After the long drive to Mata Mata the day before we decided to take the day at a more leisurely pace, and as it was not far away, we first headed towards one of the areas where we saw Cheetahs previously. We hoped to see them again, and as it was our last full day for this safari, everyone was keen to photograph just about everything available.
On the way we stopped at the Cape Fox Den and spent ages there. The little pups were out and we photographed them as they romped around.
We also found some Bat-eared Foxes and were able to spend time with them as well because they were fairly relaxed and did not seem too bothered by our presence, as long as we didnt approach too close.
As always there were Oryx and Wildebeest everywhere and we again practiced panning shots – by now everyone is becoming quite adept at this technique. And once more the Ostriches put on a great show for us as they dust bathed.
During the later part of the morning we sat at a waterhole to watch what animals or birds would arrive. Sand Grouse and Cape Turtle Doves were very busy as they splashed, bathed and drank. While we watched we noticed that a couple of Lanner Falcons were very interested in the birds. And sure enough, they were more than just interested – they were hunting. We saw them swoop, but there were no catches while we watched, cameras ready. But wow, did we ever get fabulous flying shots!
On the way back to the Lodge we practised some panning shots and photographed the other Tusk photographic vehicle as it drove parallel to us.
During our final afternoon drive we concentrated on the typical photographs that are unique to the Kgalagadi area. The dunes, vegetation and animals create the type of image that could only have been captured here.
We photographed small creatures again, and used the slanting sun rays for backlit shots. And when Ostriches created a lot of dust backlit by the sun, it looked great. Some Springbok posed for us under beautiful trees that created a perfect setting for high-key photos.
We travelled further, hoping to see a Caracal or Wild Cat. We didn’t find either, but there were plenty of Ostriches that ran around, dust bathed, and created a beautiful cloud that looked beautiful with the sun creating a warm, golden light from behind the scene – a beautiful, iridescent glow shone over everything. In the middle of all that some Ostriches decided to fight, while others displayed. It was a magical moment.
We called in at the Cape Fox den again on the way back to the Lodge and found the three little pups playing tirelessly in the setting sun.
Our last early morning drive was very productive and started again with the Cape Foxes. Shortly after, we saw the Bat-eared Foxes again. They are quite relaxed, but not as much as the Cape Foxes, so we moved on, rather than disturb them.
We didn’t drive far because of time constraints – and just when we turned our vehicles around to head back to the Lodge we spotted a Lioness. She crossed the river close to us and went to rest at the top of one of the red sand dunes. She looked so beautiful up there.
On the way back to the Lodge we bumped into three more lionesses from a different pride. They were very lazy, and were not keen to move around as the day was warming quickly.
Further down the road we saw a big dust cloud and saw that two Gemsbok were sparring. Actually, it was quite a fight, and their long horns seemed about to pierce their opponent at any moment. The duelling carried on for ages, as the dust cloud thickened. And then suddenly it was all over, and the two gave up simultaneously.
At Upington airport we bade everyone farewell, and some have already arranged their next safari with us, so we should hopfully see familiar faces again soon …