Tag Archives: Kgalagadi

Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure – Day 22 and 23 – Mata Mata to Nossob

17 November 2018

Pack up and set up day today.  

The mornings are just cool enough to pack up in comfort. The Earl and I were off by quarter to seven.  The Mools followed a little later as they still had to fuel. The plan was to meet at Kamqua for breakfast.

The sightings were slow all day today but The Earl and I did see sleeping lions and the Mools got them awake! 

We arrived at Kamqua and opened up the caravan kitchen to prepare breakfast.  Earl said – I’ll just prepare everything and start the cooking when the Mools arrive. Well he’d just completed the prep when they arrived.  It was quarter past ten. Perfect timing.

The drive to Nossob from Mata Mata is over 100 km.   It was a slow day as far as sightings were concerned. Our most interesting sighting was a little jackal at a waterhole we could see from the road.

Below are some photos of animals and birds we did see.

Necking giraffe
Thirsty Wildebeest
Lanner Falcon

It was 43 degrees when we arrived at Nossob at around 1 pm. 
Nossob means blackwater, black lung – soft and even flow.  The northern reaches of the river are wide and flat making it difficult to see where the actual course runs.

We parked the caravan and pushed up the roof but left the canopy till later. I washed up the breakfast things in the camp kitchen and washed out all my dish towels.  Then I sat in the air conditioned caravan and edited photographs while the Earl napped.

When the Mools arrived we finished setting up and then all went to the pool for a swim.  I was delighted to get a good photo of a violet cheeked waxbill at the gate.

Lots of these were flitting about near the gate to the pool
No better way to get cool – a wonderful splash in the pool!
Swallow-tailed bee-eaters sat on the shady fence and watched us wallow in the water

18 November 2018

Nossob to Polentswa and back

We made an early start this morning, getting our exit permit at 20 to 6.   The first water hole we stopped at was Cubitje Quap.  The meaning of this name is Aardvark Burrow but I’ve never seen any aardvarks there!

This is a good spot to watch birds of prey trying to catch birds. There were hundreds of doves, quelea and finches in the trees. They swarmed down in twittering clouds to drink at the waterhole.  At the approach of the prey-bird they explode into the air and back into the trees. 

Cubitje Quap – early in the morning
Tree full of birds
A lanner tried to catch some birds while this immature Pale Chanting looked on

There are several waterholes along the corrugated way to Polentswa.  We stopped at Kwang where the water is of good quality.  The meaning of Kwang is unknown but it is a site where Piet de Villiers, the Inspector of Lands, camped regularly.  He was instrumental in having the area declared a national park. We had rewarding sightings of secretary birds as well as a red-necked falcon that landed on the ground near the waterhole.  This bird is easy to confuse with the lanner.  The diagnostic feature is that its whole crown is red and the feathered part of the legs are striped, not plain.

Red-necked Falcon

At Polentswa we sat having our breakfast while observing wildebeest and birds at the waterhole. Polentswa means ‘losing the way, or rogue river.  

On our return we saw vultures at some of the waterholes the last being Bedinkt which means sour grass.

Lappet-faced Vulture

It is also interesting to pay attention to the small creatures of the park.  Aren’t these ground agamas fascinating. Although they are called ground agama, they do like to hang about in thorn trees.  The male’s head turns blue in the breeding season.

Sunset at Nossob

Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure – Day 21 – Mata Mata

16 November, 2018

It’s Lauren’s birthday today – she turns 47!   Where did the time go?  

We left camp at 05:30 but as we know our daughter rises early for school we sent her a message promising to phone in the evening when she’d have time to chat.

We drove all the way to Twee Rivieren and back today.  The Earl needed to have a good phone and internet connection in order to get hold of Ford in Upington to arrange for a new back windscreen.  The result was that all was organised for 23 November when we would be making our way back home. So we could relax and enjoy the rest of our holiday.

It took the whole day to drive there and back, of course with many stops to view game.  

The first fun thing we saw were springbok pronking just for the fun of it.   They looked like they were just doing their morning exercise and thoroughly enjoying being alive.  Perhaps they were celebrating missing the lions claws last night!

We had seen flying bateleurs but today we saw two perched at the top of a tree. 

Mr and Mrs Bateleur

There were also a number of vultures around.

White-backed Vulture

Just past Viertiende Boorgat (Fourteenth Bore Hole) at 7 in the morning we found a den of Cape Foxes.  How cute to observe the babies learning to dig and find their own food.  

Catching some early morning rays
Digging for something
What did you find?
Mum keeps a careful eye on the puppies
Ever so cute

At Dertiende Boorgat (Thirteenth Bore Hole) we watched the little quelea,sparrows, finches and doves swarm down to the water and up again into the trees while a lanner falcon flew over. They are expert bird catchers but didn’t try their luck this morning.

Hundreds of turtle doves
Swallow-tailed bee-eater also made an appearance

We stopped at Kamqua Picnic site at quarter to ten and had a cereal and boiled egg    breakfast.

Each waterhole we stopped at had one or two creatures of interest but not like the herds and herds we saw in Etosha. 

Just before Montrose we oohed over a brand new baby springbok suckling his mother.

At Montrose a jackal took a drink and a little further on another was scavenging on a kill left by cheetahs we were told.

Much better the next day isn’t it 
Ground squirrels are always around 
This Kori  Bustard is trying to attract a mate

We almost missed an immature martial eagle on a log on the ground.  Pat called – Ooohh what was that?  The Earl screeched to a halt and rapidly reversed. He was quite content to let us stare at him and take some photos.

It was midday when we got to Twee Rivieren.  There is a restaurant there but it was closed. However there was a small patio with a kiosk that sold snacks and drinks so we sat there while The Earl tried to sort out the windscreen.  We also did some shopping at the park shop. 

After a snack and ice cream we made our way back to Mata Mata.  As we drew up to Leeudril we spotted two Fords.

Two stationary Ford Rangers – What have they seen? wondered the occupants of the Ford Everest






I see you – Do you see me?

What luck –  9 lions were lazing in the shade.   They were all awake but sluggish and about to nap. Their tummies were really very full.

Full and ready for a nap
I’m so sleepy, Mom
I wander what those canned people are staring at?

The rest of the afternoon produced some birding and a few of the usual animals but no cheetah nor a leopard!

Secretary Bird
Spotted Thick-knee with baby
Thick-knee on nest – just a scrape in the ground
Shikra

We got back to camp after 6 pm and after some cold drinks went to the pool for a refreshing swim.  Then I cooked savoury mince and rice for dinner.   Dessert was our favourite – Amarula and condensed milk shooters.

Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure – Day 20 – Mata Mata

Thursday 15 November 2018

We made a late start this morning.  Earl managed to get some plastic sheeting from one of the staff at the park shop and he and Tony did a good job of sorting out the lack of a back window.

Our Camp at Mata Mata

We had an excellent “Earlie” breakfast of scrambled eggs, tomato, bacon and banana and then set off for a game drive at half past nine.

The Hide overlooking a Water Hole

Peter Derichs had produced a series of guides to various game reserves in South Africa called Peter’s Guides.  The snippets of information I have given on the names and places in the Kgalagadi come from such a reference –  Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – by Peter Derichs”   

Kgalagadi means ‘salt pans’.  It is part of a 89000 square kilometers sand field which has a red colour caused by a thin layer of iron oxide on the sand grains. 

The park has two rivers – the Nossob and the Aub which are mainly dry and only flow when there are heavy rains.  There are many years between flooding and the average annual rainfall is 200 mm.  To meet the water needs of the animals, over 86 water points have been provided. These were previously powered by windmills but now most are solar powered.

Today we followed the Auob riverbed road  and checked out each of the waterholes until we reached the Kamqua picnic site where we had lunch and then drove back again.

The Aub River is part of an ancient drainage system and runs in a southerly direction until it joins the Nossob River near Twee Rivieren Camp.  There are 18 water points in the river.

A Swallow-tailed bee-eater in full song
Secretary bird
Male Ostrich seeking shade

Chat fly-catcher
The animals really rely on  camel thorn trees during the heat of the day

The quality of the water at Craig Lockhart bore hole is good.  Craig means rock and Lockhart is a person’s name. It is derived from the French word Loche meaning a fresh water fish.  It is assumed that Lockhart was a name given to a fresh water fisherman.

Craig Lockhart is a good place to spot birds. We spotted a black-breasted snake eagle.  He did not seem to want to pose for his portrait but I managed to get a reasonable shot.

Black-breasted snake-eagle trying to hide
Namaqua dove
Red-headed finch

The Gemsbok were enjoying a drink until theu saw the bullies arrive.

When the wildebeest show up the other buck make way

The Gemsbok allow the bullies to drink until they all scatter  when predators arrive

—  Even though these ones are much smaller than the  grazers they are treated with wary respect
Did you know that giraffe sometimes sit down!

Dertiende en Viertiende Boorgat (thirteenth and fourteenth bore hole) were originally known as Kleinskrij and Grootskrij – small and big diarrhoea.  This is because when a surveyor named Jackson camped there his oxen ate tsamma melon and drank the poor quality water which gave them diarrhoea!

Hopefully the tawny will not get an attack of the runs!
A rather grumpy looking wildebeest

Kamqua like all the picnic sites in the park is not fenced so one must be on the lookout for wild animals when getting out of the car.  Fortunately I have never seen any animals passing through while I’ve been there but cheetah are often in the vicinity.   Kamqua means green pothole.

Namibia and Kgalagadi Adventure Day 18 and 19 – Windhoek to Mata Mata

13 November – Windhoek

Sadly we had to leave Etosa National Park today. It has been the most awesome visit ever and we are full of all the amazing sightings we have had in the 10 days we’ve been here.
Today we headed to Windhoek and once again checked into AnJo Villa.   We had a long afternoon’s rest and then went to do some shopping before having dinner at Jo’s Beer house.

14 November – Mata Mata

We had an early breakfast at AnJo’s and were fueled and on the road by 7:45.  It was a 6 hour drive to Mata Mata border post and we only stopped for fuel and then a brief snack break on the side of the road.

The last 250 km was on a gravel road.  Our Everest has new tyres with tread meant for rough roads and we were going well on the excellent road.  A few stones were kicked up by the tyres and I hoped that the front windscreen would not get any nicks.   Suddenly we heard a loud bang –like a rifle shot.

What was that – I yelled

In a dead calm voice the Earl replied,  “The back windscreen just shattered.  A stone must have thrown, bounced off the caravan and smashed it.”

He didn’t even stop, saying that there was nothing we could do till we got to Mata Mata.

Our smashed back windscreen

It was to say the least a little nerve wracking as the glass kept caving into the back of the car and stones flew in and landed right up front!  It happened at 2 pm and we arrived at the border post at 3.  We were checked through by the Namibian Border Control and then just had the car checked by officials on the SA side at Mata Mata.

We set up camp and then dealt with the shattered glass.   It was a mission to get all the glass cleared away.   We did not put up the sides of our canopy so Earl used one of them  to cover the hole where the windscreen was for the night
Pat and I spent a short time in the hide overlooking the waterhole and saw some jackal, surricates, ground squirrel and birds.  


Then we went to prepare supper. Just as we started there was a stir and Earl went to investigate.  Just three lions, he reported back, so we dashed for cameras and binoculars, left everything and dashed to the fence.  What an amazing start to our Kgalalagadi visit.