Trip report. Day 3 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

We headed out at first light fuelled by caffeine and rusks and headed out Nossob’s Northern Gate. Opposed to scouring the plains we decided to choose a spot by the riverbed and wait to see if anything would emerge. Our patience was rewarded with a distant sighting of a mother cheetah and 4 furry cubs. The cubs were independent and curious, frequently venturing away from their mother’s watchful eye to climb a dead tree branch or  play fight with one another. They were the quintessential cubs – very fluffy, very playful and a handful for their mother. We tracked them until they disappeared out of view and into the long grasses of the riverbed. Over lunch we decided to change our plans and head over to Kalahari Tented Camp a night early, so we packed up the car and off we went. It was a beautiful drive and we were treated to stunning landscapes – rolling dunes and hilltop vistas. The closer we got to camp the more the landscape opened, treating us to wide vistas with  sightings of giraffes ambling across the Auob riverbed, bat eared foxes hunting for insects and from hilltop vantage points in the late afternoon sun

Trip report. Day 2 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

We jumped out of bed way before the alarm went off, awoken by the smell of braais and excited by the promise of our first full day in the Kalahari. I quickly showered, brewed some strong black coffee, made some bacon sarnies for lunch and loaded the car with our camera gear, all the while unable to take my eyes off the perimeter fence, hoping to capture a glimpse of something. Thermals on and fleeces zipped up, we headed out Nossob’s northern gate at first light eager to find big cats and birds of prey.  We headed about 25 km to a picnic spot and, in the company of  gemsbok, delved into our first ever bag of rusks. We felt instantly at home. In the distance we heard the unmistakable roar of a lion – we waited around to see if they would materialise but their roars became increasingly more distant. Despite all the advice from forumites and all the pre-reading I conducted prior to the trip, I was still a little shocked at how hard it was to spot wildlife and how rare sightings were. Being used to Kenya and Kruger, I had set my expectations a little too

Trip report…Day 1 in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

We’d taken our time getting to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, stopping over in Cape Town, Sutherland (to visit SALT) and Upington and we’d had lots of adventures along the way …  running out of petrol, making a 4 hour detour in the night courtesy of our sat nav and narrowly avoiding a head on collision with a speeding car. By the time we reached the entrance gate of Twee Rivieren our excitement and suspense had reached ridiculous levels and we could not wait to get in and explore the park. Our excitement was short lived when we realised just how little time we had to make the journey to Nossob. We set off in haste, forgetting to deflate our tyres and proudly apply our yellow ribbon… but a quick detour back to Twee  Rivieren remedied this. Through the maze of roadworks and incredibly corrugated roads we saw so many animals which we did not have time to stop and appreciate (bat eared foxes, a cape fox, curious jackals, secretary birds,  eagles galore and wildebeest). As we pressed on, the road conditions got worse and worse. The 4×2 rattled and shook until I was convinced  it’d fall to pieces. We had to

Cheetahs Go For Olympic Gold in the 100m run ..62mph in 3 seconds!

Cheetahs are incredible athletes. They achieve by far the fastest land speed of any living animal—between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft),. They have the ability to accelerate to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds. That gives our Olympians something to aspire too. On our recent trip to the Kalahari we were lucky enough to see a cheetah chase a kill a wildebeest and see her sprint in full glory.  We’d spotted her at first light walking along a riverbank – she was clearly on the prowl. We stayed with her for an hour or so and then decided to take a gamble and leave her, driving off in the direction she was heading to see if there were any large herds of prey which she might decide to hunt. We stumbled a cross a herd of wildebeest and stopped there to wait and see if she’d appear. 45 minutes later her silhouette appeared on the river bank – she paused briefly before sprinting down the riverbank, reaching full speed as she arrived at the herd – sending them into blind panic.  She locked onto one wildebeest and begun the chase. The cheetah’s speed was no match for

The Little Things In Life

    Regular followers of Taraji Blue will know that I have an obsession with macro photography – especially insects. That’s why, on our recent trip to the Kalahari desert, I took time out from spotting big cats and focussed on the little beasties that we were temporarily sharing our living quarters with. This wee fella (above) is a grasshopper (I think). He was immobile for three days (apart from a wee twitch when I got too close). He is a real beauty and seemed quite content for me to spend some time photographing him. I will be honest and say that I have no idea what this wee guy below is. I saw two of them during our stay, one was really rather large – like a fat grasshopper or large dung beetle, and the other identical one was more small beetle sized. He is darn cute and had the most enchanting googly eyes. I suspect he might be some sort of thorn bug?!   And finally, we were surrounded by these wee guys who lived in the fence outside our cabin. They were very timid, but stunningly beautiful. The longer you spent with them, the more acquainted they became to you, but they repeatedly resisted any