Trip report. Day 8 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

  The time has come … here’s my account of day 8 in KTP, our last full day in the park. It was inevitable that the day would be a bit of a write off, having been awake all night. I had become far too obsessed with the sheer amount of barn owls paying us a visit at Killiekrankie in the dead of the night and I had become attuned to hearing that all too familiar ‘chink’ of their claws as they landed on the fence around our cabin’s deck. With each landing I’d wake from my light slumber as if a baby was howling my name, and I’d leap for my camera and throw myself to the end of my bed to try and catch a shot through the huge picture windows of our cabin. With each attempt I’d hear my husband’s muffled laughs from under his bed covers as I got more and more frustrated with my failed attempts. Obsessed could not even begin describe my ambition to capture an image of a barn owl that evening. Sharing my tales of woe with Jacques (the camp manager) the next morning he promptly smiled and beckoned me over to

Trip report. Day 7 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Spurred on by the incredible sightings of recent days and the desire for more big cat sightings we headed out at first light back toward the Auob riverbed and promptly saw a wildcat dash into the long grasses. We hoped this was a sign of things to come, however sightings were minimal and the herds of previous days had moved on. We had to travel a considerable distance to find any springbok or wildebeest. What’s more – the carcass and some organs from the cheetah kill of the previous day was still there and largely untouched from how we’d seen it the night before. It seemed that even the scavengers had moved on. Undeterred we pressed on and a short while later spotted the silhouette of a cat high on the riverbank. We lost her as quickly as we spotted her but we were determined to ‘hang in there’ and we scoured the horizon for any tell tale signs. We spotted  two eland on the riverbank due north of us, their gazes transfixed on one location on the horizon. They did not move a muscle, simply stared, and stared and stared. We knew they’d spotted something that they were not

Trip report. Day 6 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

We woke early. Wrapped in blankets we headed out onto the deck to watch the sunrise with a coffee to see if any animals would visit the waterhole. It was quiet in camp, so after a beautiful sunrise we jumped into the car and headed out to the Auob riverbed and drove right by a pair of mating leopards. We could hardly believe our luck. We followed them from the dune road to the riverbed and back again as they meandered between the bushes and long grasses, ‘enjoying themselves’ 😉 We were fortunate to spend an hour with them before they slunk off over the horizon. With hearts pounding and wide smiles we set off to the riverbed once more, stopping dead in our tracks 10 minutes later when we spotted the unmistakable silhouette of two cheetahs high on the riverbank. Cast into shadow by the rising sun, the cheetahs were clearly on the prowl. Feeling lucky we decided there and then to take a gamble and we drove off in the direction the cheetahs were heading to find the closest herd of animals in the hope that the cheetahs would join us for breakfast later. We cracked open the thermos

Trip report. Day 5 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

This morning we headed off to Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp. We had been looking forward to this so much and, therefore, after stocking up on a few essentials at Mata Mata, we headed into the dunes with huge smiles on our faces. En-route we saw a herd of 17 giraffe, bat eared foxes, gemsbok, wildebeest and springbok, not to mention an array of beautiful birds of prey. Of course it would have been rude not to stop off at borehole no.14 on the way to see if any of the barn owls were home, so I declared a breakfast stop and we feasted on bacon and chutney sandwiches outside the nest. This time we were a little bit lucky – someone was definitely home. Every now and then we’d catch a glimpse of a wing as the owl stretched and preened, and we’d capture the occasional stolen glimpse of a beady little eye checking us out. It was more than enough to satisfy my owl-lust, so after an hour we pressed on southwards on the main road towards Twee Rivieren. We arrived at Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp mid afternoon and could not wait to explore our accommodation. I barely got through the front door –

Trip Report. Day 4 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The next day we were booked into the honeymoon tent at Kalahari Tented Camp (as a treat for our 10th wedding anniversary)  so we packed the car at first light, grabbed our coffee and rusks and headed south to explore the surrounding area. I’d been informed by the forumites that there was an old sociable weavers nest by the 14th borehole in which barn owls nested. I was unbelievably inpatient to get there and, was it not for my husband driving, I’d have headed straight there and ‘camped’ out all day. As it was we had a very enjoyable morning meandering around the loops past the nearby waterholes, enjoying lots of close encounters with fearless springbok, eagles and gemsbok. We also tried a bit of tracking – scouring the sandy roads for cat prints – and struck lucky with a set of what we believed to be fresh leopard prints and scat on the approach to the 13th borehole. We waited around for an hour or two in the vicinity to see if there was any evidence that the leopard was still around. She wasn’t – at least not in a location we could see her. We pressed onwards towards