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Our 2nd visit to Southern Africa and again, not our last one!


Ladouce

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Just after our trip to Namibia, Chobe & Vic Falls in 2014 we already started thinking about a return to the South of Africa. After reading all the enthusiastic reports on the Kgalagadi, we decided to go there. And as we did not visit the South of Namibia on our previous trip, we also wanted to include Fish River Canyon and Luderitz. In the beginning I also wanted to go to both Ai-Ais Richtersveld and Augrabies but decided to go only to Augrabies. 

 

So after carefull planning and booking (which is not the easiest for KTP) our trip looked like this:

17 November Amsterdam - Johannesburg, overnight in the City Lodge OR Tambo

18 November Johannesburg - Upington, pick up of our double cab Ford Ranger, drive to Augrabies,  2 nights in the Oranjekom Gorge Cottage

20 November drive to KTP

1 night Urikaruus

2 nights Nossob

1 night Bitterpan

2 nights Kalahari Tented Camp

26 November drive to Keetmanshoop overnight at Maritz Country Lodge

27 November drive to Aus, 2 nights in Klein Aus Vista, Desert Horse Inn

29 November drive to Fish River Canyon, 2 nights In Canyon Village

1 December drive to Springbok, overnight at Kleinplasie Guesthouse

2 December drive to Clanwilliam, 2 nights in Yellow Aloe Guesthouse

4 December drive to Langebaan, overnight The Farmhouse Hotel

5 December drive to Franschhoek, 2 nights in Lavender Farm Guesthouse

7 December drive to Cape Town, 2 nights in Maartens Guesthouse

10 December, just after midnight, flight Cape Town - Amsterdam

 

I know a lot of people would have advised to do this trip the other way around and I can both agree and disagree. For both options there are pro’s and con’s. This is also for the period we did this trip. November and December can be very warm but as we celebrated our 10th anniversary in November, we wanted to go in November. And yes it was warm but we got used to it. Just change your daily rythm by getting up early and taking siestas in the middle of the day.

 

We drove approximately 4500 km during this trip and made 3300 photo’s (1500 by me and 1800 by my DH). I am still in the process of going through all of them. So the report will be going in while I am working on the pictures. 

(The 2 pictures below are unedited jpg’s which I had on my IPad I am using to write this intro)

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Edited by Ladouce
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Treepol

@Ladoucewhat a fabulous itinerary, and I am looking forward to following along on your Southern adventure. I'm particulary looking forward to your days around Springbok and Clanwilliam as I am thinking a bout a future trip from Cape Town thru' the Western Cape to West Coast NP, Springbok, Augrabies, KTP and onto Southern Namibia.

 

I have booked the Farmstead in Langebaan for next August, we tried to get into the Lavender Farm but it was unfortunately already booked out.

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Towlersonsafari

Hurrah! looking forward to reading about your trip-and what the KTP is like in November as we are there next year

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Holiday! After more than a year of waiting, the time has come. We are going to Southern Africa again. The suitcases are packed, cameras are in the bags; we are ready. Because of the ease we fly with our national pride. Directly from our backyard to Johannesburg. A day flight with arrival local time at approx. 22:00.  Followed by an overnight stay in the City Lodge OR Tambo, located at the airport and then tomorrow morning a 1,5 hour flight  to Upington in the North of South Africa.

We treated ourselves to economy comfort chairs and an a la carte meal. Both are worth the effort. The chairs we have are on the first row, so a lot of legspace. And the ordered meal is Japanese and also tastes great.  During the flight we have a clear sky with beautiful views. First above the Netherlands. The Nieuwe Waterweg and the port of Rotterdam. Next the South of France followed by the Sahara. 

After a good breakfast and a short bouncing flight, we collect our car for the next 3 weeks. A white one, how could it be otherwise in South Africa, a Ford Ranger 4x4. A nice spacious car. From the airport it is a few kilometers to the Kalahari Mall where we do our shopping. 3 Shopping carts full of, among others, 2 coolers, charcoal, food & wine.
Now we only need to drop by the butcher and then on to Augrabies Falls. I have sent the butcher a mail in advance with what we want. Also have a confirmation of this. Unfortunately, the butcher appears to be closed and we will have to eat vegetarian for the next 2 evenings. For the other evenings we can still pick up the meat on the way to the Kgalagadi.
The road to Augrabies Falls is a tarred road where you can drive 100 km in most places. In the villages it is 60. We spot our first  animals.  Twice a mongoose passes right in front of our car. After 1.5 hours of driving we arrive at the gate of the park. Here we report with your booking confirmation. Then 3 kilometers to the reception of the main rest camp. The rest camp consists of a campsite, several bungalows, meeting facilities, a restaurant and a shop.
After we have reported ourselves, we get the key of our cottage. This is not in the camp but 10 kilometers away, at the gorge. We are all there all by ourselves from the moment tthe fences of the park close at 7:30 pm until they open again at 6:00 am. The cottage is made under a viewing platform. 

In the shop we buy a boerewors (frozen) for tomorrow; still meat one evening. Upon returning to the car, we notice that our left rear tire is flat.  Annoying but must be reasonably quick to change it. Unfortunately, not. At first it looks like there are other bolts on this wheel than on the other 3 wheels. The key does not fit. One of the rangers of the park comes to help, then another employee and then another. But it does not work to get them off. Then it turns out that somebody (from Europcar ?) has put aluminum caps over the bolts. And we cannot get them off the bolts. A number of bolts come off with a cap and for some the cap needs to be removed. After 2 hours of working, we can finally go to our cottage. 

On the way to the cottage we see some new animals, klipspringers and rock dassies.  The last ones you can see everywhere. 

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Our cottage is a very nice surprise. The location is superb and the cottage itself is fully equipped. It is a large open space with a bed, a kitchen, a dining area and sofa. There is also a small chemical toilet, hidden in a box. This is convenient because the shower and toilet are not in the cottage but in a separate building 20 meters away. 

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We have an easy dinner a glass of wine and baguette with herb butter and some other small bites. Our first sundowner during this vacation. There will be many more to follow. We sit outside enjoying the sunset when a yellow mongoose comes walking. It is apparently the house mongoose because he keeps hanging around and begging. It is very cute on the one hand but this is not a natural behavior. This animal has been ruined by guests of this cottage. 

 

The sunset is truly beautiful and once the sun is down, it is also immediately dark but with a lot of stars. We go to sleep without any curtains closed. There is no one who can see us and tomorrow morning we will wake up with a beautiful view and sunrise.

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Peter Connan
13 hours ago, Ladouce said:

we collect our car for the next 3 weeks. A white one, how could it be otherwise in South Africa, 

 


Indeed, in South African 4x4 circles, a white Toyota 4x4 is often called an "appliance". At least you have avoided that fate.

:D

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@Ladouce, 3 weeks and only 3300 photos?! What, you put your camera on strict diet :huh:??

 

As for the wheel nuts/bolts, you have obviously not read the advices given on Tripadvisor: always untight/tight the all wheels by yourself! Now you know why :D.

But what a great trip report for us to read, and to prepare the future travels to Namibia!

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1 hour ago, xelas said:

@Ladouce, 3 weeks and only 3300 photos?! What, you put your camera on strict diet :huh:??

 

As for the wheel nuts/bolts, you have obviously not read the advices given on Tripadvisor: always untight/tight the all wheels by yourself! Now you know why :D.

But what a great trip report for us to read, and to prepare the future travels to Namibia!

@xelas my DH sometimes has his own ideas on doing things. So I just kept quiet and did not say, I told you so. But you are definitely right. This will probably not happen anymore the next time we go. And when we got back to Upington to go to KTP, we went to Europcar to get a new spare. Instead of giving us a new spare tyre, they gave us a new car. And guess who checked all the wheelnuts? ? Luckily this flat tyre was the only one during our trip and it happened on a tar road. So no flat ones on the gravel roads. 

 

And on the photo part. To be honest, in Franschhoek we did not make any pictures and in Cape Town we also did not do much.

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Sunday, 19 November 2017
Fortunately, it cooled down a little during the night. At 5:00 am the sun rises, in the Netherlands we rarely are awake at sunrise but here we are very much awake. Coffee and one (or two) rusks to help us wake up. The dassies also wake up slowly, just like the little lizards, different birds and our house mongoose.

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But one of the highlights today is the 2 Verreaux eagles flying around in the gorge. They are beautiful although the dassies think differently. 

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After we have used our shower house we go to the rest camp. We hope that there is someone who can fix our tire. Unfortunately, nobody can help us and as it Sunday it doesn't make sense to go any where outside the park. We will deal with it on Monday.  So it means a day without a spare wheel. 

 

We have breakfast in the restaurant. This was also not planned but the bag with the 2 loafs of fresh bread were full of ants. I have no clue how they got in the bag. After breakfast we walkt to the waterfall from which the park derives its name, the Augrabies Falls. No comparison with Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls but still beautiful. The water is pouring down with a lot of noise. There is a nice walkway to get to the waterfall but unfortunately there is no shadow anywhere and the temperature rises above 35C today.
We quickly walk back to the car with ac.  Although during our drive we have the windows down which feels much better than the ac. Since there is more to see besides the waterfall, we will  do a drive around the park. With of course the hope that we see some nice animals. There would be rhinos, zebras, giraffes and leopards. However, we do not expect to see the 1st and the last because that chance is very small. And indeed, we do not see them, also no zebras. We see two giraffes, but also two foxes, klipspringers, a herd of ostriches and oryxes. Yesterday we spoke with a Dutch couple during the tyre change and today we meet them again at one of the viewing locations. They indicated that they were going back to the restcamp. We said that we were going further into the park. The lady in question reported that there was nothing to see further on. And that was true, we have indeed seen nothing. Just all the above mentioned animals and great scenery. We just chuckled a bit.

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Here you see the Oranjekom Gorge cottage. This picture is taken from the Ararat viewing point. 

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After getting back it takes a while before our house mongoose comes around but even before the braai is lit he/she is back again. Today there is boerewors on the menu. With a nice glass of Pinotage.  We will go to bed eary because the days start early here and it is getting very dark at at night.

Tomorrow we will have a long drive. From here we go via Upington to the Kgalagadi. A 380 km drive to the entrance of the park, followed by a relative short drive to our camp. We sleep in Urikaruus tomorrow night. It is one of wilderness camps, it is unfenced and has only 5 cabins. Each cabin can accommodate 2 people. So a max of 10 people can stay in the camp. It is always fully booked. We were very lucky to get it, just 3 weeks before our departure, suddenly 1 night came available. So instead of staying in Two Rivieren we moved to Urikaruus.
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Swartrante   large.DSC_0050.jpg.b6324a58218387449ace3f37b877eab8.jpglarge.5a44dd6d5fc23_DSC_0066(2).jpg.1d0b91ec9410e60789b6c2598c36f1eb.jpg

 

Echocorner

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Sounds a great trip. Nice detail and tips for vehicle hirers. We've never checked previously and have had a couple of punctures, so we're perhaps lucky, or you were unlucky. Will check next time!

 

Look forward to the details of the rest of your trip.

 

John

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michael-ibk

Great pictures of Augrabies! Stayed there last year, and it was a "surprise hit" for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Monday, 20 November 2017

We get up early because we have a long drive ahead. First back to Upington and then on to the Kgalagadi.  A total of 380 km to the park entrance. All on a tarred road. From the entrance we have a short drive of 68 km to our camp and that will be a gravel road. As all roads in the Kgalagadi are gravel/sand. For this last part the travel time will be 2.5 hours without stopping. Everything is packed, check out and then on the road. In Upington we first stop at the butcher to collect the ordered meat and then continue to Europcar. Here we report what happened and without any comments we get another car.

 

From Upington we drive to the park entrance. On the way we see a lot of goats. Occasionally we even have to slow down because they cross the road. You have to remain careful. At the entrance, Twee Rivieren, we have to check in and also arrange the border formalities.  As we are leaving the park to Namibia via Mata Mata, you have to do this at Twee Rivieren. It is not possible to do at Mata Mata. If you forget to do this, you will not be able to cross the border and will have to go back.

 

It is only a bit of a shame that the border official just goes on a lunch break when we want to have the stamps, which means a 40 minute wait. But we make good use of the time. First we reduce the tire pressure to 1.6 bar. Followed by a visit to the shop and have a quick lunch at the cafeteria. When we come back, everything is arranged quickly and we can finally enter the park.

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During the first kilometers there is not much wildlife to be seen. The landscape, on the other hand, is very beautiful and fascinating. After a while we see the first springbok. Followed by gemsbok, wildebeest and ostriches. And a large diversity of birds, including several birds of prey.

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We drive along the Auob riverbed and since the animals can easily hide in and under trees, we have to look around. We regularly stop for animals that are disguised as branches and stones.

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But then finally we are lucky! DH sees 2 cheetahs under a tree. They are at a considerable distance from the road but he has seen them anyway. Two cars stop to watch as well. One of the cars comes from opposite directions and the driver tells us that there is a male lion under a tree further down the road. And indeed, a few kilometers away, the king of animals lies very relaxed on the side of the road under a tree. Less than a meter away from our car. Very impressive. Our day is made.

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After 3.5 hours of driving we arrive at the entrance of our camp.  There is a chain that needs to be loosened. It is a bit exciting to get out of the car and release the chain. You never know what is around. When we arrive at the camp, the duty manager comes out of his cabin. At the entrance of the park the guard asked if we wanted to take a package for the duty manager of Urikaruus. That is the camp where we are now and will spend the night. DH gets out of the car very quickly to give  him the package. And then, Jock, the manager, whispers softly that there are 2 male lions and a lioness in the camp.

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We have reserved the honeymoon cabin in this camp and it is separated from the other 4 cabins. With the great advantage, a closed parking space under the cabin. We can therefore empty the car at ease, with the 2 lions just 20 meters away . The lioness is a little further away. This is really cool, I just  can’t  describe the feeling. Our cabin is on poles, with a large terrace at the front. With a view of the waterhole and the lions. The cabin is equipped with a double bed, a kitchenette with fridge with freezer and a nice bathroom. We set ourselves on the terrace with a glass of South African champagne, some nuts and a beautiful view. What else do you need?

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Towlersonsafari

Splendid first day in the KTP @Ladouce

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PeterHG

Great read and what a start to the Kgalagadi adventure!

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penolva

 @LadouceLovely start! Did you book the units in KTP yourself? Which butcher was closed in Upington? Had they gone out of business? Pen

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@penolva We did the reservations for both Augrabies as KTP ourselves. First we asked our TA to do it but the screwed up so we did it ourselves and that was a good thing. Because if you book online via the Sanparks website you can change your reservation.

So we started with 1 night Twee Rivieren, 1 night Nossob, 2 nights Bitterpan, 2 nights KTC. I kept on looking every now and then. So first I could add an extra night in Nossob and just 1 night Bitterpan. And finally about 2 weeks before we left I could grab 1 night at Urikaruus. So changed the first night at Twee Rivieren to Urikaruus. 

 

The butcher we used was Upington Slaghuis. No, they did not go out of business but I did not know they closed early on Saturday afternoon. That is why we could not get our meat. But we picked it up on Monday and it was still there. It really works out well. I send them an email to ask if they could send me a list with what they sell. After that, I just ordered my meat about 1 week before we left. They vacuum pack it and also freeze it. Very convenient and very good quality meat!

 

For other shopping I suggest going to the Kalahari Mall. It has everything you need. 

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penolva

@Ladouce thanks. I was a bit worried that Slaghuis had gone out of business as we always use them. Pen

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Tuesday, November 21st

When we wake up, the lions are gone but the great view is still there. While we have breakfast a large parade of animals passes by to go to the waterhole.

 

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Unfortunately we have to leave this place after only 1 night. It is so difficult to get accommodation in the Kgalagadi. This means that you are happy with whatever you can get. We could still book this camp at the last minute because someone probably had canceled. But unfortunately only for 1 night. Today we have to drive 103 km to Nossob; our 2nd camp. This is a traditional camp with cottages, campsite and shop. In addition, it is also fenced. There are 3 of these camps in the park. These are the only camps where you can camp. We collect our permit from Jock, the manager, and start our trip to Nossob. 

 

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The permit is very important because than it is known where you are in the park. When you arrive at the camp you give it to the manager and on departure you pick up the permit again. At that point you also have to indicate where you are going. So either to a next camp or that you will just do a game drive. If you do not come back in time, the rangers know in which direction to look for.

 

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The route from Urikaruus to Nossob is a connecting road between 2 dry riverbeds. We drive from the Auob to the Nossob. The road is a kind of 50 hills. By the way, where I write road you should not think that this is an tarred road. It is a gravel road with lots of sand on it. The routes of yesterday and today can also be driven with a 2wd. If we go to the next camp on Thursday, this is a route where you can only drive a 4wd.

 

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Today we also do not see many animals at the start. But in during the day we see steenbok, springbok, wildebeests, gemsbok, a hare and lots of different birds. 

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We arrive in Nossob around 3 o'clock. We get cottage nr. 5b. The cottage is simple but functional. We stay here for 2 nights so everything has to get out of the car. Because we can only do a guided evening game drive at this camp (and I think KTC), we book it directly for tonight. You are not allowed to drive around in the park after sunset and before sunrise. This is only possible with a driver/guide from the park. After a late lunch it is siesta time. If you wake up at 5 a.m. every day, the days are very long. At 18:30 we report at the reception for our game drive. Here we are told that there are 3 lions close by. They can be seen from the hide. We quickly walk to the hide and see 3 lionesses a little further, near the entrance of the camp.

 

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Back at the reception, we meet Johan, our guide and driver for tonight. Together with a German couple and a single woman, we set off in a safari vehicle that can handle up to 20 people.  We first stop just after the entrance to see the lionesses but they are still lying there and doing nothing. Not much action. Then we see our 1st owl. A very small one, hidden in a large, dense tree. The sunset is beautiful again today but when the sun is down, it is also very dark. But fortunately the car has 2 spotlights. We see 2 species of foxes, the bat eared foxes and the cape foxes. Multiple owls, 2 vultures and a Kalahari kangaroo. This is a spring hare, a very small hare that looks like a mini kangaroo. After 2.5 hours we come back to the camp. We quickly have another snack and then go to bed. At 22:00 the electricity goes off and unfortunately this means that also our fan stops. That is also an advantage in the wilderness camps, they have solar panels and there is 24 hours of electricity.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wednesday, November 22
We are in the car at 06:15 this morning. For a change it is cool. Real Dutch temperature. In most camps in the KTP, it is not possible to do a circular drive as we did in Etosha. This means that you either go South or North and return via the same road. We decide to go North today because yesterday we came from the South. At the first waterhole are already some cars. There are many birds and a jackal trying to catch pigeons.

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Unfortunately he doesn’t catch any during our time at the waterhole. At the next few waterholes it is also not very busy with animals. Just some birds (sorry we are not birders) springbok and wildebeest.

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We do see some impressive raptors on the way.

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And we have added another new animal to our "list". A climbing mouse. We stopped to put make a picture of some birds and in the same bush there were all kinds of mice. Very funny to see them balancing and dangling on those little branches. 

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It gets warmer and warmer so we  are back at the camp around lunchtime. We don’t do much for the rest of the afternoon. Early in the evening we go to the hide and see 2 jackals, 2 kudus and lots of pigeons. Unfortunately no lions, cheetahs or leopards today. But we know, it is not a zoo and we can’t have these great sightings every day.

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We end the day with a nice kudu steak from the braai and a delicious glass of South African rosé.
 

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Thursday, November 23
Today we are going to our next camp. Bitterpan, a wilderness camp. So no fences. The bonus for Tim is the road to get there. This is only accessible with a 4WD. So hopefully a bit more challenging. We must get our permit and let them know that we go to Bitterpan. Because somebody has to open the gate which is before you enter the road. They also inform us that we have to reduce the tire pressure further down to 1.2r. As we still have to wait a little before we can go to Bitterpan, we visit the hide again. We see the usual suspect, a jackal trying to catch a dove. But this time the jackal succeeds to get one. I feel a little bit sorry for the bird but also know that this is nature. 

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Just after 10 we go to the gate and wait for someone to open it.  

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We immediately notice that the road is different from the roads that we have driven so far in the park. Much more sand and narrower. It is also a one-way street. The landscape is very beautiful and we are going over several hills / dunes. As we have dunes in the Netherlands which lead to the sea, I expect to see the sea, every time we cross a dune. Along the way we see various raptors, gemsbok and springbok. 

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After a little bit more than 3 hours we arrive at our destination. 4 Cabins, connected by a walk way. A shared kitchen with all the utilities you need. Each cabin consists of sleeping area (2 single beds on each side of the cabin)  with a veranda and a separate bathroom opposite of the bedroom. In total there are 4 units,  which each can accommodate 2 people, This night there are 3 cabins occupied. Besides us,  there is  a German couple and a South African couple. The nice thing about this camp is that you have contact with fellow residents. The view from the cabin is a large salt pan.

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The temperature has already risen considerably; siesta time! But also talks with our South African neighbours. Very nice, because they are experienced Kgalagadi visitors. We also hear that the day before they had a pair of lions in the camp. It seems that they are still around. So we will see, maybe we are lucky. At the end of the afternoon it starts to get a little bit cooler; time for a sundowner. Glass of wine, nuts and a beautiful sunset.

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But without any animals the picture is not perfect. Our wish is fulfilled very quickly. Cornelius, our duty manager, is just returning to his cabin after being at “our side” when we spot a pair of lions. Cornelius is standing there, with his back to the lions. Fortunately he knows what to do and walks slowly back to his own cabin. In the meantime both lions are drinking water. I cannot describe the feeling being so close to these great animals. Just a few meters between us and them and no fence. It feels so unreal but at the same time so cool. This is Africa, this is what we are here for.

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After they are finished drinking, they walk around the camp and we are also able to see them mating just before it turns dark. During the rest of the evening we know they are still around as Mr lion roars loudly every time he gets at Mrs lion.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Friday, 24 November 2017


It was a cold night for us, but a hot night for the lion couple. The first time they mated we could still see it but after that first time we could only hear the sounds. Mr. Lion is doing a great job with loud roars. On the contrary, we needed a blanket this night. In the morning it was still pretty cool, but during our ride to the Kalahari Tented Camp (KTC) it soon becomes warmer again. The road from Bitterpan is also a challenge in some spots and again a 4WD car is no luxury. Along the way we come across the always present gemsbok, steenbok and springbok.
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As soon as we arrive on the Aoub Riverbed road we see a large group of giraffes. It  is really funny because first you start with 1 giraffe, then you see the 2nd and soon after that you see one behind every tree or bush. In total we count 15 but it can also be 16 or 17. They stand very nicely against the ridge and when you do not look too good, you do not see them. 

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We continue our drive to Mata Mata. This is one of the 3 main camps and besides a shop, there is also a gas station and the border crossing to Namibia. Sunday we will cross the border here. We buy some bread and chips;  fill the diesel tank of the car and drive the 3 km back to our camp. KTC is also a wilderness camp. So no fences. It is the largest wilderness camp in the park and has 16 tents and a small pool. The tents are large safari tents with all facilities. A kind of glamping. Here we also have the honeymoon tent. The advantage of this tent is that there is a double bed instead of two single beds. And besides a shower we also have a bath. Which we do not use. Next to the tent is a separate small house with the kitchen. And of course there is the braai on our terrace. In the meantime it already warmes up again so time for our daily siesta. At the end of the afternoon it becomes pleasant again and we can sit outside. Ostrich on the braai, glass of Amarula and the African sunset. Again a nice ending of a great day in the KTP. During the night we are kept awake by a large group of hyenas hanging around the camp. Unfortunately we do not see them. But at least now we know what noise they can make. 

 

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Saturday, 25 November
Our last full day in the park. This morning we are up very early for a morning drive in the park. We leave the camp just before 6AM. Unfortunately, there are already some cars on the road and we are nr. 6 in a row of 6 cars.  As soon as the 2 cars before us stop, we pass them. Some of the cars stop at the first (Sitsas) waterhole. We just stop and discuss what we are going to do. Have breakfast at this one or drive to the next waterhole (Craig Lockhart). We decide to go to the next and start to drive again. And just at that moment a beautiful lion walks down the hills on our right side. I  see the lion and shout to my husband, STOP LION! He stops and puts the car in reverse. The lion walks directly onto our car. Here we are there, face to face with the king of animals. He looks at us but walks to the waterhole very slowly. A great moment for us.

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After taking a lots of pictures, we drive to the next waterhole where we have breakfast. We just sit there, watch the animals and relax. When it again starts warming up, we decide to drive back. On the way back we first see a large group of springbok. And at Sitsas waterhole the large group of giraffe is drinking. It always look so funny to see them drinking with their legs bend and spread wide. We go back to the camp for a siesta.

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After lunch and siesta we do our final drive in  the park. We drive to the Sitsas waterhole as this is only half an hour drive from the camp and we can stay here until about 7PM. This is also the place where "our" lion went to drink this morning. Hopefully we are lucky. When we arrive there are 2 cars but they leave after a short time. For a moment we are alone but not for long. Most people from KTC and Mata Mata come here for their sundowner. Unfortunately for us, no predators or other exciting creatures. Although I love to see the jackals trying to catch birds. 

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The animals have no script and it is not a zoo. So we leave around 7PM as we need to be back in camp no later than 7:30PM. We have dinner and go to bed. The hyenas are also present again and again, we cannot spot them in the dark; but we hear them. 

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Edited by Ladouce
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An eye-to-eye encounter with the King ... what a treat Kgalagadi has given you, @Ladouce ... and you have passed it to us! Thank You!

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Ritsgaai

@Ladouce, you had a magnificent show in KTP! You are giving us a fantastic report with lovely photos. There are so many photos that are really special. Thank you for taking the time to share your great experience. I'm looking forward to the rest. :)

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Sunday, 26 November
We have decided not to get up early for a final game drive. The days have been long and today we also have to travel to our next destination. We put everything in the car. Have one last look at the riverbed and see a family of Red Hartebeest (a first for us). Dad in front and mum and the little one follow a little bit behind. 
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We go to Mata Mata to increase the tire pressure again followed by the border formalities. We start on the South African side. We are registered in a big book. In the car drive a few meters and then stop at the Namibian border control. Here we both have to fill in an arrival registration form. As soon as this is arranged, we get a stamp in our passport. Then to another counter to register the car. As we have a SA registered car, we need to pay some  tax for it. When all the paper work is done, we are allowed to Namibia. We drive on a gravel road along the foothills of the park. It will be a gravel road up to Keetmanshoop. Just before Keetmanshoop we stop at the Quiver Tree Forrest. Unfortunately the light is very harsh and it is actually way too hot to walk around the trees. So after a few pictures and a very short walk, we continue our trip.
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At Keetmanshoop we take the B1 to the South. Our hotel is located 5 km south of Keetmanshoop. The Maritz Country Lodge. A nice (stopover)  hotel with modern rooms, a (dirty) swimming pool and restaurant. We have a little siesta and sit in front of our room. There is a yellow weaver getting the fibers of the palm tree just in front of our room, for his/her nest. It is a great show. The little one is really very busy.
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In the evening we eat in the restaurant. For the first time since more than a week we do not have to make our own food. Which is nice. The food in the restaurant is fine, the service a bit slow and the servers don’t have any fun in their jobs. At least that is how they look like. The night is warm and we sleep not very well. We probably miss the sounds of the KTP.
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Monday, 27 November 
Our days start early because it is already light before five o’clock in the morning. Today is not different, we are awake before the alarm clock can ring. Today we are going to the coast, so to the West. Our hotel for the next 2 nights, Desert Horse Inn, Klein Aus Vista, is located 280 km from Keetmanshoop. The hotel is not on the coast but in a small village called Aus. In the middle of the Namib Desert. The coast is a 120 km further West  at Luderitz. The road to both places is the B4,a tarred road without much traffic. We are around 11 at our hotel, way too early because our room is not ready yet. But no problem, we leave our suitcases in the hotel and continue our trip to Luderitz. The landscape is beautiful and changes almost every 10 km. We even end up in a sandstorm. It is just foggy of all the sand in the air. 
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In Luderitz it is cool. Gray sky but a faint sun is coming through very slowly. After all the meat the last week, it is nice to get some sea food. We both take some delicious fried prawns for lunch. Luderitz itself is not very interesting. There are some hotels and restaurants but because it is out of season, not everything is open. We drive to Diaz Point. Here we can see the see the seals. Along the way we pass a lagoon with flamingos. I always like the sight of these pink birds foraging.
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There is a good thing of travelling out of season. There is nobody at Diaz Point. It is beautiful and peaceful. The picture is great, seals, the Atlantic Ocean and a rocky coast.
 
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On the way back to the hotel we have our last stop for today, Kolmanskop. A ghost town that used to be a diamond miners village. The village was deserted when there were less and less diamonds coming from the mines. And since 1954 it  is completely empty. Now the elements have taken over. All the buildings are full of sand.  Upon arrival you need to get a permit. If you come in the morning, you can join a guided tour. But if you do not want this (or come in the afternoon as we did), you can buy a photographers permit. This can be bought between sunrise and sunset and allows you to walk around the village on your own. You are allowed to enter all the buildings which are open, but it is on your own risk. I liked the village but it also gave me a strange feeling to walk around a deserted town. As we were there at the end of the day, we are the only visitors. A real ghost town.
We even spot a springbok between some of the buildings.
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Back at the hotel we enjoy a nice dinner; Oryx steak is on the menu. Tomorrow we will do nothing, it will be a pool day. 
 
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