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Botswana Beauty

Botswana Beauty
No question’s, Botswana is one of Africa’s TOP destination for adventures Safari lovers, looking for something exceptional. We where privileged to spend two weeks in Botswana during of our last tours with clients. The tour started here in Upington and we firstly drive up to “Rooiputs” an unfenced campsite on the Botswana side of the “Kgalagadi Transfrontier Nationalpark” where we spend our first 3 days.

Botswana Safari

We were so fortunate that we could observe NOT ONLY the magnificent Kalahari Lions very close, we were also lucky to come close to 4 Cheetahs on their natural habitat. And we were very happy to see one of our favourite’s animals the “Meer cats”!

After this tree successfully days at the “Kgalagadi Park” we drove along the “Molopo River” one of the Botswana’s most scenic roads to the small town “Tsabong” where we overnight at “Berry bush camp”. We then left “Tsabong” and we drive on heavy 4x4 tracks to one of my “secret places” outside National parks in the absolute Wilderness of the Kalahari. We set up our tents on the edge of a large salt pan, with a magnificent view for the following two days. During our stay, we could observe plenty of antelopes like Oryx, Red Hartebeests, Springboks, Kudus and Eland coming into the pan for leaking salt and minerals.

Every evening there where a “brown hyena” visits our camp. And on one of our night safari drive with spotlight we were so fortunate to see a family of “Bad eared foxes” and a “Porcupine” on the track. And as we returned on one of the evening back into our camp 3 Lions where around to find out who is visiting there territory. We therefore decided to NOT making a fire and enjoy another glass of wine; we immediately went into our tents.

b2ap3_thumbnail_gep.jpg One the following morning we saw plenty of Lion’s track’s all over around our camp, but they were gone. Our tour continuing and we drive up to “Ghanzi” to the “Trail Blazer camp” where we overnight in traditional “Bushmen grass huts”. From Ghanzi we drive further up to “Maun” where we spend 2 nights, as our clients enjoyed a whole day “Mokoro” trip into the world know “Okavango Delta”. Our last 3 days then we spend on the banks of the “Kwai-River” with a magnificent view on the river. This where definitively the “Jerry on the top” of this tour!

On our first evening safari drive we were so fortunate to observing a Leopard just about 200 Metres far away from our camp. It was very hard to discover this beautiful animal, because he was lying in the grass, and he is perfectly camouflaged. And on the same evening we could see another two Lions. What an evening Wow!

On the following day, it was not even necessary to drive around, as we had “cinema” during the whole day on the bank of the Kwai River. It was a coming and going of plenty of Elephants, Hippos, and a large variety of different antelopes. And all the beautiful bird life along and inside the river were absolutely splendid!

b2ap3_thumbnail_cat.jpg The “Icing on the cake” were on our last day, as we could observing 7 Lions (3male and 4 females) chase 3 spotted hyenas seriously to kill them. But luckily for the hyenas they could escape before Lion’s catching them. And on our last evening safari drive we stopped near one of the “Hippo pools” to enjoy our “Gin and tonic” for “sundown, we could observe just opposite the river a really large herd of Buffalos traversing the area. I’m sure they were at least 1 000 Buffalos or more, passing us just a few hundred metres far away in a kilometre long queue. That was really a spectacular moment, and the end of this magnificent tour, as on the following day we drive back to Maun, from where clients where flying back home.

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Adventure in the Kalahari Desert

Adventure in the Kalahari Desert

UNEXPECTED „SHOWER – VISITORS“

During one of my previous tours with regular visitors we spent two overnight stay at the Mabuasehube Game Reserve in Botswana. The campsite is well know as a place where Lions can be observed very often and very close. Because all camps in Botswana has is no fence around the camp, and therefore we must expect wildlife visitors anytime.

I therefore start preparing our diner hourly after we finished set up our camp. We  enjoyed our diner during daylight. After our meal we went on an evening Safari drive. When we came back into our camp just before sunset, we realized that our camp was occupied by 3 male Lion’s. They are joining us for a while before they left our campsite and walked down to the nearby salt pan. This gives us the change to relax and enjoy a glass of red wine before we get tired and we decide to go into our tent’s to having a restful night.

As we walk to our tents I realised that somebody were visiting us. I switched on my torch and yes - there was a Leopard drinking water from the drain hole by our Shower facility. Wow - what an exceptional beautiful cat! We could watch them for about 5 minutes before it was satisfied and moved back into the darkness. We were very impressed by this majestic beauty.

 

Kalahari Desert Adventure

We than went to our tents, but just 10 minutes after we went to bed, Lion’s returned into our camp for drinking water from the same sources as the Leopard just before. Therefore this little water hole was empty now and the Lion’s starts completely frustrated roaring so close by our tents, that we felt vibrations on our tents. We must “enjoy” this nightly concert every 15 minutes when they starts roaring again until late night. Next morning, we're a bit tired, just to find the Lion’s not even 100 meters far away under some bushes sleeping, when we left our tents.

They were to lazy (no wonder after all the activity during the night) and so we prepared our breakfast and enjoyed it. We left the camp for a longer Safari drive in this area, and when we came back to our camp for lunch, we recognised that Lions left the place as well and walked somewhere in the bush.

This gives us the possibility to do our daily routine in our camp and we got a shower. But I know, that this peace and tranquillity can change anytime, I prepared diner again hourly to be finished if the Lions returns. And we decided not to undertake an evening drive, because we hoped to observe the beautiful Leopard again, should he return for drinking water on this evening too. We therefore placed our chairs just in front of our vehicle and watched very carefully up to the shower facility. And just after dark, we realised some moving by the shower. We switched on our torches and we saw not a Leopard drinking water, today it was a Brown Hyena. We were very impressed once again, because this creature is nocturnal and can't be observed very easy.

 

Wildlife in the Kalahari Desert

On the next morning we bracket down our camp immediately after breakfast, as long the Lion’s were still patrolling the territory. And after we finished the work, I recommend my guest to enjoy a last shower, because on our next destination on this tour was no water available. OK that’s a good idea my guest said, and walked up to the shower. Hans enjoyed a shower first, and when he returns Anita walked up to the shower facilities as well. In the mean time we packed our equipment into our vehicle, and when I watched up I saw the two male Lion's walking on the road, directly to the shower to drink water.

The first one just past the shower without realized that somebody was in there, the second one just past Anita maybe 5 meter away from her. He stopped for a second and watched her. Luckily Anita where nearly paralysed and motionless, therefore the second Lion was not interested and walked around the shower to get some water as well. At the mean time, I said to Hans come on get into the vehicle, we must drive up to the shower immediately to rescue your love one!

I drove up just one meter far away from the shower, and we open the backseat door, and I give Anita the order, jump into the car quickly. Wow what a jump! When everybody were save, we drove around the shower facilities and we made some pictures.

 

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After that Adrenalin rush we made some jokes. I said to her that I’m very proud about here jump into the vehicle, she could participate on the next Athletic world championships and I’m sure she would be winning the Gold medal. Yes, she said, I’m very proud by myself because I didn’t know that I’m still so movable and quick with my 60 years of age.      

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Video: Animals in the Kalahari desert

Watch out some of the most beautiful animals in the Kalahari desert. This video has been captured in March 2015 in the Nossob Valley.

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Birds of Grootkolk

Birds of Grootkolk

Birds of Grootkolk - From the diary of a photographer in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Grootkolk is situated in the far north in the South African part of the KTP (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park) - the Bush Camp Grootkolk. Four units with a kitchen building in the centre are in the middle of the Kalahari Desert with unobstructed views of a waterhole. Lions, hyenas and leopards maybe directly pass by the lodges. But besides the big four-legged mammals, there are also many small entertainers with two wings - birds.

Grootkolk Wilderness Camp - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Birds are seldom on the wish list of the visitors of a National Park in South Africa but they are absolutely worth a look. On the one hand there are the nomads in the Kalahari, which eat mostly seeds. When food and water are available, they remain up to several months in a region before moving on. On the other side are the resident birds. These include chiefly raptors like eagle or goshawk. Stars or bulbuls are mixed eaters (seeds, insects and fruits) and they are resident species too. So is it worth to pay attention on the next game drive to the birds that are perfectly adapted to the dry environment with their beige-brown-gray-black plumage.

Who wants to watch birds directly from his cottage should visit the Wilderness Camp Grootkolk. The camp is situated in the part of the park which is managed by South Africa (SANparks). Located in the north there are only 20 km to Unions End. The accommodations are designed for two people and only the Braii area is fenced. Each cottage has a shower and a toilet. Although there is a central kitchen building, a kitchenette with sink is installed outside. The fridge with freezer is operated with gas and the electricity comes from a central solar panel.
And the view of nature is breathtaking. The eyes wander over the waterhole to the end of the valley up to the dunes. And for the little birds there are simple bird bath at the cottage.

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These bird baths are more likely ‘private by the guests' and make great bird watching up close. Recurring visitors are the weaver birds (sociable weaver) who have their nests in the trees about 50 meters away.

Throughout the day other visitors find the way such as this finch (scaly-feathered finch).

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And there is yet another finch (red-headed finch). Here he is still alone with his red head and observed the goings-on.

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And here he is in the middle in the refreshing water and surrounded by weaver birds. They are chirping on and drink on and seem to have forgotten the world around them.

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Favourite dishes on Safari

Favourite dishes on Safari

Wonderful News!

It's hunting season, and we are happy to inform all our clients that we are again able to serve excellent meat from Oryx, Eland, and Springbok. Extraordinary freshly homemade “Blue Wildebeest sausage” and our very special Oryx-goulash!

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We therefore very proud to surprise our guests again with meals beyond there expectations, specially prepared after every eventful Safari! And for such excellent dishes, we recommend a good glass of our local wine from the “Orange wine cellar”, who where so successful on the last “International wine exhibition” in France! The “With Muscatel” for examples beats most of the other 230 producers from 24 countries. Most of South Africa’s visitor only knows that excellent wines are made in the Cape region, but just “insiders” know that the Northern Cape province have also good wine – makers, producing good wine from the grapes growing along the “Orange River”!  

Safari Africa

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Thieving Lions in the Kalahari desert

Thieving Lions in the Kalahari desert

Even after 17 years of experiences in the wilderness, Kalahari habitants can still surprise me! On one of my last tour through the Kalahari we settled our camp side on the edge of a large Kalahari saltpan on the Botswana side of the “Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park”. There are hundreds of different antelopes on the pan to leaking the essential salt and minerals. After a while I discovered 2 Lions on the opposite side of the saltpan with my binocular. We observed the scenery until it went to dark. We then enjoyed our diner around the fire, and went to bed after a beautiful day in the Kalahari desert.

Lions in the Kalahari desert

In the morning just after 5am I woke up and I realized that my wife Helen, who was driving the second 4x4 vehicle, where already up. I called “Hey Helen where are you?” I’m sitting behind the vehicle and look the spectacular sunrise, was the answer! OK it's time for me as well to stand up I decide! I opened my tent, and had a closer look as always to the left and then to the right. Wow, what’s that? A big Lion’s head is observing the scenery of our campsite just about 20 meters away. The `Majesty’ was lying behind a tree, not aggressively; he was just curious to see what’s going on in his territory. "Hey Helen my love, did you see our neighbor behind the tree there?" Helen's head turned around the vehicles corner. "Witch neighbor, and where?" "Just there by the tree." "What do you mean? Oh a Lion!"

"Yes indeed a Lion, so please go into the vehicle, but don’t run, go slowly."

Our Safari guests could hear our conversation, and where starting to move and open the tent to have a close look to our surprising visitor. That was too much. All the noise and activities have let the Lion decide to move away, before all this “Paparazzi” get out of the tents to make pictures. He stood up, and he moved slowly and proudly away. OK, I said to the guests. The Lion is moving away, you can safely leaving your tents to have a closer look. We then were privileged to observe the beautiful beast for about 10 minutes before he walked into the dens bush.

OK it’s time preparing breakfast. I walked to the table to head up water for tea or coffee. But what’s that. Now I realized that my gas cooker made by solid steel where not on the table anymore, where I left it in the evening. Only the gas bottle with the chewed gas pipe where lying on the ground. The cooker - what a miracle - isn’t here anymore. Where is this cooker going? Flying away? No, I saw tracks and raze in the sand. The Lions moved them up to the nearby sand dune.

I climbed into the 4x4 vehicle to drive up the dune to get my cooker back, but unfortunately the “Thief’s” moved them further into the thorny bushes, and it was to dangerous following the tracks further deep into the bush, because the Lions are still somewhere, even if we didn’t see them. Therefore I turned back into the camp to inform our guests that I could only offer a bottle of cold beer for breakfast.  Our guests where very amused and laughed loudly after that little adventure.

Since then I store my gas cooker every evening in the vehicle before going to rest...

Kalahari desert

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Safari in South Africa

Safari in South Africa

Safari in South Africa

This tour was choosen by our guests from Poland as a Chalet-Tour in the beginning of 2013. We started in Upington to visit the highlights of the Nortern Cape Province of South Africa. Tour 2 - Pearls of the Northern Cape was ideal for this safari vacation.      

Safari South Africa

Highlights of the Northern Cape

Safari Highlight #1
The two day safari drive at the Kgalagadi National Park was very successfully. We where privileged observe a whole pack of Lions on our first game drive. Especially the world knows black manned Kalahari Lion was absolutely impressive.

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Unbelievable beginner's luck

Unbelievable beginner's luck

Just coming back with two clients from Spain. This was our short four days Kgalagadi and Augrabies falls Nationalpark trip, and find out that there are some people having incredible luck.

African animals in the Kalahari Nationalpark

It was not only they first visit in Africa, and the first time in South Africa, it was also there first safari they made. During the short time period of only 3 days at the Kgalagadi National Park they could observe the famous Kalahari Lions and Cheetahs. As “cherry on the top” on our last evening game drive back to our camp at Twee Rivieren as well a leopard hunting a Steenbok.

The leopard was using our vehicle as cover to get as close as possible to the prey. Before the final attack I could see the leopard in my back mirror on the back side of my vehicle. He was just observing the Steenbok and was waiting for the best moment for his final attack. And then the right moment where there when the Steenbok was turning around, and the leopard was reaching his “diner” with a few jumps.

Leopard hunting a Steenbock

Within only a few seconds the Steenbok was killed, and than moved behind a dune by the leopard. We where so impressed during this short time all this was happen, that we forgot making some pictures. But it was anyway to dark to making good pictures. However, sometimes you must accept that you can’t make any pictures, but you will “save this memory’s in your thought”. Because having the privilege to be part of such an outstanding moment, it only haves one’s in your live!

African Safari in South Africa

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