuming they still offer them? We did a walk whilst at nossob and TR and an morning drive which helps compensate if you are in the main camps? (That was in 2011) I do think San parks accommodation is very good value but you are right, try not to make it so popular can you pretend there was a plague of vampire zebra mice in your next instalment, or that you could get no sleep because of the barking geckos? We are there in August and the only wilderness camp we could get was the Kalahari tented camp but as you say you are out most of the time thanks again for your report

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@@Towlersonsafari no we didn't do any organised activities. I don't think that there is any advantage on a game drive, as game is easy to spot and there are not private roads available. We have done walking safaris before, so the odd game walk does not really appeal (and has much more limited photographic opportunities).

 

We didn't see or hear any barking geckos...

 

Thanks and I hope your trip is good

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Lovely lioness shots...I'm always a sucker for a fearsome yawn.

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Lovely lioness shots...I'm always a sucker for a fearsome yawn.

@@Marks it's like machine gun fire when it happens.....

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Oops, missed a few more of the lioness

 

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Day 9 Morning Drive from Mata Mata

 

It was not long out of camp when we ran into the lions

 

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They were moving fast, so we left them to it and carried on down the valley

 

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ON the way back towards camp, we found these wildebeest. The sun was getting harsh, but it worked nicely in monochrome

 

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Not a bad first day from Mata Mata

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@@Tdgraves

 

It seems that we have caught similar wildlife in similar action on same route! Great action shots again!! Just big cats were avoiding us :( . Better luck next time, as the lottery lady says.

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Day 9 Evening Drive from Mata Mata

 

The drive started with some birds

 

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Including our first hornbill of the trip! A similar world record to the LBR of the day prior...

 

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And I managed to get an oryx on red dune shot

 

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We found the lions at a similar spot to the morning. We were not the first vehicle to arrive. A couple had obviously set in for the duration and unfortunately were later the cause of the only "Kruger" moment of the entire trip.

 

The lions were quite far away and we thought we'd just wait to see what happened. As soon as they started to move, the vehicle which had obviously been there the whole time, moved off to find a better spot, where they were walking towards (as there was a bend in the road). As soon as he had found the perfect spot for him, he parked, at an angle, completely blocking the road so that no-one else could get past in either direction or reposition. He was oblivious to the multiple sets of eyes giving him daggers as he waited for the perfect shot of the lions walking directly towards him. :angry:

 

I was very pleased that they changed direction and hoped that he had not got his shot, as his attitude sucked. They then left at speed, leaving the occupants of about 6 vehicles bemused, or more likely, really angry, as I was.

 

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The light was rapidly failing and we had to get back to camp and the cars behind us could have been from Kalahari tented camp, which is 3km nearer, so we moved off. No sooner had we done so, than I shouted "Cat. Wild cat". Our only encounter of the trip. It was trying to creep up on a dove.

 

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The sighting was over quickly, so when the cars behind caught up with us, they'd have had no idea why we stopped. A lovely chance sighting which we had to ourselves and which stopped my blood boiling by the previous bad behaviour.

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