Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
michael-ibk

Kgalagadi, Cape Town and more 2016

24 posts in this topic

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

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk From what I gather May is a good time to be in the Kgalagadi - always wanted to go there after the rains but my work schedule doesn't allow it. I am not sure about the time you have available but the Kgalagadi needs a lot of patience, no matter the season. So I would ensure to spend at least a week there - I wouldn't go for less than 2 weeks ;-) Can't help you with the other reserves sorry.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @@cheetah80 , glad to hear that May is good. I intend to do no less than 8 or 9 nights in the Kgalagadi, maybe more. :)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

That is great @@michael-ibk! Don't know if you have seen it but I have a trip report for one of my trips there:

 

http://www.alisonbuttigieg.com/self-drive-kgalagadi-mabuasehube-julyaugust-2013-south-africa-botswana/

Edited by cheetah80
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@michael-ibk - if you have time, you might want to consider a pelagic photography trip off Cape Town. Such boat trips can yield penguins and a whole lot more. Whales, Dolphins, Seals and other pinnipeds, and many fabulous birds. You can also get some dramatic landscape photos of the cape itself. One of my bucket list items is to do some pelagics out of Cape Town.

 

Cape Town Pelagics does weekly trips and Anne Albatross does on-demand trips for small parties (even singles or doubles) out of Cape Town. CTP does occasional trips out of Durban as well.

 

Both operators have excellent reputations - particularly CTP.

 

http://www.capetownpelagics.com

 

http://www.annealbatross.org

Edited by offshorebirder
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk

 

I cannot help you, but I think @@Safaridude visited De Hoop (as well as other lesser known reserves in S.A.). You may find something in the Trip reports section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk You can have a look at this? The author seems familiar... You should also look at this excellent report from @@Panthera Pardus which covers the Frontier and Garden Route Parks. BTW there are some Safaritalk members based in Cape Town that you can hook up with for a gettogether :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk great decision to visit Kgalagadi, its a wonderful park for big cats and scenery - those red sand dunes are a fabulous background to any photo. I've visited twice, last year and in 2011, TR from 2011 is in the Botswana TR section as that is where we began our 2011 KTP safari.

 

Can I suggest that if you are planning on staying at Mata-Mata that you consider Kalahari Farmstall instead? Owner-managed accommodation about 5 minutes drive from the border in Namibia. Lovely accommodation, great meals - ask for one of the older self-contained units as noisy neighbours could be an issue in the new rooms.

 

As far as I know Kgalagadi is good in May, there are many detailed TRs over on the Sanparks website. I'd suggest staying at Blackheath Lodge in Cape Town, a very stylish B&B close to the Waterfront.

 

I stayed at De Hoop in 2004 in the basic Sanparks bungalows. It is a very scenic park with fabulous dunes, beaches and resident wildlife. I would think that it is worth a couple of nights stay. I don't remember anything memorable about Cape Agulhas, there is a quaint lightohouse and a good fish and chip lunch, or at least there was 10 years ago. Maybe more recent visitors will chime in here. @@Panthera Pardus has great TRs on both Kgalagadi and some of the lesser known parks in the south of RSA.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@michael-ibk we are going to De Hoop, Addo, Mountain Zebra, Storms River, Karoo and Mokala NP in three weeks time so I will report back also including the Kagalagadi of course. By the way the De Hoop accommodation now looks very nice indeed, upgraded in recent years. Glad you enjoyed the book. Pen

Edited by penolva

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk

 

Here is my brief trip report for Bontebok National and DeHoop: http://safaritalk.net/topic/6556-pula-safari-central-kalahari-okavango-delta-savuti-march-2011/?p=48864

 

My suggestion is that you go to Bontebok National for one afternoon, stay over in Swellendam (only a few minutes from Bontebok; many charming bed & breakfasts; a very friendly, safe town); drive to DeHoop the next day; and stay over at DeHoop (the cottages are nice and the restaurant is superb!).

 

The only thing is that May is rainy there.

 

Kgalagadi should be awesome in May.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Thank you everybody, your help is very much appreciated!

 

Don't know if you have seen it but I have a trip report for one of my trips there:

 

Of course I have read - and greatly enjoyed - it, @@cheetah80 , I think we even discussed the genet in your bed some time ago. :)

 

if you have time, you might want to consider a pelagic photography trip off Cape Town. Such boat trips can yield penguins and a whole lot more. Whales, Dolphins, Seals and other pinnipeds, and many fabulous birds. You can also get some dramatic landscape photos of the cape itself. One of my bucket list items is to do some pelagics out of Cape Town.

Cape Town Pelagics does weekly trips and Anne Albatross does on-demand trips for small parties (even singles or doubles) out of Cape Town. CTP does occasional trips out of Durban as well.

Both operators have excellent reputations - particularly CTP.

http://www.capetownpelagics.com

http://www.annealbatross.org

Thanks, @@offshorebirder, these trips look very interesting indeed. Don´t know if I will able to fit it in but I´d definitely would like to try.

 

 

@@michael-ibk

 

I cannot help you, but I think @@Safaridude visited De Hoop (as well as other lesser known reserves in S.A.). You may find something in the Trip reports section.

Thanks, @@Paolo . I did use the search function here for De Hoop and that trip report was one of the hits for it, but since the title was "Kalahari, Delta and Savuti" I thought by mistake. My mistake there.

 

You can have a look at this? The author seems familiar... You should also look at this excellent report from @@Panthera Pardus which covers the Frontier and Garden Route Parks. BTW there are some Safaritalk members based in Cape Town that you can hook up with for a gettogether :)

Thanks, @@Game Warden

 

Hm, Wilkinson ... somewhere I do have heard that name before. ;-)

 

Duiker Island (curious name) and Kirstenbosh especially look interesting, good tips!

 

Can I suggest that if you are planning on staying at Mata-Mata that you consider Kalahari Farmstall instead? Owner-managed accommodation about 5 minutes drive from the border in Namibia. Lovely accommodation, great meals - ask for one of the older self-contained units as noisy neighbours could be an issue in the new rooms.

As far as I know Kgalagadi is good in May, there are many detailed TRs over on the Sanparks website. I'd suggest staying at Blackheath Lodge in Cape Town, a very stylish B&B close to the Waterfront.

I stayed at De Hoop in 2004 in the basic Sanparks bungalows. It is a very scenic park with fabulous dunes, beaches and resident wildlife. I would think that it is worth a couple of nights stay. I don't remember anything memorable about Cape Agulhas, there is a quaint lightohouse and a good fish and chip lunch, or at least there was 10 years ago. Maybe more recent visitors will chime in here. @@Panthera Pardus has great TRs on both Kgalagadi and some of the lesser known parks in the south of RSA.

Thanks for your advice, @@Treepol , I have noted down Blackheath Lodge, it looks very nice indeed. Good to hear you enjoyed De Hoop. Cape Agulhas ... it´s mainly just the idea of getting to the most Southern tip which I like somehow. We actually would like to try for Kalahari Tented Camp or Urikaruus and not Mata Mata, any thoughts on that? And wouldn´t crossing the border to Namibia take up a bit of time?

 

Yes, the trip reports of @@Panthera Pardus (and @@Sharifa of course) are a big reason for me why I want to visit at least two of the lesser known parks.

 

 

@@michael-ibk we are going to De Hoop, Addo, Mountain Zebra, Storms River, Karoo and Mokala NP in three weeks time so I will report back also including the Kagalagadi of course. By the way the De Hoop accommodation now looks very nice indeed, upgraded in recent years. Glad you enjoyed the book. Pen

Great, @@penolva , looking forward to what you will report back. And more so to your next photo book! :)

 

 

@@michael-ibk

Here is my brief trip report for Bontebok National and DeHoop: http://safaritalk.net/topic/6556-pula-safari-central-kalahari-okavango-delta-savuti-march-2011/?p=48864

My suggestion is that you go to Bontebok National for one afternoon, stay over in Swellendam (only a few minutes from Bontebok; many charming bed & breakfasts; a very friendly, safe town); drive to DeHoop the next day; and stay over at DeHoop (the cottages are nice and the restaurant is superb!).

 

The only thing is that May is rainy there.

 

Kgalagadi should be awesome in May.

Thanks, @@Safaridude , that´s very helpful. And kind of settles this, think it will be De Hoop (and probably Bontebok NP) for us - unless someone chimes in and makes a very strong case for Cederberg. BTW, I´m probably doing all this with Afrifriends, and chose them because of your Kgalagadi report.

Edited by michael-ibk
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally wouldn't cross into Namibia. You will have to do the cross border formalities which will waste time. KTC is fairly easy to get in and is really nice. That area covering 13 and 14 waterholes is full of game, and in our case the big cats. If you can get to Grootlolk or 4x4 Gharagab or Bitterpan it's really worth it. Pen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk the Wilderness Camps like Kalahari Tented and Urikaruus are preferable to the larger camps like Mata-Mata IMO. However, I have heard that they book up quickly - will you be booking with a local operator or self-driving?

 

The border crossing between RSA/Namibia at Mata-Mata took a little time, but as we were backwards and forwards and staying nearby we didn't have to get passports stamped twice a day. I don't think we spent more than 10 minutes at any time, mostly it took less time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

@@michael-ibk Unless you really want to see the point where Indian and Atlantic oceans meet then Cape Agulhas is a long way to go for not much. There's a pretty little beach nearby; a decent hotel and a place to eat decent fish and chips, but both times I've dragged people down there they didn't think it was worth the drive.

 

post-43899-0-04931000-1422622202_thumb.jpg

 

post-43899-0-73097100-1422622215_thumb.jpg

 

Both Bontebok and De Hoop are about 2 - 2.5 hours drive from Cape Town.

Of the two I think De Hoop is more interesting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again everybody! :)

 

@@Treepol

 

I will book with a local operator. We´ll see what camps we can get.

@@Soukous

 

Another vote against Capa Agulhas, I think that settles it for me. Think I can do without it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I await your experiences and insights. Should be a fantastic trip!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk I just wanted to say that tour operators are not usually able to secure the wilderness camps and end up offering TR, Mata Mata or maybe Nossob which are not the same as they are fenced. No lions walking through at night etc.

 

It is very easy to ring and book yourself, just register with Sanparks before hand and telephone 11 months before you go on the first working day of the month or book online the following day (if anything is left by then!). They are really helpful and efficient. Pen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @@penolva , I have made it very clear that a restcamp-only-itinerary would be unacceptable. I was told that they would do bookings by phone on the very first day possible - but still could not guarantee the Wilderness Camps because of demand and the very limited slots available. I have not made a decision yet on who to use, but all are local operators. Why do you think they would have less of a chance of getting the right camps than me?

 

The Wilderness camps are very important to me, so I would do the bookings myself if my chances are higher that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried a local agent as well but became worried they might not get us what we wanted as they said the same thing to me.

 

I decided to ring myself as well as you don't have to pay anything for 30 days when booking by phone. I got 95% of our choices, the rest by cancellations over the months before we left. SanParks have no problem letting you switch around. You don't loose money.

 

You can see it all online even if online bookings are not yet open. Watching the camps sell as I waited for an answer that morning was quite something! Urikarrus was completely sold out in that half an hour.

 

The agent emailed me later that day with 6 nights at TR, 4 at Nossob and 3 at Bitterpan. If that had been all we got it would have been devastating. That's my experience with one agent.

 

If it's as important to you as it was us to get the wilderness camps perhaps you might do the same, just to be sure. Your chances are much higher and you can switch camps around to get what you want from what's available while you are talking to them.

 

I will be setting the alarm for 6am on 1st October for September 2016! Getting those wilderness camps is like winning the lottery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @@penolva , that´s really good advice, I think it will be necessary to try out one of those "super-cheap call abroad" companies. The way I see it it couldn´t hurt if an agent tries for an itinerary and I do the same and we could then combine what we need and cancel the others?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@michael-ibk that's right I use one of those 1p per minute from UK works a treat. No problem with cancelling what you don't want, someone will be very glad.

Edited by penolva
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@michael-ibk having literally just returned from the KTP, I would not get too fixated by the wilderness camps. As the accommodations are all much smaller than the Kruger, the main camps are in no way large. They also offer different areas of the park to explore, for example twee rivierien allows access to the southern part of both river valleys. A lion pride were very active around leeudril, which is only 15km from the gate. Also, Nossob is a lion hotspot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @@Tdgraves, I will keep that in mind. Doubt I would be able to get all Wilderness anyway. And - looking forward to your report! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @@Tdgraves, I will keep that in mind. Doubt I would be able to get all Wilderness anyway. And - looking forward to your report! :)

Gotta finish the other one first!! We ended up with one wilderness and three main and I liked the different atmospheres and areas which that offered. Incidentally it was a different wilderness than we planned, as when I went to book, the other one was full.....

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.