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Why call this report “Marrick and much, much more”….well I’m trying not to bury the lead and I think that of all the places we went to, Marrick was the most unique wildlife location. But Marrick wasn’t the only place we went to, in fact it was just one of 22 different places that we visited in a two month road trip around South Africa, covering over 8000KM. I hear you asking, how did I get so much time off work…am I retired?…did I take a sabbatical? Neither, I took shared parental leave. The UK has recently changed it’s parental leave laws, adopting a Scandinavian type model which allows the father to share the maternity leave. Having recently been blessed with our first child, my wife and I really wanted to take advantaged of this time to be a family and to travel. So off we went - us, our then 5 month old daughter and a Toyata Fortuner 4x4. The itinerary was: Cape Town - 5 nights Franschhoek - 2 nights Knysna - 4 nights Jeffrey’s Bay - 2 nights Prince Albert - 3 nights Montagu - 2 nights Cape Point NP - 3 nights Clanwilliam - 3 nights Augrabies - 2 nights Kgalagadi NP - 6 nights Witsand Reserve - 1 night Marrick - 3 nights Mokala NP - 1 night Beaufort West - 1 night Wolseley - 3 nights Durban - 5 nights Mtunzini - 2 nights Rocktail Bay Mapatuland - 7 nights Dundee - 1 night Thendele Drakensberg - 3 nights J’burg - 4 nights Our itinerary was built around seeing some great places, seeing some great wildlife, enjoying some good wine and seeing my family (I’m a saffer by birth). This trip wasn’t all wildlife centric so I won’t cover all our locations but instead will pick on a few key ones that I think may be of interest. I think these are: Intaka Island - Cape Town Wild Coast Parks - Goukamma, Robberg and Wilderness Cape Point National Park Lambert’s Bay Kgalagadi NP Witsand Marrick Mokala Mtunzini Maputaland Thendele I won’t cover these all in detail (I don’t have enough good photos) but I’ll try cover some highlights. What were some of the wildlife highlights? 1. On one night drive at Marrick we saw 15 Bat-eared Foxes, 2 Porcupines, 40+ Springhares, 20+ Scrub Hare, 6 High Veld Gerbil, 2 Spotted Eagle Owl, 3 Blue Cranes, Banded-Courser, 2 adult African Wild Cat, 1 Hybrid Wild / Domestic Cat, 2 Aardwolf, 1 Aardvark and 4 Black-footed cats - a mother feeding her three kittens. 2. In the Kgalagadi seeing a mother African Wild Cat and her two kittens one which had clearly never seen a game vehicle before and actually came up to sniff the tyres 3. Again in the Kgalagadi a group of five Cheetah at a kill 4. Seeing Green Barbets and the Spotted Ground Thrush, two rare range restricted birds, at KZN’s Ongoye and Dlinza Forest As a taster this is an image of the mother black-footed cat and her three kittens
This will be a fairytale. A story about two places. Far between. But connected in the way of wildlife and for some rare sightings. Part one will be a story about Marrick in South Africa and my search for the shy nocturnal animals who is roaming these lands. Was the reputation true? What did I find? Part two is a story about some characters in Okavango delta in the very high season when the flooding make the life easy for many animals. Not all, some of them will have a hard time. My story will tell... This part take place in Khwai Concession. In Marrick I stayed at Marrick lodge. Trevor Datnow and his crew make this to an exceptional place to stay. In Khwai I used WalkBotswanaSafaris and Gareth Flemix as a guide. Wild camping. Very luxury though with an attached toilet and shower built in the back of my tent. Even a proper bed and staff who make excellent food all the way. This was the real deal. I was there for wildlife, not sitting around in a lodge and spend most of the time to find a sunset point for a Gin/Tonic. Such a waste of time for the most perfect conditions for wildlife and photography. I can drink at home and I can hang around in a lodge at home. But I can definitely never ever photographing "African animals" in the sunset at home... WalkBotswanaSafaris fulfilled all my expectations. So let me introduce the stars of the show. These characters is where the most action were. But there will be others as well... First out, Marrick. My most sought after creature here was of course Black footed cat and Aardvark. We found alot of other things as well... African wildcat! I will tell you more day by day in my next posts. I had three nightdrives and one daytrip to Mokala NP. Oh hell... I almost forgot the Meerkats! There are alot of them around Marrick and also Mokala NP. Nice and cute family. Khwai Concession in Botswana is another story. About a Leopard family... The cub is around 3 month old. A Lion family... With cubs in most ranges... A Wild dog family. On the hunt... And 12 days old puppies who sees the sky for the first time in their life. Especially one of them who got lost and a very rough start (and maybe end) of his life... Here he is. A story about very rare sightings... ...and creatures who have some problem with all the water to collect food... ...while some others have more than enough and take full advantage of the pantry. African darter and Dwarf bittern. Now when the stars are introduced. We can start from the beginning in Marrick on day 1. To be continued...
kittykat23uk posted a topic in AfricaHi All this is my and my Mum's trip itinerary to South Africa in Mid Sept. Please help us to plan our stay, especially the first few days where we are doing more of the touristy things. We are looking for suggestions on, how to structure our first few days to see as much as possible and any inside knowledge on the best places to cover to see birds and mammals. are there any bat roosts, roosting owls, good spots for small mammals etc. good places to hike to see special mammals and birds? We will have a guide but he'll probably want us to have a fair idea of what we want to cover. 15 Sept- arrive 2120 overnight at Road Lodge Cape Town International Airport 16-18 The Cape Peninsula. Simonstad Seadeville BB (Simonstown) http://www.seadevilla.co.za/simonstown-activities.php Pick up on Saturday 16 Morning 0830 from Road Lodge... Visiting some of the main botanical and natural history destinations such as Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Point and the south-western tip of the African Continent, Betty’s Bay, Stony Point, Boulder’s Beach and others. possibly Table Mountain, depending on weather. Staying in Simon’s Town. This is the section we need most advice on. does anyone have good recommendations for how to structure our 3 night stay? Mum is keen to see flowers so we have to include Kirstenbosch. I've been to Betty's bay, and Cape Point. has anyone got any up to date info on where to find cape rockjumper? 19 and 20 Swellendam and the Agulhas Plain. Swellendam BB Aan de Oewer BB http://www.aandeoever.com Moving on from the Peninsula our next port-of-call is Swellendam, the third oldest town in the country, which will provide a base from which to explore Bontebok National Park (named after the endemic ‘Pied Buck’) and De Hoop Nature Reserve, another gem of a wildlife destination, and a good place to see Whales.- as well as whales we hope to have a chance to see zorilla and possibly caracal here. Has anyone got any tips on visiting either of these parks? 21 Karoo National Park. Karoo NP chalet https://www.sanparks.org/parks/karoo/tourism/accommodation.php Has anyone got any tips on visiting either of these parks? From Swellendam we’ll begin our long northward journey, with a stopover at Karoo National Park, which can provide some great mammal watching and birding. Has anyone got any tips on visiting this park? 22-24 Dunedin Farm (double room on this farm) Moving on, our next stop will be at Dunedin Farm, where we’ll spend three nights in total, with the extremely rare Riverine Rabbit at the top of our want list here. we also hope to pick up a lot of the smaller mammals here, sengis etc and bat eared foxes with nightly spotlighting excursions. I have some good notes for this site so should be okay. 25-27 Marrick safari camp After Dunedin we’ll have a long drive to Kimberley, We will have two night drives at Marrick (booked, possibility of a 3rd on night of arrival), where we hope to find species such as Black-footed Cat, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Southern African Hedgehog, Springhare and others . On one of our full days here we will have a day visit to Mokala National Park, where we may get lucky with mammals such as Black and White Rhinos, Sable and Roan Antelope, and perhaps a Sengi or two. Having read a report from Royle Safaris we should also look to cover Benfontein Game farm from this base to increase chances of black footed cat. Should we spend the second full day at Mokala as well or are there other options? Do you know whether the flamingos at Kamfers dam will be present in September? We'll have guided night drives here but any tips on where to go during the daytime would be good. 28 – 29 Augrabies Falls National Park. From Kimberley we’ll drive through to Upington and then Augrabies Falls National Park, our base for the next two nights. look out for birds such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Bradfield’s Swift and Short-toed Rock-Thrush, while drives in the park will give us a chance to see species such as Namaqua Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird and Sociable Weaver, among others. Mammals to be seen include the Springbok, South Africa’s national antelope, as well as Klipspringer in the rocky areas, Southern Giraffe, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Cape Clawless Otter and others, while a night drive may produce a Leopard with some luck. Has anyone got any tips on visiting this park? 30 Sept - 5 Oct The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. After Augrabies we’ll stop off in Upington to pick up supplies before heading on to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The exact camps we use will depend on availability, 30 Kalahari trails (morning walk with meerkats) . KTP Our routine will include morning and afternoon drives, and no doubt we’ll get to know the Kalahari very well indeed during our time spent here. Mammals to be seen include an exciting array of predators such as Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Cat, Honey Badger, Spotted and Brown Hyenas. Raptors can be prolific as well, and there plenty of general game along the Auob and Nossob Riverbeds to keep you occupied between predator sightings. Booked: 1 Oct Twee Riv 2 Oct Mata Mata riverfront lux chalet- Pieter to provide spotlight. 3 Oct Kalahari tented camp unfenced 3 km from Mata Mata 4 Oct TBC Hopefully Nossob 5 Oct tbc 6 Oct Jo & Mum depart on the 17:10 flight from Upington to Johannesburg SA8770 to connect with the 2315 from Johannesburg KLM 592. Any good spots for dens, roosts etc would be welcome, I'm interested in seeing all mammals and birds we can find! Any advice on places to stop off en route to break up the longer journeys that are good for flowers, birds and mammals, or maybe even a nice vineyard or two, would be nice. Thanks, Jo
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