Kalahari Gemsbok Park.. at last..

An early morning start before the sun rise, we were on our way…. in fact so early 60 km. later the sun was still not up and we had reached the entrance gate… we had to wait for opening time… but the excitement was high and the parks aromas could be detected… what was that smell? Had the sewage pipe burst.?? No it was something I had passed .. pure excitement….

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When the sun gave just enough light I snapped the building for memory …

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and in we went after all the necessary documentation had been done…… and straight off we started to see what we had come for… animals and birds amid the sand dunes of the Kalahari….

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We had only travelled about 20 kilometres and this was going to change all the plans we had made..

The idea was to travel to Nossob and then across to Mata Mata which is on the Namibian border… this would never work out, there was just too much to see and enjoy. We would have to take another road across the sand dunes between the two rivers.

Nossob is on the one dry river in the east of the Kalahari Gemsbok Park that is the division between South Africa and Botswana. There is a huge area in Botswana that is part of the Park, and it is this that makes the Kgalagardi Transfrontier Park, a park double the size of the Kruger National Park….

896 000 km² is the size of the Kgalagardi Transfrontier Park…. we only planned to stay in the Kalahari gemsbok Park…  so tomorrow we will continue to Mata Mata…

 

I will be doing more blogs of only the selected animals, birds and raptors after we have finished the tour… these photos are just a taste of things to came…

SEE YOU TOMORROW ON OUR WAY TO MATA MATA OUR CAMP SITE…

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Eland…

The common eland (Taurotragus oryx)

I just happened to capture these photos as an eland moved behind a Zebra. I didn’t see the potential of the photos till I down-loaded to the computer…

A zebra is not that small an antelope, weighing in at approx. 350 kg. or 770 lbs. and standing 1.3 m. or 4 ft. 4 inches at the shoulder… an Eland however is the second largest antelope in the World… weighing in at an average 600 kg. or 1320 lbs. and 1,6 m. or 5 ft. at the shoulder. This young bull or youngish bull moved into frame and passed behind the zebra, demonstrating just how darn big he is….

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This is either a small zebra, or one big mother of an eland…………………….

Zebra… a Black and White portrayal…

I quite like the black and white effect of the Zebra when depicted in a B & W photo… I saw a photo taken so many years ago by my Mother in Rhodesia and this gave me the encouragement to play a bit.  Some of the photos I also enhanced a tad using Photscape a free photoshop type program..

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Elephant… Kruger National Park..

“Mommy I’m Thirsty”……………..A youngster takes a drink from it’s mother… sorry cars you wait… The mammary gland of the female is under her front legs.. by standing with the leg forward, she makes the teat available for the young one to drink…

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A Elephant herd is made up of Cows with their young and only joined by a bull when he is in musk… the herd is led by a matriarch who can be seen clearly in this following photo.. she’s the biggest and seems to command the movement of the others, silently…

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They are a very well knit family unit and from the photos one can see their protection of each other…

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The slightest sense of danger and the young are well protected by keeping in close contact with the mothers…..

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And you will always get young bulls that have to show off their strength…

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But if there is one photo that demonstrates a family unit, mother and two children the following photo is by far my favourite… there is just something about this group….

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The Lipizzaner Horses of South Africa….. Kyalami area…

I’m sure you all know of the Lipizzaner breed of horse, famous in Europe, went through hell during the war, when dedicated trainers moved them around to make sure of their survival. Ours is closely associated with a horse training facility the Spanish Riding school in Vienna, Austria. Here the best of the breed receive training to show dressage at its best. They are masters of the aerial jumps known as “air above the ground”.

The horses in South Africa are descendants of the famous breed and are here locally trained by experts. The breed of horses dates back to the 16th century, and the horses are from the original blood line. The breed got its name from a village in the now Slovenia called Lipica. If you’re interested in horses, dressage, or watching poetry in motion, then I would recommend a trip to this location.

The horses perform every Sunday at 10.30 and the performance is an hour-long. There is a restaurant at the scene, but the best of it is, after the performance there’s a table of carrots and one can go and feed them to the horses. This allows the photographers among the visitors the opportunity to get up close for a snap or two.

This will be the first blog of many, I took nearly 900 photos on the day, with moving horses a lot were blurred and deleted, but many I have enjoyed.

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The African Mongoose searching for his team….

The mongoose is busy looking for his team ready to deploy to the assistance of another blogger… they are expert body guards … taking on even the deadliest of snakes… they only receive payment in chocolate for their services… will be being deployed soon…

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thoughts

Transport …. practicing, if they have to land in water… all situations accounted for…

The Common Eland… A mighty big piece of meat…

Common elands are spiral-horned antelopes.

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Their horns are not all the same as can be seen in the photo, the cow in the back ground has a longer and wider set.. This is a way of identifying them it is their selection of hats…

Females weigh 300–600 kg (660–1,300 lb.), measure 200–280 cm (79–110 in) from the snout to the base of the tail and stand 125–153 cm (49–60 in) at the shoulder. Bulls weigh 400–942 kg (880–2,080 lb.), are 240–345 cm (94–136 in) from the snout to the base of the tail and stand 150–183 cm (59–72 in) at the shoulder. The tail is 50–90 cm (20–35 in) long.

Both sexes have horns with a steady spiral ridge (resembling that of the bushbuck). The horns are visible as small buds in new born and grow rapidly during the first seven months. The horns of males are thicker and shorter than those of females (males’ horns are 43–66 centimetres (17–26 in) long and females’ are 51–69 centimetres (20–27 in) long), and are more spiral. males use their horns during rutting season to wrestle and butt heads with rivals, females use their horns to stab predators in order to protect their young.

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The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a top speed of 40 kilometres (25 mi) per hour that tires them quickly. However, they can maintain a 22 kilometres (14 mi) per hour trot indefinitely. Elands are capable of jumping up to 2.5 metres (8 ft. 2 in) from a standing start when startled (up to 3 metres (9.8 ft.) for young elands). The common eland’s life expectancy is generally between 15 and 20 years; in captivity some live up to 25 years.

Eland herds are accompanied by a loud clicking sound that has been subject to considerable speculation. It is believed that the weight of the animal causes the two halves of its hooves to splay apart, and the clicking is the result of the hoof snapping together when the animal raises its leg. The sound carries some distance from a herd, and may be a form of communication.