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Kgalagadi and Mabuasehube selfdrive - The adventure of a lifetime


JayRon

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10 hours ago, JayRon said:

Please correct me, but to me it look like Ludwigs Bustard.

 Only a slight correction: it is a Ludwig's Bustard ^_^. Nice sighting and picture.

 

Very much looking forward to see how the unknown part of Kgalagadi looks like!

Edited by xelas
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14.1 2019 Nossob to Matopi no.1


I have not written a lot about Kgalagadi, since there a a lot of great reports, who are really good at describing the place. But there aren´t a lot of reports about Mabuasehube. So here are some facts:


 Mabuasehube covers roughly 2,000km2 of Kalahari grassland and scattered pans, all within the borders of Botswana.  Mabuasehube game reserve was incorporated into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in 2000. Although incorporated into the wider Kgalagadi, this section remains relatively isolated with just four sandy tracks connecting it to the rest of the park. One of these (the Mabua-Kaa track) is completely overgrown, and two others (the Mabuasehube and Bosobogolo 4×4 trails) end at Nossob in South Africa. We took the Bosobogolo trail, which is the most used one. You then arrive at Bosobogolo Pan.

 

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At Mabuasehube there is only 17 campsites, all located near pans. The most famous campsites are the ones, which are located near Mabuasehube and Mpayathutlwa pans, they both should have waterholes nearby. Especially the Mpayathutlwa campsites are famous/infamous for visits from lions. They are attracted to water and if you look on youtube, you will find plenty of videos with lions visting the showers for water. Water is so scarce in Mabuasehube, that lions will lick of dew from your tent. Some of you might seen this on youtube.

 


 At Mpaya there is only 2 campsites and we had reservation for campsite no.1 for 2 nights. Mabuasehube is all about lions. 
As mention earlier that to get to Mabuasehube we would take the Bosobogolo trail, which is around 200 km long and begins north of Nossob. The road (and Mabuasehube) is very sandy and you are only allowed to go in a 4x4. From what I read the there are several dunes along the way, so we were a little nervous. Because of this drive. we rented a sattelite phone, just in case. 


But before we departed for Mabuasehube, Nossob had some last great sightings for us. During the night there was a lot of roaring of the local Nossob-pride. They had eluded us a few days earlier, but this time we were up at first light and on the road. 


We soon got rewarded. First we had a great sighting of 2 lionesses at Rooikop waterhole. Watched them for a 10-15 minutes, before they moved away. DSCN4645.JPG.239cd5358a600c5686e251bdc31a75b6.JPGDSCN4652.JPG.97741eb24ee59e98d2c7f4d5b8aa7196.JPGDSCN4658.JPG.6f98c47e2bbc1b3dbc8b558d639572a2.JPGIMG_2706.JPG.a49db8716d0ec857444a9b7ae257f6e4.JPGDSCN4661.JPG.7a5282fd1cf709d9600569da592125dc.JPG

 

Only 10 minutes later we stumbled across the rest of the pride.  This one of of the best sightings of the entire trip. Three lionesses, one young male and three cubs. And they was just lying on the road. We took a lot of pictures. They were really relaxed and were obvious very used to cars around them.  Even when a car lost his patience and tried sneaking past them, they didn´t really cared. 

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We thought that was a fitting end to Nossob, so we went back to Nossob and bought the last few items before driving to Mabuasehube. The shop was waiting for supplies the following day, so they were quite short of bascially anything. We wanted some more soft drinks, but there was not a single one left.

 

Some pictures from Nossob Rest Camp

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How this car survived the roads at Kgalagadi beats me...

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At camp we heard about a old male lion just snoozing next to the road, only 400-500 m from the camp itself. And as we were going north, we might as well see it on the way. Somehow we missed it!! So much for our gamespotting skills :):) We turned around and sure enough. It was just lying next to the road. Feeling a little embarrassed we enjoyed the sight and went towards Mabuasehube.

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@JayRon what a morning you had with the lions :) Bring on the next part of your trip.

Edited by Hads
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14.1 2019 Continued towards Matopi no.1 (and Mabuasehube)

 

It was actually this strecht on our entire trip,that made me the most nervous.  We were driving 200 km in the middle of nowhere with no help around the corner. And the road was supposedly very sandy and also with some very high dunes. But we were prepare for the worst. We carried a lot of water (around 40-50 ltr) and had rented a satellite phone just in case. 

 

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The Bosobogolo Trail are the most used between Mabuasehube and Kgalagadi, but it could still be days before another car arrived. And when you have the responsibility for your family, you make sure that you have planned for most things. But I was fairly confident, that even if the strecth was sandy, that the worst thing that could happen was that we might get stucked. And then we know what to do, you just start digging :) . Other problems could be with the car, but a Toyota Hilux is very reliable, so I wasn´t too worried.

 

Views over Nossob from the Botswana side.

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It really felt like an adventure when we started driving away from the Nossob riverbed. We had planned to cut the 200 km between Nossob and Mabuasehube in two. We would be camping at Matobi(sometimes spelled Motobi) Campsite no.1 for the night. There a only two camps between Nossob and Mabuasehube and they are only used as a stopover camp. There are nothing than bush around them.  It is around 95 km from Nossob.

 

We had little idea of what to expect when we drove into the dunes, but that was surprisingly good numbers of game the first 25-30 km. We saw several small herds of red hartebeest, oryx and elands. We were pretty excited about the elands, since we only seen them once on the trip. We tried to photograph them more than once, but they are so difficult to get a good picture of, since they are so skittish. They always seem to run away.

 

 

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On the way we also came across a burned out car. That most been the worst thing that could happen for anyone on this road ! So far away from any help. We later discovered that they were travveling with another car, so at least they could get help at once. 

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Checking out the car... Nothing left than metal.DSCN4859.JPG.eb0cc56f0bd93821392d0bddd01e30b6.JPG


I am either getting better at driving in sand or the road wasn´t that sandy. It was actually pretty smooth going all the way. As mention before the first 25-30 km was pretty good with some game, but after that there was very little to see. We did see some vultures on the way and stopped. I really like the lappet-faced vultures.

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Some pictures from the road. They are small clips from a video, but they might give an idea about the road and surroundings. 

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We arrived earlier at the campsite than expected, so we drove a little further and went to a pan. There we saw only one oryx, but we found a spot and had a soft drink before we returned to the campsite.

 

The lonely oryx

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At the campsite it was extremely quiet. Almost silent, only  a little sound from birds, but nothing else..Only had a visit from a very tame bird, that came so close that it drank from my sons hand. 

 

The friendly bird.

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 Next time we might skip the stopover, since the trip from Nossob to Mabuasehube is doable in one day, but I am really glad that we experienced the remoteness and solitude at Matopi. It was quite an experience to now that there was no people in a radius for around 80-90 km. 

 

The campsite.

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We went to bed quite early, so we could head towards Mabuasehube as early as possible. 

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Edited by JayRon
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xelas

The lion road block near Nossob, how lucky are you, @JayRon?!

 

That was one expensive wreck you have seen. I have read that this happens when driving on dry grass, then stopping, and hot exhaust pipe and even hotter catalysator ignites the grass collected under the carriage.

 

Phew, you are real adventurer. I would not dare to do this drive without in a company of another vehicle(s). Very much admiring you!

Edited by xelas
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1 hour ago, xelas said:

The lion road block near Nossob, how lucky are you, @JayRon?!

 

That was one expensive wreck you have seen. I have read that this happens when driving on dry grass, then stopping, and hot exhaust pipe and even hotter catalysator ignites the grass collected under the carriage.

 

Phew, you are real adventurer. I would not dare to do this drive without in a company of another vehicle(s). Very much admiring you! 

We were extremely lucky with that lion roadblock. 

 

Regarding the burnt car, you are correct, that tall dry grass can/will cause you problems. I never driven in tall grass and this time was no different. So even though we didn´t see a single car, the track seemed well used. But a fire in your car most be your worst nightmare :unsure:

 

And I felt like an adventurer, so thank you for that :) On the more serious side, I wouldn´t do it, if I thought that it was dangerous.  

 

 

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xelas
1 hour ago, JayRon said:

On the more serious side, I wouldn´t do it, if I thought that it was dangerous.  

And I have no doubts about your assesment of the possible risks. I will follow you rnext entries with extra interest as I know a person who might share my/our interest in Botswana part of Kgalagadi, specially the area around Mabuasehube :).

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15.1 2019 Matopi 1 to Mabuasehube (Mpaya No.1)


Woke up at 6.00. Had a very quiet night, almost no sounds. No lions roaring or anything else. Which I actually  was pretty happy about. Because as the only one in the family, I knew that a woman was severely injured by a leopard at Matobi 1 in january 2018. The story is here https://www.latestsightings.com/single-post/2018/01/18/Update-on-the-Leopard-that-Attacked-a-Camper-in-Kgalagadi.

Since there was no news about new attacks from the leopard, I figured that I was safe. But being so far away from everything, I still felt a little vurnerable, so I thought about the leopard a couple of times, but still sleept pretty good anyway. I only told the rest of the family about the leopard, when we left the campsite ;). No need to worry them to much.

 

Morning at Matopi no.1

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We packed the car and were on the road at around 7.00. The road again was not that bad, still sandy but  we were going pretty smooth. We saw very little on the way. A few steenboks, but that was it. We reached Bosobogolo Pan after 4-5 hours. We did take a few breaks, so we could have done it quicker, but we were surprised how easy the drive actually was. We later heard, that the easiest route is Nossob to Mabuasehube, the other way round is more demanding. There you will have at least one very steep dune. 

 

On the road. We lost one of our license plates on this stretch

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Bosobogolo pan was bonedry and there wasn´t a single animal on it. We drove the last 20 km north towards Mpaya. On the way we saw two steenboks, that was it. I have to admit, that at this point, we were a little disappointed. When we reached Mpaya, we found our campsite and our spirits rose again. It is located wonderful. It have good views over the pan, and you can actually see the waterhole if you use your binoculars. At the pan could see a small herd of wildebeest. We also took time to say hello to the campers at Mpaya no.2. The campsite is a few hundreds meter away from ours. They were extremely friendly and turned out that they were Kgalagadi veterans. They had stayed over 300 nights in Kgalagadi over the last 10 years.!! They had camped at Kgalagadi the last 3 nights, but they seen very little. No signs of the famous lions of Mpaya, but they were still hopeful, that today would be better.

 

Pictures of the campsite

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So far our fridge had worked ok. Not great, but it was still cooling. A few times we had to drive a bit to recharge the battery (the car had 2 batteries, which is very helpful.), but other than that, it was working. But after we ate all of our frozen meat, it was losing the battle against the heat. When we woke the temperature in the fridge was almost 20 degrees. Not good for cold drinks :(

 

Proof that it was hot

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To help the fridge a little bit,  we took a drive in the afternoon. We drove up north to the Mabuasehube pan and the turned towards Khiding pan. Again we saw very little, I think we took pictures of everything we saw. Which was a two kudus, one springbook and a scrub hare. At least I think.

 

The kudus

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Can anyone help me identifying this raptor?

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Back at the campsite we took a quick shower and then went for the shade. The shower is constructed in a peculiar way. The water from the shower is led into a kind of trough. At the end there is a bucket that collects the water. And since there is very little water at Mabuasehube this attracts a lot of different animals. More on that later. At the campsite we had a lot of small visitors. Francolins, yellow mongoose and slender mongoose were entertaining us. They were cleary very used to people and came very close, when they were looking for scraps. 

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We ended the day with sundowners at the waterhole with our new friends from campsite no.2 . They came prepared, so we enjoyed a good red wine, before we went to bed. The lions eluded us this evening, but the couple were quite confident, that they the resident lion pride would turn up the next day. We hoped. Before we went to bed it put the camera trap next to the shower. I had a feeling that the shower would attract something exciting^_^

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michael-ibk

Can anyone help me identifying this raptor?

 

That's a Bateleur. Still enjoying your report a lot, very interesting to read about the (rarely featured) Bots side.

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37 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

 

 

That's a Bateleur. Still enjoying your report a lot, very interesting to read about the (rarely featured) Bots side.

 

Thank you for clarifying that it is Bateleur. And thank you for your comments :) 

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16.1 Mpaya no.1 Mabuasehube (morning gamedrive)


The night was fairly quiet until around 3.00 in the morning. Then the roaring began. It was loud and came from  all sides (or it sounded like that). It was terrific lying in your tent and hearing such music :) Definitely my favorite sound on safari. The lions were close, not directly in the campsite, but very close. So when the time was 5.00 in the morning, we got up. We needed to see if we could find them. It was still dark, almost black. We made sure that the boys went into the car and made sure the they scanned the campsite with our torches, while we took the tents down. During this we could still hear the lions. And they were close.. We  followed the sound, it was such a thrilling and fulfilling experience. We were completely alone. Not a car in sight. Only us and the sound of lions. Less than 400-500 m from the campsite we found the suspect. It was a huge female lion. She kept roaring and roaring and wasn´t bother by our presence. She passed the car and the she followed the road and then we ended up at our campsite- We then followed her through our campsite, where she rested for 5-10 minutes. After this she went towards the waterhole. She kept roaring repeatedly during this.

 

A bit nerve wracking to take the tents with the lions roaring close nearby

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 I have so many videos of her, where she just keeps calling. It was so loud. We drove to the waterhole, where we waited for her to arrive. Took a lot ofpictures during this. She kept roaring, but no replies. At this time we were joined by our fellow campers from Mpaya no.2  After she had a drink she began moving towards our campsite. We followed her a bit, when we realized that there was 2 other lions moving towards the waterhole.

 

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 I have so many videos of her, where she just keeps calling. It was so loud. We drove to the waterhole, where we waited for her to arrive. Took a lot of pictures during this. She kept roaring, but no replies. At this time we were joined by our fellow campers from Mpaya no.2  After she had a drink, she began moving towards our campsite. We followed her a bit, when we realized that there was 2 other lions moving towards the waterhole.

 

So we drove back to the waterhole and positioned our car once again. We already thought we had a great morning, but the lions just kept coming and in the end there was 6 new lions drinking at the waterhole. 2 young males and 4 lionesses. Especially one of the males will be huge, when he is a couple of years older. He was already much larger than the females.  We watched the group drinking for a long time.

 

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The lions were somewhat nervous. Maybe because of the dominant male lion who occasionally roared in the distance.

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When they were finished drinking, they started moving towards to our campsite, but they eventually settled down on the road around 500-600 m from our campsite. Here they found some shade. Unfortunately for them there were only small bushes, so before long they had to fight for the shade there was. But it got even better when the lions discovered that there was shade at the cars. Suddenly we had 3 lions lying under a meter from us. Then, for once, the windows were rolled up. It was magnificent. At this time we were joined by two other cars. It was 4 very friendly turks. They were seasoned safarigoers and very keen photographers. And very friendly. So in total 4 cars. They got a new experience when the lions also found shade with them. I took a lot of pictures of this and later emalied the photos to them.. The lions entertained us until noon, where we drove to our campsite. Which was under 600 meters away. But what a morning, couldn´t have been better. DSCN5109.JPG.626dd1f4a63426cfc462ca37e85dce59.JPGDSCN5125.JPG.ae67f2bb1eeaf47bfefa291b3f2ab134.JPGDSCN5146.JPG.661e3e9715256ce553c0eb72b2414f19.JPGDSCN5181.JPG.8cc90f42461fbbf7b9f148210d5c9bbe.JPG

 

 

Maybe Avis would buy this picture ?DSCN5193.JPG.b74d1cfc219ea1261ee6b167e383b111.JPGDSCN5185.JPG.bb642c84fac3559b8a98900094a3d5a7.JPG

 

 

We were close...DSCN5250.JPG.6e0b3fd966d91e9b4ce68185bde08212.JPGDSCN5268.JPG.e49cec3ec0293d6993a0a1ba8ac0d3b3.JPGDSCN5280.JPG.5873493341b139c6f69b12441e5a7723.JPG

 

 

Very hard to beat this..DSCN5316.JPG.04918f86c946697045f9076dc945a950.JPGDSCN53101.jpg.ab256737ca16610f2fc4bbc453ec68de.jpg

 

 

 

Some kudus also checking out the lions...DSCN5159.JPG.85cd7b67d936e51489fafe53e8f72e5f.JPG

 

The boys nicknamed this one "Staring Eyes". And we rolled up the windows :) 

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At the campsite we stretched our legs and had lunch. Then we checked our photo trap. I had set the photo trap at the showers. When we saw the pictures from the night , we got another surprise. 
In the night we had visits from brown hyena, leopard and lion.! We heard the brown hyena, but had no clue about the leopard and lion....

 

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Edited by JayRon
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pedro maia

Wow, what an amazing adventure, and it gets better and better!!

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Towlersonsafari

What an exciting  time @JayRon 

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16.1 2019 Mpaya no.1 Afternoon gamedrive

 

After having a little rest we went to see our "neighbours". They had an great camp-setup. They had a Bushwakka-trailer, which we were quiet jealous of (and kind of feel in love with) It must be so much easier with an trailer,  than having a to unpack and pack every time you go on a gamedrive (the biggest drawback with roof top tents). The boys really thought that we should buy an trailer, but you have to have residence in South Africa to own a car/trailer, otherwise it was a good idea (and of course you have to have the money ;) )

 

 

The bushwakka-trailer

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Tour of the house... Really awesome.

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The boys trying out a deluxe-hammock. 

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We went down to check the lions out a couple of times during the day and afternoon. I have a video which show that it took us 1.5 minute to drive to the lions from our campsite. They were close ! We didn´t do any further gamedrive, no point really :) But yet again Kgalagadi delivered big time. The lions didn´t move the rest of day. We hoped they would go back to the waterhole before it got dark, but no such luck. 

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We went to bed for our last night in the Kgalagadi and felt incredibly privileged with everything we had experienced. 

 

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@JayRon - absolutely cracking adventure you have had with your family, awesome sightings all round and excellent report. A thousand thankyou's :) 

Maybe there is a surprise for your last morning drive??

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Ritsgaai

What a great trip with an abundance of over the top sightings. You were spoilt with a lot of very special experiences. Congratulations with a successful Nossob - Boso trail. It definitely shows your passion  for adventure.  :) A few years ago we did the same trail in the opposite direction and experienced some challenging dunes. 

 

The impressions and memories from a trip like this...especially the stillness and quiet surroundings of a place like Motopi will last a lifetime and your children will probably always have a yearning to come back to the African Bush.

 

Thank you and congratulations on an excellent and entertaining report. 

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Africalover

What a great tripreport  - especially since we are doing a similar trip in October this year.

Looking forward to the rest 😀

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22 hours ago, Hads said:

@JayRon - absolutely cracking adventure you have had with your family, awesome sightings all round and excellent report. A thousand thankyou's :) 

Maybe there is a surprise for your last morning drive??

@Hads Thank you for your kind comments, and yes, maybe a a little surprise ;) 

 

 

16 hours ago, Ritsgaai said:

What a great trip with an abundance of over the top sightings. You were spoilt with a lot of very special experiences. Congratulations with a successful Nossob - Boso trail. It definitely shows your passion  for adventure.  :) A few years ago we did the same trail in the opposite direction and experienced some challenging dunes. 

 

The impressions and memories from a trip like this...especially the stillness and quiet surroundings of a place like Motopi will last a lifetime and your children will probably always have a yearning to come back to the African Bush.

 

Thank you and congratulations on an excellent and entertaining report. 

 

@Ritsgaai Thank you for also your nice comments. And your are completely right, Matopi (Motopi) the sign says Motopi, but almost everywhere else it is spelled with an A) . Regarding the Nossob- Boso-trail I heard, that it is much easier doing the route which we took, than the opposite. We had no high dunes, so was pleasantly surprised on how "easy" it was .  And you are right about the kids, they love africa :) That is why we are have planned and booked a trip for july going to Kruger and Hwange. (not Kgalagadi, too cold in july). 

16 hours ago, Africalover said:

What a great tripreport  - especially since we are doing a similar trip in October this year.

Looking forward to the rest 😀

 

@Africalover

Hello Michael, thank you and you have much to look forward to, but you already know that, since (if I remember correctly) you been there before. ;) 

 

What is your itinerary  if I may ask??

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Towlersonsafari

what a splendid adventure @JayRon it was great fun reading about it!

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I have just loved reading your trip report especially since I'll be going to Kgalagadi for 12 days in May. I know that it will be an epic safari, especially because @Sangeeta will be there as will two of my other safari buddies. I'm sure that Kgalagadi will become one of my top safari destinations.

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11 minutes ago, Towlersonsafari said:

what a splendid adventure @JayRon it was great fun reading about it!

 @Towlersonsafari Thank you for your comments, it was indeed a great adventure :) 

 

1 minute ago, optig said:

I have just loved reading your trip report especially since I'll be going to Kgalagadi for 12 days in May. I know that it will be an epic safari, especially because @Sangeeta will be there as will two of my other safari buddies. I'm sure that Kgalagadi will become one of my top safari destinations.

@optig  Thank your for you comments. I wish I was goin banck in may, it sounds like an adventure. I know you see a lot of places, but Kgalagadi is very different from most places, but I love it :) Looking forward to your trip report ;) 

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@JayRon  I must say that your children are fortunate to have you as a father. When I was their age we never got to take such exciting trips. We went to Florida and of course visited Disney world. 

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11 minutes ago, optig said:

@JayRon  I must say that your children are fortunate to have you as a father. When I was their age we never got to take such exciting trips. We went to Florida and of course visited Disney world. 

 

Thank you, I hope/think that the boys would agreed most of time. We heard it before, that the boys are lucky, but actually they didn´t have a choice, :) I hate mass tourism and I really love adventure, wildlife and nature .. And we all know that nothing beats Africa ;) 

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