Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari*

Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:26 pm

Sept 8th cont.
After putting the Amarula in the fridge, making a sandwich, and having a snooze, we decided to drive to the SV waterhole, to see if anything was thirsty.

A few boks were there, and a bird lifer…………later to be identified as a red headed finch.

On our way back to camp we spotted a yellow ribbon, and were delighted to meet Kesheshe and SO.

We arranged to visit them after dinner for a drink and a chat, so went back to our unit and threw some Texan pork steaks and wors on the braai.

We spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Kesheshe and SO……such a nice couple, and we were only sorry that we didn’t manage to link up again before we left.
We also apologise to them for delaying their dinner, as they hadn't eaten before we arrived!! :redface:

Then it was back to our unit, and a coffee and an Amarula, a recap of our amazing day, and then bed………….with the promise of a whole new day in Kgalagadi tomorrow.



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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:27 pm

Sept 9th
We were up again as the sun rose……….such a beautiful sight!!!

Today we decided to explore the Mata Mata road to see what it might reveal to us, so we had some coffee, and cold wors, and set of with eager anticipation!!

Sadly the road is not in a very good condition at the moment, so we bumped along, and wondered how much of this we could stand, before we turned back!!!

One old gentleman amused us, when we stopped to speak at a sighting (more of that later) by telling us that when they set out on this road, he puts his dentures in his pocket!!

Anyway, we persevered, and began to see Springbok and Gemsbok by the dozens, and also some nice groupings of Wildebeest, so we decided to continue onwards.

We had passed the first waterhole, when Dungie suddenly said “What’s that there? Look just off the road?”

I peered to where he was pointing, and joy of joys………….number one on my list!!
Two little meerkats were digging in the sand, and occasionally sitting up to see if there was any danger about!!

I know meerkats are a modest wish, but you don’t see them in Kruger, and I have only ever seen photos, or watched them on TV, so this was a real find.

We had spoken to several people who had been in the park for a week of more and had not seen any, so we felt very privileged to be watching them now.

We spent some time with them, and then they crossed the road and joined the rest of their
Family, scuttling off in to the distance all too soon!!

On we went, and soon met the old gentleman minus his dentures!!
He gave us a gummy grin, and said there is something in the distance there.
I can’t decide whether it’s bat eared foxes, or aardwolf!!

Well either would suit us, so we waited, and eventually managed to get a photo, though it’s not a very good one.

We showed it to Jannie at a later date, and he said definitely bat eared fox………..so another tick on the list!!!

By this time we were very happy with our morning’s drive, so decided to return to camp.

Before we arrived back though we saw another bird on the list…….namely a paler chanting goshawk, some dear little squirrels and as we approached TR there was a magnificent black shouldered kite just taking off.

So it was a lazy afternoon, and a quick drive to SV waterhole that evening, and then back for another lekker braai.

This was followed by some ice cream, and then our usual coffee and Amarula!!!

As on previous evenings, the night was still, and the sky was filled with stars, and we again thought “Does it get much better than this?”
Magic!!!!


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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:27 pm

Sept 10th
Another beautiful day was dawning, and we thought that we would give the bumpy road a miss, and explore the Nossob road further.

(I must say at this point, that though we had absolutely no problems with our little hired sedan, next time we visit, we will hire a 4x4 and then we can explore further afield from TR!!)

We had our cup of coffee at the SV waterhole, and our usual friends came to visit…….Springbok, Gemsbok, red headed finches and a beautiful crimson breasted shrike.

We proceeded on our journey, and as we approached the martial eagle nest, I got goosebumps, because not only was junior popping his little head up, but mother eagle was there as well!!! Wow and wow!!!

Now a lot of you will think……sad, this woman is getting excited over a martial eagle, but even after 35 years of visiting KNP, I have never seen one, and this was amazing!!

We switched off the engine, and sat watching them, and what unfolded was a story!!

Junior stood up and flapped his wings as much as to say “Mum I think I’m ready!!”, but mother eagle just gave him a quick peck, and he sat down again!! WE could imagine her saying “No dear not yet, sit down and be a good boy!! (or girl)

This was repeated several times, and then junior realised he was on a losing streak and promptly sat down again!!

What a wonderful interlude, and a privilege to watch.

We drove on and no sooner had we started, than a beautiful male lion (possibly the same one that we had seen on the first day) appeared.

He soon sauntered off towards the dunes, so we turned round to return to TR.

On our way we saw two pretty swallow tailed bee eaters, and many springbok and gemsbok.
(I would have posted photos of these, but sadly my weak signal is not allowing me to upload photos very easily, and I am prioritising with things like the BEFoxes and meerkats etc!)

We arrived back at our unit in time for a late snack lunch, and as I sat down outside to eat my sarnie, I though whatever is that funny lump in our tree?

It didn’t look like a bird………..wrong shape I thought, but after investigation we realised that it was a pearl spotted owlet!!! Wow oh wow oh wow!!! Another lifer!!

I managed to get a quick (and not very good photo) before it flew off in disgust at having been disturbed!!




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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:28 pm

Thanks for you your lovely comments guys.


Sept 10th cont.
We decided to brave the bumpy road, for our late afternoon drive, and what a good idea that was!!!

Near the first waterhole we saw our meerkats again, and on the way home we saw movement under a tree, and found two magnificent lions male and female. They were so relaxed, and we spent half an hour with them, before realising that we would miss the gate closing if we weren’t careful!

As we came near to TR a kori bustard walked across the road, and sitting up in a tree was a beautiful namaqua dove.

Then it was back to camp and chicken hotpot, creamy mash potatoes, butternut and gems!!

Dungie then made the coffee and poured the Amarulas (large for him…..small for me!!) and we reflected on another amazing day, in this place called Kgalagadi!!

Oh those red dunes!!!


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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:28 pm

As some of you know, due to a weak signal with Vodacom 3G, I am battling to upload my photos to Flickr so that I can post them here on the forums in my TR!!!

Therefore I am just going to combine the last few days, and post what I have!!

Maybe when I’m home I can start a new topic “My photo a day from Kgalagadi” or something similar!!


Sept 11th, 12th, 13th 14th.
We never saw the adult martial again, but junior was always in the nest when we drove past.

We saw our lions again, but no cheetahs or leopard, though we were told that we had just missed 8 cheetah one morning!!! They were near Leeuwdril, but had run off into the dunes, just before we arrived!!! Also missed a leopard by 10 minutes near SV waterhole.

We saw large paw prints just outside our unit one morning, and then heard from Jannie, that a Leopard had been seen………..so had it taken a walk past our car in the night!!!

Talking of Jannie, we had brought blankets and socks, for the local community, and Caracal had crocheted the most beautiful blanket which she called her Sanparks blanket, because she had done most of the work on it, while in some on the parks!!

We wanted to pass these on to Jannie, so eventually tracked him down and invited him and his lovely family, to share an evening meal.

It was so good to finally meet The KG, and we all had a very pleasant evening (at least Dungie and I did, and hope that the others did as well!!)

He got quite excited when a dassie paid us a visit, as it was not meant to be there apparently. He did explain why, but as I was putting the finishing touches to the dinner, at the time, I’m afraid it didn’t really register …….sorry Jannie!!!


Then on the last night we were just finishing our meal, when two bodies appeared in front of me and one of them said “Are you Val?”

It was Peregrine Falcon and Dassiedelight!!!
We were so pleased to see them, and they stayed for a drink or two (or three!!) while we chatted like old friends that we’d known for years, even though we’d only just met!!

They are very knowledgeable about wildlife……..birds in particular, and it was a pleasure to spend some time with them.

Sadly we had to eventually let them go to cook their meal, and we had our usual coffee and Amarula, and looked up at the stars for the last time on this trip.

Then it was bed, and the anticipation of what the morning drive would bring, before we had to set off back to Upington.

Our last morning didn’t reveal much to us game wise, except a very hungry jackal, who had just caught his breakfast, and proceeded to eat it by the roadside!!

We also saw PG and DD again, and he pointed out a Greater Kestrel to us, so that was another lifer.

Then it was time bid farewell to this wonderful place called Kgalagadi, and with a little bit of red sand in the small glass bottle that Scouter had given me at the Melkbos meet, it will not be too long I’m sure, before we return, because it is sitting on the shelf in the lounge, so it’s there to remind me!!!



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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Poplap wrote:If you have time (and fast internet access), please post more, Val. PS. Where did you stay in Calvinia?
We stayed in a modest little guest house called Rolbos............it was very good value for money.

When you say please post more, what exactly are you wanting?

Poplap
Posts: 1988
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 10:53 pm
Location: Daar waar die bobbejane hul borshare kam...

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Poplap » Sun May 20, 2012 8:30 pm

"Rolbos"... so typical of the region - a bush rolling somewhere if there is a slight breeze/wind/sand storm. Googled the Guest House and saw the windmill in the background. So typical Calvinia too.

We've stayed on a few occasions in the Dorpshuis Guest House - http://www.calvinia.co.za/ - an annex thereto almost as you leave the town. (Formerly used by the farmers for coming to town once every three months or so). With a donkey and sheep grazing in the field next to it and a loud peacock on the other side. With delicious meals in the Hantam Restaurant. Ooooh, wonderful memories.

Checked into the Hantam Hotel a decade ago, and checked out again within an hour. Don't know what it is like now...



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Flowers in the vicinity of Calvinia, if you have some? Please?

Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:30 pm

Hi Popsie.....these were taken somewhere between Nieuwoudtville and Calvinia, but can't be more specific!!
Hope you like..............this is just for you!!


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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:31 pm

We found this Namaqua Dove, trying (unsuccessfully) to hide in a tree!!

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Valandrich
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park

Re: Namaqua flowers and the call of the Kalahari

Post by Valandrich » Sun May 20, 2012 8:31 pm

Lisbeth wrote:

Happy New Year, Val!! I am off to bed.

Happy New Year Lis!!

More photos of KTP 2011.

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