Antee

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Antee last won the day on January 11 2016

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  1. KHWAI CONCESSION , OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA Day 1. Some quick flights from Kimberley, South Africa and suddenly I were in the dusty town of Maun in Botswana. The gate-town to Okavango. I had booked 5 nights mobile camping in Khwai concession. Not very much inside here from this concession so maybe it will draw some attention. I struggled alot to find something that I could afford in Okavango during peak season. As usual I contacted the excellent http://www.safarispecialists.net/ and after many thoughts and mail back and forth they couldn´t help me and sent me too http://walkbotswanasafaris.com/ , which was an excellent choice for me. Only me in the car, wild camping in the bush, as much time out there as possible, no bullshitting with sunset drink (Why spend time with drinks at the best time of the day regarding animal activity and photo light?? I will never undertand this... I can drink at home but I can for sure never ever photograph Leopards in the sunset at home) and also affordable! At last I found what I was looking for. I opted for Khwai concession because I knew it´s a good area for Wild dogs. That was the bottom line for my choice. What I didn´t knew and which I would soon be aware of was that it is also very good habitat for Leopards. Extraordinary good. Not that high density of Lions and very good habitat with large trees and alot of prey make this an heaven for Leopards. Cheetahs are very rare here. Not much open space for them and alot of other predators. The ones they see here is always individuals passing by. Khwai is as the rest of Okavango very very beautiful and peaceful. ALOT of water this year because of the heavy rainfall earlier this year. In some parts it was more water than anyone had ever seen before. Khwai is also open for selfdrivers. I wouldn´t recommend it though as I saw many drowned cars during these days. One of them was completely drowned and they needed to change the whole engine... If you go here by yourself you should be an experienced driver. This is not like Etosha or Kruger. This is wilderness. This is wilderness for real. People have died here because of car breakdown and lack of water and no one to contact. And of course a guide will help alot to find the spectacular sightings this area can provide. Khwai is like 5 hours drive from Maun. Well, this is the background of my choice and why I ended up in this vast wilderness. This is my home for the next five nights. Beautiful setting along the river. The tent had also a small bed and attached shower and toilet. Real luxury wild camping. Far better than a lodge! Alot of water this year! What is normally a small stream is now a big river Immediately on our first drive we went to an old Wilddog den. Maybe they would be denning here this year as well. Jackpot!! They did! It took us 15 minutes to find the Wilddog I came for and my guide was as happy as me for this. This would mean we could follow them all my time here and the best of all... they probably had very, very small puppies inside their den which with some luck maybe would crawl out and see the daylight for the first time in their life during my stay here. This evening not much happening though. Some of them started their socializing ritual but not everyone was into hunting and they laid down to rest again. We left them and would be back tomorrow again to maybe see the puppies or some other action. Here you can see the den. The hole behind the sand wall. This story is also about a Leopard cub and his/her mother. We came across them on our first evening and like the Wilddogs we would bump into them more or less every day from now on. This time the Leopard cub was alone. No sign of the mother. He/she is around 3 month old and the surviving cub of two from the start. The mother is very old. Around 11 years old which is very old to raise cubs. She will have one or two year left before Leopard-heaven. The cub was quite curious at us. The sun went down and we changed position for some silhouette pictures. Some other things around this first evening... ...an Elephant watching the sunset. Red Lechwe´s always alert in the late evening. Yellow billed stork strolling around in the last light. Tomorrow morning we will check out the Wilddog den again.
  2. Like some other already mentioned. It´s worthless to mention the price as it is so many variables in it. The price is old and not applicable at the same time you post it... more or less. And for me, who often travel without a fixed price on special tours I do not even know myself how much I have paid in totally I think it´s better to mention the company or the guide you use. Then you can contact them by yourself or look at their webpage for price and conditions. That´s why I don´t personally post it. I don´t see the info useful.
  3. Yes, Kimberley would be a perfect stop for you. And like I said. Marrick is only 15-20 minutes drive from the airport.
  4. It seems like the best sightings is when it´s windy. No matter if it´s cold or warm wind. Just wind... My guide told me this. But it´s not that Marrick is bad without wind either In fact I believe this whole region supports this rarity and diversity but no one really cares and have discovered that you can make money on this. There is equal places close by with the same good amount of Black footed cat, Aardwolf and Aardvarks but not this organized as in Marrick Lodge, and the landscape is very similar in this Northern cape area so I put my money on that many farmers and land in this area supports the same amount of nocturnal diversity. Farmers and Lodges in the area seems to gathering towards trophy hunting instead. I guess it´s more money. Even Marrick do hunting on their land to support their lodge and the land. They do have a desire that one day (if it´s possible) only do photography tourism. But I guess it´s quite hard in this area.
  5. Well, have put in another tour in 2017. A great travel year! 4 mars - 19 mars. Borneo. 5 nights Deramakot in search for Clouded Leopard, Marbled cat, Leopard cat and whatever we find. 3 nights Kinabatangan with focus an findin Flat headed cat. DONE! 2 June - 6 June. Iceland Puffins and Whales. DONE! 9 July - 24 July. South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland Marrick for Black footed cat, Aardwolf, Aardvark, Smiths red rock rabbit and whatever we find. Khwai, Okavango. 5 nights camping in private concession. Focus on Wild dogs and finding Roan and Sable Antelope which I still not have seen. It will be cool to finally see a kill as well after having seen many failed huntings. Swaziland just for fun to "collect" countries DONE! 3 October - 17 October China, Sichuan province Focus on finding Red Panda, Golden Takin, Snub-nosed monkey, Tibetan fox, Tibetan gazelle, Chinese mountain cat, Pallas cat, Wolves, Asiatic Black bear and alot of other cool stuff. 26 December - 31 December Western Sahara (Morocco) Sand cat mission. Gong to search for the elusive Sand cat for 3 days, Hopefully also finding some Dorca Gazelle, Fennec fox, Ruppells fox, Desert hedgehog, Jerboas etc. etc. Have fun year out there everybody!
  6. Good choice. Very easy to combine with other "Big game" parks. Cheap flights between Johannesburg - Kimberley. And only 15-20 minutes from the airport, you are at Marrick. You won´t be disappointed.
  7. MARRICK DAY 3 Last installment about Marrick. My third and last chance for a decent picture of Aardwolf. I thought back and forth if I would do the last nightdrive or not. The fact is that I was so satisfied with my sightings so far that a quiet evening crossed my mind... But only for a very brief period. I wanted to go out there. But first, in the morning a look at the land in daylight. Some Springboks in the distance... Some beautiful Sable Antelopes. Please note that this is introduced animals outside their natural habitat. Then I spent the day with the Meerkats who lives close by. Very fun and interesting to follow them. See them hunting and collecting food for their youngsters. Always one on the guard when the others collect food. Here he is. This night was unexpected much warmer than the others. A much warmer breeze over the grass plains. We started out with another Smith´s red rock hare on a great distance close to the lodge. Then we met the same female Black footed cat as yesterday. Much closer this time. She was looking for rodents. I don´t know if it was because of the warmer wind or not but this night we counted to 23 Bat eared foxes! One Aardwolf as well. Unfortunateley on very big distance and running away. For some reason, they seem to be always shy and running away. Then something very weird happened. We saw an Aardvark... Well, that is not so weird in Marrick as you now understand. But 150 meters further on we came across another one! And just beside that one, ANOTHER one! We now had 3 Aardvarks within 150 meters of eachother. Very, very unusual even for Marrick. Johnny spotted a small eyeshine pretty far away. We approached gently. At first we thought another Black footed cat but it was not. It turned out to be a Small spotted genet. It couldn´t sit still for a second but we got a nice look at it. A Scrub hare got to be the last thing I saw. By the way, I found it strange that people generally say they have seen one "Scrub hare" wherever you are in Africa. When in fact the Scrub hare is endemic to South Africa. So stop calling every Hare you see for a Scrub hare. Because it´s not. Summary for my last nightdrive: 1 Smith´s red rock hare 1 Scrub hare 3 Aardvark 1 Black footed cat (female) 23 Bat eared fox 30-50 Springhare 1 Small spotted genet 1 Aardwolf Maybe some of you planning to come here for the shy nocturnal animals and I can very much recommend this place. Marrick is a peaceful place. Fantastic food if you choose to let the kitchen cook for you. Otherwise you can also do self catering. Trevor and his staff are really wonderful and helpful. They can fix pretty much everything you want. And if you don´t want anything... you have your free time. Just strolling around the land on your own, follow the Meerkats or read a book in the garden. They also pick you up and drop off at the airport if you want. Great people and you will not regret it if you come here. To give you a hint about what and how much you see in three nightdrives, maybe it helps you decide how many nights you want to spend here, I think 3 nights is pretty much perfect. My total summary of this 3 nightdrives: 5 Smiths red rock hare -- Were lucky the first night as we saw 4. Can be a hit or miss. 4 Black footed cats -- 2 different individuals. One male and one female. 6 Aardvark -- At least 4 different individuals. 3 Porcupine -- Only saw them one night. 3 Aardwolf -- Only distant and brief sighting. Very shy and running away. 2 Large eared field mouse -- Didn´t look for rodents but came across this two. 1 African Wildcat -- Seen on the first night only. 2 Scrub hare -- One at the lodge and one on the grass fields 1 Small spotted genet -- Not that common here. They seeing them on 40-50% of the nightdrives. 1 Hybrid cat -- Not very good sighting. Should be killed to save the pure African wild cats. +33 Bat eared fox -- Well, they are more or less everywhere. +100 Springhare -- Everywhere, jumping around. Time for me to change position. Change country. The story will continue in Khwai concession, Okavango delta, Botswana. For some bigger cats and alot of other things. To be continued... (with this White bellied sunbird)
  8. Well... Malaika is famous but is not very good in spreading her genes. She have only raised 3 of 28 cubs to adulthood. Now one of them is gone before making her own offspring. Left is two males. Her current litter is probably her last chance of being more succesfull. Before she is gone.
  9. Absolutely stunning pictures of Africas rarest large carnivore. They are really beautiful. Thanx for showing them!
  10. MARRICK DAY 2 NIGHTDRIVE Oh man, this night was even more chilly. A cold wind swept across the grass plains. The animals seemed not to care about it as much as I did though... No Smith´s red rock hares today on the rocky outcrops close to lodge. Yesterday they were many and today none. Maybe they didn´t like the cold wind after all. The first creature was an Spotted eagle owl. The second creature of the night was an Aardwolf. The one we missed yesterday. Only very brief sighting of it as it run away on a big distance back into the darkness. Only 10 minutes afterwards there was another Aardwolf! This time much better sighting. Still big distance and a skittish animal who just wanted to escape in the grass but it was a satisfying lifer for me. Unfortunately no pictures worth posting of it. Then we stumbled on probably the same male Black footed cat as yesterday. This time we approached it. To see if it were cooperative. It was very relaxed and I got the pictures I so much wanted. Couldn´t wish for a better Black footed cat sighting than this. A beautiful creature. It was so relaxed that it eventually started to sneak for prey in the grass instead of looking at us. Maybe for prey like this one, a Gerbil mouse or Large eared mouse as it is also called. We saw a couple of them this second night. A "stone" was moving in the grass. That means Aardvark. Jonnhy, my guide, spotted another one for me this night. First in the high grass, but we saw it was moving towards the road and waited for him to come out... ...Which it did. Another great Aardvark sighting! Also around 10 Bat eared foxes and 30-50 Springhares this night. Another creature who seemed to like the cold night was porcupines. Three of them showed themselves this night. Only brief sightings when they quickly moved into the grass and disappeared. No pictures. The last eyeshine of this night was another Black footed cat! This time a smaller female. She was on her lookout point over the plains. They are almost like mini-cheetahs. Very much like to get up on termite mounds for better visibility. Quite big distance and we did not do an attempt to approach as we were more than happy with our first sighting of them. The 3 hour nightdrive session was over and the summary this night were: 2 Black footed cat (1 Male and 1 Female) 1 Aardvark 2 Aardwolf 3 Porcupine 2 Gerbil mouse (Large eared mouse) 10 Bat eared foxe 30-50 Springhare One nightdrive left and the only missing thing now was a decent photo of the Aardwolf...
  11. MARRICK DAY 2 Mokala NP is 1½ hour away from Marrick and this is wehere I spent this morning and afternoon. Mokala NP is South Africa´s newest nationalpark established in 2007. A beautiful park with different environments from rocky areas, to plains, forest and lowland bushes. A great potential for a wide range of species. No big cats in the park... so far. They do talk about introduce Cheetah... They are also in a process to expand the park even more. Also very quite. It seems like Mokala NP lies off the radar for most people. Trevor at Marrick easily organize a trip here if you want to go. He have a retired friend, an enthusiastic birder with a great knowledge of the park, who is more than happy to bring you here. Tsessebe´s walking away in the morning light. Black wildebeest´s thriving in this park. Actually they were a lifer for me so I gave them some extra notice. Walking in gold... Red Hartebeest and Zebra also thriving here. My guide showed me a Barn owl nest with some youngsters inside. Barn owl, also a lifer for me... very strange when I think about it. Roan Antelopes are also introduced here. Even though it´s outside their natural habitat. Both White and Black Rhinos exists in Mokala, the latter is very rarely seen though. I saw a few White Rhino´s this day. Nyala Family drinking... I asked my guide if there is any Meerkats around this park and I barely open my mouth before he said.... "there they are!" A quite skittish Meerkat colony looked at us as we watched them. As in Marrick, Bat eared foxes were very cooperative. We stumbled upon two different couples during my day. Funny looking when they leans back their ears like this... Some other small carnivores... Black backed jackal lurking around a waterhole. Yellow mongoose´s on the hunt... The beautiful Oryx and the "stand still like a stone"-Steenbok were in the area as well. There is some +150 species of birds in Mokala but probably more than that as the birdlist is very much incomplete due to the fact that the park is only 10 years old. We looked a bit for the Pygme Falcon as they are quite common here but unfortunately didn´t find it. The world´s most numerous bird, Red billed quelea was however present in very good numbers... Here sipping for a drink. In some sort of a bird-mayhem they went back and forward to drink. Three banded plover was not very happy with their low numbers compared to the Quelea and started to make more... Didn´t had any expectations at all about Mokala as it was a blank paper for me. But it was a very pleasant day with a great guide and a beautiful, quiet park. If you are in Marrick I do recommend a visit here. Now time to go back for my second nightdrive. I still have some species to tick off. Especially Aardwolf.
  12. There is a noise reduction built in the camera. It's the only one I used. But yes D500 is a fantastic camera with high ISOs. And I really needed it because of big distances sometimes, spotlighting and also because my Sigma 150-600 lens. However I do think I made a bit of an overkill. I think I could have reduce the ISO a bit if I did it manually but I choose to have Auto-ISO with a maximum 51 200. Could also maybe have reduced the maximum ISO number on my settings. I used much Auto in darkness simply because of lack of time and that the spotlight always change the lights and also sometimes fast moving animals where you need quite fast shutter speed. There is no time to test ISO, shutter speed... or something else for that matter. if you see something, shoot! Before the Aardvark is in the tall grass again. Therefore I have most settings on AUTO when photographing in darkness and then process them thru Lightroom instead. I tried a bit to adjust things manually but ended up with too many blurry pictures. Not worth it when the D500 do so good on Auto-mode in dark conditions. I also need to say that I am a very much amateur when it comes to photographing. I´m using the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens. The first Black footed cat picture was so close. So no need to zoom anymore. The second picture of Aardvark was probably just shoot as fast as possible before it´s gone They don´t stand still very long... you will notice when you get here. Because you really have to go to Marrick if you are in to see some rare nocturnal animals. If you going to South Luangwa in Zambia you will have ALOT of good spotlighting photo possibilities. Beside Marrick this is the place where nightdrives are outstanding if you ask me.
  13. Okey, fine. Your post is very ignorant and I think you don´t know what youre talking about...at all. Feral cats/ crossbreed cats is the most dangerous invasive species on our planet. It is alone the reason for the last 19 of 20 exterminations in Australia. Yes, they are in many places more dangerous than humans (If you don´t consider that the humans bring them in, in the first place). In Australia there is a huge project of killing 2 millions!! feral cats because of this. So YES, they should be taken away from Marrick and everywhere else. If you don´t think so, it´s up to you. But then you are a part of exterminate species. And THAT is loathsome. My guide Johnny completely agreed with me that they would be killed from Marrick. In fact it was his suggestion in the first place. Otherwise there will be no African wildcats left anymore.
  14. just a question... Why starting a new trip report for every post?? Why not continue to post in the first thread you started? People usually use the same thread for their trip report. Otherwise it´s impossible to follow... Just want to help.

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