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Wild Adventure – Namibia and Kgalagadi – Day 3 Springbok to Ai Ais

Wild Adventure – Namibia an Kgalagadi – Day 3 – Springbok to Ai Ais

29 October 2018

This morning we were all up at 7 getting ready for departure.  We had rusks, cereal and coffee for breakfast and The Earl and I set off ahead of The Mools as we would be travelling a tad slower.  It’s a good thing we did this because as we neared Steinskop we became aware of an awful knocking sound on the rear right of the car.   We contacted the Mools who had not yet left Springbok and told them we would turn into the Steinkopf to have it checked out.  Well, the mechanics at the local garage didn’t have a high lift so we had to head back to Ford in Springbok.  The Mools had just left but turned back saying they thought they should rather wait for us.

I phoned ahead to tell the mechanics that we needed emergency assistance and they were quite willing to see us immediately.   The Mools had a flask of boiling water and we found a shady spot, set out my cups on a chopping board, hauled out the cookies and rusks and had a little coffee party next to the forecourt!

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Preparing to picnic in front of the workshop!

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The Ford in the air

Luckily it was an easily sorted problem – the paper label had come loose from the prop shaft and was hitting against it making an unholy noise.  With that sorted were back on the road by 10:30.

We reached Vioolsdrift just before midday and the border crossing went smoothly.  It was not at all busy

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Then we were in Namibia!

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We filled up with fuel then drove through the desolate landscape of semis dessert.  The rocks are phenomenal!   Sometimes it looked like a pile of boulders had been poured onto  the side of the road by a huge dump truck.  It felt like we were driving on another moon like planet.IMG_1410IMG_1408

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Check in at Ai Ais went smoothly and we set up camp under some shady trees.   By five we were ready for our first swim in the hot pools

The wind got up in the evening so we decided not to braai and instead ate at the restaurant.  Pat had Schnitzel, I had chicken breast with cheese sauce and the men had rump steak.  The steak was a bit sinewy but very tasty.  We all enjoyed our meal but had to fetch our own wine as they had run out of the type they sold by the glass.  That saved us R40 each!

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Our first day in Namibia went well!  More of our adventure to follow.

 

 

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Fortune and Misfortune – a Fortuner Adventure

A Brief Preamble

You can, if you are brave and not particular about your motor vehicle, travel the roads of The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in an ordinary sedan car.   We have done it twice in my Volkswagen Caravelle which is four motion. But we found that it was expecting a bit much and ever since the first shake up of a trip we suffered the consequences as the poor vehicle had its insides and parts severely shaken up and it was never the same again!

The plan this trip was to take Earl’s Toyota Hi-Lux twin cab – not as comfortable as my Caravelle but it still had plenty of room to pack the catering equipment and luggage for four travellers. Earl has never been completely happy with the afore mentioned Toyota which he’s had for about a year.  The back didn’t seal well. He was afraid everything would be covered in red dust. It was an automatic and he didn’t like the way it handled on the road and the list went on.    After having a special holiday service something went wrong and that sent him over the edge and the day before departure he arrived home with a brand new Toyota Fortuner.   Well!   All very nice and comfortable with tinted windows (just done and couldn’t be opened for 48 hours) BUT what about the packing space!   He should really have purchased one of those aerodynamic roof rack thingies with bags that fitted snugly in included but there was not time for that!

He arrived home late on the day before departure.  Our travelling companions had dropped off their luggage and now the Magiver manipulation began to get everything in and leave room for the passenger.  Talk about canned sardines – we were canned tourists for the next 10 days!  Having said that – it all worked out and got the packing an unpacking down to a fine art for the rest of the trip!

26 June 2012

I am always like a kid before Christmas the day before departure and so of course I was too excited to sleep.  I must have dropped off an hour before the alarm went off at 3:30 a.m.  Typical!  But I was up and out of bed like a shot and soon we were picking up Peter and Heather in Fish Hoek and we were on the road on schedule.   We stopped at Muis Huis in Van Rynsdorp for breakfast and spent the night at Kalahari Guest House just outside Upington.  Our hostess cooked us a delicious three course dinner – mushroom soup,  babootie, roast leg of lamb with sweet potato and vegetables followed by Melba pudding followed by Melba pudding and custard.

She also gave us a packed breakfast – toasted cheese and tomatoe sandwiches, yogurt and juice. I thought cold toasted sandwiches would not be so great but they were delicious!

Earl, Peter and Heather at Muis Huis, van Ryndorp

27 June 2012

It was freezing when we got up but we dressed in layers knowing that the days warm up considerably – so it was a short sleeved shirt, jersey and warm jacket over jeans and shoes and socks all wrapped up in scarves, beanies and gloves. By the time we reached Twee Rivieren we were beginning to peal off the outer garments!

Before entering the gate we were treated to a wonderful sighting of this magnificent eagle.

Martial Eagle

We checked in at around 10 o’clock but could not get into our accommodation before 2 so set off for our first game drive.   Everything is exciting on the first day so the cameras were clicking furiously as we stopped for every creature.

The white-browed sparrow weaver is a common resident in these arid parts.

White-browed sparrow-weaver

The black-backed jackal was not too shy to greet us.

Black-backed Jackal

It was good to find our National Mammal – or Rugby Buck as my grandsons used to call it.   These beautiful antelope were everywhere and we never tired of watching their antics.

Our National Animal – The Springbok

The Kgalagadi was formerly known as the Kalahari Gemsbok Park and was originally created to protect these handsome creatures.

Gemsbok/Oryx

The Kori Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world.  He is a magnificent bird and we get really excited if we spot one.  This beauty proudly showed himself early in the trip.

Kori Bustard

Another common resident of the Kalahari is the ground squirrel.  These cute, cuddly creatures are my favourite.   I just love their bushy tails and cute manners.

Ground Squirrel

Earl started complaining that his muscles were sore – I told him to stop being grumpy so he showed me GRUMPY.  Watch this space to find out why he was grumpy!

Grumpy Old Man

The last pictures we took were of Red Hartebeest – lovely to see – and then we went to check into our family chalet.

Red Hartebeest

Twee Rivieren did not have a more comfortable bungalow for us so we had to settle for one with one bedroom and a kitchen with two beds in it!   You had to walk from the kitchen through the bedroom to get to the bathroom – but we managed and it was only for one night.

Once unpacked we set off for another brief game drive.  We found these beautiful black faced waxbills just outside the gate.

Black-faced Waxbills

The Kgalagdi is home to many small rodents and  birds and so it is not surprising to find a variety of birds of prey.  Lanners and red-necked falcons both prey on small birds and look pretty similar.  This one is a red-necked falcon – it has finely barred underparts whereas the Lanner has none.

Red-necked falcon

One of the little creatures that has to keep a constant look out for raptors is this cute little whistling rat.  We had great fun watching him and his mates.

Whistling Rat

The colours of the Kgalagadi are beige, stone, brown, cream, pastel greys and blues, pinks and mauves.  Now and then you get a splash of brightness like this swallow-tailed bee-eater.

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater

Just as beautiful but not as brightly coloured, the scaly feathered finch is a common resident and appears frequently with flocks of friends.

Scaly-feathered finch

As our afternoon drive took us back toward the gate – closing at 6 o’clock – we watched a tawny eagle fly over and then settle in a tree giving us a good photo opportunity.

Tawny Eagle

Altogether it was not a bad start to our trip.  As the sun set the temperature dropped and we added our discarded layers and sat outdoors to enjoy a good South African braai before tucking up into warm beds to rise early and continue to our next camp – unfenced in the wilderness – Urikaruus!