Africa Adventure Tours and Overlanding Stories by Nomad

Posts tagged “Suricate

Tosca’s Epic Kalaroo Adventure… The End

I am sitting at home, unpacked, washing machine going merrily (with possible clogged pipes tomorrow, full of desert dunes), the dogs have now licked every available piece of skin they could find on my feet and legs, and the blurry photos have been deleted.

At home, dreaming of what it would be like to be one of these gulls in a row

At home, dreaming of what it would be like to be one of these gulls in a row

I know, I know, you’re thinking, what happened to Darling?  Little known fact, I actually lived in Darling for years, and have a house there, where my mom lives.  So I went to Darling, I just did not visit Evita.  I forced my poor mom to sit through 1784 photos, which took me an hour to setup on the laptop as a slide show (and don’t be shaking your head now, we have all put poor unsuspecting souls through this same torture of a pictorial review of our just completed holiday!).  Mom is 81.  Ten photos later, she was yawning, and recalling when my Dad could not buy cool drink at the Lamberts Bay Hotel, because he was not wearing a tie.  This was in 1950.  And by photo 1531 she was actually nodding away.

She snapped right out of that again when I mentioned that my writing has been put on the internet.  “How did you get it there?” she asked.  Well, I have this dongle thing, it is like calling on a cell phone, but instead of using my voice, it sends text.  “Yes, but how did you get it to land on the internet?” I emailed it to the office, and they pasted it on there.  “No, that’s not possible, there’s no cable or aerial.  So, how did you get it on there?” Ok, Mom, focus.  My stuff was on the internet, don’t worry how I got it there.  And people I don’t know read it.  “How did they know to read it?  Did somebody call them?”.  Laugh all you want, you try and explain the internet, and wireless, and Facebook to somebody who worked in DOS years ago for two months!  And now she wants to buy a laptop, so she can find recipes and needle point patterns on there.  She can barely send an sms yet!  I am keeping myself out of that little debacle!

Luckily, my brother is one of the people who actually read this, so there was no need to explain this to him.  But he is actually a Mr Twitcher.  He has 14.5 bird books and promptly downloaded all my photos, and is most probably sitting as we are speaking, identifying all the shots I took of avian life in the Kalahari!  And he faithfully read my story every day: Hey Boet!

A forgotten car in the Kgalagadi, a sign that a beetle probably isn't the best option for the desert!

A forgotten car in the Kgalagadi, a sign that a beetle probably isn't the best option for the desert!

The recap done with the family I now sit and reflect on my absolutely Epic adventure.

I met some amazing, and odd people!  The game spotters in the Kalahari, some from close, some from far, all were there with one purpose, to see wildlife.  In each other or in the bush there are questions not fully answered yet, but still.

The two drunk Frenchmen, who took their lives in their own hands by getting out of their car next to lions, and to offer me drinkies, after I sat in the sun for three hours next to said Lions.

Two Kgalagadi male lions, bored of being stared at, "leeu loop"

Two Kgalagadi male lions, bored of being stared at, "leeu loop"

The people of Kenhard, who stepped into the 21st century, and had their first interracial wedding the evening I was there and let me tell you, it was a big makietie!  I actually also met a true wildlife photographer, Hannes Lochner, from the back seat of a land cruiser, but still, I met the man, I saw his photos, and let me tell you, he actually lives permanently in the Kgalagadi.  One can see that.  Ok, I did not actually meet him per se, more like waved at him.  He would not know me from a bar of soap!

Then the crazy kayak people from Khamkirri, who really fell with their career bums in the butter, seeing as they live right next to the river where they can practice and enjoy their passion!  Kayaking you sickos!

One can say I nearly met Lord Milner’s wife.  Thank goodness I did not! And one can say I nearly met the Polish space people as well, but seeing as they do it all remotely from Poland, also not.

I am very sure I met an Alien, but they wiped my memory after they did the tests and stuff, and concluded that there is intelligent life down here!

The seafood man from Lamberts Bay, the laughing locals in Brandvlei, farmer Jnr and his dog, the perpetually late gate keeper at Kgalagadi, the old man with the road phobias at Hyundai in Upington, and all in all, most of the road workers between Keimoes and Kakamas!

The places were a revelation, and yet strangely familiar!  Perhaps because I have been to most of the places before but every time, is a new time with new sights and smells.  I am still looking for the broken bottle of shampoo in my car, but the smell is apparently the Katbos and Kambroo bushes from the Karoo, and not shampoo!  The Bullet and I traveled from Cape fold mountains, to flat stretches with bicycle warning signs, to deep red sand dunes, and flat salt pans, all with its own appeal and enough space to actually have a thought or two.  We also had very nice acoustics, hence missing the V8 engine sounds for half a day!  And I swear, the higher up in altitude one goes, the higher one can sing as well.  I could reach that one spectacular note with Alphaville!  A couple of times.  And I am technically classified as a tenor, more like James Earl Jones after the ciggies and the vodka drinking from my youth.  Like Rebroff in his hey day!  But I hit that high note (also nearly popped a vein in the process)!

Animals.  More Animals.  The strange, the furry, the bald, the evil, the lazy and the funny!  My personal heroes, officially, the fantastically brave suricates!  They surpassed the wild dog, cheetah, and hyena in my affection now.  No other animal poses as well for photos, pulls the weirdest faces, and just generally are soo busy, they don’t have time to just sit back and hide in bushes. Oh, and the Mice.  Man, the smallest little things, but Braveheart is nothing compared to them.  They should really paint their faces blue as well.

A jackal is surprised at a water hole as the flock becomes unsettled

A jackal is surprised at a water hole as the flock becomes unsettled

And the animals were not contained to the Kgalagadi.  No, baboons at du Toits Kloof, rock hyraxes next to Tankwa Karoo, raptors on telephone lines all over, seagulls, and attacking Kelp Gulls on the coast, and I even saw a klipspringer close to Citrusdal.  And not to mention the one gazillion locusts who bravely died, in full battalions, on a 100km stretch in the karoo.

I do hope the two frogs from Sutherland got the feeling back in their legs, after sleeping under me for a night.

Not to forget the livestock.  Chicken, geese, donkeys, peacocks, sheep (different types as well) goats, dogs, cats, cattle, emus and some horses.

And then there was Damien.  My friend, the narcissist, mirror crashing bat straight out of a Meatloaf song!

I think of doing a list of what I did see, I should perhaps note what I did not see!

My final thoughts after all this excitement:  One should never go on holiday with big expectations.  No place, person or event would ever be able to live up to that which one built up in the head.  Expect to see a nice tree, that way, the crocodile hanging from the elephants tail, while singing karaoke, will be more visible under the tree!

One should always pack medicine, that way you won’t get sick while on holiday.  It is when Murphy comes calling because you have no stomach remedies, or flu medicine that things become a little on the uncomfortable side.

Prepare for the coldest ever, and think summer holiday.  It takes double the space in the car, but, you won’t be caught wrapped up in your beach sarong, beach towel, oil rag and three pairs of jeans, with dishtowels around the feet, and having to shove your hands into live coals to get some heat going!

Don’t look for the big things.  Keep the eyes open, the imagination running, and make up stuff in your head!

Doves, the calm before the storm

Doves, the calm before the storm

And watch out for Aliens, ghosts, and all things that can make an appearance in a Spielberg film.

(And note to self, I watch way too many movies!)

Things I have learnt:

I need to take more leave.

Unusually, after a stint like this, I do not regret not going to work for San Parks.  If I did, I would still be there, and not be able to tell anybody any off this, as it would be every day.  This way, I could tell everybody about my Epic Adventure, ad nauseum (the Latin rears its ugly head again).

Bullet is not a 4×4.

My tops become shorter, the more I eat!  I am practically wearing a boob tube today!

And I have the coolest job of all times!  I can go do stuff like this, write about it, have people go oe and aah, and still have a job when I come back!

I am back at work, broke and heart sore.  But in my dreams I am running with the cheetah, lying on sand dunes, and driving a rally car on a deserted stretch of a two lane dirt track through the Karoo.  With not a care in the world.  In my dreams I am strapped to the roof of a Landrower, and some khaki clad Marlboro man is calling me Ms Slovakia!

In my dreams…..

( Hene, all dramatic ne!)

 

Giant Eagle Owl, the wisest bird in the world says you should go and visit him on the Karoo, Kalahari and West Coast Tour.

Giant Eagle Owl, the wisest bird in the world says you should go and visit him on the Karoo, Kalahari and West Coast Tour.

Please contact me on jess@nomadtours.co.za for any information on the 9 Day, Cape Town to Cape Town, Karoo, Kalahari and West Coast Tour, we would love to have you on board with us!

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Tosca’s epic Kalaroo Adventure… The Slaughter of the Small Folk!

No, seriously, one would assume that the small folk in the bush would stand together and protect each other from the large, vicious ugly ones like the lion, cheetah, and Hyena (have I mentioned the Brown Hyena? Nanananana…).  But Nooooo, they are like the final days of the Roman Empire, back stabbing, scheming, murderous little bastards, all of them!

I am driving along, as one does in the Kalahari, and spot a lovely serene looking Tawny Eagle, perched (see, English getting much better) on a Sociable Weavers nest.  Now one would assume he is the large predator in this little band of robbers.  But wait, next thing a Pigmy Falcon swoops in and starts attacking him!  And with every dive bomb it does, it makes the sound equal to, or actually surpassing the London air raids of WW2!  Poor Tawny, sitting there minding his own business does not attack back, it does not defend itself.  It sits there like the big eagle he is, and takes it!  Now one can understand the Falcon’s conundrum as he gets free room and board and very nice fat snakes from the sociable weavers in return for protecting the nest.  And he was most probably fearing a horses head on his pillow the next morning, one can not break a contract with the Don.  So, yes, he should have at least put some attempt into it, to show Joey times 200 that he does NOT want a Horse head on his pillow.  But this over the top display of ferocious mental determination from the Pigmy Falcon would have won WW2 in three months!  With no sirens needed!

Social Weaver Nest, the battle place where the Pigmy Falcon took on the Tawny Eagle!

Social Weaver Nest, the battle place where the Pigmy Falcon took on the Tawny Eagle!

But it does not stop there.  Three Kestrels (small little raptors really, not even worth the word raptor, more like raptits) attack a dove.  That symbol of peace, of flying out over wedding guests, of lily white breasts, and serene smiles.  Two of the Kestrels tear it apart (PG rating please) from different directions.  Then the third also wants his share, so they divide it again.  It was blood and feathers, an aerial blood fest, over in seconds.  With one lonely feather drifting sadly to the ground the only testament of the peace that reigned over the valley before the attack of the Hitchcock Kestrels!

But oh wait, there’s more!  If you call now, I will tell you all about the two striped mice.  You know, those cute little kite surfers?  They are basically just cannon fodder for Goshawks.  It is like wholesale slaughter!  I get all exited, with the sighting of a Goshawk, on the ground, and before I can grab my camera to get a nice shot of this pretty Raptor, it takes off, with one of the cutie mice clutched in its Talons!  Well, as they say, one mouse in the Talon is better than two in the pocket!  But knowing these Goshawks like I now do, chances are he has three chained to his nest already, and every time he brings in a new catch, he taunts them all with promises of torture and mayhem!  Fodder I tell you!

Poor little field mouse makes an easy meal for a hungry Goshawk

Poor little field mouse makes an easy meal for a hungry Goshawk

But the pinnacle of atrocity must surely be the hour and a half standoff in the dunes.  Not lions stalking Springbok, not cheetah on the hunt, nooo, it is the bloody Goshawks again!  A family of Suricates left their hole digging (for sleeping purposes) a little too late. So while the three adults industrially try to find hard ground (sand dunes have a tendency to cave in on your head, or so I am told) to dig in, three itty bitty babies frolic about in the grassy knolls.  But, like the shooter in the observatory, or behind the grassy knoll, the Goshawk stalks, in slow sweeping circles.  The next thing, the Chief Suricate starts making the most distressing warning sound ever heard.  Even compared to the aforementioned air raid sirens!  Babies make a beeline for mom, adults pop up like Jack in the Boxes, and general pandemonium ensues.  It is babies tripping over each other, and adults running so fast in circles, that tail hairs are still fluttering over Kalahari dunes.  And Mom is the only one who keeps her head, and stands ready, hind legs splayed, arms out in front of her, to repel the deadly attack from above!  And evil goshawk swoops in!  Chaos. They run, they stop, turn around, run again, mom spits and screams, and babies try to burrow into her stomach, and one adult furiously tries to make the dune sand hole stay a hole, but the more he digs, the more it caves in.  Now I am standing with my window facing this whole drama!  So, when they start running forward, I have to slam on reverse. But I am hanging half body out the window, so basically have to steer with my knees.  And get Bullet into reverse with the toes of my left foot, while looking through the view finder, as all of this must happen.  Blue Bullet at some point took matters into it’s own hands, or steering, so to speak, and just tried to stay in a straight line.  But making things more intricate, is the fact that I have two other cars surrounding this attempted kill sight, one being the Sri Lankan man and his 5 kids, wife and mother in the vehicle.  He basically put his 3 year old behind the steering wheel, in order to get his NASA built lens out the window.  The other car had an American woman behind the wheel, and she apparently missed the obvious full frontal attack from the Goshawk and was still viewing this scene as a pastoral peaceful little tableau!  So, from steering with my knees, changing gears with my big toe, hanging out of the window, for an hour and a half, shouting instructions to the American to WATCH THE DAMN HAWK BEHIND YOU and at the 3 year old, to move, Bullet is coming in, taking about 300 photos, I can STILL not feel my legs, my back is in a spasm type cramp, akin to paralysis.  The Suricates now had to contend with a Blue danger, reversing over dunes and a Gemsbok, two Leopards, and 9 kite mice (well, the amount of bumps, and blue sky photos only clearly indicates that something died, and it was not a Suricate).  Mom finally got the troops together, got two to dig, ran back to the first nearly successful attempt at a hole, 2 km back, and kept babies under her the whole time!  Horrible Goshawk tried three more times, and was repelled!  Way to go Suricate woman you!  I am woman, can make fire and defend against Goshawk!

The Suricat family, desperately looking for a place to call home!

The Suricat family, desperately looking for a place to call home!

Brave little Suricate eyes me out as I crash backwards through the bushes in the Bullet

Brave little Suricate eyes me out as I crash backwards through the bushes in the Bullet

Meanwhile, I am scarred for life, the Sri Lankan Kids are still hiding under grandma’s armpit, and 3 year old now has visions of Le Mans! Oh, and American Lady, was crying through half of it!  Either because Bullet reversed over sensitive vegetation, and or Gemsbok, leopard and Mice, or because the underdog won!  Well, rather, the under Suricate.

Moving over to a Mongoose of a different colour!  A couple of nights ago, a slender mongoose stole a whole piece of chicken from my neighbours, the new friends from my valley.  We all thought he would disappear behind the closest bush, and finish the chicken, but strangely not.  He runs about half way into the park, with the chicken in hand, or rather, in mouth (in hand was the Ground Squirrel who also stole a whole toasted sandwich, pretty much at the same time, but it was way too heavy to clutch in his mouth, so he was running at breakneck speed, with the sandwich clutched in one hand, dragging behind him).  So, we then amend the story, and think shame, he is feeding a whole household, and wifey told him not to show up empty handed, or mouthed for another night.  So he was running home with his treasure, to appease wife, and feed kids.  This story made us happy.  But, being a typical male, his true colours came shining through!  He sits blankly staring into space, on a braai step platform thing.  The next moment, a female comes running in, looking over her shoulder.  He calmly steps off the platform, grabs her by the arse ( BIG PG rating please) sits down with his hind legs stretched out and proceeds to, well, hmmm, make tender love to her, while sitting on his bum, with no tender words or flowers!  Again small little fellow, one would think that he would be done in about 1 minute flat.  Again, surprise!  He goes on, and on, and on!  Humping away.  At one point, he even stares up at the sky, in case some eagle or whole piece of chicken should fall on his head!  But, girly got her own back.  When he finally gets done, she turns around, and whacks the living chicken out of him.  And not a woozy open palm smack, she clobbered him over the head!

Neanderthal Man, you can see the glitter in his eyes!

Neanderthal Man, you can see the glitter in his eyes!

 

This of course lead to a very long debate as to the purpose of the stolen chicken.  Andre and Maritza, the new friends from the valley, recon he used this as a “gunsie”, to get her more amenable to some action!  And what a cheap little She Mongoose!  To fall for it!  Granted, with no food in the Kalahari, and only small lizards and small folk to eat, I see her point.  A piece of chicken for her is like a trip to India, a dip in the Ganges, and a free spa makeover for us.  I would have considered the offer.  Or maybe she is an emancipated Mongoose, and did it for free!  Just because she wanted to!

Well, he is now known as The Neanderthal Man.

Meanwhile, it is baby time in the park.  Hene.  Baby Cape Fox, baby Springbok, baby Black backed jackal, baby Ostrich (classic, Mom takes a sand bath and leaves dada to check the chicks, which he does, but very nervously!), baby Suricate, baby Blue Wildebeest, baby everything!  Cute man.

Ostrich with chicks making their way across the Kalahari

Ostrich with chicks making their way across the Kalahari

Kit Cape Fox and it's Mum having a little play time together in the Kalahari sunshine

Kit Cape Fox and it's Mum having a little play time together in the Kalahari sunshine

Possible Dark Chanting Goshawk, juvenile... this is up for discussion

Possible Dark Chanting Goshawk, juvenile... this is up for discussion

So, final count:

Lion ( did I mention, 5 of them, at sunrise, on a red dune. Two big black maned males)

Cheetahs. Last count about 9. Yee, ne na na ne na!!
Brown Hyena. Again as above.
Spotted Hyena.
Suricates plus babies.
Springbok plus babies
Blue wildebeest, plus babies
Red Hartebeest, only their bums.
Pale chanting Goshawk. Miserable pieces of …..
Possible Dark chanting Goshawk.
Ground squirrel
Two men  who saw two leopards.
Kestrels.
Martial eagle
Tawny eagle, plus immature
Two drunk Frenchmen.
Humping mongoose
Finch
Forktailed drongo
Bee eater
Korhaan
Cori Bustard
Stanley’s bustard ( stuffed in the Twee rivieren restaurant)
Namakwa doves
Rock agama
Two striped mice
Immature Bataleur

Ag demit, I cant remember all!

Another tip for the weary traveler, make lists of what you see!

Oh, I forgot the tortoise. After seeing about 20 000 signboards to say, please drive careful, and don’t drive over Tortoises, I started to believe that the boards went up a day too late, and they were all killed.  Most probably by other small Folk.  Pecked to bits!  Thrown onto sharp rocks to break the shells. But, I saw one!

The tortoise who escaped the mayhem!

The tortoise who escaped the mayhem!

I am very sad to leave this amazing park, and will treasure and recount, and retell the stories for years to come!

I made some friends, saw some deep sheeeet, and learnt again, to sweat the small stuff.

Cherio red dunes!

Don’t miss your piece of the action, find out more about our 9 Day, Karoo, Kalahari and West Coast Tour here!!


Tosca’s Epic Kalaroo Adventure… Damien the demon and other baby beasts

As always, I would like to start at the beginning of my day.  This was at 2h30am!  I briefly mentioned the barking Gecko in the rafters yesterday?  I have now decided, it is not a Barking Gecko, it is some kind of demonic hissing, spitting amphibian creature, put in the rafters to specially annoy me!  Every time I turn around in bed, it spits at me!  And then comes the post spit HISSSSSsssss!  But the problem is, Damien ( it now has a name), puts so much effort into the HIsssss, that it promptly has a bowel movement!  There are little fire balls of crap all over the room now!  Hence, me being awake at 2h30!  I was spat awake (English is not my first language, but even I can see something is amok with that sentence?)!

Ok, post 2h30 demon spit later, some confusion with gate times.  On the map they kindly give you to illustrate the two roads in the Kgalagadi, it clearly states gate opening time for November is 5h30am.  But, on the clock sign at the gate it says 6h15.  I reckoned that the people at the park would know better than the media print shop in Cape Town that printed the map and gate times. So I will go with the Gate clock sign!  By 6am, I am standing ready, but strangely, the sun has been up for a while!  I got clarity on this matter later in the day, when the gate guard said he doesn’t know who made the time on the gate wrong (my personal feeling, somebody who wanted to hog the Lions for themselves)

So at incorrect 6h15, I went into the park!  Halihaaaa, what a day!  Spectacular!  It started off with a family of Suricates (and o henetjie, how embarrassing would it be if it was actually banded mongoose or some such, and here am I, Guide trainer of note, and a qualified field guide saying it is a suricate!).  But I know in Afrikaans they are called Meerkatte or Graatjies.  I digress.  Back to the massacre theme of this epic adventure!  One of the Graatjies managed to catch a Rock Agama.  A BIG one!  It was chomping away, starting with the head, and from here it is going to get a bit graphic.  PG in effect!  So, it bit of the head, but apparently the sinew is a bit of a tough customer to get loose.  So, furious snapping and pulling, and that sorted it out.  And in the middle of this feast, some danger was noted, so the Suricate was standing on its back legs with an agama’s lower half dangling out of the side of its mouth, with one agama arm still  kicking!  I wonder what the agama though it would do if it could kick itself free? Run around with no head?  Oe, this reminds of  Matjiesfontein all over again!

Suricat tentatively stalking a Rock Agama

Suricat tentatively stalking a Rock Agama

Got it!  Suricat has surprised it's prey, Rock Agama comes off second best.

Got it! Suricat has surprised it's prey, Rock Agama comes off second best.

Suricat making a meal of it, sinews and kicking legs can be hard to swallow!

Suricat making a meal of it, sinews and kicking legs can be hard to swallow!

Word on the street, there's something going on out there, best I keep guard and pretend I don't have half a lizard sticking out my mouth!

Word on the street, there's something going on out there, best I keep guard and pretend I don't have half a lizard sticking out my mouth!

Now in my head I am an award winning photographer. In reality, I am rather crappy at it. But it gives me so much joy just pressing that shutter release button that I actually don’t really care if the photos never end up in the National Geographic!  So unfortunately, my photos don’t really show the guts and gore, but believe me, it was spraying all over the show!

After that little blood fest, I stumbled over a Dark Chanting Goshawk!  Again, some mediocre photos there, but well worth the 70 spaces it took up on my memory card!

And so it went on.  Two hours of small birds, little mammals running around, and fun and games to be had by all.  I have to admit, seeing as I am in Blue bullet all alone, and Bullet is not a big talker, I found myself having fat chats with myself, and random animals around me!  Hello there Mr Ostrich!  How YOU doing?  And the last song I played before entering the park was a song of which I only know about a half a stanza, and that got stuck in my head (I see a hmmm la la da, grace lala your mind.  In a world of laahmmmlaaa la I see).  Hence my decision to turn back after about 2 and half hours in one direction (also, the guy at the gate told me that the road is closed from 20km from Twee Rivieren Camp.  He also drew this on my map with magic marker, in case I got confused between the metric system and the other system that people use on maps.  Ok, I see his point.  But, 30km later, still no clear “road closed, don’t you dare cross this one rock lying on the ground” sign.  I thus turned around of my own accord. ( They say it is hard to find internet in Jail)

Hello Mr Ostrich, enjoying your stroll today?  What lovely feathers you have!

Hello Mr Ostrich, enjoying your stroll today? What lovely feathers you have!

And then it happened!  I was doing a spot of bird watching, and as one does when doing this hobby, the eye will always go into trees, and underneath trees.  So I saw a small black bird, under a tree.  This now as I drove past.  But then my mind said, hang on, a small bird wont sinuously stretch itself out like a snake!  Slam brakes, come to a skidding halt that even the big Sarel van der Merwe would not have been able to pull off, without rolling poor Bullet!  I Slam into reverse, and take out three Kanna bushes.  O hell, it could have been Njarra bushes too, I was not really looking ok!  And then I see it.  One ear sticking up, in the shade!  Leopard I think?  Nah, the last time the Kgalagadi pulled a strange animal that don’t belong here stunt, was when they brought in 12 Giraffes, and my brother also nearly rolled the car when we saw one.  Basically, a traffic hazard to do that.  Then in my jumbled confusion, it sunk in, CHEETAH!  The fast cat?  Lives in the Kalahari and Namibia.  Ag, ok, pretty much everywhere.  Seriously endangered, due to its love life being a little Mississippi, Deep South thing, where your grandmother is also your cousin, and you are your own nephew!  So, with the tune from Deliverance Banjo duet playing in my head, I switch off the car and just sigh and smile.  Cheetahs.

And not one, but four of them. Mom and cubs!

Eventually another car arrives, and I hang out half mast through the car window, in my excitement that my eyesight is actually not as bad as I thought, and enthusiastically pointed out the four cheetahs.  All lying flat, can barely see them. So we settle in for the duration, because at some point one of them must surely go to the bathroom?

Then the lady in the other car drives parallel to me, and asks me, she bought a new camera, and do I know which camera setting one uses to get the Cheetah to come out of the shade?  My answer in my head was, yes, of course, turn the dial on the camera to raw meat, and then point it in the direction of the cheetahs.  But that was in my head.  In fact I was a bit worried about the lady, as her eyes were watering terribly.  Now I am not sure if it was with emotion, to finally see a cheetah, or if she should rather stick to the Kruger Park, where they have tar and not dust roads.

A spot in the wild!  Waiting for cheetahs to move can become a little Mad Max..ish

A spot in the wild! Waiting for cheetahs to move can become a little Mad Max..ish

But, eventually she leaves, and not 5 minutes later, the cheetahs get up!  I slam Bullet into reverse, again nearly take out two dunes, and half a plantation of whatever bush that was, and so I ran with the Cheetahs!  Truly!  In reverse!  And I got some lovely shots.  Cheetah walking.  Cheetah walking still.  O look, Cheetah walking!  And then Cheetah sleeping 2 km further down, under a duplicate shade tree!

Well Done Mum!  These are some beautiful babies!  Cheetah Cubs getting in on the action!

Well Done Mum! These are some beautiful babies! Cheetah Cubs getting in on the action!

O well, all ends well that is well?  No, all is well that ends?  Bugger, you know what I mean.

Lunch time saw me back at camp with a duet tan going on on my face.  Half burnt, the other half very light white!  And, there stands a Nomad truck!  In the Kgalagadi!  I must tell you, white contrasts very nicely with the red sand dunes!  It was a truck on a charter tour, but luckily the driver, Richard, could come check out Blue bullet and the V8 sound.  He gets under the car, with about 30 bystanders cheering on, and it seems there is a hole in the silencer!  And, more bad new, Blue Bullet is going through a slight identity crisis!  Reason, she lost her Registration number plate!  This part Richard asked me very politely:  “Boss lady, where is the Number plate?”  So I explain about the hell road, and also the Kgalagadi roads, and he says, but is Bullet then 4×4?  I could hear a faint sniff coming from Bullet at that point.

Plate-less and a little confused as to whether it's a 2 x 2 or a 4 x 4, poor Blue Bullet!

Plate-less and a little confused as to whether it's a 2 x 2 or a 4 x 4, poor Blue Bullet!

So, number plate-less, I venture back into the park.  And saw a side striped Jackal!  Either that, or a very Mangy looking black backed Jackal.  I am hoping for the side stripe, it is rather rare to see.  So, as I am minding my own business, taking photos of said sick black backed, or rare side striped, another 4 wheel drive car approaches at the speed of light, or rather much more than the allowed 40km per hour.  Then the driver slams on brakes, creates a dust cloud like Hiroshima would not believe, and looks around.  Then he asks me, what am I seeing.  Now, right underneath his nose, possibly with its tail caught under his tyres, is the Jackal.  Which I meekly point out.  O, he says, its just a jackal.  He has been looking for a Lion the whole day, and still have not found one.  I thought to myself, if that is how you drive, and you can’t even see a jackal under your nose, chances are you drove by a whole assembly of Lions!  But again, wisely, I kept that to myself!

So, the bottom line, boys and girls, is that we all learnt a lot today!  Demons can live in Geckos, and then spit.  Cheetahs sleep with the wrong ones.  If you drive too fast, you park on Jackals, who in turn won’t tell you where the big Lion party is being held that evening!

My day ended with another insect attack!  This time it was done in full frontal attack mode, on the entire bush front Chalets!  While I was busy battling a swarm of bees, the Dutch family next door was busy chasing them with a bath towel, and the Americans two chalets down, were just bemoaning the fact that one just can’t control wildlife anymore these days!  I have to admit, I was screaming a bit like a girl. Sorry.

I got the bees out, had a nice piece of sheep, and started looking forward to tomorrow.

My sighting list add-ons:

Four Cheetahs.  Did I mention I saw cheetahs?  Yes, four.

Red Hartebees.

Two very close Ostriches.  Not close to me, close to each other.

Dark chanting Goshawk.

Pale chanting Goshawk.

Blue Heron (water bird, but seemingly one with identity crisis as well)

Namakwa Doves

Spingboks and springbok babies!  Very very cute

Side striped Jackal.

And I did see one Black backed as well.  Or then, one healthy and one sick Black backed Jackal

One Nomad truck, with emotional Spanish Tour Leader.

One Agama foot, still kicking.

Gemsbok.

Did I mention about the four Cheetahs?

O, how could I forget!  Tree climbing mice!  Beyond adorable!  They hang like Kite surfers on three different branches and try to get the seeds on the bush!  Then the wind pulls one of the branches to one side, so then the poor mouse stretches like bubblegum and eventually just !  Hundreds of them on bushes!  Looked like the Chinese Lantern festival!

That’s it for today, tomorrow the adventure continues!

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to do this tour with us, have a look at the itinerary for the 9 Day, Karoo, Kalahari and West Coast Tour and book as soon as possible!