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Found 53 results

  1. Just back yesterday from our sixth safari. Definitely the best ever - most wildlife - first lion hunts, youngest lion cubs at play, caracal close-up in the Crater, the migration arrives, and much much more..... Coming soon - the trip report...................
  2. As anticipated in my last trip report ( ) we have decided to return to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park even before we have exited it! Not a difficult decision; the park is awesome, with only a handful of cars driving around, and booking early gave us the opportunity to stay at several wilderness camps. In fact, we stayed at every wilderness camp but at Urikaruus. As we have had plenty of time for preparations, we were adamant not to repeat our “food crisis diet”. Both @@penolva and @@Tdgraves were gracious and sent us their grocery lists. Zvezda did the final selection; I have rolled my eyes when I saw the final list but as a good husband (and the lousy cook from the last trip), I did not comment too loudly. In retrospective: we have bought too much food! Specially meat portions in South Africa are double the size of European portions. And three times better! So we have indulged in "proteins mostly diet" this time. One thing that we did not want to repeat was the long drive to, and specially from the Munchen airport. Thus the airline of our choice that flies from Ljubljana (with connection to JNB) was Turkish Airlines. The price was right, and the connecting times in Istanbul airport also not too bad. Easy decision here. In retrospective: both flights were reasonably comfortable, the food was good, and they were both on time. We will fly Turkish Airlines more often. Decision to fly from JNB to Upington was not so easy, but it proved to be an excellent one. It gave us two days in Johannesburg which we used to the maximum thanks to @@Peter Connan and his friend Marnus, and all members of their families. Mrs.Gemma Dry from Discover Namibia was again our travel agent. Not that I am getting “soft” but really, her services were impeccable, so why not enjoy them also this time?! The Itinerary: 29 Jan flight LJU-IST-JNB 30 Jan arrival JNB, overnight Jo’burg 31 Jan flight JNB-UPN, overnight Upington 01 Feb Nossob Camp 02 Feb Nossob Camp 03 Feb Grootkolk Wilderness Camp 04 Feb Gharagab Wilderness Camp 05 Feb Gharagab Wilderness Camp 06 Feb Bitterpan Wilderness Camp 07 Feb Kielikrankie Wilderness Camp 08 Feb Kielikrankie Wilderness Camp 09 Feb Kalahari Tented Camp 10 Feb Kalahari Tented Camp 11 Feb Kalahari tented Camp 12 Feb drive to Upington, overnight Upington 13 Feb flight UPN-JNB, overnight Jo’burg 14 Feb evening flight JNB-IST-LJU Photo equipment (all Nikon): Bodies: D610 and D7100 Lenses: 20mm f1.8, 24-120mm f4, 70-200mm f4, 300mm f4 Teleconverters: TC14II and TC17II Gear strategy: to use TCs on both bodies all the time to enable lens switching and to prevent sensor dusting. D610 + TC14 for best IQ D7100 + TC17 for longest reach SD cards to last 8000 shots without deleting any. Both cameras were set to RAW+JPEG; JPEG is Zvezda's request as she wants to check out the photos each evening on her iPad. RAW were 12-bit lossless compressed, JPEG were Small with Medium compression. I have discussed my options ad infinitum with @@Peter Connan; he was a great listener (OK, reader) and expert photographer and eventually I have decided for the above combinations. I was also very close to buying 200-500mm f5.6 zoom, but at last moment decided to skip it (this time around). In retrospective: next time I will come with a 200-500 (or similar)!! We have switched lenses too many times. If not for the TC’s both sensors would be dirty by the mid of the trip! And it was not always easy to decide which focal length and which sensor (body) combination to use at a particular moment. Self driving a Toyota Hilux 2.5D Double Cab supplied by Kalahari 4x4. It was equipped with a fridge and a cooler box. But boy, that were “professor fridge” and “professor cooler”!! Huge, they swallowed all our provisions with ease. Car and fridge worked flawlessly during entire trip. In the park tires were deflated to 1.4 bars. It will be a long trip report! Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!
  3. Many years ago when Samburu in northern Kenya had a good population of cheetah, we had a very special moment as we were leaving the reserve. As we headed for the gate we came across three cheetahs that were in a playful mood as they chased each other and practised their tripping technic. It was a very nice way to finish our stay in Samburu, but as we watched we noticed a large figure in the distance which was making its way towards us. Through our, now well trained eyes, we could make out that it was a male Lion. He was moving at quite a pace and soon caught the attention of the playing Cheetahs. The Cheetahs stopped playing as the lion broke into a gentle run. This prompted the Cheetahs to split, each moving about twenty meters apart in the shape of a triangle. The lion showed a lot of attitude as he got closer making it clear who was the boss, but I don’t think the Cheetahs were overly impressed. When he was closer, the Cheetahs, each in turn moved towards the lion tempting him to chase them. He turned from one cheetah then to another, and then charged at the one to our left. As he did the other two Cheetahs moved closer calling to each other, or were they teasing the lion? He turned and gave chase to the Cheetah on our right. They knew as we did, he would never catch one of them, but he had to make a statement of intent and back up his position as top cat. The Cheetahs moved back & forth pulling the lion first this way then the other testing his resolve to prove himself. Again he gave chase, this time a little half-hearted, then stopped abruptly in a cloud of dust. The cheetah also stopped and turned walking square to him, almost as if taunting him. The other two Cheetahs were now quite close to him and as he turned around he seemed unsure which one to take his frustration out on. He decided on the Cheetah on the right, but in half charge he veered off to the left surprising the other Cheetah and almost caught him. This game of tag went on for about 15/20 minutes and we had to go. As we drove away, looking back we saw the lion walking away, the Cheetahs now standing together looking rather pleased with themselves. No photos as I had packed all my cameras away.
  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. Before I get to the photo editing over the weekend and later ..... many many Thanks to Sangeeta, Smita and the Chalo Africa team for putting together a trip for us chasing the migration up north in Kogatende. Not only did they ensure we had a smooth trip, but, also ensured that Coastal got us checked in for our international flights on time by using their fast track service in DAR. Must say very impressed by the crew at the camps at both Asilia and Sanctuary lodges ......... Simply brilliant!!!! Thanks to our guides; Ellisante and Kivoyo from Asilia and Emmanuel from Kusini Lodge (he knows the Kusini area at the back of his fingertips - amazing!!!) Camp Management was brilliant too - Thanks to Michael and Abu at Olakira; Julie at Sayari Camp and Van / Es at Kusini camp. Top notch service and warm Tanzanian hospitality at it's best!!! Here's the first batch of photos....
  6. Dear All, Happy Diwali ........ First of all, back home after another amazing trip to the Kwando concession. A million laughs, the joys of cheetah tracking through the heat of suicide month, what more can one ask for ....... Many many Thanks to Spencer and Mr.Moe for another magical safari up and down the Kwando Concession. Many highlights which include the new very young Cheetah coalition trying to take a strangle hold of the neighbourhood, the dominant Lagoon Super Pride, Incredible Carmine colony, Bumping into a Cheetah mum and cubs who had never been seen before or who in turn had possibly never seen a vehicle before , stumbling into random Lions trying to make their way from the migratory corridor from Namibia, not to forget bumping into a curious Aardwolf while cheetah tracking, massive Elephant herds........ but, start with the first few photos from my final morning
  7. A: Everyone! My daughter has been the punniest person around while on safari. Who knew became who gnu? Likewise, the lions laying under a bush were waiting to AMbush.... Many thanks to the SafariTalk community for endless recommendations. Our two week trip was beyond measure.
  8. I've about finished editing a few hundred images from my 15 days in the Kalahari and will shortly begin my trip report. Meanwhile, this video is a short 'tease' of the trip. I hope you enjoy this 3 minute overview. I promise to begin the tale shortly.
  9. Following on from the revealing What camps in what countries for wild dogs thread, let's do something similar for Cheetahs. Including best times of the year. Please lets make just a list of the camps, parks/reserves and countries where one can confidently expect to see cheetahs on Safari. (Always remembering nothing is 100% guaranteed). Please do feel free to include website of said camps and recommended guides there. Matt
  10. On June 22, I received a notification from the Cheetah and Wild Dog Carnivore project about a survey that ended in two Angolan protected areas located in the South of the country called Bicuar and Mupa national parks. The notification was saying that they will be starting shortly another survey in Kissama, located in the North West of the country. The surveys is a large mammal survey based on spoor (tracks) counts, direct observations, questionnaires/interviews and camera trapping. The first and last techniques helped them to make some estimation of densities and populations when the number of spoors where sufficient. Lion: in both parks, lions are absent, excepted some vagrant animals. Its main prey the buffalo is absent of both protected areas. Leopard: present. Cheetah: absent since ages (1970's). Wild dogs: present in both parks with many sightings on camera traps in Bicuar. Abundance estimated at 0,65/100km2 in Bicuar which is very relevant. The state of Mupa is very bad, the Northern part of the park is invaded by people. The authors of the report consider that the park should be re-gazetted but should not be declassified as wild dogs are still present. The authors also report that the management of Bicuar was good, which is a good surprise for me. Such a park should receive help from international donors as it might protect an important stronghold for wild dogs in Angola. Here is the link of the report: The cheetah and wild dog National Action Plan for Angola has been updated in October 2016 to include the last results in the previous report (which execution is part of the Action Plan). Important is to notice that cheetah is reported present Iona National Park from a 2010 survey led by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (based in Namibia) and from South East Angola in Luengue-Luiana and Mavinga National Parks. I do not know if Iona will be included in the current survey.
  11. After 20 years, Cheetah have been reintroduced to Malawi. Just in time for our visit, 7 days & 8hrs until we leave for Malawi
  12. ~ These articles, primarily from sources in Malawi, detail the recent relocation from South Africa of four cheetahs to Malawi's Liwonde National Park. The Endangered Wildlife Trust and African Parks coordinated the reintroduction of cheetahs, which formerly ranged along Malawi's Shire River. The articles include images showing the process of relocating the cheetahs.
  13. ~ This October, 2015 research article from the Cambridge University journal Oryx presents findings from a survey of the presence of Acinonyx jubatus hecki, Saharan Cheetah on Niger's Termit Massif. Camera trapping, field observation, 43 distinct cheetah tracks and interviews with local residents were done to determine population status and distribution.
  14. ~ This April, 2008 research article from the South African Journal of Wildlife Research presents findings regarding the overall effectiveness of camera traps as a method for estimating cheetah density. In Limpopo Province in northeastern South Africa capture histories of cheetahs were made, relying on the unique spotting patterns of individual animals.
  15. In the light of the fact that cheetah populations have fallen so low in Africa it's simply unconscionable that cheetah hunting is still continuing. Despite the enormous political power of the Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International the United States as well as many European countries no longer allows the import of cheetah trophies. So why do Canada, Spain and France? These are countries which if there was any logic simply wouldn't permit it. It's particularly abhorrent that female cheetah kills are licensed. I'll write more later on the subject.
  16. Here is a very rare sighting from a western africa cheetah in Pendjari National Park. There is an estimated 15 cheetah remaining in the sudani savannas from Western Africa, all located in the WAP ecosystem. There park should be shortly managed by the South African foundation African Parks
  17. Dear ST members, I recently met Dr. Elena Chelysheva when I was in the Mara over Easter. She has been running a research project on the cheetahs of the Mara since 2001 and has established a great database in that time. The link to her work is as follows: If anyone has photos of cheetahs taken in the Mara over the last 15 years, and is willing to share them on this post, her research would be greatly enhanced. I will start off by posting a photo of Bawa, the son of Malaika taken in June 2013. Thanks in advance Dhruv
  18. Our recent trip to the Mara (December 2016) was again magical. Every day was jam-packed with outstanding sightings. We are novice videographers and put much more effort into photography. I just haven't had a chance yet to start processing any photos from the trip. Heck, I'm still processing videos; I have about 4 or more videos I have yet to upload, including our final compilation of each place we visited in Kenya. Here's some lengthy video of each day in the Mara. Most video capture is a bit raw and shaky, but hopefully you can enjoy the animals despite our lack of skill. All thumbnails for the videos are my unedited photos from that day. Day 1 (just a short evening drive; not too much to see in this video: Day 2 (good action! Lion kill and Malaika hunting with cubs): Day 3 (more great action!): Day 4 (outstanding elephant river crossing): All the rest of our videos are here:
  19. Here's a new article estimating total cheetah population worldwide at 7100 and calling for cheetahs to be listed by IUCN as an endangered species.
  20. Well, it’s taken me longer to get this started than expected! Let’s just say that life has gotten in the way and really slowed me down, I only finished processing my photos a couple of weeks ago (4 months after returning, ugh). I obviously had expected to get to this quicker, based on my previous post a couple of days after getting back (! Thankfully, @@Atravelynn and @@africawild presented their awesome trip reports from visits they made around the same time; in fact, maybe it’s good to be delayed, given how great their reports were. For anyone who hangs around the Tanzania/Rwanda TripAdvisor forums (hi there @amybatt), I posted a lightly edited version of my travel journal on there already, mostly to give people contemplating their first safari an idea of what it’s like. This report will be for more advanced travelers. I expect it will be heavily photo focused, although my last (Australia) trip report completely morphed from what I had planned to what I actually did, so we’ll see. In any case, I know myself well enough that once I get this started I will get through it, so let’s begin. Tarangire Sunrise
  21. My wife & I were staying at Sweetwater's tented camp on Ol Pejeta conservancy near Nanyuki, Kenya. While there we went on a night game drive. We had been on many night drives before, and in many varied terrains which has given us the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals. So as we ventured out into Ol Pejeta' 90,000 acres, we did so with an open mind as to what the African night would reveal to us. It was not long before our guides searchlight picked up on the startled eyes of a herd of Impala. They settled down as we passed them by, and then a few moments later, a small herd of Zebra raced across the road in front of us. The first big spot of the night was a Caracal, which quickly melted into the bush after our headlights had disclosed it's whereabouts. Being 6,000ft up the night air was crisp, and in a cloud free sky the Milky way had dominance over the scene that lay before us. An almost full moon bathed the open grasslands in a soft cool light. Ghostly shapes moved silently through the magical scene that was unfolding before us, Buffalo, Waterbuck & White Rhino among them, seeking safety on the open plains where predators would have little cover if trying to ambush them. As we moved on our guides searchlight revealed a large herd of Thompson's Gazelles. As we slowly moved towards them, the guide picked up on a distinct nervousness about the herd, then suddenly they scattered in all directions. The guides searchlight searched frantically for the cause of the panic. Then as the dust settled, there it was, a Cheetah crouching low in the grass. We moved slowly closer, but keeping a respectful distance, and as we got closer we saw that amid the panic, one of the Thomson's gazelles had run straight into it's ambush. With our engine now turned off, and with the sound of thundering hooves subsiding, all we could hear was the tragic last bleats of the Tommie as the Cheetah delivered the final coup de grate. The Cheetah fed quickly, it knew there would be other predators on the prowl and would soon pick up on the commotion and the scent of blood in the air. It took us some time to gather our thoughts as to what had just happened. Neither the driver or the guide had ever seen a Cheetah kill at night before, and it was a definite first for us. As we made our way back to camp we had a most pleasant surprise when we came across a small family of stripped Hyena. Once again Africa had surprised us, and long may it continue to do so.
  22. I posted a similar thread for leopards . From what I have read, these three places are the best places to see cheetah in the wild. But if you had to go to one to see the most amount of cheetahs, which one would you go to? If there any places that you think are better than these three, feel free to add them. Any replies are greatly appreciated!
  23. When I saw these cats in 2006, three had become two as one of the brothers had succumb to a black mamba or cobra bite (I was told both versions). The Savuti Boys were some of the most famous cheetahs in Africa at the time but @@madaboutcheetah will know more than me. These photos were taken while staying at Savuti Camp, Linyanti, Botswana.
  24. We just got back on Wednesday from 12 nights in Tanzania (it was supposed to be 13, but we missed our connection in Amsterdam due to snow delays) followed by 4 nights in Rwanda. I think we had a very successful trip, despite some tough game viewing where the grass was long. There were cats everywhere in Ndutu, our final trip totals were ~80-90 lions, 22 cheetahs, 5 leopards and 1 (distant) Serval. A couple of quick thoughts for now: I was impressed at how well, in general, the guides acted in Ndutu, with no major crowding of the animals and sticking to a semi-circle to give them room to move. We did have a couple instances of stupid guide behavior though. The first was at a lion sighting, where 4 vehicles were waiting with a group of 5 lions, hoping they'd decide to hunt some wildebeest that were about 75 meters away from them. We had all been with them about 75 minutes, and they were just starting to show signs of life, when a new car arrived, and parked immediately between the lions and the wildebeest. It completely stopped any movement by the lions. Secondly, again 4 or 5 vehicles were waiting with a mother cheetah and three relatively large cubs, all of whom were eyeing some antelopes not too far away. One car got tired of waiting, and decided to leave by driving right through the herd, scattering them and ruining any chance of a hunt. There was so much prey around I doubted either incident greatly affected the animals, but neither was very considerate of the fellow safari travelers. Conversely, guides were really bending/breaking the rules in the Serengeti. Off-roading like crazy in the Gol Kopjes area (although our guide told us it was normal behavior, and in fact a vehicle with some researchers arrived at one point and suggested it was ok if there was no harassment of the cheetahs); a vehicle from a company that's well-known on this site driving up a rock face of a Kopje to get a close look at a cheetah (to be fair, once they did that we followed...); and some serious off-roading in the Seronera area to get to a leopard located in a tree 50-75 meters from the road. This was definitely a change from when we were there 2.5 years ago, and if the rangers start cracking down, a lot of guides are going to be in trouble. The grasses were high in Tarangire and around Seronera, making game viewing very difficult. In Tarangire we essentially turned into birdwatchers, the mammals were so rare. We traveled out to the Namiri Plains area while in Seronera, and saw almost nothing. Very different from other reports recently on here! Anyway, that's all for now, I'll start a real trip report once I get through all the pics. I'll just start with a couple of straight out of the camera JPEGs, of a couple of characters that will play major roles once I get going.
  25. ------------------------------- 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Offbeat Mara Camp, Mara North Conservancy, Kenya 2) Website address if known: 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). January 21 to January 25, 2016 Shoulder season 4) Length of stay: 4 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? We were staying in two other Offbeat properties and they were having a nice special… stay 4 pay for 3. Also we wanted to visit the Mara but stay where there was not so much traffic like one of the conservancies. The added part of that is we could do walks and night drives. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? We used Expert Africa and Ellie Dunkels. Everything was handled quickly and efficiently. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was safari number six. 8) To which countries? SA, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Kenya 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Nairobi Tented Camp, Offbeat Meru, Sosian, Rufigi River Lodge 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No fence. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 6 tents 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We stayed in tent number 5. Tent 5 and 2 have the best view out on the plains. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very nice. King size bed. Two chairs, a desk, tables, night stands, The bathroom area has a curtain for privacy. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Food was very good. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) The menu was varied and tasty. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? There is communal dining with the managers eating with the guests. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? The breakfasts were fresh and varied. Pancakes, sausages, eggs, bacon, muesli, fruit. 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Toyota Cruisers 19) How many guests per row? Three rows of seats, two guests per row. We had a vehicle to ourselves all but three drives. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Morning game drives were at least 5 hours. Evening drives were 3 to 4 hours. Varied routes. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? They are flexible. You can do whatever you want as long as the guests in the vehicle agree. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? This is a private conservancy. There are 12 camps in Mara North. The location of the Offbeat Camp is on the southern edge where there are only a couple of other camps so the game viewing early and late in the day is less busy since the other camps on the North have to do the road time back to camp. The location of the camp seems to be in a really good spot for cats. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? Light 24) Are you able to off-road? A little when you see a good sighting. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Don’t know we never had many vehicles at any sighting. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? All three cats. We saw all three cat species two different days. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent, David as the guide and Kapen as the spotter were great. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: They tried to get us where the action was on the cats. They took plenty of time on other animal sightings that we were able to watch the interaction between the animals. They were good on the birds as well. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes, they were great. The managers Kyle and Lara are fun and do a good job. Kyle took us for a walk. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, we took a visit to a local village and they also support a school. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: The location of the camp, the quality people, the conservancy, all make this a top notch camp. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings.

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