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  2. Meru NP, feb2017.
  3. can only second what others have already said! Everything so green...I've never really seen a "green" Africa and now I'm thinking I need to. And I never would have thought of Ruaha as a park for Wild Dogs...didn't even know they were a possibility there. Years ago we had planned a Southern Circuit safari but then ended up elsewhere...I do need to revisit the idea!
  4. The sphynx, Samburu NR.
  5. Mara 2011.
  6. Mara 2011.
  7. I don't find the XQD cards any more expensive than the UHS-II SD cards, at least here in the US. At least initially...they have gotten more expensive since the D850 came out and Lexar went out of business. So right now Sony is the only supplier, but from what I've read, Lexar (name and manufacturing for the cards) was bought by another company and they should be back in production soon. Actually right now the Sony 64gb XQD card is less expensive than the Sony UHS-II SD card ($110 vs $115 on Amazon) You are really losing out on the speed advantage and buffer if you only use the SD card. I use the XQD with the SD as overflow--don't want to reduce shooting speed--and for video (as I hardly ever shoot video.) Also the combination of the XQD card and USB 3 for downloading makes it super, super fast. I remember the "old days" downloading CF cards, USB 2, and it taking like 20 minutes...on safari I am so exhausted...it was torture. Now I can download 64 GB in under five minutes
  8. You’re building up an Impressive Oman collection!
  9. Hi all, Apologies for the pause in the TR, had to get some work done! Day 5: Boxing Day After a relaxing, but frustrating, day in camp I was raring to get going! The night before, my fellow guests had enjoyed a sighting of four lions just a few hundred yards away near Fougou. I had been convinced there were lions there from day one, so our first task this morning was to see if we could locate them. In the twilight we nipped briefly down the main road towards the turning to Fougou, and bounced along the track keeping our eyes peeled for the lions from the night before. And we were in luck! As we approached the main Fougou viewpoint, there was a tawny cat balled up in the road - our lion streak had continued! Good morning! It quickly became apparent that this sub-adult female was not alone, with an adult female scampering into the grass behind her. As we edged past to allow a vehicle behind us a closer look at the beautiful cat, we could just make out a cub peering out from the long grass that surrounds the road approaching Fougou. Pendjari Baby And 50 metres further down the road, another lioness darted across the road. This time, however, she was not darting away from us, but rather towards something else. A big male waterbuck, albeit one without his full head of horns, was grazing absent-mindedly in the highest grass at the waterside. We were treated to a few minutes of stalking before the lioness gave up and retired for a morning nap. What a great start to the morning! Unicorn Hunting We continued around the Fougou circuit, bidding good morning to kob, baboons and a common duiker as we did so. We also spied our first Burkinabe animal of the trip - a vervet monkey frollicking on the far bank of the Pendjari bank of the river. We decided after completing the loop we would continue south on the main road for half an hour or so before returning, and the road was littered with lion tracks from the night before. Many of the tracks seemed to belong to an adult male, but alas we could not locate him. Instead, I was placated with several brilliant roan sightings, definitely the best of the trip so far! Roan Crossing We retired to camp at ten to reflect on another lucky morning, but also agreed to head out early in the afternoon to have a nose around Yangaouli and the southern plains for cheetah. Our afternoon drive began in much the same vein as those that had gone before, heading north west from camp towards the poste d'Arli. This time, however, we took a brief detour to have a look at the actual border crossing (a wooden bridge) between Benin and Burkina Faso. We were greeted by a troop of baboons undergoing cross-border formalities and a litany of tsetse flies, causing us to depart at quite a rate. The tsetse flies were nowhere near as bad here as they are in Tanzania, for example, but there were still a nuisance on occasion, particularly in the most thickly wooded areas of the park. Escaping the wrath of the tsetses, the drive to Sacree was very quiet, with only an annoyed Patas breaking up the journey. We were too early for the lions, and as planned we continued on to Yangaouli. I was transfixed for the whole journey on the patches of grass that might hide the serval from our first day, but we had no luck and only kob kept us occupied before Yangaouli. At the lake itself a few distant hippos snorted and I managed a glimpse of a red-chested bee-eater. Other than that, however, we were left empty-handed, and we continued on towards Porga, before turning left to cross the vast plains in Pendjari's south. This section on the drive was more generous game-wise, allowing us views of a large herd of roan, cranes in flight and an impressive fire scorching the grass to our south. Red-Chested Bee-Eater Pendjari Alight The plains were largely deserted, decorated only with kob, roan and the occasional duiker. Food enough, I thought, for a cheetah or two but no more. The road brought us out at Mare Bali, where we spied plenty of ellie tracks but again nothing more. Not all drives can be a mile a minute! But things did start to hot up on the drive north, as the air cooled and the ellies came out. Firstly we encountered a very agitated group of ellies just off of the road in thick grass, and it took a mock charge to convince us we should reluctantly trundle on. And we were glad we did, as a second, more relaxed group, approached a small waterhole not far on. It was a brief sighting, but to see Beninoise elephants at ease with their youngsters was an absolute treat. Synchronised Ellies Relaxed Elephants Spoilt once again, we just had time to take in a vast herd of buffalo on the drive back before rolling back into camp with broad smiles once again.
  10. @xelas: I shoot on XQD only, backing up to the sd card afterwards when I'm bcak in camp. Takes some time, but doesn't reduce the speed during the shooting. Then I'back up the SD-card and proceed with formatting the XQD. Aren't there two suppliers (Sony and Lexar)?
  11. Thanks! We will choose for the rooftop tent, because it's the kind of tent we had in mind all the time planning this trip and feels a bit more safe. May be a bit more work setting up every day, but probably better to put in a bit more effort than chosing for less safety. Happy birthday to you too! What coincidence! We sure are doing some stuff very well according to our wives
  12. Hi Alexander, glad you're enjoying it. I suppose a bit of both. I love tracking, and know what to look for, so even with experienced guides I'll be the one seeing the tracks quite often. But there is little/no culture of wildlife guiding in Benin. Knowledge of the animals, let alone tracks, is lacking compared to better-visited areas of the continent (which is to be expected). It is not unusual in Pendjari to come across a guide doing something you would consider a cardinal sin elsewhere, so bear this in mind if you are planning a visit!
  13. Hi Jeremie, glad you're enjoying the TR, we certainly had some lion luck. Do bear in mind that almost everything I picked up regarding AP was second hand, but here's a brief summary. In some ways, it seems AP is applying the "Zakouma model" to Pendjari, starting first with increasing the quality and quantity of rangers defending the park. This has raised some eyebrows as at least some of the rangers are from outwith Benin (as one might expect), and at this stage it's too early to definitively say what impact this will have on poaching. Before AP arrived, poaching was a significant issue, but the Beninoise government seems to have done a passable job protecting the park to this point, at least compared with parks like W. The suspicion is that AP will move Pendjari towards a luxury tourism model, increasing prices at the lodge and perhaps even taking control of the hotel as well. An airstrip has recently been created, and AP have introduced walking and boat safaris recently. AP is working closely with a number of organisations on work including, but not limited to, camera trap studies and collaring efforts. My sincere hope is that AP does continue to invest, but maintaining the accessibility of Pendjari to Beninoise people - I would hate for people to be priced out of their own park. I do also hope that AP is able to instill higher standards of guiding (although there is significant resistance to this amongst the guides) and to create a more expansive road network - I believe this latter point to be very high on their priority list. I saw no sign of cheetah at all during my stay (spoiler alert for the rest of the TR), but there is plenty of suitable habitat and there's no doubt in my mind there are still a few here and there. Three or four times guides told us they had seen cheetah during or just before our stay, but much like elsewhere in Africa, I suspect this was the result of bravado amongst guides rather than anything else. No photos could be produced. That said, Boris did mention that James had seen cheetah since his arrival in the summer, and I know that a cheetah was photographed earlier in 2017 also. I am sure that, long-term, collaring a cheetah must be on AP's wish list. But for now lions and elephants are more realistic targets, and I saw a few convoys moving around the park indicating that such activities are underway.
  14. Great report so far! I love your narrative and the photos. What an encounter with the elephant!!
  15. Feeling refreshed and relaxed we set out on our afternoon game drive. The weather has become hot and it feels really humid. It is now almost completely silent and for the next thirty minutes there are no signs of any animals or birds – as opposed to this morning when the wildlife presence was almost constant. Just as we become aware of the appearance of the first few annoying tsetse flies, we go round the next corner and the flies are instantly forgotten as Chris brakes sharply. A bull elephant is just about to cross the track. He soon disappears into the forest and we drive slowly on. We stop briefly where a small stream flows under the track and observe a solitary warthog. Another half and hour or more passes with no other wildlife to be seen. Chris suggests we head towards the lake to see if anything is there and initially there is nothing at all to be seen, but after continuing further south we eventually spot in the distance two lions resting. They are several hundred yards from the track and the light is beginning to fade as the sun has dropped below the escarpment. Chris decides to quickly head out towards them and we get a much better brief view before quickly retreating back to the track. A very nice way to end our first day of wildlife viewing in Manyara. We head quickly back to camp but there is still time to see another new species for the day – two klipspringers on some rocks. By the time we get back to the lodge it is dark, with the light of the campfire adding a bit of atmosphere to the camp. Half an hour later we go to the lounge for a drink before dinner and are joined by one of the locals- a greater bushbaby. Chris joins us to talk about the night drive tomorrow and to see what time we want to start our game drive in the morning – as early as possible suits us – 6.15am. With guests on separate tables spread well out, and starting their meal at different times it seems very quiet in the camp. We are feeling tired after what has felt like an unusually long day, but the wildlife viewing has been excellent, and we are really looking forward to the rest of our time here in Manyara.
  16. Hmmm, with XQD card, the whole process should be different. The cost of buying several XQD cards is just prohibitive, IMO. If me, I would have XQD in one slot and SD in second slot, and settings set at back-up to SD card slot. RAW on both. Then when SD is full can be copied to whatever makes best option to you. I have found copying 32GB SD on My Wireless quick enough not to bother about actual download speed. SD card is then locked and stored away, to a different space then MyWireless. XQD card can be wiped clean after SD is safely backed up. Problem with this scenario is that you would need both of them to be the same size, and will encounter problem when cards are full in the middle of the action. Of course one can always buy 2 XQD cards, to avoid this problem. One caveat: XQD is faster then any SD card, and if having camera on backup settings, the overall speed/fps will be influenced by the slowest card. Basically, all the photographers I have met, in Europe, they have been using D500 as a single slot body using only SD cards. Until such time when XQD will come down from their stratospherically high costs. If ever, with only one supplier .
  17. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro through Lemosho route provides a climber an opportunity for adventure and wildlife viewing tours Londorrosi forest. Big game wildlife animals like Zebra, Giraffes, Elephants, Buffaloes can be seen during your first day Kilimanjaro trek and usually you escorted by Armed ranger. You may choose for ride of 4WD safari car up to first trail to begin trekking. Kilimanjaro Trekking on beautiful scenery natural trail Lemosho The 7 day Lemosho route is remote and very natural Kilimanjaro route with few tourists on this trail hence provides real private adventure travel and ecotourism. In Lemosho route there are more wildlife including big game like giraffe, buffalo, elephants e.t.c. Plants are diverse and wonderful flowers seen. Lemosho route Outline daily hike plan is as follows: DAY 01:- Drive from Moshi or Arusha to Londorossi Park Gate (2250 m, 2 hours). From here a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to Lemosho Glades (2100 m, 11 km, 45 minutes) and a possible campsite (park fees are not paid to camp here). Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite, (2750 m, 3 hours). DAY 02:- The trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed then it gains the Shira Ridge at about 3600 m and drops gently down to Shira 1 camp located by a stream on the Shira Plateau (3500 m, 5 hours). This campsite could be omitted. DAY 03:-A gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira 2 camp on moorland meadows by a stream (3850 m, 1.5 hours). A variety of walks are available on the Plateau making this an excellent acclimatization day. DAY 04:- Continue east towards Kibo passing the junction, then east towards the Lava Tower. Shortly after this, you descend to Barranco hut (3940 m, 4 hours). DAY 05:-A short scramble to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over scree and ridges to the Karanga Valley (4000 m, 3 hours), beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. After climbing out of the Karanga Valley the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, a bleak location with little vegetation at 4600 m, (3 hours walking). DAY 06:-An early start for the ascent to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, (4 hours); the last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and an ice-axe or ski stick is useful for balance. From here a further hour leads to Uhuru Peak, from where there are often fine views of Meru to the west and the jagged peak of Mawenzi to the east. Descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and lunch before continuing on down to camp at Mweka Hut in the giant heather zone on the forest edge. Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields. DAY 07:- A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park gate and your waiting transport. ----ALL SERVICES ARE INCLUDED ….. PRICE COST IS 1670 US $ PER PERSON Group of 5 people or more get discount price quote, ask now: inquiry@leisuretravelholidays.com THE prices include all services: Airport transfers from Kilimanjaro Airport, all park fees, salaries of guides/porters/cook, all meals on the mountain, clean safe drinking water, accommodation equipment, and Government tax, certificate of climbing, first aid, AMREF FLYING DOCTOR AIR RESCUE INSURANCE, Ranges rescue and transfer to/from Arusha or Moshi. Services not included: Flight to Tanzania, Entry VISA, Climbing gears (available for rent), tips to guides, porters, coordinator and items of a personal nature. Note: Hotel in Moshi on Arrival is not included so that you can have chance to choose best suitable option. A – Budget Category: Zebra Hotel = 40 $ Double or Twin room on B/B B - Medium Class Tourist Hotel = Kilimanjaro Bristol Cottage – 70 US $ on B/B (Double/Twin) C- Sali Salnero Hotel = Double room – 85 US $ Double/Twin room on B/B More Kilimanjaro routes details are Lemosho route 8 days, Machame route, Rongai, Umbwe and Marangu
  18. Thanks @anocn4 considering we didn’t go out of our way to see crossings we did pretty well. At that time of year you would be very unlucky to miss seeing the amazing spectacle of hundreds of wildebeest leaping from the banks of the Mara River. Pen
  19. Special offers Tanzania safaris vary between seasons and accommodation standards Safari Lodges vary from standard lodges, medium luxury Lodges vacation and Luxurious leisure safaris. Tented camps vary from medium luxury tents to luxury camping safaris Most budget Tanzania safari is budget camping safaris Famous travel deals are safari wildebeest migration in Ndutu Ngorongoro and Southern Serengeti December, January, February to March are best time to go for African safaris and see wildebeest migration in Tanzania. Weather is warm, No rain and animals can be seen easily. There is potential to spot many wildlife animal species at this period including big 5 Africa like Lions, leopards etc Safari itinerary can be as follows: 4 Days Tanzania wildlife safaris to Ndutu Area and overnight at Ndutu Safari Lodge, Sopa Ngorongoro, Rhino Lodge, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge or Serena Hotels, two nights in Ngorongoro and One night at Kati Kati Tented Camp or Seronera Wildlife Lodge. Email: inquiry@leisuretravelholidays.com Safari bookings trip of 5 days include Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro and Go to overnight at Bougainvillea Safari Lodge Karatu, Second night Ndutu Safari Lodge or Sopa Lodge, third night Kati kati tented camp and 4th at Seronera Wildlife Lodge. You can choose 6 days safari adding more time to explore beauty nature and see many wildlife. Look at 6 days Tanzania safari itineraries Accommodation options are affordable and varies in Price depend on Lodges or tente camp choice Standard safari Lodges and tented camps en suite moderate in price and economical for low travel costs. Budget camping safari is nature camping so that to cut travel cost down and enjoy nature.
  20. Safe journey @PeterHG we are off on Friday to the Kruger - hope you are as lucky as we are going to be
  21. Bon voyage from me too. Lots to see and we won't mind waiting. It will keep us in suspense. Kunene Region will be fun so do look out for some specials.
  22. Did you check out the NEW WD Wireless Pro? Its not actually available yet. If it doesn't support XQD cards that would be a big failure! But either way, its USB 2 so it will be slow. The Gnarbox certainly supports XQD cards through a card reader via the USB 3 port and it is pretty fast if you are just downloading to the Gnarbox itself. The problem is if you want to pass it through to a larger hard drive.
  23. Day 5, Changa Safari Camp, Matusadona, 6/9/17 It was a 30 minute or so drive to camp, we saw a few birds, but as it was the middle of the day, we were keen to go and settle in. The camp has a good position on the lake shore and has a lovely atmosphere. They seem to have a lot of local trade, mainly for lake fishing (with some clients bringing their own boats!!), however, it was never full during our stay. The rooms are well spaced apart and feel private. For birders, they have a genius invention, bird showers in the bushes in front of the room. As the turn of a tap, some strategically placed sprinklers in the trees emit water and the birds flock in....armchair birding at its' best! Including our first new bird of this park: a yellow-bellied greenbul Dark-capped bulbul Arrow-marked babbler We had lunch with the camp manager, who stayed to meet us prior to her period of leave, so for the rest of our stay, we would have a relief manager. We were also sharing the camp with a film crew lead by Don Percival, who took up several rooms and had their own private vehicle. They provided a lot of entertainment over the next few days!
  24. Thanks a lot for the feed back. I am thinking to buy D500 so I need something that supports XQD. I am still trying to understand if Wireless Pro supports XQD (at least through a card reader), there are some mixed opinions on this.
  25. @bettel I just bought a Gnarbox so I can give you some feedback. I am finding the bottleneck with it is SPEED. My thought was to use it as a conduit...the same way I use my netbook...and not to actually put photos on it (because for a long safari, even the 256GB capacity model is not enough.) So I bought the smaller one (128GB) to use a a conduit between the memory card and a 500 GB SSD (solid state) drive. It can work okay if you are using only SD cards. BUT...here's the catch. If you are using anything other than a SD or microSD card (CF, XQD, CFast) you need to use a card reader. There are two USB ports...one is USB 3 and one USB 2. I use XQD cards in my D500 and D850. So the problem is, yes you can put your card reader in the USB 3 port and get good download speed, but to output through the USB 2 port (attached to your external drive) creates a terrible bottleneck. Anyway, I am going back to my original process of using my small, Acer Aspire netbook as a conduit (it has a USB 3 port and I attach a USB 3 hub.) Then back up to multiple tiny solid SSD drives. I gave the Gnarbox to my spouse...his camera uses only SD cards. And I'll have the Gnarbox as an emergency conduit if my netbook fails (always a concern!) So in the end now we are carrying both my netbook AND the Gnarbox...hahaha so much for saving weight!! BTW, I tried attaching a USB 3 hub to the Gnarbox, but it doesn't really have enough power to drive it, and so while it seemed to work at times, there were intermittent failures...not worth the risk. They don't recommend attaching more than 1 amp total. Also BTW, WD has come out with a similar item...but it has a similar iissue...only USB 2 for card import! https://www.wdc.com/products/portable-storage/my-passport-wireless-ssd.html
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