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  1. 18 likes
    @Kitsafari Thank you for this amazing and comprehensive account of Zakouma. I basically would like to second everything everyone has said. And many thanks also to, in no particular order, Squack, @Sangeeta, @Twaffle and Terry. Did we really not have even an infinitesimal moment of slightest friction amongst us? Kindness, respect and selflessness come to mind. I had met everyone before except Kit, and getting to know Kit was one of the highlights of the safari. And here is my little contribution to this thread… I am often asked what my favorite safari destination might be. I always answer that by saying that I won’t answer that question, because it is like asking someone, “which one of your children do you love most?” As such, I cannot say that Zakouma is my favorite safari destination. But I will say this: Zakouma was different. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - Well, that was the river. This is the sea. Woo! The Waterboys All have been quite grand. But this was different… this Zakouma… The sheer numbers at Zakouma are shocking. In East or Southern Africa, you get excited if you encounter a flock of a few thousand queleas or a couple of dozen crowned cranes. At Zakouma, queleas and cranes, not to mention many other species of birds and mammals, subsume you. One evening, as we were photographing queleas roosting in the woodland, I noticed the temperature of the woodland rising from the innumerable quelea bodies. The escalating temperature and the noise reached a breaking point: I had to leave. The very next day, I had to temporarily abort my satellite phone call to the family due to the collective honking of 500+ black crowned cranes right in front of camp. “What in hell is that noise?” she said. During our 7-night stay at Camp Nomade, Zakouma’s dry season momentum was palpable. Every day, there was less and less water available and greater and greater concentrations of cranes, geese, ducks, herons, pelicans, queleas, hartebeests and tiangs. And it was only late February/early March. The numbers would continue to build until the first rains in 8-10 weeks thence disperse the wildlife. It was difficult to imagine that, in the coming weeks, there could actually be more cranes honking in front of camp, or there are enough fish in the dwindling pans to sustain the pelicans or the tree branches, already bending, could take any more roosting queleas. Historically, these explosions of life have been the norm everywhere on the continent of Africa, but the genuine glimpses of them are now, sadly, restricted to a handful of spots – places such as Zakouma where there is minimal human footprint. My one indelible moment has to be our last morning when the queleas put on quite a farewell show. They (“they” meaning tens of thousands of them) had been coming to drink at a shrinking pool on the floodplain in front of camp every day beginning at 5:45am on the dot, in larger gatherings each successive day. At 5:51am, the last flock of the morning and the largest flock seen to date approached with an escalating drone, having reached the threshold point in which it was thick enough to completely block out the background. Orchestrated as one giant organism, the flock swooped down suddenly, sucked up the moisture only for a few seconds, and then departed forcefully with a loud whoosh, blackening the sky in its path, looking very much like a dark, filled-in, twirling lasso. With the departure of the queleas, it was as if nothing ever happened. The floodplain cleared and fell silent, at once waiting expectantly for the cranes to arrive from their nightly roosting site to fill the void. Rivers are great. But this is the sea. A roosting Marabou Stork A tiang on the move Pelicans on the Salamat River Queleas at dusk Queleas in front of camp More queleas in front of camp The magic of Camp Nomade
  2. 18 likes
    Thanks @xelas. If you believe camera reviews, that camera is called the D500. Or the D5. Or that new Sony A9. Not that I do, anymore, and sadly I will probably not find out either. Day 21: (Warning: Raptor Overload!) Back up to Rooiputs. First stop, the leopard tree. Soon, another car arrived. I had stopped next to a small bush, and because my car is relatively high, when they stopped next to me they couldn't see over my bonnet, so I moved over a little so that they could fit in between me and the bush. I had scarcely finished, when the leopard started chewing on the vulture. But then, it dropped the vulture. After a half-minute's indecision, it followed the vulture down! The light was still pretty bad, with the sun not reaching the ground yet. Fortunately, the leopard was patient for once, and remained until the sun reached it. The tree it was in was about half-way between the main South African road, and the little twee-spoor that is supposed to be used mainly by the residents of Rooiputs camp. Because the verge of the main road was by now pretty jam-packed, some guys started using the twee-spoor. But as soon as the first car stopped, the leopard obviously felt trapped, and it got up and slinked off into the dunes. And so I headed on for Kij Kij, with sporadic bird sightings along the way. At Kij Kij there were hundreds of Turtle Doves sitting in the trees, and it wasn't long before a Lanner pitched up. Then, a large raptor being harried by a Pale Chanting Goshawk flew past. I am not sure whether this is immature Black-chested Snake-eagle, or immature Martial Eagle, but judging by the yellow eyes I am leaning towards the former? Either way, it was my first (and only) sighting of whichever one it was. Back to Rooiputs, where I at last got some useable images of the Sandgrouse coming in. Apologies for the overload, but to me they are such an enigmatic species. A pair of Lanners swooped in, but all three of us missed. I was just thinking that it was strange that I had seen two Pygmys in one drive, and then notheng again, when: But when he flew off, he went behind the branch, so I shall just have to return for an in-flight shot... And so with my heart jubilating at how the Kgalagadi always seems to leave the best for last, yet heavy that this was the end, I moved along. Between Samevloeing and Twee Rivieren, in that patch of dead ground where nothing ever happens, a juvenile goshawk was sitting on a bush right on the verge of the road. A car was parked right next to him, probably not three metres away. I pulled up and maneuvred to get a shot. The Goshawk then took off and hovered above the Driedorings just next to the bush. I have never seen such behaviour. The photos that follow are virtually un-cropped! Eventually, having missed whatever prey was there, it flew off a little way. My last sighting was this Common Fiscal. I had seen many, but always too far away. And so, barring a long slog home which included an overnight stop at a strange little resort north of Vryburg, the magnificent adventure came to an end.
  3. 16 likes
    In the afternoon, I decided to do the Leeudril 4x4 route (for which I had bought a permit the previous day). Now I have a love-hate relationship with 4x4 trails in national parks, and I feel they should be called something else. They are never particularly challenging. I guess I understand why, since the Parks Board's first priority is to safeguard the environment, and secondly since there are dangerous animals around and you don't want anybody to have to walk around (the first rule of real 4x4ing is to walk the obstacle in advance, and getting stuck should be almost a given). Thus, I really only take them to get away from the crowds. This was the only other car I saw on the route. Arriving at the Aub, I turned North, then took the Lower Dune road. The Aub was again pretty quiet. On the lower dune road, there was a little bit of life. Back on the Nossob, and heading back south. Kudu! At Rooiputs, the Leopard was still hiding in the tree. The mongoose family were out though. And, for the first time this trip, so were some Suricates At Leeudril, some Gemsbok Back at camp, some fun with a bubble-gun. And so concluded our last full day. Just one morning drive left, and then the long slog back home.
  4. 15 likes
    This report is hanging over my head so I’ll quickly post some of the images from my last morning drive in random order. The final image posted here is the last photo of my trip before my camera stopped firing….a problem I had had the night before and one that Nikon had supposedly fixed. I’m not sure who was more frustrated….me or my guide…after sitting with the leopard for an hour waiting for him to move then working hard to stay in front so he could set up the shot only to NOT hear my camera clicking when the opportunity is there…..aaagghhhh……
  5. 14 likes
    Soon we found the Cheetah standing on a fallen tree We were standing next to an open safari vehicle equiped with a number of gimbal heads sporting serious lenses, and I saw the driver notice something to the right of us. A couple of springbuck were shambling along towards the Cheetah! What followed was my worst moment as a photographer... Fast food: Rapid acceleration: The other end: Focus on the background: Still. Getting worse And we all just give up The other Cheetah then displayed an interest in the second Springbuck, which was still standing nervously to the right, but it had seen the Cheetah and left the moment the cheetah came down from the tree, so this Cheetah went to join it's partner. We had orders to be back at camp for brunch at ten, and it was 20 past nine now, so we started back. At the water-hole, I got distracted by some Sandgrouse. Photographically though, it was another bust, with this being my best result, still far short of what I want to achieve. Back at the Leopard tree, the Leopard was now, for the first time in two days, actually eating during daylight. The morning drive had been an unbelievable parade. The first (and second) time I had ever seen an apex predator make a move (something I guess almost all aspiring wildlife photographers dream of), and I had duffed it both times, I was left in a bitter mood, which was not fair on Sonja. Sometimes I wish I could just watch and remember...
  6. 14 likes
    Day19: First out the gate, and strangely with nobody behind me, it felt like I was in my own world. None of the dust-clouds of being in the convoy! On my previous visit, it had been strange to drive past a water-hole without seeing one or two Jackal, but this time I had not seen any yet. Just past Leeudril, I struck the jackal jackpot! Four youngsters chasing each other around and through a patch of Driedoring. Mom was trying to rest while keeping an eye out for danger. Some more ostrich chicks Then, just short of Rooiputs, I found a car standing against the verge. The occupants are staring at a tree, but I can see nothing. So I ask them the nature of my blindness. A Leopard! Apparently a different one from the day before, this one had a dead vulture to gnaw on, but for the time being it was climbing the other side of the tree, and hiding in the thick stuff. I eventually give up and move along. Close to Kij Kij, another nice surprise: Verraux's Eagle Owl, with what appears to be Goshawk prey. I have no idea whether it caught the Goshawk or somehow picked it up. Next up (the Kgalagadi really sometimes feels like a parade of amazing sightings to me), a Tawny eagle Being harrassed by a Pale Chanting Goshawk Eventually, it leaves At Kij Kij, a couple of Namaqua Doves fly past. There are a lot of Turtle Doves in the tree. Soon, a Lanner comes swooping in! I think this is about the closest it got though A friend (and ex-guide) recently told me a story about a colleague who had told some clients that Wildebeest hibernated under-ground. Heading back, I come across one that had just crawled out. Don't believe everything your guides tell you! Some Sand-grouse at Rooiputs Another young PCG At Leeudril, a small flock of Finches and Quelias keep me entertained for a few minutes Cinnamon-breasted Bunting perhaps? And lastly, this little guy crossing the road. The stones around him are normal road gravel. He must have been less than 10cm long, all stretched out!
  7. 12 likes
    Day 14 Thu 15 Oct Bale Mountains pt 2 We drove to the far side of the plateau and turned around. No wolf sightings only brds for the return journey. In my notes I have jotted down “Poor pics of golden eagle”. Which must be these pictures which were just grab shots that I’ve done my best with in Lightroom to recover some detail. We stopped for our picnic lunch around 12. Getting out of the car at the top of the plateau to stretch our legs at the same time. It was bleak, windy and cold. Some of the fauna reminded me of home. After lunch we continued our drive. All was qute as we headed back towards BML, we didn’t see any more wolves but we did stop for a few landscape shots. On the way back towards BML and just past the village we spotted a troop of Bale Monkeys attempting to cross the road. They seemed very nervous and we very cautious as the took it in turns to leap down from the cover of a fallen tree and run across the open road. Under the watchful eye of an older male. This one made a full page spread in the winter 2017 edition of Wildlife Photography World A little further down the road our guide spotted a couple of colobus monkeys sitting in a tree. The view was pretty poor so we got out of the car to take a closer look. It was still difficult to get a clear shot the trees were so green and lush. Trees on the opposite side of the road We overshot the lodge entrance and continued along down the road. We were getting fleeting glimpses of bushbucks and a few different types of birds but nothing too exciting. Then we hit an Olive Baboon roadblock I got out of the car and took a slow solo stroll towards the troup. They started to move into the forest and up into the trees The last defiant male The drive was starting to get a little tedious and Angela was starting to get some nasty stomach pains. So we headed back to the lodge. Angela took to her bed for the remains of the day. Yvonne sorted her out with a flask of ginger tea and later on some soup for dinner. I spent the remains of the afternoon taking snaps from the balcony And trying to get a half decent shot of one of these splendid looking birds The evening at the lodge was a complete contrast to the previous night as they had a visit from their co-funders the African Wildlife Foundation and every room was full. There was a talk in the bar from a couple of people from the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Project. Followed by a group dinner which I was invited to join as I would have otherwise dined on my own. It was a good evening.
  8. 11 likes
    @JohnR has volunteered to take on the role of Safaritalk Technical Support, thanks to experience with using/running multi platforms - and thus will be one of Safaritalk's moderating team helping to keep an eye on the Forum Help topics and Site news, updates, development subforums. So if you have a technical question, whether it be for mobile devices or otherwise, don't forget to tag him in your question. Note: when time allows I'll be developing a page for the Safaritalk Team which will focus on those who have volunteered to help me keep ST running.. Thanks, Matt.
  9. 11 likes
    The afternoon drive was relatively quiet. I crossed the Lower Dune Road to the Aub for a change. By the time I reached the Lower Dune Road, I still hadn't taken a single photo. I am not sure whether the mouse/rat carried this flower in, or whether it was growing there. Black Crows Some Springbuck in Aub Eventually, I ended up at Samevloeing, where some Gemsbok were getting ready for a drink. Tawny Another young Goshawk hunting And lastly, across the road, two Secretary birds on their nest
  10. 10 likes
    Day 14 Thu 15 Oct Bale Mountains Today we could have a lie in, the wolves generally don’t start to show themselves up on the plateau until around 10am which meant we didn’t have to leave BML until around 9:30. We were still up at a reasonable time to get ourselves sorted and work out what we needed laundered to get us through the remains of the trip. We had a wonderful night's sleep in a warm comfortable bed with the added luxury of heating provided by the room’s wood burner, lit for us while we were still enjoying dinner. Tea facilities were in the room which meant we could also make ourselves a nice cup of tea before venturing up to the main lodge for a lovely slow breakfast at 8:15. Pre breakfast views from our balcony Bale Mountain Lodge is co owned and run by Guy & Yvonne Levene. Guy was away on business in Addis and had Yvonne to manage things and what a wonderful host she was. We had plenty to chat about over our stay and found we had a few things in common including coming from the same corner of Essex. We left at 9:40 and spotted our 1st Wolf as we hit the plateau. It was a fair distance away from us so we just sat and watched it disappear further into the hillside as it pursued a hare. We were too far away to find out if the hunt was a success. Spotting wolves up here, even on a lovely clear day like this is no easy task. They are coloured the same colour as the lichen which can play tricks with your eyes. Our second sighting was not much later when a wolf popped out from behind some rocks and ran across the road. This one was a little nervous and hid behind some rocks. Further along the road we found a youngster lying by the road until we disturbed it and it shot off. Then the highlight of the day as we came over the crest of a hill. A pack of six wolves ran across the hill side. We stayed with them for as long as we could until the eventually slid over a ridge. Five of the pack of six A few closer encounters and a Full house
  11. 9 likes
    I think we left LWC at about 8 or 8:15 a.m., very sad to say goodbye. But our adventures continued. At 8:19 as we're still on part of LWC's ranch, I believe, but in an area that we'd not driven before, we caught sight of something that I was quite surprised to see. A mother cheetah with FIVE CUBS that were 2-3 months old! Even Mugambi was very excited and surprised. He said they do see cheetah there but never with more than two cubs! Unfortunately the photos I got, in keeping with the rest of this day, were from very far. We left the road and followed the cheetah and cubs at a distance and I tried to get anything I could. These are zoomed in from what I got so the quality is poor. Here is the mother behind the sparse euphorbia that is in the foreground, pretty much in the center and the cubs can be seen to the viewer's left (mother's right) in the clearing Here are a couple more: this was quite a nice surprise! We started joking about what else might we see that we hadn't seen while we were there. Among the animals we wished to have seen were bat-eared foxes. No sooner said than .... It was a pair with four babies and they were absolutely perfectly posed and beautiful but I took too darn long getting my camera on and trying to zoom in and I got this of one of the adults running away! Here are the rather poor photos I got after that: Next we came upon a Goshawk bathing in a little pool of water and then we came upon this big leopard tortoise in the road. We'd wanted to see leopard - this is what the universe gave us. Mugambi pulled over so he could get it out of the road and to safety. Mr. S. taking the above photo: and a giraffe and a shot of the landscape to finish out our time in Laikipia: We really loved our time at Lakipia Wilderness. Despite the problems going in in the area, we were unaffected. I truly hope that the issues in the area are resolved soon. This is a magical place to which I would love to return some day. I will be back with a few more posts covering our trip to Nairobi and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
  12. 8 likes
    #68 African Darter (Anhinga rufa) Khwai concession, Okavango Delta, Botswana. May 2017
  13. 8 likes
    #67 Arrow Marked Babbler (Turdoides jardineii) Caprivi Strip, Namibia. May 2017 A rather wind blown Babbler
  14. 8 likes
    #66 African Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus) Chobe River, Namibia. May 2017 This one is not as sharp as I'd like, mostly because the subject takes up such a small part of the original frame
  15. 8 likes
    This was on the grounds of our hotel in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (wildlife is very habituated here). It was extremely slow on the ground but climbed very fast up the vine.
  16. 8 likes
    Day 18: The drawback of the concept of moving camp in the morniong is that that put paid to my morning drive But fortunately, there is some life right in camp too! This one is for @@xelas, who needs to negotiate the delivery of one of these to his front door as a retirement gift. I am sure Zvezda would be quite happy to camp like this, as it even has satellite TV and air conditioning! Scaly-feathered Finch: (When my dad and I were here in 2014, we never even noticed a single Scaly-feathered Finch. Probably we thought they were Communal Weavers...) Red-headed Finch: White-browed Sparrow-weaver: White-backed Mousebird: Meerkat: There was no way I was missing an afternoon drive as well, so with camp all sorted, I set off. My first significant sighting was a Pygmy Falcon (another lifer which we should have seen before, although he wasn't being too co-operative): Then, another stop at the owl's nest. A couple of Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters kept me entertained for a ten minutes or so, but I failed to get a nice in-flight shot. A fairly laid-back Crowned Lapwing: And then, lo and behold, another Pygmy Falcon: Some more Gemsbok looking pretty: This poor guy had lost both his horns! By this time I was getting very close to Rooiputs, and as I turned the corner I noticed a lot of cars at the viewing point, so we dashed over. Alas, I was just in time to be too late. The centre of attention was leaving. By now, it was time to start heading back. Another young Goshawk (I am still not 100% sure whether these are Gabar or Pale Chanting, but on balance of probability they are eprobably Pale Chanting) A secretary bird with a skink: Some dust-bathing Ostriches: Kori Bustard: A Pale Chanting Goshawk with a mouse or rat: A juvenile Swallow-tailed Bee-eater: A communal weaver dropping out of the nest: And a last Gemsbok rounded off the day:
  17. 7 likes
    Little Egret Chobe River. May 2017
  18. 7 likes
    Not to be outdone in plain grace, Gazella granti remains sure, That cryptic markings on its face, Artfully conceal and obscure. Samburu Grant's Gazelle Intent on Eating I'm Not a Gerenuk! Sun-kissed Rounded Muzzle
  19. 7 likes
    5 weeks until an express safari! I will be taking a friend from LHR-JNB and on to Tuningi in Madikwe for 3 nights before heading back. This wasn't planned earlier in the year but the friend lived in Africa as a child and has a serious diagnosis that means a wish to go back to Africa 'one day' needs to be sooner rather than later.
  20. 7 likes
    Immature Lanner falcon Near Gochas, Namibia, April 2017
  21. 7 likes
    Thanks Michael. Yes, I think it is the same, but too lazy to try to find my posting in the other thread, so..... 3 nights at Fishing Lodge in Aberdares National Park 3 nights at Sabache Camp in Namunyak Conservancy 4 nights at Serian in Kalama Concervancy 5 nights at Kicheche Bush Camp in Olare Motorogi Conservancy
  22. 7 likes
    Day 17: The destination for today was Twee Rivieren (this was the only camp with space for us when we booked. In fact, there was a night in the middle where we had only been able to book one stand... Distance was only 270km, but it would take at least 5 hours, if we saw nothing at all. So we got going fairly early. At Mata Mata there was a long delay as the booking was sorted out (that one night coming back to haunt us. Also, they confiscated all our firewood. Fortunately, we still had some charcoal as well (note to self-drivers: Despite many guys seeing it as somehow un-manly, charcoal is a much safer option. It packs more easily, burns more easily, your fire is ready more quickly and it is generally not confiscated at borders). But soon, we were on our way. First sighting of note for me were Swallow-Tailed Bee-eaters Not long after that, a couple of lumps in a shadow: Lion on a kill within an hour of entering the Kgalagadi! What a place this is. Next up, we found a huge herd of Giraffe. We counted 31, with possibly some more behind the dunes. At the picnick spot, we stopped for brunch. A Black Crow wasn't sure if he wanted his photo taken. A little further along, a new one for me: Common Scimitarbill Then some of the many Gemsbok posed beautifully. Tractrac Chat? Arriving at camp, it was indeed pretty full. But since tomorrow was the end of an SA long weekend, we were sure a lot of people would be leaving, and thus we just made a temporary camp, with the intention of moving in the morning. So, soon I was ready to set out for an afternoon drive. At Samevloeing, an immature Pale Chanting Goshawk was being badgered by Drongos A (very) Yellow Canary next caught my attention, but he stayed just a little too far away This Capped Wheatear was more forthcoming. An adult Pale Chanting Goshawk And some Ostrich chicks Drongos were plentiful And it seems wherever you go, a Starling is not too far away. Some young Gemsbok And finally, in the last light of day, I found the Barn owl's nest:
  23. 7 likes
    Day 16: The destination for today was the Red Dune Camp, near Gochas. We expected a trip time of around 7 hours, so there was not too much time to waste, but in one of the bushes next to our campsite I had seen a Dusky Sunbird, which was a new bird for me, and I had to try for a shot before leaving. Then, a pair of Rock Kestrel came winging over: And, a few minutes later, a juvenile Lanner falcon gave me a nice show: Sunbird again. I was struggling to get close enough. Somewhere, it was raining again. As mentioned before, the view is Rostock's best feature: The drive, with a stop for lunch in Mariental, was fairly uneventful, until we reached Gochas. This would be our last opportunity to buy fuel in Namibia, and since it is considerably cheaper than in SA, we brimmed our tanks. We also managed to swop all the N$ we had accumulated for Rands. As we left town, a Cape Cobra crossed the road right in front of my car. From then on we were basically following the Aub river, and would be doing so until we reached our final destination. At Red Dune Camp, I had tried to book the bush camp, but had never received comfirmation of that. Turns out I hadn't got it, and we were camping in the normal camp. While this is very well appointed, with excellent ablutions and even a cooking area with a stove and oven, it is stuck right in the middle of the farmyard, right next to the holding pens of the goats and the bird cages. They had quite a variety of birds too, chickens, turkeys, geese, Gouldian finches and peafowl. Which proved to be a blessing in disguise. To the delight of my daughter, they also had a couple of tame Suricates On the way in, I had seen a number of Communal Weaver's nests, which gave me an idea for another night shot. I asked if there was one on the farm which I could access after dark. It turned out, the one they had had recently partially self-destructed (these nests often get so heavy that the trees they are built in break), but there was still a portion left. Unfortunately, it was on a part of the farm where tourists aren't allowed. However, she would detail the foreman to take me there at 21h00. At about 21h30, just as I had given up hope, the foreman arrived. I grabbed my camera, tripod and cable release and jumped in his Land Cruiser. On the way to the nest, we saw a couple of Bat-eared foxes and a springhare, but there was no spotlight, and in any event I only had my star lens, a 15-30mm zoom. Where I usually spend at least an hour, trying various things, this time I didn't want to waste the foreman's time, and thus I took just a few photos. Returning, he nearly got stuck in the sand, and we saw the Bat-eared foxes again, as well as a scrub hare. My wife has for a while been wanting to get some chickens. The cocks here started crowing at around 03h00, and never stopped until after sunrise, which has thankfully disavowed Sonja of her desire to own a few... Shortly afte feeding time, some lovebirds arrived on a raid. And, just because the light was so nice, I couldn't resist
  24. 6 likes
    Hi Tom (@Tom Kellie ) I am pretty sure that they are young sable antelope. The sable start off a chestnut colour and then become darker as they get older. Males are very dark. These pictures gives you a better idea of what they look like. They are a very beautiful antelope.
  25. 6 likes
    To live without interruptions, Not using mobile devices, Freed from digital disruptions, Yes, the thought of that entices. Petite Sentinel Undaunted Notched Ear Aware and Ready
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    I left Umlani camp and was transferred to Africa on Foot in the nearby Klaserie reserve Here both the staff and the other guests are a whole lot more friendly things are explained in much greater detail which enables people to understand what is really going on the environment is basically the same last year everything was dried out and brown , there was just a little bit of water left in a few artificially pumped pans in the interim there had been good rains, the vegetation was thick a green, all of the pans had good water,so the animals can spread out with few exceptions the Greater Kruger Park and surrounding private reserves has an external fence but the internal boundaries are largely gone animals except those who are territorial can and do go of to where conditions are best the Timbavati and Klaserie reserves are in good condition but some are even better the area with the best rain was the Manyeleti Game Reserve , this attracts a whole lot of elephants and other herbivours animals remained around, but in Klaserie it was not really worthwhile for male lions to stay around when the food to be hunted elsewhere was a whole lot better
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    Hooves flying off the soil in red, Teeth showing from mouths open wide, Scars showing from wounds which once bled, Bold black and white stripes on their hide. In Motion Full Tilt Hooves Up At a Gallop Termite Mound at the Zebra Track Caught in the Crossfire Turning While Running Whee! Fancy Free No Holding Back On the Turn So We All Feel Fingerprints Zipping By
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    It's been a sultry afternoon, Animals have stood in the shade. Their constitutions are rough-hewn, Of very tough stuff are they made. Focal Target Nature Opts for the Optical Never Off-line Grevy's Very Attractive Zebra Eye-pleasing Zebras Quintessence of Variation
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    Save the Elephants on patrol, Motor off in a dusty track, Looking ahead while action droll, Is taking place behind their back. Oblivious Fooled Them! Can't Outsmart an Elephant Here I Go Save the Elephants Vehicle Slipping By Ha Ha Ha! I'll Save Myself, Thank You
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    The backdrop for all that we see, Consists of mountains resolute, Rising above the scenery, With eloquent grandeur that's mute. Setting
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    The tiny Sheik of Samburu, With his trumpet raised up high. Such well-toned brawn without frou-frou, So fearless, no need to ask why. Kicking Up Dust Sheik of Samburu Fearsome Warrior
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    Independence for a short time, Away from mom, aunts and others. A baby tusker in its prime, Not far from sisters and brothers. On My Own Forager The Slightest Inclination
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    Kenya's ultimate offroader, So massive it blocks out the Sun, The sheer bulk of a frontloader, It's a majority of one. Offroader Specks Precious Liquid Pes Planus
  34. 5 likes
    Red Billed Buffalo Weaver Khwai Concession, Okavango Delta. May 2017
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    @Game Warden Thank you I recall reading your report at the time, interesting that the animals while not that easy to make out because they're faded, seem far more stylised than the animals at Nswatugi, looking at photos elsewhere online the eland in my photos is also very different to the beautiful eland paintings in the Drakensberg.I suppose as these different San groups were living considerable distances apart it's logical that they would have had slightly different painting styles. @JohnR Thanks, that last engraving must be a gemsbok given how common they are in Namibia and they do provide the most popular game meat in the country I imagine the San were pretty keen on hunting them, there's a good amount of quality meat on an oryx, maybe they still do, I don't know how much hunting surviving San communities in Namibia are allowed to do these days but I suspect more than they are in Botswana. Gosho Park in Zimbabwe Gosho Park is a small private game reserve near Marondera in Zimbabwe primarily used for educational purposes by the nearby Peterhouse schools, it’s characterised by a mixture of beautiful Brachystegia woodland ‘miombo’ and grassland with numerous huge boulders in amongst. A variety of herbivores have been introduced mainly antelopes, zebras and giraffes, while these animals are beautiful and nice to see Gosho’s main interest for the international tourist is its miombo birds it is one of the best places in the country see some of these woodland species. Also along with Matobo it is one of the best sites in the country for seeing the boulder chat a regional endemic, although this proved not to be the case when I visited Gosho. The opportunity to see some good species has made this place a popular site for birders in the know, it also happens to be an extremely picturesque place. A little easier to find than some of the birds were a few San rock paintings simply painted on the sides of some of the huge boulders, the presence of these paintings just on the side of some rocks in a patch of woodland and not in a cave to me shows that there must be paintings everywhere around this region. I have no doubt that there are plenty that have yet to be rediscovered. Looking at how worn and faded some of them are suggests that there were probably many more in the past, I don’t know what age they are but I imagine the San may have been driven from this area some long time ago. While not as impressive as the paintings in Nswatugi Cave these paintings provide extra interest on a visit to this little reserve. San hunters at Gosho Park in Zimbabwe Zebra This small rather more simple zebra than the large striped one at Nswatugi is actually painted on one of the large rocks in the top photo, I've circled it in the same photo shown below. You should be able to see where it is in the slightly closer shot below, a tiny painting on a huge rock. As you can see the painting is not exactly that sheltered from the elements, so the few paintings here have survived remarkably well given that they could a couple of thousand years old or at least many hundreds of years old.
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    CATARATAS DEL IGUAZU. SOUTHERN BRAZIL. JULY 2012. I think I must have a waterfall / helicopter fetish, found these old images in a file, thought they were worth sharing. Once again taken fully automatic, aerial images at 18mm. Lens EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, this was a great lens for general/wildlife photography and I was very sorry to see it go when I went full-frame. Image 1. General view of Cataras del Iguazu taken from Brazilian airspace, hotel in the foreground is Hotel das Cataratas. (Excellent, particularly after several days in The Pantanal). Image 2. Falls & Rio Iguazu (Superior). Garganta del Diablo (centre), which I think loosely translates to 'The Devil's Throat'. This is approachable from the Argentinian side which we did, you can just about make out on the image the walkways leading to this impressive feature. 80%+ of the falls are actually located in Argentina. I have included a 2 extra images just to set the ambience, obviously not taken from the air. Image 3. 'The Devil's Throat'. Argentinian side. Image 4. Salto Rivadavia & Salto Tres Mosqueteros. Brazilian side. Although Iguazu is the largest waterfall system in the world and hugely impressive, Victoria Falls for me remains number 1, just love the gorges below the falls, the Zambezi and the bridge, or is it just because it's Africa.
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    Low-key is the lions’ watchword. During lazy afternoon's heat, An eye may open for a bird. Their slumber is mostly complete. Trifle Not With Me Front Paws in Repose While Others Sleep Do Not Disturb Listening While Drowsy What Makes You Think I Look Like A Puppy? Subtly Blended Coat Colors Raggy-Taggy-Sleepyhead Freedom of Expression
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    Keeping late hours does take a toll, Long, drowsy days become the norm. Lions don't intend to appear droll, Yet to sleep's demands they conform. It Was Another Sleepless Night Settle Endearing
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    When in a setting so scenic, With hills becoming mountains tall, The Earth's surface orogenic, Causes one to feel truly small. Orogenic Relic
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    Warthogs minding their own business, Neither skittish nor showing fear, Deriving their own happiness, From living together out here. Straight Backs Lean Flanks Samburu Warthogs Surprisingly Fastidious
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    Picky eaters seldom are full, They gourmandize seeking the best. Yet resisting appetite's pull, May be self-control's toughest test. Complete Large-bore Selective Grazer Curious Beast Juvenile Oryx Duo
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    Without long horns so distinctive, Who'd identify this baby? With imaginations active, Someone might get it right...maybe. Baby Oryx Hayseed What Long Legs Winsome Young Ones Scrutinizing Its Shadow It Moves When I Move! Everyone Needs a Friend A Pre-Oryx Tails Tipped in Deepest Black
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    These are the Furies unharnessed, In Zebra guise yet all the same, Their rages no longer suppressed, Violent passions wild not tame. Furies
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    Samburu's mystique does exist. Sensing the spirit of the land, In the red soil that's sun-kissed, A magic place, you understand. Vertical Markings Laughing Oryx After a Long Day Passing a Leafless Bush Weaver Nests, Spiny Acacia, Oryx
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    Pale blue stockings on robust legs, Frilly plumage in black and white, Hatching out of the largest eggs, Gazing around from a great height. Male Struthio molybdophanes Preening Somali Ostrich All in Proportion
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    This Trachphonus darnaudii, Showed no traces of bashfulness, Rather was a bird most merry, Providing us much happiness. Pale Yellow Ruff Barbet Bill In All Her Glory
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    Bésame mucho, lovely beast! A Beisa Oryx is a sight, Unlike all others, west or east, Any photographer's delight. Contrast of Light and Shadow Oryx Horns Mama, That Ain't Like Any Cow I Ever Seen Full-on Oryx Bend the Knee None Other Like an Oryx Quietly Grazing Together Profile of an Oryx Slim Pickings Up, Up, Up
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    Ole Easy Life standing alone, A single straw droops from his lips. Never needs to answer the phone, Ignoring the latest stock tips. Unpolled with Straw Easy Life Riley
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    Trekking through the bush with élan, Trunk extended with mighty verve, Baby elephants show they can, Live up to the praise they deserve. Confident Toddler Fancy Free There's Always Mom Proximity Brings Contentment Lanugo Venturesome
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    Day 13 Wed 14 Oct Lake Awassa - Bale Mountains Today we were excited, it was the leg of our journey we had waited so long for. Heading towards the Bale Mountains to finally see the wolves. We were up again before first light in order to get ourselves organised before breakfast. There was a power cut mid wash and we had to wash by torch light. The sun was up by the time we came to pack our bags so we opened the door to let some extra light in. More or less packed, we headed across the gardens to the restaurant for breakfast. The Garden attracted plenty of Egyptian Geese and was really noisy. There were also lots of Marabou Storks sat in the tall trees. Breakfast was slow and service comical at times. There was no power so there was no fresh juice or coffee until the power was restored. Toast was delivered but no plates, I asked for plates and was bought one so I had to ask for a second one. We were serenaded by the clacking sound of storks bills watching us from the trees and we ate in fear of losing our breakfast to something swooping in from above. The guide and car arrived at 8am, we loaded our gear into the car, checked out, then set off on a mornings walk around the lake. I’d switched my lens for the 300mm F4 by now. We saw plenty of bird and human activity around the lake. Vultures scavenging around a discarded carcass Once we felt that we had walked far enough the car met us and we drove out to the Amora Gedel NP and Fish market. It wasn’t touristy at all. Most of the fishermen wore UK soccer shirts which amused me as there only seems to be around 4 teams in the UK according to the Ethiopians, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. At 10am we hit the road again anxious to start heading towards Bale . We stopped off at the Haile Hotel, Shashemene Hotel to order a packed lunch as apparently the eateries further on were not suitable for westerners. We each ordered a simple sandwich which seemed to take an age to make. While we waited Angela had spied an ice cream kiosk so we went and ordered ourselves one each. I asked the guide and driver if they wanted one but after some deliberation they declined as it was a fasting day and they can not eat dairy on these days. Back on the road again, by 12pm the guide and driver wanted to stop for lunch. We were eager to push on so they agreed to wait until the next town before we stopped, there was a ‘last resort’ option for their lunch. We reached the next town and the ‘last resort’ was closed. We found an alternative across the main street where the guide and driver ordered lunch. We ate our sandwiches at the same table. After lunch we pressed on for Bale and hit the 1st gate, Gaysay Grasslands, at around 2pm. There was plenty to see on the approach road, Olive Baboons, Mountain Nyala, Warthogs and Bushbuck. I didn’t take too many pictures as we were going inside the park and not just passing through. Sign at the main gate We were then handed over to a local guide and driven a few Km into the park for the start of a walk back to the gatehouse. It was a great walk with plenty of opportunities to get up close to the wildlife. View from the hillside Bushbuck General scenery, some wonderful trees in this area There was plenty of mountain Nyala Reedbuck Warthogs More Nyala Splendid Bull Some Flora One of the disadvantages of only having a 300mm lens to hand. We were back on the road by 4pm but the light was already failing and the clouds closing in. It took another hour possibly more to get to the final gate that would take us up onto the Saneti Plateau. It didn’t take long to spot our 1st wolf foraging not too far from the road. The light was very poor, hindered further by the descending mist. I got a few shots from the car then ventured out into the bitterly cold wind and walked up the road to get closer (I would definitely be wearing more layers tomorrow). It really was starting to get dark by now and beyond the limit of my camera’s low light capabilities. We watched the wolf for a little longer then it was time to move on. The light was all but gone by now and the mist was getting heavier. The pass on the far side of the plateau that descends down into the Harena forest is a treacherous winding narrow road. I would not want to drive it during the day but we were in the dark and had very little visibility as we continued down and towards Bale Mountain Lodge (BML). The journey was made even more treacherous by the occasional lorry trying to overtake us as we slowly groped our way along. We made BML by 6:45, dinner was at 7:30 so we were offered a welcome drink opted for a G&T which was brought to the room while we made ourselves comfortable and got cleaned up ready for dinner. Room at BML We were the only guests tonight and we were given a table in a snug next to the blazing fire. Dinner was by far the best meal we had had in Ethiopia so far and was accompanied by plenty of local wine. We are really looking forward to the next few days here.

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