Wednesday, 23 December 2009

KTP - The Hidden Gem - Day 5

Sunset over the Kgalagadi
Day 5 - Bitterpan to Two Rivers
Nothing like being woken up to Marshall shouting “Lion!”  There were 2 lions drinking at his small waterhole.  And when we turned around there were a few more having a drink at the waterhole in front.  There were 7 in total – 2 males, a few females and a couple of adolescent cubs – who were quite content to ignore us and walk around the chalets. 

Junior comes to investigate
They were there for about 2 hours, walking around drinking from the waterhole and playing on the pan before finally heading up the dunes when it became too hot.  A really awesome experience – the setting of the wilderness camp is really tranquil and well worth the visit, but the brown hyena, lions, as well as the gemsbok and hartebeest later, coming to drink was a real bonus we hadn’t expected. 
Checking out our car
Really happy with our Bitterpan experience, we left just before 9am and headed out with the plan to stay at Twee Rivierin for the night.  We had wanted to stay at Mata-Mata at least one night but unfortunately couldn’t get in, but decided to head up there anyway. 

We were unfortunate to just miss a leopard drinking at the Moravet waterhole although we did get a look at him and a couple of shots before he headed off into the dunes.  According to the couple how had seen him, he’d drunk before crossing in front of their car and heading off – you win some, you lose some ;)
Too full to move
We got to the intersection at Urikaruus and turned towards Mata-Mata on what should be renamed the lion highway.  In total we saw 16 lions within 37km, including a massive blond mane lion with his belly bloated from the gemsbok kill next to him; 8 lions sleeping under a tree at the 14th Boorgat waterhole, 5 lions near Craig Lockhart under a tree, and another 2 sleeping in the distance. 
The sociable weavers' nest
In total 23 lions for the morning.  And just to throw in for good measure – 3 cheetahs with what looked like a young giraffe kill.  My word – there were predators around every corner! This was insane – for the second time on this trip we’d seen leopard, lion and cheetah in one day. 
Pygmy falcon
Once in Mata-Mata we checked the booking office for any vacancies for the evening but unfortunately there was nothing available (obviously popular – we could see why) so we started the long drive back to Twee Rivierin.  The lions and cheetahs were still all there sleeping off the heat of the day, but the highlight was a pygmy falcon perched on a branch – our first sighting of this tiny bird of prey. 

The rest of the drive was uneventful, stopping only to photograph the antelope before getting back to Twee Rivierin in time to set up camp for the night.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    I am doing a project on the leopards in the Kgalagadi park. You have had some very interesting sightings during this trip and i've been able to identify some of them. You saw the famous Maya and her cubs, and then later saw the Auchterlonie Female. However, i've not been able to identify the sighting at Moravet...which from my point of view is very interesting since its an unusual waterhole to have leopard sightings.

    I'd really like the full details of these sightings for my project. If you could submit them as reports on my website and then email me some corresponding pictures i would rally appreciate it.
    Many thanks