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Found 10 results

  1. What a change our 2017 trip would turn out be, when compared to the parched, drought-affected trip of last year http://safaritalk.net/topic/16169-kruger-jan-2016-drought-duiker-and-dead-hippos/ We were too late to arrange a GTG in 2016, when several of us Safaritalkers were in RSA at the same time. So as soon as we were back and the flights were booked, I arranged to meet @@Peter Connan who offered to drive us around Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve to try and get some shots of widowbirds in flight. I think he would have preferred to take us to Marievale, but given that it was in the opposite direction to where we would be going later in the day, we opted for Rietvlei instead. As we like to spend a few days with friends at their country place, I couldn't squeeze in any extra nights in KNP, but I think 10 is a good total. We tried a different wilderness camp as we had liked them last year, but also as Skukuza was booked out, presumably for a conference and by the time I booked, Lower Sabie only had very basic accommodation available. Itinterary 13/1 Friday the 13th! Arrive Johannesburg 14/1 Rietvlei day trip and then drive to Ditholo 3 nights 17/1 Drive to KNP via Phaloborwa gate, Letaba 2 nights 19/1 Satara 3 nights 22/1 Biyamiti 3 nights 25/1 Berg-en-Dal 2 nights 27/1 Drive back to Johannesburg 28/1 Return to UK We had upgraded with miles, so the journey was fine. Arrivals into OR Tambo was slightly better than last time and we were in our rental car and off by an hour or so after we landed. The downside of landing on Friday rather than Saturday, is that the traffic is busier, especially with the roadworks, but it still better to get an extra day in Africa!
  2. Given that we have been back for over two months, I thought it was about time I started on the TR! As has been the tradition over the three trips that we have done to the Kruger, I again managed to squeeze in an extra night (2013 8 nights, 2014 9 nights, 2016 10 nights). This was in part due to discovering from our September trip, upgraded using miles, that flying out on a Thursday night was possible and leads to an extra usable day. Given that we always take the Friday off of work, so take 11 days of leave for a 2 week trip and the flight to Johanesburg is overnight, we did feel at a loose end for most of the day on a Friday, basically waiting to leave to go to the airport. I wasn't quick enough with the miles (or used to doing it enough) to upgrade this booking though, as January is a popular time. We also usually add a few nights stay in our friends country place/game farm, which gives us a nice relaxing break from driving and where we can spend some quality time with them. Having been to the KTP last January and self-catering, we were less worried about having to stay in the main rest camps so that we had access to a restaurant. That, coupled with the fact that the wilderness camps in the KTP are so nice, we though we'd give the Kruger ones a try. The ones which fitted best into our route were Talamati and Shimuwini. To add in 2 meant doing only 2 nights per camp, but we thought that this was a good compromise to see both. This meant we would see a couple of new areas of the park. We only planned to use the restaurants in the main camps on our transfer days, so it was half self-catering and half catered. But given that the shops are so well stoked and you do not have to carry water, the shopping was much less onerous than the KTP the year before. A few times when we have been in Johannesburg, we have been to the Wanderers to see some cricket. A couple of ODIs and a day at a test match where we saw Andrew Strauss score 147, so I was very pleased to see after we had booked the flights that England were touring South Africa when we were there and that the Johannesburg test was very conveniently placed in our schedule. It is very difficult to buy stand alone tickets from abroad, so when I asked our friend if he would go and buy us some, he went one (or ten) better, by providing hospitality seats! He was pleased to have someone to go with (his family all being female and not interested), that the three of us went with two another of his friends. We could not have chosen a better day - 18 wickets, >250 runs and Stuart Broad bowling at 6-17 (including 5-1 at one point) and we won the match and the series, while we were there!! It all went downhill in the series after that though! Being sat in the Cricket South Africa hospitality area, surrounded by South Africans made it a very surreal experience. The OH told me off as I kept leaping to my feet as the wickets fell! I have never been to a sporting event in a hospitality area before and I must say, it is definitely the way to do it! The other bonus of arriving on Friday instead of Saturday, was that we left for the Kruger on a Sunday instead of a Monday morning, so this, along with the fact that they have finally finished the N4 roadworks, meant that the drive across was an absolute dream. Itinerary 15/1 Arrive Johannesburg 16/1 Cricket (England vs. South Africa Third Test Match, Day 3) 17/1 Berg-en-Dal 2 nights 19/1 Lower Sabie 2 nights 21/1 Talamati (wilderness camp) 2 nights 23/1 Satara 2 nights 25/1 Shimuwini (wilderness camp) 2 nights 27/1 Drive to Ditholo 3 nights 30/1 Leave Apart from the food shopping when we arrived, we had also decided to buy a new camera (Canon 7D mark II) as the exchange rate was at an all time low. At @@Peter Connan 's request, I had read the manual at home (he was worried I'd miss that crucial shot, not being used to the camera.....). And I found this rather cool, if a little pointless feature - GPS. So here is a map of where we went:
  3. Some news today coming from South Africa about rhino poaching. The numbers of rhinos being poached in SA have stabilised after it increased year after year from 2007. There's some optimism around the new stats. But still, with 1.175 rhinos poached it's only 40 less compared to last year and 1.175 are a lot of rhinos. 826 of 1.175 rhinos were poached in Kruger, mostly near the border with Mozambique At the same time rhino poaching in Namibia and Zimbabwe increased in 2015 by 200%, that's 130 rhinos. More info can be found all over the internet, for example: The Guardian All Africa Bloomberg
  4. My first trip report: if you want to know something I didn’t mention, feel free to ask. If my report is too long, just let me know. I just like using words In September en October my wife and I travelled to South Africa. This trip was going to be different compared to other safari trips. Usually we just book a flight and one or two nights on arrival. This time we went for a selfdrive and booked almost everything in advance to prevent fully booked accommodations. Our itinerary: Jo’burg – 1 night Kruger NP – 4 nights Ohrigstad – 1 night Piet Retief – 1 night Hluhluwe-Imfolozi – 3 nights Durban – 1 night Swellendam – 1 night Cape Town – 4 nights Jo’burg – 4 nights For this trip report I'll just write about the wildlife, not all places I've visited in SA.
  5. On day 11 we started off early and I let Rob (my client) choose our route for the day as it was the last day of his tour and I am very great full for this as it would be one of most memorable experiences as a guide and one that won’t matched for a long time. We were making our way casually around the Shingwedzi loop when I spotted two leopards, male and female, across the dry river bed both were lying on one trunk of a Jackalberry tree, I thought I was seeing double. I said to Rob there are two leopards in a tree, I couldn’t contain my excitement I pointed out the leopards, got the vehicle into position and the war started with shots being fired from the 1DX and then being replied with shots from my D3300 with a Tamron 270mm lens (amateur equipment) not nearly at 14 frames per second. The two spotted cats were about 80 meters from us and we got some great shots,if you look closely you will notice the male on the right has a porcupine quil right next to his right eye, we spent 45 minutes with these two gorgeous animals with other people driving past us having no clue what sighting they missed, I tried to make them aware of the leopards by waving them over but I was ignored, anyway their loss, the leopards jumped out of the tree and ran off something must have spooked them. We then left the location and I was thinking that we wouldn’t match this sighting today we carried on down the route for about 20min driving very slowly and I was constantly looking across the river bed in the hopes of seeing them again, I stopped at a clearing to glass the area with my binoculars and I had noticed some Impala on the right side of the road, when I turned the vehicle off I heard the alarm calls from some Vervet monkeys and then the Impalas joined in. I turned the vehicle around to try and see what all the commotion was about, I stopped about 8 meters in front of a Karee tree and spotted a leopard’s rump through a clearing in the branches. Rob couldn’t get a clear shot and I suggested to stay put for about 20 minutes to give her a chance to climb down out of the tree, we were sitting quietly for about 5 minutes when all of a sudden I heard a mating call from a male leopard that instantly sent a shudder down my spine. The male was close and he appeared from embankment, I made sure I wasn’t blocking Robs view and he got some good shots. The leopard lied down in the open constantly calling he knew the female was nearby. I was excited I didn’t know if I had to get my camera or my video camera so I tried with the video camera but the footage is terrible, I was shaking so much it looked like I was recording a leopard sighting during an earthquake, I then reverted back to my camera. The male leopard came past the front of the vehicle sniffing the bullbar he saw the female in the tree and marked the tree and performing the flehmen grimace, he then climbed up the tree getting the attention of the female, he then climbed down and made his way into the thicket. In the meantime a game viewing vehicle approached us with only Kruger Park staff as passengers and I waved them down as they were approaching pretty fast and pointed to the leopards they stopped the vehicle and reversed an took another small path around us and the sighting, I must take this opportunity to highlight the professionalism and respect showed by the rangers and staff of the Kruger Park they had totally avoided spoiling our sighting and all credit to them for not making any noise and casually going around us with smiles and waves. The female then climbed down the Karee tree and made her way into the opposite direction. That was the end of these amazing sightings we encountered 4 leopards in the span of 45 minutes we sat quietly for a few minutes just to take it all in, everything was pretty much quite in the vehicle after that, we then came across 3 male lions lying in the shade after a kill we took a few photos then we made our way back to camp for breakfast also encountering a herd of Sable also a rare sighting for Kruger. To have a look at the photos with the right equipment go to
  6. Asahambe Adventures is committed to making a true African adventure never to be forgotten. South Africa is the home of the Big 5, has over 900 species of birds and offers the perfect location for any type of holiday from awe inspiring landscapes to breathtaking sunsets. Asahambe Adventures conducts its tours in the most professional manner with ethical tourism practices and the utmost respect for the environment. We value all our customers and strive to create a lasting relationship to ensure our customers experience an African adventure of the highest standards. www.asahambeadventures.com
  7. Elephant movement patterns in relation to human inhabitants in and around the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Robin M. Cook, Michelle D. Henley, Francesca Parrini Full free download of article: http://www.koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/1298 Abstract The presence of humans and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park can create situations of potential human–elephant conflict. Such conflict will likely be exacerbated as elephant and human populations increase, unless mitigation measures are put in place. In this study we analysed the movement patterns of 13 collared adult African elephants from the northern Kruger National Park over a period of eight years (2006–2014). We compared the occurrence and displacement rates of elephant bulls and cows around villages in the Limpopo National Park and northern border of the Kruger National Park across seasons and at different times of the day. Elephants occurred close to villages more often in the dry season than in the wet season, with bulls occurring more frequently around villages than cows. Both the bulls and the cows preferred to use areas close to villages from early evening to midnight, with the bulls moving closer to villages than the cows. These results suggest that elephants, especially the bulls, are moving through the studied villages in Mozambique and Zimbabwe at night and that these movements are most common during the drier months when resources are known to be scarce. Conservation implications: Elephants from the Kruger National Park are moving in close proximity to villages within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Resettlement of villages within and around the park should therefore be planned away from elephant seasonal routes to minimise conflict between humans and elephants.
  8. http://beta.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/mpumalanga/zuma-lauds-knp-rhino-poaching-fight-1938811 http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Government-combats-rhino-poaching-20151101 ~ These articles with photographs show the visit of South African President Jacob Zuma to Kruger National Park where he opened a Joint Operations Centre. His visit on Anti-Poaching Awareness Day highlighted the work of those directly combatting illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching.
  9. We have been to South Africa many times. This began long before our safari addiction. We started off with a few days here and there in game reserves and private lodges. However, last year, after having been to Etosha and discovering that Government-run camps aren’t too bad, we thought that we’d give the Kruger a go. Having just moved house, it was the only way we could justify a safari whilst we were in RSA, with the added bonus of more nights for less cost. We enjoyed it so much, that we decided to do it again. Granted you don’t get the luxurious rooms and gourmet food, but it is very cheap and you are in charge of your game drive, so if you want to watch the birds for an hour you can. Equally, if you have seen something good earlier, you can return to the same spot. Obviously it means you don’t have the guiding network behind you, but not having to share a vehicle has many advantages! This year we reversed the route, to fit in with our friends’ schedule (whose home we use as a base in Jo’berg). So we entered via the Phaloborwa gate to Letaba, then Satara, Skukuza and Berg-en-Dal and out of the Malelane gate. This meant we went from the sparser game and game viewers area of the central KNP into the more densly populated (human and otherwise) southern areas. Also, last year we stayed in Lower Sabie, but their restaurant was closed for refurbishment and as there is only so much “slumming it” I will put up with, we omitted it this year! I do enough cooking at home, not on holiday as well. So this year we substituted Skukuza. I wasn’t keen, given it is such a large camp, but I now realise that this is not important in the scheme of things. Last year we just caught the aftermath of the flooding. Although all gates were open, we were restricted to the tar roads for over half of our trip and several picnic sites were closed. This year the floods were much later, but instead we had the rain L Itinerary Letaba 22-23/1/14 - 2 nights Satara 24-26/1/14 - 3 nights Skukuza 27-28/1/14 - 2 nights Berg-en-Dal 29-30/1/14 - 2 nights I managed to squeeze in an extra night compared to last year, which we added to Satara
  10. WARNING : This will not be a trip report but rather a trip summary - after four weeks in two different countries, four different parks and seven different camps I simply don't have the time to write up a comprehensive summary of all we saw and experienced...which was a lot, at least for my standards...and I am not only referring to the animals as the title of this thread (which will also be the title of my video diary) hopefully indicates.... highlights will include: Mashatu Game Reserve: two sightings of six different cheetahs, numerous sightings of fourteen different lions and of six different leopards, some with kills two hyena clans trying to take over the carcass of a giraffe that had most likely been killed by colliding with a power line Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: my first ever sightings of caracals, an aardwolf, a honeybadger and cape cobras a cape cobra swallowing a puff adder more cheetahs, lions and leopards getting stuck with a loose battery cable less than 5 m away from mating lions getting stuck again in the mud Mokala National Park beauti- and plentiful sightings of roan, sables and blesbok Kruger National Park yet more lions, leopards and cheetahs two wild dog sightings my first ever sightings of a black Rhino in South Africa my first ever ever sighting of a pangolin I am sure I forgot some highlights but they might come back to me once I get really started. For my now I leave with a picture from the end of my trip, shot early one morning in Kruger Park by the way: I have the feeling that most people in this community prefer trip reports with photos over trip reports with videos; however, I hardly ever photograph and certainly don't have great gear to do so so don't expect too much

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