Karoo National 17th September

Karoo National 17th September

This morning we are going to keep to the eastern plains so at 6.30am we exit the gate and head for Lammertjiesleegte – a lovely South African name.

The rising sun catches some zebra and a Gemsbok on a mountainside.

We then head towards the rising sun but our way is slowed by a leisurely Ostrich.

Karoo vegetation would appear to be sterile and bare. Not so. The roadside is alive with larks, chats and other birdlife. Soon we see a rather strange bird take off and fly over the road ahead of us. Its flight resembles that of a duck which is quite confusing because it looks rather like a Karoo Korhaan. Many of you will know the lazy sweep of a korhaan’s flight. Surely not. So, out with the bird caller and in no time a pair of Karoo Korhaans answer the bullfrog-like sound.

Karoo Korhaan

I am rather surprised to find a pair of Dusky Sunbirds out in the low Karoo scrub – far from any bush or trees. This is going to be a difficult one to photograph and I intend hunting him down tomorrow.

Cape Wagtail
A Lark (?)

Beaufort West is very close by so after our quite action packed morning drive, I shoot off to town with a grocery list. Plumes of black smoke rise above the town ahead of me and soon police are redirecting the traffic through the back streets away from the centre of town – together with the heavy trucks that are so plentiful on this Cape Town – Jo’burg route. In no time there is a logjam from which I take quite a while to extricate myself from. Word has it that a “service delivery” protest is causing the disruption in the mainstreet.

A friendly traffic warden allows me through the barrier and I finally reach Checkers – only to find it closed. A Covid case was detected therein yesterday so I am not having much success today. I finally complete my shop at a rather grubby Shoprite but must still circumvent the protest to leave town.

One really faces reality outside of one’s rather cocoon-like existence in these beautiful National Parks. These same protesters were no doubt responsible for electing as their Mayor, a Mt Truman Prince, whose conduct was such that even the ANC expelled him for “bringing the party into disrepute” – which really says something. Oh dear.

I happily return to the serenity of the Park. Later we again go up the wonderful Klipspringer Pass and pause atop to drink coffee and savour this great view.

Klipspringer Pass

We slowly descend again looking all the while for bird specials that supposedly are to be seen along this route. No luck. Down in the valley we take the gravel road westward and a small herd of kudu cross ahead of us. Again, the brown colour of these Karoo kudu is striking.

Turning, we head back for camp and again marvel at the evening scenes that greet us.

Even the staff village is is quaint and attractive

Back within the confines of the camp’s perimeter fence, we note these very pretty lilac coloured flowers growing amongst the typically Karoo scrub.

(Photo Courtesy – Renette)

At a water point close to camp, a troop of baboons are slaking their thirst.

And so ends a most enjoyable day. Really Karoo National is outstanding in all respects. The facilities are immaculate and spotlessly clean. Outside camp on one’s drives there is constant interest and even without the ‘Big 5’ on offer, we have had a wonderful day.