Monday, August 30, 2010

Gowrie dam camera!

Hi everyone!
Here are some pictures of the team hard at work trying to fix the camera for the dam. I was there just for support!

Posted by Tara

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jared & Kathryn's Departure

Hello everyone.

This Blog is to follow up on the fireside chat had tonight regarding Jared's and my departure from for those who might have missed it.

We announced on fireside chat tonight that we will be leaving in 2 weeks. Our last day will be the Monday 13th September.

Jared and I have obviously thought about leaving in depth before coming to the decision to move on from We have really enjoyed our time spent in the Sabi Sands having gotten to know a different area and having been able to spend so much time with leopards and all the other wonderful animals in the area.

I personally have learnt a great deal from having worked with as camerawork was relatively new to me aside from having the knowledge from my photography which I used to apply to it all.

We will be moving on but staying in the bush. We don't think we could ever move back to a city full time as the bush is in our blood. We can't give the details of where will be going to yet but it will be ranger / reserve management orientated for Jared and hospitality / photography orientated for myself.

We will be sad to leave everyone that we have become friends with at and thank you to the all the viewers who supported us through the months! We will always appreciate it. And a special mention to Will Fox, Graham and Emily Wallington for the wonderful opportunity!

As the saying goes, it is not goodbye, it is till next time.

Kathryn and Jared.

Message from Will

Good day folks.
I thought you all might like an update on one or two of the technical issues we are dealing with at the moment.
As with any pioneering work, we have needed to overcome many issues with our 3D rig and broadcast. By the very nature of what we do, we'll always push the boundaries to bring you the latest technology to enhance your experience. Of-course our aim is to bring an African bush experience into your home and that is why we opted to pioneer live 3d broadcasting. We have a few more wrinkles to iron out, but our design has pushed the boundaries and very soon you will be able to enjoy a live 3d wildlife experience, which we hope will bring you a step closer to actually being here.
Its been bad timing, but at the same time, we have not been able to pan and tilt the water hole camera for two weeks, and believe me it is not something that we have ignored. We have a tricky technical fault, which we're working on, but it hasn't been a quick fix, however with any luck we'll get some spare parts sent out to the bush and the camera will be mobile again shortly.
Folks, please feel free to contact me if you would like more information, my email address is below.

Written by Will Fox
CEO Safari TV

A new Hyena Den emerges!!

Good morning everyone. Hope you are all having yet another wonderful Sunday and weekend thus far enjoying the outdoors or just lounging on the couch after a stressful week.

Sunday in camp today is a very hot Spring day! We all might even use the sparkling blue pool at Inge's house today for a bit of cool refreshment later!

Siphiwe is back from leave today after having had a few days off. Also it was her birthday yesterday and everyone wished her happy birthday for the day! Hope it was a good one Siphiwe!!!

Styx pride at Buffelshoek Dam

Thursdays game drives started with a wonderful early morning elephant sighting in some low mist. Tara and Herman watched the elephants in the beautiful light that surrounded them with the mist. What a mystical sighting! They also later on in the drive saw some Hyena. In the afternoon Patrick and I went out for a short while but had to come back into camp as the 3D rig needed some work done on it. After awhile we were off again and went to Gowrie Dam to follow up on a herd of elephant that Jared has managed to see with the waterhole camera. We relocated the herd and spent some time with them feeding around the dam. Behind them at one point a hyena popped its head out but didn't stick around for long. It was definitely on a mission somewhere. And then a little while later we also had a bull white rhino come down to the dam and walk past Vuyatela lodge. So the dam proved to be very fruitful for us for the rest of the day.

Friday morning with Jared and I was more of a quiet one and we only saw some kudu and did some bird watching. We also had a few problems with the 3D rig on drive and had to retire a little earlier than expected to come back to camp so that Alex could have a look at everything and diagnose the problem. But all was sorted and Tara and Herman went out in the afternoon and had all sorts of luck. They bumped into Induna and spent some time with him and toward the end of drive after tracking some hyena found the new hyena den off Galago shortcut / Buffelshoek Cutline roads. This is indeed some great news for everyone as we now know there is a new hyena den and that there are pups in it. We can't wait till they are older and start coming out of the den. Then we can really have some fantastic sightings whilst they get used to the vehicles. Looking forward to that!!

Bateleur Pair

Saturday started with Tara and Sebastien (Sebastien's first time on the 3D camera!) going out and finding Induna again. Induna is being very kind to us at the moment and sharing his time with us which we all appreciate! They also saw some white rhino and some buffalo. A good drive all round! Myself and Patrick went out in the afternoon to find some buffalo straight away near quarantine just down Philimon's dip. We bumbled around to Buffelshoek dam afterward to see a crash of 4 white rhino drinking and wallowing at the dam. It really was a great sighting watching them as they enjoyed themselves in the afternoon sunlight.

The sightings have been good lately and we have been lucky with some of the animals we have seen! We hope to see many more over the next few drives as always!

Till next time


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rainy Days!

Hello everyone and hope you are all well and enjoying your week!

This week has been very surprising weather wise with a day or two of drizzle and rain which had some of our drives delayed or cancelled. We were very happy with the rain and hoped it would settle all the dust and sprinkle the trees and bushes with some moisture but definitely not typical August weather at all. However today is back to hot and dusty with swirling wind which is back to the typical August weather we have all come to know.

Burchells Starling

Sunday's drives were a good way to end the weekend seeing some of the Styx pride. A young male lion and an older lioness. They were seen in the morning and the afternoon which was fantastic. Patrick and I also saw on our afternoon drive a wonderful combination sighting of Elephant and Rhino near Gowrie Dam! And as it was a Sunday we had our fireside chat after drive with the presenter crew where they went over the week's highlights and had a general chat round the fire!

On Monday morning Jared and I located Mixo sleeping in a drainage line after we had tracked him down the firebreak. He was very patient that morning after having woken up stalking a grey duiker. We were amazed at how much patience he exercised whilst watching the duiker which showed great skills learnt for such a young leopard. We also managed to see some Elephant and the two Styx pride members drinking at Buffelshoek Dam to end off our drive. In the afternoon Marc and Herman saw very nice Rhino in a wonderful sighting and the lion at Buffelshoek Dam again.

Styx Lions drinking.

Tuesday was a day of rain and wind and the crew in the morning only managed to go out in the morning for about an hour before they were chased back indoors due to drizzle. In the afternoon Patrick and I went out as the weather had cleared and saw some great Elephant, Buffalo and a fantastic Rhino sighting with the young female sleeping in the road and playing in the sand with her horn. What a great sighting we don't often see at all!!

Yesterday morning was much the same as the previous morning with heavy rain and we were completely rained out on drive within 5 minutes of starting, so Jared came into Final Control and chatted to everyone for the 3 hours. The weather had cleared somewhat by the afternoon and Marc went out on his last drive before leave and saw some amazing things: Jordaan the male leopard again made an appearance and a lovely herd of Elephant. Mike Moss who is visiting and staying at Djuma came on at the beginning of drive to say hello!

So Marc is on leave now for about 2 weeks and Alex is back in camp in the swing of 3D all over again. So as with the way things go, staff come and go on leave and everyone carries on.

I will see you all on Sunday for my next Blog! Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Karula makes an appearance!

Hello everyone and welcome to another Blog instalment.

The up and down weather continues at the moment with warm days, windy gusts and cool days all mixed together. Friday we had a miserable winter day with cold cold temperatures and August winds. A thick cloud covered it all and the day was miserable, but today it is lovely and warm again with a high of 29 degrees the weatherman predicts so all is well in the land.

Alex will be back tomorrow from leave and starts on Tuesday! Will and Carol Fox leave us tomorrow after having stayed over the weekend.

Our resident Francolins, Hornbills and one Vervet Monkey are all doing well and regularly visit the kitchen. We have named the francolin 'Franki' (it is a lady francolin however) and she is so brave with us at the moment that she tries to fly onto your lap to have lunch with you. We hope she stays at camp as she is so entertaining.

Thursday had a good start with drives when Patrick and I went out to find Karula sauntering down Vuyatela access road. We spent a good 2 hours of the drive with her, off and on, as she tried to hunt francolins and guinea fowl around Quarantine. We haven't seen here in a while and really enjoyed the time spent with her. We also managed to see some Buffalo in the middle of drive as well. The afternoon drive didn't manage to relocate Karula from the morning but still had a very productive drive with an Elephant and some Buffalo again!


Friday morning and afternoon were very quiet on drive with the miserable weather that had blown in overnight. All the animals I assume were hiding under any form of vegetation away from the bitter wind that was howling for most of the day. The morning drive with Tara and Herman just saw some small general game and the afternoon drive with Jared and I managed to see a small herd of Buffalo, The Gowrie Gang baboons and some general game as well. Not bad for the weather that we were experiencing I thought.

Saturday morning when we got to camp, the clouds had cleared overnight and left twinkling stars instead. A good sign that the day would be warmer and less harsh than Friday. But as with clear skies after a cold day, the morning was freezing and Jared and I went out, teeth chattering, to hopefully find some game. We managed to see some Zebra and Giraffe. I think the animals were still in hiding from the cold! But the afternoon had warmed up alot and for the PM drive the crew got to see more animals that had come out to play in the better weather: Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo.

Sunrise over Quarantine

The weather forecast over the next few days suggests a cold, possibly rainy day on Tuesday. So for today and tomorrow we will enjoy the wonderful sun and temperatures while they last.

Till next time.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Warm Windy Weather continues....

Good afternoon and welcome to another Blog.

Monday morning's drive started out with rhino's, rhino's and more rhino's. Marc and Herman saw a crash of 3 toward the end of drive and a single rhino at Chela Pan toward the beginning. They also saw a small herd of elephant. In the afternoon, Jared and I went out to find Jordaan, the male leopard, at Buffelshoek Dam. He was lying on the bank of the dam sleeping and soaking up the afternoon sun. We drove round and managed to get a good spot to sit with him, but as it is with Jordaan, he wasn't going to sit around and let us watch him, so he got up, had a quick drink and was off. We managed to follow him for a couple hundred metres till he went down into the drainage line on the side of the dam and we were unable to follow. It wasn't a very long sighting but we enjoyed every moment of it with a cat that we don't get to see very often. So a good start to the drive. We ended off the day with another small herd of elephant that were feeding quietly not too far from the same area.

An image of Mixo over the last couple of months

Tuesday with Patrick and myself in the morning found a large herd of Buffalo on Cheetah Cutline that were crossing into Western Gowrie. We sat with the herd for quite some time and watched them slowly feed and move across the road and into the thick block of bushes. We also came across two herds of elephant, separately, through the morning as well. And in the afternoon with Tara and Herman, they also found a smaller herd of Buffalo that they watched for some time and later on in the afternoon, they saw Induna who only allowed them a little bit of time with him, till he slunk away into a thickly wooded area that was inaccessible to the Ganda. But it was a great find!

Yesterday was a day for general game and Induna again. The morning started out with Marc and Herman looking at all the general game that was around the area. Zebra's, Giraffe, Impala and few other small and furry creatures fluffed up from the cold. In the afternoon Jared and I happened upon Induna in Buffleshoek just off the road at Tamboti Dam. We couldn't go there but we had a slight visual of him at the water's edge. Lucky for us he started walking our way and walked straight past the vehicle and into Western Gowrie. We didn't have much more time with him as he strolled into the drainage line and away from the Ganda into a thicket. We still had a very lucky afternoon with Buffalo and a herd of Elephant as well.

Alex will be back from leave the beginning of next week and Peter sadly leaves us today to go back to Cape Town. We do however wish him well as he is going back to wedding plans full steam ahead! Will and Carol Fox are arriving today for 4 nights and staying in camp to help us all and hopefully bring with them a new joystick for the waterhole camera which Peter is going to install. So hopefully we will have Gowrie Dam Cam back up to speed by the evening.

I hope you have enjoyed this afternoon's Blog and see you again next time!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Windy winter weather!

Good day everyone and hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday!

As with things in August, the wind is swirling around the camp and days are warm and sunny with cool evenings, typical weather going into spring at the end of the month. As Patrick says ‘summer is around the cornour’ and I hope he is not far off his prediction that the windy weather will turn soon.

Pied Kingfisher
Alex is still away on leave enjoying time in Russia. And Peter is still with us for another few days or so before he heads back off to Cape Town. So life in camp is as it was over the last few days.

I have discovered over the past couple days that we have 2 very habituated birds in camp at the moment. A Yellow billed hornbill and a Crested Francolin. They regularly join us for breakfast and lunch outside the kitchen and share in any tasty morsels we toss to them. The francolin is so friendly that she sits right next to you on the bench or on the table and waits with a beady eye for a breadcrumb that might fall from your plate. They really are great companions to have when you want to have lunch with a friend.

Grey Heron acting like a duck
Thursday started with a fairly quiet morning seeing only The Gowrie Gang of baboons and a family of Warthog. The afternoon Patrick and myself went out but shortly after getting on the road the Ganda was spluttering again and we were forced back to camp. After looking at the vehicle, we saw the fuel pump was ‘dead’ and we needed a new one so Jared rushed off to Hoedspruit to get one. The crew then stayed late into the night trying to fix the Ganda after Jared came back from Hoedpsruit but unfortunately the job was just too big and they had to call it a day. The mechanics were phoned the next morning to come out and fix it.

Friday morning Jared came into final control and chatted with the viewers as no drive was to be going out. Shortly after 9 the mechanics arrive and started work on the Ganda. It was fixed before lunch and they were back on their way. The afternoon drive did manage to go out with Marc and Herman and they had a wonderful drive seeing Mixo at Treehouse dam whom we haven’t seen in a long while. It was so good to spend time with young Mixo again. They also managed to relocate the 2 Styx pride females that had been found in the morning.

Saturday with Tara and Herman out on drive went back to follow up on the Styx lionesses. They found them and spend a good hour with them as they lazed around in the morning sun and warmed up for the day ahead. In the afternoon Patrick and I went out and also went to see the lionesses. They were in the same spot and hadn’t moved all day. Clearly they were very happy near the dam and having fed a night or two before they were in no rush to move. We decided to leave them to continue to roll around in the sun and headed off in search of some elephant. Near Buffelshoek dam we found a herd and spent the remaining hour of drive with them. Not bad for a day’s outing!

And so that is it for the past few days. See you all in a few.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wonderful Lion Sightings.

Hello everyone.

The weather at the moment around I think most of the country is one of cold and rain. The clouds have been brewing overhead for days now and yesterday we had a little drizzle but it seems the rain was holding out for this morning’s drive and we had to come back to camp for a little while whilst the clouds let down a little drizzle. The bitterly cold wind as well that is swirling round camp is also affecting the animals, I think, as we aren’t seeing much on drive at the moment. I think everything is huddled away in a hole somewhere waiting out the weather in hopes of a warm patch. Looking at the weather map today brings hope though as it says we should be nice and warm by the weekend. I do hope they are right!

Sebastien is back into the swing of things after his leave as Alex has jetsetted off to Russia for his leave. Sebastien is working hard on trying to get out 3D Video Diaries for us all to watch with some 2D Diaries in-between, and we all eagerly await every day to watch what footage we have managed to get. When you are out on the Ganda filming as a cameraman, you are watching the image in 2D, so it really is amazing to watch what 3D images come out at the end of it and how different it looks.

Monday was an amazing day with the highlight from the night before with the buffalo kill at Gowrie Dam. Jared and I made our way to Gowrie Dam in the morning to spend time with the pride. For the rest of the day Siphiwe had a ball with the waterhole camera as we could see the kill and watch all the vultures and a hyena come down to the carcass midmorning and devour all the remains. So many vultures were seen .
It really was a great day at the dam with so much entertainment. And to end off the day with the PM drive going back to the carcass to find Induna there smelling and trying to find any bits left over from the day. It really was a highlight to have this all at our fingertips.

On Tuesday’s drives we saw on both the AM and PM drive 2 lionesses from the Styx Pride that had made their way onto the concession. It was really good to be able to spend some time with a few of the members that we haven’t seen in awhile and that they are still coming onto Western Gowrie. Patrick and I had a wonderful afternoon on top of the lion: White Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo as well. So everything was out and about and willing to spend some time with us.
Wednesday started off with some Rhino around Cheetah Cutline and a herd of Elephant.
It was a bitterly cold morning when we went out after the cold front had moved in from the evening so it was a subdued morning on Western Gowrie.

The afternoon was just as cold and windy but the crew went out to see what they could find and saw a Lilac breasted roller that had caught a chameleon! And to end of the day: Patrick’s fireside chat where he spoke about superstitions and mythical creatures with a lady from Djuma called Patience.

So from another cold and drizzly day at Djuma bye for now and see you next time!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Highlight of the week!

Hello everyone and what a day it has been!

As mentioned previously the camp has been very busy with everyone coming in and out. We had a gentleman here on Friday and Saturday night making small changes to the 3D rig to make it more user friendly. Alex, Herman and myself are finding sitting at the back with all the equipment a little bit easier now. Also Will and Carol Fox arrived on Saturday and are due to stay till tomorrow. They are helping around camp and sorting out the 3D rig pieces as well. Peter Braat and Sebastien are back as of last night and Sebastien is very well rested after his 2 weeks leave. He seemed to enjoy Cape Town immensely and said the weather wasn't bad at all! Also Tara came back today after her week of leave and also said she is feeling rested. So everyone is well and happy!

Also before we move onto game drives: Happy Women's Day to everyone out there!! It is a public holiday here in South Africa for Women's Day so I hope every lady out there is having a wonderful day off!

Moving onto game drives: Saturday was quite quiet again on the home front with the morning and afternoons drives seeing Giraffe and Kudu which have both been in abundance lately which has been wonderful. We all also saw some Buffalo (especially on the morning drive many Buffalo all over Western Gowrie) and a herd of Elephant that we see quite often during the day that come down to Gowrie Dam. There is a tiny little one in this herd that is very funny to watch as he is still learning to use his trunk and has no idea what to do with it. Lots of entertainment from him!

Sunday morning's drive with Jared and myself went out tracking the leopards. We had some tracks around Gowrie Main / Leadwood Road/ Cheetah Cutline area and gathered some support from neighbouring lodges and set out to track a female and male leopard. The tracks were very fresh as we all drove around looking for the elusive cats and we seemed to be just missing them by seconds. The male popped out on the main road but we all missed him and then he disappeared and later on the female leopard was spotted on Gowrie Main just a little south of our traversing rights. So we missed the leopards by seconds again and I'm sure they were watching us as we drove around in circles looking for them but that is what safari is all about folks!

Sunday evening was when all the excitement and action happened. The lion pride came down to Gowrie Dam to drink a little, saw an opportunity and killed a female buffalo and calf that were near the dam. The leopards were also around possibly seeing this as an opportunity for them to make a kill of the calf or get some meat but there were leopards and lions everywhere! Marc and Alex went out to witness this all and get it on camera, and a few of you hopefully were still watching to witness the action! So we had a kill at Gowrie Dam and will hopefully have some wonderful sightings from it with Vultures and Hyenas coming to visit as well.

What a brilliant way to end a day and week! And hopefully the cats are back to stay!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where have all the cats gone?

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend where ever you might be.

Camp is going to get very busy once again this weekend as everyone will be here. Will and Carol will be arriving today for a couple of days to assist in camp. Peter Braat and Sebastien will be arriving tomorrow from Cape Town and leave respectively. Tara will also be back from her weeks leave on Monday hopefully refreshed and then it is Alex's turn to go on leave and is heading off to Russia! Busy times ahead for everyone and all hands on deck.

Pictures of the 3D Rig

The weather at the moment has been wonderful during the day with very mild winter temperatures. The mornings and late evenings however have still been bitterly cold and remind all of us that winter has not left just yet. But 3 weeks from now is the first day of spring so we are holding on for the warm weather that will hopefully come on the 01st September.

Game drives are still scarce on the cat front. We are seeing some wonderful pachyderms' with Elephant and Buffalo around but the cats are still avoiding us and hiding. We are seeing signs that they are here but it seems we are just missing them as they play cat and mouse with us whilst we are out.

Game Drives on Thursday morning started with Jared and myself going out. We got to see some Buffalo bulls at the very start of drive but they were very hard to see in the dark with the spotlight. Toward the end we came across a great mix of Zebra, Giraffe and Impala and it seems that mom Giraffe found her little one as the family was reunited with mom, dad and baby Giraffe.

In the afternoon with Marc and Herman they saw a fabulous herd of Elephant at Gowrie Dam which was very lucky, and that ended off a wonderful day at Djuma.

Friday morning with myself and Marc started with a Ganda that was not that happy. Ganda was making spluttering noises and not driving very well. It seemed that the diesel was not getting to the engine and every couple of hundred metres we would stall. We eventually after an hour and a half decided to call it quits and came back to camp and whilst Marc talked to the viewers in Final Control, we had an outside mechanic come in and look at and fix the problem, and since then we have had a great vehicle that is full of diesel power again! The Ganda lives on!

In the afternoon with Herman and Patrick they again saw some great Elephant and some Buffalo so they had a great drive with some animals to watch.

We hope we all get to see some furry animals in the next day or two as we are all getting withdrawal symptoms from not seeing our favourite cats.

Bye for now.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Times are changing

Hello everyone and welcome to another Blog. Jared and I are back from our 2 weeks leave and happy to be back in the bush. (Thanks to Tara for looking after the Blog whilst I was away)Siphiwe is also back from her weeks leave and Tara has gone away on a weeks leave now and Alex will be leaving at the end of the week as well for his 2 weeks leave. Sebastien will be back then and Peter Braat will be joining us at camp whilst Alex is away to keep us all going through the 3D change. So things are happening round camp and everything is busy busy again.

(Chinspot Batis Male)

We had a sighting of a leopard in camp the night before last just after the crew had come back to camp after drive. Great to have the leopards back around the area and even more so in camp!

Our little waterhole outside Final Control is bustling with life at the moment. We have numerous bird species that come to visit everyday such as Blue Waxbills and Jameson's Firefinches. The baboons and nyala's also make regular appearances as well. Great to have some wildlife close to us during the day.

On the game drive front, the animals have been a little on the scarce side. Tuesday morning out with Jared and Alex saw some buffalo at Twin Dams with a mom White rhino and calf which was great to see. They also spent some time looking at all the birds that were out that morning and a journey of giraffe around the Quarantine area.

The PM drive with Marc and Herman (Herman's first drive out on camera with the 3D rig) found some Giraffe and Kudu as well.

Wednesday morning with Patrick and Herman was also a general game drive seeing Giraffe, a small herd of Kudu and some Baboons around Quarantine at the end of drive.

(Crested Francolin)

The afternoon drive with myself and Marc (my first time out on the 3D camera) managed to see another 2 Giraffe (mother and father) looking for their youngster which seemed to have wandered off and some Kudu. The Giraffe youngster was yet to be found at this point. And to end off the evening I had my Photography Fireside chat where I went through some of my photos from last month's drives.

See you all for my next Blog.

Kathryn .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Leopard romance!

What a night I had!! I was only saying in the last Blog how great it was to see such a wide range of creatures around camp. I had been hoping, but never expecting, to see the leopard in camp, even less see them mating!!

I was woken with a start, hearing low growls right outside my room around 4am this morning. I sat bolt up right listening for any more calls, thinking maybe I was mistaken and it was a dream. Hearing more growling, closer this time, I leaped out of bed and went to look outside the front window hoping to see, what I thought was lions. On seeing nothing by the workshop, I thought I had missed them. Kicking my self for taking too long to go and investigate, I went to look out the side window, just in case.

As I lifted the curtain I saw two shadows move into the Moon-lite driveway and realised it was Karula closely followed by, who I can only assume was Yambilu-Jordaan. Still grumbling, Karula lye down on the road and allowed Yambilu to mate with her. Not lasting long. She turned around to swipe at him, but as large as he is, he was agile enough to avoid the blow. (I wonder now how many times it took him to learn this!)

With her suitor at a distance, she enjoyed a roll in the dust, no more than 5m from where I was standing, mesmorised by what I had just witnessed! All this time I had thought my presence had gone unnoticed, I was wrong! As she sat up, she looked over her shoulder in my direction and after a brief look, the couple disappeared back into the shadows, to continue their courtship. Leaving me amazed.... she must have known I was watching!

Written by Tara Pirie