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09 November, 2009

Where to Find Owls in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

With the December holidays approaching, many people will flock to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Bird watchers will be delighted to know that there are several spots in the park where different species of owls reside on a regular basis.

Twee Riviere and Vicinity

Exit the gate at Twee Riviere in the direction of Nossob. The Nossob River bed is on your right and dunes on your left. Small trees line the road on the left. Practically within a kilometer from the gate and well before you reach the Confluence lookout point, a small tree on the left plays host to at least two Spotted Eagle Owls.

Further along the road, just before the Melkvlei picnic area there is a fallen tree on the right hand side of the road. Despite the road works during December 2008, the Spotted Eagle Owls were not disturbed and rested during the heat of the day both on the thick branch of the fallen tree and in the foliage of the tree above.

Owls in the Nossob Area

 At the gate of the Nossob camp where your exit towards Twee Riviere, an unassuming smallish tree on your right hand side usually yields a threesome of Southern White-faced Scops-Owl. These owls rest in the precious little shade of the tree during the day and at night you can hear their calls echo through the camp.

Mata Mata and Vicinity

Inside the Mata Mata camp, right in front of the small tuck shop, a huge tree provides shade to humans and animals alike.  At least two Southern White -faced Scops-Owls will stare at you from the branches of the tree. Keep checking for them as they sometimes settle down on the lower branches of the tree and affords tourists wonderful photo opportunities.

After the turn-off to the Kalahari tented camp, the road turns to the left from Mata Mata side. On the left hand side of the road, tree partially overhangs the road. A pair of Spotted Eagle Owls resides inside the tree during the day and they are easy to spot. You will have a shady spot to stand in as well, which is a bargain during the hot summer months in the Kgalagadi.

These are only a few of the locations inside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park where owls are seen at regular intervals. You will mostly hear the African Scops- Owl, but find it difficult to see one as they are small birds and very well camouflaged.

Also, look for Barn Owls inside Sociable Weaver nests as they utilize these huge nests to raise their own young.

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