Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What a week for sightings!

Hi everyone!
What a week, we've had so far and is not over yet. Last evenings drama with four leopards and then spotted hyena on one kill was extraordianry and had us allon the edge of our seats.
As most of you will know Jared, Kath and Herman are on leave.
Although Herman is still spending his off time on game drives, last seen with 2 lovely ladies from Bush lodge, head chef Jess and camp manager Anet.

We have had a great start to the week with the majestic elephants! Marc and Jared were being entertained by a young bull, who decided he was going to assert his dominance over them... the problem being he was smaller than jigga! This didn't diminish his spirit in the slightest and continued to charge at them a number of times before giving up. To quote Marc "he's going to be a feisty one when he grows up!" I certainly don't doubt it!

Tuesday's drive brought 2 firsts, one being Caz going out on jigga filming and the second being an all girl crew with me presenting. We had a great chuckle watching the family of dwarf mongoose playing around jigga and as luck would have it we also found Mafufenyne trying to reverse his present state of hunger. Sadly he was too eager and was unsuccessful. Both of us had to contain the excitment that rippled through us as he walked passed jigga less than half a metre away.

The new final control is looking more like a place of work instead of a building site, well the outside at least. With a new coat of paint being applied on Wednesday, it is less imposing on the bush and doors were being hung. Johan was here on Wednesday to lay the fibre optic cable. He has been here before laying the cable for the dam camera I believe.

And the climax being Marc and Alex finding Karula, the 2 boys AND Jordaan with a fresh impala kill. Wow four leopards on one kill!
Just as their bellies were becoming satisfied, 3 hyena interrupted the family feast, causing Mixo to tree himself in a very precarious position. Both myself and Caz were watching the nail biting drama from FC, on the edge of our seats, as I am sure all of you were too. Alex, who generally only sees the footage when editing, was bouncing afterwards, as we all were!

Looking forward to seeing what the next few days bring,
Written by Tara

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wonderful Weekends

Mixo sleeping at Gowrie Dam
Welcome everyone from a much cooler Sabi Sands. It is so nice to have a couple of days where the heat has subsided and given us some much needed cloudy cool weather. We are all enjoying it!

Camp has been busy busy over the last couple of days with the builders hard at work trying to get Final Control finished. The gents who are digging the trench for the cable to the mast are also metres away from being finished so there is lots of hustle and bustle going on.

Sunrise over Quarantine
There have been plumbers and builders up at the main house as well getting everything ship shape up there for us and the pool is only days away from being sparkling blue hopefully, so we will all get to enjoy it before winter starts to peer round the cornour in a couple months.

Saturday we were still experiencing technical problems with 'al tea'. Jared and I tried to go out in the afternoon to see what was out in the heat but not long after came back to camp without success with bad signal. The day was spent trying to find the problem, going up and down the mast, stripping all connections and rewiring. We spent our time chatting to the viewers out of Final Control and in the evening we took part in Earth Hour from 8H30 t0 9H30 where we switched off the main electricity and sat in darkness listening to the elephants nearby. What better way to spend an evening round a fire in the bush in the dark listening to all the wonderful sounds?!

The elephants have been around camp quite a bit lately walking between Gowrie Dam and us. They spend quite alot of time outside Uri's house where the mast is trying to get to the Marula trees. Unfortunately for them Marula season is about over.

Single Elephant Bull at Gowrie Dam

Sunday morning was also spent in Final Control chatting as the problem was not yet solved but we once again spent the whole day looking at the issue and eventually found the problem! So we went out in the afternoon for our first whole game drive in a day or two and everyone in camp was happy. We saw a fabulous herd of elephant and some white rhino and toward the end of drive watched Induna and Mixo at Gowrie Dam. They played with a dead snake and had an encounter with some hyena and that is where we left them to come back to camp for Jared's fireside chat. Last night he spoke about Buffalo and Hippo and gave some hair raising stories of his past experiences.

I will be going on leave from tomorrow for 2 weeks so Tara will be continuing with the Blog in my absence keeping you all up to date. I hope you all have a fantastic 2 weeks and see you all soon! Kath.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hot Summer Days!

Elephant bull at Gowrie dam
Afternoon Folks. Well the weather is really up and down at the moment, it is very hot again in the Sabi Sands but cloudy with chances some days of storms so you never really know what you are going to get as the days go by.

Thursday's drives went well. We all started off in the morning with quite a busy drive with all of us out and about. The purpose of the morning drive was to film for the promotional 30min piece of the 2 vehicles going out together both looking for sightings and cutting inbetween the 2 vehicles. So we were all out looking for sightings and jumping between the 2 teams of Tara and Herman and myself and Jared. Jared and I continued with the rest of drive and saw some great elephants, a crash of 5 white rhino in the beginning and a hyena wallowing in a pan.

Toward the end of the day we started experiencing signal problems with 'al tea' again and sadly the night drive was cut short.

The next day Marc and myself went out in the morning and found Mixo at Gowrie Dam. We spent the morning with him as he slept, hunted mongoose and caught one!, and had some interaction with some baboons who came down to the dam. Because 'al tea' was not 100% we werent able to go out on the afternoon drive so Tara spent that time in Final Control chatting to the viewers. Marc ended off the day with his show of 'remarcable creatures' and spent time on some clips he has taken over the last couple of weeks. Throughout all of this Alex spent the day at the top of the mast trying to sort out the signal for us.
Sunset behind the trees at Buffelshoek Dam
The gents who are digging the trench and laying the fibre optic cable are doing very well and are already halfway with their digging. So they should be on schedule to finish in the next couple of days.

And after a very funny conversation with Marc yesterday morning, we discovered that is wasnt Marc's toothbrush that the monkeys had taken and that his is safe and sound. So whomever the sabotaged toothbrush belongs to I'm sure has discovered it has gone and has made another plan. It is none of ours at camp so it must have belonged to some one else that lives near by.

Herd of elephant walking down Central

Always something to keep you entertained! Enjoy the next couple of days. Kath.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Plentiful Pachyderms!

Another beautiful sunset at Buffelshoek Dam

Hello All and Welcome back to our Blog. As is with the bush, time moves on and before you know it 2 more days have passed!

Marc has come back from leave and started off with a Fireside Chat with Herman on Wednesday night. He regailed us about his 2 weeks off and how much fun he had and where he went and Herman updated him on what has been happening around camp for the last 2 weeks. I was directing for the chat and everybody seemed very happy to have Marc back and I'm sure are waiting with baited breath for his first drive out in the concession again.

The builders are continuing with the final control building and I am still posting pictures in my New Final Control Building album on Facebook. So if you are still wanting to follow up on the progress there please log on and have a look. When I post new pictures they come out as a new published post so you should hopefully see them. The competition ends of Friday so I hope everyone that wants to enter has or hopefully will soon.

Siphiwe is also back from maternity leave and happy to be sitting in the waterhole cam seat catching up with everyone!

We also had a special Fireside chat on Tuesday night inbetween drives with Will and Caroline where they discussed topics relating to the technical side of what is going on at the moment with such as what is happening with the second vehicle we will be getting, new fibre optic cables, the new final control building, cameras, HD and more. Hopefully we are all more informed now about what to expect for the near future!

An Elephant Bull trailing behind a breeding herd on Cheetah Cutline
The sightings for the last 2 days have also been wonderful with many animals, lots of birds and insects too. We have seen Mixo and Induna quite a bit together as well playing around our camp and the staff village. We are all really enjoying spending so much time with them! Tara and Alex went out on Tuesday night for the night drive and got temporarily disorientated without a 'navigator' who knows the area well on board but they found their way back home to the delight of us all!

Wednesday morning myself and Jared went out and found throughout the morning about 4 different herds of elephants of which one sighting was with a bull who only had half a trunk! The elephant sightings continued into the afternoon with Tara and Herman who also got a great sighting of some strained interaction with a Hyena and one of Karula's boys.

Watching an Elephant Bull on Cheetah Cutline

So all in all, a fantastic 2 days again. Chat soon everyone! Kath.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lady Luck is on our side

Another wonderful sunset in Djuma Game Reserve
Hello everyone! We hope you have enjoyed the last few days with us. We certainly have had
some great sightings on drive and if you missed any of them by chance then please log onto and dive into the archives to have a look.

Patrick in the mean time has gone on leave for a week and will be at home relaxing with his family and enjoying some well deserved time off. Marc will also be coming back in the next couple of days after his 2 week leave and is excited to get back into driving and following up on what's happened with all the animals.

Sunday's morning drive didn't get out till 08H00 because of rain delay, we only had drizzle and not a storm but it was enough to delay us till it had stopped. Once we were out we followed up on the Styx pride and found 5 of the lionesses. The PM drive also followed up on the pride and also found Karula with one of her boys later on.

Induna sitting at Buffelshoek Dam
That night we sat with Jared at his fireside chat with Patrick as his guest to discuss some more dangerous game encounters. This time he spoke about Rhino's: White and Black, and Lions. They both gave us past experiences regarding both animals and close encounters they had had with them and we were all riveted to our seats listening to the stories that were being told.

There was a break from the building over the weekend as the builders don't work on Saturday and Sunday. Just to mention to all of you that are entering the Djuma Djunkies competition to consider the couple of extra days that they dont work on to help you with your answer.
The pool at our communal house is getting fixed and we are all getting very excited for when it will be finished. We have a new pool pump that is working over time to get the pool cleaned and with a couple doses of magic (that is chlorine and acid) we can jump in. Caroline has already send out invitations for a pool party happening in the next week or so in anticipation. What a luxury! A sparkling blue pool in the bush!
Cloudy morning on Cheetah Cutline
Monday morning the Styx pride were still around to our delight so Tara and Herman wernt out to follow up and spend some time with them. And in the afternoon it was myself and Jared's turn to go out on the PM drive where we had an amazing start with the pride again. The drive turned into one of the most memorable ones of the month seeing some White Rhino and Elephant as well, followed by 2 Buffalo bulls at Buffelshoek dam and to end it all off one of Karula's boys near camp on the way home. A 'big 5' drive. Not something that happens very often!

All in all, a great 2 days! Join us for the next instalment. Kath.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It’s raining Lions and Leopards.

Sunset over Buffelshoek Dam

The last 2 days have been overcast and drizzly but no thunderstorms as of yet! The weather seems to be holding out for us for now.

Dead Leadwood Tree in Buffelshoek Dam
Yesterday saw Patrick out on his first stint as Cameraman. He has been practising for the last week or so to be able to get out there and do something different and so Saturday morning was his camera debut. He seemed to really enjoy doing something a little different and will only get better from here. So we are happy that he is doing well and expanding his horizons.

We also have had a couple of signal hiccups with 'al tea' again in the last few days due to the rain, so Alex climbed up the very high mast again to solve the problem whilst we managed to get some of it on film for you all to see. It was very entertaining for us but quite daunting for Alex having to be up there. But he seems to be right at home after so many trips up to the top of the mast!

There is now somewhat of a competition going on in Djume Djunkies with regards to the new final control building. You need to guess the exact date and length of time the new building will be finished and the competition closes next friday. So get your answers in if you want to enter and you could be a winner. All details on Facebook.

Fridays game drives started off well with Jared and myself wathing some White Rhino that had come down to Gowrie Dam to drink and wallow. Jared also found some Aardvark tracks which he said were a definate highlight for him. This means they are around and hopefully we might see one in the future.

Mixo sleeping at Buffelshoek Dam
Caroline and I hosted our fireside chat on that night with Jess as a guest. Jess is the head chef for Vuyatela and Bush Lodge in Djuma. We spoke about her experiances and what she does in her kitchens and also possible recipes coming our way in the future. We all had fun chatting and will have Jess back again to do some cooking for us hopefully.

Saturday morning with Tara and Patrick found the Styx pride again which was fantastic followed by a great sighting of Karula and Mixo before the end of drive. Myself and Jared went out in the afternoon to find Mixo and Induna at Buffelshoek dam with an interesting interaction with a hyena and we also spent time on the small things like butterflies, grasses, spiders etc which everyone really enjoyed and the night drive saw some White Rhino and Hyena.

Today is also a holiday in South Africa: Human Rights day. So to all in South Africa today we hope you are having a great human rights day and chat to you soon. Kath.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stormy Weather

Stormy Sunset over Buffelshoek Dam

The rain has come back once again and we have had some fantastic storms in the last couple of days with rumblings and great flashes of lightening all over the sky. And the beautiful colours and clouds that form with them are amazing to watch.

Wednesday morning with Tara and Herman found Mafufanyane, one of the male leopards that has territory in Djuma, and he allowed them to spend a bit of time with him which was fantastic. Once again, not a leopard that many of us have seen yet so we were all very chuffed to get a glimpse.

The afternoon drive, myself and Jared went out in search of some Pachyderms and boy did we find some! Driving from pan to pan in the searing afternoon heat, we found 2 White Rhino wallowing at Treehouse Dam, followed by 2 Buff Bulls at Twin Dams and then followed a herd of Elephant to Buffelshoek dam where they drank and played in the water.

2 White Rhino at Treehouse Dam
A big storm had been brewing the whole afternoon and had made some spectacular clouds. This mixed with the golden light of the late afternoon made for one of the most beautiful sunsets / stormy skies Jared and I have ever seen. We had to race back to camp to miss the storm that ensued after this.

Just before the rain started we managed to squeeze in Herman and Patrick’s fireside chat, where they answered some questions not spoken about last week. They brought in some ladies from the community of Dixie to show us how make traditional pap from scratch which was very interesting and definitely does taste better than shop bought packets of mielie miel. They also spoke about the calabashes and how to drink from them and they have decided on a name for their fireside chat and it is ‘Bayizani’ which means crazy in Shangaan!

Jared has also been organizing for the staff a first aid course from a team based in Hoedspruit. They will be coming out to the camp to do a refresher first aid course with us to make sure we are all trained in first aid, or refreshed, to handle any situations that may arise. Hopefully this will never happen but it is always a good idea to be prepared!

Thursday’s game drives started off with Tara and Herman seeing the Styx pride, whom we haven’t seen in about 3 weeks. They followed them until the lions moved off into an area they couldn’t follow them into. The afternoon and evening drives went out and we managed to see a great herd of elephant with Patrick and at Gowrie Dam all at the same time and an awesome Black Backed Jackal which is quite rare for this area!

The continuation of the building
The building is going well and coming up very quickly. The concrete has been laid and the walls have started materialize and every day you can start more and more to envisage what our new final control is going to look like. It is getting very exciting.

Have a great day and we’ll see you all soon!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

View over Gowrie Dam
The beginning of a new week and we are halfway through March already. Time flies when you are having fun as they say! The days have definitely cooled down a little with the recent rain we have had although I’m sure the heat will be back no doubt.

Small Leopard Tortoise seen on drive.

The morning drive on Monday started off with a bang with Jared and I finding Mixo just as we were starting the drive. This was followed by Induna and Karula altogether. What a great way to start a morning. Jared also managed to spot some Shelley’s Francolins which are quite special to see so for me as birder I enjoyed that immensely.

The Ellie herd came down the Gowrie dam for a drink in the middle of the day and we had fun watching the little ones at play for a half hour or so before they disappeared into the trees behind the dam.

The afternoon drive went out with Rexon who was with us for the latter half of the day to say hello and goodbye. And after drive he presented his Walala Wasala chat for a half hour to talk to everyone about his plans for the future and what he has been up to over the recent weeks.

Tuesday morning was fantastic as Saseka was spotted on drive with Patrick and Jared. For the newer members of the team it was most exciting as none of us have seen Saseka yet since we have been here and Jared was the luckiest of all as he was on the Jigga live to see it. Oh well, we’ll all get our chance I say! You never know what is around the next corner.

The rest of day’s viewing out on the PM drive saw some lovely white rhino and buffalo and we went out on the night drive to see what we could see but had to cut the drive short due the batteries being low. Our battery chargers are feeling a little temperamental at the moment it seems.

Mixo or Induna's tracks as they moved along the road.

As per usual we are kept very entertained in camp with the local wildlife. The vervet monkeys went to investigate Marc’s outside bathroom area in the morning and found his toothbrush! One of them decided this was a great tool and stole it, climbed a tree and started trying to ‘eat’ it. Maybe it was a case of monkey see, monkey do and he was trying to brush his teeth?! Whatever was the case, I don’t think Marc will be wanting his toothbrush back when he gets home from leave. So it seems whether the monkeys are stealing biscuits from Herman’s room, a toothbrush from Marc’s bathroom or the baboons having lunch at our house, the primates are playing us for fools.

Our new Sony camera is a fantastic new addition to the family and we are all enjoying it. The new camera does work differently from the older Sony and we are all getting used how it works. The new camera works in HD and we have better quality on screen. On the older camera we had a focus extender which we used as a ‘cheat’ for the zoom which we all loved but the picture quality with the zooming became worse the more you used it. In terms of picture quality for HD our newer Sony serves it true function which is to allow the cameraman to check his focus at close quarters but we are unable to record this process which in turn does not allow us to ‘cheat’ anymore. We hope this clarifies a little of the ‘zooming’ talk we have been discussing as of late.

Till next time folks! Have a fabulous day! Kath.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lost in translation

Panoramic Shot of Quarantine
Thankfully after many days of sticky saturated heat, the rain has finally come back to us. What a welcome relief for us and the animals! We had a fantastic downpour on Saturday afternoon which soaked the ground wonderfully. Although this does present the never ending challenges of going out for drives when it rains, we are definitely not complaining with getting some welcome rain and cooling down of temperatures.
The last couple of days have been challenging with our signal transmitter ‘al tea’ not working. This caused us not to be able to go out on drives on Saturday and Sunday morning further than Gowrie Dam, if at all, without serious signal breakup. So after some connection rewiring and climbing up and down the mast several times and all the back and forth over the last 2 days we have finally managed to get back on track and are out on drives once again!
Jared out on drive viewing some Wildebeest
The waterhole is still a hive of activity with 2 Buffalo’s that are frequenting it every day and wallowing blissfully. The usual general game are also frequent visitors and we are keeping a beady eye on all the youngsters that are around: mom and baby hippo, the White Faced Ducks with ducklings and the Egyptian Geese with their goslings. There was also late night viewing of a leopard chasing the baby hippo with the infrared light on the waterhole cam the other night.
Rexon will be joining us this afternoon / evening for his farewell PM:safari where he will be presenting with Herman on camera. After that he will be hosting a Walala Wasala fireside chat where he will be telling us all about the exciting developments in his village of Dixie and the Manyaleti community, particularly in respect of land rights. We would love you to join us to catch up with Rexon and find out what he’s been up to.
The PM:safari yesterday went out and about looking for all sorts but got washed out with a huge storm that brought lots of welcome rain. Jared hosted his second fireside chat last night and delved into the world of dangerous game. In particular he discussed elephant and leopard viewing with Patrick. Everyone really enjoyed talking about elephants and leopards from a slightly different angle, and we are all looking forward to the next show where Jared will be talking about 2 more dangerous animals.
The Baboons took over from the Vervet Monkeys on Saturday as the camp terrorisers and managed to get into our house’s kitchen. They ate everything they could get their hands on, threw a couple plates around Greek style after a great party and left their mark before leaving with full bellies. What a mess to clean up! Some serious Baboon proofing action will be undertaken!
The Final Control building site on Sunday before the workers hit it hard on Monday.
Well folks, that is all for today.
Hope you have a wonderful few days ahead.
Chat soon.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hot Summer days!

Morning everybody! Hope you are all well and happy!

The heat has come back to the Sabi Sands in full force and for the last couple of days it has been full blown summer all over again. I think some rain would be a welcome relief to cool things down a bit and there are some threatening clouds around during the day but the clouds always stay at bay and we are left with hot balmy weather instead.

One of the Nkuhuma Lionesses on the Kudu kill panting from heat.
We have seen the hyenas again which definitely now makes us wonder whether there is a new den site around or not so we’ll have to see in the next couple of weeks what arises.

The Vervet monkeys in the morning at camp were investigating the fire remnants after Pat and Hermans fireside chat looking for tasty morsels left over from the pap and sauce made the previous night. It is always quite amusing watching monkeys at work and play but they can get quite cheeky especially with us girls.

Me on the back of the Jigga filming.
Thursday morning Pat and Herman saw Mixo sitting in the dead leadwood tree at Gowrie Dam with the 2 Nkuhuma lionesses below walking around the base of the tree. There was some small interaction before they moved off and left Mixo sitting in the tree for another half hour or so. It was fantastic leopard viewing of what they do naturally with him dangling on a branch over the water. The morning also saw Pat and Herman discover a hole whilst off roading but they were soon unstuck and on their way! The rest of the day was spent sitting with Induna and also some rarer Coqui francolins which Jared and myself really enjoyed and ended off on the night drive with a fabulous Puffadder sighting!

There have been some antics around camp in the name of our fridge. It has given up the ghost. So the past few days we have had to make do with a borrowed fridge from a kind friend to make sure our produce stays fresh and cold, especially in this heat. Just one of the many things living out in the bush that you have to deal with. All in a days work!

Friday morning was spent with Karula and the boys reunited again and some serious off roading to keep up with Mixo and Induna hunting quineafowls.

Alex up the mast.
Trying not to fall off, holding the aerial, getting the shot and missing all the Golden Orb spiders on the back really does keep a gal busy. The rest of the day we had signal problems with ‘al tea’ and most of the afternoon was spent up the mast some 40 meters high, trying to sort out the problem.

But Friday night we were all good to go for Caz’s and my Fireside chat where we spoke about Photography and the differences between what we do at with our Sony camera and my still photography. We really enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to the next chat!

And before I say goodbye for today, a short info bit about Tara just to keep us all up to date:

Tara started off studying zoology in the UK where she finished and then decided to come to South Africa to study game ranging 4 years ago. She was then placed at Entabeni to do her work practical and stayed there for a further 3 and a half years getting to know the area exceptionally well. She wanted to move to the Sabi Sands to guide here as at some point in most guides careers as in hers, the Sabi Sands is a fantastic place to experience. She is looking forward to the challenges of being in a new area and getting to know the Sabi Sands and to expand her knowledge. She also wants to promote and raise awareness of nature in the area and generally on a wildlife scale and is excited to be here! Tara’s first drive will be this afternoon at 15H30.

Till next time!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When it rains it pours.

A small herd of Nyala on Quarantine

Well we are half way through our next week already. My intro for my last blog still stands at How Time flies. That is what I love about the bush is that all days are the same, weeks roll into weekends and vice versa and you are really none the wiser unless you look in your diary. No one measures today by what day tomorrow is and what day the day before was. We all live for the day we are in and love every minute of it.

To start off we are changing the game drive times as of tomorrow. With the seasons changing it is always something that comes around so this is the first round of changing times. So from tomorrow we will be starting with AM drives at 06H00, PM drives at 15H30 and Night drives / FSC to 19H00.

The waterhole has also been buzzing with large amounts of game from Nyala, Impala herds, Warthog families, Elephant herds, the resident Buffalo, Hippos mating and Mom and Baby hippo, Kudus, the Nkuhuma lionesses drinking and the list could go on. So there is always something at the dam to keep us entertained in between drives.

The last couple of days have been a hive of activity with all sorts of sightings on drives. We found the Nkuhuma Lionesses on a Kudu kill where they stayed for a day feeding. They have also stayed around the area since then so our lion viewing has been fantastic and a nice addition for the last few days.

There has also been some great viewing of White Rhinos lately and other Buffalo and recently some hyena activity around the dam with whooping happening at night being picked up on the waterhole cam.

On Wednesday the weather was much hotter than previous days and on the morning drive with myself and Jared, we managed to view an amazing sighting of Karula and her 2 boys for a long while which was amazing for the 2 of us who haven’t viewed 3 leopards together before. There also have been lots of Hyena around and some of the gents are thinking that there might be a new den site being set up somewhere by these individuals.

Karula with her cubs

And last night we sat with Herman and Patrick at the Fireside to talk about some Shangaan traditions and cooking etc and made some pap and sauce on the fire which was very tasty to sample afterwards.

Alex and Caroline drove through to Johannesburg to collect our new Sony Camera which is now up and running. We are so excited and loving the upgrade of equipment and hope you are all too.
So all in all a productive couple of days have been had.
Stick with us for the next few.

Monday, March 8, 2010

How time flies.

Hello Everyone,

As the title suggests – How time flies? So our first week at
is over for the team and none of us can believe how fast the week has gone. So much has happened and all of us have been working hard to learn the ropes to bring to you all. The older members of the team have made life that much easier by teaching us and being patient with us ’newbies’. So all in all I think a successful week was had! Let’s hope there are many more to come.

To start off my first drive on Camera with Marc on Sunday morning, we came across a White Rhino mother and calf which we sat with for a little while whilst the sunrise rays started peeking through in the distance. Through the rest of the drive we found a breeding herd of elephant in some thick bush which we viewed for some time and right at the end found the Kahuma Lionesses again sleeping not far from where they had been left the night before.

Blister/CMR Beetle.

In the morning Baby Hippo and mom were also spotted at Gowrie Dam on the waterhole cam for the first time seen by us out of the water, so that was a highlight for everyone!

Later that evening Jared presented his first Fireside Chat, which as he said afterwards was fairly nerve wracking for him. But all things aside the chat went very well and myself, Marc and Caroline had a say about our highlights for the week and how our first week in the bush had been. Jared also spoke about what he has planned for the future with the rest of the team in terms of training and how he will hopefully be presenting a few other chats over the next couple of weeks as well.

Impala ewe with herd browsing and grazing.
Monday morning was Jared’s and mine first drive together with him Presenting and myself on Camera. It was as always amazing to get out into the concession and about halfway through our drive we found a fantastic smallish breeding herd of Elephants. At one point during our sighting we had 3 members of the herd around our car all within a metre’s distance of the Jigga. You could see every single eyelash on them all! What a fantastic experience.

The building is under way for the new final control. Lots of builders are hard at work mapping out the plans and digging away to get our new quarters up to scratch.

And a few members of the team have also been brushing up on their skills in other areas of camp: Pat and Alex went out with Herman yesterday to practise their cameraman skills for future appearances on the back of the Jigga.

So as the days roll by in the Sabi Sands we hope you are all having as much fun as we are.
Till next time!

Umbrella Thorn - (Acacia Tortillis)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Building begins

Hello All,

I hope you have had an excellent couple of days.

The last few days have proved to be very fruitful with some fantastic leopard sightings. On Friday mornings drive with Jared and Herman Mixo was resting on the ground when he heard a Spotted Hyena approaching. He jumped into a Marula tree to avoid it and only after the Hyena had sniffed around and skulked off did he venture down from the tree. Jared also found an Ellie Bull in musth which gave him and Herman a bit of a rev.

A little later in the morning Marc was out in his vehicle looking for subject matter for his show later that night when he spotted Mixo. Myself and Herman went out on the Jigga to investigate and managed to go live for you all for a fantastic sighting of him for awhile. It was my first time to go live on camera for you all and I loved every minute of it. (Pictured right is part of the Wild Sage family)

We will be starting soon with the build of the new Final Control which is very exciting. We have the approved plans and it is all looking great. The new building will be next to the Jigga garage which will also be extended into a double garage and will have a big glass window at the one end where the Director will be sitting with a wonderful view of the bush. There will also be a camera so that the viewers can have the same view and will be able to watch the director and all the monitors. It will also have a C.A.R area (Central Apparatus Room) for keeping all the equipment as well the edit suite where Alex will work from. This is where he will be making the highlight clips for all of you to see. The old Final Control will be revamped and will turn into a common room.

In the last few days we have been having some technical problems with ‘al tea’ which is our signal tower. So when there have been black screens on drive and sound issues we have had to reboot the tower to get things going again.

Blue Waxbills seen flitting through trees on drives

During the day we made an exciting discovery at Gowrie Dam in the name of a Baby Hippo. Jared and Marc assume he was born late Thursday night. Baby and mom will be staying at the dam for some time so we hope to see some amazing sightings from them in the weeks to come as he/she grows!

The afternoon drive with Pat and Herman found some more White Rhinos, a rarer sighting of Zebra’s, Warthogs, another Spotted Hyena and to end off a sighting of Karula!

Friday night ended with Marc presenting his reMarcable creatures out of Final Control. Amongst some interesting topics he spoke about the Stalk Eyed Fly, various Spiders and scorpions and spoke about fears and irrationalities relating to them and ended off with some clips of Saseka taken earlier in the day.

Days at camp have been spent cleaning the back of house areas, getting them looking spik and span for all the building to come, and some Jigga maintenance replacing the cameraman chair for a comfier version for us. Hopefully to take all the more better shots with!

Game viewing on Saturday consisted of great viewing of Karula and 3 Hyenas and on the night drive Pat and Jared found and sat with the Kahuma Lionesses for most of the drive. It was really good to see some lion again as well!

Thanks everyone. I hope you are enjoying reading up on our daily goings on with drives and around camp.
Stay posted for the next instalment!

And to anyone that missed a drive or a live event you can go to the archives on and have a look!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Daily Happenings

Good Afternoon everyone.
Hope you have been enjoying the drives for the last couple of days as well as the Fireside Chats.

Golden Orb Web Spider on her raindrop web - (Nephila Spp)
It has been raining quite for the last couple of days
which has been a very welcome relief. We would love as much rain as we can get to help us last through winter so hopefully some more will be on its way. This has obviously made going out a little more difficult so we have been spending some time in Final Control answering questions from email and chatting to everyone. One morning Patrick and Herman went down to Gowrie Dam to do something a little bit different for you all with a hand held radio and conducted a different sort of ‘drive’. But the weather has cleared at this point so we shall see what is to come for the rest of the week. But we are always trying to get out there as soon as the weather clears for a great game drive.
Tuesday evening we went out on drive with the rain having cleared to what we could see in the darkness. Jared and Marc managed to very briefly find Mixo but he eluded them very quickly to hunt some impala. For the rest of the drive they found all sorts of other interesting little critters to look at.

On Wednesday we had to tend to our mast outside Final Control. Herman had to strap up with climbing gear and climb the mast to fix the radio antennae. This was to sort out our comms failure from the previous day. But with Herman’s climbing skills we got back on track fairly quickly!
That evening we spend some time with Herman and Patrick at the Fireside chat talking to the rest of the team about the changes that have been happening. These questions were answered by Peter. Caroline then talked about her work and her highlight of the week (comparing life in the city to life in the bush) and how things are coming along.
All the leopards have been a bit absent lately and we were all desperate to try and find them all for you and us to see. Marc and Jared managed at last to find Kurula and her 2 boys on Thursday morning. They found Induna at Treehouse dam with 2 White Rhino. He was crouched on the side of the dam wall peering over the top with a look of intent curiosity. A great interaction!
The days have been fun at camp with Vervet Monkeys raiding rooms and stealing biscuits or trying to grab food from our lunch plates. And having dinners together as a team getting to know one another.
I hope you all stay tuned!
See you all soon!

Sunrise from Quarantene Area

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Afternoon everyone!

Welcome back to the blog.
Today I would like to touch on the newest staff members that have joined the team, just to give you an overview of where we have all come from and what we are all about.

Will Fox

Will is originally from the UK and lives in Mpumalanga now with his wife Carol. He comes from a mainly Project Management background. At the moment he is also the Executive Director for the Ingwe Leopard Project which if you would like to know more about, the website is: He is also the Chairman for the Protecting African Wildlife Conservation Trust and this web address is: He is looking forward to what is to come for! Will is truly passionate about conservation and sees himself primarily as a conservationist. He really does believe that virtual tourism is the way forward for conservation and hence this is why he is so involved with so many fantastic projects that are all about this. He is really excited about where is going and how this and his love for conservation are very much intermingled.

Caroline Samuels
When Caroline finished her studies in South Africa, she moved to the UK where she worked for 10 and a half years at a Motor Sports company called Pitlane Productions. In this she did alot of overseas travel for her work as well as many high profile events. Thereafter she came back to South Africa to persue her passion for Wildlife filming where she went to study at the Wildlife Film Academy based in Entabeni Game Reserve. From here she went back to Johannesburg to do some freelancing before being offered the job at She was thrilled to be moving to the bush and to be living her dream, and is here looking forward to the future and loving the bush life already! It has given her the opportunity to move into a field which she has always wanted to work in but feared she didnt have the skills for. But now with she can put her production experience to use and looks forward to the day when the best wildlife channel on the market.
Jared Glasson

Jared started off studying at The Bush Academy for a year to get his Guiding and Lodge Management Diploma. After his studies he moved to Imbali Safari Lodge to start his guiding career. From here he moved back to The Bush Academy to teach many subjects and train new guides. He found a love here of sharing his knowledge with others which only solidified his passion for the bush. He then moved to Singita Kruger National Park to become a Senior Guide. For the next 3 years he also helped as Assistant Head Guide + Relief Head Guide and grew to know the area well. Thereafter he moved to Johannesburg to try an avenue that was different from guiding and to be with Kathryn and started to work for Aquavision as an Assistant Cameraman before moving to At the heart of it, Jared really missed the bush being more of a permanent fixture and not just to visit on occasion, so he is so happy to be back where he feels at home without the traffic of the city.

Kathryn Louw

I started at The Swiss Hotel School in Johannesburg. From there I worked at The Westcliff Hotel still in the city before deciding to move onto lodges in the bush which is where my heart was leading me. I worked at Phinda in the Natal province before moving back to Jo’burg for a break from hospitality. I was there for a year before moving to Singita Kruger National Park to become Assistant Lodge Manager and spent 18 months here. This is where Jared and I met. After my time at Lebombo Lodge I moved back to Jo’burg to pursue my passion for photography where I studied for the next year and started setting up my own freelance photography business called KSL Photography (primarily Wildlife and Landscape photography), which in turn with Jared led me to I wanted to move back the bush because that is where I am happiest - I have grown accustomed to the bush lifestyle and wouldnt trade it for anything. At aside from my photography, I want to really master my cameraman skills as well as spend my time learning the trade of producing.
Alex Voz

Alex comes to after many years in IT profession. After several years of working as IT Manager for Conde Nast, the publishing company that is responsible for many renowned magazines, such asVogue, GQ and Glamour, he decided that this was as far as he was willing to go on this career path. This has been as radical change as any - leaving Moscow for the second time in his life and going straight into the South African bush to pursue his passion for film and love of nature. Despite the fact that he's going to be huddled up in the edit suite or running around plugging in disconnected cables most of the time, he will also spend some time on the jigga behind the camera or directing in the Final Control and looks forward to getting hands on with many other jobs around the camp. Alex will be spending most of his time with Caroline joining production and editing together. He is very happy to be in the bush permanently and to be doing something that is so different from where he was in Moscow. A whole new chapter is about to begin that he is very much looking forward to.
When Tara arrives later on in the month, I will send out a short info Blog on her.
More to follow Ladies and Gents....

Monday, March 1, 2010

A brand new day for

Welcome to the new Blog page from all of us working at at Djuma in the Sabi Sands.
At the fireside chat with Graham the night before last, he introduced the viewers to the team that will make up

We have started this blog separately to the main website to keep viewers updated on game drives and goings on at
Just a quick introduction of the team to follow on from the fireside chat last night:

The new CEO of Safari TV is William Fox.

The on the ground team starts off with:
Caroline Samuels has joined us as Producer and will be looking after everyone at camp.
Marc is still with the team as Presenter/ Cameraman and Director.
Herman is also still with the team as Cameraman and Director.
Jared Glasson joins as the Head Presenter as well as Cameraman.
As well as Kathryn Louw who will be working as Cameraman/ Director and Relief Producer.
Patrick stays with us as Presenter / Cameraman and Director.
Tara Pirie will be joining as Presenter and Cameraman the middle of March.
Peter is still with the team as technical support.
And Alex Voz has joined us as the editor for

The daily Blog will be linked to Safari Channel on Facebook.
The future for is exciting and we are looking forward to sharing it all with you in this new medium.
We will be Blogging every second day to keep everyone updated on what has happened – from day drives to night drives, fireside chats and much more.

So if you would like some light reading during the day then this is the place to be.

Chat to you soon.
(Picture by Kathryn)