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@@Towlersonsafari the RSA itinerary for 2018 has been inspired by some of your travels actually. Other places include:


  • Tembe
  • Zululand Rhino Reserve
  • St Lucia
  • Emdoneni Lodge
  • Mountain Zebra NP
  • Karoo NP

I'm still putting the group together for this, but I think I have enough interest for it to get off the ground.

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sounds like a splendid trip @@Treepol -Tembe is yet another place we want to go to!

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Really enjoying your report. Marrick has been on my bucket list for years after reading reports on the Mammal watching website. We had both Mokala and Marrick on the itinerary for this years trip which sadly had to be cancelled due to ill health. Really glad to read there are local operators that can take us to Mokala from Marrick. Holding out hope of a trip next year!

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@@KiwiGran - thank you. Sorry to hear that you had to cancel your trip. I hope you get there soon as you'll have a wonderful time.

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Before we went to Witsand, Marrick and Mokala we visited KTP. It was our first trip to the park.


We had 5 nights, split between Twee Riverien (3 nights) and Mata Mata (2 nights). We chose these two areas because they gave us the comfort that we needed when travelling in summer with a then 6 month old.


I won't write this section as a day by day account but rather I'll focus on the two areas and how I would compare them. I doff my cap to those who have come before me and who have done such a brilliant job profiling the park.


I've only been to the park once so take my comments below for what they're worth.


Twee Riverien vs. Mata Mata


The prominence of the cats (lions vs. cheetah), quality of accommodation, number of routes and presence of rangers is what I observed as being the main differences between the two areas.


Twee Riverien - Is the most commercial of the KTP camps, all be it still very rustic with few amenities, and it is the main entrance to the park.


It's strengths are:

  • All day air conditioning
  • It's now the only camp offering night / sunset drives - Nossob and Mata Mata currently do not have rangers
  • You have two route options going up either the Nossob or Auob
  • It's lion country - we saw plenty and when talking with the ranger he confirmed that Cheetah were scarce in the surrounding area

It's weaknesses are:

  • The camp is a bit soulless and being on the edge of the park, it can feel less wild
  • Few cheetah
  • No water hole at the camp
  • Bats - I admire bats but they live in the thatch roofs and when everyday you wake up with little guano presents on your pillow I become less enamoured with them

Two bed cottage at Twee Riverien




View over the camp towards the gate




Groundscrapper Thrush in the camp




Black-chested Prinia




We found all of our best game viewing from Twee Riverien to be on the Nossob. We found the Auob to be very quite until you get to KlielieKrankie and beyond to Montrose.


The images below are all taken on the stretch of road between Twee Riverien and Samevloeiing. We found this to be quite a productive area.


Vlei Lilly




Brant's Whistling Rat




Early morning at the Samevloeiing waterhole






Red Hartebeest - most of the ones which we saw in the park ,we saw in this area









Ground Squirrels are everywhere - regardless of location




We saw this family group of three females and three cubs on several occasions. We even saw them on the back of a pick-up track! If they escape the park on the Botswana side, the rangers have 24hrs to get them back otherwise they can legally be shot.





Edited by lmSA84
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Samevloeiing to Kiji Kiji


On a typically drive down the Nossob we would normally go as far as the Rooiputs waterhole and then back. BTW this is the same route that the rangers will take on morning or sunset drives. On one occasion we ventured as far as Kiji Kiji.


The Nossob




We often saw Jackals






Our only slender mongoose - doing a mad dash




We saw plenty of lions...














...and Cape Cobras - I never managed to get a shot but this is the only stretch of road where they seemed to be common




One day we were rewarded with this lovely scene of a male lion walking head first into a strong breeze.








We only once went as far as Kiji Kiji but when we did we reward by bathing ostrich...




...and when we got to the waterhole this family group















Edited by lmSA84
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Great stuff! We are still waiting for availability at Nossob due to refurbishment work but even these ares seem productive

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Great set of pictures of the lions! You certainly saw plenty. Good observations on pros and cons of Twee Riveren. I do agree with you there, although for us both Auob and Nossob road were more or less equally productive.

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@@PeterHG - Thanks. Just re-read your report and great to see the success that you had on the southern section of the Auob.

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@@kittykat23uk - fingers crossed that you'll get an opening at Nossob. If not, I would recommend the southern section of the Nossob and northern section of the Auob.

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Thanks! :)

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I forgot to post this one in the last post




The area between Twee Riverien and Rooiputs is not only good during the day but is the area in which the sunset / night drives occur. The below images are from two drives.


Just before sunset




On one of the drives the skys were just incredible










On both night drives we saw Bat Eared Foxes (too far off for photos), Cape Fox, Spotted Eagle Owls and African Wild Cat. Other viewings seen once were Puff Adders and Scorpions.


From the first drive




Puff Adder










The second night was punctuated by the earlier sky images and a set of African Wild Cat kittens, including one that was so Inquisitive that she even tried to sniff the tyres of the game vehicle.







Trying to sniff the tyres




Cape Fox



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Those skies you're showing us are just incredible and you certainly managed to capture the atmosphere there @@lmSA84 !

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What a great time to spend with your family. Marrick looks downright amazing; I'm stunned at the consistently great sightings you had, especially the black-footed kittens and the aardwolf. The rest of the report has been no slouch either, of course. I've enjoyed the landscapes and the jackals.

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Thanks to @@Marks and @@PeterHG for the kind comments :)


Auob Road - Twee Riverien to Montrose


As I have mentioned before, we found this section and the dune road connecting Auchterionie and Kiji Kiji to have beautiful scenery but ultimately to be unproductive. Others though have had great success


Our highlights were mainly avian in nature
















As much as I love birds (and I do!) we were super excited to find these guys right next to the road at the Montrose waterhole. We had been searching high and low with no luck until then.











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Montrose to Mata Mata


This section of the Auob was fantastic! Once we got past Montrose we found that the general game began to pick up with moderate to large sized herds with plenty of babies. We were even fortunate enough to see a Springbok birth (I missed the photo!)












This broader area also contains the parks giraffes. They were first introduced into this area and have predominately remained in the area.










The most productive zone we found to be around the three waterholes of Dertiende Boorgat, Veertiende Boorgat and Dalkieth - because it's cheetah territory.


I'm not going to claim that I'm highly versed in the parks cheetah movements but based on what I saw it appears that there is a group of four brothers that are active in the area between Montrose and Dertiende Boorgat and then there is mother with four juveniles that are active between Dertiende Boorgat and the Craig Lockhart borehole.


We only saw the four brothers once in thick grass






We saw the mother with her cubs on one occasion, maybe missing the kill (two springbok in this case) by 20mins. Unfortunately, the lead car just missed it!


You can see below that one of the cubs is younger then the others. I was told at Mata Mata that the three older cubs are maternal and that she has adopted the fourth - no idea if it's true but it would account for the apparent age differences.


Mom is in the foreground






The one on the far left is meant to be the adopted cub








On one day we also got to see mom out on her own



Edited by lmSA84
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Montrose to Mata Mata (continued...)


It wasn't all just cheetah, we also Lion on two occasions, including this guy having a funky mane day




We found most of the waterholes to have a resident Tawny eagle...




...and the Veertiende Boorgat waterhole had a Kori Bustard lek




We would also highly recommend the Mata Mata camp.


We stayed in lodge 12 and it has a front on view of the new waterhole. A quick word of warning for those reading older reports - there are two waterholes - one at the hide and a second which used to be in front of lodge 9 but which has been moved to in front of 11/12. I think this is because they are expanding the camp down the valley and want to give the new cottages at 13-16 etc. a view as well.


Looking out from the patio




Image to the left of our cottages centre view where the old borehole was




Sitting on the patio we got to see this injured hyena drinking...




...and at night a lovely little interplay between drinking Springbok and Jackals






Also plenty of yellow mongoose and...






...some lovely birdlife in the camp, including violet-eared waxbill




The initial stretch of road between Mata Mata and the Dalkeith waterhole is known as a real wild cat hot spot. The ranger at Twee Riverien told us that he had seen 13 on a single one way drive down that stretch before!


We weren't quite so lucky but even though a bit far off we did get our only day light sighting on this stretch.




Well that's everything for the Northern Cape - next I'll touch on the Western Cape.

Edited by lmSA84
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@@lmSA84 lovely photo of the Violet-eared Waxbill

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The secretarybird surrounded by butterflies is a really cool shot.

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@ImSA84 , glad to read and see that Kgalagadi has delivered its treasures also to you! The head on shot of a walking lion ... one can hardly keep the hands steady as the adrenaline is rushing through the veins! Cheetah on a kill is a rare moment to capture on a sensor, well done. Good news about Mata Mata camp.

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spectacular skyscapes! and what a heartwarming story about the adopted cheetah cub....


Mata mata surely delivered.

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I proudly stated in my last post that I was going to move onto the Western Cape and I will....but before I do I thought I would post a few comments on Augrabies


We visited in late Jan 29th-30th and unfortunately the water levels were very low. Still though it's an impressive sight.


It actually flooded about a week later - life is all about timing :rolleyes:








Two tips that I wanted to share


1. We found that the camp and the Dassie trail were inundated with midges / mosquitos to the point where it was completely unfeasible to walk the trail or to stand outside your room. The actual face of the falls was fine but as soon as you went to the camp and the surrounding area it was untenable. This wasn't just an issue for us. We met two couples who actually walked almost 2km of the Dassie trail before they were forced to high tail it back the way they came. I don't know if this is seasonal or a standard occurrence but if you're planning to travel at this time of year and walk the trail you may want to check the local conditions


2. We didn't stay in park but rather just up the road at the Dundi Lodge. It was excellent and I would highly recommend it.




Augrabies Flat Lizard




The Dassies are very tame and everywhere at the camp head office








We went for a brief drive through the park in our trusty steed....




...given the heat of the day it wasn't surprising that we didn't encounter too much game but we did see these guys







Edited by lmSA84
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One to the Western Cape


We spent almost 4 weeks of our 9 week road trip in the Western Cape, visiting Cape Town, the winelands, the garden route, back through the little Karoo, up the west coast and eventually back down through the big karoo to Cape Town.


The route below shows most of it, expect the bit when we traversed back the from Northern Cape into the Western via Beaufort West and Ceres.



The wildlife highlights were:


Birding watching in Kirstenbosch and Intaka Island - Cape Town

The Garden Route - Wilderness, Goukamma, Robberg and Tsitsikamma

Cape Point National Park

Bird Island Nature Reserve - Lambert Bay


I'll briefly touch on each of these in turn.


Birding in Cape Town


Cape Town has to be one of the world's best cities - great wine, excellent food (I highly recommend Test Kitchen), friendly people, history and nature. It might not be full of big game but the bird watching is excellent.


As a birdwatcher you have numerous options, some of the most prominent of which are Boulders Beach, Cape Point, Kirstenbosch, a Pelagic trip, Rondevlei, Strandfontein and Intaka Island....amongst many others.


We chose to take in Intaka Island, Kirstenbosch and Cape Point (we saw Boulders last year) because of their respective convenience and because they offer something for non birders (most of our party aren't birders).


Intaka Island is a small highly convenient spot located right in the middle of a housing development. As a part of the development they agreed to maintain the existing small lake system and adjoining marsh area. The result is a wildlife haven in the middle of a city with excellent bird hides.


The main entrance




This is the largest lake, which contains a mixed bird colony with Hartlaub's Gull, Sacred Ibis, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorants and African Darter.









The reserve has a series of circular walks which take you around the lakes and through the bush to a series of platforms and hides. The most popular hide is the kingfisher hide which has to be one of the best places to photograph Malachite Kingfishers in South Africa.






Pied Kingfisher




Yellow-billed Duck




Grey Heron



Edited by lmSA84
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Thanks for leading off with Marrick. Just phenomenal! Those kittens are unbelievable and then the narrative with the gerbils add to the specialness of that sighting. I was feeling bad for #3 until the nursing began. Aardwolf = impala. What a place. You've really enlightened us!


And more kittens! Blackfooted cat & Wildcat kittens are over indulgence and should be banned! The lion with the blond and black mane is right in style. I've seen lots of fashionable ladies do that with their hair. I am up to the lovely secretary bird surrounded by butterflies in complementing colors. Your success was in no way limited to Marrick!

Edited by Atravelynn
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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been over ten years since I visited Cape Town, and at the time I sadly wasn't that into birds. Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways with your excellent results!

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