338 posts in this topic

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Hi everybody, and welcome to yet another Kgalagadi & Co. report from South Africa! What to expect from this one? Well, what the title says:

 

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It´s the Kalahari, so of course these two species will show up a lot:

 

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Apologies in advance - I´m afraid there will be lots of birds in this one.

 

Common ones:

 

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Little Ones:

 

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Big Ones:

 

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And birds on the hunt:

 

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Of course there will be Cats. What would a TR be without Cats?

 

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And there will be some "specials". Like ...

 

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So, ready to get on the road?

 

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Oh. My. Word.

 

You lucky fish!

 

Great photos so far!

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I knew it! I knew it!! The bloody leopard was hiding from us because he (or she??) was waiting for you!!! You. Lucky. Guys.

 

Now, the teaser has set the quality bar almost into the stratosphere. I am so looking forward to enjoy this trip report. You can do it slowly, @@michael-ibk , but you haver to do it steady!

I want to get my fix of SA each morning, together with the mug of black coffee :) .

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Posted (edited)

Hurrah!

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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@@michael-ibk wonderful, De Hoop and KTP - 2 of my favourite South African destinations. Your photos have me hooked and I'll be following along avidly.

 

Lucky sighting of a brown hyena in KTP...

 

I'm interested to read about Augrabies, as I haven't made this detour yet and also your comments on Kalahari Tours. Lets hit the road!

 

 

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@@michael-ibk just read the first post and I'm totally hooked!! Love the title and your photos do live up to the promise. Ready to settle in for another great Michael trip report! The photos look fabulous so far!

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I'm ready :-)

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Posted (edited)

Great start, Michael. You put me to shame!

 

Love that brown hyena. And the ninth photo of the bird of prey in flight? Fantastic. What is that? Bring on the birds!

Edited by Alexander33
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Stunning stuff - and this is just the preview? We're in for a treat.

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some excellent images in the intro.

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Michael, like Geoff said, excellent pictures in the intro. Your photography level improves from report to report.

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BROWN HYENA!!!

 

u lucky ..... darn. it's gorgeous btw.

 

as usual - fantastic pics from you. I think your BIG year has definitely sharpen your photographic skills.

 

now i can totally stop my TR to focus on yours. :rolleyes:

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@@michael-ibk

What a great introduction, wonderful sightings and superb photos. What a hyena!. I really look forward to reading this. I thought you might get a lot of birds on this trip :)

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@@michael-ibk I love all your photos, but your photo of the brown hyena I can only describe as priceless. I have only seen a brown hyena once in Madikwe National Park in South Africa 9years ago. It was an unforgettable sighting.

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@@michael-ibk

 

What a colourful and varied introduction, another fan of the brown hyena here!

Great start, can't wait for the rest.

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@@michael-ibk wonderful, De Hoop and KTP - 2 of my favourite South African destinations. Your photos have me hooked and I'll be following along avidly.

 

Lucky sighting of a brown hyena in KTP...

 

 

 

 

+1

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This looks like another stellar report in the making, Michael ....... Can hardly wait!!!

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Nice intro!

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Spectacular teasers !!

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Great start as usual Michael. Love that Brown Hyena.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you very much @@Peter Connan , @@xelas , @@Towlersonsafari , @@Treepol , @@SafariChick , @@xyz99 , @@Alexander33 , @@Marks , @@Geoff , @@Bush dog , @@Kitsafari , @@TonyQ , @@optig , @@Zim Girl , @@Safaridude , @@madaboutcheetah , @@Patty , @@Chakra and @@dlo - much appreciated! :)

 

 

 

And the ninth photo of the bird of prey in flight? Fantastic. What is that?

 

That is a Verreaux´s Eagle, seen at Augrabies Falls, probably my bird highlight of this trip. :)

Edited by michael-ibk
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The itinerary for this trip in May 2016 was:

 

13th Depart in Europe

14th Arrive Cape Town, o/n Blackheath Lodge

15th Cape Town, o/n Blackheath Lodge

16th Drive to De Hoop Nature Reserve via Cape Agulhas, o/n De Hoop Opstal

17th De Hoop Nature Reserve, o/n De Hoop Opstal

18th Drive back to Cape Town via Bontebok NP, o/n Road Lodge

19th Fly to Upington at 07:00 am., drive to Augrabies Falls NP, o/n there

20th Augrabies Falls NP

21st Drive to Camspannen Private Reserve

22nd Drive to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, o/n Twee Rivieren

23rd Twee Rivieren, o/n Twee Rivieren

24th Drive to Kalahari Tented Camp, o/n there

25th Mata Mata area, o/n Kalahari Tented Camp

26th Drive to Gharagab, o/n there

27th Gharagab, o/n there

28th Drive to Nossob, o/n there

29th Drive to Twee Rivieren, o/n there

30th Drive back to Upington for flight at 17:00, back (:-() to Europe, arrive the next day

 

Why this itinerary? Well, going to the Kgalagadi was a given, this would ever be the main part of the itinerary, the question was what else to do. We quickly decided that it would have to be Cape Town, often called one of the most beautiful cities in the world - and it is!

 

Then we pondered two main options, driving North from there to Upington via Cederberg or doing something else at the coast. Ultimately we thought that the time of the year was not ideal for the West Coast and that De Hoop would make a very nice contrast to the Kalahari. That worked very well for us.

 

Augrabies also seemed like an interesting, very scenic place to see, and I´m very happy we went there. If I would change anything to this itinerary then it would probably be adding one more night there - it is a very rewarding place and was the "surprise hit" of this trip for me.

 

We wanted to spend enough time in KTP, and thought 8 nights was plenty - there I was wrong. I had seriously underestimated the sheer size of the park, and the driving distances between camps. A few more nights would have been nice, the pace would have been a bit more relaxed, but well, there´s only so much you can do in a two weeks holiday. :)

 

 

Most STers do trips like this the self-drive way. We thought about that, but in the end decided to do the tour with a guide/driver. I don´t mind driving but don´t particularly enjoy it either, and as a lazy person I confess I was not exactly crazy about the thought of having to cook each day. We contacted several operators, and felt we had the best offer (for us) with Dantes Liebenberg who runs Kalahari Tours. (http://www.kalahari-tours.co.za/)

 

Dantes was excellent, a very knowledgeful and experienced guide who knows the Kgalagadi inside out. A great birder as well, and he was also very good at providing us with good angles for photography. And unfortunately he´s also a fantastic cook, and thinks that a trip where people don´t eat all the time can´t be any good. I gained 5 kg! :wacko:

 

About pictures in this report: As always, a lot of them will be by secret lurker @@AndMic . Say Hi, Andreas!

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We arrived in Cape Town after a very smooth flight with Quatar Airways (from Munich via Doha) early afternoon . Our accomodation here was the Blackheath Lodge, a very nice, very personal B&B in Seapoint.

 

http://www.blackheathlodge.co.za/

 

This was a recommendation by @@Treepol , and I´m thankful for it - we were quite sorry that we could only spend two nights there. Owner Anthony gave us a free upgrade to one of their appartments - which was huge, we had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room with fireplace, balcony, free Ipad use. Breakfast was excellent as well, and staff was very friendly. Very good place to stay at! It´s within walking distance to the waterfront, and that was the first thing we did, went down to the Ocean and enjoyed the salty sea air. It´s been a while for us since we had last seen the Great Deep Blue, and seeing it felt enormously good.

 

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The Waterfront, Cape Town´s tourist centre

 

Even though this was far from high season, the place was very busy, more and more hordes of tourists stormed the place, and we took one of the (very cheap) harbour boat trips to enjoy it from a bit of a distance. :)

 

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Table Mountain, Lion´s Head and Signal Hill in the background

 

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Lots of Cape Fur Seals were enjoying the sun coming out, and were dozing. :)

 

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We saw lots of Gulls, Cormorants and Wagtails around the Waterfront and the Sea Promenade, also some Egyptian Geese, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Ibis.

 

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Common Starling - an invasive species here

 

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Grey-Headed Gulls - all over the place

 

Afterwards we took a taxi and drove up to Signal Hill to get a bit of a view.

 

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We were lucky to still have a view, very soon the mist from the Sea crept in.

 

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On Anthony´s recommendation, we took a taxi to Camp´s Bay in the evening and had dinner at "The Codfather". Excellent seafood restaurant. No menu, you just tell the chef at the bar from all presented there what he should prepare for you. Inevitably you choose far too much food with this system. We had this:

 

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Tasted fantastic!

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Posted (edited)

After a very hearty breakfast next morning we met Dantes who would take us on a tour today. And soon we were on the road to Simon´s Town, passing by lots of cyclists. Many sportive people in Cape Town!

 

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Our first stop - Boulder´s Beach.

 

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This is one of few mainland colonies of the African Penguin, also known as the "Jackass Penguin" (for its donkey-like bray).

 

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The Penguins were great, great fun! We were there very early, immediately after opening times, and so were there before the crowds. So we had about 45 relatively "private" minutes with the Penguins. They are such endearing creatures, and a joy to watch.

 

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They had many young ones, and the interaction between parents and chicks was particularly heartwarming.

 

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But Chicks have to be careful not to approach the "wrong" parents - this one was sternly reprimanded!

 

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A Cape Wagtail - extremely common

 

We also saw a Hyrax - a first for me.

 

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After a while the walkways became more and more crowded, the tourist busses were arriving - time to retreat!

 

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On the way back to the car we saw one Penguin who obviously was a bit late to get back to the beach. :)

 

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Is that a good cover?

 

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Anybody can see me?

 

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You can? Oh!

Edited by michael-ibk
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A Penguin video:

 

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