Friday, February 27, 2015

On Safari With Curtis 25 -26 February 2015

25 February 2015
Today there was no game drive as the guests did the panoramic tour heading up to Blade River canyon stopping along the way at lots of look out points and waterfalls with a stop in graskop to try the famous pancakes!!!

26 February 2015
This morning was the last of this tour and after breakfast we set out on one last drive. Last parts of the morning were quiet but we did find another pride of lions, herd of buffalo and loads of elephants as well as kudu, impala, Waterbuck, warthog and steenbok.
The highlight of the morning tho was down at a watering hole where we found a pod of hippos very active particularly the dominant male as he showed his teeth and chased other younger males around before flicking his dung with his tail confirming this was his ground. Also at the dam a lone bull elephant splashing mud all over himself, the last remnants of a buffalo herd taking a drink, crocs and lots of birdlife.
Time to say goodbye to our guests Jessica and Brian who fly back to not so sunny and definitely not so warm Chicago. Thanks for your company over the last four days, great having you on tour and travel safe.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Safari With Curtis 24 February 2015

24 February 2015

This morning was an early start but for a different reason. No game drive but a bushwalk instead and although no big mammals were spotted it was still enjoyed immensely by everyone as it's a different experience to being out on the vehicle.

After a shower, breakie and a rest we went out for a drive finding plenty of game such as lions, elephants, impala, kudu, zebra, waterbuck, tortoises and terrapins.

But the highlight of the day happened in two parts. We went down to a watering hole to find there had been a confrontation between hyena and crocodile both who had been trying to kill a female kudu. When we turned up the kudu was badly injured with the crocodile sitting on the bank just a few meters away from her. The hyena had disappeared.

As we watched one hyena reappeared and seemed to head towards the kudu and we thought her time was up. But it seemed reluctant to venture closer as the crocodile was so close. Not wanting to risk a bite from a croc eventually the hyena gave up and moved away.

We watched for another ten minutes to see if the hyena would return but it didn't. And so we left the sighting.

On our return, around two hours later we found the female kudu standing by the waters edge with the crocodile now loitering just inside the water watching and waiting.

We waited expecting the Croc to lunge at its prey but it didn't. The kudu knew that the Croc was in the water close by and turned to leave but she was seriously injured with its front left leg broken and part of its foot hanging off. The rest of her body showed signs of bites from both hyena and croc.

The kudu managed to turn away and limp just a meter away before exhaustion made her stop. At this time the Croc decided to move away to the other side of the dam. Seeing this the kudu turned again and made its way to the waters edge desperately in need of a drink. By now it had been standing in the heat for more than four hours.

As she edged closer to the water the Croc came back and again waited just a couple of meters from the kudu.

The kudu was now on its last legs, seriously hurt and it's head drooping lower and lower and when ever it moved struggling to stay on her feet. Eventually thirst got the better of her and she bent down to drink. By this stage her legs couldn't support her and she fell.

As much as she tried she couldn't get back up and after about ten minutes the Croc made its move. At first attacking the kudus rear end dragging her further into the water and then finally grabbing her by the head and moving her into deeper water where she could drown the kudu.

We had been watching this drama for nearly ninety minutes as the inevitable happened with the kudu finally succumbing to her injuries and the crocs patience being finally rewarded. An incredible sighting played out in slow motion as the kudu fought for life and to the last second.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Safari With Robbie 23 February 2015

23 February 2015
We arrived in Kruger today to be greeted by a beautiful elephant herd full of youngsters and sub adults right on the road 50 meters from the gate.

Other sightings include buffalo, white rhino, impala, zebra and kudu.

On Safari With Curtis 23 February 2015

23 February 2015
The beginning of a new tour and with the temperature warming up in the afternoon it might have been a struggle for sightings. However this afternoon was to be different as we found the much wanted 'BIG 5' in the space of three hours.

The highlight of this afternoon was finding the three leopard cubs which had come out as the sun started to go down. They were lying close to a rocky area out in the open possibly waiting for mum to return.

Our second highlight was the rhino sighting, we had three in this crash who just popped out onto the road in front of us before crossing over the road and moving into the bush.

Other species seen turned were elephant, buffalo, a pride of lions, impala, kudu, klipspringer and warthogs.

On Safari With Mark 23 February 2015

23 February 2015

Today we only had 1 highlight but it was worth while

We spent 3.5hrs at a lion sighting originally spotted yesterday afternoon and we decided to go pay them a visit today.

As we arrive, we could only spot a Male lion and 2 lioness. The male was rather restless moving around to the benefit of us as quality photos could be taken. Eventually the females got up and went and called the Cubs to come out of hiding as it was time for a feed and this was once again enjoyed by all as we could see all the Cubs feeding on mom and Dad just enjoying a snooze

General animals were: Impala, waterbuck, rhino, klipspringer, zebra, hippo, crocodile, bushbuck, nyala, kudu, vervet monkeys, chackma baboons, giraffe, buffalo and elephant

Monday, February 23, 2015

On Safari With Mark 22 February 2015

22 February 2015

The highlights have to be given to the cats today, think it's due to the overcast and cool weather we experienced

First: 2 cheetahs with a dispute between a clan of hyena's was seen and then 2kms past them we spotted 2 of the 3 brothers and both of them were calling for Him.

We got a tip of a female leopard that had just killed a common duiker and pulled it up into a Marola tree. Great visuals of that one too.

This afternoon’s drive we spotted 2 lionesses, 1 male and 7 Cubs just lying around enjoying the weather

General animals: Impala, kudu, giraffe, waterbuck, warthog, common duiker, hippos, elephant, rhinos and a number of bird species

Great day had by all!

On safari With Mark 21 February 2015

21 February 2015

First afternoon on safari, had a laughing with a Young elephant bull walking up the middle of the road shacking his head as though to let us know we shouldn't be there. He then turned looked at us with trunk sniffing the air and turned around and walked off into the bush. Guests extremely happy to see this beautiful animal and was the top animal on their wish list to see on safari.

Other animals included: Impala, kudu, hippos, zebra, klipspringer and waterbuck

On safari With Curtis 22 February 2015

22 February 2015

This morning was in complete contrast to the last few days. Hot and humid had been replaced with overcast and drizzle. However this didn't storage sighting on this the last day of the tour.

The highlight of the morning was a cheetah sighting, found by Mark early morning when we got there we found two cheetah walking along a firebreak road about ten meters from the road. We followed them for some distance as they scent marked their territory. What made it more interesting was their calling out, probably for their lost brother. Eventually they crossed over the road and moved further into the grass.

We also had a great sighting of a clan of hyena feeding on a carcass, a female leopard who had also made a kill and dragged it up into a tree, plenty of elephants, rhino including a crash of six, kudu, giraffe, waterbuck, zebra and impala.

A great end to another great tour. Then it was time to transfer back to Nelspruit and say goodbye to Sabina and Samuel. Been great having you on tour and hope to see back here in South Africa one day. I know how much you have enjoyed the last four days.

On safari With Curtis 21 February 2015

21 February 2015

This morning as we left camp it was already warm and as the day progressed it got even hotter. By the afternoon the temperature was in the high 90s maybe even reaching three figures. This contributed to the day being relatively quiet at times however we did still manage to get a good number of sightings. These included hippo, elephants, rhino, giraffe, klipspringer, common duiker, buffalo, warthog, waterbuck, kudu and impala.

The highlight of the day was a lion sighting, we had seen lions already earlier in the day but that sighting was very average as the lions were hiding in the tall grass.

At the second lion sighting we found two females and just ten meters from them three hyena. The hyena were busy eating, possibly having stolen it from the lions. Every now again the hyenas would approach the lions as if goading them. Eventually the lions had had enough and got up and pushed the hyenas away, not that the hyenas were happy.

Lots of squealing and cackling from the hyenas, growling by the lions and a face off with only six feet separating them. Eventually after one final feed the two lions moved off into the shade and this was the cue for the hyena to do the same.

We had been treated to thirty minutes of drama with this interaction between two serious rivals.

On safari With Curtis 20 February 2015

20 February 2015

Todays highlight was the bushwalk that the guests went on, leaving early, to beat the heat, it's a chance to experience and learn about the finer details of the bush. As well as seeing game such as cape buffalo, waterbuck and impala they learnt about the scat and spoor of the animals, the scratching post of an elephant as well as learning about a couple of the common trees and smaller critters such as the golden orb spider.

Afterwards a short drive where we spotted plenty of elephants, nice rhino, leopard, giraffe, kudu, common duiker, baboons and hippo.

Then time for a bit of a rest, a swim and a sleep before the sunset drive.

As well as a lovely sunset drive where they saw giraffe, zebra, an owl, hippo and a very close elephant with a large bull elephant.

Friday, February 20, 2015

On Safari With Robbie 20 February 2015

20 February 2015

Setting out early this morning we came across a hyena clan who had three different age grouped youngsters with them. They suddenly all appeared on the road making a great photo opportunity as there was 20 in total.

We had a lone elephant bull chasing us down the road as well as a herd of 150 buffalo. A distant sighting of a female leopard was also awesome, giraffe herds were closer to the road and all in all in such heat we were ecstatic with what we saw.

On safari With Robbie 18 February 2015/ 19 February 2015

18 February 2015

we arrived in Kruger at 2pm to be greeted by a lovely elephant herd close to phabeni gate. On the way to camp we spotted buffalo, white rhino and a big herd of kudu.

The night drive produced classic sightings of elephant, hippo, buffalo, genets, civits and hyenas.

19 February 2015

Setting out a bit later this morning I wasn’t expecting much as it was rather warm! Wrong I was as we encountered numerous Kudu, buffalo and impala herds with excellent visuals.

We then spotted a pride of 5 lionesses real close to the road, they were all stretching and resting. Out of nowhere my colleague called me for a kilometer away on our radio as he had picked up a leopard. On arrival at the scene we were to seethe strong male had snatched a kudu calf which was rather large. The kudu mother was frantically trying to save its young and was barking loudly but to no avail. The leopard then dragged its prize across the road right in front of us. It was a sighting that will stay with us forever!

On the way to camp we saw rhino and two huge elephant bulls sparring.

On the afternoon drive we picked up some more amazing raptors such as Martial and Tawny eagles.

We came across numerous buffalo and elephant herd along the Sabie river.

Watching the sun go down over camp and chatted quietly realizing Kruger had produced an incredible day.

On Safari With Curtis 19 February 2015

19 February 2015

This morning we set off with a cooler overcast sky, perfect weather and we saw plenty of animals such ellies, buffalo, rhino, zebra, warthog, dwarf mongoose, kudu, waterbuck and impala.

However the day belonged to two particular highlights.

The first was after a tip from mark, he had found three cheetah walking along the road. Although quite far from the sighting we made our way there as quickly as we could and were lucky enough to indeed find the three cheetah still on the road. But they were acting strange hissing and snarling and then we saw why.

Out of the grass appeared a fourth cheetah and then all hell broke out. Two of the three brothers went straight for the newcomer, squeals and hissing from all of them. We were in the middle of a territorial dispute. The newcomer then managed to escape the others and sprinted at top speed across the road with the other three in hot pursuit out of sight into the tall grass.

The second highlight of the day is actually four sightings which all took place, incredibly, within a 2.5km distance of each other. The first sighting a large black maned lion sitting out in the open at the edge of the road, unfortunately with the sun getting hotter he moved into the shade and out of sight, the second sighting four lionesses and a juvenile male lion, his mohawk just starting to show. In the shade but just a couple of meters from the road we got a great look at this pride of lions before leaving the sighting. Our third sighting was a kilometer down the road when I noticed our fifth cheetah of the day, this one also a male who walked along side the road before darting across the road out of sight.

But the fourth sighting was the best. Just another kilometer from the cheetah we found a female kudu standing in the grass. As we edged forward she started to alarm call, a deep loud bark. We looked around and then I spotted why, she was alarm calling at a leopard. But it was too late as the leopard grabbed the kudus calf.

We watched as the leopard with a kudu calf, as big as itself, in its jaw shuffled across the road just ten meters from our vehicle. Meanwhile the female kudu.was watching and following the leopard constantly alarm calling and in distress about its calf.

In just a couple of kilometers we had seen the big three cats in what is surely one of the most amazing morning drives I have ever done.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Charlotte and James who even though were just with us for a couple of days now have a lifetime of memories to cherish.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Safari With Curtis 18 February 2015

18 February 2015

So the start of a new tour and after entering at Phabeni gate, in very hot conditions, we found plenty of general game such as impala, zebra, buffalo, warthog, waterbuck and giraffe.

The highlight of the drive was at the watering hole as we found a family of elephants at the waters edge. There were nine ellies in this group and while the adults drank the youngsters were too busy playing in the mud. Also at the dam were the hippos but surprisingly two were out of the water grazing in the heat of the day. Then three more left water and joined the first two.

Also impala and waterbirds were around the waters edge making it an action packed sighting.

Later in the afternoon the guests had an sunset drive, with the sun on full power today they got to see enjoy an amazing sunset as well as viewing plenty of animals, the highlight being loads of elephants close to the car.

On Safari With Curtis 16 February 2015

16 February 2015 
The last day of the tour and one final early start to try and get as many sightings as possible. Lots seen this morning in particular giraffe.

Over the course of the morning we found more than twenty of these elegant animals and got many great photos.

Later we found a nice big territorial male rhino standing right on the edge of the road giving us an great opportunity to photograph him.

Along the way we found plenty more including zebra, wildebeest, warthog, impala, kudu, waterbuck, dwarf mongoose, tree squirrel, giant land snail, elephant and buffalo.

A good end to the tour. Time to say goodbye to Loretta and Jennifer who have had a great time and been very fortunate in all they have seen the last four days.

On Safari With Karen 17 February 2015

17 February 2015

Today was the last day of this tour and we had a great ending! First animals we saw was a mother and young elephant, followed by three different sightings of hyena and a honey badger that first pulled an angry face at us, then scowled and then quickly crossed the road in front of us. 

But our squee of this morning was a troop of baboons. Ok, not everyone might find them pretty, but these guys were full of energy so they were very entertaining to watch. There were youngsters playing judo, a wrestling match was going on and others climbed in the tallest and flimsiest trees. These last ones kept on almost falling out of them "whooooooooh", but most times just managed to hang on and climb a bit down. But in the end one actually did fall out... We watched this show for at least 30min, when suddenly an alarm call sounded. At first they were not disturbed, but at the fourth call, the tone had changed and suddenly all baboons shot off towards the calling baboon. A lot more of them came running out of the bush than we had seen so far, but without a backwards glance they all disappeared.

We ended our tour on a high when we found a leopard as our last animal of this tour. She was lying on the rocks at first, but after licking her paws and washing her face she got up. She moved around a bit so we drove around the rocks and saw her again on the other side. Here she was leaping around the big rocks, jumping like a proper big cat. Then she spotted a klipspringer and started stalking it. But the klipspringer had seen her coming and sounded the alarm. Still she made a mad dash for him, but the agile klipspringer was long gone. She then bumbled around a bit more, sitting down, even stalking a kudu. We sadly had to leave her in the end as the guests needed to make their transfer to the airport as they fly back home tonight. It marked the end of a great safari. Thanks Suzy, John, John and Trina for joining us!

Other interesting sightings: hyena with pups and a hyena that walked of with a piece of a roadworks signpost, white rhinos, waterbucks, impalas, bateleurs, kudu bulls, dwarf mongooses, hippos, goliath heron, Cape turtle doves courting, tawny eagle, crocodile, red-collared widowbird, giraffe, Speke's hinged tortoise and a few elephant bulls.

On Safari With Karen 16 February 2015

16 February 2015

On the sundowner the guests had a good drive. They saw zebras, wildebeest, hyenas, lions, a white rhino hiding in the bush and more giraffes

Today we set off for a full day game drive. Our first highlight was when we encountered a leopard. He was leisurely crossing the road about 50m in front of us and then kept on walking along side us for about 2km! He was in the bushes so we lost visual once in a while, but we were there just at the right spot at the right time! Seeing the leopard completed the big 5 checklist for the guests and as we had already seen hyenas, cheetahs and wild dogs, we now had the score of a crazy 8!

Our second highlight came in the afternoon when we could spend 30min with a grazing white rhino out in the open and close to the car. So far our white rhino sightings have been quite obscured so this was an amazing view. Since a warthog was feeding next to it we could really appreciate its size and beauty. A wonderful sighting it was.

Other interesting sightings: waterbucks, bateleur, duiker, impalas, kudu bulls, herd of buffalo, slender mongoose, a family of klipspringers, wildebeest, crested francolins, tawny eagle, brown snake eagle, buffalo bull we thought was dead and then suddenly got up (apparently deep asleep in a what looked like a most uncomfortable position), zebras, giraffes (including a couple of males having a very half-hearted fight), a lone vervet monkey and twice hyenas.

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Safari With Robbie 13 February 2015

13 February 2015

Today was a very hot day, as far as temperatures were concerned we came close to hitting the 40 degree mark! Despite that, sightings were good but most were distant visuals due to most species seeking the coolness of the shade!

Three Cheetahs were seen on the hunt again and Buffalo were seen in the lower waters edge at most water holes enjoying the semi cool water!

Elephant spotted were either mud bathing or most of the time they were seen standing and dozing!

General game was great with some beautiful sightings of male Kudus and Waterbuck!

We set out on our last drive tomorrow in eager anticipation!

On Safari With Karen 15 February 2015

15 February 2015

Of all the amazing things we saw, today's highlight was definitely the sighting of a Cape clawless otter. And probably not just of today, but of the entire tour. Or week. Month. Maybe even year! In all my time in the Kruger Park, this was actually the first time I ever saw one. And we did get a good look at him too. He was just foraging around in between rocks and diving through the water with not a care in the world for the people looking at him. Or for that guide that was jumping up and down in her seat with excitement, hehe... grin emoticon

We had a very good morning with excellent sightings so choosing the second highlight is more difficult. Curtis has already described one of them, the excellent lion sighting. We did see a hyena this morning too, and what made the sighting even more memorable was that a little further on he started his territorial call. The whooping sound of a hyena must be the most wonderful sound in the world. And it was loud too, so much so that the giraffe we were looking at now, actually turned its head in the direction of the sound.

Other interesting sightings: three youngish male lions right next to the road, an elephant herd feeding, massive elephant bulls, plenty European rollers, impalas, warthogs, carmine bee eaters, three cheetahs hiding in the high grass, crocodiles, hippos in and semi out of the water, golden orb spiders, many baboons, bushbucks, vervet monkeys, two wild dogs trotting in the middle of the road towards us and pausing briefly right next to us, leopard tortoises, giraffes, buffalos, magpie shrikes, lone white-backed vulture and marabou storks.

On Safari With Karen 14 February 2015

14 February 2015 

A new tour started today and the first animal you see on your first ever safari is always a highlight. This time it was a magnificent kudu bull with a massive set of horns. And as if he knew he was a pretty boy, he posed nicely for our first wildlife photos.

Secondly, we saw an enormous elephant bull, right next to the road. He was having a munch of a little bush mixed with some grass. He was already quite old, so very used to the life in the Kruger Park. So he was close to the car and the tourist snapping away with their cameras. It was a great sighting up to when he finished with the bush and walked off in search of another one.

Other interesting sightings: buffalo, impalas, fork-tailed drongo, yellow-billed hornbill, an elephant herd, Speke's hinged tortoise, lilac-breasted rollers, Egyptian geese, hippos (and one guy with very deformed lower jaw teeth), zebras, wildebeests, banded mongoose and a yellow-billed kite.

On Safari With Karen 13 February 2015

13 February 2015

Another early morning to go on safari today, and once again we were rewarded with some lekker sightings. Our highlights of today are both elephant sightings. The first one was a large bull elephant that apparently fancied some marulas. He walked around the marula tree but found none. So he decided to help nature a little and put his massive head against the tree and gave a couple of short pushes. Then some marulas fell off the tree and he hurried over to pick them up. As it weren't many, he then walked off to the next marula. Very resourceful!

Our second highlight was an elephant herd. They were close to the road, so we had a good look at them. The best "aaahhww" moment was when a little baby ran up to its mama to have a drink. The milk was dribbling a bit around his mouth too! After he got his fill he bounced around like a little bunny as if he was trying to make a milkshake in his belly. It was a great joy watching him. However, when his mum walked off, he followed suit.

Other interesting sightings: giraffes, many families of baboons, other baboons that had been viciously fighting as they were bloody and pieces of skin on their face hang loose, hippos, including one out of the water crossing the road, buffalos, zebras, wildebeest, a leopard tortoise, white rhinos, more elephants, impalas and a duiker.

Friday, February 13, 2015

On Safari With Robbie: 12 February 2015

12 February 2015

This morning my guests went on their bushwalk before we headed out on our drive.

The drive had many highlights we came across the three cheetah I had seen three days ago, this time however they were trying to take down a female impala with no success in the end. 

Other sightings include a pride of 7 lions close to the road, superb white rhino sightings, buffalo, hippo, elephant as well as 35 bird species.

Most of all we enjoyed the magnificent scenery and unexpectedness of this pronominal place!