Monday, February 29, 2016

On safari With Gert from 26 February 2016

26 February 2016

After a night of good rains we set out early in fresh, overcast conditions. Our first highlight of the morning came in the form of a very large Elephant breeding herd, about 50 or more, on both sides of the road. Many of the youngsters were very playful and some young males were pushing and shoving each other around playfully in the middle of the road. The herd was also joined by 2 adult males, one of them in full musth. There was also 1 very young baby, perhaps a couple of months old, very well guarded by the some of the females as they crossed the road, making it almost impossible to get a proper view.

The rest of the day belonged to the cats, especially lion, as we had 5 different lion sightings throughout the course of the morning! These consisted of 1male, fast asleep on a distant rock, a pride of which we could see 10 individuals at a waterhole, with 1 of the males drinking when we arrived, another couple of lionesses with cubs at another waterhole, again a distant sighting, as well as a mating pair. The best of our lion sightings was where 2 males were lying about 30 meters off the road, one of them on a open spot.  He was being quite lazy, as Lion tend to be, but obviously picked up some appetizing scents, as every now and then he would lift his head to sniff the breeze, showing off his beautiful, full mane; a truly magnificent specimen!

Shortly before our breakfast break at a nearby camp we came across a large traffic jam on a bridge. This normally indicates the presence of the elusive leopard and our luck was in. After waiting for a while for the traffic to clear we could see a Spotted Hyena lying underneath a tree from which an Impala carcass was hanging. After scanning the surrounding terrain for a while we spotted the Leopard, lying a little further back in the shade of a tree on the river bank! Again a fairly distant but open visual.

Afterwards it was time for our own breakfast, overlooking the river, with 2 large buffalo bulls lying in the water, completing our Big 5 for the day!

27 February 2016

We set out early this morning amidst very windy, drizzly and cold conditions, taking our chances, but not expecting to see a great deal in such weather. For the first hour or so this was the case, although we did find a few small Elephant herds and 2 large Buffalo herds hiding in the thickets.

As we decided to turn around for breakfast, we received word of a possible lion sighting a few hundred meters on and sure enough, we found 4 females lying in a sheltered spot on the edge of an open area, lazily watching some Impala in the distance. While we were watching the lions, 2 Wild dogs came running over the hill and down the road behind us! They ran straight past us and around the next corner, only to be followed by 10 more dogs a couple of minutes later! As they reached us, the first 2, which were slightly younger dogs, came back and seemed to have a very happy reunion with the pack, as if they had been temporarily split up and very happy to find each other again!

Great timing for a brilliant sighting to bring the end to 3 great days on Safari, as it was time to return to camp for breakfast and departure!

Friday, February 26, 2016

On Safari With Gert From 25 February 2016

25 February 2016

Today we started a new Safari with 4 work colleagues from Spain.

Arriving at noon during rather hot conditions, we weren't expecting much activity other than a few Impala, so on our way to camp for check-in we decided to head to a nearby waterhole to see what's around. We spotted 2 Giraffe in the distance and although quite far, it was a good view and the first Giraffe of the safari, so definitely a crowd favorite!

Not much further, along the access road leading to the waterhole we found a Secretary bird on the prowl. Always a popular bird to find with their long legs and familiar quill feathers, striding along looking for a unlucky reptile, mouse or insect, these birds have especially adapted to hunting snakes, although roughly 90% of their diet consist of locusts. We had a very nice view of it hunting, pausing every now and then for a snack and crossing the road in front of us.

At the same time a breeding herd of elephant came out behind it, making their way up from the water towards the main road. We quickly turned back to the main road, just in time as the first elephants started crossing the road. We quietly sat and watched them all, females and youngsters from about 3 years and older. Following them was a bull, just lagging behind slightly and although not showing any obvious signs of musth, he did give us a bit of a head shake after crossing and picking up our scent. It turned out to be a good day for elephant overall, as we also found a few Bulls of various ages throughout the afternoon.

In addition to the Secretary bird, we also found a Wahlberg's Eagle and an African Hawk-Eagle and on the reptile front a Flap-necked Chameleon as well as a baby Leopard Tortoise about 5 cm in diameter!

On Safari With Mark From 23 February 2016

23 February 2016

After collecting our new guests in Nelspruit we set off towards the park. Entering through the Phabeni gate, we had more than enough time for a slow drive towards Pretoriuskop.

Our highlight for the afternoon, had to be the herd of elephant that crossed the road in front of us. They moved relatively quickly, as they headed to water. After a short drink it was on their way to search for either more food or shade.

Many different animals were spotted throughout the drive which kept it interesting for my guests.

24 February 2016

We were the first car out of camp and headed along towards Skukuza for breakfast.

Crazy day had by us with so much happening.

We spotted many beautiful animals and by 14:00 we were on our way back to camp.

Highlights had to be the wild dog been chased by a hippo at a man made water hole. Further to this we spotted Lions, Leopards and cheetah of the cats with many other fantastic sightings of elephants and rhinos in mud baths and water holes.

With so much activity, we picked up two more guests and had a lovely afternoon spending some quality time at herds of Impala, dazzles of zebra and a few individual elephants to round off the day.

25 February 2016

Once again we set off first, so that we could find some quality animal sightings before the heat of the day. This was achieved, and by the afternoon we had spotted so many fantastic sightings of herds of elephant, buffalo. Fantastic rhino sightings and bumping into 3 lioness walking parallel with the road. The only Leopard we could find lay at the base of a tree, with apparently it's Impala meal up in the top branches. Very difficult to see as the distance wasn't on our side and we could only view with a good set of binoc's. Having said that we were still happy as very often leopards can be missed.

Back to camp for a rest as some of my guests are on a night drive, to spot some of the nocturnal animals Kruger has to offer.

So far it's been a great safari and all the guests have enjoyed spotting these lovely creatures with me.

Tomorrow, just a short drive before it's goodbye to all as they set off back to JHB.

Monday, February 22, 2016

On Safari With Gert 19 February 2016

19 February 2016

After loading luggage and an early breakfast, we set off on a short morning drive.

There was a fair amount off rain overnight and still a bit of drizzle around for the majority of the morning. This meant that the bush was all fresh and revitalized and most of the animals we encountered were quite playful and energetic, especially the young Impala lambs chasing each other around.

With the rain there was a few puddles around and we found a few Leopard Tortoises, coming on to the road verges for some fresh water. It was also a good morning for Elephant sightings and we found a few Bulls at regular intervals, including 2 having a quick sparring session in the road right in front of our vehicle!

At one of the newly filled natural waterholes, we also found 3 large Buffalo bulls lounging on the edge of the water.

The highlight of the morning was at one of the larger waterholes where there was a large breeding herd of Elephant, including 2 very young calves, drinking and playing around on the edge of the water. There was also a very large Waterbuck bull and a few cows with very young calves, a few hippopotamuses and a crocodile in the water, as well as a pair of African Fish Eagle surveying the scene.

A short but sweet Safari during which we had a good variety of sightings, although we were slightly short of luck when it came to the large predators this time around.

On Safari With Amanda 19 February 2016

19 February 2016

A cool start to the day and a slight sprinkling of rain overnight was more than welcome.

We decided to head to skukuza for a shop today as it was nice and cool, lovely photo opportunity with the sun coming up close by ship mountain, stunning scenery around that area.

We were privileged to spot three rhinos along the road, a special sighting of Elephants were also enjoying the cool weather we came across big herds today.

After leaving Skukuza we took a slow drive down watergat and watched a chameleon carefully crossing the road, we only left once we'd seen it reach the other side!

The temperature was increasing so we headed for camp to refresh for an afternoon drive.

With an almost unbearable humidity we set off stopping to get ice cream at pretoriouskop! 

Again we were lucky enough to see a lone Rhino and Elephants galore along with beautiful Zebras.

The sunset brings dark clouds and we can only hope it brings with it much needed rain.