Friday, July 30, 2010

What a difference!

Hi everyone!

I hope a lot of you were able to join us for the broadcast on Thursday, even though it wasn't 3D, the feedback I had during the drive from the directors chair was great! The picture you were saying was sharper and the difference in sound was amazing! Even I nearly fell off my chair when we heard the babblers calling! I was getting such a buzz when some of you even commented on being able to hear a vehicle drive next to us! Imagine that with the herd of buffalo we saw Thursday morning! Keep those glasses close, ready for the full 3D experience!

One thing I love about nature is that it keeps us guessing and I am so thrilled we are able to share these intriguing moments with you! During Patrick's morning drive on Wednesday, we managed to see Yambilu-Jordaan with none other than Induna, who is probably his son! I am becoming more convinced with every interaction this is true! He seemed tolerant of his son, albeit a bit irritated, twitching his tail and pulling his ears back, Induna kept a respectful distance! Amazing!
What a difference it has made with winter being here! The animals have become more relaxed in camp. Even Alex was enjoying the company of the female duiker who visits everyday and is getting use to us watching her! The nyala herd, baboons, hornbills and various other birds are making us of the small pan outside F.C. Myself and Afke were also amazed to see a slender mongoose drinking from it too! Sadly I didn't have my camera to hand!

Written by Tara

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

LIVE 3D safaris are here!

This is what we have all been waiting for! Come and join us on our first live 3d safari broadcast!

These are truly exciting times, WildEarth with Safari TV will be the first to broadcast live 3D safaris in the world. Can you imagine seeing an elephant reaching out towards you with his trunk, being surrounded by a buffalo herd, or have the feeling of being so close to Karula or one of the Majingilanes you could reach out and touch them? After watching the footage shot over the weekend, it really gave me goosebumps, this is now possible!

WE have always been on the cutting edge of technology and I am amazed at how far the WE family have come. Ever since 1998 with the worlds first LIVE water hole webcam installed by Graham, which refreshed every 30 seconds, and then the days when our first safaris where limited to only 80 people, to now! Broadcasting to thousands and on the verge of 3D!!

Along with the 3D viewing we have 3D stereo sound, which will also help to immerse you further into the African bush experience! Viewers need not worry, you don't need new monitors and you can still view in 2D, but if you want the full immersive experience all you need is a pair of the normal anaglyph 3D glasses with either red/blue, red/green or blue/yellow filters. The new WildEarth player will have a small 3D button at the bottom right hand corner and you will be able to select the type of 3D anaglyph glasses that you have, and watch in 3D, just like on YouTube.

The entire team have been so excited and all looks good for broadcasting this week on Thursday afternoon! I really hope you will be on board Gunda with us for this next incredible chapter in the history of LIVE safaris.

Written by Tara

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The drama continues!

Hi everyone!

This weekend certainly didn't disappoint! As well as having Afke back with us, for a short while at least and the 3d testing going on, the sightings have continued to be exciting!

My self and Sebastien were in awe at having one of the golden Majingilane males walk less than a meter from jigga, giving each of us a momentary glance with his piercing eyes, which felt like it lasted a life time! What an incredible feeling, having such a powerful creature that close and acknowledging you!

This coalition has already given us intense drama and none more so than this week. We are still trying to piece together the puzzle about why they killed another lion, only this time it is possibly a female from the Styx pride. We have to wait to do a head count to find out which member of the pride it was.

Mixo was still determined not to allow Induna feed from his impala kill and I do wonder if this was a huge reality check for Induna. He was waiting patiently for his turn, but I doubt it came. Maybe Induna was the reason the herd of elephants were panicked yesterday morning. Both myself and Afke are still convinced it was a lion, but without being able to get a clear view of the cat they chased off, it will have to remain another bush secret!

Written by Tara Pirie

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An incredible painted picture!

Hi everyone,

What a highlight this week! As Patrick sat with 2 White Rhino, listening to the buzz on the radio about the Wild Dogs, they seemed to know how much everybody was hoping to see them! Moments before, Patrick announced "they are heading this way"! Excitement levels were peaking, then suddenly we glimpse the first member of the pack! Incredible! Viewing from behind the rhino, watching the 4 dogs, what a picture!

Marc continued the amazing sights by finding Induna this morning, acting a bit strange. Leaving behind the hyena, who had been chasing impala, he followed. Loosing sight of him in thick bush, it became clear why he had been behaving oddly, with Mixo being spotted with a kill in a near by tree. Induna joined his brother in the hope of food, but Mixo having the higher ground, defended his prize well! I would like to know how this story will end, especially with the hyenas waiting patiently below!

And of course we can't forget about the lady herself! Karula graced us with her presence at the start of the week, keeping us all guessing where she has been and what she has been doing! We can only speculate!
With the boys around, possibly Karula and the Styx pride making an appearance, it looks set to be an exciting weekend!

Written by Tara Pirie

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Birds Galore!

Hello everyone and hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

We are all busy here at camp still getting the 3D rig up and running. Will has been here over the weekend to assist Alex in working on the vehicle and things are coming along.

On the leave front Herman is still away and Jared and I will be going on leave on Tuesday for 2 weeks. That leaves Tara, Marc, Patrick who will back tomorrow, Alex and Sebastien in camp so it will be all hands on deck. Siphiwe is due for her weeks leave next week aswell.

Just before I sat down to write this I had spent about a half hour outside running after birds trying to take their pictures. We had a wonderful bird party outside with Chinspot Batis's, Puff back shrikes, Grey headed bush Shrikes, White Bellied Sunbirds, Yellow throated Apalis and Green Back Camaroptera as well. I love seeing all sorts of birds like this together - it refreshes my knowledge on who is what and also gives me a chance to run and around and take photos which is always a joy for me.

On the game drive front, Friday morning began with Jared and myself going out looking for anything we could find. As the morning was incredibly cold we did not see much but toward the end of the drive we came upon 4 hyena walking up the road which was great! And we also saw lots and lots of Zebra throughout the drive.

In the afternoon Tara and Jared went out and saw some general game. And to end of the day Marc spent some time in Final Control with the viewers for a half hour doing his ReMarcable creatures and talking about insects he had seen on leave.

On Saturday Jared and I went out again in another very cold morning spell and found some lion tracks that we tried to follow up on. We looked high and low but to no avail, the cats were hiding from us. We moved onto the burnt area on Cheetah cutline and found a dazzle of Zebra. We watched a small Zebra foul run and play around charging and kicking up and down the road - very fun and sweet to watch such a small animal with such a spring to it's step.

The afternoon team headed out and had more luck with the weather having warmed up. Marc and Tara saw some elephant and spend a bit of time watching the 2 bulls they had come across. Meanwhile toward the end of the drive, I spotted a leopard at Gowrie dam and they were able to make their way there but the batteries on the Jigga gave out and we were unable to broadcast but everyone did manage to spot Induna on the wall for a couple of minutes.

All in all, the sightings seem to be picking up a little bit which is good and this will be my last Blog for the next 2 weeks. As usual I will be handing over to Tara who will keep you all entertained whilst I am away.

See you all in 2 weeks.


Friday, July 16, 2010

General Game take the Stage!

Hi there everyone. Hope you are all well and looking forward to the weekend!

The weather is blowing hot and cold literally and with the wind comes the cooler or hotter temperatures. On drive this morning the weather was quite pleasant as we had this blanket of cloud covering Djuma keeping all the nice hot air bundled in close to Earth. But the winds are still howling outside so who knows what the weather will bring in the next few days.

Pictures taken of the new FC Carpeting
The sightings on game drive have been more about the General Game at the moment – which has been nice for a change as we have really been able to focus on the usual animals that we wouldn’t always spend alot of time on, with the cats and most pachyderms being absent.

Buffelshoek management has over the past week burnt firebreaks between Djuma and Buffleshoek area. And with the burnt grassy areas and still smouldering trees comes the birdlife. Driving on the roads along the burnt areas you get to see some amazing bird life that come into the blackened areas to eat the exposed grass seeds and insects that are around. Just the other day Marc and I saw the trio of Ground Hornbills on such a patch and after we had closed off for drive, one of them flew into a tree and grabbed a chameleon out of its branches. We both gasped as one rarity ate another but that is the way life in the bush is I suppose.

On Wednesday’s drives Jared and I started out on a very chilly morning with just some Kudu and a journey of Giraffe. The morning was a still one with not much game as I think they were hiding away from the bitingly cold air we were driving around in.

In the afternoon Tara and Marc spotted a really nice herd of elephant which they spent some time with and then to end off the day Tara did her fireside chat with Marc this time, as a guest, chatting about Leopard Identification. Mostly talking about Karula and her boys and the now very talked about Mixo / Tara and Marc encounter on drive.

Tara at the Majingilane Sighting
Thursday morning the chaps out on drive saw some Elephant again and a really nice herd of Kudu. It was another chilly morning out there so once again the animals seemed to be hiding.
In the afternoon Tara and myself went out and found a journey of Giraffe near Gowrie dam and tried to follow up on a leopard that had been seen around the dam by Graham (The Gowrie Gang) earlier in the afternoon. No such luck unfortunately.

Patrick will be returning from leave on Monday morning and Jared and myself are due to go on leave this Tuesday coming. So the wheel continues to turn as they say.

From another windy day down here at Sabi Sands I say cheerio for now.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The cold front is back!

Hello everyone from another cold and windy day at Sabi Sands. The cold front has arrived from the South Coast and our wonderful warm days of ‘summer’ weather are gone, but we are in winter, so I suppose the cold weather is bound to hit us from time to time.

Herman has left on his leave and was jet setting off to Cape Town yesterday. Alex is back and is working fiercely on the 3D rig to get it up and running!

The rest of us in camp are going about our daily duties and myself, Jared and Siphiwe are installing in the new Final Control, carpeting, which Alex kindly brought back from Johannesburg with him. I will take photos and post it as soon as we have finished putting it down. What a difference it is making already to the looks and to the sound in the building!

Monday’s game drives started with Marc and Tara going out. They found some Hyena around Quarantine area and a great herd of Elephant. They also had a sighting with Mixo who was after some remains of a kill left behind. The footage and story that unfolded from there on everyone knows. Mixo did some snarling and hissing at Marc and Tara as he was very close to the vehicle because Marc had unknowingly parked on top of Mixo’s meal. There are lots of photos and hot spots about the sighting!

In the afternoon Jared and I found a small herd of Elephant on our way to Buffelshoek dam so we spent some time with them and one particular female elephant got very close to the vehicle and put out her trunk so that we could almost touch her as if she were saying hello.

Tuesday morning with Marc and myself saw some hyena right at the start walking down to Gowrie Dam. We then later on in the drive went to Buffelshoek dam and found a large herd of Buffalo drinking! On top of that there were some great birds to be sighted! And at the end of drive we found the trio of Ground Hornbills roaming around the newly burnt firebreak area on Buffelshoek Cutline. Excellent end to a drive.

In the afternoon Jared and Marc went out and found a buffalo and rhino together – very unusual behaviour toward each other. And then at Buffelshoek dam later on Mixo sleeping with a beautiful sunset overlooking the dam.

What a great day at Buffelshoek Dam – the place to be!

See you again in a couple of days from a bitingly cold camp.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Babaloo gets a makeover!

Hello everyone.

Well the Soccer World Cup is over and what a month it has been! I can't believe it has come and gone and all the excitement is over. Well done to the champions: Spain! I hope the good emotions that came with the world cup stays on though - the country really was in amazing spirits.

Around camp Alex is back today from his leave and Herman goes on leave as of tomorrow. That is it for the week with regards to staff coming and going on / from leave!

Around camp everyone is keeping busy and today we had to repair the accelerator cable on Jigga as it snapped this morning again - but Jared has fixed it for the afternoon drive and all should be well.

Saturday morning started off with a great sighting of Buffalo and some white Rhino. Giraffe have been ever present around the Quarantine area and we have been seeing the 2 mothers with their 2 calves quite a bit lately which has been very amusing.

Saturday afternoon with Tara and myself saw all the pachyderms! A great sighting with a crash of white Rhino and then some Elephant with Hippo at Gowrie dam followed by in the late afternoon a dimly lit sighting of some old Buffalo bulls.

Pictures of the newly done up Babaloo looking very handsome!!

Sunday's drives began with Jared and myself only managing to go out for about 20 minutes due to battery problems and having to retire early. But Jared sat in final control and spoke to the viewers for the rest of the drive and got some fantastic questions in and lots of interaction from everyone.

The afternoon drive went out with Tara and Herman and they managed to find some great general game: Giraffe again, a few warthog, a dazzle of zebra and some antelope. And a small herd of Buffalo as well.

And to end of the evening Marc sat round the fire and went through the week's highlights. Adding some of the other presenter's highlights and what they enjoyed about the week as well.

We had a wonderful sunny almost Summer day yesterday which was such a nice change to some of the cold days we have been experiencing - but due to the windy weather yesterday also, a cold front has blown in today and things are a little on the chilly side once again. But it is more than half way through Winter and not long to go before the wonderful Spring season comes around.

Enjoy your day and till next time folks.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rhino week!

Hello there everyone and Happy Weekend!

Tomorrow is the Soccer World Cup Final and everyone here in camp is getting very excited to watch the game! Some of the Sabi Sands lodges are getting a world cup final party together for everyone to watch the game which should be lots of fun!

Peter will be also be leaving us tomorrow to fly back to Cape Town and Alex will be returning from his leave hopefully well rested. And Herman will be leaving on Tuesday for his 3 week leave which he is looking very forward to.

At camp, Jared has been working on the Bubaloo car to get it up and running well. He has put all the covers back on it and it now looks like a proper car with windows and a back door and has even had a bit of a spruce up with a paint job inside and out. I will take a photo of it and put it in my next Blog for you all to see what a different good looking car it has become

Game drive wise, Thursday morning started with a great sighting of some White Rhino and some really nice general game with Tara and Herman.

The afternoon drive with Marc and Jared saw a couple of old Buffalo bulls around the Chela Pan area and also some White Rhino sleeping.

Friday morning with myself and Jared out on drive saw a great herd of Elephant on Cheetah Cutline area. The young bull that was following the herd at a small distance had some very odd behaviour and we weren't quite sure if he was just a little curious or whether he wanted to mock charge us. After awhile he settled down and allowed us to get some nice shots of him eating and scratching himself on a Marula tree. We also saw Jared's favourite antelopes (well in his top 5 he says) which were Nyala, Kudu and Waterbuck - all really nice sightings of each.

In the afternoon with Patrick and Tara they saw some Buffalo and The Gowrie Gang troop of baboons on Quarantine who are always up for some fun!

And for the fireside chat to end off the day Jared spent the half hour chatting to everyone about Survival Skills in the bush. He made a Quarry bush shelter and showed how to extract water from fresh elephant dung as well as chatting about personal survival situations and also what to eat and what not to eat if ever in the situation. I think everyone enjoyed that!

And after fireside chat we all sat down around the fire and enjoyed some braai'ed chicken 'flatties' and a drink or two before all heading off to bed.

Join me on Monday for my next instalment.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wonderful Sightings

Welcome everyone to another instalment of my Blog. The game for the last few days has been great and we have had some more wonderful sightings. The lions that were in the area over the last week have moved out and are supposedly down in the south at the moment around Chitwa Chitwa area but I think we will be seeing them again soon hopefully!

We have also had some good leopard sightings aswell seeing Induna who was been a scarce recently and also Jordaan yesterday which was a nice surprise. He isn’t as accustomed to the vehicles it would seem as the boys are and was a bit skittish but we did at least get to view him which was worth all the off roading that we did.

All photos of Mixo
Marc has settled in back from his leave and Alex will be returning on Sunday from his holiday away. Herman is due to depart next week for his extended 3 week leave which he is very much looking forward to and Afke has already left for her 2 weeks of rest. She will be staying at the Ingwe Leopard Project volunteering and camping.

The weather is still very much up and down at this point and some days are wonderful and sunny and others are cold, rainy, dark and cloudy!

Will came to visit again last night and stayed only for the night and was off again today. Just to bring supplies and to check up on the goings on as always!

On the game drive front Tuesday’s drives were very good with the morning drive seeing the last sighting of the 4 male lion before they headed off south as well as the hyenas and vultures hanging around the area waiting for their turn at the carcass. And on the way back they also saw a breeding herd of elephant!

The afternoon drive with Marc and Jared found Induna at Gowrie Dam!! They stayed and watched him for awhile having to do some excellent off-roading to keep up with him. They also watched some great Elephant and hippo interaction at the dam as well as seeing some general game.

Wednesday started off with Jared and I going back to the ‘scene of the crime’ of the kill to see if anything was scavenging on the carcass – we came across a hyena and the usual vultures. On the way to Gowrie Dam and down the drainage line we found Jordaan (the male leopard) who had dragged the remains of that Steenbok from the dam the previous night. As mentioned he was a bit unsettled and gave us a run for our money with all the off roading that was done to keep up with him!!

In the afternoon the team saw some excellent general game and wonderful elephants.

And to end of the day Tara had her fireside chat with Graham Cook. They spoke about The Gowrie Gang baboons and what Graham has been up to with them and over the last month or so. Always very interesting to talk to someone that is researching a particular animal and its behaviors!

Keep well and see you again soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The lions might be moving in!

Welcome everyone to another Blog for the week. The skies have cleared and we seem to having some wonderful sunny weather at the moment – I hope it lasts!
Marc has returned from leave and will start his drives this afternoon. Siphiwe is also back from leave and said she had a wonderful time with her family. Afke also goes on leave tomorrow and is apparently going camping which she seems very enthusiastic about!

The lion are still around after they were found on Sunday morning with Patrick and Herman on a Buffalo kill they had made earlier that morning. They were found around Drakensberg drive / Mamba road junction just off the road having killed this buffalo and were looking very full. They have stayed there since taking time to feed and relax and are very protective over their kill chasing away any vultures that try to fly in for a morsel. No hyenas have been found around the area as yet, but I’m sure they won’t be far off waiting for their moment to get in there. The rest of that drive the chaps also found some wonderful elephant to watch.

In the afternoon, Tara and I went out to follow up on the lion and spent a good hour and a half at the kill site with them. 2 of the males were looking very full whilst the other 2 had obviously not eaten as much as their bellies were smaller but all 4 were lying in the grass panting and rolling over trying to digest their meal.

Jared then ended off the evening with recapping on the week’s safari highlights as well as talking about the Jigga and its problems for the week and talking with Peter about 3D and what is to be expected.

Monday started off with Jared and myself finding Mixo and Induna at Gowrie dam. Afke who was directing saw them through the waterhole camera and we managed to find Mixo again and spent an hour with him getting some really great close-ups. After that we went off in search of the lion and found a herd of elephant along the way with a really small little one!! And then we went and spent some time at the end of the drive with the lion who were still flat cats with very full bellies.

The monkeys are back around camp and causing havoc around the kitchen taking any small chance they can get to grab a piece of food lying around!

And Sunday night after fireside chat everyone sat round the fire and enjoyed Herman’s potjie that had been brewing for the afternoon! It was fantastic! I had earlier in the day bravely tried to bake a chocolate cake which didn’t turn out to badly and we had that as a once off treat for dessert. All in all a great day and wonderful dinner spent in the bush round a crackling fire!

See you all next time.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Lion are back!

Hello everyone. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend so far! We are already into July for this year - how the time flies as I say and nearly at the end of the Soccer world cup as well - I can't believe it is nearly all over!

Back in camp things are much the same as always - be it Soccer world cup, Winter or Summer life carries on for us as it does. We are obviously very busy with the 3D rig at the moment and of course the changes that happen with as we go along but indeed living in the bush, time seems to stand still.

The lion are back in the area which is great news for us! So hopefully they will stick around a little longer this time so we can really get to know them. However I think with them possibly moving into the Sabi Sands area that our time spent with them might be short lived as they will, I'm sure, want to move on and patrol. But who knows - maybe we will be lucky!

Marc will be arriving back from leave tomorrow and starting on Tuesday. We hope he is well relaxed and ready to go for his drive on Tuesday afternoon. Afke will be going on leave when Siphiwe comes back which is Wednesday and Tuesday respectively and it looks like Afke will be spending some time at the Ingwe Leopard Project which we hope she thoroughly enjoys.

Sightings for Friday started with a drive mainly centred around general game such as a dazzle of Zebra, a giraffe and The Gowrie Gang troop of baboons that are back in the area.

The afternoon drive with myself and Jared had the Shemount Primary School join us for the first hour. They sent in lots and lots of questions to Jared as well as being asked questions themselves from Jared to test some of their wildlife knowledge. They seemed to have a wonderful time and we got some lovely feedback as well as having some of the boys on the next day's afternoon drive join us again which was wonderful. We saw some baboon again with warthog and impala and some very funny interaction between the young baboon and warthog chasing each other around Quarantine.

I ended off the day with my Photography fireside chat about before and after photos as well as tips, tricks and methods of Photoshop. Hope everyone enjoyed that!

Saturday morning started off very chilly and misty with Tara and Jared on camera finding Mixo all huddled up sleeping on the cold winter morning. After Mixo had moved off, they heard of a lion sighting not far off and followed up on that to find the 4 male lion that are roaming around the Sabi Sands at the moment possibly trying to hunt a herd of Buffalo. Tense moments but alas they disappeared and we ended the drive.

In the afternoon Patrick followed up and found the lion again and spent some of the time with them but the drive was cut slightly short with battery depletion on the Jigga and we went to Gowrie Dam. The lion however had not killed any buffalo and were just relaxing in the fading afternoon sun.

The Jigga seems to be holding up with the steering which is good news and we are still working hard on getting the Ganda up and ready with the 3D rig. So stay posted.

Chat soon!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Jigga gives us a hard time.......

(Images I took are still from the children in the Staff Village)

Welcome from another stormy and drizzly day at camp. We had rain again last night which was wonderful but I’m beginning to feel like imp on the wrong continent for the season. This much rain in winter I feel is somewhat unusual.

Wednesday morning was the fateful morning the steering arm on Jigga decided to break. Jared and Herman were out on drive and had spotted a spoonbill at Buffelshoek dam and were then on their way to follow up on some elephant that were in a drainage line when the vehicle decided to call it quits. The guys were down in the middle of a drainage line with very little signal and had to manoeuvre the vehicle out with limited steering capabilities. Herman took some footage of their drive home which Sebastian used for the video diaries the next day for us all to look at.

The jigga then sat in the workshop with Jared for the day and Jared managed to fix it before afternoon drive. Tara and myself then went out in the afternoon and started with a wonderful journey of Giraffe. As we moved off from the sighting the Jigga’s steering began to feel odd again and the arm broke once more. The rest of the afternoon was then very entertaining: Herman and Patrick came out to our rescue in the Babaloo to try and tow the jigga but ended in overheating the Babaloo. We then tried jacking the car up and moving it this way but only got a metre in about 30mins. Eventually I got in the car to try and drive it again and managed to drive it back to camp doing about a 1000 point turn eventually driving forward and reversing alot. Jared then started to fix it again and by the next afternoon’s drive the Jigga was up and running again beautifully – back in tip top shape!

Patrick still had his Fireside chat that evening with 2 lady guests that joined him. They spoke about superstitions of the Shangaan people and how the Shangaan surnames tie into the wildlife of the area and some of the superstitions. An interesting side to the Shangaan culture.

And hence the morning drive on Thursday morning did not go out but Patrick spent the morning in Final control talking to all the viewers and surveying Gowrie Dam.

The afternoon drive with Tara and Herman though went out and was 100% and they managed to see some White Rhino that had come down to Gowrie dam earlier and also saw Induna! We haven’t seen Induna in quite awhile so that was great to spend some time with him.

Will Fox also came down for a night just to spend some time of the 3D rig and see how that was coming along.

All in all, camp has been busy again, in many different aspects!

Till next time!