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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.

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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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caravanning in the Kgalagadi – Mata Mata Thursday 12 March 2015

Once again it is an early start to the day – I am second in the queue behind Des today.  Maureen is a close third!   We decide to stick as close to J&M as possible as they seem to bring us luck!

We speed-spot on the move and I mark down jackal, giraffe and Secretary Birds before we stop for a hyena  at 7:05.

An early rising spotted hyena

An early rising spotted hyena

At Dalkeith Waterhole we find a beautiful group of giraffe drinking and Gemsbok are there too.

Gemsbok drinking at Dalkeith

Gemsbok drinking at Dalkeith

At 13th Waterhole we spot a Tawny Eagle in a tree and also the usual bird activity going on.

Tawny by Earl

Tawny by Earl

It is 9:30 when we arrive at Rooibrak Waterhole and here we are delighted to find 5 lions.  They are drinking and then start moving. We follow them until they drop under some shady trees and clearly settle there for the day.

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Lovely lions

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We retrace our steps and go to Kamqua for breakfast – Muesli again as I forgot to pack the cutlery!

We meet some interesting people.  A Dutch couple who have shipped their huge camper over for a 4 year sojourn in Southern Africa tell us all about their plans.   They have everything they need in the bus and it requires a special licence to drive it.  They were able to get a pensioners’ Visa to stay in the country for this length of time.

We hear about a cheetah who has killed a buck and then left it lying in the open while she and the cubs are taking a nap at the top of a ridge under a bush.  There are a couple of Tawny Eagles in the tree watching and waiting for something to tear it apart so they can get a share too.  But no jackal, hyena or any other predator appears.  We watch the cheetahs for a while and then Mom gets up and makes her way over the ridge.  The cubs follow but then return to their slumbers.    A few minutes later Mom reappears with a buck in her mouth! It looks like bits have already been eaten.  We assume she killed this first, started snacking on it then went and made the kill that she has now left to whoever wants it.  She takes the kill to a bigger tree with more shade and the cubs obediently follow.  We watch them feast and then decide it is time to leave.

Mom Cheetah

Mom Cheetah

She has something

She has something

She brings it to the cubs

She brings it to the cubs

On our way back to camp we find two beautiful bee-eaters.

Swallow-tailed bee-eaters

Swallow-tailed bee-eaters

I cook a risotto for dinner and as we sit down to eat a fellow camper calls to us – Lions at the Waterhole – we leave our supper, grab binoculars and cameras and race to the fence.   Sure enough there are three beautiful lions taking a drink.   What fun – right on our doorstep.

Lions at the waterhole

Lions at Mata Mata waterhole