1 July 2012
Earl was still not feeling good this morning. He did not have a temperature but he complained that his body was aching. It sounded like a dose of influenza was on the way! I left him in bed while we got up and packed and in spite of his ails he insisted on driving.
We were enjoying the early morning drive, snug and warm in our vehicle, no cars in sight and just the odd springbok and gemsbok about, when just up ahead we saw a car stopped and wondered what he had seen. We soon found out. Right in front of him, on the road was a young male lion. Eyes forward we got our cameras ready. We were thrilled to be only one of two cars and did not have to fight for position. Suddenly someone in the car ahead gesticulated to us and we looked around to see a lioness in the distance. She was slowly making her way toward us and we didn’t know where to look – at the lioness or the lion who was really close. I insisted that we wait for the lioness to get closer. “She’s going to join her husband,” I said. And he did keep looking behind him to monitor her progress. Of course, I was right and eventually we were rewarded when she came up right next to the car.
After snapping many photographs we slowly overtook the car in front of us and past the male so we could turn around to get more than his back view.
Looking for his wife
- Happy that she’s following her lord and master
It was a great start to our journey to Nossob!
Close by a jackal expressed what he thought about his king and queen
We don’t often see kudu in Kgalagadi so it was great to find these beautiful males at the waterhole.
A passing tourist alerted us to cheetah around the corner. We took our time as we’d seen cheetah in this spot before and knew they would be far from the road and not in a hurry to move on.
On the way we spied these two perched high up and surveying the scene.
We could not resist snapping this kestrel either
And then as we rounded the corner we saw a few cars looking over the wide grassland and soon caught sight of cheetahs on the move.
We wondered where they were headed
Just to a shady tree where they could sleep for the rest of the day!
We continued on our way, delighted to have had 2 cat sightings in one morning. There was not much excitement for the rest of the way but we did stop for birds and enjoyed seeing all the springbok, gemsbok, kori bustards – we counted 97 in one day – there must have been a Kori Bustard convention that nobody told us about. Usually it’s very exciting spotting one but we had become quite blasé about these magnificent birds.
Our plan was to stop at a picnic site and Earl would cook breakfast but by the time we got there he was feeling dreadful so we settled for cereal and coffee.
Isn’t it amazing that you can be 1000 km from home in a reserve where you seldom see another soul on the road and then you can randomly turn up at a picnic site and you recognise the only other people there. Yes – we met Sean and Isobella, members of our bird club, who just happened to be on their way to Mata Mata where they were exiting to go to Namibia! What were the chances!
There was a lot of bird activity but this was the best photograph I managed. This little chap is a black chested prinia. He is in his non-breeding feathers hence no black chest!
We made Earl as comfortable as possible in the passenger seat and I drove the rest of the way to Nossob. He had the shivers and was not a happy man.
It was after 1:30 when we arrived. We needed to refuel for our trip to Gharagab the following day as there would be no place to do so between here and there. We had also been warned that Nossob was running low on diesel but there was no point on filling up at Mata Mata as we were close on full. It was a Sunday and the petrol pumps were closed till 2! Earl got into the queue while I went to check in. There was some delay at reception too as there was only one attendant who could deal with us and she was busy dealing with a gate and key crisis – not too sure of the details. I got chatting to young woman in the queue who was checking in to go to Gharagab. There were two vehicles and three people in her party and they’d driven all the way from Twee Rivieren and were heading straight for Gharagab 160km away on a 4×4 track. I wished her luck as I was sure they wouldn’t make it before dark! We would not dream of driving from Twee Rivieren to Gharagab without an overnight stop at Nossob. You never know how often you are going to stop for animals, whether you’ll get a puncture, how bad the roads might be etc. etc. But they were young, thought themselves invincible and didn’t have a care in the world. Do I miss those days? No, I don’t think so!
Luckily there was enough diesel, we stocked up on fire wood and mineral water – no drinking water at Gharagab and checked into our bungalows. Earl went straight to bed. Heather, Peter and I, after some lunch and unpacking walked to the hide which overlooks a waterhole.
Wildebeest taking a drink
There was quite a lot of bird activity and we watched a lanner trying to catch doves but he was not successful.
I managed to snap a pale chanting goshawk just as he took flight.
Earl remained in bed and Peter braaied our supper. We debated whether we should abandon the trip and try and get to Upington and a doctor. I had a well-stocked first aid kit with flu medication but no antibiotics. Earl’s fever was over 40 degrees C, which worried me. Once at Gharagab we would be settled for three nights – no driving around as the only road is the one-way, round trip on a 4X4 track between Nossob and the wilderness camp. Travelling to Twee Rivieren would take forever and then it would be another 250 km to Upington. I thought Earl would be more comfortable staying put and decided that he might as well be sick there as anywhere else. So the plan was for me to drive the 4×4 track and see how things went.