Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On Safari With Curtis From 29 March 2015

29 March 2015

So today was the start of a new tour and not much for me too do as straight away the guests went out on their sundowner drive. A chance to take a first relaxing drive, watch a sunset with a glass of amarula and try and find some animals using the spotlight. Lots of general game was seen last night including hippo, giraffe and zebra.

30 March 2015

This morning after a spot of breakfast we set out eager to add to last nights start.

And add we did!!!

The highlight of the day was at transport dam. When we arrived there we found plenty of action going on with herds of zebra and waterbuck by the water. We then saw two female lions walk out from the tall grass immediately setting the alarm calls off from waterbuck. We watched for about ten minutes before the lionesses chose a nice shady tree to settle down underneath. As we watched them the waterbuck and zebra moved away to be replaced by impala and blue wildebeest, both keeping a respectable distance from the carnivores. At the dam we also had a pod of hippo, a lone crocodile swimming across the dam and plenty of birdlife.

During the rest of the morning we also found a trio of cheetahs, elephant, kudu, vervets and giraffe.

Our second highlight happened in the afternoon. An afternoon which started off very quietly and was rescued by a wonderful sighting of a leopard. We found him sitting just ten meters from the road lying on a branch of a marula tree. He hung around for about fifteen minutes every now and again changing position before he decided to climb down and cross the road in front of us and disappear from sight.

A great end to a very good day!!!

Monday, March 30, 2015

On Safari With Karen From 26 - 28 March 2015

26 March 2015

A new safari started today with a sundowner. This sundowner safari was a rather quiet one, as the guests saw just zebras in the distance, kudus, hippos in the water and a scrub hare. However, the sunset was lovely, especially with the Amarula. And since we had arrived at the park with a rain storm, it was even better that the sky had cleared up and they got to see a sunset after all.

27 March 2015

Today was a day with lots of animals. But soon after we started we had our first highlight of this tour. We drove down Napi road when we saw a buffalo in the distance. From another car at the sighting we learned that just before we arrived some lions had crossed and they were still there in between the bushes close to where the buffalo was. Now we looked again with binoculars and we spotted three lions walking in front of the buffalo. They were between the bushes so they walked in and out of sight. However they were walking towards the nearby dam so we decided to go there and wait for them to arrive.

At Shithave Dam we sat and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Then we saw the buffalo arrive but no lions. But we reasoned, the buffalo might have taken a short cut even though it was following the lions. So we waited some more. And then suddenly we saw this one lioness on the opposite site of the dam, half hidden behind a bush, staring at something on our side. At one moment she even hid completely as not to be seen and sometimes she would crouch as if she wanted to pounce!

Then suddenly we see three lionesses crossing the road from behind us towards the dam. So they walked out of sight of everything to be on the opposite sight of whatever it was the lioness already had noticed, is looking at. Now they were poised to build an ambush, and possibly the one still sitting on the opposite side might be the chaser. In the meantime we had spotted the target as some waterbuck were standing on the waters edge below us. One big male waterbuck as well as a baby were in our line of sight and it seemed the lionesses had their eyes on them.

However, while setting up the ambush one of the lionesses got out of the cover of the grass and was spotted by the big male waterbuck who sounded the alarm. She hid back in the grass and crouched slowly towards the waterbucks again but not slow enough. With the waterbucks now on edge she was at a disadvantage and she took the leap too early. Her eagerness made the big male bolt long before she got close. The baby however took a run straight towards the area where we last had seen the other two females and the one taking the spring got her almost cornered between herself and some rocks on the waters edge, when the little waterbuck took a last desperate turn around half through the water and a sprint in the opposite direction. This took the lioness by surprise. As she was not as quick in the turn the baby waterbuck got more and more distance and the lioness gave up. Slowly the other two came out of the high grass too and they had a sip of water.

Then slowly one lioness had joined its sister on the opposite side and the walked in between the bushes trying to be unobtrusive and get close to some other waterbucks. The lionesses on this side didn't join in or might have played decoy, but it had no success. The waterbucks had seen the hunt before and even though they didn't see the lions coming they were so on edge they moved away from the water in a close knitted group.

That was the last straw and the girls gave up. One by one they walked to a bunch of rocks and took a rest. It was our cue to leave the sighting and finally go for a loo break.

After coffee we got back on the road and followed a tip from a fellow guide that had seen a snake attack a chameleon. The snake had retreated when they arrived but the chameleon might still present an easy meal so we should keep our eyes open. We found the chameleon down the road and it was obvious he wasn't in the best of state. While looking at him the snake came back and moved slowly towards the chameleon again. He surely attacked and bit but got scared off by the arrival of another car. As this morning had already tested our patience we stayed put and waited....

And once again the snake returned and attacked the chameleon. Fervently trying to survive now the chameleon actually hissed and snapped at the snake and yet again the snake retreated. This repeated a couple of times when finally the snake had a final move and grabbed the chameleon in a stronghold and didn't let go. The chameleon became a well-deserved meal for the snake, who took his prize into the high grass. It took a while to swallow and as it was difficult to see we continued our journey and let the snake eat in peace.

Other interesting sightings: sadle-billed stork, dwarf mongooses, common grey duiker, elephants, white rhino, warthogs, kudus, woolly necked stork, European roller, impala, buffalos, lilac-breasted roller, giraffe, hippos in and out of the water, yellow-billed kite that just caught a mouse, vervet monkeys, a tree squirrel, helmeted guineafowls, multiple bateleurs flying over, two lappet-faced vultures, zebras, klipspringers, leopard tortoise, another chameleon, baboons, blacksmith lapwings divebombing vervet monkeys and a lone wildebeest.

28 March 2015

On our last day of our safari the skies were crying that the guests had to leave already. It had been raining all night long and while we had breakfast the clouds were still not empty. However, it cleared up a little bit when we were ready to leave and except for a couple of drops at least we stayed dry.

Our first sighting was a group of 6 wild dogs. As it is the rarest carnivore of the Kruger, it is always a treat to see some. They were on the move in front of us when they veered of course into the high grass. Suddenly a spooked duiker came bolting out of the grass, followed by a wild dog who showed some great athletic skills by leaping over the road entirely. But the duiker was quicker or good in hiding as the dog came back out on the road shortly after. We followed them for about two kilometers when all of them decided to take a shortcut through the high grass and we lost visual.

To complete the highlights we were very happy to see a leopard, especially since we had just missed a sighting of three of them by mere seconds this morning. This lady had most likely crossed the road behind us out of sight, while we were watching a giraffe walk away. As we then turned around as we were running out of time, we stumbled upon a stationary car and suddenly there she was. Out of the high grass she got a view of her surroundings standing high on a fallen tree. She jumped down and we followed her down the road where she was in and out of sight. Then she took one good look at the vehicles which by now all had arrived at the sighting and decided it was enough. She flicked her tail, turned and disappeared in the vegetation. Brief but nice as one of my guests was really eager to see a leopard.

Other interesting sightings: an elephant bull up close, a family of dwarf mongoose foraging, warthogs, giraffe, guineafowls, purple crested turaco and a long crested eagle.

Thanks to Elad and Sonia for joining us on safari, it was great having you as guests these couple of days!

On Safari With Robbie 27 - 29 March 2015

27 March 2015

My 2 American guests arrived today and went straight on their sunset drive ..... It was rather quiet but some good sightings of general game were seen!

28 March 2015

Today turned out to be a freak day where we saw on not more than 2 occasions ...

Leopard , lion , spotted hyena , Cheetah, Buffalo, Elephant and W.Rhino! With them all being magnificent sightings I would have to pick the male Cheetah seen at 11:06am to be the tops! This male initially seen on some flat rocks on the Albasini road suddenly came straight towards us and then walked parallel with us on the road for 3,3 km!

Not to mention that this special cat actually carefully chose 3 Marula trees to climb and basically stretched and claw marked each one! The sighting was ever so special once again because we were the only vehicle there!

Our Swedish guests who joined us for the afternoon were so incredibly lucky to see what they did in 3 hrs!!!!

29 March 2015

The last day for our 4 keen guests dawned with welcoming cool weather! We set out with the hope that we could spot the rare wild dog to complete the "magnificent 7".

Knowing this was going to be a tough call in the time we had we were however optimistically positive as these guests had already seen species beyond their wildest dreams!

Sure as nuts after s brief coffee break a wild dog location came through on the radio!

On arriving at the scene we were soon to learn that this was going to be the sighting of the trip!

The wild dog repetitively tried to snatch 2 Buffalo calves from a rather large and aggressive herd!

There were 15 adult dogs in total so they had numbers but were no match for the large female Buffs charging at them continuously!

This happened in the open and lasted 45 minutes!
The magnificent 7 had been achieved and for 2 particular guests in 4 hours of game viewing! A total rarity in itself!

To top it all on our way out we got a mating pair of lion!

It had been a safari that one could talk about for years! Most importantly fun was had and friendships were made too!!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

On Safari With Robbie 25 March 2015

25 March 2015

Today we started off with a brilliant sighting of male lions which literally went on for an hour mainly because they were walking down the road two by two 4km apart!

The initial 2 juveniles were very anxious and we found out why later as the tow huge black manned lads behind were actually after them!

It all ended with the big lads chasing the youngsters deep into adjacent bush and then they proceeded back onto the road roaring their heads off with pride !

A top class sighting indeed!

Other top sightings for the day was a large Buffalo herd,3 different W.rhino and brilliant Elephant herd sightings ! Fun was also had observing Baboon troops and Vervet monkeys!

The honeymooners Barry and Lindsey head for Mauritius tomorrow with plans to visit Kruger again soon!