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Tosca's Kalaroo Sequel, The Kalahari Rally By: | 2012-07-11
This was Blue Bullet's day. We just came along for the ride. As mentioned a couple of days ago, Bullet gave some transmission fluid gurgles in an attempt to convey utter disgust with this whole off road thing. It only took three days, and Bullet was ready for some adventure again. Well, actually, the off roading can be blamed on all the neighbours and random bystanders who kept on telling us that the cheetahs were hanging out on the one section of road where sedan vehicles are not allowed. So, I devised a travel plan for the day, where we would have to drive 75km deviation, to get to the afore mentioned cheetah spots. And as you have most probably also noted, no meat eating animals have been spotted yet, so it was becoming a bit of an issue!
Black-backed jackal relieving itself, the only meat eating animal spotted today!
Just to draw a background picture, the Kgalagadi has two roads. The one is in the Auob river bed, and the other in the Nossob river bed. One can drive in river beds here, as it never rains. The Auob river bed road leads to Mata Mata camp, and one can take a side road to meet up with the Nossob river bed road. The deviation I had planned, was to drive up the Aoub river, as the Nossob was closed to all but 4X4 vehicles for about 20km. That is the crucial 20km just before the spot where, according to the neighbours, all the cheetahs of Southern Africa basically have a social club, and meet up once a week.
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, keeping an eye open for the cheetah social club!
Until this morning, in order to enter the park, one has to pick up a sign-out paper, and nicely tell the person at the gate which road you are going to take, that’s now in the event you disappear due to family pressure, or lion kill or death by accidental drowning. This paper one can only pick up at 7h30, but at 7 am, there are usually about three sets of intrepid adventurers hanging around there, hoping the gate person will open earlier. So two of the adventurers start a chat, and of course, I join in and inevitably, the conversation goes to where the Buena Vista cheetah social club hangs out, and I bemoan the fact that Bullet can't drive the detour road on the Nossob river road. These two very friendly and obviously knowledgeable gentlemen say: "drive the road, we have 4x4’s, we’ll be right behind you and will pull you out if you get stuck!" (Bullet heard this, and most probably took great offense). Then the gate lady appears, and says, drive the road, if you feel you are not going to make it, turn around!
So off we went! The air was noticeably loaded with tension and adrenalin, as all three vehicles prepared for the mission ahead. Big brother Land Cruiser gave Bullet some last minute tips and encouragement, and off we went! I have mentioned in previous blobs (my Mom can't say blog, as she does not know what it is, so it is now, according to her, blob), that Sarel van der Merwe is NOTHING compared to me and Bullet! In fact, Dakar Rally organizers asked that we don’t participate, as they would still like to have some kind of competition, and not have it like the days when Shumy won every F1 race around! Bullet flew along that road! Mom was hanging onto the dash board to the point that I thought the airbags would deploy and Bullet sailed through 20 kms of 4x4 tracks!
Guess what we found? Nothing! There were some Springbok again fighting for the right to some nookie. The best thing was, we had to drive the 75km detour stretch back, and guess what was on that road! Yes, prize winner, NOTHING!!!!!!!
Bullet just smiled.
On we go, to a mouse slaughter of epic proportions. A Goshawk in a tree, this was a real surprise as the Goshawks in the Kgalagadi have all become ground birds all of sudden, pecking at seeds and vegetable stuff. In fact, they are like Goschickens now, not Goshawks. This one was busy tearing a mouse to pieces; with innards flying all over the show, and skin falling onto lower braches and an all round blood fest ensued! Until the Goshawk got to the tail section (tails are giving us all some problems this week) and started choking on it. With the tail hanging halfway out of it's beak, and it's head thrown back, the poor bird tried to get this nasty piece of mouse down his throat, and eventually, after minutes of what looked like sword swallowing manoeuvres, managed to get the thing down! Yum!
Goshawk feasting on a delicious mouse!
I got back to camp and the very enthusiastic field guide who passed us on a game drive that morning asked if we had seen the lion. That would be a no! The German couple came in at the same time and exclaimed over the leopard and hyena they saw on the 4x4 track (which we were flying through and did not really do any attempt at game spotting). Mom had invited the new neighbours over for a chat, they were swopping knitting patterns, cross stitch patterns and yarns of all kinds of domestic stuff I knew absolutely nothing about, and yes, of course, they had seen 7 cheetahs so far, two with cubs, and yes, a lion or two as well.
Tomorrow, we will find lions and cheetahs.