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Tdgraves

Kgalagadi Jan 2020: Desert, drought and dead eland

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Peter Connan

The big risk of the single long exposure is if somebody wanders through your shot with his torch on. Since that didn't happen to you, no problem.

 

But for future reference, set the camera for it's longest programable exposure, and to take photos as nearly continuously as you can.

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Tdgraves

Day 13: Morning drive, Kieliekrankie. 30/1/20

 

A relatively short drive as we had to get back to camp and check out by 10 am. In fact, we ended up being last to leave camp. It was a balmy 18 degrees when we left (31 on our return) and I had the 5D. We went North, as far as Montrose.

 

First up was our best Martial eagle sighting - it was still there when we passed the second time

 

50087823217_c02ae0d53a_o.jpg7T4A2670a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087010033_170edf5327_o.jpg7T4A2665a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Next was a mating pair of lions, but they were on the opposite side of the river and never got any closer

 

50087010223_d3ff87813d_o.jpg7T4A2686a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087823602_2acb03a6b7_o.jpg7T4A2707a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087589271_594ef242f0_o.jpg7T4A2737a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087011088_fe4c2eb54b_o.jpg7T4A2748a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087011278_bb0a6b6da4_o.jpg7T4A2794a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087590076_74aaceb26f_o.jpg7T4A2826a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087011683_ecefbf153d_o.jpg7T4A2900a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Funnily enough, we had a sighting of a mating pair of lions on our last game drive on our previous trip!

 

Some other vehicles were parked a bit further along, around the bend, so we thought we'd investigate...

 

50087589581_4158a5e275_o.jpgJ19A4868a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

a male lion, who had just stopped drinking :(  He was also quite far, so this is from the OH with the 7D

 

We went back to the couple, but despite plenty of "action" they never got any closer and we decided to move on

 

50087011873_fb7316712a_o.jpg7T4A3034a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Time to pack

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Atravelynn

Those sparring giraffe were not messing around.  Really getting their hooves into the action. 

Love the pronky springbok and lambs.  So much energy.

Those star trail shots were a trip in themselves.  Wow, man!

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Tdgraves

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Atravelynn

Great "log" sighting.  As the one cheetah approached, not only did the photos of the cheetah get better and better, so did the color of the background. 

Owl impersonating a cheetah was interesting.

That bad eye on the lion is starting to creep me out. :o

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Tdgraves

Day 13: Kieliekrankie to Twee Rivieren to leave the park 30/1/20

 

We packed up and had a quick breakfast before leaving camp and the relatively short drive to the gate. The fawn-coloured lark was our leaving committee!

 

50087590216_c3b5cc3f58_o.jpg7T4A3049a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Just into the valley we had a nice Gabar goshawk sighting

 

50087590741_7452114263_o.jpg7T4A3086a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

50087825532_b94fdbc513_o.jpg7T4A3090a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

And apart from a Martial eagle having a drink at a distant waterhole, that was it for the game. We completed the formalities at the gate and were off. There were lots of vultures nesting outside of the park.

 

49648556508_00f30ecb85_o.jpg7T4A3142 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49649090616_3afd820516_o.jpg7T4A3152 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

As soon as we got radio reception (pretty much in Upington) we tuned in to the cricket. We had a late lunch in Mugg and Bean and then drove the last 30 mins to our B&B.

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Tdgraves

Day 13: Kanoneiland, Orange River, 30/1/20

 

We stayed at the African Vineyard B&B after our last trip and although it added 30 mins to our journey each day (it is better placed on the drive to/from Cape Town) we felt it was worth the diversion, as it is a lovely respite from the desert with a green oasis of a garden and pool. There is also a spa, but I am yet to try it. There is a lot more indoor and outdoor space than at Brown's in Upington and they also do dinner, so that when you have arrived, there is no more driving - until the following day! Once we had settled in and rehydrated, I left the OH in front of the cricket and had a wander around the garden, looking for birds. Apologies that these files are slow to load, they are from my BY uploaded at the original size to Flickr and I couldn't be bothered to do them again!

 

49539139411_01f818b3d1_o.jpgJ19A5003 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49539139751_0818be6b5d_o.jpgJ19A5014 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49538646343_528a9aaaf3_o.jpgJ19A5018 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49538646698_8666078856_o.jpgJ19A5022 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49539141056_7493fb0724_o.jpgJ19A5027 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49539141616_d90162a1b4_o.jpgJ19A5036 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49538647873_3f412c0d31_o.jpgJ19A5037 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49538648288_b2ca2fc144_o.jpgJ19A5042 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49538648628_09fb14d3f9_o.jpgJ19A5052 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49539372087_3952d44025_o.jpgJ19A5062 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Time for a swim before dinner and an early night

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madaboutcheetah

@Tdgraves - Thanks for continuing this report - Lovely images.

 

Question - have you been inside the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi? and what are your thoughts of the two sides? Thanks ...... 

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Tdgraves

@madaboutcheetah no, only where the road crosses the international border. We are not campers....I think you need to be pretty self-sufficient with a proper 4x4 etc.

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Tdgraves

Day 14: Kanoneiland to Pretoria, 31/1/20

 

Despite it being a Friday, we were not troubled by any Police roadblocks and made good progress, right up until Pretoria. There was a lot of traffic just before the junction where we had to leave, but we only realised this after passing the last exit prior to this on the motorway, so we had to sit in traffic for a while. We went to the mall at Irene for dinner, which was pretty busy and were up quite early the next morning. I found a few birds in the garden.

 

49562131707_0e19135c18_o.jpgJ19A5088 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49561403773_d835e105a4_o.jpgJ19A5102 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49562132592_99c1c6a199_o.jpgJ19A5106 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49562133007_e55ed3d37e_o.jpgJ19A5120 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

49562133917_62b2dc309c_o.jpgJ19A5134 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

No time to visit Rietvlei this time, as the cheap flights meant a 7 hour layover in Doha and a lunchtime departure, rather than the habitual late evening flight. The flights were excellent again, although the final leg was on BA and it starkly highlighted the difference in service between them and Qatar!. We had a hotel room in Doha for a shower and about 4 1/2 hours sleep, which really helped. The other downside of these flights was arriving home mid-afternoon, rather than early morning, not leaving much time to get organised for work the next day! However, the price and service were definitely worth it. No missing bags on the return journey either ;)

 

The park was the driest that we have seen, but interspersed with grass and flowers and interesting as ever. We will be back....

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Kitsafari

I read the entire report in one go, having missed the start earlier. 

 

Awesome shots of the jumping cheetah, great shots of the lions - that old one-eyed lion's blind or injured eye was unmistakable, and wooo hooo you got a brown hyena too!

 

thanks for sharing and I hope you have had a completely full recovery from the illness since. 

 

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Tdgraves

Thanks @Kitsafari

6 weeks of persistent symptoms after the initial 2 week illness and one day I just woke up and felt normal again!

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TonyQ

Excellent report, thank you for posting.

Good to hear you are fully recovered 

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Tdgraves

Thanks @TonyQ

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adamt123

A wonderfully insightful report @Tdgraves and fantastic photos as ever :)

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Tdgraves

Thanks @adamt123

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Peter Connan

Thanks for another lovely trip report. I really enjoyed it!

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Peter Connan
On 7/30/2020 at 6:21 AM, madaboutcheetah said:

@Tdgraves - Thanks for continuing this report - Lovely images.

 

Question - have you been inside the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi? and what are your thoughts of the two sides? Thanks ...... 

 

If I may:

I have camped at Two Rivers and Rooiputs, and also visited Polentswa. These three camps are all more charismatic than their SA counterparts. Much quieter and they allow one to actually "feel" the bush. Two rivers less so than the others, but due to it's proximity two Twee Rivieren it is possible to access hot water.

 

I have also spent a few days at Mpayatutlwa pan, and drove around that area a fair amount.

There is certainly less game than closer to the two rivers, but there is enough and the open camps and their location at the water-holes means that there is always game in sight. On one afternoon we even had a leopard walk right through our camp.

 

To my mind, the entire area is magical, and I far prefer the more rustic Botswana camps to the (relatively speaking) more luxurious SA offerings. But of course one needs to be suitably equipped.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks @Peter Connan - Hope one day i can get there!!

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