Safari-Blog

Safari Blog Kalahari

Visa requirements for children travelling to SA

New SA immigration requirement states that minors should travel with an unabridged birth certificate, which names the child’s mother and father – or the equivalent thereof - from their country of origin. The new regulation due in June 2015 is to be put in place as a means to curb child trafficking across SA's borders.

Read the Leaflet of Department of Home Affairs (DHA) here.

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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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Namaqua National Park: flowering time

Namaqua National Park: flowering time

Thanks hourly rain this year, the first flowers at Namaqua National Park and the surrounding areas can already be discovered. Also the town Springbok are already dottet with carpets of flowers.

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To prefent this world famous spectacle we hope that more rain will fall during the next few weeks, so that we and our guests can enjoy this natural wonder for as long as possible!

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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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Kalahari desert - weather conditions

Kalahari desert - weather conditions

What's the best time to visiting the Kalahari desert?

SUMMER:

In the Kalahari we only have two seasons. Hot summer season from round about October until April. First rain usually can be expected end of November. Peak rainy season are between February to April. But we do not having days with whole day raining, Normally we having on 2 to 3 days a thunder storm in the evening, until temperatures have dropping a bit, and then we ones again have sunny days until temperatures heats up again for the next thunder storm.
Temperatures between Decembers to end of March are up to 38 degrees, and it doesn’t cools down a lot during the night. But these high temperatures are not unpleasant, because there is always a pleasant breeze and not this high humid as around the equator happens.

WINTER:

Between May and October there is normally no rainfall. Blue sky for weeks is usual, quit warm temperatures between 18 to 22 degrees during daytime, but during the night temperatures can easily drops down to minus 7 degrees. You therefore needs warm winter clothes and important a really warm sleeping bag, for a restful sleep. This weather and temperature conditions are typically for such an arid semi desert as the Kalahari is.

 

Current Weather Conditions for Kalahari Desert at Twee Rivieren

                            

There is no common answer for this question! Generally all the year!

Deepens where your priorities are:
During winter time the possibility observing animals at the human made water holes, is a little bit likelihood, because all animals must come to the water hole if they are thirsty. Therefore with a bit of luck and passion you’ll have a good change for excellent pictures. But keep in mind that the landscape will be dry and brown.
But should you prefer to see the beauty of the Kalahari after a good rainfall, the best time then is between November to March, because the scenarios of the Kalahari are spectacular. Cooper red sand dunes, covered with yellow and violet flowers, green grass, blue sky with some with clouds gives you fantastic pictures of the Magic of the Kalahari Desert. Much Antelopes having babies from approximately November on.

Therefore it is completely up to you witch season you prefer for visiting the unique Kalahari.

 

Climate and Temperature Table for Kalahari Desert

January:  19,6 - 35,5°C

February: 18,5 - 34,9°C

March: 16,8 - 32,5°C

April: 11,6 - 28,5°C

May: 5,5 - 22,9°C

June: 2,2 - 21,5°C

July: 1,1 - 21,8°C

August: 2,7 - 23,8°C

September: 7,3 - 28,7°C

October: 11,8 - 30,9°C

November: 15,9 - 33,5°C

December: 17,9 - 33,1°C

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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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