5cense 565> Mirror cats reading the news in Kgalagadi transfrontier

18 Dec | Kgalagadi Transfrontier> Woke up on Namibia side, wint thru the remote Mata Mata border post where u exit Namibia but dont officially enter South Africa, so for the next few days we's in limbo, in the «transfrontier» park shared by South Africa, Namibia + Botswana. On the drive in thru the park saw lots of stuff, including loads of giraffe, 7 lions hanging out right off the road + an African Wild Cat, wich looks just like a house cat. And also a red slender mongoose wich also we saw at the other place + a secretary bird. Other stuff weve seen (now dat we got a cheat sheet to ID 'em): crimson-breasted shrike, wich indeed has a bright red chest, korhaan, groshawks + vultures (white-backed + another type). Staying at the !Xaus lodge (pronounced w/ a clucking noise), very remote overlooking a Mandelbrot set shaped pan. Met the driver in a parking lot, a few other ppl left their cars + went in w/ him in the safari vehicle, but we followed behind in ours... then proceeded to get stuck going up a dune... had to let even more air out of our tires, down to less than 1.5. Not only does our Nissan 4x4 got low clearance, but she's automatic, so u dont got mush control over xceleration, seems to automatically cut out, like if the tires start slipping + or spinning. The property + lodge is owned by bushmen (Khomani San) who lease it back out to the park, so all the proceeds go to them (supposedly...). It's a bit of a racket, them mustering to monger u their crafts + whatnot. 1st evening went for a night drive, wich was cool tho we dint see much + the others (Germans) was pissed, d-manding to see things, as if this was some sorta theme park w/ animals paid to be on display. The tracker sits on a special chair mounted to the hood w/ a massive floodlight swinging the light all over the landscape. We saw a kangaroo hare + some steinbok, but not much else. Around the lodge + watering hole below have seen a blonder (yellow) mongoose (diffrent than the slender red 1), lots of jackals (black-backed), a bat-eared fox, a barn owl that lives in the rafters outside our hut + a bat that lives in the thatching of our roof. Nice to be around more animals than humans.





another colorful bird



some sorta hawk eagle


more lions


apparently just ate



African wild cat


19 Dec> wint for an early morning drive... again dint see much in the way of animals, but walked around + our guide showed us how bushmen «read the newspaper»... i.e. analyze all the tracks to see who passed thru in the middle of the night, or looking at the tracks grass makes in the wind to predict weather, etc. He showed us medicinal plants which we forgot the names of (usually involved some sorta clicking noise) + we foraged on berries from the shepherd bush, which has an amazing root structure. And also how they get water from the melons. If u look close, the «desert» is quite thriving, but defnitely a harsh environment, most animals survive off very little water (for example, this past yr they only received 3 mm of rain). Walked down to this bushmen village which we knew would be super cheesey, but if we dint visit them it'd be even worse, all for nothing (there's scant few guests staying here). Essentially they get dressed up in traditional garb (which means just a loincloth, the women topless) + show up in this mock «village» for a few hours a day to make crafts out of material gatherd from the landscape, just for 4 of us. Afterwards they wear Manchester United shirts + check their facebook accounts (in our guides words). We got a few things just to support them. Dint take no photos cuz we wd of felt stupid. Went for a sundowner drive, again, dint see much, them meerkats still elude us, tho we went to their known dens + saw a few scampering away. Did spot a brown hyena in the twilight, then saw him again later down at the waterhole, along w/ many jackals + the barn owl flying around in the darkness.

reading the news


the weather report


black-backed jackal


yellow mongoose


the noisy korhaan


bee eater


20 Dec | along Orange (SP) river> woke up in Kgalagadi before 5 a.m... back thru the 91 dunes... not so bad early morning w/ cold sand. Took our time driving back along the river, finally spotted our meerkats in their full glory. Dozens of them foraging, digging, not so afraid of us. What a fitting finale as we existed the park. Sat + watched them for quite a while. Saw more lions too, and lots more black-backed jackals, a cape fox, another African wild cat, some sort of eagle, lots of birds, etc. Stopped at this meerkat sanctuary, but it was really weird, some strange women looked at us like she was scared. Then stopped at the mall in Upington + got an SD card so we cd download these photos. Then to a winery along the orange river.

cape fox




meerkat sentry



 564 <( )> 566 > deriving d'ark side of South Afrikaaan landxcape to breach each itch

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