Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Safari With Gert From 28 March 2016

28 March 2016

After a good breakfast we departed on our first morning drive of this Safari, with 6 guests from Dubai. Already early on it was evident that today will be a hot one as even the Impala were already hiding in the thick shady spots.

It was an exceptional morning as far as Giraffe go and we found at first a solitary female and later on 2 different journeys of Giraffe. We got some very good views of them feeding and also one very large bull staring off into the distance, something they are very good at considering their high vantage point and good eyesight. We also found a mixed group of Giraffe and Zebra together and it is always a crowd favorite seeing these 2 unique creatures together!

We also had a few good Elephant sightings throughout the course of the morning and although some were quite far, we did encounter a small breeding herd crossing the road in front of our vehicle, as well as a few young males, solitary or in small groups, feeding quite close to the road.

Halfway through the morning we stopped for a short refreshment break at a nearby camp after which we went towards a nearby waterhole. A few hundred meters from the waterhole we found 2 very full lionesses basking in the dappled shade of a small Marula tree on top of a granite outcrop. The combination of the heat and their full bellies meant that they weren't going anywhere fast and although one rolled over, the most movement we got was the odd flick of an ear or tail...

Shortly before getting back to camp for lunch and some relaxing time we also encountered the first rhino of the day, a large bull White Rhino who had just had a good mud bath, in the shade of an Acacia tree.

On Safari With Amanda From 25 March 2016

25 March 2016

Today I picked up my new guests from Germany. Their first safari and very excited to be here!

After checking in they relaxed by the pool for a couple of hours before they headed off for a sunset drive! They returned and were very excited to tell me over supper of the huge puff adder snake they saw and some lovely buffalo. 

After a filling supper we retired to our tents to get a good sleep for an early start tomorrow. 

26 March 2016

An early morning bushwalk for my 2 guests where they enjoyed tales of early inhabitants in the area and spotted lots of tracks.

After breakfast we did a short drive around the area close by and returned for lunch and a quick dip in the pool.

Our expectations were low for the afternoon drive and we set off to mestle dam and saw 2 buffalo wallowing in the water having a drink every now and then. A small herd of Elephants entertained us for half an hour as we watched the sun going down behind them. With 45 mins until the gate closed we decided to do one more loop then head home... a good decision I'd say, just past manungu koppies we saw a few cars and there laying clumsily was a young male leopard in a silver cluster leaf tree. We watched him shift around until he found his spot and then reluctantly we had to leave him!

A beautiful day in a beautiful place...the best office in the world!!

27 March 2016

Expected temperature for today, Easter Sunday, was 39° not bad for an autumn day!

After breakfast we headed off for a morning drive around the area. First thing we see is a very young Giraffe browsing, we looked for his mother and were relieved to see her 20metres behind him also browsing. We checked around the koppies to see if our leopard from yesterday was still around...no luck! We drove to shitlave dam where I was pleased to see how full it had become after the few days of rain we'd received.

An update of a cheetah lying close to the road and we headed off unfortunately we'd missed him by minutes, that's how it goes though "right time right place". 
By 10 am the temperature was rising so we headed back to camp, a siesta for my lovely Spanish guests and a spot of last minute sun bathing for my lovely German guests!

We met again at 2:30 for an afternoon drive it was actually quite hot but hopefully it wouldn't deter the animals.

A quick trip to Manugu koppies and there on the eastern side we spotted, just quickly, a movement and there was the leopard trying to hunt klipspringers! The klipspringers alarm called as the leopard walked to the shade of a sycamore tree, we watched as he nonchalantly observed the klipspringers for 45 minutes until it was time to hunt but they were too fast for him, at one point he hid behind a rock with his whole tail visible flicking every now and then. After 10 minutes he decided it was enough and he headed off into the long grass where we lost visual of him.

What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, the only way actually! !

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Safari With Mark From 20 March 2016

20 March 2016

So the begging of a tour and some on sundown drive and some with me on an afternoon drive and with a little communication between guides, both sets of guests got to see the magnificent leopard that was lying on a granite rock enjoy a afternoon snooze. When everyone was there, it was time for this beauty to Yawn and stretch and then stand up and move. Slowly edging it's way towards us. This glamor boy lay on a rock and posed for us approximately 30m away from the car. It was fantastic to spend 1:45hrs with such a beautiful animal. With the time catching us it was back to camp for dinner.

21 March 2016

We left before the rush and found many different new species for the clients: elephant, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, warthog, Impala, steenbok, klipspringer, common duiker, checkmate baboon, vervet monkey, hippos and many bird species.

Our highlight was the 4 lioness and 1 male lion that walked out and crossed the road in front of us. Not another car to bother the sighting and everyone enjoyed seeing these beautiful animals. We returned to camp happy to get out of the midday heat.

After a short rest, we headed out to search for something new. We were in luck, as we were alerted by a fleeting Impala to 4 cheetah. After spending once again 1:45hrs with these beautiful animals it was within seconds that all changed and the animals disappeared into the bush, chasing a herd of Impala. We all hoped and believed that they were successful as no sign of their return to the road, despite the Impala running across our path right in front of us.

Guests are incredibly happy with all the sightings and What's funny is that everyone has had such special sightings of the "big 5" yet we still in search of a "Dazzel" of zebra

With this in our sights we set off tomorrow for our last drive before we return the guests to JHB.

On Safari With Amanda From 18 March 2016

18 March 2016

Today I picked up my new guests from America at skukuza airport

Temperature today had a real feel of 45° as we set off for an afternoon game drive.

Elephants were our first sighting and Ken was incredibly excited, nearly jumping out of his seat!! We watched as they ate from the trees and rested in the shade, always special to watch the world's largest land mammal so closely. 

Baboons playing along the way entertaining us too.

A visit to transport dam gave us hippos and Waterbuck resting in the afternoon sun.

Back at camp ready for supper and anticipation for tomorrow's morning drive.

19 March 2016

An early start this morning for a refreshing drive.

We left camp at 5:30,it was still dark but the sun was rising quickly.

We drove for roughly 2kms when out of nowhere a small pride of lions walked out of the bush in front of us! Incredible to watch them and totally surprising! We watched them for 5 minutes until they disappeared into the bush.

We drove a little further running ahead of us in the road were 7 wild dogs. They didn’t stop for at least 4kms and we kept our distance and followed them until we lost visual. Amazing to see them running in and out of the bush obviously hunting.

Nice elephants along the way along with zebras and of course the beautiful impalas.

Another great drive in the best place on earth!

20 March 2016

Another great day in the park today!

After a Sunset drive last night where my new guests enjoyed watching the African sun go down with a glass of Amarula and seeing hyena, zebras and other plains animals, we had a delicious buffet supper before heading for a well deserved rest after an epic 30 hours of travelling!

My lovely Norwegian guests headed out early for a Bush walk, leaving from nkambeni camp, they stood and watched the hippos at the water hole and were keen to tell me, on their return, of all the different tracks they'd seen including porcupine and zebras. 

After breakfast we headed out for our first drive together. Checking the temperature the real feel was 48° and we heard humidity was up to 90% so incredibly hot for my guests having come from a temperature of 5° at home!

I decided to drive the circle road heading towards PK koppies, a small loop with beautiful views. On the road we watched Giraffe as they curiously watched us watching them "chewing the cud" very graceful mammals to watch. We drove slowly around the koppie and spotted, very well camouflaged, a klipspringer and then another one appeared, we watched the one jump from a small koppie to another like a little goat!

Turning the corner I chatted with my Co pilot who decided to join me about a nice crowned eagle that is sometimes perched on top of the dead tree, it wasn't there but.....another shape caught my eye, I checked with my binos again just to confirm that what I was seeing was actually what I'd identified it as and true enough lying on top of the koppie was a leopard! !! We sat with him for nearly an hour awaiting my colleagues and saw him lift his head every now and then before flopping down again! Incredibly happy for my guests to see such a beautifully elusive cat.

We drove away excited about the leopard and on our return in the afternoon the eagle was where I'd hoped it would be and the leopard had moved away under a rock shaded from the African sun!

Baboons and vervet monkeys frolicking in the late afternoon sun on our afternoon drive along with more giraffe and also the very rare and handsome Sable Antelope incredible sightings today for my guests followed by supper and of course the odd bottle of wine to help my guests sleep!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

On Safari With Gert 16 March 2016

16 March 2016

After an early breakfast we left for our morning Game Drive, again in a faint drizzle.

It didn't last very long however, although it remained cloudy for a large part of the morning.

We had some good general game sightings early on and then found 1 quite large Spotted Hyena on the move close to its den site. It came out onto the road, walking in front of our vehicle for some time, sniffing the breeze for the scent of its companions, or perhaps something to eat! Eventually it turned back in the direction it came from and disappeared down the den.

A little while later we came across a few vehicles parked on the side of the road and saw what they were all looking at, at least 6 lions lying flat under a tree about 50 meters off the road, our first cats of the Safari! They were very lazy, as is so often the case with lion, but we got a good view when one got up to change position and the others rolling over or lifting their heads every now and then. There was an adult male lying a few meters away from the rest of the pride and we could see his head and face quite well through a gap in the trees!

Arguably the highlight was a small breeding herd of Elephants, 4 in total, which might have been a mother with her 3 offspring. The youngest was about a year old and very playful. They came out and crossed the road in front of us, the youngster running back and forth and charging at some vehicles with its ears out, trying its best to look scary, while its mom was watching closely from where she was browsing next to the road. Eventually a large bus approached and the 2 youngest took off into the bush, followed by their mum, while the other, a teenage male, had no interest in their antics and was in no hurry to chase after them!

After lunch and some pool time back at camp we went for a late afternoon drive during which we found a magnificent Sable Antelope bull grazing in a patch of moist grassland, accompanied by a waterbuck bull and small herds of Impala and Kudu.