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Sketches of Our Safari Year - 2016

#500elephants #ManaPools #Tswalu #Malawi #AfricanParks #Botswana #Zimbabwe #BPCT #Virunga #DRC

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#21 Paolo

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:28 PM

@Paolo - Absolutely fantastic photos. Paolo you have been more so less everywhere in Africa - in wildest Africa. What do you think about the fact that lions are separated from the largest part of the reserve?

 

@Africalover

 

This is a slightly complex issue, which I will try to summarize to the best of my knowledge.

 

We had dinner and some further conversation with the Reserve Manager, Gus Van Dyk, and the impression I have got is that the goal is to have medium term the lions roaming the enire reserve (which is constantly expanding thanks to purchases of adjacent farmlands).

 

At the moment there are two obstacles.

 

One is the public road running along the fence. It will have to be de-gazetted or privatized before the fence can actually be removed.

 

The second is the local population of....Sable.

 

Tswalu is geographically in a very peculiar position, since it has the only mountains of the Kalahari (the Korannaberg). To the east of those mountains the vegetation type is the so called "Kalahari Bushveld", which is made of more succulent, higher nutritious grass, to the west there is the "Kalahari Sandveld", much more similar to what you have in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in SA/Botswana or the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.

 

Historically (Gus showed me a fantastic book with all the records of the different mammal species in the Northern Cape) the Kalhari Bushveld hosted species like Roan, Tsessebe, Buffalo and White Rhino, which you would normally not associate with the Kalahari (interestingly, the first skull of White Rhino ever recorded - ny Europeans of course - came from Kuruman, roughly 70 km NE of Tswalu on the border with Botswana).

 

So, whilst reintroduced , when you see a Roan or a White Rhino or a Buffalo at Tswalu you should bear in mind that in all likelihood they are not alien species. But the stunning Sable that mostly roam in the immediate proximity of the lodge are.

 

You may then wonder why- if the Oppenheimer project is so "purist" - Sable (originally introduced when Tswalu was a game ranch for hunting) have not been removed. The answer is because they are a formidable tool for financing the reserve.

 

Tswalu's Sable are genetically amongst the best - if not THE best - in South Africa, and they sell (to other reserves, game farms etc....) for remarkably high prices. So what the management is trying to do is keeping the overall number stable, selling the surplus and in this way helping the sustainibility of the reserve.

 

But the moment you throw powerful Kalahari lions creating havoc and preying on the Sable population, then you have a problem.

 

This is not going to last forever, and Gus was adamant that they will have to get rid of their Sables at some point, but really shows how difficult and how intricate is managing a private reserve of the immense size as Tswalu, even if you have the backing of the resources of the Oppenheimer family.

 

On a personal level, it is understood that I would prefer seeing the lions roaming everywhere even now and - as you say - this is definitely not wildest Africa, but I understand the reason of what is going on, and I am quite upbeat on the entire Tswalu project


Edited by Paolo, 17 January 2017 - 06:38 PM.

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#22 Africalover

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:52 PM

@Paolo - as allways very informative, thanks for taking you time. Great to hear that they keep expanding the reserve. We need more filantropist to save what's left of Africas wildlife and especially African Parks, who does a great job for future generations.
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#23 ld1

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 10:22 PM

@Paolo and @Anita just this glimmer of your trips and pics sound and look breathtaking; inspirational in fact. You guys should write a book.
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Anyone can squash a bug but all professors of this world couldn't build one.
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#24 TonyQ

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 09:48 AM

@Paolo

It is great to hear from you (and Anita) about a wonderful  2016. Superb photos from Tswalu. I look forward to updates about your other trips!


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#25 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 12:13 PM

The picture of the Aardvark "napping" in the winter sun is a real joy and a privilege to see and the last photo of the pangolin moving is splendid! but @optig-never realized an Aardvark wasn't cute?-they are the cutest thing in cute land and the most intelligent animal in the world oh sorry just made that last bit up. 


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#26 Antee

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 07:51 AM

Best Aardvark photos I have ever seen! 


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#27 pault

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:13 AM

:D :D 

 

(That's not it..... I'll be back, but I just saw a running pangolin shot while scrolling down, so that was my reaction. I have a hunch something is going to be said about a spaghetti western too, when I do get around to posting.).


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Waiting again... for the next time again


#28 Paolo

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:41 AM

. I have a hunch something is going to be said about a spaghetti western too, when I do get around to posting.

 

@pault

 

Do not worry, tagliatelle (not spaghetti - spaghetti are not fresh pasta) will come....in due course.


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#29 Zubbie15

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 11:16 AM

Wow, stunning photos, as well as being really informative.  Seems like I'll have to add another place on my wish list.  Definitely looking forward to more @Paolo.


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#30 xelas

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 08:41 PM

Safaris and photos to daydream about, @Paolo ! Stunning places you have been to, stunning photography. Truly inspirational in both categories.


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#31 pault

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 04:48 AM

If Sergio Leone were to return and make an African-based western (an ugali western perhaos) that first shot could be the one that the final credits run over.

Nah.... Doesn't work, but I did say I would include it and hate to disappoint..

We've been lucky enough to have quite a few trip reports from Tswalu. It seems to be an amazing place and there are some remarkable photos to be had there. Whoever would have thought you'd be able to plan to tak each photos of aardvarks and pangolins!! A pangolin on the run? Napping aardvark? Ridiculous! Anita does it beautifully though and I am sure the guides are essential to getting there. Fantastic when meerkats are reduced to the supporting cast photos. Strangely (well not if you know me well) my favorite is probably the one of the aardvark seemingly sniffing the air for you, with its eyes still closed. It's like you said - a dream moment. Pinch yourself.

Really looking forward to the rest.
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Waiting again... for the next time again


#32 Soukous

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 10:08 AM

Safaris and photos to daydream about, @Paolo ! Stunning places you have been to, stunning photography. Truly inspirational in both categories.

 

@Anita is a bit shy but I am sure @Paolo won't mind if I mention that the photos are (almost all) hers. So happy to see her images gracing these forums again.  :D


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"if you think you're too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito."

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website: www.wildlifephotographyafrica.com

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#33 xelas

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 03:21 PM

@Soukous

 

I would love to see more of @Anita photos; could you share a couple of links to where her photos are published?


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#34 Paolo

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 04:31 PM

@xelas

 

We are a bit busy at the moment, but hopefully some updates to this thread (with many more photos) will be posted in some days.

 

You can check somemore photos from one of our safaris in 2015 here:http://safaritalk.ne...hoto-galleries/


Edited by Paolo, 23 January 2017 - 05:20 PM.

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#35 Botswanadreams

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 07:25 PM

@ Paolo many, many thanks for this incredible beautiful fotos. Its amazing to see all this beauty. Give my special thanks to Anita. I also saw her pics from Northern Kenya. From the air its a completely different perspective as from the soil what we saw.   


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“All I wanted to do was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already."

Ernest Hemingway

 

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#36 optig

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:28 AM

@paolo@anita I love your photos so much that I can't wait to see more!! Please excuse my impatience.


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#37 Paolo

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:34 AM

Apologies for the hiatus, but we are currently travelling (not to Africa). We will have something up next weekend....
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#38 optig

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 10:47 AM

@Paolo You and @Anita needn't ever apologize. It's just that all of us have some great respect and admiration for both Anita's and yours trip photos and trip reports.

I'm planning on going to Zakouma next year so I'm especially curious to see your glimpses of your awesome two week safari to Zakouma. Please excuse my impatience 

which as you know is due to my great enthusiasm. I've already bought a superb guide to the birds of West Africa. It is published Princeton Field Guides and is written by Nik 

Borrow and Ron Demey. I just love browsing through it. 


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#39 Paolo

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 03:24 PM

Wrapping up these "sketches of Tswalu" before moving elsewhere, here is an assorted selection of some of our sightings. In particular, we visited one of the habituated meerkat colonies three times (besides seeing lots of non-habituated meerkats - with babies - around; some of them were not overly shy either).

 

As said, we found Tswalu very interesting as a conservation project (see post #21) and - whilst by no means  the "bush experience" we normally seek - we enjoyed our stay there a lot. We appreciated the total flexibility in organizing our activities and dining times (you can practically eat at any time during the day which is fitting with your game viewing outings)

 

The staff was particularly attentive. In April, my parents and some friends had stayed at Tswalu for a few days, and my dad had grown particularly fond of a certain Chenin Blanc they had in their (outstanding) wine cellar. When asked what kind of beverages we would want for our night at the Malori Sleep-out, I suggested a Chenin Blanc, and the sommeiller - without me telling him anything - replied "Perfect. I will give you the same one your father liked".

 

Needless to say, I was stunned.

 

meerkat1.jpg

 

meerkat8.jpg

 

meerkat9.jpg

 

meerkat11.jpg

 

meerkat12.jpg

 

meerkats2.jpg

 

meerkats3.jpg

 

meerkats4.jpg

 

meerkats5.jpg

 

meerkats6.jpg

 

meerkats7.jpg

 

meerkats-10.jpg

 

 


Edited by Paolo, 04 February 2017 - 03:27 PM.

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#40 Paolo

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 03:33 PM

buns-meerkats.jpg

 

cameron.jpg

 

landscape-3.jpg

 

black-rhinos.jpg

 

black-wildebeest.jpg

 

black-wildebeest-and-hartebeast.jpg

 

buffalo4.jpg

 

buffaloes2.jpg

 

buffaloes3.jpg

 

eland-herd.jpg

 

kudu.jpg

 

landscape1.jpg

 

landscape2.jpg

 

leopard.jpg

 

lion.jpg

 

lion2.jpg

 

lion-3.jpg

 

lioness-3.jpg

 

lioness-4.jpg

 

lioness-5.jpg

 

lioness-sleeping.jpg

 

lionssss.jpg


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: #500elephants, #ManaPools, #Tswalu, #Malawi, #AfricanParks, #Botswana, #Zimbabwe, #BPCT, #Virunga, #DRC


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