pedro maia

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Everything posted by pedro maia

  1. 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.
  2. On the way to Twee Rivieren we still had time to see this jackal drinking, And a little bit of action among oryx Really a beautiful antilope The last kori bustard Our best day sighting of a bat-eared fox And the last road block Needless to say I became an unconditional fan of KTP, a place where I really want o go back. We had great moments, wonderful sightings, the landscape is also a treat and, best of all, it was a great family vacation, so the las picture is of the four o us Thanks to all of you who followed and commented our trip.
  3. While returning to Twee Rivieren to leave KTP there were still a few nice sightings, such as these young sprinboks practicing to become dominant males. And a video of the moment:
  4. After the cheetahs left to the other side of the dune we went a bit further on the road and had another great sighting, a group of meerkats warming themselves, with the morning sunrays making a very nice effect in their fur, looking like some kind of an aura in their side hairs. I don´t need to tell you how much we enjoyed the time we spent with this family of meerkats.
  5. I think you´re going to enjoy our next sighting.
  6. The 23rd August in the afternoon we had to take the plane at Upington to start our long way back home, but we still had time for a final drive at the park until around 10:30, it was the coldest morning of all, -2º at 7:00, and there was a bit of a mist in the road and at the Nossob river bed. Probably because of the cold there were no animals anywhere until we saw a couple of cars, there was something at the left hand side of the road and it turned out to be two cheetahs, two male brothers I assume. The first one passed by While the second decided to mark the territory, first scratching the tree with his claws (pity he did it in the wrong side of the tree) and then scent marking it with his urine Then they climbed the dune, watched around And eventually passed to the other side of the dune Not a lot of action but a great sighting for a late start of our last morning at KTP
  7. I´m glad you catched up, even if the trip is entering it´s final strech.
  8. After the wonderful meerkat sightings there wasn´t much to be seen until Twee Rivieren, with the exception of these two raptors which I don´t dare to try to identify, so I´ll wait for the experts verdict. Then we had a decision to make, we were quite tired but we arrived at TR before 17:00 and although next morning we would still make a (half) morning drive in the park chances are that we won´t return there any time soon so I thought it was worth it to drive a little bit in the Nossob road, so we had a snack and a beer at Twee Rivieren and went back to the road. It was a good decision because not far from the gate there were some cars and that usually means cats, and it was the case, in the other bank there were three lions, one male, which seemed to be still young since his mane wasn´t fully developed, and two females, one of them with a collar, maybe they were the same three lions that broke inside the camp the other night but of course that may be just me speculating. They weren´t as close as we would like but it was still a very nice sighting and with the binoculars we could see them pretty well. The male was clearly in the mood for love so he tried his chance with one of the ladies But she wasn´t at the same mood Cropped picture And she didn´t let him do what he wanted to do Another cropped picture And she moved away And there they were, the girls to one side and the boy to the other and we had to go away without knowing if there was another round as we couldn´t miss the gate closure. That night it was braai night With the lamb chops and the borewoers we bought at Sitzas and a nice syrah from the western cape And before going to bed my daughter and I made some experiences taking pictures of the stars, these are the best we could do, we missed a good tripod, we forgot to change to the small lens which would be lighter and there´s much we need to learn as well. Anyway I must say I never saw such an amazing sky, we were lucky to be in KTP during the new moon so there were only stars to be seen and it was just incredible, the milky way unbelievably lighted.
  9. Sorry for the overload but I couldn´t help it.
  10. After we left the wrestling wildebeest of kept driving along the Auob until we saw this meerkat, one of my favourites animals which we had only seen from quite a distance in the sunset drive we took the day before. I really love this image of the lone meerkat on the river bed, it´s the kind of image I had in my head as been quintessential Kgalagadi without having been there any time before. Of course that meerkat wasn´t alone, there was the rest of the gang and they were really close to the road, we got a good position and stayed with them for a good while watching this awesome creature while my daughter took the pictures, and it was really hard to choose so prepare for a "massacre"
  11. You can only get out of the vehicule in designated places, like picnic sites, and I would say 99% of the people self drive in this park and vehicules are normal, no pop-top, most of the time our windows were down, except when passing by or driving behind other vehicules, because of the dust.
  12. As I said we had to leave Corinne so we didn´t know what happened, if there was some action and if she was successful or not, we kept driving the Auob road towards Twee Rivieren, once again we saw giraffes in what looked like a meeting around the tree We got some close ups of springboks Some female kudus drinking at a waterhole And we stayed for a while watching this group of wildebeest, as there seemed to be lots of testosterone in the air Two of them got engaed in a fight, although not too serious Then four And then it looked like wildebeest wrestlemania It was fun to watch, as I said it didn´t seem to be too serious and none of them seemed to get hurt, but it was a good momment of the drive.
  13. We left Mata Mata to make the 120km back to the park gate at Twee Rivieren, once again I couldn´t resist to take a few pictures of the road and the landscape. Soon after leaving Mata Mata a car made us signs with the headlights and the very gentle couple inside told us that there was a cheetah moving along the left side of the road 3,1km from where we were (perfectly detailed information), we thanked them and moved away at 50km/h and, right according to the information, there it was, close to the road and moving south, this beautiful cheetah that we found out in another forum that is a female known as Corinne. Gorgeous animal, really athletic and elegant ,a true sprinter. There was only another car nearby (then another one after we warned another family with our headlights) and we watch and slowly moved along Corinne, who had a goal, a herd of springboks grazing several hundreds of meters ahead, in the middle of the river bed. Corinne´s task wasn´t an easy one, there was a lot of open terrain between her and the herd so she moved slowly, trying to blend with the grass Then she sat for a bit to assess the situation And decided to cross to the other bank, to the dune, but that had to be done in the open By then the springboks were still quite far from Corinne but either they spotted her or sensed that there was danger because one of them was a little apart from the others, with it´s head up in Corinne´s direction, without moving. In the meantime we had a great (although brief) moment when we were watching Corinne already in the dune and in the river bed a scrub hare passed running for it´s life with two jackals running behind it, suddenly the hare turned to the dune and the jackals didn´t even notice that and kept running, but it was too quick so we don´t have pictures of that pursuit. By then Corinne was moving along the dune, as stealthy as possible. From time to time we lost her sight, then saw her again, until she sat, then laid down, and stopped moving. We waited for a good while but it became clear that there was probably going to be some action but it was going to take time, Corinne was still far from the springboks and we had all the Auob road ahead of us, if we were staying at Mata Mata we would have return later but it wasn´t the case so we had to leave the scene. It was, nevertheless, one of the best moments of the trip.
  14. At Mata Mata we had a purpose, to go to Sitzas Farmsatll to by meat for that night´s braai, it was father and daughter team´s turn Going shopping in Namibia after getting the necessary authorization from the border officer Sitzas Farmstahl, 800m from the border Back from shopping Return to South Africa Our company while we had some sandwiches at Mata Mata picnic site And time to hit the road again for an absolutely memorable afternoon
  15. Our last full day at the park was going to be a long one, it was the day we did the Auob river road all the way to Mata Mata and back and it was, again, a great day with great sightings. First this springbock shape with the sunrise as background A visual illusion or it is really forbidden to go to nowhere? A group of ostriches on top of a dune A tawny eagle, in the nest Did I already mention I like jackals? Then a herbivore procession to a waterhole Kori bustard Oryx are really beautiful Close-up of a wildebeest The only kudu bull we saw during the whole trip, majestic and looking as if he was proudly posing for us My daughter caught this kori bustard in its approach to landing I knew that somewhere before Mata Mata would be the place to spot giraffes, we nearly missed them but at 13th or 14th borehole, I´m not sure, a lady whose husband was there making a survey for Sanparks to the creation of a new picnic site told us they were right behind us, and there they were, nice sighting of an animal which the first time we went to Kruger, 6 or 7 years ago, my daughter described as “looking very African”, and I tend to agree with her. One yellow-billed hornbill, as I said we only saw them at the Auob road The only lilac breasted roller of the trip Another giraffe And the landscape approaching Mata Mata, Kgalagadi can be amazing, can´t it?
  16. The sunset drive was scheduled to 5:30pm at Twee Rivieren, it was a good chance to spot some animals we hadn´t seen before and that´s exactly what happened, although it was hard to take pictures at night we had great sightings. At the beginning if the drive our ranger told us that the night before 3 lions jumped the camps fence and wandered around the camping area, besides producing a few casualties between the staff´s chickens. We aren´t campers but I can imagine the fright of hearing a noise, come out of the tent to check what´s going on an see 3 lions, or maybe I can´t and I prefer not to have the experience... First sighting was of the resident verreaux's eagle owl little after exiting the camp gate, we had pass by that tree a few times and didn´t know there was an owl living there. Then our first sighting of meerkats, which were high on my wishing list, but they were at the other side of the river bed so we needed the binoculars to see them properly. A korhan Then, the first bat-eared fox of the drive, but still quite distant Right after the bat-eared fox (we also saw cape fox but didn´t get any picture) another animal from my wish list, an african wild cat hiding in the bushes The only sighting of spotted hyenas we had and quite distant, it´s not clear but in the first picture there´s the hyena and a jackal and they were peacefully together, maybe they were scraping some leftovers of the carcass we didn´t get to see during our morning drive, it´s hard to say Another bat-eared fox, this time from a close range, nice looking animal We loved to see this white-faced scops owl, the eyes are just amazing Another african wild cat, this time we got a better sighting And the last animal spotted before returning to Twee Rivieren was this genet A very pleasant and productive game drive I would say.
  17. Thanks @Peter Connan, I was hoping it was something different but it is still beautiful.
  18. At first my idea for our third day at the park was to go all the way to Mata Mata and back but we were just too tired so we decided to try the Auob river road, then the lower dunes road and the final stretch of the Nossob road during the morning, have lunch at our lodge, rest a bit and then return to the park to go on a sunset drive from Twee Rivieren, it was going to be the hottest day (it got to 33º) of all so it wouldn´t be too cold for the night part of the sunset drive. The decision to start the day by the Auob road was logical since we had driven the Nossob road up and down the two previous days but it wasn´t the best one, if we had done the other way round we wouldn´t have miss hyenas and jackals sharing a carcass close to the road, when we passed by the spot there weren´t any hyenas, jackals or carcass, it´s just the way it is, we cuoldn´t have guessed it but it would have been better if nobody told us about the sighting we missed. The Auob road was very quiet, the first sighting worth mentioning was this black headed heron at a waterhole And this “zazu”, we only saw them at the Auob road. A nice view of the Auchterlonie museum We made a quick stop to get in, a curious place that shows a bit of the roughness of living at this hostile place 100 years ago Then we entered the lower dunes road and I must say that although it didn´t produce any extraordinary sighting it is a really beautiful road. As usual oryx showed up and they really fit in the red dunes landscape The inevitable jackal crossing the road An immature pale chanting goshawk, I guess A kori bustard in the dunes, we saw a few of them in this road I don´t know how did we spot this stenbock, it wasn´t that close to the road and it has just the same colour of the sand An ostrich Another kori bustard, this one very close to us A beautiful raptor I can´t identify Some cute ground squirrels Close up of a jackal The road And back to the Nossob road, where we were told about the hyenas feeding sighting we missed
  19. At first I booked all 5 nigths of our stay at the Kgalagadi Lodge and my idea was to take one full day to go to Nossob and back, which I quickly realised wasn´t going to be possible. Than I kept tracking Sanparks website for cancelations at Nossob and finally got to book a family chalet for a one single night and it was a very good decision, Nossob provided the best moments of the trip.and if I ever go back to KTP I will try to stay there fore a few more nights. So the only thing I can tell you is to try todo what you can to fit it in your itinerary.
  20. Video of a female ostrich´s dust bath
  21. The trip from Nossob back to the park exit at Twee Rivieren was long and it didn´t produce any "wow factor" sightings but it was pleasant still there were some very nice moments and sightings orix allways provide nice images just like spingbocks just try to do this... This secretary bird´s bath was a very curious and funny moment it looks good it´s really good just one more time and a last one maybe another go or maybe not why do you look at me as if I am weird? one of the few sightings of red hartebeest a beautiful yellow mongoose I know there is an overload of jackal picture in this TR but they provided us some great moments, including a few missed hunt attempts (no pictures of those) Lavoisier Law Kori bustard are also very nice to watch and they blend really well with the dry grass Another raptor, to me it looks like an immature pale chanting goshawk And I love this image, with the orix in the pale yellow grass with the red sand of the dunes as background
  22. I see you live in Africa but conditions differ from one destination to another.. In what concerns the road trip from Upington to Kgalagadi it couldn´t be less stressful, you leave the airport, in our case we went to buy groceries at the Kalahari Mall which is close to the airport and you don´t need to get inside Upington and then you have a little more than 250km of good tar road, mostly straights, and very few cars. I think if there is a place in Africa where there is no stress involved in driving it can be this one, although I can only compare with other places in South Africa.
  23. Hi Alex, that depends on the time of the year, the night I spent there the chalet temperature was normal, it was not an issue. The menu of the sightings is, as you say, fantastic.

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