• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by AmyT

  1. Love the cubs and jackal pups! What camera do you use? Nosy me!
  2. @penolva I am so glad to come back from my holiday and find that you've started your trip report! So many leopard sightings!! Brian's camp was high on my list last year; perhaps I'll follow in your footsteps for 2018!
  3. Thank you to @Atravelynn @Amylovescritters @Alexander33 @serendipityntravel and @africaaddict!! Sorry for the delay, we just returned home from our multiple-generation trip to Colombia, where the only wild animals I saw were salsa dancers in Cali and guatin in the Zona Cafetera. I'll be returning to my trip report forthwith! Marc (AfricaAddict)... it was so much fun to meet you and learn a few choice tips on photography. Dinner is better with gales of laughter and amazing tales of bravery and lack of brilliance. I do hope I bump into you again! I'll be sure to lead you to <omitting species reference here> thanks to my excellent guide!!
  4. A: Me, now. I'm not as clever with my words as @michael-ibkand @pault, but I have some surprises up my sleeve for my trip report. Most days held new treats; some of which I'm still trying to track down the answers. A little background information for new readers: I agonized for months about my first trip to Africa until finally surrendering to the fact that I would have to leave hubby Harry home in June 2017. A colleague and I, along with our teenage daughters, went to Kenya for two weeks. When I had to cancel my second, previously arranged safari to Zimbabwe scheduled for early November due to Harry's unforeseen foot surgery in late October, I hoped that we might get to travel to Africa while his foot healed before returning to work. All of the stars aligned, and we knocked out a trip in less than a week, and took off three or four weeks later. So... Will I finally see the migration after missing it in the Maasai Mara by two days? Any new species on the list? Which cats played a prominent role? Have I improved my photography skills? Any new friends made? My first question of this post: How old is the cub below and where is mama? Did she end up as a meal? Still no answers. Tarangire National Park. (Lion was tenderly grooming the cub; looked like he was tasting her.)
  5. After my missed connection in Amsterdam, I think I'd plan for an extra day on the front end of my trip. The cost on the ground isn't that much and the cost of missing a day of safari can be quite costly. My flights start at 18+ hours from the West coast of the US, it's worth it to me to build in that extra cushion.
  6. I recently inquired about travel to Kenya and Tanzania from 4 travel agents/tour operators. I provided the same amount of information to each. One was going on a well-earned holiday and in the meantime, our timeline accelerated to be a last-minute trip (we leave in less than 4 weeks.) The agents/operators rose to the occasion admirably and I would have been happy with many of the different alternatives. When I had all of my data (including some fine tuning,) I chose the trip that was cost effective and suited our plans best. Surprise! The other two travel agents are unhappy with me because I didn't come back to them to try to price match. Also, they did put in a considerable amount of effort to pull the information together in a quick manner. Obviously, I don't use travel agents very often, or I wouldn't be so surprised. One agent's price for the same properties, with two fewer days, was $1000 more. Why would I choose that one? Could this be a cultural difference? Haggling? Help ! (for future knowledge) Also, I am accustomed to provisional holds, so when the TAs asked whether they should put one on, I said yes, not realizing that it's a faux pas if you're not committing to book with them. The last trip came in was the winner. At the time, I thought that I might book with Operator B but said that I had another quote that I was waiting for. Operator C's trip planning prevailed.
  7. @Julian... looks like some of our lions were laying down on the job! We are packing up, getting ready for our trip to Colombia's coffee region (birthplace of my hubby and his dad.) I'm taking my laptop along; hope that our leisure time will allow for posting! Coming up: more at Ngorongoro crater, including a beautiful interlude at the hippo pools. Also, who showed up for lunch? (Personal note: dang, I love safari!)
  8. Hello @AadilaBatenga I have only been to Tanzania once and used a different tour operator. @LarsS has provided some good advice for you. Best of luck with your holiday!
  9. Speaking of cats, it's time to finish up my lion report for 7:00 a.m. in the crater. There were 15 or so cats and cubs where we first met up with the pride, and quite a few odds and ends hanging at the kill. Along came another male for his second meal at the carcass Another male for the feast. There were 4 or 5 around; I can't recall. Just gobs of 'em. LOL And so we left them to their breakfast at 7:30. All told, we saw around 25 lions by this time.
  10. @LarsS While we had our private guide, it was up and out before dawn, back to camp at sunset. This was our choice, but I think that Fadhil's an all-day, every-day kind of guy. This man has passion, and his face lights up when he sees his beloved cats.
  11. @Treepol, I haven't heard any updates. I'll check; I want to know too! Episode Two: Ngorongoro Crater We left Tarangire National Park one minute past our deadline, but the park official waved us through without a penalty. Whew! Next, we were on our way to the Ngorongoro crater. It proved to be a big 5 day! We’d seen lions, elephant, and cape buffalo in Tarangire. Overlooking the crater, we spotted a miniscule dot through binoculars (and subsequently, my camera) that proved to be a rhinoceros. Later, on the journey along the rim road we startled a LEOPARD who darted into the vegetation. No time for a photo, but we were elated! We arrived at Lemala Ngorongoro shortly before sunset. Our tent was delightful! Major, the “talking shower,” stood by to add more hot water. 😊 Coming from Southern California where drought is a regular occurrence, 20 liters of water was more than enough for the both of us. We enjoyed the company of the other couple (who were the only guests during our stay at Lemala) and made it an early night as we had an early morning awaiting us! 6:00 a.m.; at the gate and rarin’ to go. First guests into the park that fine chilly morning, as we descended into the crater. Our camp-mates had a more leisurely approach, having breakfast first and leaving later in the morning. By 6:30 a.m. we were on the crater floor, enjoying the absolute silence. No one else around that we could see. 6:40 a.m. We enjoyed the first few animals that we saw, and then Fadhil noticed hyenas. What were they looking at? In a word... Bellies were full; they were cleaning up after a meal. Isn't it time for a nap yet? We meandered down the road, to find that the lions had been awful polite in choosing their dining location. Right next to the road, facing the sunrise.
  12. We stayed there for something like 45 minutes, watching the lionesses watch the wildebeest. All the while Fadhil was trying to make heads or tails out of what had happened to my camera. He uses Canon, not Nikon, so it wasn't a quick fix. Eventually I mentioned the time and we had to race for the gate, to get out before our time was up. Oops, kind of clear shot! But the rest of the way out of Tarangire was no bueno. We had other cameras, and Fadhil fiddled with the Nikon for close to 2 hours before he fixed it, somehow. I'm happy to report that I enjoyed just watching them, although am really relieve that I got a couple of photos of the lions in trees! A first for me!
  13. Tarangire, Saturday Morning We woke early, ate breakfast, and departed by 7 a.m. We were headed for Silale swamp. Camera continued to be a problem. Boo! Millipedes galore; should prove a hit when I share them with the kiddos at my school. Heron and some other unspecified aquatic bird. Kori bustards eluding my best attempts at a sharp photo. Secretary bird laughing at me Matabele ants, quite ferocious and named for a fierce Zulu tribe from the 1800s Wildebeest, coming out of the swamp, straight towards... Oh this? It's just a few trees. Or is it? Brava brava! Lionesses in trees. Some on the ground too! And then my camera started to do this.
  14. We arrived at Kichuguu Camp around 6:30 p..m. Six smiling staff members awaited us at the parking area. We were ushered into the very nice lounge area and were quickly introduced to the camp and staff. Our tent was the closest one, number 4, I think. We quickly showered (Harry's first bush shower!) and headed out to the campfire. We'd been offered rubber boots and umbrellas; unfortunately we didn't make use of them! Seated at the campfire, we were told of the lions that had visited the night before, from 7:30 - 9:30. Sigh! Our delayed flight in Amsterdam cost us that visit (but of course there were other lovely sights that we got instead.) We sat by the fire until the rain started coming down in earnest, then ran for the dining tent. Soup was delicious; butter and sweet corn soup. Yum. Dinner's protein was pork chops with the usual accompaniments. Very nice. Early breakfast, packed lunch, and we said a sad farewell to the staff at Kichuguu. I'd return in an instant! Lounge tent on the left; dining tent on the right. Our tent was to the right of the dining tent, perhaps 20 meters away Their website:
  15. By this time it was nearly 5 p.m. Kind of astonishing, to think back on it... it passed so quickly. Happily, our next hour was to be spent with my favorite of the mega-fauna, Elephants!! We came across a smaller family grouping of 5 or 6, and then noticed a couple of larger herds in the distance. We were able to watch in isolation while the herds joined up. Finally meeting, then continuing on... This one needed a good scratch. Could not zoom out anymore when this one decided to step into view. Ready for her close-up. I could go on and on, as we saw well over 100 elephants. Truly magnificent, and I would gladly return to Tarangire for more time with the ellies! But the light was fading, and we still had a long way to go to our camp before dark. I'll leave you with this last one for the night.
  16. OK! Here we go! Episode One: Tarangire National Park What I love best about traveling outside of one’s comfort zone is how it requires so much thinking. No cruise-control here; currency, language, customs, differences & similarities, smells & sounds; all assault the brain. Instead of flying from camp to camp, as I did in Kenya, we drove… which gave a much richer experience. Seeing local markets, kids playing in the streets, people walking to their destinations, cattle along the road; all made for a heady journey. Add to it, interesting conversations about the 128 tribes in Tanzania and their subdivision, ages and stages of maturity for the Maasai boys, and we were enthralled. Elephants are a favorite of mine, so when our flights were booked, and we discovered an extra day in the schedule, the choice between Lake Manyara and Tarangire was easily made. Elephants, please! We entered Tarangire at noon, mesmerized by sheer number of animals readily available near the road. It almost felt like a wild animal park (zoo), so many species mingling together, with new groupings around every bend. The famous baobab trees did not disappoint; varying from completely bare, to leafing out, to fully green! The lighting was harsh but we were thrilled anyway. Ostrich youth ... unite! I was struggling with my camera so not many sharp images from this day. Still, plenty to remember. My darling lion cub... so tiny. I wonder what their story was. As the sky continued to darken, we saw animals running at top speed. What could have startled them? At this point it was raining. What indeed, would spook them? A pride of lions, walking along the riverbed. The rain disturbed them and they decided to stalk. While we could see them clearly through binoculars, it was beyond (clear) reach of my camera. Still, I'll share an image for mood's sake. There were a total of seven lions but they were widely dispersed. As we couldn't go off-road, we watched for a while and then continued on our hunt for the main event. An ostrich was enjoying the bounty that the rain had provided... As did this savanna monitor lizard. Termite drones were emerging from the earth, to live out their destiny to mate and die, all within 4 hours. It was a feast! (Shown below: termite drone exit holes.) This is where I really appreciated having a biologist as my guide. Not only was Fadhil a great guide, but he talks knowledgeably about what might to some people be a mundane topic during a low season. I appreciated learning about the connections of non-mega fauna and the landscape. Waterbuck (?) I have all my 'bucks' in a muddle and can't find my book. Monitor Lizard (11 second video) Next up: Elephants of Tarangire!
  17. Happy New Year from my little lion man... and me!
  18. I'm still waiting for my refund check from Card Benefit Services (Chase). Check was issued in November and "lost in the mail." Two phone calls to issue a stop payment and reissue the check were not successful (the third one, however, is in process.) Not happy.
  19. Oooh, Napo was on my short list when I went to Ecuador a couple of years ago. Looks like I will have to revisit! Love your hummingbird and butterfly photos. Spectacled bears are great! P.S. I love tree tomato juice too!!
  20. Happy holidays to all! @offshorebirder, please extend my holiday greetings to Tom Kellie. I miss his gentlemanly comments and humor.
  21. I hadn't read the full article before posting the link and see that it might not be a site from which I'd share in the future (based on some claims in the article). However, it does include some interesting documentation from the Humane Society worth a read. Bear skins are illegal to be bought, sold, owned in California. Shame that it ends there.
  23. We loved our time at Namiri Plains!! Easy decision to make to support this cause.
  24. Colombia trip is booked for the first two weeks of January. We will be going "home" with my father-in-law; spending most of the time in the Zona Cafetera. Quindio department specifically, which is where Grandpa was born and grew up. Butterflies and birds, and the extended family.

© 2006 - 2018 - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.