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30 October, 2009

Campsties Where You Can Flyfish for Trout

Do a search on the internet and you will find few places that cater for fly fishermen (especially trout anglers) who wish to camp. Lodges are in abundance and you fill find thousands of hits in the Cape Province and Mpumalanga with places offering self- catering to fully catered accommodation. So why are the campers left out in the cold?
One reason might be that fly fishing for trout in South Africa is predominantly a winter sport and that most establishments probably feel campsite wouldn't generate enough income to make it economically viable. I don't agree and here is why:

  • The world-wide recession is pinching at everyone's purses. Self-catering accommodation at trout lodges tend to be expensive for the average man in the street.

  • More tourists are visiting Africa on a shoestring budget and plan their whole holiday around campsites that offers them a unique experience of Africa.

  • Lodge owners will dramatically increase their bookings when implementing one or two exclusive campsites close to the trout dams with adequate facilities - if the lodge has a restaurant even better - the turnover will definitely improve.

  • So all the lodge owners out there - make some campsites or tell me why you are not doing it.

    24 October, 2009

    Carnivorous Animals at Mabuasehube/Kgalagadi

    As stated in the previous post, carnivores in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Mabuasehube Reserve are not just limited to lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. Smaller carnivores include the caracal, wildcat, bat eared fox, aardwolf, banded mongoose, black-footed cat, small-spotted cat, small-spotted genet, honey badger, black backed jackal, cape fox, striped polecat, suricate, slender mongoose, African wildcat and yellow mongoose. All of the above belong to the genus of Carnivora.

    An interesting fact about the Black backed Jackal is that it can smell carrion, which it is not above eating, from a distance of 11 kilometers down wind. These jackals will also accost brown hyenas in an attempt to rob them of their prey, but not the cheetah, as they seem to fear the speed of the cheetah.

    The Aardwolf eats up to 300 000 termites per night. As termites make out their whole diet they need to stay in areas where there are at least 3000 termite mounts to survive. In die winter, when termites are active during the day, the Aardwolf adapts its habits from nocturnal to diurnal.

    One way to find a honey badger in the Kgalagadi is to look for two or more Southern Pale Chanting Goshawks (Bleeksingvalke) resting in the lower branches of the trees as you will often find the honey badger in the vicinity.


    15 October, 2009

    What Animals Will You Find in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park?

    People visit the Kgalagadi to see animals in their natural habitat and enjoy the solitude and beauty of the landscape.

    Before I start to give you some insight into the variety of animals one would see while visiting the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Mabuasehube Game Reserve, I have to warn all readers... I am an avid birder who would sit and stare at an owl for hours on end rather than wait for a lazy lion to lift his or her butt just so that I can get a photograph. So if I concentrate more on birds, please forgive me as it is not intentional.

    Being semi desert country and an arid region, some of the animals found here - and we can take a bet on this - will amaze you. During the summer months the temperature can soar to above 40⁰ Celsius while winter nights can have you shivering in your tent at well below zero. The animals that inhabit this are must therefore be well adjusted to survive in minimal rainfall and extreme temperatures.

    Carnivorous Mammals found in the Kgalagadi (Kalahari Desert)

    Most people visit the park hoping to see at least some of the Big Five. Most of the time, this is no problem. Due to the heat during the summer months, the best time to view lions, leopard (yes they are there) and cheetah are early morning and late afternoon. Once you spot a lion in the morning, the chances are good that you will find the lion in the same vicinity later during the day as well. They are lazy critters and only move to drink (so check out the water points and bore holes carefully) or to crawl into another shady spot. After dark chances are that you will see them quenching their thirst at the water holes of Mata Mata or Nossob before they embark on the hunt.

    If you stay at Twee Riviere or Rooiputs, look for the leopard early in the day and late afternoon around the Confluence water point (photo on the right). From Twee Riviere side, a fallen tree on the right side of the road, just before you reach the waterhole is a popular hideout for the leopard. If you are lucky, you might find a female with her cubs, like we did last December. Nothing prepares you for the feeling of "aaww shame" when you see the small leopard cub cheekily peeking out from the grass.

    We found cheetahs all along the Nossob River as well as at Mata Mata ( where we viewed them from the campsite). Hyenas frequent the Nossob River and you should keep an eye out for them from Twee Riviere right up to Unie End in the north. We were lucky enough to see a hyena cooling off in one of the drinking troughs, which made me extremely happy that I had my own drinking water.

    Besides the obvious carnivores, smaller carnivorous mammals also inhabit the park. In the next post I will reveal more about them. If anyone can think of some , please comment and we'll see whose list is closest to mine.

    Until next time...