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Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Tiny Howarth » 14 Jun 2017 19:17

Great report and pictures Peter, gad I had the opportunity to meet you. :thumbup:
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 15 Jun 2017 05:59

Thanks Anthony and Graham

23 April:
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The destination for this day was a very selfish choice. I wanted to shoot a Quiver tree against the night sky. Fortunately, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful places we visited, and I wish I could have spent another couple of days there.

First, however, we took a detour via Dune 7
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Coming back down
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Hoog
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Now Blutkuppe is in the Dorob national park. Bit of a strange one this, there are no fences or gates. If you have a permit, you can camp (there are very basic campsites at a couple of places), and drive on the roads. Permits must be bought at MET offices in Windhoek or Swakopmund.

At Blukuppe, there are five or six stands, each 50-100m apart, consisting of a nominally flat piece of ground, a fire-place and a concrete table and bench setup, similar to what you might find at a roadside picnic-spot, and three rubbish bins (recycling). There is also a long-drop between every two stands, biut this was in high demand when we pitched, so I walked up into the rocks, and found this guy on the way back:

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Ge Korsten
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Bloetkoppie
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Middagreen
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After setting up camp, I went for a drive to look for the aforementioned kokerboom. I apologise insincerely for what is to follow, but first, I found much more than I bargained for...
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Tussen die koppies in.
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There is a place called Klein Tinkas, where there is supposed to be a waterhole (there's a beautiful picture of it on Google Earth), but I never did find the water-hole. What I did find were the graves of two German soldiers, a almost-not-dry riverbed and some stunning scenery.

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Woestynwater
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And this little stone house:
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Kliphuis
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Coming back, I stopped at my chosen quiver tree (it was about 2km by road and another 500m on foot from the campsite. Having seen nobody, I set up my camera, and set the interval timer to start taking photos, one every two minutes. I then drove back to camp, and got dinner going. After dinner, I went back to my camera and completed the sequence.
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Middag Kokerboom
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Naand Kokerboom
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Zebra Kokerboom
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Now i'm sitting there on my little three-legged stool behind the camera, in the pitch darkness (can't use a light, it will ruin the photos), and, as these things go, my mind starts running. I had seen some leopard spoor in the river-bed earlier, and in my mind's eye, I can see that leopard stalking me. Suddenly, I hear a slight noise behind me!

Ek vlieg om, flits aan, te hel met die fotos! Fortunately, it wasn't a leopard after all, but a Cape Fox, which had approached to within 3m of me. He stood around watching me watching him for at least a minute, my best sighting of a fox ever.

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Lekker Slaap Kokerboom
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Chris Skinner » 15 Jun 2017 08:11

More great pictures there Peter... when you giving lessons, or can you recommend a good instruction book?

By the way after all those greetings to the Kokerboom, did it ever greet you back?? ...... middag kokerboom, naand kokerboom... ens :rolling:
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 15 Jun 2017 09:18

Thanks Chris.

Lessons can be arranged. As for instruction books, there's so much on the net nowadays. Cambridge in colour is a good place go start to thoroughly understand the basic principles, but you already seem to have a reasonable grasp of them

No sound from the kokerboom...
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 16 Jun 2017 06:00

24 April

Our first destination was Solitaire, where we had a lunch date with friends from Slovenia. But, since we had plenty of time, I first took the family to the river-bed I had found the day before.

Shortly after hitching our trailers and hitting the road, we came across this vulture, just sitting in the middle of nowhere.
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Lapped-faced Vulture
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The Kuiseb canyon is another very impressive piece of geology, and it actually had wter too.
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Kuiseb
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'

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Split
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The much-lauded apple pie (actually apple crumble) at Solitaire was a bit of a let-down, not being nearly as good as my wife's, but the company was great. After lunch we filled up and headed back to Rostock Ritz, our camp for the night.
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Not Rolls Royce
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Again, a much-vaunted camp that left me underwhelmed. Ther stands are right next to each other, fenced in with reed walls and the ground is not flat, but the big issue is the communal ablutions.

This is stuck at one end of the stands, the showers all have half-doors (only the bottom half of stable doors) facing toward the campsite, with the ladies at the campsite end and the men at the far end. The only approach to the men's side is by walking past the front of the ablutions. Not a problem for the guys, but a biggie for the ladies...

It does have a modicum of birdlife
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Lanner
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And a very pretty view
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Rain in the desert (Yawn)
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 16 Jun 2017 06:36

25 April:

We were booked in at Red Dune Camp, near Gochas. The drive was uneventful and in fact boring (broken only by a lunch stop at Mariental) until we got quite close to Gochas, which lies on the banks of the Auob.
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Kalahari
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Gochas would be our last opportunity to get cheap Namibian petrol, so we brimmed our tanks. We also tried to use up all our N$, and managed to swop what we hadn't used for R in a couple of shops.

Red Dune has two campsites, one in the farmyard and a bush camp in the dunes. I had asked for that, but had never actually received written confirmation (although I did get written confirmation of a booking having been made). Well, we were stuck in the farmyard.

This was not ideal, but it did turn out to have a couple of advantages. Firstly, we had power, excellent ablutions and even a kitchen with an oven and stove.

The farmyard is quite busy, with a variety of bird pens (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and even peacocks, as well as Gouldian finches) and overnight pens for sheep and goats. They even had some tame Meerkat
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Meerkat
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On the way in I had seen a number of large communal weaver's nests along the roads, which gave me an idea for another photo. I asked if there was a nest on the farm which I might approach at night. There was one, although a large portion had recently broken off, but it was on a portion of the farm which was not open to tourists. However, the foreman promised to take me there at 9pm.
At 21h30, I was just about to give up when the ubiquitous Cruiser bakkie arrived. I grabbed my tripod and camera and jumped in. On the way, we saw a couple of Cape fox and a Springhare.

It turned out that the tree was actually ideally suited to my requirment.
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Peaceful under the stars
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Coming back, we very nearly got stuck (not sure if it was the Marie biscuits, or how hard they were, as the sand wasn't all that soft) while the driver was extolling the virtues of his cruiser and I was wishing we had taken my car instead. Man those things are bumpy!

Now the big advantage of the farmyard: the cocks started crowing at about three o'clock. And didn't stop until sunrise. In the process, they did me a huge favour, because my wife has been nagging for chickens, an affliction she has now been cured of completely!

As soon as they staff fed the chickens, some very pretty robbers arrived.
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Lovebirds
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Kosdief
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Soon we were packed and ready to head to our final destination, but then my car wouldn't start. Two long-drawn-out revolutions, and then just clickclickclickclick.
I dug the jumper leads out under the back seat, connected the main battery to the auxhilliary, and got it going, but it was soon obvious that my main cranck battery had given up the ghost.
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 16 Jun 2017 06:57

26 April
Twee Rivieren was to be our last proper stop. We had five nights there, but entry procedures took a long time as the booking was a bit of a mess (when I had originally booked, they didn't have campsites available for all the nights, so they had booked us into chalets for two nights. Over the ensuing months, each time a campsite had become available I had chenged the booking, but in the process confused them, to the extent that, eventually, we had only four people on one night and sixteen people the next night, at which point I just gave up, but this took some sorting out at the gate.

Also, a word of warning: they confiscated all our firewood. Fortunately, we still had a few bags of charcoal as well.

The area close to Mata Mata proved to be very rich in game, but Gerrit's kids were taking strain after three days of almost constant driving, so we only stopped for the highlights.For me, any kind of a Bee-eater is a definite highlight.
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Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
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And I think anyone would agree that lions on (or very nearly so) a kill is a highlight for sure!
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Middagslapie
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Then, the biggest herd of Giraffe I have ever seen. We counted more than 30, with possibly more behind the dunes.
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Boskameel
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And, I just had to snap a Gemsbok, to me the most beautiful of all the antelope.
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Gemsbok
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Arriving at Twee Rivieren, the campsite was indeed pretty full. We managed to wangle ourselves into one campsite, but decided not to spend too much effort, as we expected a number of people to leave the next morning, and then we would choose a better stand, so Iwas able to go out on an afternoon drive pretty soon (after swopping out my two batteries).

I found a juvenile Goshawk in a foul mood
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Kwaai
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Because he was being pestered by Drongos
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Plaag
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Then some baby Ostriches
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Kuikens
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And lastly, in the failing afternoon light, a family of Barn Owls in an excavated Weaver's nest.
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Nog kuikens
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby JoshJ » 18 Jun 2017 17:40

Baie nice Peter. Kgalagadi bly maar vir my Awsome
Being alive is a Blessing!!

Regards,
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 19 Jun 2017 05:42

Dankie Josh. Ja, dit bly een van my gunsteling parke.

We spent four days at Twee Rivieren. Apart from wildlife sightings, it was incident free, as was the trip home, and thus the rest of this report will just be a collection of images from the last four days, with relatively little text, and without trying to differentiate between days (although the photos will be in chronological order)...

If anybody is really interested, the EXIF data has been left in place. Thus, by down-loading the photo, then, in Windows Photo Viewer clicking on properties/details, you should be able to get the date and time of capture, as well as some idea of the settings and equipment used.
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Glamping
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Red-headed Finch
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Barney
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Pygmy Falcon
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Barn Owls
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Korthoring Langhoringbok.
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Luiperd
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Akkedisvreter
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Kom ons gaan rol!
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Ma kyk maar net.
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Nog luiperd
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Giant Eagle Owl with Goshawk prey
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Tawny and Pale Chanting Goshawk
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Re: Central Namibia - Three weeks of hell (not)!

Postby Peter Connan » 19 Jun 2017 05:52

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Modderkoppie
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Een van my en Tinus se pelle was voorheen 'n professionele gids. Klink my die ouens raak naderhand verveeld. Hy vertel van 'n kollega van hom wat een keer vir 'n spul toeriste wat hom gevra het hoekom 'n widebees wat hulle gesien het, so vol modder was, gese het dat wildebeeste onder die grond hiberneer, en as hulle uitkom, danlyk hulle so...

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Another PCG
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Springbok in die Auob
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Steenbok
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Lou
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Mallie
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Nog lou
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Trane
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Eenvoet
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Luiperd eet aasvoel
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Leeudril 4x4 roete
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Kanaries
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