Play Misty for Me, and The Lion Roars Tonight…

Day 14

Mabuasehube Pan and surrounds, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP)

Distance : 40.1 km

And we woke up to find that it was still misty the next morning…

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So there was no rush to get up early and take pictures of the sunrise. But, eventually, the early morning bladder pressure forced each of us, in turn, out of our warm beds and into the A-frame for some coffee. Which was followed by a cup of “enhanced” coffee which lead it to get even more “misty”.

Which, surprise surprise, lead to the legendary cold weather “go to guy” being hauled out in all of his 2 litre splendour – Sedgwick’s Old Brown (we are not allowed to call it sherry any more because the Spaniards get their tiny little Mediterranean testicles in a twist because its not made in some stupid little dust blown fly infested excuse for a valley on their crappy little continent).

And the OB’s was gooooood…

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Slowly…

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… getting …

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… misty-er !!!

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The Old Brown Shuffle – Dietwin re-acquaints himself with his favourite cold weather tipple

Fortunately, before the day could degenerate into a complete loss, the weather turned, the clouds lifted and we were once more bathed in glorious, and much appreciated, sunshine. Shortly after breakfast our neighbours from the camp site next door passed through. They were moving on to their next site but stopped off to tell us about a pair of mating lion that had kept them on the hop for the past couple of days. As it turned out, both couples were from KZN and known to a couple of our team so the “quick” stop turned into a half hour get together.

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After our neighbours departed we lazed around for a while as the weather warmed up and the discussion on “what to do” next took place. Inevitably, the decision was taken to see if the lion were still around and to swing down to the waterhole in the hopes of seeing some National Geographic type action.

IMG_7872The lion sighting was a damp squib. The male, despite only being 10m off the road, was barely visible in the thickish bush , and the female was almost entirely invisible as she recovered from what was obviously a long night of nuptials…

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He was even more lethargic than we were

On to the waterhole where we spent some time watching the various flocks of birds coming and going.

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Bird Bush

IMG_7896 IMG_7899 IMG_7905 IMG_7907After the waterhole we repaired once more to the camp site and some hard earned rest.

Fast forward 3 hours, a long nap, lunch and a couple of “soups” our batteries were fully charged and we decided it was time to take a drive. Long discussion short and a trip to Khiding Pan was voted in as the winner. We piled into the vehicles and set off. A quick stop to check on the lion turned out to be fruitless – they had disappeared into the bush and were not to be seen.

IMG_7927The trip to Khiding Pan was relatively uneventful except for a (very blurry) sighting of a honey badger which I managed to take a quick picture of through the window. We did manage to see a small herd of Rooi Hartebees, some wildebeest, a pair of black backed jackal and the ever present gemsbok.

IMG_7931 IMG_7946 IMG_7971 IMG_7981Late in the evening, long after supper, a couple of intrepid explorers decided to take one of the vehicles to the camp site next door to see if the lion had returned while the rest of us turned in to bed.

Literally 5 minutes later the vehicle returned and did a circle of the camp site with Sharpie leaning out the window and, sounding just like a 1960’s public service announcement of a pending atomic barrage…

“Please get into your tents, lion in the area. Please get into your tents, lion in the area”

Obviously he missed his calling in life – he really should have been a low ranking minion in the local government sector, one with delusions of extreme grandeur!

The car had barely left our camp site – less then 50 m out – when they saw a lion walking purposefully down the road towards our camp. They did a quick about turn and drove around the camp with the warning. In the meantime, the lion walked right past the fire next to the A-frame, where we had been sitting 20 minutes earlier, and out the far end of the camp.

The car decided to follow the lion and did so for the next half an hour, ending up a good half a kilometre out from the camp. It was at this point that there was a roar not 50m from where we were camped. Sitting bolt upright, and peering out of my tent, I could see the tail lights of the car half way around the pan, still following the lion.

Obviously there was more than one lion…

No-one went outside for a midnight urination that night…

Fun facts for the day:

Distance 40.1 km
Min Alt 942.840 meters
Max Alt 1164.750 meters
Max Speed 35.9 km/hour
Avg Speed 5.2 km/hour

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