Friday, October 30, 2015

On Safari With Mark From 28 October 2015

28 October 2015

Been a great tour so far with the clients having fantastic sightings from one animal to another.

Started on sundown drive with Giraffe, elephant and zebra all within 5 m from the car.

29 October 2015

Our sightings for today were absolutely fantastic and many fun hours spent chatting about these wonderful creatures.

The 2 highlights would have to go to the cats

Firstly Karen called us and let us know of mating lions so we decided to respond. On our way to her we came across 7 others in the river bed just lying enjoying the morning breeze.

We got to Karen's lions to see 8 more and they were all in the open and within 1-5m from our car.

On our return to camp we found a beautiful leopard that had killed a warthog and hadn't started eating yet. Judging on the meat, it's going to be busy the entire night on that one.

Other animals include: warthog, Impala, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, klipspringer, steenbok, common duiker, blue wildebeest, buffalo, rhino, elephant, hippo, crocs, baboons, monkeys to name a few.

So after a bushwalk tomorrow, I'll be saying goodbye to very happy people, that hopefully will be able to join us again sometime in the near future.

On Safari With Robbie 29 October 2015

29 October 2015

Today we set out to tick off the 2 remaining magnificent 7 species that we needed and yup ... Probably for me the best lion sighting of the year unfolded with 3 Males and 3 Females up close and personal with us.  We also got a pack of wild dogs running along the road.

Simply phenomenal as we achieved our magnificent 7 goal.

On Safari With Karen from 28 October 2015

28 October 2015

A very quiet start of a new safari as we drove for about 20 kilometers without even seeing an impala. But luckily it turned around as time went by.

Our first highlight was meeting this white rhino bull that was taking a leisurely stroll down the road. Not caring for oncoming cars or anything else he just made his way down, occasionally stopping for some grazing. When he got close to us he did seem to pose for a bit, or just checking us out, but then continued on his way down. His swagger to the left and right of the road made it seem he either had too much to drink or he just couldn't make up his mind on which side the grass seemed better. 

Our second highlight was seeing a herd of elephants feeding close to the road. Being the favorite of one of my guests, he was absolutely delighted. The family stayed close knit together in the bushes but occasionally one would venture out a bit so we could have a good look. And it was great to see how elephants use their trunk to get food from the ground or off trees. Or to rub their ear. Or to pick a hair or something else small out of their eye!

Other animals seen included zebras, giraffes, blue wildebeests, a warthog, waterbucks, a steenbok, impalas and female kudus and nice kudu bulls too. 

Birds included the pretty cape glossy starling, the even prettier lilac breasted roller, crested francolins, helmeted guineafowls and forktailed drongos. 

29 October 2015

A morning well spend today as it was all about the lions today! As we arrived at our second lion sighting of today, this was the absolute highlight for my guests.

The guests were eager to see some and the first lion sighting was quite disappointing. These lions were sleeping down in the riverbed, about 50m away from us and wherever we parked they were obscured by trees and leaves. Not good to take pictures. But now we had arrived at a sighting of 6 lions, 3 males and 3 females, sleeping close to the road. Occasionally one would open an eye, maybe two or even pop up a head. But nothing much else they were planning on doing as this is what lions do best: snooze! We had the pleasure of watching them from all angles for a long time and got lucky that we saw one get up and walk about 5 whole meters before lying back down again. We also saw a male flehmen (checking the urine of the female to see if she is ready to mate) and actually mate with her. But then all went back to sleep. 

A third lion sighting was also exciting as it was 3 lions from the same pride just a little further down the road. One male was lying head up next to the road and he had a good look at us before getting up, walking across and lying down in the shade of a bush on the other side. This was the moment that all camera batteries had died from all the pictures and videos taken, so it was time to head back to Skukuza for some long overdue breakfast!

Personally the highlight was coming around the corner and being engulfed by a pack of 19 wild dogs. They weren't watching the car (which almost resulted in a head on collision between a moving wild dog and our car standing still), but they had their eyes on the bush. And suddenly right next to us, out jumps an impala! Chased by half the pack he still manages to disappear in the bush on the other side of the road and get away. The dogs came back to the road afterwards and we took a little drive with them while they trotted up the road.

Other animals seen: reedbuck, buffalo, zebras, vervet monkeys, a gang of banded mongooses on early morning patrol to raid the bins in camp, an island full of hippos, nyalas, warthogs and lots of very cute baboons.

On their sundowner drive they could add giraffes and the elusive leopard to the list.

Birds today included a martial eagle, southern ground hornbills, yellow billed kite, green woodhoopoes, bateleurs, little bee-eaters, grey go-away birds, yellow billed hornbills and goliath herons. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Safari With Gert From 26 October 2015

26 October 2015

Leaving early for our morning drive, we set out in rather hot sunny conditions, which soon changed as some clouds rolled in. This made for some good game viewing conditions as it remained cloudy throughout the morning.

We were soon rewarded with a fairly quick leopard sighting. We saw it walking away from us along a game trail and eventually out of sight. Not long after, we found a Spotted Hyena sleeping in a drainage line close to the road.

After our morning coffee break, we continued to a nearby waterhole where we were in for quite a treat.

On arrival we saw a female White Rhino with 2 calves of different ages, the younger just over a year old. They were looking very alert and staring at 6 lionesses lying under a tree a few meters away. As the Rhino moved towards the waterhole, one or two lions also got uneasy and they made sure they kept a very close eye on each other. We noticed 2 more lionesses and a young male to make it 9 lions, however they are most likely part of a bigger pride.. As if seeing Rhino and Lion share a waterhole was not enough, a large elephant bull approached for a drink and a mud bath. On his approach the bull startled 2 more spotted hyena which were hiding in their burrow and they made a hasty escape! After his mud bath the elephant stood facing the lions, turning the tip of his trunk to catch their scent, the lions in turn trying to look as disinterested as possible. The elephant then walked off, surprisingly leaving them in peace, but what a fantastic moment to have 3 of the big 5 and hyena together!

27 October 2015

We set out early with the bush refreshed after a night of heavy rain. As it was still overcast, with bouts of light drizzle it was actually very good game drive weather and we set out with the hope of finding some predators in the cool conditions.

However the morning started off with a couple of big herds of Buffalo and a breeding herd of elephant.

Our first predator sighting of the day was when we found a couple of spotted hyena lying close to one of their den sites. They were very relaxed and struggling to keep their eyes open, not really doing much at all...

Afterwards we followed up on some leads about wild dogs and Lion in the area, but to no avail...

After our morning coffee break, we decided to extend our morning drive and continued our search. It paid off when we found 2 mating pairs of lion approximately 2 km apart! The first pair was sleeping about 30 meters off the road, very flat, but out in the open. The second pair we found were right next to the road; taking a break from the mating, but lying close together, offering great photo opportunities. We sat watching them for about 20 min, but eventually left the sighting without actually seeing them mate, as it was time to move on.

After our lunch break on the way out of the park we were also lucky enough to complete our big 5 for the day, when we spotted a large male leopard lounging on a termite mound. At first he was lying very flat and all we could really see was his white belly and sides. We stuck around for a while though and he eventually got up to change position, offering us a very good view. He got comfortable again and we left with him still lying on the mound - a fitting end to another very successful day!

28 October 2015

After loading luggage, we set out for a final morning drive. First up we encountered a troop of Vervet Monkeys with many very small babies. I have only started noticing the new babies in the last few days, so most of them are only a few days old! It was very interesting to watch them hanging on for dear life to their mothers' bellies as the adults continue with their normal daily lives, up and down trees with the little ones hanging on.

We also saw a breeding herd of elephant with a very small baby crossing the road in front of our vehicle.

Not much further we saw a herd of Sable Antelope, one of the rarest mammal species in Kruger Park! They were in the bush and very skittish, but we did get some decent views of some of the adult females and their young.

The highlight of our morning was when we came across a large congregation of vultures at least 80 of them of various species. Several of them had very full gullets and we're covered in dried blood. We could not see what they had fed on or any predators, bit it was evident that they had just finished their feast. There was a small stream nearby and some of the vultures had already washed themselves and were sprawled on the ground or perched with their wings open to dry off. We noticed some fresh lion tracks in the road where the vultures were, but did not find the lions. The majority of the vultures were White-backed, but we also saw some Lappet-faced and 4 Cape Vultures, much larger and paler than the White-backed Vulture!

Shortly before exiting the park we caught a quick glimpse of a leopard which had been stalking Impala. The Impala, along with some Kudu, had spotted it and was sounding the alarm and not taking their eyes of the Leopard, following it to make sure they know where it is going, which helped us to see it. We watched as it crossed a clearing and disappeared into a drainage line, a nice highlight to top off 4 days of safari!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Safari With Robbie 28 October 2015

28 October 2015

Kitty and her friends flew in to Kruger all the way from New York and as tired as they were they remained inspired and enthralled at the day's unfolding sightings!

On a temperature variation day of sometimes 11 degrees we had amazing locations of Elephant herds, Buffalo. Giraffe, Hippo, Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Steenbok to name but a few!!

Congruency amongst us acclaimed the following 2 sightings as tied no 1...

1) Male Leopard sand bathing on top of old termite mound at 11 am!

2) 3 Cheetah resting on top of a active termite mound  at 16-23 pm!

A fantastic day indeed!