Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Sabi Sands'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Articles
    • Forum Integration
    • Frontpage
  • Pages
  • Miscellaneous
    • Databases
    • Templates
    • Media

Categories

  • New Features
  • Other

Forums

  • Travel Talk
    • Safari talk
    • Lodge, camp and operator news
    • Trip reports
    • Trip Planning
    • Self driving
    • Health issues
    • Travel News
  • Trip Resources
  • WildlifeTalk
    • African wildlife
    • Indian wildlife
    • World wildlife
    • Birding
    • Research / scientific papers
    • Newsletters
    • Organisations and NGOs
  • Photography Talk
    • General discussion
    • Your Africa images
    • Your India images
    • Wildlife images from around the world
    • Articles
    • Your Videos
  • Features
    • Interviews
    • Articles
    • Safaritalk Debates
    • Park talk
  • Safaritalk - site information
    • Forum Help topics
    • General information
    • Site news, updates, development

Found 25 results

  1. Ok, let’s first deal with the pitfalls of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is a major pain in the arse to get to; the process of booking the camps actually initiates the pain (in the arse); there is heavy vehicle traffic in certain parts of the park where some self-drivers seem to be motivated more by the desire to travel at top speeds rather than viewing game; there are overgrown driedoring bushes impeding visibility on some parts of the Nossob Road; and the dearth of game loops limits your ability to control distances to sightings. All that said, Kgalagadi just might be the most addictive place I have been to in Africa. If you are keen on seeing the “small stuff” and learning about how everything fits together in nature, Kgalagadi is the place. Said another way, it’s the kind of place where the first-time, student of nature-type visitor would be blown away. And why so addictive? Kgalagadi never gives you 100% satisfaction. It’s like leaving a couple of makeable putts out there to shoot 91: you are hell bent on teeing it up again. 100% satisfaction is not a problem at Londolozi. Predators not only abound, but also, so accustomed to human gawkers, they let you into their lives. Nighttime game viewing at Londolozi simply cannot be matched. And all this comes with unapologetically opulent accommodations, inspiring rapture in some guests and sheepishness in others and awe in all. Oh, and the food… more on that later. Kgalagadi and Londolozi. They are the two ends of the safari spectrum, but they are both fitting representations of the way they do it in South Africa. The following is an account of my recent trip in April 2016.
  2. A photographic safari and apparently not my last after all…… My usual travel partner is my daughter but since she’s about to graduate and enter the workforce with no chunk of time off in the near future I suspected this would be my last hoorah to the continent. So this trip was with my husband and because he doesn’t have much interest in wildlife or photography to keep him satisfied the lodges needed to have nice accommodations, good food and wine or in his case the bourbon of his choice. What I thought would fit that tall order was Phinda Vlei, Sabi Sabi Earth and Londolozi Granite, all places I had been to before at various times, over the top for him and offer me some excellent photographic opportunities. It went like this: GNV to ATL to JNB JNB one night Intercontinental Phinda four nights Sabi Sabi four nights Londolozi four nights We had hoped to meet Peter Connan, the ST hostess with the mostest and his wife for dinner in JNB but as luck would have it he was in Namibia trying to tear up his camper trailer that he had so lovely constructed…. see his report on that….and his ongoing Namibia TR. Two months out from our trip we found out that the direct flight to Phinda and then from there to the Sabi Sands as we had done before was now going to take 4-5 legs. Phinda is now using SAA so we had to fly JNB to Skukuza then to Phinda….a minor inconvenience. I had felt Phinda was one of the best bangs for the buck, great accommodations, food, service, wildlife and also some really beautiful scenery. This is all still true except for the wildlife viewing…..dismal might be a little strong of a term but not far off. There were many, many hours that would go by where we would only see an impala or a wart hog or two. Our tracker and guide only once in four days got off the vehicle to look at tracks and pretty much relied on radio chatter to find sightings.
  3. I have read that Lion Sands River Lodge in the Sabi Sands has been badly damaged in a fire - nobody hurt but closed for the time being: http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/article/123172/Luxury-lodge-in-the-Sabi-Sand-closes-following-fire
  4. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered”. ~ Nelson Mandela A Fresh Perspective ~ After highly satisfying safaris in Kenya in January, May and July, 2015, I looked forward to returning in early October so as to have once again viewed Kenyan wildlife in all four seasons, as I did in 2014. However, it was not to be. Commercial machinations tied up all available tickets for westbound flights from Beijing which might otherwise have connected to flights to Nairobi. After considerable wrangling over several days, it became clear that an October visit to Kenya wouldn’t be feasible within the brief Chinese National Day vacation period. Frustrated and downcast, there would be no reunion with Anthony and Maggie Gitau of Bigmac Africa Safaris who had arranged such superb wildlife photography safaris over the past few years. It also meant no return to the Emakoko by Nairobi National Park where I’d enjoyed the hospitality of Anton and Emma Childs, Rachel Davis, and talented guide @@Peter Muigai. who shares my pleasure in bird and animal photography. As there was no workaround to reach Kenya, it seemed that I’d be in my apartment reading, writing my unfinished trip report, and longing to be back on safari in Africa, savoring starlight, animal sounds and bird songs. Sitting at my desk rather crestfallen, Hong Kong came to mind. Several hours flying-time south of Beijing, Hong Kong’s international airport is a gateway to many parts of the world. After checking, I found that while there were no seats available on flights to Nairobi or other East African gateways, there was a long-haul 13-hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. Nearly one year ago, months before finding and joining Safaritalk, I’d read a comment on a nature photography Web site about a photo of a leopard named ‘Torchwood’ in Sabi Sands, South Africa, to the effect that Sabi Sands reliably yielded high quality leopard sightings. What had stuck in my memory was the name of the safari lodge, Leopard Hills. After joining Safaritalk I’d read a trip report with beautiful bird and wildlife photos by @@Tdgraves, describing game drives while she was a guest at Leopard Hills. Like a swift needle and thread through a string of pearls, I found myself linking all of this together, wondering if there was any vacancy at Leopard Hills during the first week of October. Contacting newly married Mrs. Alyssa Taylor of Leopard Hills Reservations in Johannesburg, I learned that four nights were available. While I’d have preferred a longer stay, the prospect of a 5 day, 4 night visit was sufficiently appealing that a reservation was made, including roundtrip flights from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to Leopard Hills on the Fedair shuttle. Although I have no credit card, my very kind long-time friend generously pre-paid the lodging and air tickets. After reimbursing his bank account everything was settled, as the nature of Leopard Hills is that everything is included. As a single traveler, I appreciated that there was no single supplement assessed by Leopard Hills. No other special preparations were needed, beyond the usual safari packing. The flights were on Dragonair between Beijing and Hong Kong and on South African Air between Hong Kong and Johannesburg. There was a long enough layover in Hong Kong for a dinner at the Spaghetti House outlet in the airport, a long-time favorite of mine. I was to find out that Dragonair flights are exceptionally comfortable, with fine meals in Economy Class, including Häagen-Dazs ice cream. There was uncertainty as to what size baggage might be accepted on the Fedair shuttle flights, therefore I left my largest safari lens at home. It turns out that I needn’t have been so concerned about it. The Sony RX1 R full-frame camera, the EOS 1D X, the Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 50mm f/2 ZE lens, the Zeiss Apo-Sonnar T* 135mm f/2 ZE telephoto lens and the EF 400mm f/5.6L super-telephoto ‘BIF’ lens were the camera gear taken on the trip. As is my custom, I brought several Montblanc fountain pens to write the daily safari diary and assorted notes. The Montblanc 149 Bespoke EEF nib fountain pen performs well in all conditions. The safari turned out to be a joy from start to finish, without any untoward incidents or factors. A highlight was being greeted upon arrival in Johannesburg by Safaritalk member and gifted bird and star photographer @@Peter Connan. His kindness in stopping by the Fedair Terminal set the positive tone of the entire visit to South Africa, including both the safari itself and the subsequent return to Johannesburg. A major typhoon had struck Hong Kong, which resulted in my return flight being delayed for many hours, which I learned upon checking in. I found OR Tambo to be a congenial location to visit. As @@COSMIC RHINO had noted the bookstores available in the airport, I sought them, buying both maps and books for future reference. I also stopped by a Timberland shoe store, buying my first new pair of shoes in years — I typically re-sole and repair — as my shoe size isn’t generally available in Beijing. A lovely Japanese lady seated beside me in the waiting area was returning after a one month safari in Botswana and Zambia. She compared wildlife photos with me offering gracious encouragement. Although I missed lovely Kenya, the October trip opened my awareness to South Africa’s charms such that one week after returning I booked a 9 day, 8 night return visit in late January, 2016. While by no means comprehensive, this trip report shares my impressions of the landscape and wildlife of Leopard Hills in Sabi Sands, South Africa. It was my 10th safari in Africa. Unlike the prior safaris, this was one venue in one location without any long-distance drives between lodges, camps, parks or reserves. I had no expectations, per se, when I arrived in South Africa, aside from a general interest in observing any evidence of the advent of springtime. Everything I experienced was fresh, although it sometimes was comparable to safaris in Kenya. Before proceeding with the trip report it should be noted that the late Nancy Money, @@graceland, had strongly encouraged me to visit Leopard Hills, expressing an interest in reading my impressions of it. After her untimely passing, it was noted that she’d once commented that she’d have liked to someday return as a lilac-breasted roller. While I never observed any rollers during the game drives in Leopard Hills, a remarkable fact is that I saw a lilac-breasted roller near the lodge when arriving from the airstrip, and again on the day of departure in the same general location. Finally, a very special thanks to @@Tdgraves whose encouragement concerning visiting Sabi Sands was decisive.
  5. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Lion Sands River Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa 2) Website address if known: http://www.lionsands.com 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). Sept 2015 - Peak season is approx Dec 18-Jan 3 We did get a special offer of 2 free nights in Capetown 4) Length of stay: 4 days, 3 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? The safari was only a part of what we did in SA. We chose here based on almost guaranteed sightings of cats/tripadvisor reviews, no kids, and we wanted to relax in a luxurious room after being on numerous flights and over 30 hours of driving to and from places. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct - yes 7) How many times have you been on Safari? First time 8) To which countries? NA 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? NA 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? Yes 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 20 rooms 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? I think #4. It was not connected to another room. There is a lodge layout on their website. Our room overlooked the Sabi River. Fantastic view!! Across the river we saw elephants, impala, and kudu. One afternoon I woke up for a nap and saw a lioness hunting! 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Extremely comfortable. Well stocked bar with alcohol and chocolates. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Yes! There was so much delicious food you won't be in danger of going hungry. The desserts were ok, everything else was superb. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Breakfast menu was the same each morning, though it offered at least 7 options. Lunch and dinner were varied. I am not vegetarian and can't comment. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at meal times? Depends on the meal. Breakfast and dinner were usually communal (no guide) and lunch was single table (no guide). One day out of 3 there was a traditional south african theme night with a bonfire. We sat with our guide and vehicle group while the staff sang and danced. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? NA 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. open safari, 4WD. Pic to come 19) How many guests per row? 3 rows, stadium seating. 2 guests per row 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? I don't have the best sense of direction but yes there were varied routes taken. see 21 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? Set game drives: morning game drive 0530 to 0830, evening game drive 1630-1930. The morning and evening drives we stopped for a sundowner outside the vehicle. Private vehicles available, not sure of the cost 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Private conservancy. Lion Sands limits the vehicles that traverse the property. The most we saw at a sighting is 4. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes. No off-road driving in Kruger 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. I'm not sure if there is a specific policy. If we spotted something, we'd observe on our own, then use the radio to call others. When others radioed us, we'd get a decent position, then get a better position as others left. There were never more than 4 vehicles to a sighting. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Big 5, including leopard. Did not see cheetah. Excellent sightings including leopard on 2 days out of 3, a lion with his tooth hanging out, and a lion and lioness with 2 cubs. Also saw baby giraffe, baby elephant and rhino. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Very good. We had the head guide, Landon, and he was in constant radio contact with other guides. The only frustration was we didn't seem to have much say in what we pursued for the game drive. Our vehicle wanted to see cats but since we had seen so many already we were taken to buffalo and rhino. None of us spoke up so not sure if that would've made a difference. 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? NA 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: He had thorough knowledge of the animals and their history. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Definitely! With a smile, nothing was too much trouble though we are not high maintenance guests 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Pack for a Purpose - guests bring suitcases packed with basic yet necessary supplies as listed on the Pack for a Purpose website Save the Rhino Foundation - anti-poaching rhino Bhubezi community projects - educate and provide car for children, create jobs for disadvantaged http://www.lionsands.com/more/responsibility/ 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: no children under 10 allowed. Management has set the bar for this property. Service and friendliness were better than our honeymoon at the St. Regis in Bora Bora. I loved everything about it and would definitely go back. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Pics to come
  6. After an absence of several years I returned to South Africa twice in 2015 for stays at Nottens Bush camp in the Sabi Sands. Both were short trips as my wife doesn’t share my interest in wildlife or photography and I need to limit time away for this reason and also the requirements of my job. Prologue In August 2006 myself and family (wife and 3 kids between 14 and 18 years old) visited friends in Pretoria. While there we hired a guide and he drove us in a minibus for 3 days in the Kruger NP. We stayed in SanParks camps and apart from an ill-advised attempt to BBQ buffalo had a good time. Overall though it was voted as ‘too passive’ for the majority and my interest in going back was vetoed for some time. On this trip I was using a Nikon D50 and 70-300mm lens (occasionally and not very successfully with teleconverter). Some images from that trip:
  7. The Return to the Hunt in Madikwe, Klaserie, and Sabi Sands We cannot eat just one potato chip nor could we convince ourselves that just one safari to Africa was enough. The safari bug had bitten us; we had the craving, so we had to return to hunt wild animals again even if our first safari was our “trip of a lifetime.” The last week of October of 2015, we returned for our second safari certain that the African bush still held surprises for us. Our first lodge was The Bush House of northwestern Madikwe chosen for the waterhole and a hide right at the edge of the front lawn. We arrived by van with a private transfer from a hotel at the airport in Johannesburg in the early afternoon after a four-hour journey. We didn’t cross much of the Madikwe Reserve before we reached The Bush House, but it was enough miles of desolate, parched land for us to appreciate the green grass of the front lawn of the lodge as a lovely, inviting oasis. We no sooner completed the paper work to sign all our legal rights away when we saw elephants at the waterhole. Nothing says Africa like elephants! Now we were in Africa! We grabbed our cameras and ran for the hide which has an underground tunnel as the entrance way so that the animals cannot see people coming. The mid-day sun was unrelenting, creating black shadows and almost silhouettes. The harsh light was the something we had to deal with every day of this safari. We had no clouds and no rain. It was supposed to be the start of the rainy season, but not this year. The viewing seemed to have turned into a staring contest and I was losing. Six pairs of eyes beat one behind a camera lens every time. About now I felt a little intimidated. I knew I was safe from being squashed, but I wondered if the elephant had ever sprayed the people clicking at him at such close range. Around the elephant’s feet were a Blacksmith Lapwing adult and a juvenile. Now they were living dangerously. Do you see that little, bright-red “V” in front of the elephant leg in the pictures above? It is a Red-Veined Darter. The Bush House is a small lodge with six rooms with only one facing the lawn and the waterhole and we had it. It was perfect! The hide at the Bush house is a very pleasant place. It comes with a small refrigerator with drinks, bean bags for under the cameras, has chairs with backs; and if one gets alarmed at something, there is a heavy grate that quickly drops down over the viewing slot. The hide was cleaned and the chairs were returned to a straight line against the railing every time I went there. The six-inch millipedes which came in to feed at night were all tossed out every morning. For our second safari I dreamed grand dreams of Kenya or Botswana, but in the end we choose twelve nights in three of the South Africa reserves, Madikwe, Klaserie, and Sabi Sands. Madikwe Reserve went our list because of the chance of seeing animals rarely or never seen in the Greater Kruger National Park such as brown hyena, black rhino, gemsbok, hartebeest, and eland. The white lions of Timbavati and Klaserie reserves had eluded us on our first hunt. Maybe a second try will be a charm. We would go back to Sabi Sands, nothing to discuss about that choice. Where else could we dream of a leopard on every game drive? For selecting the lodges, criteria number one was waterholes situated near enough to the lodge so we could observe the animals during the mid-day down time and the second was a hide that we could use any time we wished and not interfere with the time spent on game drives nor incur extra expense to use it. Our retired-educator budget does limit our choices for lodges as does our affinity for smaller lodges; we don’t need or want a spa, a gym, or a butler on safari, just wild animals and birds. Our safari was booked using Rhino Africa Safaris. I started the planning using another company, but when they gave me their proposal, it had only a small discount from the rack rates so I contacted Rhino Africa. The percentage of their discount was more in line with what I had received two years ago so we let RAS book the safari. I did all my own flights with RAS booking the transfers in addition to the lodges and the two hotel nights in Johannesburg.
  8. It's been over a month since we'd returned from a trip to Kruger Greater Reserves and I thought it best to get a start on it, or I'll never start. A lot of people start their maiden safaris in South Africa but we did it the other way round with the migration in Serengeti. We never had a great desire to go to Kruger, especially after we read horror stories of how visitors behaved in the public park. But a frail elderly person and a couple of frail elderly doggies in our home meant we needed a quick access to communication (wifi and mobile services) and to flights home. Just in case. Kruger was close to Johannesburg where we have a direct daily flight home, and it has mobile services. So we decided to spoil ourselves for our anniversary in the luxurious Makanyi Lodge and Londolozi camps in Greater Kruger reserves, and see what it was that attract some people and at the same time revile other people. the pure safaristas may sniff their noses and say these aren't for pure safari goers, that the mobile tented camps get you closer to the ground. That you don't need the phones and the air-conditioners and the frills and michelin-starred kind of food when you are on a safari mainly to see the wildlife. Each to his/her own. For first-timers used to such frills, it's a great attraction to draw them in, sneakily steal their hearts, snare them into more safaris, and then they develop the compassion for wildlife and the eco-system that is so needed for the balance of the planet. So after rambling on in my usual style, I shall endeavour to keep this report less verbose. I wasn't very happy with many of our photos, and wondered if I should have kept the camera down and enjoyed the moments. But we were very happy with a handful. Kruger in monochrome:
  9. After reading and reading trip reports on here, I figured it was about time to get something on paper about ours. I will warn you in advance that it is not nearly as exciting as so many of the trips I have seen on here! And we are the point and shoot kind of amateurs so really basic pictures. But I would love to have a little report myself to be able to go back to in the future to relive our trip and I figured it wouldn't hurt for a few first timers to get some info. This was our very first trip to Africa and first safari. Our itinerary was the following; 3 nights Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (Zambezi Sands) 2 nights Hazyview (no safari but panorama route so I will skip this for the most part) 3 nights Garonga safari camp (Makalali game reserve) 3 nights Lion Sands River Lodge From there we moved on to Cape Town and the Winelands but I won't go into that, this is a safari forum after all. Zimbabwe: We knew before we left, and it's important to know this, that we weren't visiting this camp for the amazing wildlife sightings. We wanted to see the Vic Falls and we liked the idea of a few river safari activities to diversify (canoeing). If you go here with the expectation of great wildlife you will be disappointed. And that would be a shame because the people at Sambezi Sands are so great and they try to make your stay incredible. Day 1 On the day we arrived we did a short afternoon game drive through the conservancy. It was exciting to be out and about but there wasn't all that much to see. We did see our first Kudu It was already rather late when we left for the drive due to all of our arrival times, so we stopped fairly quickly for our first sundowners with a view to a few hippo's (far far away). As you can see on the pictures I went a bit overboard with the purchase of earthy toned and khaki colored clothes ;-) But they were great and somehow we did feel like we fit in! We had been asked on arrival how we would prefer to have our dinners. Nadine - manager and wife of John - wanted to ensure that we enjoyed our honeymoon so she asked if we were fine with the usual setup where you have a romantic table just you the first night, then a group night and then a car + guide night. Or if we would prefer to have private dinners all the time. We thought this was very thoughtful of her and of course we loved the traditional safari set up where you mingle with all the interesting people around you! While having drinks before our meal this evening, one of the other guides, Clint came up to all of us in the bar asking if we wanted to see a honey badger. Euhm, do we want to? Hell yeah! I had read enough trip reports to know how rare they were. We didn't see just one, we saw two! Unfortunately I came unprepared (no camera - never happened again!) and so I have no pictures, but it was nice to see! Since the animals were known in camp for stealing food from the kitchen they decided to handle the situation smartly for their guests: they would just put out a plate for them. When they came to eat, you could serve them up for the viewing of the guests. Though saying "they" came to eat was not very accurate. There was one eating and the other one had to wait because the first one was not having any of it (sharing? I don't think so). Even though it was not in the most natural of settings, I did consider it a cool sighting for the first night on the trip! Day 2 We started this day with a walking safari. It was very hot and even though it was rain season there was not a cloud in the sky! So we started of early as always to avoid most of the heat. It was exhilarating to be walking around in Africa Our guide was also the lodge manager - John, husband of Nadine - and he was a wealth of information. I am sorry that i can't remember any of the names of the trees (except for sausage tree) but there was just too much to see and learn. As we started walking we did see a big heard of buffalo (far away) and a group of baboons (they were everywhere), but the walking was more about nature, skulls, tracks and information sharing than it was about seeing any animals up close. Which I suppose is normal for a walking safari. It was great fun and we loved it! We were also very lucky with our "car". As I said we got the senior guide and we were paired up with a wonderful couple from England (Heidi and Steve). They were just such incredibly enthusiastic, optimistic and generally happy people, it was a pleasure to be around them and we were sad when we had to say goodbye ! (the others in camp were 4 germans in a rather strange setup: mother, daughter, fiancee and friend of fiancee. They were not at all willing to mingle and unfortunately generally just very German. I'm allowed to say that since my husband is German :-) ) They really made an effort in camp to keep us entertained and busy, so they asked if we wanted to join them to go snare hunting. They had seen a few people on the "islands'" in front of the camp a day before and there was a strong suspicion that these were poachers. It was around 11:30 so the real heat of the day, but we said why not! This was maybe not the best idea It was a tough trek with lots of cutting bush and through water (soggy feet is just nasty), but in the end we were very happy we did it. It was an experience. And luckily there were no snares to be found so everyone was rather happy! The afternoon was spent canoeing on the Zambezi river. It was wonderful to be on the water after the heat of the day! I had been a bit scared about this since we could see a few rapids in front of the hotel that were outside of my comfort zone, but John promised a route without them and when he said he had done this trip with a 6 month old baby I felt more at ease. I did insist on sharing the canoe with him though, just to be on the safe side. Heidi and Steve had experience rowing so they were perfectly fine in their canoe together. And my husband, Tom, got paired with another guide: Rob. Now Rob was quite a character. He was 74 years old and had the enthusiasm of a 12 year old! He was really very endearing. He couldn't sit still for even 2min. He didn't really follow the group, rather took his own course and dragged the canoe with my husband to a crocodile he saw near the shore. It was "only a little one" though according to him (only 4m…). And he seemed to have fun communicating with the hippos around us. Now I know these are some of the most dangerous animals in Africa to man, but luckily at this point i didn't know just how dangerous yet. Our guide in Lion Sands would tell us a story that if I had heard it before would have kept me from ever stepping foot in that canoe! The canoeing was great fun and we stopped on a cluster of rocks in the middle of the river for sun downers. There was also a little natural pool there (just a area where the current wasn't as strong) where the guys went for a swim while Rob was busy scouring for rocks. And he sweetly presented me with one in the shape of a small heart. You couldn't help but love the guy. Of course Tom was one of the ones who wanted to do the swimming and he didn't account well for the strength of the current, so while walking over the rocks he lost his flip flops. Within an instant Rob set out with the canoe, retrieved the shoes and rowed back against the current! The man has quite some force! It was a day well spent! Day 3 This was our Vic Falls day. We got to sleep in and then spent the morning at the Vic Falls. Even though they were rather dry (or so we were told), it was an amazing spectacle to see! Gorgeous! I can only imagine how impressive they must be when in full force, but this was already pretty darn great. In the afternoon we went to the Victoria Falls hotel to have High Tea. It was a rather colonial experience I must say. Not sure if this is entirely for me. There the "whites" eating/imbibing and the "blacks" respectfully serving was just a bit too much for me. It also didn't help that we had this snotty entitled volunteer with us from camp. He was rather young (20) and made it rather clear he came from a rich family in England, but what bugged me most is that he was just not very respectful to any of the locals and generally quite condescending when he talked. Anyway, no animals to see, except for all the baboons and vervet monkeys on the Vic Falls hotel property (including also some resident wart hogs) so I'll keep this rather short! In the evening we had drinks with John before dinner and he shared some very interesting insights in to Zimbabwe politics. I was rather blissfully ignorant before we left on our trip and I found what we learned from him very enriching. Day 4 We had one last morning game drive and they had saved the best for last! This day we had a wonderful interaction with a heard of elephants. We saw some of them crossing the road we were on, but the majority of the herd was still on the other side. So John took the car off road and we drove over some bush and into a clearing. From the we could see the rest of the herd and that alone got us very excited! But since this was our first safari, John knew something we didn't: they would all join up with the rest of their herd. And in order for that, they would have to pass right by us. It was exhilarating! A mom and her young came very very close, many of the other youngsters walked right by and we hadn't noticed the matriarch of the group was standing right behind our vehicle keeping an eye on us and ensuring that we didn't bother anyone. It was our first real wildlife interaction and we left feeling very happy indeed! One of the people that I feel is worth mentioning is our room attendant Mabonga. Before leaving on our trip, our TA had been very adamant about stealing and thefts. He really made the point very clear that even in the very upscale lodges you must be careful, put everything in the safe or take it with you. In all our excitement of course we didn't. Nothing ever got touched. But more importantly there was an event that I think deserves the highest of praise. We had divided our cash over different wallets, as we always do. Tom however had left one of his wallets in his pants which he then put in the laundry. Little did we know until John presented us with the wallet. Mabonga had recovered it from the pants and dutifully returned it to the manager. For this man there must have been a small fortune in that wallet so you can only imagine how very grateful and impressed we were with his honesty and kindness. Of course we left him a little thank you note and a finders fee, but i was really impressed! The time had come to pack up and continue to SA! We were very sad to leave the place though. If you ever go to the Vic Falls and need a place to stay, do yourself a favor and go to Zambezi Sands, the place is amazing!
  10. HI We are looking to take advantage of the weak Rand vs the USD to plan a trip to South Africa. We did our honeymoon with and beyond 5 years ago and they did a nice job. we're bringing some first time safari friends and finishing the trip in Mozambique at their new property so we are getting great discounts for 6 nights or more. Has anyone been to Exeter River Camp, Kirkman's Camp, or Ngala Tented camp? we've heard exeter river is very nice (the most expensive of the 3) with only 4 rooms but that they put 8 people in a vehicle which seems like a HUGE negative to me given the price point of this lodge. Kirkmans is the largest of the 3 with 14 rooms but has good reviews on trip advisor and seemingly consistently good game viewing. 6 people in a vehicle max Ngala Tented seems like a nice location bordering Kruger unfenced with fairly good wild dog sightings Any help is really appreciated Scott
  11. Not planning to go to the parks anytime soon, just curious to know which one is the best place to see leopards. Any replies are greatly appreciated!
  12. 1) Name of property and country: Nottens Bush Camp, Sabi Sands, South Africa 2) Website address if known: www.nottens.com 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). March and September 2015. No seasonal rates. 2016 R4650 pp sharing/night 4) Length of stay: 4 days and then 3 days 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? First stay - late availability. Second stay - because I enjoyed the first-time! 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Direct - very efficient and friendly. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 2 (plus Kruger self-drive years ago) 8) To which countries? South Africa 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No - low wall only 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 8 (plus one room used for single accommodation but not advertised) 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Marula (single room) no view but not overlooked. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very good - not luxurious and some would say dated but roomy and comfortable. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Good varied food. Lots of choice at breakfast and high tea. I would describe dinner as good home cooked rather than expensive restaurant. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Lots of choices at breakfast and high tea. Little choice at dinner. No idea on vegetarian options I'm afraid. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single tables at breakfast and high tea (but sometimes guests combine them). Communal at dinner. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? N/A 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Max of Toyota and Land over with 3 rows of bench seating 19) How many guests per row? Capacity is 3 but only ever saw 2 per row. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? 3 hrs or so (longer if good sighting on the way home). 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? Fixed times as far as I know. Typically 6am - 9 - 9.30 and 4 pm to around 7pm 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Private conservancy. Traversing shared with Sabi Sabi. Other vehicles seen frequently on most drives. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes - told for 'big five' sightings only 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes - fairly relaxed between lodges - I did notice other lodge seemed to be more 'assertive' at times. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Sabi Sands = Leopards. Good sightings of Leopards. lion and wild dog. Also cheetah (unusual) and variety of general game. Not an area for birding. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Good (little to compare it with I'm afraid). Informative and happy to agree priorities with clients. 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? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Very flexible on return time when we found a leopard hunting on the way home.. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Not sure. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: http://safaritalk.net/topic/15580-nottens-bush-camp-sabi-sands-may-and-september-2015/ 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Friendly lodge. Not super luxurious and prices reflect this. Good for a single traveller 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. See Trip report
  13. This is a video clip from a live safari drive broadcast on wildearth.tv on the internet of the afternoon/sunset drive on November 13. I didn't see it live but this clip is exciting to watch. A herd of elephants is NOT happy with the wild dogs' presence and the dogs are just trying to get a little water to drink. Enjoy! (it goes on for about 17 minutes but I find it worth it to watch the whole thing).
  14. Zavora, Tofo, Kruger and Sabi Sands I usually do a day by day account of my holidays but for this one it may be a little different since each day in Zavora was much like the next. We had planned this trip to focus on the following: Zavora &Tofo: We timed the trip to coincide with the peak of the humpback whale migration. We decided to spend the majority of the time at Zavora, with only 2 nights in Tofo, as Zavora is known to have a number of shallow (easier) dive sites where Manta rays congregate. Natalie, who travelled with me is not a qualified scuba diver and so had signed up for a discover scuba course to enable her to experience the shallow sites and hopefully dive with the Mantas. We included two nights at Tofo to give us a chance of doing a couple of ocean safaris with the hope of maybe seeing whale sharks, but as it was not the peak season for whale sharks we knew that this could be hit or miss. As it happened, things didn't quite go to plan. Kruger: We considered a number of options for this section of the trip but after eliminating a few possibilities that involved staying in the park, principally due to a lack of enthusiasm from the tour guide I was corresponding with, we settled on using the same agent who booked our diving trip to make the arrangements, Scuba Mozambique. The lady we dealt with, Janeen recommended we book Needles lodge in Marloth Park with us flying to Maputo and transferring in from there, it being well located for a swift transfer to Southern Kruger. We booked five full day drives in Kruger with two sunset drives run by SAN parks. Sabi Sand: I was also keen to see what Tydon Camp had to offer in Sabi Sand, and improve our chances of Leopard (Natalie had struck out with leopard in SLNP on a previous trip), so we also booked three nights there with a transfer via the panorama route back to Johannesburg on Sunday 8th September.
  15. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Dulini Lodge, South Africa 2) Website address if known: http://www.dulini.com/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). August 2015, pricing is the same year-round. 4) Length of stay: 5 days 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? I chose Dulini because it's smaller and more intimate than many other properties in the Sabi Sands and has a strong reputation for guiding. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? I was going to book directly, but I found a discount through http://www.mtbeds.co.za/ and so ended up booking though them. Enquiries were dealt with promptly from both Dulini and MTBeds. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was my first (but not my last!). 8) To which countries? N/A 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? N/A 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? I think it had one high wire going around it to keep out elephants (though apparently that didn't work all the time), but was otherwise unfenced. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? It has six. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? We stayed in room two. I requested that room as it has a reputation for attracting wildlife to the patio -- sometimes even leopards! We ended up not seeing anything more than impala and nyala from the room, but that was still exciting for first-timers, and the room itself was absolutely lovely. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Honestly, pretty over-the-top. There's a seating area, a free mini-bar, a decanter with sherry, a bathroom the size of my living room in DC, and an outside shower too. Honestly, I don't mind the luxury -- and it was certainly very comfortable -- but I can also definitely see how some people would feel uncomfortable with the chandelier-level of excess. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. It was really good -- maybe sometimes a little repetitive, but that was probably our fault. Michael keeps Kosher (he eats a pescatarian diet when we're out and about), and had just started a new medication that imposes a new set of extra dietary restrictions, so we are a little hard to cook for. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Despite the restrictions mentioned above, they did a great job cooking for Michael, often preparing something just for him. We did let them know in advance of our arrival about his food restrictions. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Breakfast was always with the other people in your vehicle, lunch was pretty much always with the other people in your booking group (in my case, with Michael), and dinner varied quite a bit. We had two couples dinners (one in the room, and quite romantic), two dinners in the boma hosted by the guides, and one group dinner in the dining area hosted by one of the managers. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? N/A 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. 19) How many guests per row? Two 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? They were generally about 3.5 to 4 hours each, but could go longer depending on what we saw. The routes varied quite a bit. 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? Game drives started at 6 am and came back around 10 am; afternoon game drives started at 3:30 pm and came back around 7 or 7:30 pm. I don't think we could have stayed out all day without getting a private vehicle. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? It is a private concession, with a pretty high lodge density. We frequently saw vehicles from other lodges on the tracks. On the bright side, that did mean that there were a lot of people out looking for the wildlife. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? N/A 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes, there was a limit of three vehicles at a sighting, sometimes two vehicles if the animal seemed skittish. We did sometimes wait to see something or move to let another vehicle in, but I didn't find myself bothered by this; it was well managed, and there was always something else to see, and I always felt I got plenty of time with the "big ticket" sighting. I'm generally a pretty laid-back person, though, so you might want to take that with a grain of salt if you're not. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Leopards is what it's known for, and leopards is what we got. A leopard with a cub, a leopard drinking, leopards mating, more leopard cub time ... it was a leopard bonanza, especially considering leopards can be such a reclusive animal. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent. We really appreciated our guide and ranger's motto of quality over quantity. They were both experienced trackers, and often if everyone in the concession was looking for X, it was our guide and ranger who found them. If you go to Dulini, I recommend requesting them: Fred and Martin are their names. 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? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: See above. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Very much so. Michael needed a medic to come check out his toe while we were there (he had broken it in Cape Town), and they not only arranged for that but had another staff member sit in so that she could do the re-bandaging if necessary if the medic was unavailable later on. In general, they were very solicitous of Michael and his injury. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. I don't believe it does, but I'm not sure. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: http://safaritalk.net/topic/15115-first-safari-south-africa/ 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: I know it's my first safari, and so I would probably gush about anywhere, but really, I had a wonderful time here. I'm planning on returning (as well as visiting some other places) in 2016. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. The grounds, with nyala. A seating area overlooking the grounds. The seating area in the room, overlooking the seating area on the patio. The room, with the writing desk, bed, and the bathroom beyond. The bathroom.
  16. Those who follow closely the live game drives that are broadcast twice daily on WildEarth.tv may have seen the unusual incident recently that was seen on a live game drive in which a domestic dog appeared in the Sabi Sands and was caught by a leopard named Sindile. This was I believe at the Djuma Private Game Reserve. Apparently, the leopard grabbed the dog and took it up a tree, still alive. The dog then fell out of the tree and rangers later shot it, as they wanted to find out if it was rabid. It has now turned out that the dog was indeed rabid and so the Sabi Sands rangers are undertaking a series of rabies shots delivered to the leopard. Here are two videos. The first is when one of the guides who leads the live drives is telling the watching audience about the result of the rabies test: http://www.wildearth.tv/videomark/rabies-test-result The second is the first attempt to innoculate Sindile: http://wildearth.tv/videomark/attempt-inoculate As for where the dog came from, there was speculation it either wandered into the Sabi Sands area from beyond the reserve or belonged to a poacher. It is interesting that, were it not for the live drives, it is unsure whether anyone would have seen the leopard-dog interaction or the dog itself. (of course, there are other guests driving around with their own guides not being broadcast on the internet, but it's possible no others might have been there at this particular moment). If no one had seen it, no one would have known this leopard was exposed to rabies and thus it could have spread. Of course I'm not sure if the leopard punctured the dog's skin or if their interaction was enough for the dog to have spread rabies to the leopard. But the Sabi Sands rangers seem concerned enough that it could have to undertake the inoculations. By the way, I am not sure of this leopard's age but it is referred to as Shadow's cub, so it's obviously not an adult. P.S. It seems the leopard is about a year old. I found this post in which it was announced that the guide who found/first saw the cub named him Mandiba but it seems WildEarth gave it their own name during Big Cat week or something like that, so it has been referred to by both names but I guess the official name is Mandiba. Doesn't really matter since the leopard doesn't know his name but in case you hear a reference to one or the other of these names, apparently they are the same leopard. http://arathusa.co.za/shadows-cub-is-named-by-sean-gilbert-and-rifos-mnisi/
  17. This is a continuation of my trip report, Mashatu madness/Tuli-tastic, as we have now changed countries to South Africa The first 4 nights in the Tuli block, Botswana, can be found here: http://safaritalk.net/topic/13650-mashatu-madnesstuli-tastic-our-first-trip-to-botswana-august-sept-2014/
  18. The Thrill of the Hunt in Klaserie, Timbavati, and Sabi Sands When we arrived at Gomo Gomo Safari Lodge in the middle of October of 2013, we were handed a cold drink and invited to walk out on a wooden deck overlooking a large waterhole. We took a seat under a century-old Weeping Boer Bean tree and listened to birds singing songs we had never heard before. Weaver birds were tending to nests in a dead tree out front. A herd of impalas walked down to the waterhole to get a drink. Then the elephants came. Yes, we were in Africa, in the bush. Of this we had no doubt as we watched this mother elephant and her baby making their way toward us through the trees. The joy I felt about overwhelmed me. Tears filled my eyes; yes, Africa, we were actually in Africa! Until that moment it hadn’t seemed real, Africa for so long was only a dream, a dream we had for a few weeks back fifteen years ago. Then we put the dream away until the summer of 2012 when our parental care responsibilities ended and we could start to think about a trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in 2013. My husband suggested, “Let’s go to Africa on safari”. And I seconded it. My previous sightings of live elephants were limited to a few at zoos or at a circus when I was a kid, and I never realized until I saw this mother elephant at the waterhole where her mammary glands were located. I had assumed elephants had udders positioned like the domesticated cows I grew up around. The mother’s short right tusk allowed us to recognize her in the days to come. When we were in the planning stages for this, ‘our trip of a lifetime”, we realized what we wanted to focus on was not scenery, not culture, but the maximum number of quality sightings of animals. We wanted animals accustomed to vehicles, and we didn’t want to share sightings with multiple vehicles. After a couple of months of studying on the internet we settled on four nights at Gomo Gomo Game Lodge in the Klaserie Reserve, four nights at Kambaku Safari Lodge in the Timbavati Reserve and four nights at Arathusa Safari Lodge in Sabi Sands Reserve, all in the Greater Kruger National Park and chosen for their location by a waterhole and within the limitations of a retired educator’s budget. We picked October because it seemed to be the “not” season, not too cold, not too hot, not too wet, not too many mosquitoes, and not much new growth to hide the animals in the bushes. We then contacted the Sun Safari Company in Cape Town to book the trip including transfers to and from the airport in Hoedspruit and between lodges. We were met at the airport in Hoedspruit by HJ, a ranger at Gomo Gomo. In addition to waking us up in the morning and walking us back to our room after dark to ensure we wouldn’t run, he was our guide for the game drives. Between us and the waterhole was a high electric fence to keep the elephants out, but everything else could go underneath and that allowed a leopard one night to make tracks around the porch of the chalet next to us. Our game drives started out with a cloud of dust when HJ spotted a honey badger disappearing into a tunnel in a termite mound and that was our one and only chance for bagging a honey badger on this safari. On the other side of the mound a dwarf mongoose peeked shyly out his tunnel. HJ stopped briefly at a herd of impalas saying, “Before your trip is over, I promise you that you will literally see over a thousand impalas” and then went on barely gave me enough time to snap this one picture. Leopards we learned love the McDonalds as advertised on the impala bum; the “Fast Food on the Hoof” is true convenience food for them. Then our sightings jumped in size starting off with a male giraffe with deep claw marks on his side. Cape Buffalos were all over the road and HJ drove slowly right in the middle of the herd. “Though they give milk like the water buffalo, never try to domestic them”, he advised, “They will kill you”. No, I was not tempted, they looked too intimidating. Those huge horns and massive necks were nothing that I would want in my barn – if I had one. This elephant was a young male who seemed huge, but he was still with his herd and under the age of eighteen. He will get kicked out when he reaches sexual maturity. “A lot of people are intimidated by the sheer size of elephants, but it is important not to run from them”, HJ told us. “This is what goes wrong in Kruger, elephants have learned to chase cars because the people drive away from them”. The next stop was a small waterhole where seven members of the Ross pride, five lionesses and two sub-adult males, just waking up from sleeping away the day.
  19. 1)Name of property: Savanna Lodge, 2) Location: Savanna Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands. Greater Kruger 3)Website address if known: www.savannalodge.com 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.
  20. On my way back to the UK from South Africa, I have 6 hours to kill in Abu Dhabi airport. Yippee! Putting the time to good use by writing the next couple of installments of my Sabi Sands trip report. Once again apologies for posting links here rather than the actual report but I hope it's not too much inconvenice. A tale of 2 Leopards Thanks for reading
  21. Still here in Abu Dhabi airport and my legs are aching. The only place I can get power and an internet connection seems to be a long counter where I have to stand. 3 hours so far. I'll never take my office chair for granted again. Here is the fourth and final installment of my Sabi Sands diary. It is hard to think how my stay could have ended on a higher note. Each game drive brought new highlights but this was the best. African Wild Dogs hunting impala. Awesome. It's a link again I'm afraid but I should be back home tomorrow and can start working normally again. African Wild Dog Hunt Thanks for reading
  22. I'm currently on safari and desperately trying to keep my blog up to date using steam powered internet connections. So I apologise for just posting a couple of links here but it has taken me so long just to get the damned things uploaded to my own site that if if I had to try and upload them again I'd probably lose the will to live. http://www.wildlifephotographyafrica.com/safari-diary-sabi-sands-day-1/ http://www.wildlifephotographyafrica.com/safari-diary-sabi-sands-day-2-morning-drive/ The weather has been cool and overcast but the game viewing has been awesome.
  23. Hi, we are just planning our first safari (and first trip to Africa). Leaning towards South Africa/Kruger. In choosing reserves I'd love some opinions/advice on our options. We will likely split our stay among these three (3 nights each): nThambo Tree Camp, Simbavati River Lodge, Arathusa Safari Lodge. I hear good reviews on all three, so I'm sure we'd be happy at any of them but I'd like to know the main differences or how they vary. From what I have read, nThambo would be most "rustic" but many feel this is also most authentic and gets rave reviews. Arathusa seems to be the most luxurious and Simbavati appears to be a happy medium. Our wants: see big cats (lion, leopard, cheetah), elephants, rhinos, hippos, (wild dogs/hyenas a bonus). Buffalo and any antelopes, bucks would be secondary (although I realize they draw the big cats). Lodge wants: Clean (minimal bugs inside tents/rooms), nice views from lodge, decent food, maybe some things to do mid-day or evening when we arent on safari drives (it will be too cold in July/August to swim in pools, correct??). Or if we can see lots of plenty of wildlife from the lodge, we are happy to do that mid-day or evening with a cocktail! Please let me know your advice/opinions on the 3 places and maybe the best combo for us. Thanks!!! Sean
  24. A few years ago, I was on safari in Sabi Sands. On the way back to the lodge one early evening, we saw a herd of about 40 buffalo, with several young. 2 minutes later, we caught sight of the pride of lions, sitting up in the long grass, with their eyes fixed on the herd. Downwind of the buffalo, the herd had no idea of the impending danger. Our ranger took the decision that the lion were not going to make any moves, not until it was completely dark. We all returned to the lodge for dinner, but immediately after dinner, the offer was put to the guest 'Who wants to go out again to watch the impending chase and kill?' I couldn't understand why it was just myself and my husband who jumped at the chance, I think maybe the phrase 'kill' put the other guests off. 2 Land Rovers set off about 10 pm - myself, Paul and our ranger Andrew in one, and the other ranger Ryan in the other. We went back to where we had last seen the lion, and true to expectations, they had moved closer to the herd. We parked up behind the lion pride, watching and waiting, for about an hour. There were 8 lionesses in total, and they alternated between sitting up alertly, and lying down looking completely uninterested. Then we had movement. The buffalo herd became a bit dispersed, and a female and her calf were left slightly isolated from the rest of the herd. As one, the lion pride started to move, half going around one way, half going around the other. The calf wobbled on its legs, close to its mother, totally unaware of the danger that was about to erupt. And erupt it did. The lionesses moved as one, and within seconds, the mother had fled in one direction, and her calf had been brought down. I covered my eyes, I know it is nature, but I didn't want to see it come to its final end. But then the mother returned. Head down, she charged at the two lionesses who were holding the calf down with their paws. They leapt away, and the mother turned and charged at another lion. Confused, the lions began to scatter, and temporarily forgot the calf. I was convinced that the calf was actually dead, then we saw it move, and it struggled to its feet. It had survived its ordeal. The mother continued to run at every lioness she could see, but just as I began to fear that she also would be pulled down, the cavalry arrived in the form of the remaining herd members. Suddenly, the plain in front of us was full of buffalo running at lions. Lions jumped on buffalo backs, buffalos kicked back and lions went flying. One lion tried to climb up a tree, only to have to leap out of the way of a glancing buffalo horn. The buffalo were on a mission, to protect their own. Realising defeat, the lionesses decided to beat a hasty retreat. The buffalo gave chase one final time. Then it dawned on us ... we had 8 lionesses running straight towards US at full pelt, with 40 angry buffalo hot on their heels (or paws). We had been so enraptured by everything, we completely forgot that we should really be moving too. Too late ... now we were the ones being chased. I never appreciated just how fast Land Rovers could go in reverse. I don't know if anyone remembers the old Benny Hill sketches ... well, this was very similar. Land Rover being chased by lions being chased by buffalo. The next day, we found the buffalo again. The calf was easy to spot, as it had huge welts down its side from where it had been pulled down, but it seemed to be OK. How long it did survive for, I don't know, I like to think that it lived a long and happy life. Funnily enough, about 5 years later, we bumped into our ranger Andrew, at another lodge. He looked at us, recognition dawned, and the first thing he said? 'Hey, weren't you the guys that we watched the buffalo lion chase with'? He admitted that in all his years of being a ranger, this was one of the best nights of his life. And it was definately one of my all time best safari memories.
  25. Recruiting for high end luxury Lodge within the Sabi Sands who are currently looking for a ranger to join their team. This lodge has won multiple awards and is 5* Accredited. Position is live in with all meals and accommodation provided. Looking for a FGASA Level 2 Guide with Trails Guide. A fantastic opportunity to grow your career in a great lodge. Get in touch for more information or to apply- lucy@kendrickrecruitment.com

© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.