Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure – Day 27 – Twee Rivieren

22 November 2018

Today is my birthday and just being here in the bush is the best gift I could ask for.  However, I  make a short list of what I would like to see today and at the top is Cheetah! The Kgalagadi usually shows us wonderful cheetah sightings but this time we’ve seen only a single sleepy one under a tree!   I really want the Mools to see them at their glorious best.  Pat even put in a request when saying Grace last night.  Will her prayer receive a positive answer???

The Mools greet  me with a big happy birthday and a gift of a new Kgalagadi Map Book! – It will be much treasured!

First up and always amazing to see is The Martial Eagle – then a den of the cutest Cape  Foxes. 

Enjoying the early morning sun
Should I come out of my hole?
Isn’t she the cutest!

Then we watch two springbok locking horns in a friendly battle of strength

These two entertained us when they decided to lock horns and tussle

We find the wild cat at the same spot as yesterday and point her out to others who stop to ask what we’re staring at.  We manage to get good shots of her and the kitten

There are no lion at Kij Kij today but we stop for coffee and to watch the sandgrouse, sparrows, quelea and finches flying from trees to water hole – always fascinating.

And a jackal comes down to drink

From there we drive to Melkvlei where The Earl cooks us a delicious birthday breakfast on the Skottel.

Pat poured some water in a plastic lid and the birds drank thirstily

After breakfast we take the Dune Road.

Korhaans love this habitat
Typical Kgalagadi Dune

 Once on the Mata Mata Road we stop to see birds and animals. We find Ostriches.  The babies are having a delightful sand bath.

Then it all happens.   Between Rooibrak and Kamqua bore holes, lying lazily under a tree we find two young cheetah! My birthday wish comes true! Patricia’s prayer is answered.

Happy Birthday, Helen
We were expecting you!
Is that a springbok I spy?
Let’s go get him!
 Come on – before he sees us!

We thoroughly enjoy a birthday treat of note! The cheetah interact with each other then they spot a springbok and get up and go for the chase – but they’re spotted and lose their lunch.  We think they’ll go off somewhere else now –but no, they return to the same tree, giving us more wonderful views of their beautiful selves.   I am in heaven!

Oh well – maybe next time – let’s go back to the shade
Stop sniffing – Keep up!
Okay – I’m coming!

There are only two other cars and we have nobody blocking our view – just awesome.

Thank you for being a friend
Goodbye, Cheetahs – You made my day!

It’s a long way back to Twee Rivieren and we’re on a high all the way home.  We stop to enjoy other creatures but the Cheetah are definitely the highlight.  A wonderful way to end an amazing month’s trip! Tomorrow we start making our way home!

Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure – Day 24 – Nossob

19 November 2018

Nossob to Rooikop to Marie se Gat to Kaspersdraai and back

Another early start today and out the gate by 06:06. The Earl complained that we were late!  We should have been out by 5:30 – now we’ll miss the lions and cheetahs.  But all was not lost.  Why are these cars parked at the water hole looking at nothing – he said.  We turned in and there they were!  

Two Lions coming to drink

We watched them drink and play and then walk off together. What an awesome sighting – they spotted a springbok and went into hunting mode.  But it was far off and gone before they could give chase.   We watched them till they melted into the veld. A few minutes earlier or later and we would have missed them

We continued to Marie se gat.  Marie was married to one of the men responsible for drilling the boreholes.  His name was Henry Brink.   Imagine being Marie – living like a squatter in the wilds of Africa.  Life was tough but when the man on whom you depend fails to perform his duties and no money is coming in, you turn to desperate measures. Henry began to drink excessively and his job became the last thing he paid attention to so Marie simply drilled the borehole herself so that they could survive!  Hooray for pioneering women like Marie!

At her famous Gat (bore hole) we watched quelea and Cape Sparrow

We continued to Kaspersdraai waterhole where clouds of quelea, finches and Namaquadove were being pursued by a lanner.  Then we made our way back spotting a Martial Eagle on the way

Martial Eagle
A Red-necked falcon also posed beautifully for us

Half way between Kaspers and Marie’s we saw a car stopped and asked the Australians within what they were looking at.  “A sleeping cheetah – hasn’t moved for half an hour – we may give up and go back for breakfast!”   We found a suitable spot – saw the cheetah lift her head and flick her tail and stayed to see if she did anything more while we had a cup of coffee.  She didn’t stir – but it was still a lovely sighting as thus far no other cheetahs had made an appearance!

Back home I did some washing while The Earl cooked brekkie and then we watched the birds and mongooses round the camp.

Yellow mongooses in camp

Afternoon drive – Nossob to Cubitje Quap and Kwang and back

On the way we found a spotted eagle-owl in a tree

Parents with juvenile

At Kwang Water Hole we found lion!

The male was on the side of the road
The females were under the trees near the water hole

There were some vultures there too.

Lapet-faced vultures
Lapet-faced and white-backed vultures

We left the creatures in peace and drove on for a while.  When we came back they were more active.

Starting to wake up
Then a female flopped down next to him
She was a bit more wakeful
He decided to stretch and yawn
And gave us an authoritative stare
We thought they might hunt but clearly it was too early for dinner and they flopped down again

On our return drive we found that there were two owls in the tree.  

The one we saw on the way there
And this one spreading his wings

Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure – Day 12 – Namutoni to Halali – Etosha National Park

7 November 2018

I booked three nights in each camp so that we have two full days to enjoy each one.  So today would be treated as a pack up and set up day. We got up at 6:00 had a leisurely breakfast then packed up camp.  By 8:30 we were on the road, The Earl and I ahead as The Mools wanted to visit the Fort Shop before they left.   Because we tow a caravan we did not do any detours to waterholes.  In spite of this the main route of 70 km directly to Halali produced some lovely sightings

The dry arid regions are popular with secretary birds and we were thrilled to find two today.

We continued to stop for the odd jackal and giraffe but were not expecting anything to exciting.

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Then half way to Halali we saw two cars stopped on the side of the road.  “Probably rhino,”  I said to The Earl but as we drew nearer I spotted her in the shade of a bush just a stone’s throw from the road

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– A female lion feasting on what we think was the remains of a giraffe kill.  There were two uninvited guests whom she could easily have chased off but she generously allowed them to chew on a bone or two.

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“There must be others,”  I said, scanning the area with my binoculars.

“I looked,” said The Earl – “Nobody else here”

“I think I see them under that tree,”  I replied.

“No – they’re just logs!”

But then one of the logs flicked an ear!   “One male and three females”  I informed him.
A little while later the dining female got up and went to join the pride.

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They all sat up to greet her and then the male decided he needed more nourishment and went off to the kill chasing the jackal for good measure.  We watched for a bit longer and then made our way to Halali well satisfied with our morning.

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It was just after 11 when we arrived.  We checked in, went to the tourist shop to get a few supplies and then got our caravan set up on site 8 before the Mools arrived.  I was worried that they would miss the lions but although they’d detoured to a waterhole they did get to see them.  They were all under the sleeping tree enjoying a final chew on the bones.

The Mools were soon set up and we had a bite to eat and a nap before setting out for a short game drive at 15:30.

We visited Nuanasa waterhole where we had fun watching the antics of golden breasted bunting, cinnamon breasted bunting,  Cape glossy starlings and red headed quelea.

Goaz is always a good water hole to visit but there wasn’t much to see today.  However, we enjoyed the few zebra and impala as well as the Egyptian geese and redbilled teal.

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When we got back to camp we went to the waterhole, then went back for a braai.   After supper Tony, Pat and I went to the waterhole for an hour and saw a rhino with a baby, another rhino joined them for a while and then they went their separate ways.  A few hyena also visited.

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Halali has the best water hole of all three camps.