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Kgalagadi and Londolozi: The Living Desert and Desserts to Die For


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Big_Dog

Fantastic stuff. Truly excellent lion and cheetah images.
None of KTP's brownies appeared yet though? :(

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Day 2   Are we sure this is Kgalagadi? It is cloudy, cold and windy. An African jacana, another water-loving bird, is found swimming in a roadside pool. We spend the day exploring Rooiputs, Kij K

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park   I am fast perfecting the art of visiting Kgalagadi. Natasha Iles from AfriFriends is the trip planner/driver/guide and her trusty Nissan Pathfinder the workhorse. We

Day 4     From our base at Kalahari Tented Camp, we scour the Auob riverbed and the dunes for those four cheetah boys with no luck. Lions were heard all night, and though the tracks are found, we

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SafariChick

Incredible photos - such a sense of being there!

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Safaridude

@@Africalover

 

The two new lodges on the Botswana side of the park are Rooiputs Lodge and Polentswa Lodge.

 

Guests of Rooiputs do all the game drives on the South African side of the park (this lodge is located just a few hundred meters from the main Nossob Road.).

 

The Polentswa Lodge is about 5km from the main Nossob Road, and its "entrance road" from the main Nossob Road is shared with the Polentswa Wilderness Trail (which is one of three "wilderness trails" available only for campers that go into Botswana… these wilderness trails are what you are referring to (the Polentswa Wilderness Trail, Kaa Gameviewing Trail and Mabuasehube Wilderness Trail)). However, guests of Polentswa Lodge do not have access to the Polentswa Wilderness Trail (other than the shared entrance road from the main Nossob Road, as I said). And even though Polentswa Lodge has its own small "concession area" of sorts, roads have really not been developed yet. So, even at Polentswa Lodge, guests do all their game drives on the South African side of the park.

 

In other words, these two new lodges on the Botswanan side of the park do not intrude on the campers exploring the three "trails" into Botswana.

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Safaridude

@@Africalover

 

Having said all of that, the popularity of Kgalagadi is increasing, and yes, there will likely be more vehicle traffic. Mata-Mata just finished putting more units in. I understand there will be some units being added to Urikaruus, and there is a major expansion going on at Nossob.

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Safaridude

Fantastic stuff. Truly excellent lion and cheetah images.

None of KTP's brownies appeared yet though? :(

 

Big_Dog

 

Can't have it all, I guess. We did not see any brownies. The Gharagab waterhole was our best bet. A couple of them probably sneaked in for a drink while I was asleep. I saw my only ever brown hyena at that waterhole in 2013 -- at first light.

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twaffle

I think the soft focus that the vegetation gives around the focus animals really makes the images super special. A wonderful set of images all round.

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Kitsafari

wow those veins on the male pride lion really popped up.

 

fantastic photos as usual. really liked the camp bathed in the moonlight.

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PeterHG

Excellent stuff! You found some great angles on those lion pictures!

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deano

@@Safaridude - great collection and variety of images and all superb quality. It goes without saying that the animals are the stand outs but only on Safaritalk can you post a picture of a fallen Camelthorn tree and have somebody like me tell you that it a beautiful image worthy of hanging on my wall (it is...and I would if it were mine).

 

Also like the various lodge and camp scenes at night. A real sense of place and a few seconds of peace in my hectic day. Thank you.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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Peter Connan

@@ice

 

@penlova

 

Thank you for the information. And yes, we were incredibly lucky with the leopard sightings.

 

Now, does anyone know the name of the goshawk? :P

Sorry i missed the question. The Gosshawk's name is Nataniel.

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@@Safaridude - I always enjoy reading your trip reports and happy to see another one quite quick after the Kenya trip report (lucky me!). Jealous of the wild cats!

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@@Africalover

 

Having said all of that, the popularity of Kgalagadi is increasing, and yes, there will likely be more vehicle traffic. Mata-Mata just finished putting more units in. I understand there will be some units being added to Urikaruus, and there is a major expansion going on at Nossob.

 

KTP's problem is not too much but traffic but too little roads to spread out on - those who complain about too many people in KTP and KNP easily forget that these two (KNP much more than KTP) are the only parks actually making money, thereby co-financing all those other little, lesser known parks in ZA

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Safaridude

Day 11

 

 

A hint of a smidgen of light before sunrise is all Benson needed to spot lions feeding on a gemsbok in front of camp. Our plan to make a jump start in the morning for our long drive ahead to Rooiputs Lodge is obviously interrupted. A long, hot day of driving follows. We just can’t get away from lions – near Melkvlei, we encounter the pair of male lions we saw on day 1 and 2.

 

 

7:03am – Lions on a gemsbok kill.

 

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2:08pm – An eland calf that may be lost. This is the first live eland sighting for me in Kgalagadi. Elands in Kgalagadi prefer to stay in the dunes and are occasional visitors to the riverbeds.

 

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2:13pm – An unfortunate victim of a hit-and-run – a bat-eared fox.

 

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2:30pm – A gemsbok cow with incredible horns.

 

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5:08pm – A male lion near Melkvlei.

 

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6:08pm – Vehicles speeding back to Twee Rivieren kick up dust, creating a misty scene.

 

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6:44pm – Natasha shutting down the vehicle for the night.

 

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Edited by Safaridude
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Safaridude

Day 12

 

 

It’s only fitting that we are offered a send-off on our last morning in Kgalagadi by a couple of lions right in camp.

 

 

6:23am – Mercy, the manager of Rooiputs Lodge.

 

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6:39am – The local lion pride frequents the lodge. A young male and a lioness are particularly cheeky this morning, occupying the wooden walkway between the rooms and the dining area.

 

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7:52am – One last red dune.

 

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Edited by Safaridude
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xelas

Oh, wow, wow, ... and that comes after having my share of lions sightings ... but yours?! Just incredible!! Was it Benson or pure luck or just Kgalagadi ... irrelevant as you have had a fabulous trip, and we have enjoyed a fabulous trip report ... and magical photos!

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AKR1

@@Safaridude,

 

 

 

I just got a chance to read your entire report- fascinating!

 

Amongst your multitude of superb pictures, the in-flight snake eagle with kill hanging, two lions with just their faces in focus with gorgeous brooch, the mating lions (tastefully cropped), Cheetah brothers at the top of an elevation, cheetah hunt in the far distance (how on earth did you capture the action from what seemed a very long distance), lion(s) on a kill bathed in golden light, gemsbok with incredible horns and various human portraitures, especially the long exposure Benson & Neo in duplicate, really stood out.

 

Thanks for once again sharing your increasingly frequent adventures.

Edited by AKR1
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SafariChick

@@AKR1 ah but it is not done yet - as I understand it, we now have Londolozi to enjoy coming up - right @@Safaridude?

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Safaridude

@SafariChick

 

Correct. "Londo" coming up.

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Safaridude

Oh, wow, wow, ... and that comes after having my share of lions sightings ... but yours?! Just incredible!! Was it Benson or pure luck or just Kgalagadi ... irrelevant as you have had a fabulous trip, and we have enjoyed a fabulous trip report ... and magical photos!

 

@@xelas

 

I think it's both… luck and good guiding. Some of the vehicles in Kgalagadi seem to be in a real hurry and miss things. Just being more deliberate and observant is an advantage, and so is having another set of trained eyes. If those trained eyes happen to belong to Benson...

 

Take for example the male lion we saw at Melkvlei (black & white photo in post #63)… Benson spotted him sleeping under a tree (if it were up to just me and Natasha, I would say there is at least a 75% chance we would have missed it). Since the lion was asleep and it was the middle of the afternoon, we thought we would go to the lodge for a quick break (after an all day drive from Polentswa) and then return. The lodge was only a few km from the lion, and we could see about a dozen cars pass the lodge en route to where the lion was. I can tell you that all of them missed the lion.

Edited by Safaridude
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Big_Dog

Just can't get away from lions - what a shame! ;)
Shame about the little fox. :(
And as for brownies...well...what better incentive to keep coming back with your camera? :D

Fantastic first half though, eager for Londolozi...

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elefromoz

@@Safaridude, beautiful photos all, quite jarring to see that tragic little fox in the mix. For those of us that haven't ventured as far as Kgalagadi, in my case because I had considered it only a self drive destination, really tempting to give it some consideration. The Gemsbok are lovely creatures, your photography brings out a gentle beauty in everything. Looking forward to the pizazz of Londolozi.

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KiwiGran

Wonderful trip report. I would love to go to Kgalagadi but we are very much "seniors" and dont want to self drive. Have been looking at tours especially a Kgalagadi/Augrabies/Witsand/Mokala and perhaps ending with a couple of nights at Marrick Safari. Has anyone done one of these tours and could give me feedback? Like elefromoz I would love to see gemsbok.

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Safaridude

@@elefromoz @@KiwiGran

 

Thank you.

 

I can definitely understand the attraction of a self-drive. My own preference is to not do that. It is amazing how much more you get to experience if you don't have to worry about driving and other logistics.

 

Mokala, Augrabies and Kgalagadi are definitely doable in one trip. Mokala can be reached in one day from Joburg.

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penolva

Wonderful trip report. I would love to go to Kgalagadi but we are very much "seniors" and dont want to self drive. Have been looking at tours especially a Kgalagadi/Augrabies/Witsand/Mokala and perhaps ending with a couple of nights at Marrick Safari. Has anyone done one of these tours and could give me feedback? Like elefromoz I would love to see gemsbok.

 

@@KiwiGran we are also grandparents and seniors. We are going on our forth self drive to South Africa in September and can honestly say the driving is very easy, safe and comfortable. We have visited Kgalagadi, Mokala and Augrabies more than once and they are not to be missed.

 

At Augrabies they have just built 'Gorge Cottage' which is located inside the park itself. At Mokala we have stayed in the Tree House twice now and its fantastic. Its own private waterhole where buffalo, zebra, giraffe etc etc visit. On our first visit three rhino were there to meet us. If you go to the Kglagadi you can steer away from the dune challenges of Gharagab and Bitterpan by staying at Kilie Krankie, Kalahari Tented Camp, Urikaruus and Grootkolk.

 

Here is us at the Tree House in Mokala just to show how 'old' we are :rolleyes: Pen

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xelas

@@KiwiGran

Me might still fall into the "juniors" category (< 60) but we do enjoy self driving, and from last visit also self catering :)

 

@@Safaridude

I can only imagine what a treat it is, having Natasha and Benson at your side. When we will reach the "senior" category ... ;)

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