Sunday, May 30, 2010

Amazing experiences!

Hi everyone!

Wow! What else can I say but...Wow! Just when you think sightings can't get any better, Karula shows us what a star she is! We were all mesmerised, as we watched her scale the 6m Weeping Boer Bean with the impala she had just killed, in tow. It truly was an amazing experience to have been able to share. The drama was all the more intensified by her giving us a heart stopping moment, when she lost her footing and fell a metre. Taking a few seconds to catch her breath, she continued the tremendous task and eventually secured the carcass 4m above us, just before a herd of elephants arrived browsing by the moonlight. As our focus turned to them, she slipped away to go and find the boys.

The chill in the air has certainly signaled winter is on it's way! Once the sun has risen it brings the animals out from their cosy hiding places! The Vervet monkeys and baboons have been around camp even more in the last few days looking for warmer areas to forage for food. Tawny, the once dominant male of the Gowrie gang, has also been checking in on us as he walks past final control in the mornings!

With the week ending with the 3 youngsters from the Nkuhuma pride, herds of elephants, white tailed mongoose, a wide variety of birds and other mammals and of course Karula, Mixo and Induna. I can't imagine what next week will bring!

Written by Tara and pictures from Safari.TV.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Magical moments!

Hi everybody,

Kath and Jared have departed on their two weeks leave and the camp is still buzzing with action!

Alex has been very busy the last few days building a 3D rig and filming shots of the 110 driving around looking for game. When Alex gets excited after a take, you know, this is something worth watching! I, for one, am anxiously awaiting to see it!

The sun rises recently have been spectacular. The golden sun beams giving all the early morning mist a warm glow, giving the impression we are immersed in a mystical and magical world. The sightings have been equally so...

Myself and Marc being mesmerised by the cheetah, not paying much attention to life until he made eye contact with another spotted cat 40m from him! Mixo had seen him from a distance and was unsure how to react. It was a very tense moment, until the cheetahs nerves got the better of him and fled. This gave Mixo the encouragement he needed and pursued him, at a safe distance, until he found a termite mound to proclaim his status as king of the hill!

There were some very nail biting moments when the Styx pride caught sight of a couple of buffalo who happened by their resting place and having the Windmaill pride surrounding jigga as they continued their moon lite stroll in search for prey.

I can't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store!!

Written by Tara Pirie

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last day of the Ranger Race and WINNER!

Hello All and Welcome to the last instalment of the Ranger Race Blog’s. I will also touch on the sightings for the last 2 days as well as go through Tara’s Ranger Race and announce the winner!!

What a whirlwind of the last couple of days with the races happening and everything else in camp that carries on as well.

Myself and Jared will be going on leave as of tomorrow for 2 weeks so we shall see you then! Caroline will be coming back from leave this evening and starting again tomorrow. She has been in Johannesburg for her leave enjoying time with friends and family.

Saturday morning started out fairly chilly with only some elephant being spotted once the sun had come up and warmed everything through. The animals I think are getting just as cold as we are in the morning and need some time to ‘defrost’ before showing themselves in the mornings.

All photos taken from footage on Ranger Race drives.

Saturday afternoon was Jared’s Ranger Race and what an afternoon it was. Filled with lots of excitement toward the end trying to find the last animals but the vehicle wasn’t playing the part and the clutch failed all in the last dying minutes of drive.

Sunday morning started off with Patrick and Jared finding Karula and sat with her for about an hour around the Chela pan area. She looked like she was hunting but didn’t managed to find anything but all in all a great hour spent with the lady we have missed for many weeks. We also managed to see a ‘new’ pride that we don’t get to spend alot of time with and that was after much speculation the Windmill pride. Great to see a new pride in the area and even better to see new lions!
The afternoon was Tara’s turn for the Ranger Race drive and her and Herman raced around until they had managed to find 14 animals before drive was finished:

1. Human
2. Chacma Baboon
3. Warthog
4. Cape Buffalo
5. Impala
6. Nyala
7. Blue Wildebeest
8. Hippo
9. Tree Squirrel
10. Lion
11. Dwarf Mongoose
12. Grey Duiker
13. Scrub Hare
14. African Wildcat

And to end off the day we had the sightings for the week chat with Marc and his guest: A Bonsai Tamboti tree. Great chat around the fire to end the day off with.

And to end the Blog with the results for the Ranger Race:

First Place: Marc = 15 Mammals
Second Place Tied: Jared and Tara = 14 Mammals
Third Place: Patrick = 13 Mammals

A very very close race indeed!

I will be handing over to Tara for the next 2 weeks whilst I am on leave.

See you in 2 weeks folks.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday's Ranger Race!

Images taken from footage shot on Ranger Race drive

Good morning everyone. Welcome to the next installment of the Ranger Race Blog. Yesterday afternoon it was Jared's turn to get out there and tally up as many mammals as possible on the PM drive for the Ranger Race. Herman was on camera with him and Marc was as usual in final control.

The drive turned into a very exciting one and toward the end Jared was very close to beating Marc's score of mammals. The drive had been very successful so far and with 5 minutes to the end of the drive Jared saw a pair of eyes in the spotlight and thought he had found his last mammal. The clutch of the Jigga then gave out and he couldn't follow up. Would the last crucial minutes of the drive have put Jared in first place?

Let us see:

5.Dwarf Mongoose
14.Small Spotted Genet - (this is still pending as i.d was wrong initially but the viewers i.d'de it correctly before Jared has mentioned the name)
15.Scrub Hare

At this point with the Grey Duiker pending with Marc's drive we could be tied for first place with Jared if the Genet i.d is correct.
This could all be null and void though if Tara this afternoon finds more so who knows at this point what is to happen.
Watch this afternoon to find out!
And I will send out a last Blog tomorrow with the winner and final tally.
See you then.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Half way through the Ranger Race!

Photos taken from footage seen on Ranger Race drives.

Good morning everyone from a lovely weekend day here in Djuma Game Reserve.
The Rangers Race is well underway and we are halfway through it with the third afternoon drive coming up this afternoon. Jared will be driving this afternoon and Tara will be driving tomorrow and then we shall tally up the scores and see who the winner is.

From yesterday’s PM drive with Patrick the mammals found are as follows:
1. Greater Kudu
2. Impala
3. Warthog
4. Dwarf Mongoose
5. Giraffe
6. Hippo
7. Blue Wildebeest
8. Grey Duiker
9. Steenbok
10. Scrub hare
11. Tree Squirrel
12. Human
13. Zebra

A very good score here but Marc is still ahead with his tally so that puts Marc is first place at this point and Patrick in second.

Thursday morning was a great morning out with Jared and Patrick as it was our first morning with an organized school watching from Johannesburg called Eastleigh Primary School. They joined us for the last half of drive and sent in lots and lots of questions and were very enthusiastic about the drive and will be joining us again next week. Jared managed to find a wonderful giraffe and hippo and more general game.
Thursday afternoon was the start of the Rangers Race with Marc where we saw lots of mammals and after 18h00 when Tara switched over the camera to night vision they spotted Induna briefly which was a great end to the day.

Friday started off with Tara and Marc seeing some more general game and they had a great sighting of some Tawny and Bateleur eagles soaring above an area that peaked some interest. Nothing was found though after some thorough looking. The afternoon drive with Patrick and myself was the second leg of the Ranger Race as above.

And Jared ended off the day with his second chat about birds and having the viewers do some identification which seems to be going down really well and everyone is enjoying the challenges of trying to guess the birds.
We started going on drive with the new vehicle on Friday morning with Tara and Marc. I hope everyone is enjoying the new vehicle! We certainly are. Of course with any new addition we need to tweak and fine tune bits here and there as we go, but all in all the new vehicle is out and about and clocking up some Djuma kilometres.

I will be checking in with everyone tomorrow with the next update on the Rangers Race with Jared’s tally.

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday's Ranger Race

Good Morning everyone.

After yesterday's Ranger Race with Marc presenting, Tara on Camera and Herman in Final Control this is the tally of Mammals:

Once again the viewers were only allowed to i.d the mammals that were seen on drive and Marc only had to give as much information as possible to help with the identfication.

1. Human
2. Warthog
3. Impala
4. Steenbok
5. Hippo
6. Cape buffalo
7. Blue wildebeest
8. Elephant
9. Nyala
10. Giraffe
11. White rhino
12. Dwarf mongoose
13. Scrub hare
14. Spotted hyena
15. Grey duiker ??? (We are still in debate about this and need to clarify the i.d watching the footage)
16. Bush baby

Thank you to all who were involved and stay tuned for this afternoon's race with Patrick presenting, Kathryn on Camera and Marc in Final Control.


(Images taken off the footage from drive)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ranger’s Race starts today!

Hello everybody and welcome to my Thursday Blog. Hope the week is going well for everyone!

Well it is D-Day today and the Rangers Race starts this afternoon on the PM drive with Marc presenting first. I hope everyone is up to speed on the rules of the race and what is going to be happening. So we will see you all at 3 O’clock this afternoon for the start of the race. Everyone is looking forward to it in camp and we hope you all are too!

Marc and Herman are back from leave and started work on Wednesday morning. They both had a fabulous time on leave with Marc going down to Cape Town and Herman jet setting off to Namibia for a bit of a road trip.

We are also starting our First Aid training today for 2 days in camp so that everyone is up to speed with what to do in an emergency. Hopefully one should never arise but it is always good to be prepared!

Tuesday was a cold day and the animals were obviously hiding and very cold as for the morning and afternoon drives we didn’t see much. But Jared and I started off the day with some heavy mist that had rolled it and we got some beautiful shots with the sun rising through the mist as we were driving so that was all worth it. It was the coldest drive in the morning to date for us! And we managed to see a very skittish young elephant bull around Buffelshoek Dam and some giraffe which was lovely.

Adult Kudu Bull
The afternoon drive with Tara and Patrick was also a hunt for the animals – they were also hiding for most of the afternoon but we did get to see some great zebra on Quarantine, which had been around for most of the day, so that was good.
And into the combination night drive, they saw some young hyena walking around the Quarantine area and stopped to have a look at a little scrub hare which are always fun to watch.

On Wednesday morning Marc and Herman being back from leave went out on the Jigga for their first drive back after leave. And what a first drive it was!! They spent time with a few of the Styx pride members that had been found early on and also managed to view a Cheetah mom and her elder cub that had been found on Impala plains.

What a sighting to see cheetah again which we haven’t seen in ages!! And also to see them trying to hunt some impala that were in the area as well. Great start to the day!! All of us back at camp were huddled round the computer watching in envy at what the 2 of them were witnessing.

Vervet Monkey around Camp
The afternoon drive with myself and Jared brought us back to the Styx pride. Jared managed to locate the pride again off Cheetah plains and we spent about an hour with them. We then went to try and relocate the cheetah from the previous drive in the morning but they had moved off not long before we arrived and we couldn’t find them again. The evening got quite cold and the drive drew to a close.

And the Bayizani show with Patrick finished off the day with a guest from Vuyatela Lodge. One of the guides that came to chat about the animals and their histories and what they have been seeing lately. Great to have some of the guides from the other lodges coming on to chat!

No sign of the leopard boys around camp at the moment – they seem to have left our laundry on the line alone for the time being but the baboons and vervet monkeys are strolling around the place as usual paying us visits!

See you all on Monday for my next Blog. Kath.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ranger Race coming soon!

Kudu Bull on Quarantine
What a wonderful day today has turned out to be! Blue skies with just a hint of fluffy white cloud and the miserable rainy weather of the last 2 days has disappeared. However with the blue skies comes the cold but we would rather have sun any day regardless of the temperature.

Sunday morning was rain delayed and we were unable to go out. The drizzle finally stopped around lunch time and the sun started peeking out from behind some very menacing looking clouds but we managed to get out on the afternoon drive. This was obviously only after the power went off 5 mins before we were due to head out but came back on about 15H30 and we were able to have a few hours of drive into the evening. Whilst we were waiting for the rain to stop in the morning a shape that looked very much like a leopard stopped off at Gowrie Dam for a drink right near where the Hippos where wallowing. This was short lived though as the hippo charge out of the water and chased off the shape into the bushes never to be seen again.

Sub Adult lioness stretching out
On our afternoon drive Jared and I managed to encounter a small herd of Elephant with a young bull that had the funniest trumpet I have ever heard. I think he had a nasal passage problem as when he trumpeted it sounded very much like a piece of plastic tubing being blown into that would have a hole in it. If you can imagine that sound. A hyena came onto the scene of the elephant sighting and caused an upset that had him being chased off by the small ellie bull and after, the matriarch of the herd became very uneasy so we decided to leave them in peace. At this stage we were at the end of drive and came into a sighting of Whitecloth the female leopard not far from our house. What a fantastic sighting to see a different leopard and the first different leopard I have seen apart from Karula and the boys. Loved that!

Tara ended off the evening with the Highlights show with Patrick as her guest where they spoke about some of the sighting highlights for the week! Great new Show!!

Monday morning Tara and Patrick found Induna near our house just about where Whitecloth had been the night before lounging around before the suns warmth had hit. They also saw a great herd of elephant and the blue skies had come back after a couple of cloudy wet days. The PM/Night drive with Patrick and Jared turned out to be a cracker of a drive with a sighting of Karula and Whitecloth’s cub at Twin Dams: very unusual behaviour and Karula was not that happy about the unfamiliar cub so close. Around a couple of other bends they bumped into Mixo and Induna and spend the rest of the drive with them making their way to Gowrie Dam. 4 Leopard in 1 drive. Fantastic! They swopped over to the night camera and watched as the boys took on some Hippo as they were coming out of the dam. Some near escapes for the rosetted cats!

Rangers Race: The much anticipated Rangers Race will be starting on Thursday afternoon with the PM drives till Sunday Afternoon. Every PM drive will be hosted by a different presenter to allow everyone to get out there on the PM drive to participate. Marc will be presenting on Thursday, Patrick on Friday, Jared on Saturday and Tara on Sunday. The rules will be the same as the previous Ranger Race and are as follows:

1. The highest number of positively identified living mammal species wins.
2. Each ranger gets one afternoon safari of 3 hours.
3. A mammal only counts if it is positively identified by a viewer who mails the species (not latin name) identification to (e.g. Grey Duiker not just Duiker.)
4. If the ranger or cameraman verbally identifies the mammal before a viewer then that sighting (not mammal) is disqualified from the race.
5. All mammals must be alive at the time of viewing.
6. The director may 'cut in' mammals from other cams like the Gowrie waterhole and these mammals will count if correctly identified by a viewer.
7. The Director must keep a tally and has final say as to whether it is counted.
8. Viewers have twelve hours after the race has finished to come back with answers if they were not positively identified on the drive.
9. More than one of the same mammal cannot be counted.

It is going to be one to remember so please join us on Thursday!

Till next time. Kath.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Leopards are back! (We hope!)

Styx Lioness's playing on the grass

Good morning everyone from a wet and cold camp. It seems the last rain of the season was not 2 weeks ago like we had predicted as we had an amazing downpour last night as if it were summer. And here we sit today not being able to go out on drive because it is still raining outside as I write this. So the weather is seems is not following the seasonal rules at this point. Oh Well – rain is always a good thing in my books regardless of the time of year.

Friday morning myself and Jared went out on the AM drive. For the better part of the drive the animals eluded us but toward the end we had a fantastic herd of Elephant appear and walk across Gowrie Main for us, so we followed. The herd was being trailed by an extremely large elephant bull in musth, so we had to drive at high pace to keep up with them. They eventually managed to evade the large bull and we stuck with him till the end of drive as he pushed along trying to find the herd again.

The afternoon drive also relocated the same herd of elephant which we watched for awhile. Before the sighting we saw the very large water monitor lizard at Twin Dams that was sunning himself as usual on the bank and we also got to see a Bushman’s Tea bush which was a first for Tara.

Rolling Over
Saturday started off with a very chilly morning and I was bundled up on the back of the Jigga with Jared presenting. We saw some great birds that morning as well as some Giraffe, a wonderful sighting of a mom slender mongoose and her pup and right at the end a large herd of Buffalo. All in all, a wonderful diverse morning.

The afternoon drive with Tara and Patrick found Karula sauntering down the road – a great sighting all of us have been yearning to see for awhile. Not much later, Mixo joined her which was even better and all the rangers came to have a look. Everyone has been starved of seeing Karula and Mixo for so long that everyone wanted to come and see them. In the midst of this sighting, Floppy Ear the Hyena stopped by to see what the commotion was all about.
We also saw some more Hyena on the night drive following the sighting of the leopard again. We managed to get a bit of a night drive in straight from the PM drive where we also saw Bob the hippo with a play mate at Buffelshoek dam having a ‘whale’ of a time splashing around.

Impala in the morning sun
Yesterday we had the leopards visit us in camp again during the day. We were all hard at work and heard them ‘sawing’ right outside. We all went to investigate and found 2 of them lying in the drainage line about 30 metres from our new final control. We tried to get some footage on the camera but as soon as they spotted us they moved off. You never know what the day is going to bring!

Have a wonderful one! Till next time. Kath.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Elephants swimming at Gowrie Dam

Welcome to another Blog everyone! Hope you are all well and enjoying the week so far.

Will has come to join us for today to see how everything is coming along in camp. Good to have a familiar face in camp!

Wednesday’s drives started out with lots and lots of birds. Tara and Patrick stopped and looked at Guineafowl, Hornbills and Oriel and the list goes on. It was definitely a drive for the birders. The Afternoon with myself and Patrick out there was a fabulous one. We spent time with elephants swimming at Gowrie Dam and then saw a great journey of Giraffe on Gowrie Cutline. We also bumped into Floppy ear, the female Hyena, who looked like she was heavily lactating and to end off the drive with a sighting of Induna at Gowrie Dam briefly before heading home.

Sunrise over Quarantine
Jared did his chat that evening on birds and id’ing them. He had a quiz asking everyone what they thought the bird was and then talking about it. It seemed to go down very well getting everyone to identify the birds and Jared was suitably impressed with everyone's knowledge of the birds around the Djuma area.

Thursday morning Tara and Patrick caught some great white rhino and elephant interaction during the morning. They also saw some Giraffe and had a tyre puncture during the drive which they had to change.

In the afternoon Jared and myself went out on our PM/night safari drive and found great giraffe, 2 of which were sparring toward the end of drive, hippo and baby at Buffelshoek dam, an elephant bull and a quick sighting of a hyena. We then swopped over the cameras and went out on a short night drive, but the bulb in our spotlight blew so we were without an extra light, bit we continued on and found a fully grown puffadder at Gowrie dam crossing the road which was a highlight!

Sunrise through a thicket
Karula’s boys seem to be sticking around at the moment but not much has been seen of mom. As mentioned on the drives though, the boys are still being quite skittish around the vehicles so we haven’t seen them on drives except for the bit of night viewing Patrick and I got of Induna the other night. We shall have to wait and see what is to unfold.

The elephants have been around camp as well lately and we nearly had them all join us for dinner at the house the night before last. The whole herd had congregated right next to the fence and were munching on their own dinner quite happily while we were enjoying ours.

Join me in a couple of days for my next Blog instalment.
Till then Kath.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The smaller things......

Impala Ram

Hello everyone! Welcome from a quiet camp at Djuma. Quiet in the sense of staff that is. There are still only a few of us at camp at the moment but we are all keeping very busy. Also the Jigga and the signal never let us rest so we are always on our toes making sure everything is 100%.

Monday morning started off with the Styx Pride being spotted again. We are loving the amount of time we have been able to spend with the lions at the moment. Tara also saw that morning an amazingly large Waterbuck bull. Seeing the large antelope rams and bulls always are a sight and treat – they really are very majestic and awe inspiring with those large horns.

The afternoon and night drive we tried to combine that evening, as we haven’t been able to go out on many night drives as of late. By taking out the night camera, we want to swop over when the light fades away and try and do a mini night game drive into the evening until the batteries run out of steam, but alas Monday night it was not meant to happen and many things out of their own accord started to go awry all at the same time. We had to cancel the drive due to cable failure for the cameras but we sat and chatted in FC for a little while after whilst Alex and Jared sorted out the issue.

Impala Ewe looking on
We are still wanting to give this afternoon and night drive combination a go so be sure to stay tuned for the next afternoon drive we do when there isn’t a Fireside Chat scheduled.

Tuesday morning started off with a bang seeing Mixo stalking Impala in some very tall grass, but they cottoned on to him and started snorting and he ran off into the grass not to be seen again. We had a great drive for the small things and stopped for flowers, birds and saw a giraffe towards the end.

The afternoon / night drive with Tara and Patrick came across a very unsettled herd of Elephants and the two of them were nearly charged by the matriarch of the herd. Luckily Tara sorted the female elephant out with a stern word and things seemed too settled down. They also toward the end of drive managed to see Whitecloth the leopard and her cub – a rare sighting indeed! But due to the batteries on the Jigga not having been charged as we had a power failure that day we had to end drive early. Tara did spend the rest of her time chatting to everyone in final control about the afternoon’s happenings.

Vervet Monkey Baby
Karula’s boys are around at the moment but we haven’t seen them out on drive much. They have been very elusive but are hanging around camp and we see them quite regularly walking past the cars or munching on towels they have stolen off the washing lines. Hopefully soon they will let us view them on drive properly again!

Have a wonderful rest of your days everyone.

Till next time. Kath.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jackal come to visit!

Curious Dwarf Mongoose
Welcome everyone from another balmy day at Djuma Game Reserve.

I hope all the mothers out there had a fabulous Mother’s Day on Sunday and back to work it is for most this Monday.
Yet another 2 days of elephant has been seen. We really are getting our fix of elephant this week which all of us at camp are enjoying.

Saturday morning we started off with some Hyena, which we haven’t seen in a little while! And elephant at Gowrie Dam. In the afternoon we continued our elephant sightings and saw great general game around the Quarantine area. With the grass at Quarantine having been cut, there really is a lot of game that is sticking around the area at the moment. And we have had visits from other not so common animals that we don’t see very regularly like the Zebra from the other day and Sunday morning’s highlight of Jackal.

Lone Baboon on Quarantine enjoying some bulbs
Saturday night ended off with a ‘one on one’ chat with Caroline out of Final Control. I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know Caz a little bit better.

As mentioned Sunday morning’s drive got off to a bang with a great sighting of a pair of Side Striped Jackal on Quarantine. They were so much fun to watch trotting around the area and were very relaxed with the vehicle. We spent quite a bit of time with them and even got a great shot of the sun rising in the background with one of the Jackal sitting in the foreground. Our drive continued with another great sighting of the Styx Pride. We followed them as they walked around the Chela Pan area and did some serious off roading trying to keep up with them. We also ended off the drive with a lovely elephant sighting of a great big bull.

The afternoon drive followed up on the Styx Pride again and spent time with them and also saw some elephant as well. And Tara ended off the day with a roundup of the week’s diaries again for everyone to watch.

Baboon having a scratch
The weekend has also been very busy with us going out on the new vehicle to do some testing filming 3D. Alex has been working very hard to put it all together. As I’m sure some of you know having seen the other vehicle out on some of the drives!

Siphiwe will be going on leave as of tomorrow for a week. How 3 weeks flies by! We hope she has a relaxing bit of time off. And Caroline has also gone on leave; a couple of days early for work, back to Johannesburg so camp is looking decidedly quiet again. So the only faces you will be seeing for the next week or so will be myself, Jared’s, Tara’s, Pat’s and Alex working on his diaries.

Enjoy the day everyone!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Elephant Week!

Sunrise at Philimon's Cutline
Hello everyone! I hope you have all had a wonderful week and are enjoying the weekend where ever you might be!

We are busy busy around camp at the moment installing all sorts into the new vehicle to get it up and running. Radios have been put in, most of the HD equipment and we are working on the tripod and seat today as well as the aerials. So not long now folks hopefully and we will be out there.

On Thursday Jared and I went out in the morning and found the crocodile sunning himself at Buffelshoek Dam again. He definitely seems to be getting more relaxed with the vehicles which is very encouraging and also seems to be sticking around – so this seems to be his new home for now and we are loving it! We also saw some lovely elephant that morning and all bulls at that, so that was a change from seeing the breeding herds that are normally around. In the afternoon, the crew also had a great sighting of elephant and after drive Tara sat down in Final Control and had her ‘one on one’ with the viewers instead of the night drive. A time to ask questions and get to know the crew.

Water Moniter Lizard
at Twin Dams
The batteries do seem to be getting better and we are just about getting through our whole time on game drives which is encouraging. All we need now is for them to charge that little bit more and then we can go out on night drives as well!

Friday started off with Patrick and Caroline going out on drive and finding yet some more elephant! It really is fantastic that we are seeing all these ellies again after having some time last month where we didn’t see any at all. When it rains it pours as the saying goes, or at least the animals are taking it in turns it would seem. This is ellie week. Hopefully next week will be leopard week – we shall see......

The afternoon drive went out in search of the furry elusive creatures but to no avail unfortunately, but they did see some other wonderful birds, general game and hippo on drive. And to end of the day’s activities I spent some time chatting to the viewers about some of the photos I have taken recently: where they were taken, how they were taken and how I finished them off in Photoshop. Hope you all enjoyed that if you watched!

Dazzle of Zebra at Quarantine
Peter has left us to fly back to Cape Town after a whirlwind visit. We hope he had a safe trip and is enjoying being back in Cape Town.

And just to end off for today, a note to all the countries that celebrate Mother’s day tomorrow (Sunday), Happy Mother’s Day to those mom’s out there. I hope it is a special and happy day for you all.

Till next time. Kath.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Camp Updates!

And welcome to another Blog for the week. I hope everyone is having a great week so far – already into Thursday it is, and if you work a Monday to Friday week then it’s nearly the weekend for alot of you out there!

Staff have come and gone in the last couple of days! Herman and Marc went on leave on Tuesday night and left in the late hours of the evening to do an overnight drive back to Johannesburg – we hope they have a great leave! Alex and Tara also came back from leave on Wednesday morning and seemed to have lots of fun visiting family and catching leopards!

The new stone paving outside FC
On Tuesday the morning drive went out and found some a few elephant which they viewed for a short while. They then followed up and located some of the Styx males that were on Gowrie Main Road (the sub adults) but the lions moved off into the block and we couldn’t follow. A great way to start the day though. In the afternoon we spent time with a journey of 6 Giraffe of Quarantine (a rare sight indeed) and also bumped into some Elephant toward the end of drive. And after drive Patrick sat in Final Control for awhile to chat about Herbal Remedies in his culture which was very interesting we all thought.

Wednesday morning Tara and Patrick went out to find the Styx lions – we heard them the night before and one of the rangers from Vuyatela found them lying at Room 8 that morning. Getting the guests out of Room 8 for drive was apparently quite an endeavour. So having the lions just outside our doorstep was a treat!!! The afternoon drive with myself and Jared went out to follow up on the lions, but they had moved into such a thick block between our camp and the lodge that we couldn’t view them. So we went out into the concession and found a single old Buffalo Bull at Twin Dams engulfed in flies!

The new carport for our cars
Lots of building and finishing up of things has been going on around camp. We are in the process of building a carport on the one side for our cars to be parked under and shaded which is great! We are also building a small waterhole outside the big window at the new final control so that animals will hopefully come and drink - and then we will be able to view it all from the new final control. And also a slate walkway into the final control area to avoid lots of sand coming into the building. So things are looking good.

Take Care all.


Our new 'waterhole' outside FC

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

48 Hours on safari

Induna with the Duiker Kill made
Good Morning all.
Hope you are all having a fantastic day or evening! A wonderful hot day here in the Sabi Sands again. After my Blog about fending Winter off, the weather must have heard and has given us a couple more days of Summer Sunshine –Yay!

There has been lots of staff activity around camp at the moment. Peter arrived yesterday evening very late after having driven through from Nelspruit. He is here to set up some of the equipment in the new vehicle and to get HD ready to go hopefully soon. Good to have him back! Monday was a busy day for all of us: Caroline drove through to Nelspruit in the afternoon to go and collect some new Battery Chargers for the Jigga. Myself and Jared went through to the Hoedspruit area to collect some other car batteries and to do camp shopping, so everyone was keeping busy!

We are also putting up in our camp carpark a shadecloth area for all our cars – so there is still some building and banging going on around the camp – never a dull moment!

Sleepy Mixo after a big meal
The boys (Induna and Mixo) are still hanging around the camp and at the house at the moment. Nearly every morning we find tracks either through the carpark, round Marcs house or at our house inside the fence round the cars. Seems they are keeping an eye on us at the moment. One of these mornings, we are going to find Mixo or Induna lying on the concrete next to the pool enjoying the scenery I’m sure!

Sunday’s drives were filled with the Styx pride! We got to some really fantastic time with the ladies from the pride playing in the morning dew and then having a mid morning nap with Patrick and Marc. They also saw a lovely sized herd of Buffalo at the end of drive with a few little ones. In the afternoon the chaps went out and followed up on the Styx ladies and spent some more time with them but unfortunately a little later the batteries gave up and we had to return home.

Jared spent his chat that evening talking to everyone about Frogs in the area and about his favourite frogs in particular. Everyone seemed to really enjoy hearing the calls that they make and seeing photos and pictures about them. Jared thoroughly enjoyed sharing his passion for frogs with everyone he mentioned.

Snouted Cobra Scales
Monday morning Jared and I went out on drive and found a large dazzle of Zebra on Quarantine. They seemed to have moved here from the Aruthusa side some of the rangers are saying and seem to be here to stay for awhile! They obviously like the short sweet grass around the Quarantine area. We also heard of and went to see, not far away, a Snouted Cobra that had been killed (possibly by a Hyena everyone thinks) lying on the road. What a pity to see such a large fully grown cobra like that – but as all things in nature, this is what happens, so we observed and moved on. The rest of our drive was cut short again by batteries but the afternoon drive followed up on the zebra and also saw some wonderful Elephant. Jared ended off the day with the diary exerts.

So all in all, a busy few days and lots happening around camp. Stay tuned for my next entry. Kath.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A new month!

Moonrise over Weavers Nest Road
Hello everyone!

I see this morning on Facebook that the Blog I wrote 2 days ago has only appeared this morning. I hope that you all managed to read it before this morning as this is obviously already my new Blog and wouldn’t want anyone to get behind J. Herman mentions that his diaries are also taking some time to load onto Facebook but that he has put up a link in the interim whereby you can still watch by clicking on that. So we all hope that you are still able to read and watch everything we are putting out there!

Another month ends and it is now already May. How time flies and we are just around the cornour from the middle of the year. Blink again and it will be Christmas! Well as the saying goes – Time flies when you are having fun and also being in the bush, the days drift by without much notice.

Friday’s drives started off an hour and a half behind schedule as the Water Pump in the Jigga gave up the ghost and we were unable to start the car. We eventually managed to get out there by Jared pulling the Jigga in the new vehicle and Marc and Patrick were towed around Quarantine to do a different sort of game drive to see what was in the area to look at. Caroline who was back from leave (her first day back at that) had to drive to Hluvukani after drive to go and buy us a new part. We changed the old to new when she got back, gave the Jigga a nice talking too and she was ready for action in the afternoon.

Induna with a Duiker Kill
Jared and I then went out and relocated Karula and her boys after they had made a Duiker Kill earlier. We watched Induna in the tree with the kill and Mixo afterwards rolling around in the grass with a full tummy. We spent most of the drive with them and only left once it was too dark to see.

Patrick and Herman had their Bayizani Show that night with some very important guests: some Sangoma Ladies. They came in and did a traditional Sangoma ceremony which was very interesting and thought provoking. Patrick did most of the translating and there was also dancing and drums to get everyone in the mood. Fascinating fireside chat I thought!!

Saturday morning we went out again on drive and everything was hiding from us, even the small animals. Jared and I came back after having driven the whole concession nearly, but everything eluded us sadly. The afternoon drive went out with Marc and Jared this time to try their luck and managed to find some Elephant and a Giraffe as well as a rare sighting of a beautiful Pearl Charax Butterfly!

Beautiful light around Camp
In the evening after drive, Patrick did a ‘post Bayizani’ chat with all the viewers which seemed to be received very well. Lots of questions came in, and many were answered that came in the night before, and Patrick was very happy with the outcome of the chat!

Sunny skies at the moment with a couple of drops of rain here and there but altogether fabulous weather at the moment.

Keep Well everyone! Kath.