Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mechanics and machines!

What I forgot to mention inmy previous post was that the night before we left Nossob we had gone out for a last game drive in the evening. Whilst on the drive I thought I heard something fall or get caught by a tyre and flicked up into the engine or wheel arch. We sort of looked around to see if there was anything obvious, but did not spot anything.

On returning to the camp I decided to check under the hood. The filler cap from my engine had fallen off! Now I'm no mechanic, but I was sure that it would not be healthy to drive on these very dusty roads around without this cap in place. We were sitting in the middle of the Kalahari, not a spares shop for hundreds of kilometres!

So I took a pair of my underpants, most expendable item I could find and wedged them in place of the missing cap. What else could I do?? We then drove the 8 hours, 5.5 on the dirt roads and 2.5 on tar back to Upington, and back to the same garage that had helped us on our way up when I had discovered the leaking radiator hose.

After about 1/2 an hour of fiddling they managed to locate a second hand cap for me, and for the princely sum of R60, we was back on the road again .... this time to Augrabies.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our final days in the Kalagadi

It's been a long time since I've posted here.

Quite scary really when you look back and see just how much time has past, and how quickly the days, months and even years fly by. June 2010 was my last post getting close to two years later! Ouch.

I never finished my stories about our amazing Kalagadi trip. We had five more days on this trip, and we saw many raptors, unfortunately often too far away to get any decent pictures, but nice to see anyway. So we had a fairly quite and relaxing couple of days in Nossob before heading back out of the park to Augrabies. On our last evening drive at Nossob we were treated to this sight:
A Kalahari storm brewing in the distance with a rainbow section to boot!
The following morning we packed up and set out on the long trip back to Twee Rivieren.
Early on we spotted a Kori Bustard striding through the long grass, and a while later a jackal and some vultures cleaning up a carcass form a on kill.

The storm we had seen brewing the pervious evening was still hanging threateningly in the distant skys. It created an amazing contrast with the bright sunlight dirt roads we were travelling on.

As we headed south and west it got closer and closer, and the ambient light got darker, making photography harder.

However I spotted this Abdim's Stork, (Ciconia abdimii) also known as White-bellied Stork, just off the side of the road. A first for us!

I would have hoped for a better shot, but considering the light I was pleased that the shot I did get at least alloed me to get an ID of this bird.

A little further on we spotted (pardon the pun) three cheetahs moving through the grass again unfortunately just a little too far out to get a really decent picture, but here we are:

Then a couple of the slowest inhabitants of the region graced us with their presence. Slow and dignified they made their way purposfully across the road.

The leopard tortiose displaying clearly the variation in colours and patterns.

Then, there was the the pale chanting goshawk, a juveile admittedly, but the bird that had become iconic for us as an image of the Kalahari. Sitting majestically in the top of a thorn tree right along side the road. The clouds had lifted a bit and there was decent light. I was pleased with the pictures I managed to get here. What do you think?

Not the perfect angle I know, but the clarity and proximity of the bird gave me the best chance I'd had all trip.

And that was the Kgalagadi, after a bone-shaking 5.5hrs we left the park and hit the hiway to Augrabies.

All the best, Ivan

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