Posted by: tim ellis | September 21, 2015

South Africa’s Rare Mammals – Monday 21st September 2015


A certain amount of confusion at breakfast this morning when Neville and Mary ask for poached eggs but were brought hard boiled ones. It turns out the chef isn’t sure what poached eggs are, but Toby explains, and gets the hard boiled ones added our packed lunch, so it all turns out well.

We haven’t even left the lodge when we spot a Four Striped Grass Mouse close to the track, and once back in the National Park, we are soon able to add Black Backed Jackal to the list, as well as more sightings of Whistling Rats, Ground Squirrels, Gemsbok and Springbok – including a very young Springbok lamb, still quite wobbly on his feet. Staying with the very young, we see a Spike Heeled Lark with a nest on the ground about a metre and a half from the road with two hungry chicks.

Spike Heeled Lark//

We also see two different Owls – Spotted Eagle Owl, (which we’ve seen before) and Verreaux’s Eagle Owl (which we haven’t) – and three different Eagles – Martial (two different ones at rest), a Bateleurs (which lands briefly at a waterhole, but takes off again almost immediately) and a Tawny, soaring above us.

Gemsbok (Oryx)//

While we are eating lunch, we hear reports of a couple of cheetah further down the road, but try as we might we can’t find them before meeting up with the !Xaus lodge vehicle for our transfer 30 km and 96 dunes away from the “main road”. Once there we are met by Richard, the lodge manager, who gives us a quick orientation briefing over a glass of wine, and introduces us to Claudine ‘The only Guinea Fowl in the Kalahari’. Apparently she blew in on a storm a few years previously and was identified as a male, christened “Claude” and has lived here ever since, only revealing herself to be female earlier this year when she laid an egg!

Our guide for our stay is Melissa, as she tries to tell us the program, the wind picks up again, forcing us to retreat indoors – this also means dinner tonight will be in the dining room rather than out on the balcony.

After dinner we go for a night drive, finding Wild Cat, Bat-eared Foxes and Black Backed Jackal – along with a Barking Gecko and a large Scorpion.

Black Backed Jackal//


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