6

Kruger Adventure with Grandpa, Gran, Simon and Shan – Day 4

5 January 2018

Yesterday’s scores were as follows – Simon in the lead with 70 points.  Grandpa has 64 and Shannon 55.  Grandpa was annoyed as at first we scored him the higher score but Si reminded us that we hadn’t entered the Walk points which pushed him ahead. Grandpa hadn’t done the whole walk but he did score for creatures he saw first before he went back to the caravan and none were scored after that!

Today we moved to Skukuza Rest Camp.  It was a beautiful day with temperatures into the thirties.   Packing up the caravan and tent was fast and efficient and we left Berg en Dal at 6:20 and made our way quickly along the tar road arriving at 8:30.  We did not stop much along the way.

Check in at Skukuza was quick and efficient.  We found a campsite next to the swimming pool and an attendant came to help us set up.   We were done quickly and then walked to the shop for ice cream.   It was really hot!  We decided to rest and swim and only to go out after 1 pm.  We were pretty sure the animals would be sleeping in the shade and not showing themselves in the middle of the day.

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Shan enjoying the water – Simon kept hiding from the camera

After the kids and I swam and Grandpa napped we set off to see what we could find.  Today turned out to have long stretches with absolutely no sightings – not even a bird!  Of course there were some interesting things and we were thrilled to get the following:

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Black shouldered kite

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White-headed Vulture

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The monkeys had the kids in fits of laughter

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The baboons behave like humans!

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Elephants are always fun

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The oddest duck ever – Knob-billed duck

Usually it’s okay to do the distance but today it was really hot and the ‘dry spells’ of no sightings began to work on the patience of the un-caged kids in the back seat.   Concentration was lost, giggling and high jinks took it’s place.   How much longer became the plaintive cry.   And then — up ahead a traffic jam.   A naughty tourist was sitting on the roof of her car – Her binoculars were trained on something in the distance.  We were next to a river with a rocky bank.  “There are supposed to be lions here,” she said.  “But I can’t see them.”   Well if from her vantage point she couldn’t, what chance would we have.  We asked some others and they too said they’re here but out of sight.

Grandpa tried to maneuver the car into a better position and then he said, “What’s that walking toward us!”

All attention went from the elusive lions to what suddenly appeared and we were the first to see him!

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The leopard was quite unconcerned about the interest paid to him by the tourists

We watched this magnificent creature of the wild nonchalantly walking past the cars.  He stopped to sniff and spray and mark his territory and the excitement caused was phenomenal. It was 15 minutes to gate closing time so once we’d absorbed the sighting we made our way quickly back to camp.  What a great way to end our day.

8

Spending Quality Time With Friends

We recently had our very good friends, Heather and Peter, spend time with us.  It was an enormously happy time and the Weather Man obliged us with some stunning sunny days.

It was great to show them the improvements we’ve made to our home although they’re not quite finished yet. We enjoyed meals together, immersed ourselves in catching up on each other’s lives and it was a treat to take them to our favourite birding spots.  We have so many shared interests so it was great to have an extended time together to enjoy each other.

The sunny days made it all the more exciting and although winter birding is not as productive as spring and summer we managed to do pretty well each day.   Tuesday found us on the Arniston Road.

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Jackal Buzzard

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Rock Kestrel

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Denham’s bustard

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Denham’s in the foreground – steenbok in the background

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There were hundreds of our national bird, the blue crane in the farmlands

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A malachite sunbird enjoying the aloes

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A bee, his only competition

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Cloud Cisticola?  Not sure about this LBJ’s identity

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The Arniston Hotel where we enjoyed a great lunch

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Arniston

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Arniston fishermen coming in from a day at sea

On Wednesday we chilled at home till later in the afternoon when we set off to Agulhas Light house.  On the way we enjoyed some birds and then went to see the light house museum.

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There were literally dozens of African Black Oystercatchers on the rocks

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A little egret soaking up the sun

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Enjoying the lighthouse museum

After the museum we took a drive to Suiderstrand picking up a couple of birds and enjoying the views.

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The famous “Pietie se huis” which is now part of the Agulhas National Park Rest Camp.

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A Black Shouldered Kite with a hapless mouse for dinner

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Bokmakierie

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In the evening we introduced our old best friends to our new best friends over a stunning braai of ribs, chops and sausage

The next day we took off down the Elim Road and were thrilled with all the birds we found before having lunch at The Black Oystercatcher Wine Estate

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A gaggle of Spur-winged geese

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Cape Robin singing happily

 

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A delight to find a fish eagle

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Scores of Denham’s Bustards about

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Flamingos on the Salt Pans

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The Black Oystercatcher

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Lunch was excellent – we all had the sticky chicken salad

The sun was setting when we returned and so we popped in at the harbour to see how the boats had done.  A few fish were caught but not as much as the fishermen had hoped!

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Sunset

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One of the ski-boats returning from a day at sea

Friday’s weather matched our mood as we bade farewell to our friends as they made their way back to Cape Town on a cold and wet day.

What a delight to have been able to share those few days with our dearest friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Wild Adventure Chapter 14 Last Day

16 March

It rained in the night and it was still dripping when the Grum-Peighs woke up at 5:30 am. Fortunately it stopped enough for them to pack up in relative comfort.

They bade farewell to the Leighs and were ready to exit Mata Mata by 6:30.  They took a slow drive to Twee Rivieren not expecting too much in the way of sightings as after rain the game don’t need to come to the water holes.

However, they were in luck.  They found their Port Shepstone neighbors stopped and staring into the bush. “There’s a lioness on a kill,” they told the G-Ps. And sure enough there she was under a tree chewing away.  To her right Lady G-P spotted another one – obviously she’d had her fill. A few jackal were waiting on the sideline too.

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After watching for a while they pushed on and saw all the usuals including giraffes

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and then her Ladyship noticed something small running across the veld.

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A dassie!

Another unusual sighting for KTP

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A lone warthog!

All too soon they arrived at Twee Rivieren, pumped the types back to their normal pressure and then went to Kgalagadi Lodge for breakfast.

 

Feeling fortified with fresh energy they sadly let the Kgalagadi behind and made their way to Oranjerus, a lovely, shady, grassy campsite next to the Orange River where they spent the night.

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A red bishop seen from the restaurant at Oranjerus

They dined at the restaurant with a fellow camper and so ended their wonderful Wild Adventure.

4

Wild Adventure Chapter 13

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15 March

Lady Grum-Peigh was first in the queue with the Frend-Leighs close behind.  She raced out of the office, permit in hand and jumped into the Land Rover.  “We’ve beaten our friends!” said the Earl excitedly.  “We’ll be the first to see the lions!”

“Slow down,”said her Ladyship.  “You’ll miss the good stuff on the way!” He ignored her and gleefully overtook the campers from Kalahari Tented Camp who’d got out first.

Then suddenly a wild cat appeared and crossed the road in front of them.   The Earl screeched the breaks and yelled instructions to his poor wife but she still missed the photo! The kitty toddled off into the veld.  The Earl turned the vehicle and said, “Keep the camera on him.” Tufts of grass kept hiding him preventing good shots.  The Earl was furious.   “Why didn’t you get him – he was right there!”

“Did you get any?” asked Lady G-P calmly.

“No!”
“Well, he was on your side of the car!”
“But I was driving!”
“I’m tired of you yelling at me I’m getting out right here!”

“Well don’t let the hyena get you,” said the Earl and there right next to her door she spotted him and they both burst out laughing.

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Come out and play, Lady G-P – I won’t eat you.

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Look at my innocent eyes

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Oh well – I guess I’ll have to find somebody else

Other cars including the Frend-Leighs were now ahead of them so the Earl slowed down and enjoyed the birdlife.

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A secretary bird marching determinedly through the veldt

There were no lions or cheetahs at the waterholes but they saw tawnies on the kill.

 

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They made breakfast at Kamqua picnic site and then  made their way back.  There was a sleeping lion near Dalkeith but otherwise no big cats.

But the other creatures seen were fun.

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Rock Kestrel

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Pin-tailed Whydah

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Brown Snake Eagle

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Common Buzzard

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A Journey of Giraffe

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Wildebeest competing with Butterflies for a drinking rights

Back at camp they had a salad for lunch, the Earl had a nap, Lady G-P did some chores and Mrs Leigh prepped lamb stew for dinner. She and Mr Leigh went out again later in the afternoon but the G-Ps stayed to pack up as, sadly, it was our last night in the park.

4

Wild Adventure Chapter 12 Mata Mata Day 2

14 March 2016

Mata Mata Camp offered way more luxury than the unfenced rustic Rooiputs.  Showering in the morning was now possible and Lady Peigh and Mrs Leigh were first up and finished at the ablution block before the other campers awoke.  Now they had to check out of camp and the gate attendant did not open the office till 6:30 on the dot!

Mr and Mrs Frend-Leigh was first out the gate and indicated to the Grum-Peighs that they were following lion tracks.   They followed them to 14th Waterhole but the cats were not there.  A return to Dalkeith produced no luck either.

Clearly the lions had killed the previous night as they found a tawny eagle eating their leftovers.    It then flew up into a tree to join its friend and they got some photos.

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It was also good to see giraffe about.  The leopard was nowhere to be found.

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Back at camp the Earl cooked breakfast.

In the afternoon they all went out again.  Nothing much was seen but a common buzzard was nice to see.

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Other birds gave them pleasure too.

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Red-headed finch

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White-faced scops owl

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Wattled Starling

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Lilac-breasted Roller

So after a rather slow day they returned to camp and enjoyed a meal together before retiring for the night.

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Wild Adventure Chapter 9 – Where is that Leopard?

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This morning’s game drive found  Lord and Lady Grum-Peigh back at Kij Kij in search of the lioness and her cubs.  They found them in the company of two adult lions.  One of them was a young male.  They must have been drinking at Kij Kij but by the time they arrived there they were on the Rooiputs side of the WH.  They played for a bit and then made their way over the ridge – the opposite way to the previous day.

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There was nothing much to see other than kori bustards and other birds further on toward Melkvlei.  Then the Earl and Her Ladyship turned around and went to Twee Rivieren to refuel.   On the way they had lovely sightings of the smaller things.  They saw two yellow mongooses hunting and one caught a mouse!  There were also two slender mongoose and the two species didn’t seem to want to share territory.

“What’s that jackal up to,” said Lady G-P He was howling and looking quite agitated. “There must be a cheetah or a lion about – that’s how they behave when they want to get at the left overs from a kill”  The jackal was staring into a tree but in spite of a thorough search Lord and Lady G-P couldn’t see anything so they continued on their way.

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At Twee Rivieren they filled up then went to the restaurant where they took advantage of the internet access and caught up with emails and messages.  The shop had no fresh produce they nipped off to Kgalagadi lodge and bought some cauliflower and broccoli, pattipans, cucumber, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.

The Frend-Leighs decided to pop there too and they met up with them on their way back to TR.   The Leighs reported that there was a leopard in a tree between Leeudril and Rooiputs.   That’s what the jackal must have been agitating about.

On their return trip to Rooipust they found the site of the leopard but were told by Jan (a young man from the Cheque Republic who was camping on their site)  that they’d just missed her in the tree.  She’s jumped down and was definitely in the undergrowth under the tree but she was impossible to see. They waited half an hour but it was very hot so they left her in peace with a promise of coming back later.

At Rooiputs waterhole there were 4 Secretary birds.

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The late afternoon found them back searching for the leopard.   En route they were amused by the meerkats.

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There were a number of cars looking into the tree but nobody could see anything.  The Earl wanted to move on but Her Ladyship persuaded him to be patient.   Finally they were rewarded when all of a sudden the leopard emerged from his hiding place and began moving.

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His nap was over and he was off on a mission

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What a beauty

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I wonder if I’ll find a snack anywhere here?

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Nothing much happening – think I’ll sit here for a while

After walking off along the dunes the leopard flopped down for a rest then got up again and disappeared over the dunes.

“Another wonderful ending to a great day,” said Lady G-P

 

 

 

3

Wild Adventure Chapter 7 The Earl Helps a Distressed Car at a Lion Sighting

9 MARCH

The day started with a lanner.  This is a common bird in the KTP and the Grum-Peighs often see them chasing and catching doves. But this one decided to show off to them on the road.  He was eating insects or getting minerals from the gravel or whatever attracts all the creatures of the park to this habit.  Anyway he posed beautifully.

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After enjoying the lanner they pushed on to Kij Kij and found a beautiful male lion drinking at the waterhole.  They then followed him as he walked off toward the Nossob road.   Several cars were parked facing the waterhole and he flopped down in their shadows.   Eventually they decided that enough was enough and set off in search of other game

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A kori bustard entertained them by showing them how to take a dust bath.

IMG_6213IMG_6215IMG_6216When there is little game to be seen the G-Ps keep a sharp eye out for birds.  Even the little familiar chat is good to see.

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At Melkvlei waterhole there were lots of gemsbok.

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On their return they found the male lion sleeping in the shade of a tree. Lady G-P aimed her camera but suddenly the car started moving forward.  “Hey – I’m trying to get a shot,”she complained.

“But this guy in front is calling me to chat to him,” replied the Earl.

He pulled up next to the hired four by four.   “I’m so sorry,”said a British voice “But I stopped here to see this lion and now my car is dead!”  There were two men and two women in the vehicle and they all looked terrified.

“Don’t worry,” said Lady G-P, “My husband will fix it.” She has great confidence in her her husband’s MacGyver type skills.

The Earl turned the car around  with a view to jump starting his dead car.  “Just keep an eye on Leo.”said His Lordship as he climbed up and opened a rooftop box to retrieve his tools.  “He’s sitting up!” yelled Lady Peigh. But her hero was not fazed.   He took out all the tools he needed and passed them to her.

“He’s standing up now!” Lady Peigh was getting nervous. Leo sniffed the air and decided the smell of his Lordship was not to his liking and dropped down again and went back to sleep!

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Leo licked his lips as he contemplated an earl for dinner

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Nope – not worth the effort – think I’ll have another nap instead

The Earl decided that caution was the better part of valour and quickly hitched the tow rope to the distressed vehicle and towed him to a safer spot.   The car did not start while being towed but when they stopped the Earl found that it was a loose connection and fixed it pronto.

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The First Earl of Struisbaai using his MacGyver skills

The British tourist were most grateful.  They had no tools in the hired vehicle and were quite unprepared for any mishap.   Lady G-P would never travel without her personal handyman.

They went back to look at the lion and wait for the Frend-Leighs and then took a slow drive home finding a pale chanting goshawk and a few  ground squirrels on the way.

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Isn’t he beautiful

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On guard and ready to warn his friends of pending danger

4

Wild Adventure Chapter 6 Lions at Kij Kij

8 March

The advantage of staying in a bush camp on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is that there are fewer people in camp and one really gets to commune with nature – it’s living on the edge as there is always a chance that a wild creature could wander past your caravan or tent.  This is what the Frend-Leighs and Grum-Peighs love about Camp Rooiputs Number 2.   It is also closer to the water holes so you get to them before the crowds from Twee Rivieren arrive.  But Rooiputs has the added advantage of being close enough to Twee Rivieren so that when you need to replenish your stocks it’s a quick trip there and back.  On this particular morning the friends decide to check out the Kij Kij Waterhole nice and early and then take the long dune road that connects to another road that takes you to TR.  The plan is then to leave the park and shop at the Kgalagadi Lodge shop – and have breakfast at their restaurant.  There is nothing as good as mixing a bit of rustic living with luxury now and then!

And they are well rewarded when they get to Kij Kij and find some frolicking lions.

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Good Morning Kgalagadi

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This is fun!

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Come on let’s play!

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Time to go!

The Dune Road is very long and bendy and can be boring but today a honey badger rushed over the road in front of them and they saw 19 Northern Black Korhaan

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The best of the bunch

On the return journey the Grum-Peighs stop for every bird.  Ho-Hum!

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A lesser grey shrike

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The ever-present tawny eagle

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Southern Masked weaver and Lark-like Bunting

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Male and female red-headed finch

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Grey-backed sparrowlark

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Male red-headed finch

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Immature Pale Chanting Goshawk

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Jackal

The highlight was seeing a cobra try to invade a sociable weaver nest.

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In the evening the Frend-Leighs and Grum-Peighs had another delicious braai.  There was no sign of stormy weather and the sunset was magnificent.

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The Earl and The Friend bonding in front of the fire

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Sunset

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Camp Rooiputs Number 2 at night

2

Wild Adventure Chapter 4 Cheetahs and Lions

“It can’t be time to get up yet,” complained Lord Grum-Peigh  “It’s still dark!”

“It will be light soon and we need to get out before the Twee Rivieren Mob arrive – come on get up – here’s your coffee.”   Her Ladyship packed the picnic basket and filled the flask while her grumbly husband reluctantly readied himself for departure.

The sunrise was just a stunning as last night’s sunset and they were on the road atn6:30 am on the dot.  The campers from the other five sites were rushing off too.  The Frend-Leighs  always keen to be first at the waterhole to ensure good photographs were up ahead.  As the Grum-Peighs followed slowly behind a fellow camper passed and waved to them to stop.  “Your left front tyre looks a little soft,” he said.

And so they had to turn around and return to camp to check it out.  The Earl who fusses about the small stuff was remarkably calm about this major disaster. He set straight to work.   Getting the tyre off proved no easy task.  The thingy that is used to loosen the bolts was faulty but the Earl made a plan and within 45 minutes the job was done.

Now when one travels in the extreme conditions of the Kgalagadi one would be foolish not to have a working spare so the Grum-Peighs decided to abandon their original plans and make their way to Twee Rivieren where there was a workshop to have the spare tyre repaired. And although it was a Sunday it was open.

After enjoying a cooked breakfast at the restaurant they took the long Mata Mata and Dune roads to get back to Rooiputs. “Hopefully we will see game on this route,” declare the Lord.

Lady Grum-Peigh had an acute attack of FOMO (fear of missing out). “I bet the Leighs have found  yesterday’s lions on a kill and that the cheetahs are mating or giving birth  or something equally exciting.”she whined.
“No way,”comforted the Earl “we’re going to see good stuff.”

And he was right.  “Look what we have here,”he said excitedly.

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Tawny Eagle

A little later they found a male lion right next to the road

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Then a little far off under a shady tree lay a cheetah with its kill.  It was not worth taking a photograph though.

The Grum-Peighs are more interested in the birdlife and tend to stop too long to observe the winged creatures that others choose to ignore.

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One of their favourites is the Namaqua Dove

Of course they also saw all the regular chaps.  Gemsbok (Oryx) are very common in the park.

IMG_5666Meanwhile the Leighs had been wandering what happened to their friends.  Had they missed them at a sighting? Had they carried on to the planned breakfast stop?  But no they couldn’t find them anywhere.  “They’re either behind or in front of us,” said Mr Frend-Leigh – don’t worry we’ll catch up with each other eventually.”

So when they finally did see each other back at camp they were shocked to hear that there had been a mishap.  “We would have come back to help!” they declared.

“Then you would also have missed the excitement,” said Lady G-P

“Ha – we only got sleeping cats – nothing too thrilling!”

The two men got to work fixing the faulty thingy while the girls caught up with washing and then they all had a nap before going out for the afternoon drive.

It was 5 o’clock and still hot and they hoped to get the sleeping lions waking up.  There was a little action but they were still pretty sleepy.

Then a police car stopped next to the G-Ps “Good afternoon, sir.  How are you this afternoon?”

Lady G-P thought they were going to ask for their permit and started reaching for it.  But no – “Ma’m about 3km further on, you will find a cheetah.  He is on his own and has been there since 1 pm this afternoon.”

“Thank you so much officer.  We will check it out!”

Just before they reached the 3km mark, Lady Peigh yelled, “I see him.”

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It was overcast and a storm was threatening so the light was dim and if she hadn’t been looking intently she would probably have missed him.  Then suddenly he disappeared. “Has he gone over the ridge?”

“No – there he is!” said Lord Peigh.  “He’s lying down – how well he camouflages!”

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They stayed with him until a car approached and then pointed him out to the occupant.  It took quite a while before he could find him.

Back at the lion sighting very little was happening. Mr Leigh pointed out a striped kingfisher in a tree opposite and then they decided to make their way back before it got too late.

The Leighs  pointed out the Vereaux’s Eagle-Owl and that was the last sighting of their day.

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Wild Adventure Chapter 3 Rooiputs

5 March

Travelling with an Earl can have its trying moments.  His Lordship has firm ideas how things should be done and when things don’t go exactly according to plan he tends to shoot into stress mode.  Packing up camp is a trigger so Lady Grum-Peigh has to encourage him to calm down to a panic and remind him that it will all come together in the end!   On this morning all her reassuring seemed to work and all was packed up in a jiffy except for one thing!
“Don’t you have to put the leveling legs up first?” asked Lady Peigh.  Uh oh!  A few minutes of rapid unpacking and repacking later and all was set.  The caravan was hitched to the towbar and by 7:40 am they were on their way to Rooiputs.

Luckily the rain from the early hours had abated and it was a stunning, clear day.   The birds at Samevloeing cheered the Earl up and gave Her Ladyship great photo opportunities.

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yellow canary drinking at Samevloeing

Next was a tawny eagle in a tree.

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Mr Frend-Leigh had marked out an area where he thought the Grum-Peighs should park their caravan – this was to optimise the best afternoon shade.  The setting up went well and just as they finished the Frend-Leighs returned from their early morning drive..

Here is the Earl in front of the caravan – all set up and ready for their 8-day stay.IMG_5515

It was very hot and Lady Peigh felt drained and exhausted.  Although it was unusual for her and it was only midday, she decided to take a nap. The wind got up too and shook the caravan like a leaf.  The Earl worked hard to secure the tent pole and ropes while she slept on for the next three hours!  Finally she woke up and gave in to His Lordship’s pleas to go for an afternoon drive.

“Oh look, even the lions don’t feel like doing anything in this heat.”  said Lady Peigh. “Don’t even take a photo – too boring.”   They left them dozing and carried on up the Nossob road.  All the game – wildebeest, springbok, red hartebeest and gemsbok – were standing or lying under whichever shady tree they could find.  The landscape was dry but there had been a little rain so there were patches of green and lots of lovely yellow flowers from time to time.

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A ground squirrel is always an entertaining sighting

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Lanner Falcon

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A single wildebeest in the company of a herd of springbok

“Look at Melkvlei,” said Lord Peigh, “Quite a difference from last year.”

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Melkvlei Picnic Site  when Dry

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Melkvlei Picnic Site after heavy rains!  This picture was taken in March 2015

After a leg stretch and loo break at the picnic site they retraced their route towards Rooiputs.

“What’s happening now,” said the Earl.  “those springbok are stock-still and all looking in the same direction.”  T

The bokkies gathered together and nervously crossed the road.  The Earl scanned the dunes and soon spotted two cheetahs on the ridge.

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One of the cheetahs sat up but there was no attempt to hunt.

The Grump-Peighs carried on until another vehicle alerted them to another sighting further on.

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A contented, sleeping male lion

Remember the snoozing lions from the beginning of the trip?  Well that’s where they met up with the Frend-Leighs who had only left camp an after they had.   Their cameras trained on the felines who were still in dreamland.

“Let’s go,” said His Lordship.   “I don’t feel like watching sleeping lions.”

“Give it five minutes,” begged his wife.  “I’m sure they’ll wake up soon.”

The words were no sooner cold on her lips when  one of the females stoop up and started walking toward them.  One by one the others followed but the male remained hidden behind his tree.

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What a brilliant sighting.

Although they were in an unfenced camp they were expected to stick to the gate times – out at 6:30 am and back by 7 pm in March.   They made it by 17 minutes and then enjoyed a spectacular sunset.

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The wind had dropped and they enjoyed a delicious braai before retiring for the night.P1080508

 

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Wild Adventure Chapter 2 Lion Cubs on the Dune

4 March

Lord Grum-Peigh woke up and went straight into panic mode.  “We have to get out of here as soon as the gates open!”  he stressed. “Otherwise we won’t find the Frend-Leighs and they won’t know they need to sign us in!”

“Relax,” cooed Lady Peigh “We’ll find them – and probably at a sighting!”   But still he fussed and rushed her and to his extreme annoyance she deliberately took her time at the showers and laughed when he got upset.

But once they were on the road his mood improved and he was a tad less grumpy specially when he saw the familiar green of Mr Leigh’s Nissen Pathfinder.   The Leighs were looking toward the top of a dune and Lord Peigh nearly fell out of the car window when he saw two young lion cubs relaxing there.

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Do I have to wake up now?

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I wonder what there is in those cans on wheels?

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They sure look tasty

The Lord was now in a very good mood and made plans to meet the Leighs at TR, sort out the Rooiputs booking and then go for brekkie.

After watching the cubs for a bit Lord and Lady Peigh went in search of their mother.   They met a man who said he’d driven up and down the road but there was no sign of her.  The Earl, though, has a nose for these things and would not give up until his curiosity was satisfied.

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The presence of a jackal can indicate lions in the vicinity as they like to scavenge off their kill!

His vigilance paid off because all of a sudden they caught sight of three lions walking away from them along the road.

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One of the lions

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All three of them

With this lovely sighting dancing in their heads the went back to report to the Leighs. Late all the business of booking in at the Botswana side of reception was completed.  Then they all headed to The Kgalagadi Lodge a few kilometres outside the gate. It was almost lunchtime but they ordered breakfast – Mr Frend-Leigh asked the waiter,  “Is one allowed to have beer with breakfast, here?”  The waiter laughed and brought one for him and the Earl.

Back at camp :Lady Peigh  went for a swim and the Earl had a nap and then when he woke up they went for a swim together before going out for an afternoon drive

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Brant’s whistling rat

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Ground Scraper Thrush

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Secretary Bird

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Scaly-feathered finch

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Southern Masked Weaver

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Leopard Tortoise

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The creatures have right of way at all times. This male ostrich finds something tasty on the gravel road.

Because His Lordship was a too tired to do a braai Her Ladyship cooked chicken casserole on her caravan gas stove for supper.  It was a perfect evening but they were woken at 2am by heavy rainfall!

2

A Wild Adventure – Chapter 1 Off to the Kgalagadi

A wild adventure with  Lord and Lady Grum-Peigh and Mr and Mrs Frend-Leigh is based on a true story. Names have been changed to poorly disguise the true identities of the guilty.

Chapter 1-

“When are the children coming to stay,” asked the First Earl of Struisbaai of his wife after a particularly busy few months of organising building plans and other business matters.

“In just over a fortnight,”said Lady Grum -Peigh.

“Well I feel like getting away somewhere,”said the Lord – “Try and book something.”

So she tried but nothing seemed to work out quite right.  Addo was booked up and the only camping available at Kgalagadi was at Twee Rivieren.  So she tentatively suggested – “We did have a loose arrangement to join the Frend-Leighs at Kgalagadi if we got the chance – If we leave straight away we could fit in  10 days or so and share their campsites. The only problem is we can’t contact them as there are no internet or cell coms where they are at present.”

“Good idea,” said The Lord  ” If they can’t have us we’ll just spend a few days at Twee Rivieren then come home.”   And two days later the caravan was packed and sorted for a long trip to the semi-desert.   The first night was spent at Molopo Lodge and then the next day (3 March) they were able to enter the park by 8:00 am.  They booked two nights at Twee Rivieren where they set up camp and then set off to find their friends.

Luckily Lady Grump-Leigh had their itinerary.  They would be making their way from Mata Mata to Rooiputs that day.  The latter is just 30 km from Twee Rivieren and so getting there would not take long.   “I predict that they will be there around 11ish,” said her Ladyship who knew that Mr Frend-Leigh would make no unnecessary stops along the way.   And sure enough they were just about to pin a note to a tree on their allotted campsite when along they came.

“We thought you wouldn’t come!” cried Mrs Frend-Leigh in surprise.

“Sorry we didn’t let you know but we decided at the last minute that we could fit and few days in!  We’ll stay at Twee for two nights then come and join you here.”

Rooiputs is rustic, unfenced camp the Botswana side of the park and booking in had to take place at Twee Rivieren.  Lady Grum-Peigh duly went to book in but the official on teh Botswana side said they would have to get Mrs Frend-Leigh to check them in personally so it was just as well that they’d booked two nights at Twee Rivieren.

The Grum-Peighs were delighted to be back in the wild and spent the rest of the day enjoying the park.

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Wattled Starlings at Samevloeing

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The beautiful Namaqua dove eyeing them from a thorny tree

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It’s called the Green Kalahari for although there’s little rain when it comes the grass grows and the flowers bloom – Here is a Red Hartebeest enjoying the bounty

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The Grum-Peighs were pleased to see large herds of healthy Springbok. Fodder for the lions!  It was hot and they wisely found a shady spot to escape the burning sun

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Why when there are plenty of waterholes do the creatures drink from puddles in the road?  It must contains salts that they crave.  Those white specks are butterflies!

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The Grum-Peighs found them all over the park in huge numbers

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So delicate and pretty

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A southern black korhaan had a lot to say!