We set out for the Kalaghadi on Tuesday 7 June and spent our first night at Papkuilsfontein in the quaint Rondekraal cottage. Alri was the perfect hostess, as always, and brought us a delicious meal which we enjoyed in front of the fire. Next night saw us in Upington where we once again had a pleasant stay before driving through to Twee Rivieren for our first night in the Park.
We stayed a total of 10 nights in 5 different camps, but the ones that stood out were the wilderness camps where there are never more than 4 couples and where the camps are unfenced and each one overlooks a waterhole. The atmosphere was wonderful and we spent many hours watching animals coming to drink and graze without any concern for the visiting humans. Drives in the park yielded further good sightings and provided for many pleasurable hours despite the poor corrugated roads.
Unfortunately, being winter, we did not see that many birds and our trip list only numbered 127 species, but there were good sightings nevertheless and we were fascinated to see the Lanner Falcons preying on the Namaqua Doves at virtually every waterhole. They are superb hunters and were joined on one occasion by a couple of Shikras and a Gabar Goshawk, also looking for their dove dinner.
Urikaruus, where we spent three nights was wonderful, with a herd of no less than 44 giraffes coming to drink one evening! It was, however, extremely cold and when the outside temperature fell to minus 3 degrees in the morning, it was about the same indoors. We had to sleep wearing beanies and socks and with three blankets and a duvet on our beds, but still felt frozen by morning!
We returned yesterday, spending another very cold night in Calvinia on the way.