gatoratlarge

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Everything posted by gatoratlarge

  1. Thanks! Great birds and I love the "little stuff" like the turtles hitching a ride on the hippo---and so great to be able to share with your kids---they're lucky!!!
  2. In 2012 I had the privilege of seeing parts of the Great Migration including a couple of Mara River crossings near Mara Serena Lodge and Governor's Camp. This video includes a croc attack. Not the highest quality video but you can get an idea...
  3. Thought I'd add a few tiger pics from safaris to India and Nepal. I've gone on two safaris to that part of the world and hope to go back some day---always wanted to check out Jaisalmer, Udaipur, maybe Varanasi...but I would especially like to see Corbett as I've been to Ranthambore and Bandhavgar. I'd prefer to visit another park as well maybe Manas to see rhino as I visited Kaziranga in the past. My first trip to India was long ago when I still used film. I made a rookie mistake and took my glasses off to look through the view finder, adjusted the focus and snapped the picture...turns out almost every picture was blurry including the tiger pics I took at Ranthambore NP. My best pic was from elephant back of a rhino head on...I must not have had time to take off the glasses! At any rate, the tiger viewing was grand and we saw one cross the road and cool off in a rock pool and another resting. The second trip I visited Bandhavgarh and I was using a digital camera at the time. The tiger snarling was from elephant back and the elephant had snapped a branch which aggravated the tiger. She was resting from feeding on a wild pig she had killed and eaten the previous day. Another pic is of a dominant male sleeping off the heat of the day down in a ravine or cave...we waited till he awoke from his nap and climbed and eventually crossed the road at dusk nearly missing the curfew time to exit the park... I'd have to say that seeing a tiger in the wild is probably the most thrilling jolt of adrenaline of all the Big Cats I've seen in Asia, Africa and South America... Again I apologize, the quality leaves a lot to be desired...maybe it will serve a purpose that you don't have to have professional quality pics to post on ST
  4. @Galago thank you! The Kafue is now one of my favorites although there are so many wonderful places in Africa, my collection of "favorite spots" is losing some of its usefulness . More and more, I find myself wanting to be in the most remote, raw, wilderness edge and Kafue gave me that feeling. I wish I could have stayed longer than the four nights (two at Kaingu and two at Musekese) as I think it has much more to reveal but I'm thankful I got to visit it in the first place. I hope they'll be a next time as I think they have great plans and aspirations to make it one of the premier wildlife destinations in Africa maybe even bringing back rhino if it proves safe enough from poachers. You are right---Tswalu isn't cheap---you do get your own guide and tracker so you dictate your course/plan for the time you're there. As a solo traveler the good news was there's no single supplement but when I convinced a buddy to come with me, that was then the bad news---no break in price It is a stunning terrain and scenery and the chance to see unique wildlife like pangolins, aardvarks, aardwolves, brown hyena, not to mention rhino, wild dogs, the magnificent black-maned lions, and getting so close to the meerkats...there's just a lot there to make it worthwhile even at the high cost...for me, it lived up to its reputation in every way. Our guides were as good as I've had in many visits to Africa.
  5. I've always believed it's best not to go on safari with a checklist mentality...I've set myself up for disappointment before by expecting to see a particular animal: a lion trekking safari in Matusadona NP: no lions seen...a rhino sanctuary in southern Zim: no rhinos spotted...it's best to let nature decide what to reveal to you because that's how it's going to be anyway, right? My attitude is "a bad day on safari is better than a good day doing just about anything else!" I think a lot of Safaritalkers would agree there's no wasted time spent in the African bush. That being said, you certainly have hopes to see certain animals---call it a "goal"--- and on this particular choice of safari locations (thanks to being a faithful reader of SafariTalk), I became fascinated with the number of folks who had spotted an aardvark at Tswalu in the "green" Kalahari (mostly during the winter months) and the fact it had one of my favorites, Black Rhino, as well as cheetah, lion and leopard...and even better, pangolin!! I just had to go and see for myself! i checked online availability at Tswalu and only found one set of dates in late September to take advantage of their buy four nights get one free deal...so I jumped on it. After several attempts and multiple calls to my bank, my deposit finally made it past "security" and into the right hands at Tswalu...nothing was standing in my way and the long months of anticipation began... Next I booked Devil's Pool in Livingstone to get that up close and personal view of the falls only available during the dry season. Finally I reached out to Safaritalker Tony McKeith about visiting Zambia's Kafue NP which I've read a great deal about on this site. He quickly arranged a "too short" but well worth it safari with 2X each at Kaingu Lodge as well as Musekese bush camp...it's hard to describe but I fell in love with Kafue. In many ways it's the opposite of Tswalu. Tswalu is a well managed game reserve. A vast, strikingly beautiful reserve, fenced but so large as it is not something that particularly registers with you. There is "the lion side" and then everything else. I imagine they know exactly the numbers of certain species and their DNA such as lion, rhino and wild dogs...they raise sable for sale, I believe. In fact I think this is a feature of a lot of reserves in South Africa. What is not managed would be all the interesting species you can see like pangolins and aardvarks and aardwolves and brown hyena...my point is that Kafue has that totally wild, free range feel. And very few camps to share the experience with...my only issue with Kafue is that it is intensely burned. Virtually the entire park is burned at one time or another during the year. In certain places it doesn't make for the best pictures with the charred landscapes. I have to agree with Tyrone McKeith that it tends to create a mono landscape over time that favors the fire resistant grasses etc...around Musekese they have taken a different approach and I love the results. The habitat appears more varied and it certainly makes for better pictures My itinerary was as follows: Sept 21 Depart US Sept 22 overnight in Jo'burg Sept 23 - 28 five nights at Tswalu Sept 28 overnight in Jo'burg visit to Kliptown in Soweto Sept 29 over night in Livingstone, Vic Falls Sept 30-Oct 1 2X at Kaingu Lodge in Kafue NP Oct 2-4 2X at Musekese Camp in Kafue Oct 4 Depart for US To get to Kafue required flying to Lusaka and then an approx five hour drive to the park. I didn't mind it. I enjoyed seeing the countryside and the villages along the way. The roads were good although its a bit tough getting through Lusaka. Linda and Rick, part owners of Kaingu picked us up and we had great conversations all the way to the lodge. But apparently next year Proflight will be offering a certain number of flights each week which will make the park more accessible to visitors. I must say that Kafue had lived up to its reputation as a diverse park with the most antelope species but it was only on the ride back to Lusaka (still in the Kafue) through beautiful Miombo woodlands that we came across a galloping herd of sable. They kept pace with the car for a long stretch running through the woodlands. It was a memorable, beautiful sight! So a visit to Tswalu typically begins from the Fireblade Hangar owned by the Oppenheimers. It's plush and certainly not reminiscent of my 16 hour journey flying coach to get to South Africa! You can have a meal, a smoothie, a drink...it's all included and the plane ride is about an hour and a half, shortened by wine and beer if you like to drink and fly. As many of you know Tswalu is pricey, but there's no single supplement and each person or two person(s) get(s) their own guide and tracker. We were thrilled with Jonas as our tracker (I requested him based on recommendations here on Safaritalk) and our guide Moses. The had a great rapport with each other and kept us laughing in between seeing all that Tswalu offers---the were skilled trackers, spotters, knew about the environment and wildlife we were seeing---they were as good of guides/trackers as I've had. I'd highly recommend them! The arrival and departure lounge has been taken over by an enormous sociable weaver nest---I love this place already
  6. What were the monkeys pictured in the first tranche of photos? Great pics!
  7. Gorgeous, gorgeous photography! Beautiful shots! Thanks for sharing!
  8. Thanks! I certainly have no complaints---I felt quite lucky to see what we did...there were still a few things I didn't get to see...an aardwolf would have been nice and perhaps a better view of the brown hyenas, maybe a zorilla sighting?? But that's being greedy...the scenery is quite stunning with the red sands of the Kalahari in Tswalu and I loved the wild feel of the Kafue...hope to go back some day...
  9. Loving this trip report! A trip down memory lane for me...so that was "the end" for the hippo they dubbed "Satan" ...he brutalized another hippo until death and then some like a hippo possessed---by the time we arrived he was laying very still nursing his wounds out in the flood plain for our entire time there...he must have been a sitting duck for the lions...
  10. PS just incredible pics of the cheetah/wildebeest struggle!! WOW!!! Strong will to survive on both ends...
  11. WOW! Stunning pictures! THIS is why I'm on SafariTalk! The baby giraffe is definitely the cutest thing I'll see all day
  12. @AandA thank you---I hope you keep traveling to Africa as well---the plane ride is the only negative---I just settle in for 24 hours of misery and take my lumps!
  13. gorgeous pics! Love the Wild dogs and Boswell and the hippo!
  14. And I'll finish it with a few more meerkats cause how can you get enough of these little charmers:
  15. A few more Wild Dog Pics from Tswalu:
  16. @michael-ibk They referred to that hippo at Musekese as Satan as he relentlessly attacked the other hippo long after the fight was "over" --- the sounds were horrific apparently. But when we were there he never left this little trough in the flood plain and so it's fascinating that at the end of the day he not only killed the other hippo but died himself. What an aggressive animal! Sort of belies the cute ear wiggles, rotund body and snorts that are so endearing on the river...
  17. I believe Kafue is known as the park with the most antelope species in Africa and between Tswalu and Kafue we certainly saw a lot. Overall 55 species of mammals between the two reserves/parks. Lichtenstein's hartebeests, red hartebeests, sable and roan at both reserves, duikers, impala, beacoup puku; oribi; eland; oryx and springbok; mountain reedbok and bushbuck, mountain and Plains zebras; Defassa waterbuck and kudu; wildebeests; even a sitatunga at Musekese; here's some of what we saw:
  18. I continue to go through pics from the trip---I'm not the most patient writer but I do take lots of pics figured I'd continue to post in groups by animal until I wear everyone out. The four sub adult cheetahs we found on a kill, and then two cheetah brothers on the crest of a dune:
  19. I'm not really a bonified "birder" although I do love birds and my camera isn't one that can bring them in as clearly with the great zoom but this trip was very good on birds...goliath herons, open billed storks, yellow billed storks and spoonbills, ostriches, a variety of weavers, kingfishers of all types as well as a variety of bee eaters, sunbirds, cordon blues, two types of owls, four species of vulture, wattled cranes, the list goes on and on...thought I'd share some pics as I go through my trip pics of some of thosee beautiful birds:
  20. Wow---lucky guy to go from safari to safari Enjoyed the forest hogs especially! Beautiful sable bull too...
  21. Worth the wait! You know how to draw out the suspense---I just blurt out the conclusion in the first few posts! We saw the butts of two brown hyenas on the run, no picture however...thanks again for the great read and pics...
  22. @Raelond excellent! where are you going in Zim? If you haven't been to Kafue and to Musekese before you are in for a treat! I loved it! And yes Tswalu is special for a lot of reasons, the wildlife, the scenery, the staff....really wonderful.
  23. Wow! Great photos! The Sabyinyo group was the same family group we visited about four or five years ago. How cool to see an update---looks like they're doing quite well!
  24. @SafariChick I'll check them out---I know I saw some pics from Facebook but maybe not the trip report---it's interesting these reports do not show up in the various TR for the countries even when tagged...I think it requires a separate report for each country?
  25. How did I miss this?? Great report and pics!!!

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