Friday 23 November 2012

New-Look Website!!

Good day, friends! 

It's been a long time coming, but I can finally reveal the new homepage that houses my photographic portfolio! I went from the flash-based website that I started out with to a more user-friendly and mobile-browsing-friendly format using HTML5 language.

You can still check out my website at the same address:

I would love to have your feedback, as I am still building some of the galleries. I wanted to have the site live before leaving for the Kgalagadi.

Have a great weekend and week ahead, folks! I will be cruising through the red sand dunes looking for some epic wildlife encounters.

Morkel Erasmus

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Kgalagadi: September 2009 (Part 7)

We woke up to what was promising to be a beautiful sunrise in the Nossob river valley. We had an early coffee and struck out north towards the furthest ends of the Park. The plan was to head out towards Polentswa and make jaffels at Lijersdraai picnic spot.

The sunrise was in fact glorious...

We reached Cubitje Quap waterhole. This is a popular hunting spot for raptors like the speedy Lanner Falcons. Flocks of doves and sandgrouse frequent the waterhole in the morning hours.

We looked the other way from the waterhole - and lo and behold there was a Lanner Falcon with a fresh kill, a laughing dove. What a wonderful sighting!

Unfortunately for us, the road further north was very quiet except for these Bat-Eared Foxes.

After our jaffel-lunch we went a bit further north to the Kannaguas waterhole, where some thirsty Blue Wildebeest were milling about.

We turned around to go and have a nap before our afternoon drive (at this point it was a 60km drive back to camp). We saw a Secretary Bird on the way home...

Back at Cubitje Quap there were some Bateleur eagles taking a noon bath.

Upon completing our afternoon nap and swim we headed out to Marie-se-draai again. It pains me to say that it was another very quiet afternoon...but then again just being in the wide open spaces of the Kalahari is a privilege on its own...

This would be our last night in Nossob...on the following day we would head back to the Auob river for one night in Mata-Mata and our last night in Urikaruus Wilderness Camp.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Kgalagadi: September 2009 (Part 6)

Today we would be leaving the Kalahari Tented Camp and move across the dunes to the Nossob riverbed on the border with Botswana. 

This is a view of the tents that I captured the previous morning:

And this Barn Owl was living on our roof under the awning...

We got up early and packed all the luggage and food so we can hit the road early and have good light for photography. The sunrise looked promising so right before we left I took the time to capture some landscape photos behind our tents.

So we hit the road. The usual suspects made their appearance...

Blue Wildebeest

Then we found them...our first Kalahari lions!! This was a mating couple, and for the moment they were out for the count - but we knew they would be up-and-at-it again soon. It was great to have them next to the road.

This look speaks volumes...

After a couple of bouts of copulation, they laid down again, and this time we knew we had to push on. It was still a long way to Nossob, and we would have to pitch camp again as we were camping old-school style in Nossob.

A Black-Shouldered Kite watched us amble by. These birds are quite populous in the Kgalagadi - in fact this place has a very healthy diversity of raptors and is a haven for bird photographers.

We saw a herd of Wildebeest approaching and I used the opportunity to capture the scale of the red dunes on the banks of the dry Auob river.

A flock of ostriches were enjoying the Kalahari dust...

Just before we came to the upper dune road we saw our first Red Hartebeest of the trip.

I was keeping an eye out for those cheetahs, but they were out of sight on this day.
Another raptor frequently seen is the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk. This one took off nicely for my camera...

We arrived at Nossob without much further excitement, and pitched our camp. After some lunch, swimming and siesta (all the main camps have nice swimming pools which are necessary to visit in the heat of the day!) we set out for a short afternoon drive to a nearby waterhole. The only noteworthy sighting was this Black-backed Jackal who came to quench his thirst.

"Don't get your feet wet!"

We drove slowly back to camp...and had a surprise that night as we had to deal with many more of these jackals. They patrol the inside of the Nossob camp at night (I don't know where they get in - crawling under the fence or something) but it's been a nuisance every year. You often hear them rummaging through your trash or even your food if it's not properly stored. Quite the excitement as you chase them from your camp in the middle of the night in your PJ's.

I'll leave you here until I continue this trip report with the next morning's drive.

Morkel Erasmus

Sunday 11 November 2012

Kgalagadi: September 2009 (Part 5)

We were spending two nights in this camp - the Kalahari Tented Camp. This is the view from our verandah that night:

And this is the view from the braai ("braai" is a South African word for "barbeque"). Over the ridge/dune you see in these photos lies Namibia.

After the really long drive of the previous day and the excitement of the cheetah sighting, we decided to stay in our camp the following morning and enjoy the stillness and vistas of the Kalahari.

Here are some photos taken of the local Yellow Mongooses and birds that morning in the Kalahari Tented Camp.

The Crimson-Breasted Shrike is a beautiful bird - see for yourself!

A Pygmy Falcon was sitting in a tree in the riverbed in front of our tent.

Some more Yellow Mongoose and Ground Squirrel shots:

After a hearty lunch and some siesta-time, we took off for an afternoon drive. We went southwards, as far as the hyena den close to Urikaruus.

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater:

Dead Camelthorn tree:

Black-backed Jackal hunting for rodents (and being quite successful!) - crap photos though:

Kori Bustard (Africa's largest flying bird):

We reached the hyena den, with some of the cubs peeking out, but no movement or action there to speak of:

We turned back. At the 14th Borehole waterhole we saw a Lilac-Breasted Roller (one of Africa's most beautiful birds):

On the loop to Dalkeith waterhole we found some Bat-Eared Foxes out hunting as the day was drawing to a close. It's always a joy to see these chaps.

The sunset was beautiful that evening:

We'd had a relatively quiet day, but enjoyed being in the Kalahari nonetheless. This place helps you enjoy the small things and the sheer variety of life that exists in this harsh landscape. The next day we would be off to the Nossob camp, more to the Botswana side...and it would be an exciting drive there! Watch this space...

Morkel Erasmus