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Overwhelmed with Kgalagadi

pedro maia

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After visiting Kruger for the first time in 2012 and because of many trip reports read here and there, the will to visit Kgalagadi started to grow on me, but I had many doubts, mainly because I thought it's remoteness and toughness might be too much for the rest of my family.


Last year I neearly decided to go but when I tried to book the flights I could only get on the waiting list to the flights from Joburg to Upington so I droped the idea but this year, after describing to my wife what I thought we could expect from the park and after solving the issue of the bats inside the chalets in Twee Rivieren (that was non negotiable) by staying outside the gate at the Kgalagadi Lodge, only 5km from Twee Rivieren (and only one night at Nossob, which showed me I should have stayed more nights there) I was able to buy the flights and there was no turning around, the whole family was going to visit the Kgalagadi for the first time.


It was a very (too) short trip, but better that than nothing, and I can only say that I definitely want to go back, I was totally blown away by that place, it's realy as impressive and special as I knew it would be by reading all the trip reports I found.


For now I leave you guys with same picutres taken by my daughter, later I'll post also pictures taken by me and by my wife and with three different cameras, so sizes may differ a bit.



































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Olá Pedro - thanks for this trip report.   I am looking forward to following along. 

Your daughter is already an accomplished photographer.


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I am sure the whole family was overwhelmed together.  Your first post covers lots of ground (and sky!)

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16 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Olá Pedro - thanks for this trip report.   I am looking forward to following along. 

Your daughter is already an accomplished photographer.



Thanks for that comment, she has a lot to learn but she´s very young, has a lot of time to became an accomplished photgrapher;).

Edited by pedro maia
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8 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

I am sure the whole family was overwhelmed together.  Your first post covers lots of ground (and sky!)


It was definitely a great family trip, we had same great momments trabeling, driving, seeing the game and also (a first for us) braaing).

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6 hours ago, Treepol said:

@pedro maiatanks for the KTP taster, its one of my favourite parks and I look forward to reading more about your adventure when you have time to start the TR.


KTP jumped to the top of my favourite places, close to Pantanal.

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I forgot how to put the nick of the person I want to answer to like Treepol did with mine, can someone refresh my memory me on that?

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@pedro maia Type the @ symbol and then start typing the name, the way it works now a list of names will appear as you type, keep typing until you see the one you want and then click it, that will ensure it's correct. if you type in the full name make sure it appears highlighted in green, if it doesn't then either you've mistyped or it hasn't worked for some other reason.

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@inyathi Thanks for the explanation, it works.

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It was quite a long trip, a little over 24 hours to reach the park, Lisbon-Munich (TAP), Munich-Johanesburgo(SAA), Johanesburg-Upington (Airlink) (coming home the intercontinental flight was via London), then we picked up the rental car,  went to the Kalahari Mall to by some groceries and finally we were on the road to KTP.




Leaving Upington




On the road, endless straights




Then, the red dunes route, it starts to get interesting






Pit stop at Askham, with it´s beautiful trading post






The first night (and the las three nights) we stayed at the Kgalagadi Lodge, 5km from the park gate, great chalets, I think it´s a very good alternative to Twee Rivieren (not to the other camps, of course)


The lodge with chalets over the dune






Our chalet for the first night, right in the red sand




Sunrise colours from our chalet varaqnda, overlooking Botswana




And the most awaited momment, inside KTP for the first time




And it was time to start our journey to Nossob, where we would spend our only night inside the park (I know it´s not ideal but next time I´ll stay more nights inside).


It didn´t take long for us to start spotting some species new to us, since we never visited any arid parks before.


Our first springbock




First ostriches, male and female (these we had seen before at the Cape Peninsula)






Firts orix:










First jackals (we saw many more than in Kruger and we had a great time we them, we saw several attempts of hunting by jackals but none successful)






Doesn´t it look like a german shepherd?




And the first fight, nothing serious but still great to watch





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On the way to Nossob, somewhere maybe between Kij Kij and Melkvlei, things started to get more interesting when we spotted this juvenile pale chanting goshawk (I think) not far from the road.




Suddenly, it provided us one those sightings I was expecting to have at KTP. It jumped in the direction of our car taking us by surprise (so no pictures of that part), I was by the wheel on the other side of the car but my sun got the scare of his life when he saw it´s open wings growing in his direction, which made him lift the window, and right after it moved back, looking as if to see if there was any other creature around that could bother him, and that was the moment we realised we had seen a kill (ok, it was not a lion or leopard kill but it was definitely a kill), as the goshawk had a mouse hanging from its beak.










Another look around




All clear so it started to dissect the mouse




And it ate it just in front of us








A real badass this bird, it looks like he is defying any other creature to go and try to get it´s snack.



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A couple of vídeos from the moment, I´m sorry but they are a bit »shaky»





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So gald you have made it to Kgalagadi, @pedro maia, and that Kgalagadi delivered its miracles to you and your family!

Edited by xelas
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Love your photos and also your daughters! Kgalagadi is on my bucket list for future trips to Africa!

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@pedro maia Great stuff: we'll have to arrange a Portuguese language safari one of these days :)



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Goshawk and mouse-what a catch for you and the bird!

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The rest of the way to Nossob was rather uneventful, the stretch from Melkvlei to the camp was quite corrugated, but still it was a pleasant journey, with plenty of general game and birds to watch and stop from time to time.






Great images provided by the Kgalagadi.




The first red hartebeest we ever saw, there weren´t many to be seen.




This kori bustard entertained us for a while, they are quite common in the park, beautiful bird and we saw plenty of them.












Adult pale chanting goshawk (I think)




And a couple of them




These mice were alive, not like the other on the goshawk beak..






It´s always funny to watch ground squirrels






A jackal on the road




The first bat eared fox we saw, quite distant though




We finally arrived at Nossob and we had to designate a “volunteer” to face the wild beasts in the process of opening the gate.




One image I had seen before in other reports.




After checking in and unpacking our dust covered luggage, we still had time for a short afternoon drive, we were told that close to Cubitje Quap 5 cheetahs had been feeding on a kill during the they but were already gone, so we were advised to try Marie se Draai, and that´s what we did.


We stayed ther for a while watching the jackals












And it was time to go back to the camp and prepare dinner.

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  • Game Warden changed the title to Overwhelmed with Kgalagadi

That night at Nossob we had the first braai of the trip (me and my wife we like to watch Ultimate Braai Master), this time it was made by my wife and son, they did a very good job:



After dinner, which included a nice South African Pinotage, we went to see if Nossob´s waterhole lived up to the expectations, and it did, as we arrived there where to lions, one female, which left little after our arrival, and this big black maned male, which stayed with us for a while, drinking and scent marking the bushes (sorry for the quality of the pictures), we couldn´t ask for much more.






And when the male left, it was time for the jackals


We were very tired because of the long journey from home to the Park and then to Nossob but still I decided to put the alarm to 5:30 am, my daughter came with me and when we arrived to the hide, still empty at that time, we were rewarded with the sighting of this big bellied lioness, probably pregnant, I don´t know if they can get such a huge belly just eating


5:30 am, me and my daughter watching (and listening) this beautiful lady 15/20m from us, what more can you ask for?

The waterhole lady in video:


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In the morning the sunlight was hitting our family chalet, the one behind the reception, in the middle of the camp.




I must say I was a little afraid of the camp conditions, and that´s why I only booked one night (and I deeply regret that decision, but there´s nothing I can do now except try to return one day), the camp is very nice, rough and remote, the electricity cut during the night is totally irrelevant, the waterhole produced incredible lion sightings in a very short time and the best was yet to come.


Around 7:15 we drove by the north gate with the idea of having breakfast at Cubitje Quap while waiting for a good sighting at the waterhole in the early morning. However, our breakfast had to wait for a good while because not more than 2km after leaving the gate we saw one tail with a curl at the tip, looked like it belonged to a cat, maybe a leopard, but with a better look it turned out to be one of the animals on top of our wishing list, a cheetah, and better than that, it was not only one, there four cheetahs and there wasn´t any other car around.




I thought that we had seen four young cheetahs, all siblings, but in another forum this one was identified as the mother, known as Gina.






We spent a lot of time watching them playing, sometimes laying down, then playing again, incredible animals, a real treat and all for ourselves.


















During all the time there was a lone wildebeest in the background but the cheetahs didn´t seem to have any interest in it and never got even close to where it was.







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What a lovely experience to watch them play. :)

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others might correct me if I'm wrong but I guess that if the lioness at the waterhole had indeed been pregnant, you should have been able to see her teats

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53 minutes ago, wilddog said:

What a lovely experience to watch them play. :)


Not over yet;).

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14 minutes ago, ice said:

others might correct me if I'm wrong but I guess that if the lioness at the waterhole had indeed been pregnant, you should have been able to see her teats


Maybe, what is certain is that her belly was really full.

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