Cat House

Nancy Vandermey, Author
South Africa Trip October/November 2013 part 2

Finally at 1 pm we headed to Urikaruus and got cabin #2. The place is just as great as everyone describes, but I hated the creaky floors. We just stayed in that night, watching springbok and wildebeest at the waterhole A female ostrich drank, and then laid an egg in front of us! Then a jackal came and played with the egg, but nothing broke it open. KTP Video has 15 short clips, including these springbok & ostrich

Red headed finch and ground squirrels also visited. At night, our trail camera picked up a cape fox. October 29th. My husband woke up at 3:30 am from a jackal alarm calling. He tried to see what was at the waterhole from the upstairs balcony, but couldn't make it out, and the spotlight and large binoculars were downstairs in the kitchen. I woke up as he headed down, but didn't follow as he thought it was just a jackal. A few minutes later I heard "Get down here, it's a caracal!" But by the time I made it there it was gone. We sat on the porch from 4 am until 5:30, listening to the birds wake up. A giant eagle owl came by. At 6 am we headed north, with 4 giraffe on the first loop, a displaying kori bustard, ostriches doing the mating dance KTP Video has 15 short clips, including these ostrich

fork tailed drongo a flying martial eagle and our first two steenbok of the trip After several crimson breasted shrike sightings I finally got a decent photo And another swallow tailed bee eater posed as well There were 2 cape fox dens, one before the first loops with 1 pup, and another between the 1st & 2nd loop with 2 pups We returned to Urikaruus around 8:30 to pack, speaking to forumites Jacliz and Jeff next door (yes, we had a yellow ribbon on the mirror). 6 kudu came to the waterhole We heard about some cheetah near Auchterlonie so we headed south. We found them just north of the road in the shade, a mother with near adult daughter so we slowly followed them along the road as they headed north marking trees The mother leading the way, the daughter following As they approached the lower dune road we headed there and waited in the shade for them As they came closer and then crossed the road behind us KTP Video has 15 short clips, including these cheetah

They eventually crossed the main road and laid in the shade together, so we went north scouting for springbok for them to hunt - there were none until Gemspokplein waterhole. We ran up to Kalahari Tented Camp to check in at 2 pm, and cooked a few days worth of food. Rather than stay out until gates closed and then have to heat charcoal and cook, we preferred to cook several meals at once every few days in the afternoon. We headed back out at 5:10, finding a tawny eagle vultures (only seen in KTP in trees near Mata Mata, no where else) and giraffe drinking from a waterhole At Craig Lockhart a pair of bateleurs posed Heading in we saw a very young springbok fawn, but got stuck in the sand when we stopped to photograph it. A nice couple helped us push out. Yellow mongoose posed back at camp On October 30th we were 4th out the gate at 6 am. We saw a shy cheetah up on a ridge south of KTC, it hid after the first few cars got pictures Then we got a sighting the faster cars in front of us missed. 2 bat eared fox crossed the road The 2-pup cape fox den was active KTP Video has 15 short clips, including these foxes

Our only ostrich chicks of the whole trip were seen across the Auob valley And then we reached yesterday's two cheetah at 8:20, obvious due to a 7 car lineup. They had killed an adult springbok a bit earlier and were still feeding Although they had eaten quite a bit already They were on the far side of the valley Mom then dragged the carcass under the nearby tree, with a pair of jackals waiting nearby The jackals wolfed down the entrails But the cheetah would not let them near the carcass yet From there we stopped at Auchterlonie again for a stretch & bathroom break, and decided to do a big loop, all the way to Twee Rivieren and back up the other side. More meerkats posed We saw more springbok herds And then we got a sighting I had hoped for, a large cape cobra crossed the road! It seemed every time we needed petrol it cost 600 rand. Good thing I had stocked up on cash before entering the park. At the Twee Rivieren shop I used a credit card for snacks and drinks and souvenirs. It always amuses me, the potato chip flavors in South Africa - spare rib, smoked beef, monkey gland???? The tomato sauce ones were pretty good. We headed up the Nossob side, it was quiet until Kij Kij. Above the dune road intersection we saw 8-10 cars on both sides of the road. It was easy to spot two large lionesses under a tree, so we took their picture But then I noticed multiple LARGE camera lenses sticking out of windows, none of them pointed at the lions, instead going upwards towards a different tree. A bird? we thought, as we pulled up to reposition.. Nope, it was an uncomfortable looking leopard, high up a tree Doing his best to give a catlike "I came up here of my own free will" impression, and take a nap The lionesses proceeded to give each other a grooming session KTP Video has 15 short clips, including these lionesses & leopard

Having no idea when the lions would leave, and having 120 km minimum to get back to Kalahari Tented Camp, we left about 1 pm. We heard the next day the leopard came down safely at 2:30 pm. We continued our original plan, which was to head north to the upper dune road. Is the road from Melkvlei to Dikbaardskolk always so boring? I think these oryx pictures were taken along this stretch, but that's about it There were skinks, geckos, and pesky birds to entertain at Dikbaardskolk picnic site The upper dune road was in bad shape, lots of washboarding. We saw black-bellied korhaans (male and female) and waterbirds at the Vaalpan waterhole - blackheaded heron and dikkop A martial eagle greeted us back on the Auob road After another giraffe, and a jackal, we returned home after our 12 hour drive. We got a quick glimpse of a brown hyena at the waterhole, and a male lion at 9:30 pm.

Part 1 - Planning and Kgalgadi: Twee Rivieren
Part 2 - Kgalgadi: Urikaruus and Kalahari Tented Camp
Part 3 - Kgalgadi: Nossob, Grootkolk, Mata Mata
Part 4 - Kgalgadi: Twee Rivieren and Black Footed Cat group
Part 5 - Kruger: Berg En Dal and Skukuza
Part 6 - Kruger: Nwatimwambu Walking Trail and Lower Sabie
Part 7 - Kruger: Satara
Part 8 - Kruger: Sweni Wilderness Trail
Part 9 - Kruger: Olifants
Part 10 - Kruger: Tamboti and Biyamiti
Part 11 - Notten's Bush Camp