Popular Content

Showing most liked content since 09/18/2017 in all areas

  1. 30 likes
    “It is Hard Work” Now that isn’t a comment on our journey through the Congo, but a quote that came up more than once from our wonderful driver/guide Martin, and sadly pretty much sums up the life of the average Congolese. On a much happier note for us, we have just come back from one of the most amazing trips to Africa we have ever been on. First, the trip itinerary. 11/9 - Day flight to Kigali, Rwanda, with KLM from Manchester via Amsterdam. Overnight in the Hotel des Mille Collines. 12/9 - Road journey to the border with DRC at Cyangugu via Nyungwe Forest. 3 nts in Orchids Safari Club hotel in Bukavu. 13/9 - Gorilla trek in Kahuzi-Biega NP. 14/9 - Gorilla trek in Kahuzi-Biega NP. 15/9 - Boat transfer on Lake Kivu to Goma, road journey to Virunga NP. 3 nts Bukima Camp 16/9 - Gorilla trek in Virunga NP. 17/9 - Gorilla trek in Virunga NP. 18/9 - Gorilla trek in Virunga NP. Road transfer to Mikeno Lodge, stay for 2 nts 19/9 - Free day at Mikeno Lodge 20/9 - Road journey back to Goma, cross border and onward to Kigali. Overnight flight back to Manchester with KLM. Steppes Travel based in the UK, arranged this trip for us. They have plenty of experience in arranging travel to the more off the beaten track destinations and as we had used them for several holidays in the past we had every confidence in them. In the DRC they use a trusted and very reliable ground agent and at no point during the holiday did we feel unsafe in any way whatsoever. We particularly wanted to see the Eastern Lowland Gorillas. They can only be found in Eastern DRC and the only habituated groups accessible to tourists are in Kahuzi-Biega NP. It then made sense to combine this with a visit to Virunga NP to see the Mountain Gorillas. We had previously trekked Mountain Gorillas back in 2006 in both Rwanda and Uganda so it would be nice to finally see them in the Congo as well. I will round off this intro with pictures of 2 Silverback gorillas. The first is the Eastern Lowland and the second, the Mountain Gorilla. See the differences? More on that and the different methods of habituation later in the report. Eastern Lowland Gorilla - Bonane, Bonane Group, Kahuzi-Biega NP Mountain Gorilla Silverback - Humba group, Virunga NP
  2. 27 likes
    It was great to be back at the very comfortable Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg where we transferred to another flight to the reserve. You can't fault service in Tswalu - it's always impeccable, and so it was at Tswalu's hangar. we had a shower and had brunch and just relaxed. we were the only guests flying into the reserve, but for company on the flight, we had a freelancer guide and a new employee with the security/anti-poaching team. Tswalu had a couple of small changes since my last trip but much of the place remained the same. They'd talked about undertaking refurbishment this year but the lodge has been so busy the management had no time to close the lodge. the refurbishment is now pushed to next year. Our guide is Kosie, an affable and experienced guide who hailed from Sabi Sands, while tracker Ben has been set on his career since young and many times this pair brought tracking to fruition while we were there. Kosie immediately recognised me but embarassingly I didn't recognise him. he had guided me on my last morning at Tswalu after my guide Adrian left earlier with the flight to Johannesburg. I had known him then as Chris, but I still couldn't recognise him. My OH had a long list of species he wanted to see - aardvark, aardwolf, pangolin, brown hyena, oryx, roan, sable, meerkats, and a big male kudu - all of which he had not see before. The drive to the lodge yielded the first species - the enchanting roan. Long of ears, large of eyes, and the curiousity of a giraffe, the first roan was giving us directions with its expressive ears, but it didn't seem to make up its mind. I saw only 2 roans last year, and each at separate occasions and area, and on its own. But on this trip, the first roan was the start of rollcall of some 25-30 roans - just on the first day. that's almost half of the estimated 60 roans that are in Tswalu! they sure rolled out the red carpet for my OH. turn to the right... or actually drive to your left or maybe it's neither Roans at the Tswalu waterhole and more roans during the evening game drive... a group of four roans
  3. 26 likes
    with the sun showing its face on the other side of the round planet earth, Ben took out the spotlight. Kosie and Ben could hear our whispers and feel our breaths on them to deliver what we were silently saying to Tswalu. aardvark aardvark aardvark. Ben suddenly jerked the spotlight. I had no idea what he was doing, perhaps the spotlight went kaput and he was shaking it vigorously to get it working again. But Kosie knew. He said aardvark! OMG OMG, where where? there There. well the grass was knee high and the light was so low, i could just make grass rustling. kosie had stopped the car. he took a couple of minutes before he said come on let's go on foot. Quietly. we quickly got down - my OH was grappling with his DSLR and I was grappling this new heavy Sony thingie. and struggling with the equipment, we also had to watch where our feet were going to avoid stepping on branches (failed), and try to keep up with Kosie (fail) and still looked where that elusive creature was heading (Big Fail). The aardvark heard us and zoomed so fast into its den. Kosie went close to the hole and told us to listen to the poor creature trying to claw its way in the hole far far away from us. I Saw My AARDVARK!! okay. it was blurry and half the time I was seeing grasses then the animal. But i saw its shape - it was bigger than I expected - ears like rabbit but I couldn't see its face clearly. and all i got were two blurry photos which I will claim to be works of modern art (one of which is above). back into the truck we went. what else could we see tonight? brown hyena i breathed. aardwolf, my OH breathed. the spotlight had other ideas. it konked out. Ben spent about 5 minutes fingering and tweaking it, and viola! it worked. and 5 minutes later he was doing the jerky thing again. an Aardwolf. this time round, my filming of the aardwolf was way better than the last time.
  4. 23 likes
    Monday 11th September Arrived in Kigali at 8.15pm and was met by Martin who was to be our driver and guide for the duration of our trip. He took us straight to the Hotel des Mille Collines for our overnight stay. Kigali at night from our hotel room. Tuesday 12th September Breakfast on the terrace at the Mille Collines lived up to it’s reputation and we had a very relaxing time and some very good food before being picked up by Martin at 7.45am for the start of our Congo adventure. Martin is Congolese and lives in Goma and knows this part of Congo like the back of his hand. The terrace at the Mille Collines We followed the main RN1 road south west of Kigali passing the many crop fields of sweet potato, sugar cane, bananas, rice and farmed fish ponds. Rice fields at Gitarama. The terraced crop fields that Rwanda is famous for. As we approached Nyungwe Forest the big tea plantations started to appear. Driving through the forest we were hit by a massive rainstorm, so heavy that Martin decided to stop driving for a while and we waited for it to ease off. This slowed us down a bit so we only reached the border with DRC at 1.30pm. In better conditions this drive can probably be done in 4-4.5 hrs. View of Bukavu, DRC from the road to the border crossing. DRC has 2 main border points with Rwanda. A ‘dry’ one at the new One-Stop border post at Goma and a ‘wet’ one here at Cyangugu, (as explained by Martin). If you are wondering about the ‘wet’ bit, the crossing into DRC is actually a bridge over the river running from Lake Kivu. This is a picture of the nice new blue steel bridge. This, however, is a very sneaky phone shot (no pictures allowed at the border) of the extremely rickety wooden bridge next to it that is used instead!! The vertical slats you can see have been nailed to the horizontal ones for a bit of extra support – comforting to know or possibly not when you also find out that this is the main entry point for all commercial traffic, ie. Big, heavy trucks, into South Kivu from Rwanda. Martin’s theory is that they will start using the new bridge when the wooden one finally gives way! Not wanting to be the straw on that camel’s back we whizzed across quick. Back to the border formalities. Everywhere was busy and fairly chaotic looking as is usual at an African land border but this was actually a very easy crossing. First we queued at the small building on the Rwandan side to get our exit stamps, this only took about 20 mins. Then on the other side of that bridge we parked up and Martin took us to a much more rustic hut that was the DRC border post. This time Martin took our passports and went into the very small office to handle things for us. Prior to our trip Steppes had organised our visa application forms and Martin had copies of these. The visa for UK tourists is $100 each. We were never asked for our Yellow Fever certs although you are advised that these are required. While we were waiting for him a chap came up to us asking why and where we were visiting, he had thought we were probably aid workers as most white people at the border are, it turns out. He was most pleased we were actually tourists and going to be visiting Kahuzi-Biega. He was a security consultant seeing a few researchers through the border. He has also been involved in security in Kahuzi-Biega and was keen to tell us how good the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) guys are and how well they are operating the tourist section of the Park. By now, Martin had reappeared with our passports and we were on our way. This didn’t take much more than about 20 mins either.
  5. 23 likes
    So the red-chested korhaan sneaked its way into the previous roan post! we saw a lot of the red-chested korhaans on the reserve. and other species we saw during the drive - oryx (first for my OH), giraffe, the wildebeest which was hanging out with a group of 4 roans, red hartebeests, and shy and skittish elands. as the sun slipped below the horizon the shy elands peeked out at us.
  6. 20 likes
    My OH managed to snare a straight 5-night stay a month and a half before he booked, paid up in full and confirmed his trip to Tswalu. It's unheard of for Tswalu to have such a long stretch of available nights but he had to wait for a couple of weeks before a 3-night availability became a 5-night, so he could take advantage of the stay 5, pay 4. I jumped on his trip a week before the trip after results of my various dogs' medical tests came back not that positive but not too negative either. This was his trip, and I was more than happy to be there for the ride, and to travel with him after two years' of having separate holidays. This is my second visit to Tswalu after I had stayed 5 nights in May last year. I'll be very sparse with text this report since I've said most of what I felt in the first TR (http://safaritalk.net/topic/16403-all-creatures-small-and-beautiful-tswalu-cape-of-good-hope-np/#comment-199997) Although I saw many of Tswalu's nocturnal specialities in May last year, the aardvark eluded me. I was back to stalk the mysterious creature - will it show up? a clue....
  7. 17 likes
    Next we were introduced to Lambert, the chief guide. Lambert featured in a BBC documentary made a couple years ago called The Gorilla Family and Me with wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan. They followed the Chimanuka family and Gordon was also asked to help with the habituation of the Mpungwe family. Lambert told us he had been tracking the gorillas of KBNP for 30 years and that today he wanted us to see Chimanuka’s group. Lambert’s English was excellent, he had a cracking sense of humour and we were to be very impressed with his skills as a guide. The Chimanuka group originally had 37 members but subsequent interactions with other groups led by Mpungwe and Bonane (Chimanuka’s son) has meant this has now been reduced to 22. The Chimanuka and Mpungwe groups had been followed for quite some time by ICCN rangers and researchers and because of the interaction with Bonane (pronounced Bon-an-nay) a new group formed, ready habituated, as Bonane and the 4 females who joined him came from already habituated groups. Bonane is now a group of 6 members as one of the females has just given birth. Mpungwe is a group of 20 with one Blackback along with the females and youngsters. We waited with Lambert until he received word that the trackers had found the trail of the Chimanuka group and then we were driven with himself and the rangers about 10 minutes up the forest road until we reached the start of the trail into the bamboo forest. The forest was very dense but the temperature was perfect for trekking, probably around 18 degrees or so. We were following a trail for around 3 hours when it became clear during several radio cons between Lambert and the trackers that the trail they had thought was Chimanuka’s actually belonged to Mpungwe. However, we were unable to visit this group as it was already being observed by researchers. We could tell Lambert was a touch unhappy as he explained that at this time of year when the groups are moving on the ground a lot more it can happen that trails are crossed and become confused. We all took a break and waited for Lambert to ‘make a plan’. Picture of one of the rangers taken while we were waiting. We were just discussing with the German couple the possibility of not finding any gorillas today when Lambert stood up and announced that ‘we would just have to go and see Bonane instead’. We were relieved as we didn’t mind which group we saw but it turned out that Lambert was disappointed because the Germans had seen that group yesterday and he was most upset they would see the same group twice. They assured him they were fine about it. So off we went and within about 20 minutes we spotted our first gorilla. Now normal practice with gorilla trekking in DRC is for everybody to wear masks. Unfortunately we had been told at the HQ they had just run out, so today’s trek would have to be an exception to this rule. We were watching one of the females and then Lambert spotted Bonane so he pulled us into a good position for watching him. Here goes picture overload on our first Eastern Lowland (Grauer's) Gorillas. (A thank you to @Jochen at this point for his tutorial a couple of months ago, I manually overrode the camera ISO settings to 800 & 1000 for these pictures,not something I would have thought to do before reading it) Female Going back to the differences between Eastern Lowland and Mountain gorillas. Eastern Lowland gorillas are larger, have a longer head with a slimmer nose and mouth, slightly longer arms and shorter finer hair on their bodies. Mountain gorillas have longer more dense hair. Silverback Bonane Lambert took our camera to do a spot of filming. Then Lambert got very excited and told us to watch the female coming into view. This was Siri, the mother of the new born. The baby is around 7-10 days old and as yet they have been unable to determine the sex. More of Bonane A different female - note the damaged right eye Below a couple of Lamberts efforts with the filming. This one shows the female walking in with the baby, although too far away to actually see it on film After our hour was up we made our way back through the forest and onto the initial trail that took us back to the forest road where the vehicle was waiting to take us back to the Park HQ. Finding our way back to the trail. We got back to HQ at around 4pm and after a quick and interesting chat to one of the reseachers working in the Park on behalf of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Martin took us back to the Orchids Hotel.
  8. 17 likes
    The road from the border crossing leads straight into Bukavu. Bukavu is the capital city of South Kivu province. It sits along the southern coastline of Lake Kivu with it’s five peninsulas jutting out into the lake. The buildings of the city are built up from the lakeside and into the surrounding hills. It was obviously once a very beautiful place with it’s many art deco buildings and even now still has bags of character and colour. However, the road infrastructure has disintegrated and is now virtually non-existent with everywhere in a bad state of disrepair. Traffic is very busy and driving here is definitely not for the faint-hearted – imagine Delhi at rush hour but without any roads or pavements. Horns are blaring constantly and the motorbike is king. In order to make any headway Martin just drove into gaps that weren’t there and then you would find that a motorbike had followed in next to you. I have no idea how we didn’t become one big pile up of vehicles. It was quite an experience – and actually great fun (for us at least)! After a while we trundled down a little side street, through some metal gates and into the oasis of calm and greenery that is the Orchids Safari Club. We were in room 1 which was at one end of a line of ground floor rooms with terraces that look directly out onto the lake. There is just a small strip of grass between the end of the tiled terrace and the steep slope down to the lake and great views across to part of the city and the next peninsula. Here are some pictures showing the hotel room and gardens. Whoops, just noticed me in the mirror. The lake at the end of our terrace. The lovely hotel gardens. View of a lake jetty and Bukavu.
  9. 17 likes
    It was a morning of cats as we left to go to a waterhole where two lionesses were sighted. the surprise though was these two felines were from the northern pride, and were trespassing in the southern pride's territory. these two females were massive - really mascular and bulked up. in fact, one of the females has an infamous reputation as a really grumpy cat and often snarled when the vehicles went too close for her liking. Today though, she was preoccupied. she vanished beyond a ridge while her sister laid down and waited. then she reappeared, as if she was searching for something. she walked very close to our vehicle but ignored us (phew). The two males were not that far away, and no one had seen the southern pride yet, but the fear was that these two females could kill young cubs of the southern pride. happily that didn't happen. slurp... what's for breakfast?
  10. 17 likes
    taking a leisurely loop, we went in search of the lions in the eastern section. Tswalu is a fenced reserve and in the middle, split by a public road, the western section (where the lodges are) and the eastern section is further divided by fences. The fences on the eastern section is to fence in the largest predators - the lions - so that the valuable antelopes particularly sables which are bred in Tswalu are protected. Ben locked the gate behind us when we entered the eastern side, behind another vehicle with a gentleman guest. the rangers were scouring the ground as pugmarks of male lions were all over the section. to cover all ground, the other vehicle headed to the right while we headed to the centre. luck stayed on our side as Ben and Kosie found the lion tracks back on our route. we followed the tracks for quite a distance, when suddenly Kosie pulled over. the male cats were right in front of us. yay! both pride males - gorgeous specimens in their prime and well toned and healthy with their luscious black manes. not that they allowed us to admire in their full glories as both males gave us the African salutes and 5 minutes later, they were flattened in the long grasses. At least we saw them standing and walking! the other guests who came to see them reported they were still flat till the evening. i saw them in my last trip but they were resolutely horizontal at that time. at one point, one of them got up and started sniffing the air, staring into the distance and hearing something we couldn't hear or see. but then flat he went again.
  11. 17 likes
    The next morning we were promptly at the breakfast table at 6am. We had requested Kosie for an earlier start than 7am as we wanted to catch the first light. I think Kosie wasn't convinced initially that going out half an hour earlier would make a difference but by the second day, he was fully on board with our thoughts (more on that later). So Kosie had to ask the staff to prepare the breakfast half hour earlier, but you would never know the difference. AN entire spread of muffins, muesli with yoghurt, yummy pastries, cheese platter, energy drinks (my favourite being the apple, ginger, celery and beetroot i think) was always laid out by 6am. The other thing we requested was packed breakfast in the bush everyday so that we didn't need to rush back for breakfast/brunch. we would always return in time for lunch at 11+, except for the day we left when we returned for breakfast. When we arrived in Tswalu, the cold spells were almost over, spring was in the air, and the hot front blew in. Just our luck that we brought the hot climate of our tropical country along to Tswalu. that week we were there, the mercury rose to as high as 35 degrees centigrade, which was a bummer as most of the animals were tucked under shade by 10am. so perhaps leaving earlier was the right call after all. giraffes - early risers
  12. 17 likes
    In the afternoon we spotted this guy quietly sitting under a bush out on the plains. We spent a considerable amount of time with him as he strolled towards a distant lugga. During sundowners I played around with some silhouettes
  13. 16 likes
    Benjamin an update. We did meet with Benjamin, an emotional time for all of us. Here is a photo of the three of us, with Benjamin's Teaching Diploma. Very proud of him. Dave
  14. 16 likes
    Each time we set out on a game drive, Kosie would set a target of a species we wanted to see. During brunch the day before, two friends of mine who happened to be at the lodge at the same time, had spent quality time with a cheetah and her cub. They were on foot and got fairly close to the cheetah as their guide had spent time with the cat. So of course we narrated that to Kosie, who then had to take us to find the cheetahs! Poor guides, but such challenges pay off when we find the animals. we started from another waterhole. we sat in the vehicle while Kosie and Ben searched along the waterhole and around the area for fresh signs of the cats. they came back rather disappointed but heard on the radio that another guide with the gentleman guest had found fresh tracks in the next block. we caught up with them and all the guides and trackers were on the ground trying to figure out where the cheetahs went. the mum cheetah seemed intent on losing us as their tracks went up and down the roads. The cheetah mum had had two cubs but very recently had lost one cub. Kosie thought she might be searching for the lost cub. which made me feel rather sad, and that had meant that the mum and cub had not eaten and were very lean. Finally, they saw the freshest tracks crossing into the block where the waterhole was. so we headed back. as we neared the waterhole, i glanced towards some bushes and swore that that log looked very much like a cheetah lying prone on the ground. I hesitated but finally told Kosie and sure enough the mum cheetah was stretched out and the cub with a round belly was walking back to the mum. there was a springbok carcass by the side. The mum had just hunted! we missed the hunt and kill only by a few minutes as Kosie and Ben were just in that very area and saw no signs. But we didn't regret not seeing the kill. I'm not sure if i could bear watching it. just so lovely watching the mum grooming the cub and taking good care of the cub. a perfect end to a a lovely day.
  15. 16 likes
    We left Mata Mata to make the 120km back to the park gate at Twee Rivieren, once again I couldn´t resist to take a few pictures of the road and the landscape. Soon after leaving Mata Mata a car made us signs with the headlights and the very gentle couple inside told us that there was a cheetah moving along the left side of the road 3,1km from where we were (perfectly detailed information), we thanked them and moved away at 50km/h and, right according to the information, there it was, close to the road and moving south, this beautiful cheetah that we found out in another forum that is a female known as Corinne. Gorgeous animal, really athletic and elegant ,a true sprinter. There was only another car nearby (then another one after we warned another family with our headlights) and we watch and slowly moved along Corinne, who had a goal, a herd of springboks grazing several hundreds of meters ahead, in the middle of the river bed. Corinne´s task wasn´t an easy one, there was a lot of open terrain between her and the herd so she moved slowly, trying to blend with the grass Then she sat for a bit to assess the situation And decided to cross to the other bank, to the dune, but that had to be done in the open By then the springboks were still quite far from Corinne but either they spotted her or sensed that there was danger because one of them was a little apart from the others, with it´s head up in Corinne´s direction, without moving. In the meantime we had a great (although brief) moment when we were watching Corinne already in the dune and in the river bed a scrub hare passed running for it´s life with two jackals running behind it, suddenly the hare turned to the dune and the jackals didn´t even notice that and kept running, but it was too quick so we don´t have pictures of that pursuit. By then Corinne was moving along the dune, as stealthy as possible. From time to time we lost her sight, then saw her again, until she sat, then laid down, and stopped moving. We waited for a good while but it became clear that there was probably going to be some action but it was going to take time, Corinne was still far from the springboks and we had all the Auob road ahead of us, if we were staying at Mata Mata we would have return later but it wasn´t the case so we had to leave the scene. It was, nevertheless, one of the best moments of the trip.
  16. 15 likes
    after dinner, we followed Wendy to track her charges. she names her charges, which are tagged, by numbers as all scientists do, but one of the favourites and more accomodating is Charlie, whom I had met last year. This time, Charlie had roamed far from his usual den but still no less unfriendly. By the time we saw him, the sun had set and it was pitch dark. the photos were taken by my OH. the magical little dragon was on the go for juicy ants and zig-zagging around, at one time fooling wendy he was heading in the direction of his favourite den.
  17. 15 likes
    A brunch had been organised for all the guests at a venue that was built by the previous owners for dining events. Lodged against the cliff of a hillside, it offered spectacular views of the beautiful semi-arid landscapes. in between, we took long meanders. As I had pre-warned my OH, sometimes you could drive and see an antelope or two, and sometimes you don't see much. but we did see some animals here and there, and one of the more interesting sightings was a group of elands. In Tswalu, elands do not stop for you. perish the thought of taking a shot of them posing nicely for you. But a creche of young adults with a handful of adult minders was curious about us. They ran towards us, stopped at a distance, studied us, and decided we weren't worth a longer look. we also stopped at a waterhole for a coffee prior to the brunch. the mammals stopped coming in when they saw us, but the birds were thirsty.
  18. 15 likes
    Day 4 - Our last day at Ol Pejeta First we saw this bird. Our guide, who is not that good in identification of birds thought it was a Tawny Eagle. But, it kind of looks different. Then Cape Bull Then there were a group of photogenic Waterbucks Then I spotted what we came here for - a Black Rhino. I am glad we saw it, as it would be very difficult to see this in Mara Looks like a significant cut on the side? Then we went looking for the White Rhino which are a little easier to find... Then our driver guide knew of a location where a few elephants have been frequenting and we went there Then a mother, child Reticulated Giraffe Now I know these Helmeted Guinea Fowl are hard to photograph...they run away too quickly. Pair of Grey-Crowned Cranes A Zebra having a dust bath Then we saw this Waterbuck, and had to post it due it's pose Then we went into an area with dense vegetation. I think we were looking for big cats. We found this group of Cape Bulls. They were scattered around and then this light aircraft made a few low flying passes disturbing the group. I think they were filming them. Then the buffalo all grouped together and formed this defensive shield. It was awesome to see. We did not find the big cats. That's what Mara is for anyways... Yellow-necked Spurfowl lastly we saw this Tawny Eagle Then we went back to Sweetwater Tented Camp There were a few birds there Speke's Weaver And the nest it's building This looks like the White-billed Go-away-bird but the beak is yellow here ? A superb starling There is a water hole and the giraffe we saw earlier came for a sip of water. We had an incredible time. Ol pejeta conservancy was superb. I am so glad we got to see both types of rhino, which is what we came here for... Sweetwater Tented camp facilities are great, food was fine as well. However, we found a number of large thick millipedes on the floor, wall and even the ceiling above our bed. My wife hates crawling bugs and it wasn't good finding so many. I am not a fan of waking up to them on ceilings either. Although it's an excellent facility, we will not be going back.
  19. 15 likes
    Day 3 - Fly/Drive from Amboseli to Ol Pejeta and Evening Game drive. We flew from Amboseli to Nairobi There was a collection of bones on the side of the airport We drove from Nairobi to Ol pejeta conservancy Nairobi Traffic Open stalls like these were a common site Street corner Boutique Billboard sign Butcher/Grill...how convenient. The Forgotten? The road to Ol pejeta were all in great shape. It was eye opening to take a little peak into a small slice of rural Kenyan life through the windows of a fast moving vehicle. Our vehicle parked at Ol Pejeta conservancy entrance We saw the usual antelopes and zebras etc. during our evening game drive. Can you spot all four birds around the Cape Bull? As we were driving we saw a group of 6 vehicles. Must be a good sighting...this is what we saw with my 500mm lens We waited for a few minutes and five of the six vehicles left...the lioness wasn't moving. Our Driver/Guide Joseph suggested we should wait as she may decide to move once the crowd disappeared (He works for Amali Safari but was hired by All seasons to take us around....we had requested a Land rover for just the two of us and we loved the privacy)...we waited...I'm sure all three of us were muttering, please get up! pleaaase get up!!!...after about 5 minutes she did this... AWESOME!!!...Now if only she turned towards the camera Hole smokes!!! she actually looked at us!!!...now, could she possibly get up??? Wow!...what a sight it was....please!, Please!!, Pleaaaase!!! walk towards us...she again obliged and walked just feets away from our vehicle...needless to say we were ecstatic and our hearts were pounding out of our chest...it was unbelievable! After that long majestic walk, She disappeared behind some trees...as we waited for her to come out of the bushes, we saw another lioness and soon she was moving towards the pathway as well and Jospeh drove ahead of her and parked the vehicle. For the first time in our lives, a lion in the wild, just a few feet away from us looked right into our eyes...what a feeling!!! She stepped aside and surveyed her Kingdom Then she walked by us and walked back into the bushes... We had finally seen a big cat in the wild for the first time ever...and it was incredible!!! By the end of the trip, we will see so many more. One of them would do something very unique on Day 9, which they rarely ever do. Don't worry she did not kill a Leopard or Cheetah. We spent the rest of the evening in a quite area with no one else but just a group of Zebras and Impalas...it was serene. I picked Ol Pejeta for the Rhino. Hopefully we will see one tomorrow. We did not want to see any caged animals, so we skipped those options.
  20. 15 likes
    Day 2 - Final part Masai Giraffe Baboon Black-Faced Vervet Monkey There wasn't much crowd in Amboseli, this was probably the most Cape Buffalo I have to include more elephants...after all, that's why I came to Amboseli. Masai cattle grazing amongst wildlife Many elephants in the water eating the wet vegetation...chose this cutie to post We headed back to Amboseli Serena before sunset. We loved it here...can't beat seeing these lovely animals as we sat and enjoyed some cold beer. My wife took these pictures as I was clicking away. Elephants and us enjoying the sunset After sunset...1.2 sec exposure with camera held by hand on top of on an uneven rock wall. Amboseli Conclusion: We absolutely loved it here. We came for the elephants and wasn't disappointed. We saw tons of them and they even posed well for the camera. Kili's peak was barely visible that first evening, but with the dense haze I could not take any good pictures. We were surprised to see not that many vehicles out there, which was a pleasant surprise. Amboseli serena was superb, food was fine too. Highly recommended.
  21. 14 likes
    The next morning we set out to get our pangolin! I have to hand it to Jonas our tracker and Moses our guide. They found the fresh tracks of a pangolin in the soft Kalahari sand and we got out of the land rover and began following its rambling, circling patterns into the bush.....an agitated wildebeest letting out a periodic snort of disapproval with our presence. For an hour we followed the tracks---mind you, I was looking at the ground but to the untrained eye it looked like a car wreck of antelope tracks of all shapes and sizes...how they are able to read the bush so well like a road map is one of those impressive and amazing things about Africans... we found the hole it had dug to nap during the heat of the day covered in fresh dirt....we would return that night to check on him/her... I may be getting my days confused but we set out to find White Rhino on the lion side and found three trotting about in thick bush but I was unable to get a clear picture of them...they rarely see vehicles I was told and often ran from the land rover...on our way back to camp we came across a long black snake in the road. Moses identified it as a mole snake. it scooted off into the bush and Jonas jumped down from his spotter's chair to investigate. They thought it moved rather slowly and as Jonas walked back to the vehicle another snake (a cape cobra) wriggled into the bush in the opposite direction. This gave everyone a start as Jonas likely jumped down very close to the cobra. They figured that the cobra had bitten the mole snake and had planned to eat it as they prey on other snakes...yikes! We also came across a napping owl which had taken liberties with a sociable weavers' nest...
  22. 14 likes
    The next morning we set out to find black rhino, in particular, a relaxed mother and calf rather than a couple grumpier ones recently encountered...along the way we crested a dune ridge and watched an enormous herd of eland (150?) on the run. It's an impressive scene for sure. In the meantime, there was a health emergency with one of the trackers in another vehicle so we took on two extra passengers as the guide attended to the emergency. The rhinos were fantastic---the Black Rhino in particular is my favorite. The mother gave us a mock charge just so we'd keep our distance and we had a nice view as they browsed the scrub and then laid down for a nap. Not before the baby implored its mom to get up
  23. 14 likes
    Tswalu has so many activities you can do, almost too many to list: horseback riding, there's a spa, wine tastings, heli rides, boma dinners, you name it but I was pretty focused on the wildlife and eschewed most of those activities. We did book the sleep out deck to spend a night star gazing...my impression was that this time of year, clear skies were all but guaranteed but that's not exactly how it turned out. But I'm getting ahead of myself...first came the afternoon drive and I believe we were on the trail of the cheetahs but we came across the pack of wild dogs and were waylaid. The pups were playing and the adults resting when some drama began to unfold. A herd of buffalo began to move in to drink at the bore hole, one or two of the dogs held their ground if not downright taunted them. This attracted a group of buffalo to pursue the dogs...there was a stare down, a chase, the dogs then turned the tables and took off after the stampeding buffaloes...it was all quite comical since the dogs really posed no danger to the herd. There was the possibility the buffaloes might harm the pups, however...
  24. 14 likes
    After our visit to the meerkat colony we continued on into a night game drive. It's difficult to take pictures at night but on our first time spotlighting we came across two cheetah brothers, an ostrich that had decided to bed down for the night in the road, the rear ends of a couple of brown hyenas running off, a Cape fox and some nightjars... a nice first half day at Tswalu... The next morning we headed to the large block of the reserve where two lion prides lay claim to the territory...I was stunned at the scenery. The red of the Kalahari sand, the Korannaburg Mountains, and the seemingly endless horizon makes for one of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa. And to see the pride of lions walking along the road following them through the bush was a remarkable experience.
  25. 14 likes
    we had to time the visit to the meerkats to coincide with the sunlight falling on their dens. it was a bit of a cloudy day so we didn't have the beautiful golden light to bring out their golden hues and fuzzy hair. It was still no less entertaining to enjoy the tiny cousins of the weasels including time spent walking with them part way as they foraged and hunted. for a spree of meerkats waking up, housecleaning, grooming, bonding, sunning, taking shut-eyes, moving out, checking out potential "prey", sheltering and foraging.....
  26. 14 likes
    Last year, I was in Room 5, next to the main hall and I had great views of species walking to and from the waterhole. this year we were in Room 1, the room furthest away from the main hall. we still saw some wildlife from inside the room (rather than from the terrace as the smaller ones got nervous when we were out there). these were from the first day since I haven't loaded the pix from the other days. Mountain reedbucks, which scuttled when they heard us rushing to the windows for a shot. I initially thought they were duikers a handsome roan strolling to the waters a ground squirrel enjoying his tidbit
  27. 14 likes
    Day 2 - Part 3 Some more from Amboseli Hippo These hyenas were playing with a piece of bone One more from the previous part Egyptian Goose Amboseli Landscape Black-winged Stilt ? Egret Egret and African Spoonbill Ostrich These are truly ugly...The Marabou Stork.
  28. 14 likes
    Day 2 - Part 1 My computer has come to a stand still....so, I'll post some of the elephants for now as part 1 and continue later.
  29. 13 likes
    Moses and Jonas would stop at nothing to try and spot wildlife, sometimes scaling up small hills or mountains to scan the bush with binocs. I'm already losing track of the days but I believe the next morning we went back to the meerkat colony which was hard to get enough of...the first visit we saw them at the close of the day. Gathering at the den, cuddling and grooming each other. This time we saw them after emerging from the den, hungry and spreading out in all directions churring and frantically digging for grubs and scorpions. I've lost a little track of my days but the bottom line is that we booked five nights and we were facing our last afternoon/evening game drive and still no aardvark. I had kidded with the staff that if they could find an active aardvark hole or den, they could set up a cot and I'd wait it out but the last night drive, temps chilly, we had added another cape fox and a flap necked chameleon to our list of sightings but we were striking out on aardvark. I was determined, but I wasn't sure if my travel mate was as committed lol. Long drives in the night in the cold seemed not very appealing at this point. So off we set on the last afternoon drive about 4:30P, Aardvarks are frequently seen at Tswalu in the winter months cheating the last rays of sunlight as the night time temps plunge, Otherwise, an aardvark is nocturnal and extremely difficult to lay eyes on...in fact, some safari guides have spent decades in the bush, seen evidence of aardvark activity all around but never actually spotted one...so this was the last chance and we needed to be prepared to go deep into the night if necessary and I was but it was with elation that I can report we had been searching for about 20 minutes before Moses and Jonas spotted that great domed back scurrying around in broad daylight! They are particularly skittish, so we killed the engine and used our downwind position and various bush cover to sneak ever closer to this amazing animal. We spent about 45 minutes to an hour watching it dig for food, sniff the air, at some point it became aware of our presence but hadn't made visual contact. We were tolerated for a good while until we weren't and in a quick hurry scuttled off . We cracked open our sundowners and laughed and joked with Jonas and Moses....we didn't need to see another thing. Total satisfaction!
  30. 13 likes
    We returned to the pangolin hole at dusk prepared to wait. We cut the engine and stayed quiet. Jonas exited the land rover and quietly approached the hole when he heard scratching---the pangolin was emerging!!! Now a pangolin can do a lot of things...it can come out just after dark, or it can decide it's perfectly comfortable in there and sleep through the night...so we waited until the pangolin was good and out of his hole before we risked turning on a light. Moses and Jonas did not see that it had been tagged previously and so alerted the pangolin research team so soon we were joined by an expert complete with a weight scale and various measuring devices. It turns out the pangolin had been marked before but had not been seen in two years. Such an amazing creature and what a privilege to see in the wild! I was feeling quite lucky!
  31. 13 likes
    The afternoon game drive we set out to find cheetahs...we found the two cheetah brothers working the dune ridge looking for potential prey. As with so much of Tswalu, it sets up for spectacular silhouettes against the backdrop of the Kalahari skies. It is a stunning environment. Later we searched some thick bush for a leopard unsuccessfully though it's tracks crossed the trackers' tracks a couple of times...a game of cat and mouse...
  32. 13 likes
    As night fell, clouds gathered. Heat lightning lit up the horizons and thunder rolled. I thought we were in the desert! The sleep out deck is pretty cool sitting atop a dune ridge looking out over the plains below. Needless to say the food is incredible and there's a nice fire in the pit. My determination to sleep out under the stars (or clouds as fate would have it) would not be deterred by a little lightning and thunder...but then the drops began to fall and we moved the beds under the thatch...three times we did this! So the starry night turned into a lightning show with a lot of fake outs with regard to rain---they call them dry storms. I would say it was a bit buggier than I thought it would be but perhaps that was because of the unusual weather...We had no sooner settled in and were about to dig into dinner than our walkie talkie began to ring---or was it a phone? At any rate, a leopard had been spotted near the stables and Moses and Jonas called to see if we wanted to see it---of course we did!!! We raced like banshees to get there---I guessed that a leopard was one of the species most difficult to see at Tswalu. When we arrived, we found the leopard napping in a camel thorn tree head sort of hidden, paws hanging down.
  33. 13 likes
    They sort of choose an animal to try to look for on each outing: twice we visited the habituated meerkat colony during our stay and I could spend hours watching them. They are tireless and entertaining, trilling and digging for scorpions. Taking turns as the sentinel always on watch duty for predators
  34. 13 likes
    Finally, one which I will cherish. and a couple of videos: a collage: meerkats: the kills
  35. 13 likes
    more meerkat mania! well, the truth is that we took dozens of photos and it'd be such a waste not to enjoy the good ones (dumped loads of bad ones too!).
  36. 13 likes
    Day 7 (Mara Reserve) - Evening Drive Prior to the evening drive, a few shots from the Serena lodge Hyrax Birds It was raining and our evening game drive was delayed by about 20 minutes...cutting into our Leopard search time. We spotted these sleeping lions very far away Giraffes We went to a location where the driver/guide has seen a Leopard a few months ago. We inched through the area back and forth and couldn't spot any. Now it's about 6pm. We went back to the main road. We heard from a driver passing by of a Leopard sighting not too far off, ....couldn't believe our luck....we sped towards it. On the last day of our stay at the Reserve, after 6pm we spotted our first leopard Soon followed by another The light was very low. For the rest, I had to increase iso to 3200 and still was barely getting shutter speeds of 1/250 at times dropping to 1/125 at 500mm. Surprised how well the gear held up. We were so enamored by the pair, I am going to post quite a few images. Then they approached closer to our vehicle, crossed right in front and disappeared on to the other side On our way back, we spotted those sleeping lions, barely waking up We have one more morning drive in the Reserve and then onto Porini Lion Camp. Day 8 will be a Lion day....
  37. 13 likes
    Last year I saw numerous hartmann's zebras down from the mountains but this time, we saw only one herd, and only a handful of plains zebras. a plains zebra waiting for us to leave the waterhole
  38. 13 likes
  39. 13 likes
    Day1: We stayed at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi for our first night's stay. It was a great facility and the breakfast was superb Outskirts of Nairobi Unpaved road into Amboseli Park This guy was sitting outside my room at Amboseli Serena Our evening drive We saw tons of Wildebeest, Zebras, various antelopes and of course elephants. Sunset images of ... Elephants Wildebeest Zebras I promise, Day 2 will have the more conventional animal pictures Kenya (1 of 1)-2.tif
  40. 12 likes
    I've always believed it's best not to go on safari with a checklist mentality...I've set myself up for disappointment before by expecting to see a particular animal: a lion trekking safari in Matusadona NP: no lions seen...a rhino sanctuary in southern Zim: no rhinos spotted...it's best to let nature decide what to reveal to you because that's how it's going to be anyway, right? My attitude is "a bad day on safari is better than a good day doing just about anything else!" I think a lot of Safaritalkers would agree there's no wasted time spent in the African bush. That being said, you certainly have hopes to see certain animals---call it a "goal"--- and on this particular choice of safari locations (thanks to being a faithful reader of SafariTalk), I became fascinated with the number of folks who had spotted an aardvark at Tswalu in the "green" Kalahari (mostly during the winter months) and the fact it had one of my favorites, Black Rhino, as well as cheetah, lion and leopard...and even better, pangolin!! I just had to go and see for myself! i checked online availability at Tswalu and only found one set of dates in late September to take advantage of their buy four nights get one free deal...so I jumped on it. After several attempts and multiple calls to my bank, my deposit finally made it past "security" and into the right hands at Tswalu...nothing was standing in my way and the long months of anticipation began... Next I booked Devil's Pool in Livingstone to get that up close and personal view of the falls only available during the dry season. Finally I reached out to Safaritalker Tony McKeith about visiting Zambia's Kafue NP which I've read a great deal about on this site. He quickly arranged a "too short" but well worth it safari with 2X each at Kaingu Lodge as well as Musekese bush camp...it's hard to describe but I fell in love with Kafue. In many ways it's the opposite of Tswalu. Tswalu is a well managed game reserve. A vast, strikingly beautiful reserve, fenced but so large as it is not something that particularly registers with you. There is "the lion side" and then everything else. I imagine they know exactly the numbers of certain species and their DNA such as lion, rhino and wild dogs...they raise sable for sale, I believe. In fact I think this is a feature of a lot of reserves in South Africa. What is not managed would be all the interesting species you can see like pangolins and aardvarks and aardwolves and brown hyena...my point is that Kafue has that totally wild, free range feel. And very few camps to share the experience with...my only issue with Kafue is that it is intensely burned. Virtually the entire park is burned at one time or another during the year. In certain places it doesn't make for the best pictures with the charred landscapes. I have to agree with Tyrone McKeith that it tends to create a mono landscape over time that favors the fire resistant grasses etc...around Musekese they have taken a different approach and I love the results. The habitat appears more varied and it certainly makes for better pictures My itinerary was as follows: Sept 21 Depart US Sept 22 overnight in Jo'burg Sept 23 - 28 five nights at Tswalu Sept 28 overnight in Jo'burg visit to Kliptown in Soweto Sept 29 over night in Livingstone, Vic Falls Sept 30-Oct 1 2X at Kaingu Lodge in Kafue NP Oct 2-4 2X at Musekese Camp in Kafue Oct 4 Depart for US To get to Kafue required flying to Lusaka and then an approx five hour drive to the park. I didn't mind it. I enjoyed seeing the countryside and the villages along the way. The roads were good although its a bit tough getting through Lusaka. Linda and Rick, part owners of Kaingu picked us up and we had great conversations all the way to the lodge. But apparently next year Proflight will be offering a certain number of flights each week which will make the park more accessible to visitors. I must say that Kafue had lived up to its reputation as a diverse park with the most antelope species but it was only on the ride back to Lusaka (still in the Kafue) through beautiful Miombo woodlands that we came across a galloping herd of sable. They kept pace with the car for a long stretch running through the woodlands. It was a memorable, beautiful sight! So a visit to Tswalu typically begins from the Fireblade Hangar owned by the Oppenheimers. It's plush and certainly not reminiscent of my 16 hour journey flying coach to get to South Africa! You can have a meal, a smoothie, a drink...it's all included and the plane ride is about an hour and a half, shortened by wine and beer if you like to drink and fly. As many of you know Tswalu is pricey, but there's no single supplement and each person or two person(s) get(s) their own guide and tracker. We were thrilled with Jonas as our tracker (I requested him based on recommendations here on Safaritalk) and our guide Moses. The had a great rapport with each other and kept us laughing in between seeing all that Tswalu offers---the were skilled trackers, spotters, knew about the environment and wildlife we were seeing---they were as good of guides/trackers as I've had. I'd highly recommend them! The arrival and departure lounge has been taken over by an enormous sociable weaver nest---I love this place already
  41. 12 likes
    The next morning we used the same taxi driver we had been using since arrival ($30 one way for two to get to the hotel and the same back to the airport) and flew to Lusaka. Linda and Rick, Aussies that are part owners of Kaingu Lodge picked us up from the airport and we wound our way through Lusaka including the central market area until we reached the outskirts, then the countryside of rural Zambia. When we reached the boundaries of Kafue National Park we transitioned into a game drive with Linda being chief spotter. Puku are clearly the most abundant antelope in this part of Kafue, then impala. But we saw kudu, roan antelope, warthogs and elephants on the way to the boat. After reaching the Kafue River, we parked the 4WD, met our guide JohnD (real name JohnDeere) and made our final approach along the stunning stretch of rock and boulder strewn river to Kaingu Lodge. If Disney were to create a perfect African river for a movie, I think this stretch of Kafue River would be it. Hippos, crocs, water birds, volcanic boulders and rocks, doum and fan palms, even baobabs dot the landscape. Just stunning.
  42. 12 likes
    The afternoon game drive sent us to the lion side to find the two black maned Kalahari lion males that dominate the two prides...we found them lazing about...checking to see if the females were in heat. In other words, being lions...
  43. 12 likes
    a few species that we stopped for a minute in our search in vain for the perfect photos.
  44. 12 likes
    we headed off to have our brekkie in the bush at a beautiful large flat pan. with little water still remaining, waves and waves of burchell's sandgrouses flew in and out for quick seeps of water. wildebeests, oryx, a sable found their way to the pool, and despite our presence, albeit at a far distance, they seemed quite relaxed. Kosie said he would usually bring guests to the pan for the bush dinner and this was the first time he'd done for brunch. sometimes rhinos would come to the waterhole.
  45. 12 likes
    The afternoon drive was a leisurely roundabout route to the west to see if we could find a rhino. we had time to kill as we were meeting Wendy, the pangolin researcher, for a bush dinner. She's wrapping up her research with a doctorate thess (way to go, Gal!) and it was good to meet up with her again. Finally we saw buffaloes - the first and only time we saw them in the reserve. There are only very few buffaloes in Tswalu which were taken in by the reserve from neighbouring farms. I can't recall the reason why the farms were giving them away. a pan of sorts. last year the reserve had put salt licks here and that attracted a horde of grazers and browsers. This September, there were no licks but the animals sought refuge in the shade of a beautiful tree instead. an oryx and oryx babies which looked like mini roans!! they were adorable.
  46. 12 likes
    other wildlife seen during the morning drive:
  47. 12 likes
    we were out at around just before 4pm. this time, several guests headed out before us. the afternoon delights at tea were such an improvement over last year. the chef has changed and this one believed in giving us loads of varieties and yummy teacakes. My favourite hands down was the fluffly light choc lamingtons, but often times, i would reject teacakes but my OH couldn't resist. the start of the drive was sedate as always was in Tswalu. one of only a few tsessebe in the reserve a female ostrich sitting on her nest. you can just make out one egg next to her neck. on the way back as the night approached, as Kosie had predicted, it was the male on the nest. but tragically the next morning both parents were gone and we found the eggs had been broken up, probably eaten by another species. one of those LBJ - little brown jobs. birdlife in tswalu isn't colourful. unlike the last time, we saw few birds of prey.
  48. 12 likes
    We noticed not far across the plain that vultures were descending to the ground so we decided to take a look. We found hyaenas quickly cleaning up another wildebeeste carcass. With each passing minute more and more vultures were arriving at the carcass and it was a great opportunity for some vulture flight images. and a marabou stork too In no time there wasn't much left of the carcass We left the vultures with their meagre remains and headed in the direction of a wildebeeste herd milling about considering crossing a small stream. On the way there were a few buffalo. A zebra stands point guard for the wildebeeste. The wildebeeste crossed on either side of us and it was hard to know where to look. A few crossing pics. A topi joined in too. To finish off the morning I took some portrait shots. Topi Tommie Grant's Gazelle
  49. 12 likes
    The following morning we initially spent some time with one of the lion prides. They had killed a wildebeeste earlier and some of the pride were still picking over the remains. Dragging the carcass The pride male. He had an old injury to his back that was withered but he was still charge and looks to have sired a number of offspring. including this fine young male. As the morning temps rose the cubs drank from a puddle before heading for some shade. This allowed the scavengers to move in White-backed vulture Tawny Eagle Yellow-billed Kite (immature)
  50. 11 likes
    DAY 5 During the night, the resident Lion pack had crossed the creek and managed to kill a Wildebeest. Not much left of it when we arrived but cubs with different ages was still feasting. The Lionesses was already full and they seemed only interested in protecting the cubs. But why don´t have some dessert, Wildebeest stomach... The Lionesses, I think they were three, wanted to leave but the cubs was really into feeding. They always eats last and this is there time. Why leave when you finally got your own carcass? Okey, time to leave! For both the Lions and me. But remember to never ever leave a hoof behind... There were more kills from other creatures today. Tawny eagle with a Francolin breakfast. We decided to go to the Leopard area. No one had seen them for a while so we started tracking them. Listening to the Francolins calling, tracks in the sand etc. etc. A male Red lechwe watched us and probably wonder what in the world are they doing... Leopards should be avioded, not approached! It took around 45 minutes to track them down and then we had a fantastic morning together with this old female Leopard and her cub. They were suckling when we found them. We kept a good distance not to disturb their intimate time together and we could witness some fantastic interaction between this old female Leopard and her last cub in her existence. Lets hope he/she will make it to adulthood. The 3 months old cub is like all other youngsters, very curious about the surroundings and loved to explore the area. They had killed some kind of bird earlier and it's just a pile of feathers left. The cub directed his/her attention to a squirrel who jumped at some dead branches close by. The hunting instinct took over immediately. Hey, where is that Squirrel? The female noticed that something was going on and followed her cub and while the cub started to climb the dead trees and went off after the Squirrel, she laid down just under the tree. The Squirrel was att the end of the branch and cornered. He jumped... ...only to land right on the female Leopard under the tree. A quick move with the paw and the Squirrel was trapped and the cub got his first kill! He/she was so proud and ran away with it in the bushes and started to play with the poor Squirrel. Very cool hunt to witness and it´s not always about hunting big Antelopes. It was almost midday and we left them and started to go back to the camp. On the way back nothing spectacular happend. Nice male Reedbuck. Some birds as well. The ever present Great white pelican. Spur winged goose with a good view point. And the always beautiful and powerful Bateleur eagle. In the afternoon we went to the Wilddog den again. At first everything was as calm as always but then some movements inside the den made everyone very overexcited. Something was really going on... Could we be so lucky that for the first time ever the puppies would come out? The reason for the overexcited pack you can see if you look very close half a meter behind the dog. One brave guy saw the world for the first time. The Dogs went totally crazy. They were apparently as excited as me to see the puppies for the first time. Only 10-12 days old with barely open eyes and still wrinkled ears he got a rough start with all the attention from the rest of the pack. The strange thing is that he was alone. The Alpha female was unaware of what´s going on here and she were inside the den with the rest. He got some rest at last. Obviously very disorientated and unable to find his way back inside the den on his own. Say hello to your fellow pack member. You are going to spend alot of time together in the struggling to survive. Then it started to get out of control. The pack was so overexcited about this. Where is the Alpha female?? Everyone started to tear him, run over him, drag him... The puppy was now in big danger for his life. Everything was out of control and the puppy totally finished and exhausted. He hadn´t the strength to move anymore and the pack was still throwing him around... Very weird that the Alpha female didn´t react on this. She must have heard what was going on outside. After a very long time the Alpha female came out and barked out the members. Took the little guy in her mouth and brought him down inside the den again. At this point, he was not moving but I hope he will recover with some love from his mother. I do wonder what he really was thinking about the world he saw for the first time? Quite rough start in life... The calm again prevails around the den and we left for some nightdrive. Zebras in nice light. Big Kudu male in not such a good light Fishing Yellowbilled Storks. The nightdrive was pretty calm. We knew about an Elephant carcass and there were some Hyena action around it. Very cool and exciting day in Khwai Concession was over!

© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.