Friday, April 30, 2010

Beautiful Moments

Elder female elephant feeding

Hello everyone from a camp with electricity, hopefully for a long while.

As mentioned on my Wednesday Blog, we were without electricity for most of the day due to a scheduled Eskom power cut. Patrick saw the gents that were ‘responsible’ for this electricity cut at the gate on the Wednesday, and it seems they were fixing the transformer there and that is why they had to cut the power off. So all said and done we are hopefully back on track for good.

The electricity only went off around 08h00 on Wednesday morning so this allowed us to get out there for the first 2 hours of game drive which was unexpected and very rewarding. In these 2 hours Jared and Marc saw one of the best sunrises I have seen in awhile over Gowrie Dam and then sat with Karula and Induna for nearly the whole time and were able to witness some amazing leopard interaction spending some much time with them. The power went off later on and they were forced to come back to camp but we had such an amazing time with the 2 leopards in the morning that it was all well worth it.

Wild Aniseed
The power came back on just before 17h00 in the afternoon and Pat and I set off to see what we could find for the last hour of drive. We were very fortunate to find a bull elephant on Zoe’s Road and also got to witness a fantastic sunset and moonrise before we came back to camp. A day full of beautiful skies!

The next morning Marc and Patrick went out to find the leopards again and had all three of them (Karula, Induna and Mixo) playing and socializing together for a long time. They also had another wonderful sunrise early on to start their awesome drive off with. The afternoon drive was a little more subdued and not many animals were seen, but we stopped and looked at trees and flowers, went and saw the crocodile at Buffelshoek Dam and looked at what birds were around the area as well.

Marula Trees
Before we ended off the evening as the Jigga batteries due to not being charged with the power outage, were not 100%, we had a chat with Jared instead of a night drive. A ‘one on one’ spent with Jared getting to know him and asking questions along the way. Jared thoroughly enjoyed it, he said and hopefully you all did too.

So the weather has cleared somewhat, and we are having some lovely sunny days again. Winter is not yet in full swing but has given us a taste of what is to come lately, but we are holding it at bay for now!!

See you all soon. Kath.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The 'powers' that be

Beautiful Clouds at Buffelshoek Dam
Welcome from a very quiet Sabi Sands today.

As there is no power this Wednesday due to Eskom scheduling a power outage we have been without power for most of the day hence a very quiet neighbourhood. Quite peaceful in fact. You become so used to the sounds of electricity that only when there is none, like this, do you sit back and say ‘wow! Listen to how beautifully quiet it is!’

Lantana flower
Yesterday we were also without power for the entire morning till just after lunch. Most of us thought that Eskom had decided to switch off the power a day early but alas that was not the case for today. So we were unable to go out on morning drive so we busied ourselves around camp. It was also in South Africa a public holiday yesterday = Freedom Day. So a belated Happy Freedom Day to all those South Africans out there.

We were able to go out in the afternoon when the power had come back on and Marc and Patrick went out to find some wildlife! The animals were not as enthusiastic as us though and not much was seen, but the two of them still enjoyed getting some fresh air out in the wonderful place we are in.
After drive we had a short celebratory fireside chat to wish Wildearth a very Happy 3rd Birthday! We chatted a bit about how the company got to where it did and how we are all looking forward to what is to come as well. Exciting times it is! After our chat we switched off and made use of the fantastic fire Jared had built and braaied some lamb kebabs and sat and chatted the night away.

Our hopefully resident crocodile at Buffelshoek Dam
The day before we went out on drive and saw some amazing animals. We found Karula for a short while walking around the Quarantine / Zoe’s Road area, we went and spent some time with the Styx Pride females again and also saw some great Elephant. But we were cut short due to rain that had been hovering the whole morning so the gents came back to camp. In the afternoon myself and Patrick went out and relocated the Crocodile at Buffelshoek Dam which we great as he was out of the water sunning himself so we got to get a much better look at him! Other than the crocodile we spent time with the general game roaming around the area.

The last of the evening was spent with Jared summarizing the diaries for the week.
At the moment we haven’t been doing night drives as we have been trying to charge the Jigga batteries to their full capacity and as soon as we do that we are going to try and go out again as soon as the batteries are 100%.

So everyone, another couple of days have passed. See you in a few! Kath.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Winter is on the way!

The end of Zoe's Road at Sunset
Good Morning all from a very wet and cold Djuma Game Reserve still. Winter is definitely on its way, although the weather is confused with all the rain we are still having.

Saturday morning Jared and Patrick went out in the very cold weather to find some creatures only to be cut short an hour into drive with the Jigga batteries failing on us. So we headed back to camp and put the vehicle on charge for the afternoon. Marc and Myself headed out in the afternoon with full batteries to make up for some lost time and managed to get a whole drive in without any battery issues. We found lots of Rhino (especially a tiny baby only a few months old which was very sweet) and bumped into Karula whilst looking for the Rhino. What a spot of luck. We sat with her for a little while watching her stalk a large male Impala and then left her in peace to continue her evening walkabout. We also saw some great Kudu and Nyala. We didn’t go out on Night Drive as the batteries at this point were depleted so the Jigga was plugged in at camp and Jared spent some time chatting to the viewers in FC for a little while before the day came to an end.

Elephant cow
at very close range
Sunday we woke up to another cloudy and rainy day but managed to get out in the morning with Jared and Marc on drive. A little rain came later in the morning but not enough to make the team come back to camp. They found 3 members of the Styx Pride on Mamba Road and spent the morning with them. What a great find to see the Lions again. The afternoon drive didn’t go out due to heavy drizzle so Patrick sat in FC and chatted to everyone again. The drizzle let up further along and Marc and Patrick jumped onto the Jigga to try and get out for the last remaining half hour of drive but unfortunately didn’t get far as the drizzle started again and they were forced to come back to camp. We ended off the evening with Jared’s Animal Adaptions chat where he looked at various different mammals and discussed their adaptions to the bush. Very interesting!

This is the pregnant Elephant Cow feeding
There will be a power outage on Wednesday for most of the day as per the Electricity Company Eskom. We will be offline from 06H00 AM CAT to 16H00 PM CAT so there will be no drives and no waterhole camera during this time. What we will be doing is going out in the morning at 05H45, to start a drive, just in case the electricity doesn’t go off at 06h00, and then we can broadcast till it does go off at least getting in some morning drive if possible. And then for the afternoon we will be out there ready and waiting at 16h00 to go out on drive for the last 2 hours, if the electricity comes on at the right time hopefully. So that is the plan for Wednesday folks.

See you all soon then.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Elephants are back!

Sunset on Zoe's Road
Good morning everyone from a chilly camp. The weather is still overcast and cold and no rain has passed through since the other day. There is just a white blanket of clouds hanging above us at the moment. Let’s hope for some better weather in the next couple of days.

Caroline went on leave on Friday so the camp is officially very quiet at the moment with only myself, Jared, Marc, Herman and Patrick around. Patrick and Siphiwe still go home at night to Dixie and Utah so it’s only the 4 of us around camp for dinner – what a change from the bustle of camp we are used to.

We are all so happy to have the Elephants back in our area in full force now. We were all missing seeing them and now there are some large herds to be seen as well as a couple of Bull’s hanging around as well. Yay for the Ellies.

Thursday’s drives went out without a hitch. We had a slight electricity failure in the middle of the morning drive but power returned and we carried on! Patrick started off the drive with a clan of Hyena that had a kill which they followed for awhile – great way to start the drive. They also saw some Elephant and a fighting match between 2 male mongoose. In the afternoon myself and Jared went out and found some White Rhino, an Elephant, some Buffalo at Gowrie Dam and a very short sighting of an unidentified male leopard (we couldn’t see who it was at the time). We were unable to go out on the night drive to the Jigga batteries being depleted so we sat and chatted to everyone in FC for a little while.

Elephant Cow seen around Philimons Dip area.
After having charged up the batteries sufficiently Marc and Jared went out on Friday morning and found a herd of Elephants with some little ones which they spent some time with. The rest of the drive was chilly and not many animals were out and about. Patrick and I went out in the afternoon and spent nearly the whole drive with the same herd of Elephant again. We saw some amazing interaction and behaviour with the little elephants and sub adults. It was probably the best elephant sighting I think I have had. What an experience. Marc then ended off the day with his reMarcable Creatures show which I hope everyone enjoyed!

Otherwise all is well in the land of the camp. Herman is doing very well in Alex’s absence compiling all the dairies for everyone to watch and the rest of us are carrying on with our day to day bits that we do.

See you all in another 2 days and take care. Kath.

Alex filiming the Jigga at Gowrie Dam.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Summer rains in autumn.

Another Angle on a sunrise at Gowrie Dam
Welcome back from a very rainy and much cooler Djuma Game Reserve and Happy Earth Day everyone!!
The heavens have opened and produced some serious Summer Thunderstorms that are very late coming in the season for us. By this time of the year moving into late April, we should be full into our autumn and generally quite far away from our summer rains. But clearly the weather has other ideas for us. I’m not complaining as the heavy rains only mean more water for the animals through winter and fuller dams for everyone so all is well in the land!

Marc and Myself at Gowrie Dam
Tuesday morning we were unable to go out on drive due to no electricity in the whole area. Around 08H30 the power came back on and we drove down to the dam for a bit of chatting with Marc for a little while. We were ready and rearing to go out in the afternoon but with the weather being a bit cold and miserable the animals weren’t happy to be out so it was more of a drive focused on Tracks, lovely flowers and some general game that were grazing around the Quarantine area. And for a different show in the evening, Will and Jared spoke about Will’s Ingwe Leopard Project and also touched on the new vehicle and what it is all about before the rain came back!

Siphiwe and Patrick are back from leave and look well rested. And some of the rest of the crew are now jet setting off on their holidays. Tara is on leave and spending time at the Ingwe Leopard Project for the next couple of days. Alex is flying home to spend time with his family for his leave and Peter is driving back to Cape Town. Camp is getting quiet!

Impala herd outside Vuyatela Lodge
Wednesday morning after a very big storm the night before was colder and very wet with large puddles everywhere. The animals were hiding and not much was seen but we had a look at some birds and the small things while we hoped the weather would warm up. The afternoon with Jared and myself saw lots of crashes of Rhino and a very quick Elephant sighting and to end off the day Herman and Patrick had their fireside chat with 5 guests where they danced and sang and played the drums round the fire which was a huge success and lots of fun. Hopefully we can do more of the dancing at a later stage in another fireside chat with the Bayizani Boys.

See you again on Saturday. Kath.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunrise over Gowrie Dam
Welcome from a cooler, rainier and cloudier Sabi Sands.

Jared at Gowrie Dam
It seems at this point with our signal and now with poor Jigga that there is gremlin at hand somewhere – we even have a name for him: Frank. But with all hands on deck from dawn till dusk we are coming right! And with all the new equipment that we now have we will be ready and rearing to go for many a year to come hopefully.

Sunday we weren’t able to go out on our usual drives as we were up the mast again and also at the same time dismantling the Jigga as it wouldn’t start. Jared sped through to Hoedspruit to collect and send through some parts for the Signal and we worked on the Jigga for most of the day. We also whilst working on the Jigga, made a makeshift seat for the new vehicle for us to temporarily use which turned out exceptionally well I think. Tara did her Tracks and Signs at her fireside chat Sunday evening chatting about herbivores and their tracks and some other pieces of dung she had found.
Tara and Herman at Gowrie Dam

Monday morning came around with Will bringing a new Solenoid from Hoedspruit for the Jigga on his way into camp. In the meantime, we sent two vehicles out on drive to see what we could see in the morning. Marc and I went out to the dam in the new vehicle and sat there with a camera viewing what we could see from there. Tara and Herman went out with the Jigga, after having a quick push start, to drive around Quarantine to also have a look. The morning went well and we were all happy to be out and about a bit. We also went out in the evening on a drive with Marc and Herman on the Jigga and Tara did our Safari Highlights in the evening to end the day off.

Alex has been running around camp chasing monkeys and taking more shots – he is getting quite good with sneaking up on them and getting some great ‘in the moment’ shots.

A few of us bumped into Induna, late the night before last, on our way back home and we’ve had tracks of leopard coming through camp in the last couple of days. We think the tracks look like Karula’s boys, once again possibly Induna so there has been great Leopard activity around the lodge/camp area lately.

Stay posted for my next installment in a couple of days everyone!
Till then, take care. Kath.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Billions of Buffalo!

Hi there everyone,

Well after the special edition Blog that I sent out on Friday, we got alot of great responses to that and seeing the new vehicle. I also sent out one of the pictures onto Facebook of a ‘mystery person’ driving the newbie to camp, asking if anyone could recognize he/she! We got so many ideas of who it could be back.
Thanks so much to everyone for participating in our fun ‘guess who’. As I posted the mystery person was indeed Will Fox driving the vehicle from Lydenberg town to our camp. What a trip in an open vehicle!

The new final control is still coming along and every day we do a little bit more to making it look fantastic. Our gardener is replanting some grasses outside the entrance to make it look more bushy outside and possibly next week will be starting on the little waterhole outside the bay window!

Herd of Buffalo on Gowrie Main
The drives have been going out from Thursday afternoon after Herman got back from Johannesburg with the new cable and spring for the aerial. We spent the day putting the Jigga back together and
getting the signal back to normal and Jared and I were able to go live for a half hour in the afternoon for the first time in a couple of days. That morning Tara spent some time talking about her tracks and signs again and Marc spent time at the dam. The evenin
g drive went out with Tara who spent lots of time talking us through the planets and stars and managed to find Venus, Saturn and Mars.

Friday we were all good to go out and in the morning myself and Jared found a rare single crocodile at Buffelshoek Dam. The first one seen in a very long time and for some of the viewers a first! Great News!! That day we also saw Mixo, 2 White Rhino on the PM drive and in the evening Marc spent some time chatting about his reMarcable creatures: Ants and Spiders.

Saturday we had a great morning drive seeing Karula and Induna with a kill up a tree and then some hyena managing to steal if from them when it fell out of the tree accidentally. The afternoon and evening drives didn’t go out due to signal problems up the mast so Marc and Jared did some chatting in Final Control with the viewers.

Alex managed to get a great photo of a Vervet Monkey staring at us through the door in Final Control yesterday with the rest of his troop. What a change that we felt like the animals in the Zoo being looked at through the glass.

Impalas grazing next to Gowrie Dam
See you all in a couple days’ folks. Kathryn.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our New Addition

Hello Everyone,

We thought we would do a special 'latest news' Blog today to do a bit of a show and tell of the new vehicle that arrived yesterday evening.

We have a couple of pictures to show you what the great new edition to our 'fleet' looks like!
We have been posing questions over the last week or so to decide on a new name for our addition and have had some great and inventive answers. Hopefully we will come to a name conclusion in the near future so that our vehicle knows its identity and possibly do a competition to see what other names come up and then choose from those as well.

Any idea who the person is driving the vehicle? We mentioned yesterday who was going to be driving it up but can you recognize he/she?

The crew who worked on the new vehicle are pictured here.

They rebuilt the engine, serviced the vehicle, resprayed it green and manufactured the camera mount. The picture below was taken in Lydenberg before the start.

The journey was 250km done at a max speed of about 80km's.

And the other couple of pictures above are on the road from Dixie Village with the 'mystery person driving' and in camp when they arrived.

Hope you enjoy the images and the 'mystery person' driving the vehicle!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back in the saddle..

View over Zoe's Road

Hello Everyone!

Myself and Jared are back from leave and are very happy to be in the bush. Although cities are fantastic and we all enjoy our leave, it is always good to come back to the bush and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Alot has happened over the last 2 weeks and Tara has done a great job of continuing the blog and keeping everybody updated so we are all in the know how of what is happening.

Woodlands Kingfisher

The last 2 days have been a whirlwind of different shows and ideas as Herman had to take the aerial of the Jigga to Johannesburg to get fixed as well as some other Jigga parts. So we were without signal and unable to go out on normal drives.

So we have spent some time around the dam and used the dam cam do some chatting. We have done lots of different fireside chats with everyone discussing all sorts of different topics such as: me with my photography on Tuesday night, Tara with her tracks and signs, Clips of drive with Jared and myself and with Tara and Marc, and Potjie making last night around the fire. All in all, we have had some great shows and I certainly enjoyed making the potjie with everyone!

The monkeys as usual are ruling the camp and keeping us all on our toes taking every chance possible to steal something from out the kitchen. They know no fear at the moment and are very cheeky!

Great news! You can get diary in HD resolution delivered daily to your computer. All you need to do is to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. If you don't have iTunes yet, you can download it here, and then just search for in the iTunes Store. You can also use the following links to get to the podcast directly. diary High Definition diary Standard Definition

HD podcast is of higher quality and takes more time to download at around 115 megabytes per episode. Standard Definition podcast episode are about 35 megabytes each and will download faster, but the quality of the video won't be as good.

Quite a few things are coming up over the next few days so stay tuned for the next blog!!

Chat Soon!


Impala at Gowrie Dam

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finishing touches!

The changes keep getting better! We now have the new Apple Mac Pro in final control, from which the new broadcasting in HD will take place. All the team are getting their hands dirty and giving the new fc a second coat of paint, while Will and Pete have been busy getting the HD equipment ready to be tested next week. We have also had a delivery of furniture including a desk for Alex and there was no delay in moving the edit suite to final control!

The sightings have been fantastic in the last few days. Patrick and Marc had a great sighting with Induna towards Sandy patch. Induna being caught up in a tree with a large herd of buffalo below him. He eventually worked up enough courage to emerge from his hideout only to be chased off by the breeding herd. This hasn't had any lasting effect on him, a couple of days later Patrick caught up with him and Mixo on night drive, playing at tree house dam.

Marc and myself were, once again, one with the elephants. This time with a huge bull, who decided to test us after his sparing match with a younger male. He towered over us with his trunk on Jigga's bonnet, his tusk between the bull bar and fender. During that very incredible moment in time, he decided we were worthy of his trust and continued on his way.

This will be my last Blog for a while, Kathryn and Jared are back from leave on Tuesday. So I shall say goodbye until next time!

Written by Tara

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Safari.TV on the Silver screen.

An exciting huge step for Safari.TV at the start of the week. We were broadcasting game drives live to a cinema in Hyde park, Sandton! Possibly the first time anything like this has ever been tried before. Induna was not fazed by his silver screen debut, neither was the huge tusker Mashangaan who played his part extremely well. It was great the viewers were able to join us behind the scenes for it too!

There have been very heavy thunder storms over the last few days and all the dams are looking replenished ready for the winter! The vegetation also seems to have be revitalised by the late rain, attracting the giraffe and zebra back to the area. Yambilu-Jordaan has also made a brief appearance around Mvubu. Possibly Karula is starting to leave signs for her suitors. You can now subscribe to Safari.TV diary HD as a podcast in iTunes! To do this just search for Safari.TV in iTunes Store.

Marc is searching for a school anywhere in the world, who would like to join us for an hour broadcast each week. We will tailor the hour to tie in as closely as possible with the current curriculum while still maintaining our interactive feature, answering questions from the children all about the nature they will be experiencing live. If there is anyone who would be interested in doing this, please send e-mails to

And finally... the new vehicle is almost completed, ready for the HD kit to be fitted. We can't wait to have both vehicles out and about!

That's all for now, take care until next time,

Written by Tara

Sunday, April 4, 2010

We have moved!

Hi everyone!

It has been great to have nearly the whole team here at Djuma including Graham, Emily, Will, Carol, Peter and Rexon has been around the last couple of days. The place has been buzzing with the all the activity getting ready for the big move!

It is so exciting to have the new final control building nearing completion. As soon as the morning game drive had finished on Saturday, it was all hands on deck to move all the equipment from the old FC to the new before the afternoon game drive. It was amazing to watch Graham and the guys re-assemble all the parts and get it all working before game drive...

..and wow what a game drive! A wall of Elephants with a dramatic sun set behind! We had found the collard cow that Marc had seen the same time last year. We had been following them for a while, watching a very young bull practicing his warning charges, a cow digging for roots just metres away from us. Suddenly the whole mood changed when 2 young bulls who were sparing disturbed the peace with a cry. The whole herd were suddenly a wall 2-3m away from us, the atmosphere could have been cut with a knife! Very intriguing behaviour!

Induna and Mixo have been in an extremely playful mood these past few days, even Karula was joining in on Sunday. They have been meeting floppy ear's clan a lot recently. There have been a few nail biting moments, when the hyenas have been a metre away from the boys and knowing they are there. It seems when there is no food around, the hyena are quite happy to let sleeping cats lie!

Just to round up, on Thursdays night drive a Serval was spotted! It has rarely been seen and we are hoping it will make an appearance again!
Until next week, take care

Written by Tara