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Simon & Jane's Excellent ( South African) Adventure


Towlersonsafari

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@@Towlersonsafari you deserve a medal for your aardvark patience! Thanks for the advice.

 

My thoughts exactly.

 

Sounds like you had a great time there regardless, spent among excellent company.

 

(Termite-ator as written by Arnie?)

 

I'd read it.

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One of the most intriguing encounters one can have in the KTP, is with the stationary vehicle. As you are spotting, looking for clues,for a twitch of the ear or a puff of dust, you suddenly see a stat

We have recently got back from a 3 week self-drive to South Africa, our 5th such trip and 12th overall, but our first since discovering the fun that is Safaritalk.Having read so many fine and differe

Some more photos of Namaqualand,

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@@Towlersonsafari

 

You've caught me by surprise with that yea Chargers, are those the nfl Chargers? If so I'll forgive you for your poor taste in teams :)

 

You do have the patience of a saint.

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Towlersonsafari

@dio of course the NFL chargers!-ever since Dan Fouts! american football is nearly as much fun as cricket! I hope you are not going to say yu are a Patriots fan-its bad enough with my nephew-or no please no, not a Raiders fan-in which case you have my every sympathy!

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Towlersonsafari

NAMAQUALAND

 

So we stayed at Naries, some 25 km out of Springbok for three nights.Not only is it a good stop-over between KTP and Cape Town, but a brilliant destination in its own right, especially in the flower season (August to end of September roughly). You need to book well in advance during this time.Very comfortable and very good food.They catered very well for Jane's veggie requirements and they give good advice about where best to see the flowers.They have several walks on the property-only about 5-6 km, and you can use these to see the flowers on an individual scale.Then the next day go and see the mass displays in a place such as the Namaqua reserve.We went on a walk there as well-and I think you get a much better appreciation of the sheer burst of overwhelming colour that is just amazing. Since the copper mine closed down unemployment in the local town is over 95% so the area certainly needs the tourism. We also think Nieuwoudville would make a slightly different base to combine with the Springbok area if you wanted to immerse yourself in flowers!

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Towlersonsafari

Some more photos of Namaqualand,

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@@Towlersonsafari

 

I won't turn this to a sports thread but I've been watching my team Denver beating your team since John Elway days B) Minneapolis is close to home so I'm very excited to be heading there for my first ever game in November. My wife would never want to leave Namaqualand if she saw those pictures.

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Wow, the flowers really are fantastic splashes of color.

 

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Very nice shot. A different background than I'm used to seeing!

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michael-ibk

Really love the flower landscape, the Oryx shot is great!

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Towlersonsafari

 

Namaqualand looks like that?

Gorgeous!

Carpets of blossoms, visions of color.

Thank you for posting this. Utterly lovely!

Tom K.

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Towlersonsafari

Thank you @dio (I derserved that!) @@PT123 @Marks @@michael-ibk and @@Tom Kellie for your very kind words. There is also the coast that I would love to explore. the Namaqua SAN Park as a 4 x 4 route that leads down to the coast and the idea of the flowers and the sea sounds exciting-we did not have time, or the 4 x 4 skills. Also the area has the padloper tortiose -one of the smallest in the world that was not out of hibernation yet. When you are surrounded by all that colour-you cannot fail to smile. As for the oryx, it was an unusual setting. My plans for self improvement now include-a 4x4 driving course and a photography course!!!

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Towlersonsafari

So we left Naries without falling over and breaking anything (it was Naries where I broke my elbows in 2011)-but Jane had a determined try at getting me to recreate the experience at Augrabies San Park for 2 nights .Augrabies was also the location of what turned out to be one of the most memorable night drives we have ever had.But first a photo I took in 2011 of a small beautiful rather splendid flower(from a bulb I think) that can be found at Naries itself-but we were a little early this time

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And a last splash of colour

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Towlersonsafari

AUGRABIES San Parks

 

So driving along in our Humpity Bumpity Army Truck (Camberwick Green Anyone?) We picked up some supplies at the Springbok Spa and it was an easy drive to our next destination.For anyone interested Pick n Pay is better than Spa.We had 2 large cool bags and in the KTP we used those individual fruit juice cartons, frozen in the fridge the night before, to keep the perishable items cool, and then to drink home made slushies. As we got closer, the influence of the Orange river became stronger, turning a sparse landscape with occasional farm buildings into a sea of vineyards and fruit farms with associated warehouses.The turn off to the park is about 25 km full of such enterprises.We arrived on a Saturday, and it was very busy with day visitors and a corporate event.Its very much all about the falls, which is a pity as the landscape is very interesting.It is also a good place for Klipspringers which are said to be more confiding.And we have never seen so many Dassies. Everyone loves a Dassie. The falls themselves are impressive.But not Victoria Falls impressive Its more the realization that these rocks have been scoured over thousands of years. The most fun is to be had trying to take a half decent photo of the endemic Broadley's Flat Lizards-as seen in David Attenborough's Planet Earth. I promise I did no very bad Attenborough impressions when we saw them. I thought they were very good impressions.

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Towlersonsafari

Anyone staying at a San Parks reserve should try a night drive.Sometimes they are very quiet, sometimes you are the only guests so you can have a good old chat with the ranger, and at just over £10 per person they are good value.You can often choose a sunset drive -which the guides we spoke to thought ere best, or a nightdrive starting of course much later They are the only way to see nocturnal critters.You can be chosen to hold the searchlight and get to play at tracker-you have seen how they do it-it can get competitive if there are 2 lights one on each side! And sometimes this happens-

We thought at first we would be the only guests, but then about 8 elderly English (in their 70's or 80's at least) arrived.Without being patronizing Hats off to them, they were having a great time. A brief delay ensued as one one of them escaped to find out the cricket score (we let Australia win the last one, its only polite)the guide bravely started his introduction.The half that could hear drowned him out telling the other half that were hard of hearing to be quiet so the guide could speak.Eventually everyone subsided, and the 2 lights were dished out.The chosen passengers made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in any ability to hold the light steady, or in the vague direction of the ground.Sill the anticipation was palpable. BAT EARED FOX!!! the gentleman roared as at last we had a sighting! I must have jumped two feet in the air, as I was following the other light looking for world war 2 bombers, or bats, on the other side of the truck. It Was in fact a deaf Springhare as at least it seemed undisturbed by the ear splitting cry.A brief argument then ensued as someone else wanted to have a go with the lights, and then to change seats.Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.The guide was brilliant.He turned into a schoolmaster in charge of an unruly school trip.He turned the drive into a quiz, asking questions about the park and stopping a few minutes later to get them to repeat the answers. To my eternal shame I started to supply the answers, at first to break that uncomfortable silence, and then I just could not stop. I was called Teachers Pet by the end of the drive, and we did see 3 Klipspringers..The main thing is they had a splendid time, and we just had to laugh.

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@@Towlersonsafari

 

What is "home made slashes"?? Or should I wait till the KTP part of your report?

 

The flowers are exquisite; so August is a good time to visit Cape Town and around?

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Towlersonsafari

sorry @@xelas it should have read slushies-slashies sounds rude!. August is a good time-the flowers and whale watching!

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@@Towlersonsafari

 

Oh, sorry, and don't even explain what the word means ... I will google it :huh: .

 

So, once more, using copy/paste to avoid any mistake (or damn autocorrect): what is "home made slushies"??

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This TR is keeping me laughing (and admiring many great sights). Keep it coming!

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I got tears in my eyes laughing at the deaf springhare and the elderly English group. Thank you for this wonderful, rollicking, colorful-in-every-sense trip report.

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SafariChick

Ditto from me on the hilarious post about your night drive - looking for world war two bombers or bats! :P

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Towlersonsafari

Thank you very much for your kind words. I do hope we are causing mayhem in Africa when we are their age!

We only have one full day in the park and decide on a walk, described as 6km easy-moderate with some scrambling over rocks. A better description might have been, "Rocks rocks and more rocks, with a bit of level ground just to lull you into a false sense of security". It was great fun though and must have given the almost ever present Dassies a great laugh. Alas my artificial knees, and one artificial elbow (3rd version) mean that although I still think I am as agile as a mountain goat, I'm just kidding myself.Still with Jane holding onto me I wobbled and swayed from boulder to boulder. It did mean the drive was at the wrong time of day, and it was quiet but we did see 2 new species to us, a Dassie Rat, and Haartmans Mountain Zebra and some very cute young Dassies near the waterfall itself in a sort of creche.

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A typical section of our walk

 

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Towlersonsafari

We had a good time at Augrabies, scenically very interesting, but perhaps best visited when water levels are higher. Next stop (last stop) KTP

1 nt Twee Riverien 2 nts Mata Mata, 3 nts Kalahari Tented Camp 2 nts Nossob and a last night back at Twee Riverien.It is just luck if you can get the wilderness camps but even the main camps are well worth a visit.Indeed some of our best sightings have been driving from TR Stopping at Upington for the Pick n Pay shopping extravaganza, it was an easy drive to the Park, getting there in time to get settled and join a sunset drive, alas with no eccentric English folk . As if to emphasize its wilderness aspect, you get a permit booklet when you first arrive, and if out on a self-drive, you pick up your permit and tell the attendant where you are off to.When you safely get there, or return, you hand it back. This has 2 important aims. To alert the authorities if you don't get there, and to allow me to wave the paper aloft on my way back to the car, and pretend to be Neville Chamberlain. On every occasion.

Here is a photo of almost my favourite sighting of the KTP part of our trip,

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The rocky terrain looks exactly like what we suffered through on our rhino trek, well done with artificial knees! BTW I love pick n pay.

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