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Found 141 results

  1. The South African Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit has received the Champions of the Earth Award environmental prize from the United Nations. At the Balule Private Game Reserve the mostly female 26-member Black Mambas have interdicted poachers, broken up poacher camps and bush meat kitchens.
  2. ~ Despite protests from South African animal welfare activists, a week-long ‘driven hunt’ of various wildlife species occurred in Limpopo Province near Alldays. In an enclosed area, metal drums are beaten to corral wildlife to pass in a straight line past hunters, chiefly from Europe.
  3. Wilderness Safaris have announced their Six Countries Special much earlier this year and the prices are below: FEATURES OF THIS SPECIAL • Inclusion of the NEW Linkwasha Camp • Reduction in rate for Toka Leya, Little Makalolo and Davison’s • 2015 rates extended into 2016 for flights and road transfers • No single supplement on accommodation • Applicable at camps with family accommodation – children 6 to 16 years sharing in a family room with full paying adults pay 50% of the adult rate • Valid for travel from 10 November 2015 up to and including 20 March 2016. Excludes the festive season from 20 December 2015 to 10 January 2016 for all camps, except Rocktail Beach Camp whose exclusion period is from 5 December 2015 to 10 January 2016 Click here to see our Botswana Premier example itinerary - US$7,400.00 per person sharing (includes internal flights from Maun) Click here to see our Botswana Classic example itinerary - US$6,650.00 per person sharing (includes internal flights from Maun) Click here to see our Namibia Classic example itinerary - US$4,450.00 per person sharing (includes internal flights from Windhoek Internationl Airport)* *based on a conversion from South African Rand and subject to change due to currency fluctuations. Please get in touch for your own quote EXCLUDED FROM THE NIGHTLY ACCOMMODATION RATE • All circuit charter flights and applicable taxes • All road transfers where applicable • Any scheduled commercial flights and related taxes • Cancellation, baggage, travel and medical insurance • All drinks at Rocktail Beach Camp • All premium imported drinks and champagnes • Park fees and entrance fees in South Africa – however these will be specified in the quote • Any Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases beyond our control • Visas and associated fees • Staff gratuities • Any items of a personal nature INCLUDED IN THE NIGHTLY ACCOMMODATION RATE • All meals • Two scheduled activities per day • Local brand drinks included (except at Rocktail Beach Camp). Drink inclusions may differ between camps/lodges • Laundry • Accommodation taxes, the applicable Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax (VAT) or Government Sales/Tax (GST)
  4. My first visit to South Africa took place in 1998 and included a 2 day stay in Sabi Sands. I managed to see the big 5 and all the other usual suspects. Even though I have loved animals and nature all my life I cant really say that I fell in love. In 2002 I was invited to South Africa to see some friends including a selfdrive in Kruger. I combined this with a trip to Botswana and I got the bug. Now therewas no way back! We drove from Joburg to Mopane restcamp which is more or less in the middle of Kruger. An area with many Mopane trees an therefore also Buffalo and Elephant. The next morning we saw a Buffalo carcass. We later found out that it had been killed by a delivery truck. Sofar no activity at the carcass. A curious Giraffe The highlight of the trip happened when we saw a car parked closed to a drainage pipe. When we enquired we learned that a Hyena was giving birth and a relative were moving the cubs. The relative We could hear sounds indicating that there was another cub to come and a few minutes later mommy appeared. On the way back to camp we drove past the Buffalo carcass. A single Hyena ran away and there were a few Vultures in the nearby trees. 3species of vultures Morning in camp. The next morning there was a Leopard and a lot of vehicles at the Buffalo carcass. However I have to say that all vehicles behaved quite well. After a few minutes other vehicles congregated just up the road. Lions and Buffaloes! The Lions took down a Buffalo 50m from the road not knowing that there was a much easier prey available just down the road. Unfortunately it happened behind some bushes so we could not see it but there was a lot of growling and snarling so I am quite sure they made a kill. On the way back to camp we saw Martial Eagles mating (sorry for the poor quality of the picture. In camp I got a nice portrait of a Yellowbilled hornbill
  5. ~ Is this report truly so? I lack the experience or insight to evaluate this report, which was forwarded to me by one of my ecology graduate student working groups.
  6. Reports To read the full article, click here. If these figures are correct, then rhino are in seriously peril indeed.
  7. Reports in a press release dated 2015-07-03 To read the full press release click here.
  8. Day 1. Afternoon drive. The trip to Kirkman’s kamp was long but uneventful and nothing could have stopped me from going to the bush as soon as possible. I was waiting for this for long 6 months. I did not expect to see a lot and the fact that I was on safari drive already made me absolutely happy. My ranger in Kirkman was JP, and my tracker was Eckson. After a short rhino walk (Eckson noticed sleeping rhinos from the road and we walked there to stretch legs. It was successful as rhinos never found out that we were there) we went to check if Charleston pride had crossed the river or they were still on the property. We found them on the beach near the crossing and they were absolutely flat. The maximum action that they were ready to show us was to raise a head and look around. JP was telling stories about the pride. This pride suffered a lot from fights with another pride. At the end only one lioness with two small cubs (her nephews) managed to survive. And this lioness did an awesome job. Both boys are now 4 years old and look great. She also taught them to hunt and this pride is famous for bringing down giraffes. The lioness herself is an amazing hunter, if I remember it correctly, during one year she brought down around 15 kudus without any help (and these are only animals that rangers know about). The evening was slow, nobody else was willing to join us and we were having the pride all to ourselves. We were sitting in the car and discussing lions’ dreams. JP suggested to wait as lions might have decided to cross the river and these would be great shots…Everything changed in seconds. Mala Mala ranger who was on another side of the river told us that he could see wild dogs moving in our direction. So we went closer to make some pictures This year dogs are denning on Kirkman’s property but they still like to cross Sand river for hunting. Dogs were running along the river and did not see lions. However the lioness noticed them immediately and she turned into hunting mode immediately. Boys were not so enthusiastic. They were raising heads, watching dogs for a few seconds and then returning to a flat position. Lions were behind bushes and dogs could not see them at all. And then even worse, dogs went down to the water and their sighting was blocked by the river band. Lioness did not lose a second. The river was a huge handicap for dogs as they could not move in water as fast as more powerful lions were able to. Alfa male did not have any chances: It is more than two weeks since that day but I can still hear how the dog was screaming. I am not one of people who dream to see a kill. I love to see predators but in a lot of cases I like to be blind and deaf. And although I started to think that I might tolerate without a hysteric a quick antelope kill this was far beyond my limits. So I was crying like a kid. To make the scene even harder the rest of the pack was staying not far and was calling from there. JP was very kind to ask a few times if I wanted to leave. My emotional part was ready to leave immediately but brains were saying that even if we had left nothing would have changed so I asked to stay and even continued to make pictures. In split seconds a lioness was joined by males I was glad that the death seemed to be quite quick, but I was so wrong. As soon as lions started to pull the dog back to the beach, he started to scream again. I was ready to join him in this, only the fact that it was our first drive with JP and he might have decided that I was totally uncontrollable made me to sit silently, I just started to sob more. After another few minutes when lions calmed down and were just resting near the dog I noticed that the dog was blinking. I asked JP if dog was still alive, he answered that dog was dead and these were just eyeballs moving when lions were touching the body. Couple minutes later dog screamed again. Thanks God, more cars arrived to see a sighting and we left. When we were starting the drive early afternoon I told JP that I did not like sundowners and I did not want to spend time on them but after this sighting I changed my mind completely. I asked JP to stop and to give me something really strong. So the rest of the evening I spent with brandy. And these are photos made by Roan Ravenhill (Mala Mala ranger) he was watching the scene from another bank. So he made photos of us watching the sighting: I learned my lesson. When I was asking the bush to show me cats, dogs and maybe a kill, I should have been more specific and I should have stressed that I did not want it all to be one sighting. We were discussing a lot after this if we should have tried to do something, and decided that it could have turned into even worse situation and it would have been very hard to live with it.
  9. This article from the Pretoria News explains the steep challenges for wild dogs, which require substantial habitat in which to roam. Brendan Whittington-Jones lived in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game park in KwaZulu-Natal, monitoring and protecting wild dogs.
  10. Wilderness Safaris 6 countries Special During the Southern Hemisphere Summer (November to March) Wilderness Safaris offers some fantastic discounts on the their lodges throughout the six countries they operate in. These rates apply to specific camps in the countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. Kwando Botswana 2015/16 Special This seasonal offer applies to all the camps that Kwando Safaris has in Botswana. Giving you great contrast of the Desert and the The Okavango Delta these superb camps all come at the same price. The camps to choose from are Tau Pan Camp, Nxai Pan Camp, Kwara Camp, Lagoon Camp and Lebala Camp. From the 15th November 2015 to 31st March 2016 Unbeatable Tanzania &Beyond has exclusively secured the best rates for the most luxurious properties in Tanzania. Offering a sea and African safari adventure off the beaten track, this itinerary combines a journey through one of Tanzania’s more remote and undisturbed wildlife areas, the glorious Selous Game Reserve (home to Beho Beho), with rest and relaxation on the silky sand shoreline of &Beyond Mnemba Island, Zimbabwe Flying Special Offer This Safari Offers a 50% discount on your flights between camps. This discount applies to all flights between Wilderness Safaris properties in Zimbabwe with the requirement that you stay for a minimum of 3 nights per camp. It is possible, at extra cost, to upgrade from Davison's Camp to Little Makololo Camp or Linkwasha Camp. This special offer runs until the end of the year. 2016 it becomes a 35% discount. Great Plains Botswana Free flights to and from their camps Valid for all scheduled intercamp air transfers, that we book for you, starting/ending at Maun or Kasane airports and/or from all other camps within thegreater Delta and Chobe region; Not valid for additional camera (freight) seats, pilot / guides rates; Free flight offer applicable to all standard guest rate accommodation reservations. No minimum stay requirements, however, for stays of a combination of 6 nights or more at Duba Plains and/or Selinda/Zarafa, a free helicopter transfer is available; See our Heli The Spillway special offer; This offer is valid for all new reservations that travel between 01 November 2015 to 31 May 2016. Heli Special For guests staying at Selinda Camp, Zarafa Camp or Zarafa Dhow Suites combined with Duba Plains for a minimum of 6 nights, the inter-camp air transfer will now be a FREE helicopter transfer ! This 35 minute helicopter flight offers a uniquely spectacular aerial view of the Northern Okavango Delta region between the Selinda Reserve and Duba Plains. Valid for all new reservations travelling until 19 December 2015 Not valid for guides and tour leaders Minimum 6 night stay required between Duba Plains and either Selinda or Zarafa camp in any combination of nights Normal Rates apply Minimum 2 guests per transfer Also ask for long-stay discounts (6+ nights in total per itinerary) at African Bush Camps (Botswana & Zimbabwe), Desert & Delta Safaris (Botswana) and &Beyond (Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique & South Africa).
  11. Please visit Jackie's blog to see her experiences with us at Elephants Alive in the Greater Kruger region of South Africa: For more information, please see:
  12. Manguzi. The Safaritalk brief was this: following stays at iMfolozi, Mkhuze and Ndumo Game Reserves, (and squeezing in a brief stop at Zimanga Private Game Reserve), Bugs and I were to conclude our visit to northern Kwa-Zulu Natal by spending a couple of nights in Kosi Bay exploring the nature reserve, its world renowned lake system and discovering what this area has to offer the self-driving safari tourist: time permitting we also hoped to go on a day’s safari at Tembe Elephant Park. In the end, the experience turned out to surpass all expectations I had and one cannot truly say they’ve done KZN without having been to Kosi Bay… Kosi Bay is situated on South Africa’s east coast, at the north east point of Kwa-Zulu Natal, approximately five kms south of the Mozambique border and comprises a series of four lakes which are linked by natural channels, (passable by smaller water craft), which, as they flow out to the Indian Ocean at Kosi Mouth go from being fresh water to salt water. An area of varied ecosystems and biomes, this spectacular area forms part of the greater iSimangaliso Wetlands Park stretching from St Lucia up to Mozambique. For an overview of Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, visit the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife website here, or the iSimangaliso Wetland Park website here. Self driving, we relied heavily on a map I’d obtained from the Elephant Coast Tourism stand at Indaba, a road map of KZN from Mtubatuba north, an online virtual version of which can be accessed here. Of course we had a sat nav unit with its incessant chatter but being old school, I navigated from the map spread across my knees... Once on the main road from Ndumo to Kosi Bay it’s a long straight drive on a newly laid tarmac highway: it takes you past the entrance to Tembe Elephant Park. We stopped briefly at the gate, where it states that you can only access the park in a 4wd – therefore we’d have to alter our plans somewhat. Close to a town named Phelandaba you join the R22 at a roundabout, the direct road to Mozambique heading north, whilst south linking up with Hluhluwe and then the N2 to Durban, (approximately five hours drive away). Noticably the environment changes once past Tembe: the surrounds become more tropical, palm trees, flat stretching sand plains, one leaves the more typical safari veldt behind. Our destination is Manguzi: we arrive early, not expecting to make such good time, (in fact the last time Bugs drove this way 20 odd years ago it was a tyre shredding graded gravel track), and thus we are thinking to grab some bites and head up to the border with Mozambique before our scheduled pick up at 1600 hrs. Manguzi is a throbbing, exciting town, markets and shops line the main road, masses of people, bright and colourful, a procession of cars, of minibus taxis stopping to pick up passengers and blaring loud music, a ubiquitous Boxer Superstore. On the northern most edge of town, almost on the outskirts on the left of the road is the Total complex and we pull in, our little white hire car the colour of red African soil. It’s been a solid performer and at 200 +/- rand per day covering 200 kms, a bargain, especially with such good fuel consumption. It’s ground clearance is somewhat limiting though… Our instructions from Kosi Forest Lodge, (where we'd be staying for the first night), was to meet at Total where we'd be picked up for a 4wd transfer. A 2wd has its limitations. In the Kosi Bay area you are made aware of this. Whilst the main road through town is good, side roads are less so, and tracks into the reserve soon turn sandy... The Total Garage complex is like an oasis in the desert. Clean, well run, reassuringly welcome and safe, featuring an ever present Steers, (which, alas, I believe to have caused the only case of runny tummy on the trip and it wasn’t just me affected…), and an excellent fishing tackle and sports hardware shop and store which sells an amazing range of nibbles, wasabi peanuts, biltong, droewors, drinks and self catering supplies etc. We stocked up on biltong and droewors which would see us through until we left for St Lucia. Grab a bite to eat, (though avoid the burgers), something to drink and sit in the shade whilst awaiting the transfer to Kosi Forest Lodge. Stock up on biltong too, it was great! Whilst sorting the car, the owner of the whole concession came over to chat, Allistair McCann. Such an approachable and friendly chap, we talked about our trip so far, where we were staying in Kosi Bay etc., and in exchange I heard about Manguzi and Allistair's background in the town, how being part of the iSimangaliso World Heritage site has really been a boost for tourism. In fact, he said to include his contacts in case you are passing through and needed help as he knows just about everyone, so if in Manguzi, give him a shout on 082 337 5668 and mention Safaritalk. He’s someone who knows the town, has done a lot for it and helped encourage tourism thus is well respected. If you need anything, he's your man, and if he can't personally assist, he knows the right person who can. Whilst we chowed on those fated burgers, he called Kosi Forest Lodge and arranged for an earlier pick up which was much appreciated...
  13. Our trip to Londolozi started on the 12th of March for 3 nights. On arrival we were welcomed by the friendly camp managers and butlers of Founders camp. On our 1st afternoon game drive we headed over the Sand River to the northern section of the property. We had a drink stop in the Manyelethi river bed with rangers Andrea, Nick, tracker joy and Kim. On our way back to camp we saw a crocodile on the causeway fishing. Beautiful view across the Sand River towards the western section of the property. Sunset over the Sand River.
  14. Report from Elephants Alive Facebook Page: As we had the privilege of recollaring Umbabat yesterday, we thought to feature her. We first collared her in July of 2008 and with her new collar we hope to follow her everyday movements for another 7 years! It is always a humbling experience to collar an elephant. Words come short of the emotions one feels when you touch their warm skin, hear their constant snoring or look at the storylines of the African landscape etched on the weathered soles of their feet... We would like to thank Save the Elephants for donating the collar. Gail and Alan Kelly kindly sponsored the costs of the very deserving veterinarian (Dr. Cobus Raath) and pilot (Jacques Saayman). Colin Rowles, Warden of Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is thanked for all his effort and competent participation. To the Elephants Alive team members....thank you for all the hard work as it clearly paid off!
  15. Report via the Elephants Alive Facebook page: "What a wonderful day spent in the wintery African sun...recollaring one of our majestic study animals! We watched the sun rise as we headed towards Jejane Private Nature Reserve where ‘General’ was sighted. We spent hours watching his thirsty and hungry companions while waiting for a sighting of him. We first collared General in 2005 and then recollared him in 2011. We were keen to replace his collar as he has developed into a majestic bull, deserving of the highest protection that man’s technology has to offer. We watched him rise slowly and gracefully after having his new collar fitted. Amidst the awe of the spectators, he melted away into the autumn-clad bush. We salute you General for another unforgettable day in your presence...may you make many tracks along many a dusty path in the years to come! We would like to thank the professional team that made for a successful day: the Warden Glen Thomson accompanied by Tracey, Ryan and Shannon Thomson went the extra mile. Veterinarian, Dr. Peter Rodgers and his assistant Janelle Goodrich. Bruce McDonald controlled the whole scene from the air in a suburb manner. Craig Spencer and Amy Clark are thanked for assisting with obtaining a permit. Last but no t least, thank you to Colin Anderson for reporting the sighting of our long-lost friend in the first place!"
  16. Itinerary: 8th-22nd May 2015 8th Arrive Durban, overnight Pietermaritzburg. 9th-11th Indaba Durban, overnight 11th St. Lucia. 12-16th Primitive Trail, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, overnight 16th in Hluhluwe. 17th Visit to Zimanga Private Game Reserve and then Mkhuze Game Reserve, overnight 17th at Mkhuze.. 18th Drive to Ndumo Game Reserve, overnight Ndumo. 19th Drive to Kosi Bay, overnight Kosi Bay. 20th Kosi Bay, overnight Kosi Bay. 21st Morning Tembe Elephant Park, then drive to St. Lucia and explore iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Night Drive iSimangaliso, overnight St. Lucia. 22nd Drive to Durban, depart for home. At various times in this report, @@Bugs, @@Soukous and @@Peter Connan will be adding their thoughts and images. Some parts of the report will feature as seperate linked articles here on ST. Photos still to be edited, however, as an introduction, I will precede the report by saying what a fantastic trip this was, in accompany with great Safaritalkers, South Africa once again delivering a fantastic experience: meeting incredibly committed people working in conservation, privately and for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and iSimangaliso Wetland Park, seeing real positives in South Africa and exploring an area which has incredible potential for Safari tourism and offering incredible value for money. Matt.
  17. Have you heard of the drink called Amarula? This cream liqueur is made from the fruit of Marula trees that make up part of the ecosystem of the iconic Kruger National Park in South Africa. These iconic trees are not only picturesque as they stud the African plains with their shady presence but they also represent important food sources in more ways than one to both humans and elephants. Marula fruits are annually harvested by local indigenous communities and provide an important economic benefit to these communities. Consequently, we now sit with potential Human-Elephant-Conflict over an iconic tree! People don’t want to see these trees disappearing from the landscape because of elephant’s large appetites and feeding preference for them. Conservationists would like to preserve some trees to ensure seed stock and in keeping with the biodiversity objectives of the Greater Kruger Region. Elephants, on the other hand, can feed on numerous other species and can be taught to avoid so-called botanical reserves created in areas with many marula trees. But how? In Kenya, Dr. Lucy King has provided evidence that elephants are afraid of honey bees and their stings. Lucy constructed fence-lines with beehives around crop fields and found that crop-raiding elephants avoided these fields and also ran away when the recorded sounds of swarming honey bees were played back. As an MSc graduate student at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, I would like to research and find a solution to protect iconic trees, including the Marula tree, from elephant impact using bees to keep elephants alive. I will be conducting this important research for the non-profit organisation: Elephants Alive ( We will be requiring 100 beehives for an experimental site of 50 marula trees in a nature reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. Each tree will have two wire-connected beehives hung from it preventing the elephants from feeding on the trees without disturbing the beehives. Each beehive will cost £35, resulting in a total amount of £3500. We are also hoping for your support with purchasing bee-suits, veils and gloves (£100). This will enable us to approach the hives safely during field days and harvest any available honey to support the local community through the sales of honey to tourists. We would love to keep everyone up to date with the development of this project through messages, pictures and videos from our site, and would really like to call on your support to help us purchase these beehives. Please share this campaign on your social networking pages and help us make this conservation project a reality in South Africa.
  18. 1)Name of property: Savanna Lodge, 2) Location: Savanna Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands. Greater Kruger 3)Website address if known: 4) Style of camp – ie; Lodge, permanent camp, mobile camp It's a lodge. But the rooms are a combination of solid constructions and canvas. Communal buildings are timber & thatch. 5) Solo/Independent property or part of a group / chain Independent 6) How many rooms, tents A total of 9 rooms. The Savanna suite comprises 2 bedrooms and is great for families, there are 4 Luxury suites and 3 Executive suites. All of them looked pretty swish to me. 7)Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known) October 2013, Peak season 8)Length of stay: 2 nights 9)Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Recommendations. Some tour operators get a bit snotty because Savanna Lodge is located right on the western edge of Sabi Sands, but guests love it. While we were there we met a couple who were on their 11th visit and others on 3rd and 4th visits. A real testament to the quality of the hospitality and safari experience. 10)How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct 11) Are you a regular safari traveller? Yes 12)To which countries? In terms of frequency: Kenya, Tanzania & South Africa. Also visit Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and others around the world. 13)Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Other lodges in the private concession around Kruger include Motswari, Lion Sands, Sabi Sands Earth Lodge, Mala Mala, 14)Was the property fenced? Yes, to keep out elephants 15) How was your room or tent? Excellent a> Space inside – more than ample b> furniture – comfortable and functional c> bed & bedding, was it comfortable? yes d> was there a view – yes, the veranda looked out onto a waterhole which regularly had elephant and buffalo e> To the best of your knowledge are all the rooms of similar standard. The lodge has 3 different styles of room, some are more luxurious than others but all are first rate 16) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. The food was great. A la carte breakfast, buffet lunch and set menu for dinner. All top quality 17) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes, varied menu, yes, vegetarian option. Buffet always included vegetarian options and guests would normally inform staff upon arrival if they were vegetarian so other meals could be suitably prepared. 15) Can you choose where you eat, ie privately or with other guests, guides? Single tables or communal dining? Mostly communal dining, either in the dining room or in the boma. But the whole atmosphere is so relaxed that I am sure private dining would not be aproblem. 19) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? N/A 20) Did the lodge / camp have its own game drive vehicles? (Include photo if possible) Yes. First rate. 21) How many rows of seats? How many guests per row? 3 rows of seats, 2 seats per row with storage box between the seats of each row. 22) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Morning drives were about 3 hours, afternoon drives about 2 hours – but it all depends on the game. Routes were varied according to where the game was. 23) Are game drive times flexible: ie, if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, ie not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? It can be done, but we did not do it. 24) What wildlife is this Park/ property known for? Did you get good sightings? Sabi sands is renowned for its leopards and we got really great sightings. At the time we were there they also had a resident pack of African Wild Dogs and we got great sightings of those too. 25) How was the standard of guiding? (Please detail any particularly good or bad experiences.) Exceptional 26) How would you rate the staff in the camp / lodge? Were they attentive and efficient? Outstanding 27) How would you rate the camp/lodge on a value for money basis? It is not cheap, but every aspect of what is provided is well thought out and a lot of attention is paid to customer satisfaction. Nice attention to little details. Eg; when we left they put bottles of water and biscuits in our car. 28) If you visit this park / region again would you choose to stay in the same camp or would you look for somewhere different? If yes, please explain why. If I was coming to Sabi Sands I would have no hesitation using Savanna again. Quite simply I cannot see what I would gain by going to a different lodge. 29) Trip report link: Day 1 Day 2 - morning drive Day 2 - afternoon drive Day 3 - morning drive 30) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 31) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. I don't usually bother with photographs of lodges or camps, they tend to have much better photos on their own websites.
  19. Further to the previous post from, Christie has sent me more images of the same cheeky genet riding atop a rhino at night... Questions answered: Dr Simon Morgan (Wildlife ACT) Is it the same genet that was seen at the back of a Buffalo earlier this week? SM: It seems to be the same genet, although we have not been able to verify that yet. Is this a coincidence? SM: It is probably the same genet. The photos were taken at the same camera trap site. We are looking to put a remote video camera trap there to see if we can record this behaviour more accurately. Does this kind of behavior occur often in Game Reserves? SM: As far as we are aware this is the first recorded behaviour like this. We would love to know if anyone else has recorded something similar and the circumstances surrounding it. To read more on this sighting, visit the Wildlife ACT page here. And if you are on Facebook, follow Wildlife ACT on their page here.
  20. This is not a conventional trip report, but rather a collection of thoughts and images from one location. Marievale is a sanctuary situated on the Blesbokspruit near the town of Nigel in Gauteng. As such it is just an hour's drive from Johannesburg. Matt's edit: here is the website. It is about 10 square km in extent, and a large part of it encompasses vleilands and reed-beds, ans as such it is a hotbed of bird activity, particularly waterbirds, shorebirds and waders. There are several well-situated hides, and on weekends you will often find these hides well populated with eager photographers and twitchers from well before sunup. Best of all is, it's free! The first hide you will find after entering is the Hadeda hide. This is perhaps also the best early-morning hide, and offers a wide variety of birds. Strategically placed perches often produce beautiful photos of some of the smaller, more colourful birds and it is possibly the best place in the province to stalk the inimitable Malachite Kinfisher. Furthermore you are virtually guaranteed to see Squacco heron, Red-knobbed Coot, Common Moorhen, Whiskered Tern, Yellow-billed Duck, Reed Cormorant, and Purple Gallinule and Swamp Warblers here. Black Crake and the rather shyer African Rail are often seen as well.
  21. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this. This is an interesting documentary that addresses the issues from both sides. It raises points that are often lost in the usual Greed and poverty arguments, which can be controversial as well but it definitely puts a different perspective on this very difficult subject. The documentary is done by BBC News.
  22. Having read @@zimproguide's interview HERE with great interest, I thought it might be interesting to have a comparison of the different guiding qualifications from around Africa. The interview linked above provides a pretty complete overview of what all is entailed in obtaining a Zimbabwean Professional Hunting and Guides Association Licence. Any Pro guides from Zambia, Botswana, TZ, UG, or other countries are welcome to jump in here to provide an overview of how their certification process works. For those who are interested, I can give you a breakdown of the current FGASA qualifications system, as well as the KPSGA system. FGASA: - Step 1. Join a FGASA accredited academy (or self study) for a minimum of two months (this changed from 1 month a couple of years ago). Engage in daily theory and practical training. Practical training should cover basic vehicle maintenance, basic meal prep, game drive prep, game drives, guest briefings, walks, presentations on various topics (trees, tracks, dung, etc), etc. Theory training covers material in the FGASA Level 1 learner manual. Most schools/academies have a number of internal exams (both practical and theoretical) to help students prepare for the FGASA exam. - Step 2. Take the FGASA Level 1 Theory examination. If I remember right, you have to achieve 60% or more in order to pass. - Step 3. Take the FGASA Level 1 Practical examination. You cannot do this until you have passed the theory. Generally both theory and prac exams are given at your school/academy where you have been studying for the previous 2 months by your FGASA accredited assessor. - Step 4. Get employed, and begin logging all guiding experience in your logbook. Generally, game drives, bird walks, bush walks count. Examples given for the Zim process that a "gopher" would do don't generally count (like fixing a landrover, pulling a mokoro out of the mud, trapping a problematic monkey, etc). You must log at least 260 days of valid guiding experience before you can hand in your log book. A superior (head guide, camp manager, company director, or sometimes a guest if you're freelance) must sign each log in your book as recognition that you have actually gained that experience. -Step 5. Send your completed, signed logbook to FGASA office and wait for them to check it, sign it off themselves, and send back to you. Once they've signed it and sent it back, you're eligible to take the FGASA Level 2 Theory. - Step 6. Obtain all FGASA Level 2 materials (Learner manual, Guiding Skills Manual, workbooks, etc.) - Step 7. Attend a national (or special/private) sitting for the FGASA Level 2 Theory examination. You must pass this in order to be eligible for the practical. - Step 8. Organize a practical examination with a FGASA accredited assessor. Most assessors like to take at least 2 days to complete a full assessment. This will involve game drives, bush walks (although this may depend on whether the guide has Trails guide qualification or not - more on that qualification later!), food prep, game drive prep, guest interaction, honest, ability to handle difficult situations, and a number of other factors that would come up in daily 'guiding life'. A Level 2 workbook will also have to have been completed beforehand. The workbook includes both level 2 theory as well as a number of 'electives' that have to be worked through. For example: "Manage and minimize risk in an emergency situation", "Birding Elective", "Design and plan a private guided itinerary". Each has a number of parameters and conditions that must be met. All this will be checked by the assessor to ensure they have been completed to a satisfactory level. Throughout the practical exam, each parameter is measured as either "Pass" or "Not yet Proficient". I believe you have to attain a 70% in order to pass overall. - Step 9. Repeat step 4, filling in the logbook for another 260 days. - Step 10. Repeat step 5. - Step 11. Repeat step 6, obtaining all necessary materials prior to exam (Main textbook, 3 elective handbooks, two workbooks, etc.) and complete them. - Step 12. Repeat step 7 for Level 3 Theory - Step 13. Repeat step 8. Level 3 Practical exams generally take about 3 days, and are more in depth than previous 2 practical exams. Not quite the same level as the Zim guides, requiring a full fly camp setup for a week, but still pretty involved. After you've completed Level 3, you can go on and specialize, getting what's known as SKS (Special Knowledge Skills) qualifications. The main SKS quals are: Birding, Wild Flowers, dangerous game. However, if you happen to be an expert in a particular field, or if you want to become an expert, you can make a proposal to design your own SKS syllabus. if this proposal is accepted by FGASA, you go on to blaze your own trail. (If/when I get to this stage, I will most likely write a proposal to create an SKS arthropods or SKS Spiders syllabus, because I'm a nerd). Another separate qualification you can get in tandem to going through the different FGASA levels is the Trails Guide qualification. Only guides who have first passed their FGASA Level 1 theory and practical, are eligible to begin Trails Guide training. Step 1 (after level 1). Obtain all trails guide study materials (2 learner manuals, 2 workbooks, 1 logbook). Begin working through them Step 2. Begin apprenticeship under a qualified FGASA Trails Guide, Advanced Trails Guide, or SKS DG guide. This basically just includes accompanying the mentor guide on all walks as a pseudo back-up guide. You're the donkey. You carry all the extra equipment, water, first aid, etc. You don't talk unless you're specifically addressed. You keep an eye out in all directions while the head guide is interacting with clients. You'll need to log all your hours and all your encounters in a separate DG log book. A minimum of 50 hours and 20 encounters is required. This logbook must then be sent in to FGASA for approval and signing off. Step 3. Take the FGASA Back-up Trails Theory examination. You must pass this in order to be eligible to take the two separate practical examinations. The theory exam covers both trails guide/dangerous game material, as well as rifles, rifle handling, ballistics, and South African law pertaining to wildlife and firearms. Step 4 (interchangeable order with step 5). Take the Advanced Rifle Handling practical. This involves a number of different exercises from loading and unloading a rifle blindfolded to basic target practice, to timed target practice, to simulated charge practice. 6 exercises in all. Each has to be passed in a specific order. Step 5. Take the FGASA back-up trails guide practical examination. This is a culmination of the previous experience gained. You accompany the trails guide assessor on a walk or two demonstrating your knowledge of all flora and fauna, as well as handling specific dangerous game situations. The assessor looks at your rifle handling (do you ever point it at guests? Do you ever hold the muzzle? do you ever put the muzzle in the dirt? etc), your handling of potentially dangerous situations, your situational awareness, consideration of wind direction, consideration of animal awareness zones, handling of difficult clients, etc. Once you pass this, you are now a FGASA Back-Up Trails Guide. You are still not qualified to lead walks with guests on your own, but are now officially qualified as a back-up, basically an assistant to a lead guide. Step 6. Gain experience with a mentor/trails guide, accompanying him/her on all walks in the capacity of back-up trails guide. You can take over a situation if your lead guide is incapacitated, but otherwise they are in control. You're still pretty much a donkey carrying all the equipment. You have to now log an additional 100 hours walking and an additional 50 encounters/approaches. All logs must be signed by your mentor/assessor. This then gets sent off to FGASA to be approved and signed off. Step 7. once you have received your logbook back, having obtained the necessary number of walking hours and approaches, you are now eligible to be assessed as a FGASA Lead Trails Guide in a practical assessment. If/when you pass this assessment, you are now a fully qualified FGASA Trails Guide and can lead walks alone with paying clients. Step 8. From here, you can continue logging more hours and doing new rifle handling assessments in order to obtain Advanced Trails guide, and then more to obtain Trails Guide SKS Dangerous Game, and so on.
  23. Reports To read the full press release click here.
  24. We had an amazing trip last year self driving in Kruger NP and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with a couple of days at Augrabies Falls before we flew home. I have finished my book of the trip which I will put here in case anyone is interested. It is rather large as I included most of the photographs from the incredible cheetah sighting we had and also quite a few of the most beautiful black maned Kalahari lion. Some of the night sky photographs are side on which will look strange viewed on a screen but OK when we have the actual book. I have posted a few photographs for anyone who can not look at the book but might like to see a snapshot of our trip. I am not trying to sell the book its just that to make it available to view blurb have you put it in the for sale section on their web site.
  25. I´m pretty much decided to do the Kgalagadi in May 2016 (with Augrabies Falls thrown it), not least thanks to @@penolva ´s brilliant photo book which really clinched it for me - have to get there as soon as possible. Will also include Cape Town and do the usual stuff (Penguins!), and for diversity I´d also like to try to visit one of the smaller, lesser-known parks/reserves nearby (=within reasonable driving distance). Seeing South Africa "specials" like Bontebok, Blesbok, Rhebok, Grysbok, Cape Mountain Zebra would be great, good birding places as well. Is there a chance for marine mammals in May at the coast? I have been suggested either going to De Hoop Nature Reserve or to the Cederberg Wilderness area and Lambert´s Bay. Not too much to be found for all these online, so what are your opions? Any other good tips for the vicinity of Cape Town? Also, is Cape Agulhas worth seeing? And how is Kgalagadi in May? Thanks for all advice in advance, Michael

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