Sunday, 25 May 2014

Grootkolk and Urikaruus

I am carrying on with the visits to more of the Kgalagadi Wilderness Camps.  We have been busy with other travels like the one to Durban to join the MSC Opera on a journey to Mozambique Island and Maputu.  This sea journey was a bit out of the normal for us two bush crawlers, but the sea and the fun aboard was enough to keep us happy.  I will do another story about the cruise later on.I did not write anything about Grootkolk and Urikaruus Wilderness camps, so here we go:Urikaruus is a very popular camp with a great view over the watering hole in the Aub River between Mata Mata and Tweerivieren in The Kgalagadi.  To get a booking there is almost impossible, since it is so popular, but luckily, we stumbled upon a cancellation and took it immediately.  As we were already booked for Mata Mata, it was only an upgrade, so we did not lose the Mata Mata money.

The Urikaruus waterhole seen from the romantic little dwelling that we stayed in.  Here you can sit and watch the comings and goings of the animals.  We were not lucky enough to see any lions or other cats during daytime, but were lucky to see a huge male lion walking past the waterhole that night.  A few hours later, a leopard came for a drink of water, but in both these cases, it was too dark to take any photographs.

Springbok at the waterhole.  This is in the Aub river that flows maybe once every 50 years.  Water for the waterhole is supplied from a borehole and a solar pump.  This is a good spot where one may get lucky and see a lion or leopard kill.

This is the view to the right, where in this photo, the Springbok were joined by Blue Wildebeest.  The grass is a beautiful green following the good rains that fell.

The accommodation at Urikaruus consists of four wooden, double story buildings joined by wooden walkways that is elevated from the ground to make safe walking between them possible.  Safe from lions, perhaps, but there are always the possibility of leopards who can jump and climb very well, so be careful especially at night and never leave the dwelling without a proper light.

Grootkolk Wilderness camp is also very popular and difficult to get a booking for, but once you have it, be thankful because this camp is known for its lion visits and we were not disappointed because we were surprised shortly after our arrival with a visit by two male lions.  One was older than the other and after they drank some water, they walked past the dwelling to the right and lied down for some time.  If you go to my YouTube pages, you will find some video material about these lions there.

The two male lions at Grootkolk.  The one to the left is much younger than the one on the right.  They stayed around for a few hours walking this side and that, grunting lying down and finally left.  A wonderful experience!

The younger lion.

Kudu at the waterhole.

The Kudus - always aware and on the lookout.  They must know those lions are in the vicinity and looking out for a juicy piece of Kudu steak!

One's not allowed to feed them, but nobody said anything about water!