Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Another Epic journey continues - Part 8

I wanted to group all days of the Park together into one post, but I think it may just be photo overload which this post is anyway.

So, on our second day, we enquired at the reception in Nossob if there was a space for us in Twee Rivieren, where we were headed anyway. None available, but we then complained to each other that they should not have let us enter into the park in the first place, etc, etc. BUT when we arrived in Twee Rivieren, the guy from Nossob had called ahead and we already were booked in - wow, what service. We also booked a sunset drive and an early morning walk (with the wild animals).
Here are the pictures from the trip down to Twee Rivieren. Lots and lots of Buck 

 Spot the two (!) owls

 This is all we saw of a leopard!

We again had to deal with a few stares at our little car and the Germans next door asked us if we drove through the park and through the puddles with our car. Of course! (but actually we went around the puddles, not through them :) ) It deserves a medal - just look at the big boy in the background :)
Before the sunset drive we then had a bite to eat and were treated with this on our ice cream :)

The sunset drive was quite informative - did you know that the Honey Badger can climb trees?After a beautiful sunset we then got to hold the searchlights and had to point out all the animals - if the eyes reflected green they are herbivores and usually buck, but if the eyes reflect red, they are carnivores. We saw quite a bit - the Cape Fox and the Bat-eared fox, some jackal and then almost as we had given up hope, I saw a lion sauntering quite close to the road, so close in fact that the guard was like: "That IS close! Usually when the tourists say it's close, they are still quite a ways away" The light was unfortunately too bad for us to take pictures. Here is just a selection from when the light was still good.

 Jackals in the evening light.

 Love the sky!

No giraffes though, because they are apparently at Mata-Mata. Also no Meerkat, since they apparently move around a lot. They burrows are then taken over by the ground squirrel and the yellow mongoose, who cannot stand each other but absolutely need to share the same hole.

Early the next morning - 4h00 wake-up time. Had a quick coffee and off we went at 5h00. We drove a little while to the first waterhole and then into a road that only they can take. We then got the talk about behaviour from a guard who did not have very good safety skills with his rifle. He was leaning on teh barrel the whole time. He explained a few plants and insects. We saw Hyena tracks but nothing more. The sunrise was fantastic, and once you reached the plateau, you could see the first green plants from the rains. Far in the distance some springbok again, who then also moved on.
There also is a naturally occurring cotton bush that is used by the field mice. I suppose the cotton is too small and too short to ever harvest. You also get a social spider, that stays in nests on the same bush. They are very much like the sociable weaver - just a differnt kind ;). They weave a nest around an insect htat got caught and then, once the whole tree / bush is covered with their web, they spin a long thread and let the wind take them to the next dwelling.
The closest to "WILD" life we got was a Cape Fox about 100 metres away.
Here are the pictures from the walk:
 The social spider's web

After we got back, we had our real breakfast and were visited by these lovely guys

 Yes, he was THAT close - on the right is my leg

 and this one also snuck around the corner

Then we checked out but could still drive through the park and did just that. About 5km outside of Twee Rivieren we then saw a Springbok give birth and waited for the first steps. Something we will never forget. His the video of the fist steps :)

Another memorable moment was shortly thereafter. where we saw two Goshawk next to the road and one flew to a bush, the other followed At first we just took close-up shots of them, but then I saw that there was a Cape Cobra on the ground and the Goshawk were just watching it. The snake then disappeared into a hole. The picture sequence:


Some other birds we saw only because there were people there with Canons (not lenses, canons!) Here is a selection.

Actually we were on the lookout for lions, leopards and Cheetah but at first no such luck. We then drove up to a viewpoint / picnic area and (got the looks again) there were told that there were some cheetah under a tree about a kilometre back. We had a good description of what kind of trees to look for and we found them.... You really need to zoom into the picture to see them though. Good luck!

Just a few more:

At about 14h00 we had enough of buck (buck, buck, buck - say it fast! ;) ) and thus made our way to Upingtom. We picked a guesthouse with a view over the river - we meet the Oranje River again :)

After a dinner we could only fall into bed. Good night

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