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Found 38 results

  1. I largely wrote this trip report shortly after we got back – however due to having a really bad year it got put on hold. However things are calming down and we have finally got a bit more back on track – so here is our trip report for Southern Namibia September/October 2016. Wednesday 28th September It is four o clock in the afternoon and I’ve been in work since quarter to eight this morning – so now I can put the out of office on, turn the phone to voicemail and lock the laptop in the cupboard. I grab the bag carrying my travelling clothes and get changed in the ladies room before waving goodbye to my colleagues. That’s it, no more work for three whole lovely weeks – I’ve a tube to catch to Hatton Garden where I meet J and then we head off to Heathrow to catch our South African flight to Johannesburg. Thursday 29th September It’s an overnight flight from Heathrow, arriving around nine in the morning, and we head off through transit – only to come to a grinding halt. Johannesburg airport are carrying out some new biometric procedures which mean that (like the USA) they are taking photos and fingerprints – and it is slow; slow, and even slower. The queue is barely moving at all – they actually have someone walking down the line pulling out those who have transit times close to departure and moving them up to try and get them through quicker, but it’s making the rest of the queue move even slower. We have nearly four hours for transit and are actually grateful for the long transfer. It takes over an hour to get through the queue. We still have nearly three hours left so we head to the business lounge and pay our entry fee, and settle down to have a wash up in the bathrooms and a nice meal, before heading off to catch our flight up to Windhoek. So finally we get to Windhoek - about three pm. We head to the Avis desk in the airport to pick up our car. We hand over our paperwork and J signs all the various paperwork (in blood) – confirms that we have a second spare tyre (pre-paid for), and that we need a letter to take the car across the South African border. (They seem to have forgotten the letter but once reminded they prepare it immediately without any argument – so no problems.) We were expecting a Toyota Hilux, but are told that we have been upgraded to a Toyota Fortuner. The car, which was South African registered was almost new, there was 14840 kilometres on the clock, and in fact it was a new model which had only been released fairly recently (according to various people we ran into). Even so it already had one small-ish ding, and a number of other little issues on the paintwork. We made sure that all of the marks were annotated on the documentation and also took a number of photos so that everyone was clear what condition we collected the car in. We had to chase the second spare tyre and as it was not brand new took photos of that as well. We checked that we had a jack – roads in Namiba are notorious for eating tyres – and indeed there was one – but dear lord it looked pathetic when you consider the size and weight of the vehicle. We hoped we wouldn’t need to use it often. Then we headed off out of Windhoek airport and down towards the city, and our first night’s accommodation at The Olive Grove. The Olive Grove is a pretty little hotel, with secured parking, and a nice little patio area with a small plunge pool. We are allocated room 10 which is down on the ground floor. We repack the bags for the actual holiday (rather than airport travel), and then decide we will go out for dinner. The last time we were in Namibia, just over three years ago we arrived into Windhoek a lot earlier in the day, did not stop in Windhoek – and therefore did not have a chance to go to the famous “Joe’s Beer House”. The Olive Grove is fairly close so we booked a taxi and headed off to see if it could possibly live up to its reputation. It does. The place is amazing. On a Thursday night it is packed. It is a largely outdoor restaurant, although most of the tables are covered by thatched umbrellas. It is lit with candles and lanterns and buzzes with the energy in the place. We sat at the bar while waiting for a table and chatted briefly with another couple who had just finished their tour. Within five minutes we were seated at a big round table with a number of other people, mostly German, but also with a group who were working in Namibia. We chatted about the roads, and some suggestions for things to do whilst we ate. I had a beautiful Gemsbok steak (the only complaint was that there was a bit too much meat) whilst J had the Jaegerscnitzel. Joe’s has a reputation as a great place to go before and after safari – and it is certainly a well-deserved reputation. It’s also reasonably priced - our meal and drinks came to less than N$350. Back at the Olive Grove we tumbled into bed – exhausted from lack of sleep but excited for the real start of the trip tomorrow.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Hi All I'm thinking ahead to a trip to KTP for next year and just want to sound out those that have visited recently. We'll be staying at Twee Rivieren, Nossob, Kalahari Tented Camp and the lastly Mata Mata. We're not the 4x4 explorer types so there will be no Eco trails to navigate. Considering that we'll be sticking to the tried and trusted roads would it be a requirement to upgrade my rental from a standard Fortuner with 4x2 specs to a 4x4 proper with all the extra traction abilities? The 4x2 option obviously is more than enough for a regular visits to Kruger, but clearly we're not going to that part of the world on this trip. Regards Riaan
  5. Ok, let’s first deal with the pitfalls of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is a major pain in the arse to get to; the process of booking the camps actually initiates the pain (in the arse); there is heavy vehicle traffic in certain parts of the park where some self-drivers seem to be motivated more by the desire to travel at top speeds rather than viewing game; there are overgrown driedoring bushes impeding visibility on some parts of the Nossob Road; and the dearth of game loops limits your ability to control distances to sightings. All that said, Kgalagadi just might be the most addictive place I have been to in Africa. If you are keen on seeing the “small stuff” and learning about how everything fits together in nature, Kgalagadi is the place. Said another way, it’s the kind of place where the first-time, student of nature-type visitor would be blown away. And why so addictive? Kgalagadi never gives you 100% satisfaction. It’s like leaving a couple of makeable putts out there to shoot 91: you are hell bent on teeing it up again. 100% satisfaction is not a problem at Londolozi. Predators not only abound, but also, so accustomed to human gawkers, they let you into their lives. Nighttime game viewing at Londolozi simply cannot be matched. And all this comes with unapologetically opulent accommodations, inspiring rapture in some guests and sheepishness in others and awe in all. Oh, and the food… more on that later. Kgalagadi and Londolozi. They are the two ends of the safari spectrum, but they are both fitting representations of the way they do it in South Africa. The following is an account of my recent trip in April 2016.
  6. Hi 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
  7. I've about finished editing a few hundred images from my 15 days in the Kalahari and will shortly begin my trip report. Meanwhile, this video is a short 'tease' of the trip. https://youtu.be/6FfiXWzteEY I hope you enjoy this 3 minute overview. I promise to begin the tale shortly.
  8. With both of us retired ( well, semi- retired for my wife), we decided to escape the Dutch winter and spend some 8 weeks travelling parts of South Africa we had not visited before. On our previous 3 visits we had always flown to Johannesburg and from there explored Wakkerstroom, St Lucia, Kruger, Mapungubwe, to name a few and even ventured into Southern Botswana. This time we would fly to Cape Town to see the southern areas. We booked our tickets with British Airways some nine months before, giving us a good rate: €600 euros pp for a return ticket, with a stopover and change at Gatwick. After this we started putting together an itinerary for our stay. Apart from seeing the Cape Town area and south coast we decided to spend the last three weeks travelling north to visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, something we had been thinking about for a number of years. We'd throw in a few days in Fish River Canyon for the scenery and to get a taste of Namibia. In fact we had also looked at the possibility to combine the Kgalagadi part with a much longer Namibia trip, but the cost and the long distances had made us decide to leave that to a later date. At first a tough decision as it meant abandoning many great birding areas, but it was definitely the right one. We got many great tips from ST members, by reading trip reports and @@xelas added a lot of information in our email exchanges. We approached a Dutch/South African travel agency to arrange these 3 weeks for us: accommodation and the rental of a 4x4. For the first 5 weeks they booked us a sedan and the first three nights in Hermanus. We were going to book all other accommodation ourselves when we we in SA. This would give us more freedom to extend our stay at places we really liked and leave whenever we felt like it. We had googled a lot of possible places to stay in the various regions we were gong to visit, looking at reviews and rates. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it? Only it turned out quite a few places were fully booked even later in January and in the end we did not get to see a few places that had been high on our list. Well, to be honest we also did not get to see all the areas we wanted anyway as our trip did not last the planned 8 weeks. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I'll fill you in about that later. So in a nutshell, this was the plan: From 8th January till 12th February ( roughly 5 weeks): Start with a few days in Hermanus, then follow the Garden Route eastwards. Furthest point east would be Addo Elephant park. From there ease back west and then take the R62. Probably a detour north to visit the Karoo NP and then back to Cape town to spend a week exploring the area. From 12th February till 3rd March With a 4x4 travel north in 3 days to Fish River Canyon and spend 3 nights there. Then via Keetmanshoop (1 night) to the Mata Mata gate of the Kgalagadi TP. There we would be for 9 nights: 2 in Kalahari Tented Camp, 2 in Mata Mata, 2 in Nossob, 1 in Kieliekrankie and finally 2 in Twee Rivieren. On our way back to Cape Town we would spend two nights near the Augrabies Falls NP. Then to CT and back home. Birding opportunities and sites had been a major consideration in the planning. One of the highlights, I hoped, would be a pelagic trip from Simon's Town, which I had booked with Cape Town Pelagics. Was I really going to see an albatross? My photographic equipment: Canon 7DII with the 100-400II. I did take a lightweight tripod with me, but 99% of the shots were handheld. I also had a spare body, my 'old' 7D. Looking at myself struggling out of bed in the morning I could use another spare body, but unfortunately the Peter MarkII is not yet on the market. My wife, Jeannette, brought her trusted Sony A77, mainly for scenery shots. Although not as dedicated a birder as I try to be, she shares my passion for birds, animals and nature in general. Would this trip, longer than any we had ever done before, bring us what we hoped for? Would our marriage hold when we had exhausted our conversation topics ( this proved to be a theoretical question, we did not run out of topics )? Well, let's wait and see...
  9. I'm off to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier soon. I plan to take a full frame camera (Canon 1Dx) and also a 1.6x crop sensor (Canon 7D mkII). For lens choices, I plan to use the Canon 100-400mm and I will also take along the 1.4x teleconverter. I will have some wider lenses, but bottom line, I will be able to shoot as as long at 560mm equivalent (with 100-400) a much longer limit of 784 with the 7D mkII combined with the 400mm and teleconverter. That sounds like a lot but it will be at a maximum of f/8 with a sensor that doesn't allow a real high ISO. When the light is low, I will most likely only have 540mm allowed by the 1Dx and 1.4x teleconverter which will still be at f/8 but allows a slightly higher ISO. My question: is this really enough? Do I need to shoot at least 600mm to get truly great Kgalagadi images?
  10. -INTRODUCTION- Hi to everyone. I'm back from a great trip in South Africa (first time there). I and my girlfriend had an amazing time and we were lucky to spot a lot of interesting animals in the parks we visited. After the trip of last year in Madagascar (http://safaritalk.net/topic/16227-awesome-red-island/) we needed to come back to a "classic" safari destination in order to improve the good experience in Namibia 2 years ago (http://safaritalk.net/topic/15973-sand-and-stars-namibia-2014/) and to upgrade to a "next level". In fact in Namibia we had something like 2 whole days of safari in Etosha, because we decided to focus more on the landscape area of the nation. Now in South Africa the safari was the focal point of the trip and we spent almost 6 days. More, I bought a new camera and I got interested in birding. But why South Africa? Well, it was an easy choice. Probably one of the easiest African country to travel in self drive, easy to reach from Europe and a good balance between safari and landscapes. We had only some hesitation on the tour: most of my friend did the "classic tour" (at least it is classic in Italy), so basically Cape Town - Garden Route - Kruger (the South East). But all the time (usually the holiday period is August) they said: "It was supercool BUT the Garden Route and the Winelands are not so special...". And since this part was always the half of the trip I got skeptical (also because I wouldn't "downgrade" my travel experience after Namibia). THEN... I discovered the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Also thanks to this forum in my mind rised a new tour: the NORTH-WEST! This park is in Kalahari (a place we love) and it is very "unpopular" in Italy for several reasons. First of all the accomodation: few places and always full. So the big tour operators don't include it (and the area around) because people usually book the tour few months before, and for sure there are no places for "large groups". So, in January we started to check availability for August: NONE! Then I contacted an Italian/South African Tour Operator, South African Dream, which organizes customized tours to have an idea of a possible tour and the total cost. This was very useful, because they kept an eye daily on possible cancellations in KTP. Then, at the beginning of February they sent me an email: there are free places for 3 days! BOOK THEM! We organize the rest of the trip later! So at the end we used this TO for the flights, car rental and accomodations. And everything went good. The tour is this: - 30 July 2016: Flight from Milano MXP by Emirates. Night onboard. - 31 July 2016: Lending in Johannesburg, take the car and toward Kruger. - 1 August 2016: Kruger - 2 August 2016: Kruger - 3 August 2016: Kruger + Blyde River Canyon - 4 August 2016: Kruger- Johannesburg and internal flight toward Upington - 5 August 2016: Upington - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - 6 August 2016: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - 7 August 2016: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - 8 August 2016: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - Augrabies Falls - 9 August 2016: Augrabies Falls - Springbok via Namaqua National Park - 10 August 2016: Springbok - Cape Town (!!!!!) - 11 August 2016: Cape Town (Shark Caging + Boulder's Beach + Helicopter tour) - 12 August 2016: Cape Town (Stony Point + Hermanus + Stellenbosh) - 13 August 2016: Cape Town (Cape Point) - 14 August 2016: Flight from Cape Town by Emirates. Night onboard. - 15 August 2016: Lending in Milan MXP. The tour was wonderful but a bit strong for driving. Considering it I would change some things but mostly 2: - I would take an internal flight Johannesburg-Nelspruit - I would cut the Sprinbok-Cape Town drive with 1 day more in Calvinia or Lambert's Bay For the accomodation we stayed in: - Berg en Dal Rest Camp (2 nights) (Kruger) - Skukuza Rest Camp (Kruger) - Graskop Hotel - Protea Hotel Oasis (Upington) - !Xaus Lodge (Kgalagadi) - Mata-Mata Rest Camp (Kgalagadi) - Kalahari Tented Camp (Kgalagadi) - Augrabies Rest Camp - Annies Cottage (Sprinbok) - Southern Sun Waterfront (4 nights) (Cape Town) We hired 3 cars: - For the Kruger area: Hyundai Ix35 2x4 - For the Kgalagadi area: Toyota Hilux 4x4 - For Cape Town an easy Hyundai I20 Hatch 2x4 As camera I have an Olympus E-620 with Zuiko 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6, Zuiko 18-180mm f/3.5-6.3, Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6. Plus I have a Compact SONY Cybershot 18.2 Mp mainly used for recording. Weather was different for each area: - In Kruger sunny (except 1 afternoon raining!) and dry. Some clouds in the early morning. Temperature were quite ok during the day (but never hot) and ok also during the night (cold but with a sweater ok) - In Kgalagadi always really sunny and really dry/clear. Cold in the morning (even close to 0) and warm in the day (never really hot btw). In 2 hours in the morning you can really feel the temperature rising every minute... - The west coast sunny (and we were lucky!). Less dry and less difference of temperature day-night. In the evening in Sprinbok I didn't use the sweater. - Cape Town wet! I mean, the first day we found sun with not even a cloud and we were fine with a t-shirt during the day, but in the night we always found wind and you need a jacket. The second day was cloudy and rained (around 13 C ) and the third day was cloudy with some sun in the morning. From the second day we never sow the top of Table Mountain again. In the next posts the details!
  11. This may be of some interest to anyone wishing to visit South Africa during the spring. The time for wild flowers and whales, log fires and good food. Pen http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/7651162-a-south-african-spring
  12. We booked 6 nights for our first trip to the Kgalagadi towards the end of August. We were lucky to pick up cancellations a month ahead of time. This was to be our first visit to the South African side of the Park having had a brief visit to Mabuasehube in 2012. Normally Pippa and I camp when we go into the bush but we decided that for this trip we’d stay in the SanParks accommodation and survey camping facilities for future visits (I’m in a wheelchair and sandy campsites can be a problem). Nossob was a must in my book and the rest of the bookings revolved around availability there. So our bookings ended up as follows: · Leave Cape Town 26 August and over-night at Kalahari Guest House; · 27 and 28 August Kalahari Tented Camp · 29 and 30 August Twee Rivieren; · 31 August and 01 September Nossob · 02 September Kgalagadi Lodge · 03 September Blou Nartjie (Calvinia) · 04 September Home We set off from Cape Town at 6:00am on Friday 26 August. We’ve always loved the drive up north through Ceres, Clanwilliam, Calvinia and beyond. It was no different that day. The scenery was as beautiful as ever and the flowers were just starting to show themselves. Life was good! Just after 10:00am and about 15kms beyond Nieuwoudtville disaster struck. I felt a loss of power and a few seconds after that the engine shut down. Even for a non-mechanically minded person like myself I knew we were in trouble. An inspection of the engine confirmed it ….. a strong smell of burning oil and no water in the expansion tank told the story. A cooked engine. Oops!! We were lucky to have cell phone reception (albeit patchy and weak) and I phoned the AA to arrange for transport back to Cape Town. After a couple phone calls they confirmed that a contractor from Calvinia would collect us and take us home. We waited and we waited and we waited some more. Finally the contractor arrived at about 3:00pm in a twin cabbed bakkie and a roll-on trailer. I had my misgivings …… the set-up didn’t look fit for purpose. I assumed though that he knew best. After greetings and introductions we were told that we’d be taken on to Calvinia for a “rest and freshen-up” before heading back to Cape Town. I thanked him for his concern but pointed out that we’d already been “resting” for the past 5 hours while waiting for him and would much prefer to avoid travelling another 50kms further before heading back home again. He said that this had been the agreement with the AA consultant. I told him that this hadn’t been discussed with me by the AA and that I wasn’t prepared to waste time going on. To cut a long story a bit shorter, another hour was wasted trying to resolve the issue with the AA. Eventually it was decided that we’d be taken to Nieuwoudtville and another contractor would be found to meet us there and take us home. The trip to Nieuwoudtville confirmed my suspicions about the bakkie and trailer …… it started fishtailing at less than 50km/h. Fortunately the driver managed to control things but it was a frightening experience. ​The epitome of a grumpy old man! We spent another hour on the main street of Nieuwoudtville waiting for the AA to make alternative arrangements. It came as no surprise by this time that we were eventually told that a towing contractor from Klawer would only be able to collect us the next morning and that we’d have to sleep over that night. Pippa walked to a farm stall down the road from where we were parked to ask for some help to find a room. None were to be had. It was a very busy weekend for the locals with the flowers starting to bloom and all accommodation was booked out. The good folk there spent an hour phoning everyone they could think of to help and eventually found a place with a couple who had just finished renovating a room. They very kindly allowed us to stay. So 12 hours after leaving home the Calvinia contractor offloaded us (and the Land Rover) in the yard of our hosts. The silver lining out of all our frustrations and worries through the day was the fantastic response from fellow travelers and the Nieuwoudtville residents. I was amazed at the number of people who stopped to offer help and to make sure that we had water and food while we waited to be collected. At 9:00am the next morning we were very relieved to see a proper rig arrive. The car was quickly winched onto the back of the truck and Pippa and I scrambled up into the cab with Sarel the driver. It was actually a very pleasant drive back to Cape Town and we were both really impressed with Sarel’s driving and courteousness to other road users. The trip home took about 5 hours. Hope springs eternal and it wasn’t long after we had settled into our comfort zone at home that I suggested to Pippa that MAYBE things weren’t as bad as they looked and MAYBE the guys at the workshop would find no serious damage to the engine and MAYBE we could be on our way again by about lunchtime on Monday! We’d only have 3 nights in the Kgalagadi but that would surely be better than nothing? It was a long weekend waiting for the car to be collected and assessed! Pics courtesy of Pippa and her cell phone! To be continued.
  13. Hello everyone - we recently returned from an epic trip in the Kgalagadi and Mabuasehube. I am planning to write a trip report on my website, but it's still a long way off. So meanwhile I thought I would share Mr Cheetah80's video of our trip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1PR6i44Yxk For those who are interested we stayed at Rooiputs, Urikaruus, Kalahari Tented Camp, Polentswa, Grotkoolk, Gharaghab, Nossob, Matopi and Mpaya 2.
  14. 1) Name of property: !Xaus Lodge - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (S.A. sector) 2) Website address: http://www.xauslodge.co.za/ 3) Date of stay: 5th August 2016 4) Length of stay: 1 night 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Several reasons: first of all we decided to spend 3 nights in KTP but since we book late, all other camps were full. Secondly we would explore an "hidden" area of the park, since you can get there only if you sleep in the lodge. Last because we would have 1 night of comfort. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Booked through an Italian Tour Operator (South African Dream). I had some questions about timing for picking up and they answered fast by email. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 3 in 3 years 8) To which countries? South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Fish River Lodge, Red Dunes Lodge (both in Namibia). The former because of the position, on the top of the dune (the canyon in Fish River case), the latter because of the environment (Kalahari) 10) Was the property fenced? NO, the units are connected to the main building through a boardwalk (the director said once they found a leopard drinking at the swimming pool) 11) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Number 1, which was the nearest to the main building. We could listen people chatting on the terrace but it was not a issue. We had a really good view of the pan and the waterhole (even if not close). Probably chalet 2 or 3 have more privacy. 12) How comfortable was the bed - were suitable amounts of blankets/duvets/pillows provided? Very comfortable, we had 2 pillows each and as much as blankets we would. We had the hot water bottle as well. 13) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Yes, the food was good, but not memorable. Probably they should improve a bit. In partiular meat was not too tasty. The breakfast was rich and good, but also in this case a luxury lodge should give "something more" or "something special" to give an upper level experience 14) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) We met a vegetarian guest and he told this to the director. So he had vegetarian food for dinner and breakfast as well. Not sure if there are vegan solutions... The menu was fixed, so a starter, a main course and a dessert. There was a good (considering the situation) wine list. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? There are only 3 big tables, so basically can happen that you eat with other guests. Guides never eat at the same table. 16) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? We didn't have a morning/afternoon drive, so I don't know. 17) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. They have a landrover. It seems quite new. 18) How many guests per row? 3 guests per row 19) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Morning/afternoon game drives are included only for guests who sleeps at least 4 nights. If not are arranged and paid separately. We didn't take part in daylight drives but I head by other guests that basically they explore the area around the lodge and the Aoub riverbed. The night drive was around 1 hour/ 1 hour and half in the surroundings of the lodge. 20) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? I don't think so. The drives are scheduled (maybe can change of half an hour...) 21) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? !Xaus lodge is not famous for the wildlife around it. It is more related to the environment and landscapes. Anyway we sow: - DAYLIGHT: Red hartebeests, mangoose, hyenas, ostriches, secretary birds, sprinboks, gemsboks, meerkats - NIGHT: hyenas, jackals, Bat-eared foxes, Cape foxes, spring hares 22) How was the standard of guiding? Guides were good considering the few wildlife there. They were good also in the morning walk explaining the plants and the environment of Kalahari. 23) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? No problems with guides 25) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes, they were always open to our needs (we didn't ask much) 27) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: As I wrote the day game drive is included only if you stay 4 nights. For less it is included the night drive, the morning walk and a visit to a bushmen village. This latter probably is the less interesting activity also because it is declared it is a fake experience. The point is that !Xaus Lodge lies on old motherland of San and Meir people. So they are actually the owners of the land and this "visit" is a way to help their culture. In the night it is cold (in winter) like all the other camps in KTP, but here there is an heater and the hot water bottle. Electricity is turned off at 22.00 The water comes from the pan in front of the lodge, so it is really salty! You can use it to wash or brush teeth, but not to drink. There is only a pitcher in every room with freshwater, so don't waste it! To reach the lodge there is a meeting point at the Kamqua Picnic Site all the days at 14.30. You can follow the lodge vehicle by 4x4 or leave your car in a fenced private area (with shadow) and go with them. There is a 1h 30m - 2h drive through 90 red dunes. The coming back is more flexible, usually after breakfast, but you can negotiate it... 28) Please add your photographs of the property.
  15. Just got a reminder email from SANParks reservations as to why I had not paid the outstanding balance on 13th July. Because I had it in my diary as 30th July All of the planning and successfully obtaining accommodation for the dates we needed in September and now I was going to lose it? I phoned immediately but didn't have my passport number to hand (required to process card payments) and the reservation is in the OHs name (could he please email with authorisation?). After lots of time on hold and my desperate explanations, the lady who I originally paid the deposit with was eventually able to charge my card and the rooms are secure. Phew. Not what I wanted to hear on a Friday morning. I'm not sure what we would have done if they had given away the reservations as the park is booked up. So what have I learnt? A) 13 and 30 sound the same, so check the paperwork they give you an overdue reminder C) they do not automatically cancel your reservations Now I need to go and lie down!
  16. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3582434/Can-spot-leopard-camouflaged-against-rocks-Hint-trying-spotting-spots.html ~ In the U.K. Daily Mail Safaritalk member @@Morkel Erasmus has a series of images of a leopard in rocks in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. He described his patient efforts over several years to finally have the ideal opportunity to photograph one of the elusive Kgalagadi leopards.
  17. After getting a great price on direct flights to Windhoek I booked 3.5 weeks in Namibia this June and am currently planning the itinerary. The trip is focused on wildlife and scenery including photography. Some accommodation is already booked (Kgalagadi, Etosha, Sossus Dune Lodge, Etendeka Mountain Lodge), but I'd love your input on my upcoming adventure and the specific questions below: Sat 11 June (day 1): arrive in Windhoek at 5:30 am, pick up rental car, grocery shopping, drive as far as we feel comfortable towards Mata Mata day 2: Kgalagadi NP. overnight at Twee Rivieren Rest Camp (Mata Mata Rest Camp also booked) day 3: Kgalagadi NP: overnight at Bitterpan Wilderness Camp (Kalahari Tented Camp also booked) day 4: Kgalagadi NP. overnight at Twee Rivieren Rest Camp day 5: Kgaladadi NP, drive to Keetmanshoop or similar for overnight day 6: quick visit to Fish River Canyon, drive through Ai-Ais Transfrontier Park to Aus (overnight in Aus) day 7: drive to Garub for the wild horses in the morning, then on to Sossus Dune Lodge and afternoon in the dunes, overnight at Sossus Dune Lodge day 8: early morning drive for sunrise to Soussusvlei / Dead Vlei / Dune 45,... I'd like to stay another night at Sossus Dune Lodge but it is fully booked - any suggestions for an alternative? day 9: early morning drive for sunrise to the dunes, then drive via Solitaire and Walvis Bay (go to Pelican Point) with evening arrival in Swakopmund day 10: morning Living Desert Tour, then drive towards Khorixas, maybe do Cape Cross / Ameib / Brandberg on the way day 11: drive to Twyvelfontein, then on to Palmwag, 3:30pm pick-up for drive to Etendeka Mountain Lodge (overnight there) day 12: Etendeka Mountain Lodge, game drives day 13: morning game drive, transfer from Etendeka Mountain Lodge back to Palmwag, drive towards Etosha NP. Would have liked to stay at Dolomite camp that day, but unfortunately it is fully booked. day 14+15: Etosha game drive, overnight at Okaukuejo day 16: Etosha game drive, overnight at Halali day 17: Etosha game drive, overnight at Namutoni day 18: morning game drive, then drive to somewhere around Popa Falls day 19: drive along the Caprivi Strip, afternoon boat cruise e.g. at Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge day 20: game drives at Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge (or similar) day 21: morning game drive / boat cruise at Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge (or similar), then drive towards Windhoek, overnight somewhere on the way (maybe stay one more night around Popa Falls?) day 22: drive towards Windhoek, overnight somewhere close to Windhoek day 23: sightseeing in Windhoek, drive to airport in the afternoon, flight home at 8:30pm Here are my questions: Kgalagadi NP: I checked the SANParks website daily for the last couple of days and reserved the camps that I could in order to get the best itinerary. Do you think the driving distances between the camps are feasible for us (two drivers, but no experience in driving a 4x4)? How is the 4x4 road to Bitterpan? Would you delete the trip to Fish River Canyon in order to allow another night at Kgalagadi NP? Are the driving distances feasible as planned (we don't mind long drives, have done 800km in one day in South Africa last year)? Caprivi strip: I think I would like to stay in the areas both around Popa Falls / Bwabwata NP and Mamili NP / Mudumu NP. Is the scenery and wildlife different in both areas? Any "must do" activities? Do you have recommendations on accommodation? In the Mamili / Mudumu area, I am currently looking at Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge, Lianshulu, Jackalberry Tented Camp or maybe Mazambala. In the Popa Falls area, I am looking at Nunda River Lodge, River Dance Lodge, Ndhovu Safari Lodge and Ngepi Camp. How long are the drives from Namutoni to the Popa Falls region and the drive from Mata Mata to Aus via Fish River Canyon and Ai-Ais Transfrontier Park? We'll need a 4x4 if we're staying at Bitterpan. If we do not stay there, is a 4x4 still necessary or preferred from your point of view? Is it easy to find accommodation (e.g. B& everywhere or do I need to book everything in advance? Especially for the long driving days I don't know yet where we want to break up the drive. In South Africa we found it very easy to find somewhere to stay the night spontaneously and I quite liked that. Thank you very much for your help!
  18. Doing a search on this site I could find only two trip reports on the KTP so thought this would be a good place to start with a trip report. Nestled between Botswana and Namibia in the North Western corner of South Africa is what was formerly called the Kalahari Gemsbok Park which now makes up part of the larger KTP. The Kgalagadi is a harsh land, and Kagalagadi means the Great Thirstland. As would be expected it is arid. At the same time it has a remarkable beauty and a host of animals that survive in this wonderland. This journey will show you each camp, the accommodation, what you will pay for it, and what you can expect to see in the camp and surrounding area. We will start at the northern most camp, Grootkolk, and work our way south down the Nossob Riverbed, across the dunes, on to the Auob Riverbed and finish at the Southern entrance of the Park which is Twee Rivieren (meaning two rivers) In my opinion the KTP is arguably the best Park on the planet for big cats (you can get really close to these) and raptor sightings for the price you pay (relatively cheap compared to other Parks). Black Shouldered Kite with Beakfast Red Necked Falcon You will enjoy many of these sightings to yourself and there are also the little cats, African Wildcat and Caracal. Honey Badgers and Brown Hyenas. Aarwolfs and Aaardvarks. Suricates (meerkats) and some very special antelope. Rollers and bee-eaters, waxbills and shrikes Beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the red sands of the Kalahari. You do not need a guide to do the KTP. You can get a flight to Upington form Johannesburg or Cape Town and from Upington to Twee Rivieren is a comfortable 2.5 hour drive on a tarred road. Overses visitors will need to hore a car and price will depend on what you get. To get to Bitterpan and Gharagab Camps you will need a 4x4 woth low range as you will be driving the dunes to get to these. For the rest of the camps juts a vehicle with high clearance is rfecommended so that you visisbility is not restricted - the sand ridges at the side of the road ar high in places. Be warned, once you get that red sand between your toes, you will just want to return again and again. All this time effort, you might ask what is in it for me: 1. To share the magic of South African Parks with you. 2. To reach an international group of like minded people to show the challenges and threats we are faced with in conserving these areas so that we can discuss possible solutions. I will post in the Rhino Poaching Topic shortly.
  19. We safaristas are spoiled. We expect the Africa Big Five “served on a plate”. Not to mention three gourmet meals a day. All in high-spec, designer’s designer-designed camps attended by staff outnumbering guests. “Medium rare please”, we say when asked how we like our steak. But there is another safari world – one that has been unceremoniously perfected by South Africans. No, not one involving a Singita or a Londolozi. It is more of a DIY, long-weekend getaway than safari, as we know it. The essential elements include your entire family (no matter the ages of your children), your own 4x4 vehicle, the latest camping gadgets advertised in Getaway Magazine, and camping grounds or bungalows in one of the many parks and reserves of South Africa. It is more religion than holiday. It is decisively Afrikaner. And damn it, you cook your own meat! Embracing the “when in Rome…” concept, I book a local ground operator (with the help of Ngoko Safaris) for an authentic South African safari involving long drives between the various self-service bungalow-type accommodations offered by the parks and reserves. Admittedly, the “when in Rome…” concept erodes significantly from there. The driver/guide would do much of the cooking, and a few meals would be taken at camp restaurants. Local camp staff would clean your room every day. I even enlist Ngoko Safaris’ Benson Siyawareva (the superb, eagle-eyed, encyclopedic, lovable one) for the fourth time to guide. Okay, okay, so it’s only a sort of a, kind of a DIY trip. I would, however, hang around the braai fire just to pretend I was participating in cooking the meat. Itinerary: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Twee Rivieren Rest Camp – 1 night Kalahari Tented Camp – 2 nights Nossob Rest Camp – 1 night Gharagab Wilderness Camp – 2 nights Nossob Rest Camp – 1 night Nylsvley Nature Reserve Cottages – 2 nights Kruger National Park Punda Maria Rest Camp – 3 nights Mopani Rest Camp – 2 nights Plus - Ezemvelo Nature Reserve (an afternoon visit at the start of the trip)
  20. I am planning a trip to South Africa next July/Aug. We have booked 12 nights in KNP and 6 nights in KTP. We booked Nossob for three nights and Mata Mata for three nights. We have two extra nights to spend in KTP though. Where should we spend it? Our number one goal for this Kgalagadi trip is to spot cheetah, which many people said are hard to spot in Kruger. We cannot stay in the wilderness camps as we are 5 people going. There is no availability in KTC, so we have to to stay at one of the three main rest camps. Any replies are greatly appreciated!
  21. Southern Africa loop trip September 9- October 18, 2015 Hello, I decided to post my rather lengthy journal of our trip last year in the hopes that it may help some readers with planning their own Southern Africa adventure. I purposefully included many details so that potential self-drivers can squirrel away bits of information for future trips. Our Route: Windhoek, Namibia Kgalagadi, South Africa Central Kalahari GAme Reserve, Botswana Maun, Botswana Boteti river, Makgadikgadi NP, Botswana Nxai Pans NP, Botswana Maun, Botswana Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana Maun, Botswana Mahango NP, Namibia Etosha NP, Namibia Brandberg, Namibia, Windhoek. Namibia Here is the detailed itinerary: September 9: Klein Windhoek Guesthouse, Windhoek, Namibia, B&B September 10: Kalahari Anib Lodge, camping September 11: Mata-Mata, Kgalagadi, South Africa, camping September 12: Two Rivers, camping September 13: Urikaruus, wilderness chalet September 14: Nossob, camping September 15: Bitterpan, wilderness chalet September 16: Nossob, camping September 17: Gharagab, wilderness chalet September 18: Kalahari Rest Camp, Kang, Botswana, bungalow September 19: Tautona Lodge, Ghanzi, camping September 20: Motopi, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, camping September 21: Sunday Pan, camping September 22: Sunday Pan, camping September 23: Island Safari Lodge, Maun, camping September 24: Audi Camp, Maun, Luxury tent September 25: Khumaga Boteti River, Makgadikgadi NP, camping September 26: Khumaga, camping September 27: South Camp, Nxai Pan NP, camping September 28: South Camp, camping, September 29: Audi Camp, Maun, Luxury tent September 30: Third Bridge, Moremi GR, camping October 1: Third Bridge, camping October 2: Xakanaka, camping October 3: Xakanaka, camping October 4: Khwai, camping October 5: Khwai, camping October 6: Audi camp, Maun, Luxury tent October 7: Mahango NP and Nunda Lodge, camping, Divundu, Namibia October 8: Mahango NP and Nunda Lodge, camping October 9: Bushbaby Lodge, bungalow October 10: Namutoni, Etosha NP, Namibia, camping October 11: Halali, camping October 12: Halali, camping October 13: Okaukuejo, camping October 14: Okaukuejo, camping October 15: Dolomite camp, chalet October 16: Hobatere public campsite, outside Etosha Galton gate, camping October 17: White Lady Lodge, Brandberg, camping October 18: Klein Windhoek Guest House, Windhoek, Namibia, B&B Planning: When planning this trip, I used the two Bradt guides BOTSWANA, and NAMIBIA, both written by Chris McIntyr as well as paper maps of each country, available on amazon.com I find both of these guides are very helpful when planning self-drive trips. I also read a ton of trip reports on this and other forums and learned a lot by just "lurking" and reading questions and answers. For the Kgalagadi park, I found information on sanparks.org website and nice forumites there helped me out with tips about this park. Operator: Peter Weber at Zimba Adventure, Windhoek, Namibia www.zimba-adventure.com It was a very pleasant experience to deal with Peter. He was extremely polite and patient with my many questions, as well as very prompt with all his answers. It was a true pleasure to do business with Peter and I can highly recommend his services. He also provides tours in Namibia as well as to all the other countries in Southern Africa. Car Rental: Peter Weber arranged our two Hiluxes through Classic Cars managed by his partner, Peter Kehrer. There was one mishap with our friends'car while still in Windhoek, see below, and the last two weeks, our cool box did not cool at night. Apart from that, both cars performed extremely well and at my asking, had new mud tires mounted, just for our long trip. Both men are very pleasant and professional, live in Windhoek, and speak English, German, and Afrikaans. In addition, they are registered with the Namibian Tourist Safety and Security: I told Peter too late about wanting to rent a Satellite phone, so he was all out. We then found a SAT phone rental company here in California and we rented it from them for cheaper than had we rented it from Peter. Of course, it made for extra carry-on luggage. Thankfully, we never had any type of emergency, but both parties used it to talk to family and it worked very well. It was one of those difficult decisions: do we or don't we. At the end I decided that it was worth having a SAT phone for everyone's peace of mind. Just in case. Every night when going up to our roof tent, I would take with me all of our important documents. Just in case. To our surprise, the rental car only came with one set of keys. We never lost ours, but I would have felt a lot better with a second set. Just in case. We also placed copies of passports, credit cards, and cash in different bags. Just in case. Accomodations: We have discovered that although we like sleeping in a roof tent and camping, we also like spending every 5th or 6th night in a B&B or budget lodge. It gives us a chance to sleep in a good bed, do some laundry and get reorganized. I will give a brief description of the places we stayed at in the course of this report. Photography: In the last few years, we have become more interested in photography. We have a lot to learn, but the good news is that each trip we show some improvement. This trip, our focus was to get crisper, clearer pictures as well as trying to capture birds in flight. I am using a Nikon 5100 and doing mostly the landscape, group, people, and camp shots. My DH is using a Nikon D90 with a Sigma 150-500 lens. He is responsible for all the close-up and portrait shots. I also tried my hand at shooting some videos, but I'm not good at it at all, and as it turns out, most of it is shaky, or blurry. Also, my camcorder seemed to have had a problem recording movement when zoomed in, and now the little machine is altogether dead and I won't replace it. So here goes my first ever trip report: California to Windhoek, September 7-9 The long awaited day for the start of our third Southern Africa adventure is finally here. We leave at 7 pm after having said good-bye to Daniel (our son) and Charlie and Sadie (our dogs). Daniel is our doggie sitter in chief and they love him as much as they love us. First leg is to SF where we eat dinner, then onto NY Kennedy via a red-eye. After a 4 hour wait, we board SA Airways to Johannesburg for a 15 hour long-haul flight. Luckily, the plane is not full and we can lay down a little and sleep. Screaming kids keep us awake. When we arrive at O.R. Tambo, it is already September 9. It is during the Ebola scare and upon arrival we have to fill out a form of possible symptoms as well as countries visited. Then there is another 4 hour wait before our flight to Windhoek. Oh you lucky people who come from Europe and stay in the same time zone! We pass the time sleeping on the benches in front of the Mug and Beans Cafe and looking for things to buy at the many shops selling African souvenirs. The flight to Windhoek is boarded via a walk along the tarmac. I have a window seat and from above, I can see hundreds of white pans dotting the landscape, as well as many animal trails. Very exciting. Benny, a representative from Classic Cars, picks us up in a van. There are troops of baboon foraging along the road and sitting on fences, not something we normally see along California's highways. Yes! We are back in Southern Africa! Klein Windhoek guesthouse is located in a quiet neighborhood of Windhoek and is comprised of a few different buildings on both sides of the road. The pool is tiny and the water is much too cold for swimming. Our friends and travel buddies from Canada have already spent a night here and they greet us with warm enthusiasm. After that, we go to dinner together at the very busy on-site restaurant and everyone had schnitzel, except our friend who wanted to try Kudu steak. Being thoroughly jet-lagged and generally up-side down after our long journey, we turn in early and enjoy our comfortable room.
  22. Hello, if you are planning a self-drive trip through Southern Africa, check out my trip report of our loop last year through 7 parks, including many photos. Here is the link: http://safaritalk.net/topic/14669-self-drive-safari-in-botswana-south-africa-and-namibiab/
  23. Since this Park seems to be under-represented here in the Trip Reports forum, and since I visit for 1 to 3 weeks every year, I thought I would start a thread where I could share bits and pieces from my trips over the years to this lovely and spell-binding place. All of these are self-drive, although there are new lodges opening up now which would open the place up to people who want to be catered for on a higher level of luxury than normal chalets or "rough camping". Whether we as Kgalagadi purists agree with this approach is debatable (for selfish reasons of course - keeping the experience wild). Let the Kalahari magic begin! Anyone who has been is welcome to add images and stories to the thread... Oh, and I am headed there in 3 weeks again!
  24. We had an amazing trip last year self driving in Kruger NP and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with a couple of days at Augrabies Falls before we flew home. I have finished my book of the trip which I will put here in case anyone is interested. It is rather large as I included most of the photographs from the incredible cheetah sighting we had and also quite a few of the most beautiful black maned Kalahari lion. Some of the night sky photographs are side on which will look strange viewed on a screen but OK when we have the actual book. I have posted a few photographs for anyone who can not look at the book but might like to see a snapshot of our trip. I am not trying to sell the book its just that to make it available to view blurb have you put it in the for sale section on their web site. http://blur.by/1Ga5ik6
  25. I´m pretty much decided to do the Kgalagadi in May 2016 (with Augrabies Falls thrown it), not least thanks to @@penolva ´s brilliant photo book which really clinched it for me - have to get there as soon as possible. Will also include Cape Town and do the usual stuff (Penguins!), and for diversity I´d also like to try to visit one of the smaller, lesser-known parks/reserves nearby (=within reasonable driving distance). Seeing South Africa "specials" like Bontebok, Blesbok, Rhebok, Grysbok, Cape Mountain Zebra would be great, good birding places as well. Is there a chance for marine mammals in May at the coast? I have been suggested either going to De Hoop Nature Reserve or to the Cederberg Wilderness area and Lambert´s Bay. Not too much to be found for all these online, so what are your opions? Any other good tips for the vicinity of Cape Town? Also, is Cape Agulhas worth seeing? And how is Kgalagadi in May? Thanks for all advice in advance, Michael

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