Kgalagadi Blog Day Four Mata Mata

Day four afternoon could be called a turning point on this trip; we were now going to have the good the bad and the downright ugly in the next few days
We moved onto the Dunes Road once again after our “pit stop” at Dikbaardskolk, mid day heat once again. As mentioned the dune road, 50 kilometers in length is not the easiest to drive, the road conditions are normally good, but one can get car sick with the ups and downs like a roller coaster. Very little activity, to be expected at this time of the day.
We drove off the dune road and again back into the Auob River bed; it was good to back in the River Valley after the disappointment of the sightings in the North of the park.
We decided to go straight to the Tented camp and book in and plan an early drive after unloading the vehicle.

We decided to make the short journey to the main Mata Mata camp to refuel the vehicle. (NB please note there are NO credit card or Petrol Card facilities in the smaller camps, cash only, which we found out to our embarrassment in Nossob Camp)

We noticed great changes in the camp, the new reception area, and 8 new “lodges”
My thoughts on the new lodges? They are out of place and should not be in the Kgalagadi, they are over the top, out of place in a desert wilderness and in fact believe they have destroyed the Mata Mata camp, a camping heaven, now sharing its space with houses that would not be out of place in most suburbs in a large South African city. It’s a money making “scheme”, stuff the wilderness, it’s now money!!!!!!!! The lodges will have the waterhole right in front of them, it beggars believe that they also intend to move the waterhole from in front of the camping area to the new “Kgalagadi Sun City”
Enough of my rants!!

We drove south slowly along the Auob, Just before 16.15 spotted an Immature Pale Chanting Goshawk in a tree in the river bed, he looked agitated hopping around from branch to branch, then he swooped down into the dry river bed and his source of agitation became obvious, there was a large lizard in a small bush, for the next 20 minutes we watched him try to catch his afternoon meal. Some of the best photo opportunity’s of this trip

The frustrated juvenile flew up to his original perch in the tree without his “dinner”
We drove south into the Dalkeith waterhole area and spotted 4 Lions up on the dunes, it was too early for them to go “walkabout” and they flopped down to continue their sleep

Further south into the Veertinde Boorgat (14th Waterhole) (The waterholes 13th and 14th both had “other” names, unsuitable for the average family travelling in the Kalahari, the one had a name similar to “loose bowels” or words to that effect, so they were changed)
We viewed a Tawny Eagle and her immature fledgling on the ground, not too usual a sighting, the youngster drinking at the waterhole itself

Nothing else of note at the waterhole so we proceeded south, We had been told by a friend to be on the look out for Hyaena at the den just north of Urikaruus, we had not seen any activity on the way north but were very lucky this time. A mother and a cub, playing in the entrance to the den
The den was going to give us some wonderful photo opportunities over the next few days and a few surprises as well

We turned back to travel north and back to camp, it’s been a long day in the office!!! Braai calls, wine calls, the sounds of the African night call…..but we still have a few sightings
Another Swallow Tailed Bee Eater, for some reason this year they were plentiful and very accommodating for the camera

A Spotted Eagle Owl not far from the road, this taken at 19.07 South of Sitszas, we have 21 minutes to get back to camp. Gates closing time at 19.30 (no gates at the Tented Camp, but rules are rules).

Stopped at a herd of Springboks playing in the dusk, excuse my artistic licence with the photograph but I like the movement

We arrived back at 19.25, it was a good day. Better still to come
Now to get the fire going, the tented area is totally open, no wire fences, nothing between you and nature.
A view from the braai area into the river bed. We would sit for hours watching the sunsets, how the skies became jet black and the stars the only light in the sky. This is why the Kgalagadi draws you back time after time