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Everything posted by Atravelynn

  1. Caracal is a super find. Such blue eyes. I hope those dogs can hang on in Ndutu and build up a presence. Great that you saw them.
  2. Bale Mountains The title is compliments of the alliteratively talented @AndMic. Heading above the clouds last March along with @AndMic were @Michael-ibk and myself. We settled on the travel company, Ethiopian Quadrants, after some independent research and reaching out to other Safaritalk members who have gone to Ethiopia and have posted some great reports here. A key factor in choosing Ethiopian Quadrants was securing the guide @Nature Traveler had, Abiy Dagne. Red Jackal was also a company we considered and they provided timely, informative, and professional information. Traditional meal with injera bread After Ethiopia experienced some security problems in Oct 2016, we were cognizant of safety issues. Our investigations, contacts and especially our visit allayed any concerns. Absolutely nothing, even the least little bit unsettling occurred. As more time passes without incident, as more people heed Lonely Planet’s 2017 “Ten destinations you cannot afford to miss” (Ethiopia’s on the list), and as more accounts of successful travels to Ethiopia are shared, visitors are going to flock to Ethiopia. Geladas in Guassa, led by male Four safety anecdotes: 1) A hotel employee in Addis proudly described to me the beauty, wonder, and security of Ethiopia. He explained that the grass outside the city was so green and soft, it just beckoned you to lie down upon it. And when you did, he explained, “You can fall sound asleep on the grass and not one single animal or person will harm you.” 2) A longtime resident of Ethiopia from the UK explained he had no qualms walking around the city and heading home on foot at night. He added that he would not feel so safe in other African cities. (Or American cities, I might add, from my own experience.) 3) An NGO worker who had been all over Ethiopia for the past 3 years stated: “I could tape money to my naked body and walk the streets any time of day or night and nothing would happen to me.” None of us put that suggestion to the test. 4) At the end of our trip we were a few hours outside of Addis Ababa when we noticed several men approaching the street and waving machetes over their heads. They were making obvious eye contact and gestures toward our vehicle. Alarmed, I asked our guide and driver what was going on. “This is the town where they make knives and they are selling them.” Oh, nothing to fear, just free enterprise at work. Scenery bordering Guassa Ethiopian Endemic--Black-winged Lovebird, Addis Ababa, Ghion Garden ITINERARY, and some notable wildlife MARCH 2017 10 Met upon arrival and transferred to Jupiter International Hotel. Visa upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, no hassle. 20 minutes drive to Jupiter Hotel. I had arranged for a morning check-in. Day at rest. Ethiopian Quadrants owner,Tony Hickey, offered to host me for dinner that evening at his restaurant, but I was asleep when the invitation was granted and needed the recuperation time. 11 Depart Addis Ababa to Menz Guassa 7:10 – 7:30 Gentlemen arrived on early flight, drive to Ghion Unity House and Gardens 7:30 – 9:00 Birding at Ghion Unity House in Addis Ababa 9:00 – 11:00 Drive 11:00 –12:00 Birding at ponds/lakes between Addis and Debre Birhan 12:00 – 12:40 Drive to Debre Birhan 12:40 –1:50 Lunch at Eva Restaurant, Debre Birhan 1:50 – 5:30 Drive to Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Some Notable Endemic Birds Seen in/around Addis: Black-winged Lovebird, Black-headed Siskin, Abbyssinian Long-claw, Blue-winged Goose 12 Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Mostly walking 13 Menz Guassa, Guassa Community Lodge Mostly walking Some Notable Guassa Wildlife Seen: Wolves, Gelada, Blick’s Grass Rat, Serval, Klipspringer, Mountain/Gray/Common Duiker, Abyssinian Hyrax, Rouget’s Rail, White Collared Pigeons, Abyssinian Long-claw, and other Birds 14 Menz Guassa to Awash National Park 7:00 – 12:40 Drive to Addis, stopping about 15 minutes for Gelada 12:40 – 1:40 Lunch at Road Runner, same owner as Ethiopian Quadrants 1:40 – 4:50 Arrive at Awash Park Gate 4:50 – 6:30 Drive in park, arrive Awash Lodge 15 Awash National Park, Evening at Harar Hyena Den, Awash Lodge Walk and drive during the day 5:30 – 8:30 pm Drive, then walk to Harar Hyena Den 16 Depart Awash Lodge to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, Doho Lodge 6:45 – 9:00 Drive Awash to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, wildlife enroute 9:00 – 10:00 Game drive in Ali Deghe 10:00 –11:00 Drive to Doho Lodge, wildlife enroute 3:30 – 4:30 Drive Doho Lodge to Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve, wildlife enroute 4:30 – 6:30 Game Drive in Ali Deghe Wildlife Reserve 6:30 – 7:30 pm Drive Ali Deghe to Doho Lodge, wildlife asleep 10:00 pm Night walk for Defassa Waterbuck Some Notable Awash & Ali Deghe Wildlife Seen: Soemmerring's Gazelle, Gerenuk, Grivet Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Beisa Oryx, Hamadryas Baboon, Olive Baboon, Bat-eared Fox, Hyena, Salt’s Dik dik, Crocs, Somali Ostrich, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Arabian Bustard 17 Depart Doho Lodge for Lake Langano, Hara Lodge 6:30 – 7:30 Bird walk around lodge 8:45 – 2:10 Drive Doho Lodge to town of Ziway, wildlife enroute 2:10 –3:10 Lunch at Bethlehem Restaurant, Ziway 3:15 – 3:30 Tree Hyrax walk and viewing in Ziway 3:30 – 4:30 Drive Ziway to Abijatta- Shalla National Park, wildlife enroute 4:30 – 6:00 Walk in Abijatta- Shalla National Park 6:00 – 7:00 pm Drive to Lake Langano, Hara Lodge 18 Lake Langano, Hara Lodge Walking Some Notable Lake Langano Wildlife Seen: Banded Barbet, Black-winged Lovebird, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Double-toothed Barbet, , Colobus Monkeys, Gambian Sun Squirrel, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern Carmine Bee Eater, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, White-cheeked Turacao 19 Drive Lake Langano to Bale Mountain Lodge 8:00 –9:20 Bird walk, Bishangari at Lake Langano 9:20 – 2:30 Drive Lake Langano to Gaysay Grasslands of Bale National Park 2:30 – 2:55 Game drive Gaysay Grasslands 2:55 – 3:15 Drive to Park Headquarters, Dinsho 3:30 – 6:45 pm Game Drive through Sanetti Plateau and reach Bale Mountain Lodge 20, 21, 22, 23 Bale Mountain Lodge Forest walks, drives to Sanetti Plateau, drive to Gaysay Grassland, grassland and owl walk Some Noteable Bale Wildlife Seen: Ethiopian Wolf, Giant/Big-headed Mole Rat, Blick's Grass Rat, Bale Monkey, Starck's Hare, Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Colobus Monkey, Abyssinian Catbird, Blue-winged Goose, Lammergeier, Rouget's Rail, Spot-breasted Plover, Thick-billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, White-cheeked Turacao 24 Drive Bale Mountain Lodge to Hawasa, Halile Resort 7:35 –12:15 Depart Bale, mostly game drive 12: 15 – 1:35 Lunch Meeboon Restaurant 1:35 – 6:00 pm Complete drive to Hawassa, Halile Resort 25 Drive Hawassa to Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa. Fish Market & Senkelle Sanctuary 7:00 – 7:15 Drive Halile Resort to Fish Market 7:15 – 8:15 At Fish Market 8:15 – 9:50 Drive to Senkelle Sanctuary 9:50 – 11:15 Walk through Senkelle Sanctuary 11:15 – 4:30 pm Arrive Jupiter Hotel 6:00 – 6:15 Drive from Jupiter Hotel to Roadrunner Restaurant for farewell dinner 6:15 – 8:30 Farewell Dinner, joined by Tony Hickey, owner of Ethiopian Quadrants 8:30 – 8:50 Drive from Roadrunner Restaurant to airport Some Notable Fish Market Wildlife Seen: Marabou Storks, Black Crake, Grivits Monkey Some Notable Senkelle Sanctuary Wildlife Seen: Oribi, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Northern Carmine Bee-eater Yellow-billed Ducks, outside of Addis Ababa Me at Awash Falls
  3. Me too. I even planned a S Luangwa trip once because I was missing puku. Some great shots of them. White fronted bee eater exposé! I see the lion activity was just as good at night. Wonderful night time shots. Liked your hint on afternoon river trips for good conditions. So let me ask, after Kafue, literally what else?
  4. Excellent closing credits and photos. That photographer who took our pics at the Roadrunner deserves credit to for really capturing the moment as well! It was not only that moment, but the vibe of the trip. Great friends, great guiding, great driving! What a winning combo. "And so I could not stop running, running around, looking for something new" Not just a figure of speech. He actually was running around. We are off again! "And that´s it from me, Cheers Ethiopia, hope to see you again. (Without Injera though. )" Oh dear, I made a special dietary request with Doug Macdonald for lots of injera!
  5. That post-first-rain smell, along with the rainbow had to be a great multi-scensory experience.
  6. We have discussed some sort of identifying insignia before. It's a good idea. How nice the rains coincided with your movements. You are right that the more ground you can cover in the general southern Sergengeti/Ndutu area, the more you'll see. Since I did not wave to you from the vehicle, I'll give you a virtual wave now.
  7. The rainbow does not mean that the wait for rain was over, wishes fulfilled. Distant showers bathed the crater, not Ndutu. I was told that when you see a rainbow on the horizon you won’t get rain anytime soon where you stand. Those words proved accurate. Itinerary – February 2017 7 total nights Ndutu (Njozi Camp), split in the middle by 3 nights Kusini (Kimondo Camp) 6 Depart Chicago on KLM 7 Arrive JRO, o/nt Tulip 8, 9, 10 Ndutu at Njozi Camp. 7-ish hour drive from Arusha. Njozi indoor dining area, as lovely as the outdoor area 11, 12, 13 Kusini at Kimondo Camp. 1.5 hour drive from Njozi Camp View from Kusini, Ngorongoro Mountains in background 14, 15, 16, 17 (back to) Ndutu at Njozi Camp 1.5 hour drive from Kimondo Camp Njozi tent. Njozi means dream and it was very comfortable for sweet dreams. 18 Ndutu to JRO, depart on KLM. 7.75-ish hour drive from Njozi Camp 19 Arrive Chicago, KLM This itinerary split a week in Ndutu into two stays, with a 3-day gap between. I was trying to be in Ndutu close to the start of the rains and then return for what is traditionally peak birthing time in mid-February. Kusini, also excellently located for green season travel, divided the two Ndutu segments. We were out each day about 12 hours with packed breakfast and lunch, as has always been the approach with The Wild Source in Feb and March in Ndutu/Serengeti. We usually ate lunch outside of the vehicle and stretched our legs. There were even lawn chairs to sit on. (Of course, you don’t have to be out 12 hours/day; it’s just a nice option.) George was the guide from the 8th to the 14th. Deo was the guide from the 15th to the 18th. Both were marvelous throughout. Great guides and great guys! This split-Ndutu approach was also used by @FlyTraveler this past Feb. We tried to meet in Ndutu but did not manage it. As you can see by the map, Kusini is in Southern Serengeti, and it even means “south” in Swahili. It was a good itinerary, even if the rains did not cooperate. In Nov-Dec, rain was sparse. Then after what seemed a promising start in late Jan-early Feb, the spigot was shut off. Instead of lush, green habitat, we had dry, often dust-blown conditions. This is Lake Ndutu, its entire perimeter captured in this NON-panoramic shot. Very little water. “The sky is practicing cloudy,” is The Quote of the Trip, and was originally provided by a Botswana guide back in August 2005. Most every afternoon was cloudy practice overhead, but the clouds always dissipated by nightfall and no rain. Evidence of “the sky is practicing cloudy.” Unfortunately, no rain followed. Ndutu. Despite these arid conditions, within 45 minutes of entering Ndutu, we saw 10!! cheetah!! Two families of a mother and 4 cubs boost duma totals quickly. Those 10 represented about a third of our total cheetah sightings this trip (some were the same cats seen more than once). Mother and 4 nearly adult cubs, Ndutu Pile ‘o sleeping cheetah, Ndutu The second cheetah family of four had younger cubs. Mother and 4 approx 4-month old cubs, Ndutu One of the approx. 4-month old cubs, Ndutu We encountered the mother with four near adult cubs again in a situation that was both record setting and appalling. The record setting occurred when 2 males appeared, paying close attention to the family. There could soon be several females of interest for the males between the maturing female cubs and the mother, who would be receptive again when her cubs left. The result was 7 cheetah in one view. A coalition, plus! 7 cheetah can be counted – a mother & 4 near-adult cubs plus two males. Seen on the plain halfway between big marsh and small marsh Mother cheetah checking out the intruding males 3 of 4 near adult cubs and Mom The appalling part was that a hot air balloon landed illegally right where these 7 cheetah were milling about, and then the crew proceeded to set up the breakfast table. George pointed out they were not allowed to do that. “The wind pushed us,” was their excuse. Yeah, right. Mother Cheetah had enough to worry about with the gentlemen callers and did not need a balloon safari to contend with. Fortunately, all the cheetah seemed to ignore the entire balloon affair and distanced themselves with an air of disdain. Note the family is more interested in the male cheetahs (out of the frame) than the balloon behind them. to be continued
  8. Nice try with the pangolin and great work with the long haired brown hyena who even has locks blowing in the breeze. I like your signature! Splendour is a perfect title for Namibia!
  9. We saw the same cheetah brother kill! But YOU got the pangolin. Holy Cow, what a sighting! Wow! The lions on the kopjes and playtime with the mother with the wounded paw is also very familiar! Dry times still produced in Kusini.
  10. "beyond what we could imagine" is wonderful start. At least one of you got an aerial view of the crater. We were in just about the same place at just about the same time.
  11. This will be a great trip report! We know you saw gorillas.
  12. How exciting you'll be climbing Kili with the full moon, @dlo. Those extended full moon calendars are helpful. The moon is more predicable than the wildes. Late January is when Ndutu often starts pumping. You could hedge your bets with some time in Ndutu, some time in Serengeti (maybe around Moru Kopjes) and maybe even some time in the very southern part of Serengeti, Kusini (which means south). Another approach is to stay put in one area and do some day trips to different regions in search of the herds. From Ndutu to Central Serengeti is about 3 hours if doing a game drive between. If you allow at least 4 days, you should be able to find big herds, whether in Central Serengeti, Kusini, Ndutu or moving between these areas. I have not arrived as early as Jan for migration in the past. The earliest has been Feb 8. Jan 21 - Arrive Serengeti/Ndutu about Jan 25 -- A bit early but you can find the herds Feb 19 - Arrive Serengeti/Ndutu about Feb 23 -- PRIME migration time in Ndutu!! Possibly last? Oh no. When you mention "attempt no. 5" are you implying you have not seen big herds in attempts 1-4?
  13. to page 2 -- such wonderful lion activity. No wonder you had such great skimmer shots, there's a breeding colony!
  14. That interconnected-ness in CR's signature is being tinkered with by us.
  15. That paradise flycatcher will remain etched in your memory forever! If I were told, "Don't fall down, you don't want to scare him," I think I'd probably trip and fall down. Great shots of the mother and baby, silverback and more on this trek. How nice the sliverback loves his celery so much. It's ok, but nothing I'd hum about.
  16. Love all the bathing, whether Secretary bird in the water or ostrich in the dust! The African Wildcat caught something!
  17. Gorgeous intro shot and look at all those Grevys, plus the somewhat mysterious sunbird. Like the aerials. Why did you choose Segera Retreat?
  18. The full tail is not often visible on the genet! So many dogs, doing so many things--on both ends. And even in lovely light. They seem to be doing so well now in SL. Is the leopard really the one who needs to feel safe from the hyena and not other way around?? You know what they say, "The best defense is a good offense!" SLNP came through with sights and sounds!
  19. The troop dynamics are fascinating and you got some good insights, and of courses photos to match. Quite a drama playing out that will continue after the visitors take their leave. Awesome stuff!

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