Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Michael

Michael Powell is the next try out joining us for tomorrows morning drive.
Michael is young and your classic bush Ranger. He is extremely passionate about animals and plants and in fact has a degree in zoology and botany from the University of Johannesburg. This bright young guy is very active and loves to cycle, target shoot and fish. He also has some great experience here on our doorstep in the Sabi Sands. In 2006 and 2007 he guided at the world famous Sabi Sabi Reserve where he gained some brilliant experience. In 2008 and 2009 he guided at Savanna Private Game Reserve and then most recently he managed one of the camps at Londolozi which is right next to Djuma. He certainly knows how to carry out a good game drive within the Sabi Sands and we have high hopes for him. Once again he has met Emily and Graham and is now keen to carry on and try out for this job within Safari tv. Good luck Michael, we look forward to seeing you at the wheel.

Our tails are wagging!

Hi everyone!

What a fantastic few drives we have had! Seeing the dogs on 4 drives last week was incredible! It was mine and Sebastien's first time at seeing them here and we could hardly contain ourselves! First we had a pair of dogs scouting out the area and watched in amazement as they walked within a metre of us! We gave way to other vehicles only to be rejoined by them scattering the impala and nyala we were viewing at the time!!

After they disappeared we thought it was over, until afternoon drive! Patrick had all members of the pack, 11 adults and 10 pups, on the fire break below Buffleshoek cut line chasing a duiker! Marc also had some wonderful interactions the following day with the pack, as did I! Fantastic!

The dogs also helped Marc to find the new location of the hyena den and we have finally seen the 2 little cubs who can't be more than a month old!! It was my first time to see cubs that small and the mother was so relaxed with us, she started feeding them! It was such a heart warming moment!


Finally we have managed to locate the illusive potato bush! I hope to become a bit more familiar with it as we move into Summer!

Written by Tara

Times are changing!


Hi everyone!
The drives times will be changing as from October the first!

AM drive will start at 5.30am and end at 8.30am Central African Time.
PM drive will start at 3.30pm and end at 6.30pm Central African Time.

This happens every year as the seasons change. Animals become less active in the heat of the day during summer. So we need to be out on drive while the temperatures are cooler, to have the best opportunity of seeing them active.

Written by Tara Pirie

Monday, September 27, 2010

Andrew

Folks Andrew Harrison is the next of the try out presenters, who is on drive in the morning. Andrew is young, vibrant and a great person to have around. Not only does he have serious experience in the bush, especially in the Sabi Sands but is an all round nice person. He seems bright and very worldly wise having travelled extensively and worked in a ski resort in the USA for a number of months. However, it’s his experience here in the Southern tip of Africa that we are especially interested in. At present he is Head Ranger at a lodge in Kruger but for the past four years he has guided at Madikwe, Lion Sands, Thornybush, Tau and Kariega. He came to meet Emily and Graham in Johannesburg with his partner Natalie who works with him in the lodges. Good luck Andrew, we hope you shoot the lights out and we look forward to hearing all the feedback from you the viewers, Marc and the rest of the crew.
Written by Will Fox

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tryout week

Folks, this week will be try out week. We have three more candidates who have asked to try out for the vacant presenter role.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning drives, will be try out drives and once again we'd like to hear your opinions.
All candidates have passed through an interview with Graham and Emily and have individual qualities, but there is only one position available. There are many other factors involved in selecting a candidate but your views are important to us and we hope you will be in touch via the special email address we set up newpresenter@safari.tv.
Written by Will Fox

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome to Melusi!


Good day every one!
It is great to be able to welcome our newest member of the team! After a long drive from Johannesburg yesterday, Melusi Sibisi arrived at camp eager to take up his new role as broadcast technician.

He was born in a rural village near a small town of Estcourt in kwaZulu Natal and later stayed in Durban for his high school and tertiary life, where he gained a diploma in Electronics Engineering and certificates in media studies.

His career started as an intern at SABC and was later employed full time as a Systems Administrator, Studio Engineer and Technical Producer and duties where mainly focused on Outside Broadcast Operations.

Melusi later left SABC and joined a broadcast systems sales company where he was involved with sales and project management. He then became a freelancer and worked for companies like Supersport, HBS, SABC and other smaller Production Companies.

Diving straight in with training on the 3d rig with Alex today, we look forward to getting to know him and I am sure he will be a great addition to the family!

Written by Tara and Melusi


Fridays FSC

Folks, I happy to let you know that Alan Watson from the Predator Protection Plan will be the special guest on this Fridays Fire Side Chat.
Alan is pictured above assisting Dairen Simpson on the night the ILP captured and collared Lucky. He is the business manager of this newly formed conservation project and a passionate conservationist. He'll be interviewed by Marc to let you know more about the PPP and how you can help.
I'll be there behind the scenes, so tune in on Friday.
Written by
Will Fox
CEO Safari TV

Freezing in the bush

Folks
I know many of you are being frustrated by the freezing on the WE website. I can only offer my apologies. It is something that the WE webmasters are dealing with the utmost urgency to clear out some of the bugs. These things take time but WE're on the case and hope that it will soon stop the freezing in the bush.
Sorry for the terrible pun.
Written by
Will Fox
CEO Safari TV

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ReMarcable!



Since my last thoughts were laid bare, sunny spring skies gave way to the first hints of rain as the clouds rolled in and the few drops that fell barely dampened the soil. The rain left and the cloud stayed behind for a couple of days. This, however, in no way dampened our spirits as sightings of late have been exceptional, brightening any grey day. In fact, the last two days have been so filled with spots that the preceding days are but faded memories. At the end of drive yesterday morning, when most people were waking and thinking TGIF, our day took a decidedly positive turn with the discovery of an impala in the fork of a Knob-thorn barely a stone's throw from the door of Final Control. Subtle clues hinted at who could have left it there, immediately ruling out Karula for a number of reasons, the least of which being that she was found in the Southern part of Djuma relaxing on a termite mound like a cat that got the mouse. Of course there was the more obvious reason, looking at the carcass wedged in the fork of twin trunks, there was very little in the way of even a horizontal twig, let alone a branch on which a leopard could feed. Judgement was reserved.


Speaking of Karula, she had us guessing in the afternoon when a number of us returned to the termite mound where she had been. In eliminating places where she neither wasn't nor hadn't been, I was drawn back there in the late afternoon and, with darkness falling, found the remains of a young male Impala tucked into the dense dry grasses. It had been hidden from sight in a recessed hollow that looked like a caved in burrow of the past and it was only by accident and proximity that I found it.


To digress, as I often do, Alex had set up one of the HD cameras on a tripod next to the tree that held the somewhat gruesome remains of a no doubt pregnant impala in order to plug the lead into the live stream so that we could broadcast any activity there, no matter how long it took. For those who waited the whole day with the patience of a cat, WE were all rewarded when the cat himself returned to the kill. Sebastien and I were sitting with Karula when Pat radioed to say that the Ingwe was back and it is only through an email from Fred in Florida a day later that I learned that he kinda fell out of the tree. For us, drive was over and I assumed the Ingwe had dragged its prey beyond camp into the drainage line so we were stunned to find Induna eating right next to the tripod and camera when we returned to camp. I think he realized how vulnerable he was and how much he needed to tree it elsewhere because he picked it up and hastily dragged the remains in the only direction he could, towards the dense gully. Seb and Pat sat in the Jigga where he had crossed the road and heard him crunch bones and eventually tree the carcass again. The end to this little saga is that we could see the kill in a large Tambotie tree North of Graham's house from the car park, from FC, from the road coming in to camp, from all angles, albeit not exactly unobstructed views. Despite this, between end of drive in the morning and lunchtime, he managed to come back to take it down and no doubt feed, a neat little trick he has learned from his mother. Feed in comfort on the ground when the Hyena are sleeping. It doesn't matter what the fork looks like, put your food out of reach. Of course it is not foolproof for Hyena are no fools.


By my reckoning, we saw 5 different leopard in less than 5 hours of game drive between the Pm drive yesterday and Today's AM and hence the title of this endless dribble. Numbers 3 and 4 were no exception. Yambilu Jordaan with a very attentive and might i say slinky Ntima ( or so I am told ) doing a kinda hand in hand or paw in paw love dance on the way back to "Her Place". It was adorable. He wanted to get there, she wanted a roll in the dry grasses and when she did, his resolve dropped and he too lay down to wait for her. As soon as she was up he was walking, making a beeline for her boundary with her catching up and flirting. We were very lucky to witness their nuptials, this is perhaps the first for a live broadcast in daylight.

Hearing that there had been other leopard where Karula had her kill and where the two lovebirds had heralded from, We came across Mixo taking a nap in morning sunshine. He must have heard something, first raising his head and then climbing a dense Gardenia using height as a vantage point and clearly concentrating on the same area. Deep in a very dense Knob-thorn thicket, almost invisible by its diminutive size, the shine from the rising sun on a glistening coat is what helped me to see it, as shafts of sunlight battled with shadows in a forest of saplings. It was a very young Duiker and Mixo had his eyes locked on target. WE watched him flow down the tree and glide beside us as he effortlessly made his way around the thicket before exploding into feline perfection in hot pursuit. The little thing evaded him as the chase took them away from us, but managing to somehow turn around and run back in our direction. Bursting from the tall dry grasses and scrub besides the thicket, the duiker ran for its life, a leopard in full flight on its tail heading straight towards us, they veered, there was another dense stand of bush, they disappeared behind it and a cry rang out that stirred memories of many such a sad moment that I have witnessed with the death of a duiker. I couldn't see them, I couldn't find them, I could only hear that cry and could only acknowledge the balance, the emotion instilled for both the little antelope and the young male leopard now well on his way to adulthood. Perhaps Yambilu Jordaan gave him a bit of a man to man on his way through with his new mate.

Mixo


I don't want to make light of the other special moments we have had of late by not penning paragraphs, one of which was a very special time with a pair of Rhino, then there were these; Spiritual moments with a family of Zebra, Taking time to talk with impala, the finesse of a Heron filleting a frog, Hyena drag marks that seem to have been Karulas kill, dragged across half the property further flaunting the fact that they have a den somewhere I suspect it to be. Today, Pat had some wonderful moments with a lioness that may or may not be one of the Styx as she lay on the dam wall at Twin Dams and drooled over a group of old buffalo bulls. I found a new specimen of a tree orchid. These were all wonderful in their own way but this piece was about the cats we spotted, those inimitable spotted cats.


Asante Sana


Marc




Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marc's Memory

A change in season reflects a change WE are going through here at Safari.TV. Kathryn and Jared have headed off into the confines of the concrete jungle, Herman is safely ensconced at home in Cape Town, no doubt revelling in the fold of family and Patrick is back from leave, having had a superb late afternoon finale to his drive today.


On one hand, the bush has had us wondering where everything has gone and on the other, WE have wondered at the treasures that the new season has brought. Already! Overall there is still the dryness and bareness to the vegetation but, as we have seen on the drives of late, hidden gems delight. WE have seen a small flush of white with a Wild Pear that took me a moment to recognise on account of its size, it was but a scraggly sapling and there are so few in this area. The one and only Sausage tree (Kigelia africana), that I have found on western Gowrie, is resplendant in its fresh apple green foliage and is adorned with the most beautiful maroon flowers that I waved at our 3 D camera.



Wild Pear Dombeya rotundifolia



Knobthorns are in full bloom and their cousins, the Brack thorns are just beginning to show their little yellow puffballs amongst verdant flushes of fresh green leaves. It is a world of contrasts with most trees still bare and brown, so, coming across a stem of a Gardenia with a few of the first flush of flowers was, what else, but fantastic!


There have been a number of rhino about, buffalo bulls in strange places and elephants elusively crossing the property. Last night a young male lion managed to walk a considerable, meandering path through our traversing area making sure he was over in Buffelshoek by sunrise, his tracks taunted me everywhere I drove today. As for the boys, there has been a brief sighting but they have been scarce, as has their mother, Karula. With such a lack of predator action, we were pleasanly surprised when Patrick took us to Buffelshoek Dam this evening to give us the best possible view of Mvula the big male leopard from out East. If I am not mistaken, the only view of him as I haven't seen him before. WE have certainly heard his name and after tonight's sighting we can say we now know him so much better.


Screen capture by Patty mulligan

As Patrick arrived at the dam, the sun was still only thinking about setting and threw quite a glare as an obstacle to add to that already presented by another vehicle. Patience prevailed and Pat was able to put Sebastien and the camera in a perfect place to capture this magnificent cat wake, yawn and stretch before sawing for our stereo microphone. He marked his territory and started wandering away. After repositioning, Pat was in just the right place for Mvula to walk right by the Ganda giving us all a fantastic thrill.


Alex and Pete have been working on a new higher speed connection after Alex spent a lot of time on the cam at the dam. There is still something that is preventing some control of the rig but we will have that resolved very soon. Thank you all for your patience in waiting for the cam to be fully operational again. I think a special consideration has to go to Siphiwe who can hear things at the dam but is powerless to show it to you.


Well, this is my first blog. Ever! I will be contributing again in a couple of days, if anything but to document the gap between now and then. It is up to nature to provide the content and we will continue to find those special little things that make it SPRING!


Compiled by Marc Weiner and the elephants.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Handing over.

Hello everyone and welcome to my last Blog. The crew will be taking over my Blog as a team and will be posting inserts every couple of days. So it will not be up to just one person anymore - but everyone! So you will be hearing from the whole team and getting new and different perspectives about everything in camp from the wildlife (from the presenters) to the technical side of things (from Alex and Sebastien) to some camerawork detail (from Herman). So lots to look forward to in the future for the safari.tv Blog.


But for now we will go into the last couple of days drives and what has been happening around camp.


Tara is still on leave and will be back only in a little over a week. Patrick is back on Tuesday after his 2 weeks leave and im sure he will be refreshed and ready to get out there to see what has been happening! Herman will be going on leave on Tuesday and heading off to Cape Town for 2 weeks so that leaves Marc, Sebastien, Alex, Patrick and Siphiwe in camp for a week or so.


Black backed Jackal


Thursday's drives brought about 2 white rhino in the morning seen with Marc and Sebastien. The mornings are still a little cold and sometimes very cloudy and overcast. It seems it goes in days of 2 where we will have wonderful sunny weather for a day and then cloudy misty cold weather for a day. That is blown away by a windy hour or two and we are back to the warm weather again.


In the afternoon with Jared and Herman, they went out and found some buffalo roaming around Chela pan area. And just as we were about to close off for the evening after somewhat of a quiet drive -Jared stopped at Gowrie dam and heard the Guinea fowl squawking madly to see Karula come out of the trees and walk to the water for a drink. After that we were able to follow her for about 15 minutes or so till she melted away into the drainage line down Twin Dams road and we came home.


Friday morning went out with Jared and myself to find a small herd of buffalo feeding around Gowrie Dam. We then heard on the radio that there were tracks of the Nkuhuma pride around the Galago shortcut area and we went off to help the Djuma rangers follow up. After having driven around the area, Able (a Djuma guide) managed to locate them in the block behind Gowrie dam so we responded and went to go and see them for the remainder of drive. What a great way to end off the morning! In the afternoon Marc and Herman followed up on some Ingwe tracks with the Djuma guides again and found Karula lazing around in the afternoon sun on a termite mound. She has also been around a fair bit lately and given us many hours of viewing pleasure!


Induna


Saturday morning was also Jared and I out on drive. We started off with a crash of 4 white rhino on Gowrie main that some of the rangers from the east had managed to locate. After having to move out for other vehicles coming into the sighting we heard of a large herd of buffalo around Zoe's road area. We bumbled around and made our way there to find a very large herd. This seems to be the same herd we saw at Buffelshoek dam a couple of days earlier. After the buffalo we had heard of a small herd of elephant that had been found around central road, so after trying to look for some leopard tracks along the way and stopping off at the rhino again we made our way to the elephant to close off drive there. A good morning for all the pachyderms!


In the afternoon we had a lady by the name of Noelle here for an Interview. The weather was slightly drizzly but after the first half hour, most of the dark clouds had dissipated and the drive was full steam ahead. She has Herman on the Ganda who was helping her with the roads and they managed to find some elephant around Twin Dams area. They also responded to another large herd of elephant at Buffelshoek dam and as they were sitting enjoying the ellies, Noelle saw a flick of a leopards tail not 2 metres from an elephant cow. It looked to be Induna. All the other vehicles in the area responded to the sighting and we soon had to leave to allow everyone else a chance to view Induna with the ellies.


And that has been that for the past few days. On a more personal note, I really have enjoyed sending out the Blogs for you all to read over the past 7 months. I hope you have all enjoyed it too and I happily hand it over to the crew with the knowledge that they will do a sterling job in continuing to bring you all updates and news of the daily happening in camp.


So from myself, I say farewell!


Kath**


Friday, September 10, 2010

The first of our try outs, is Noelle, She'll be taking this afternoons pm drive.
Here is a little more information about Noelle.

Noelle Dilorenzo is an American girl with an African heart. She was born in New Hampshire in the United States and gained a BA in Anthropology from the University of Montana. Soon after her studies had finished she headed to Africa to work as a volunteer in Tanzania as an aid worker with communities. She fell in love with the continent and has been here ever since. Between then and now she has worked extremely hard to become a qualified and professional guide. It is a hard industry to crack as a woman (especially if you are a foreigner) and Noelle's hard work has paid off. She started at Entebeni Nature Reserve, which is where Tara was before she joined Safari TV. They know each other well which shows how small the guiding community is here in South Africa. She quickly moved up the ranks at Entebeni and became assistant head ranger for one of their lodges. She decided to spread her wings and headed to a lodge in the Pilansberg where she continued guiding. Soon she moved to Kapama which is just outside of Hoedspruit and very close to the Sabi Sands. It was here that she met her partner Roel van Muiden. Roel is also an experienced guide and from Holland. Finally together they moved to Namibia to a small reserve called Erindi nature reserve, not far from where Pieter and Lieschen Pretorius are currently living. She was head guide trainer but unfortunately her training department was shut down and she is currently looking to join safari tv.

The try outs

Folks, as you will be aware Jared is leaving us next week. We all wish him well in his future ventures but this means that we are short of one presenter.
In other words its try out time again.
Over the next weeks, we will have a small number of candidates who have passed the interview stage and have asked to 'try out' on a live drive. And this is where I need your help.
As ever, we like our audience to be involved, so I would appreciate your comments on each candidate as they appear.
To do this, Pete has created a new email address 'newpresenter@safari.tv' so that you can let us know your opinion after each try out drive.
Of-course it is very daunting for the candidates to be tested in front of a worldwide audience, but they are all keen to give it a try and I know you'll be sympathetic if there are nerves or unfamiliarity with the roads and equipment.
Behind the scenes Marc will take some time with each of them to explain how we like to do things, the routine and style etc, and there will be an experienced camera man with them and director back in the FCR, so we hope to maintain a very high standard.
As you might guess, all candidates are very experienced guides, so they have the bush knowledge and skills, but on top of that we hope they'll each bring their own individuality to the job, while maintaining our ethos.
I'll let you know in advance before each try out drive, which will be spread out over the next three or four weeks.
I know the team are excited at the prospect of new team mates and the candidates are keen to show you what they can do. We'll obviously be making our assessment, but now we need your opinions.

Written by Will Fox


Thursday, September 9, 2010

My best sighting here.....

Hello everyone and welcome to the Thursday Blog. Hope you are all having a splendid week so far and are looking forward to the weekend that is fast approaching.


Tara went on leave on Tuesday and has flown off to Australia for a wonderful 2 week holiday down under. Marc is back from his leave and started his drives on Tuesday afternoon. Otherwise the rest of us are still in camp plodding along as usual with our daily tasks!


Sunday's drive started in the morning with Jared and I. The safari.tv diary has already gone out with the amazing footage from that morning and is getting lots of views. Jared and I had followed up on the lions from the previous day with the buffalo kill and arrived that morning to find some of the Styx pride feeding off the Nkhuhuma's kill. There was serious tension and animosity going round and lots of paw swatting and growling at each other whilst everyone tried to get a piece of the buffalo before it was all finished. It was nail biting stuff to watch and one of the best lion sightings I have ever seen. It isn't often that we get to see such lion interaction with each other so it really was an amazing morning to be a part of. We also had black backed jackal around the kill, as well as some hyena in the distance and lots and lots of vultures hanging around waiting their turn.



In the afternoon Tara and Herman went out to follow up and found most of the lions had moved off. They spent some time with some of the Styx pride females and followed some of them to Treehouse dam. After the lions they moved on, but the drive started late as we had a power outage in the area and only managed 1 hours worth of drive time - but at least we got to follow up on the lion from the morning.


In the evening Jared, Tara and Herman sat around the fire and discussed the week's highlights on the Sunday fireside chat.


Monday morning with Tara and Sebastien didn't manage to go out and just before they were going to live at 06h00, the electricity went out again in the whole area and we were unable to broadcast. But by the afternoon the electricity had come back on and Jared and myself went out to see what we could find. We managed to come across 2 old elephant bulls whilst watching a herd of zebra and then found a big herd of buffalo at Buffelshoek Dam to end of the day!


Nkuhuma Male


Tuesday with myself and Jared started with a cloudy, cold morning. We drove around in miserable weather looking for any life that would have been out and about and toward the end of drive, one of the Djuma rangers managed to find Karula, so we went to spend some time with Karula till the end of drive. She had caught a duiker and was sleeping in the cool weather of the morning enjoying the less warm conditions.


In the afternoon Marc and Herman went to follow up on Karula and saw her for a little bit before Floppy ear the hyena came onto the scene and stole her duiker and chased Karula away. After witnessing the steal, Marc followed up on Induna that had been found with his own kill just off Central road. The rest of the drive was spent with Induna and his kill as he hoisted it up a tree for safe keeping for the night.


The next day, Jared and I went out again in the morning to follow up on Induna. We found him and spent a good hour with him as he snoozed off his evening meal. We also followed up on Mixo that had been found as well not far off, but he had wedged himself into a very hard place to see so we had to leave him after a short while as we could not get a great view of him. We also came across the big herd of buffalo that have been hanging around lately at Gowrie Dam.


The afternoon was slightly colder and windier and the crew didn't see much say for one buffalo bull wandering around by himself.


And that is that for today folks.


See you on Sunday for my last Blog before I depart.


Kathryn.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marc getting ahead

Folks, it is with pleasure that I can announce that Marc Weiner is to become the new head presenter/guide for Safari TV. He'll take over from Jared (who is sadly leaving us next week for pastures new).
I know that Marc is relishing the challenge of becoming a department head and has many fresh initiatives he wants to implement over the up coming months.
These are exciting times for us and I know we will be in safe hands with Marc leading the presenting team.
On behalf of all of the Safari TV directors and staff, I would like to congratulate Marc on his promotion and hope you will join me in sending Marc your good wishes.

Written by
Will fox
CEO Safari TV





Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ringo!

Hi everyone,

From now on I will also be regularly contributing to the blogs at WildEarth and Safari TV. My entries will generally focus on the technical side of things. This is the stuff that goes on in the background when all is working fine, or is very, very visible when it is not. Unfortunately there have been various technical issues that have been in the foreground lately, something that I hope, with all of you I'm sure, will change sooner rather than later.

One of the most visible, and irritating!, recent issues has been the frequent appearance of our friend 'Ringo' during the last several days. Now when you see Ringo (also lovingly known as COD, or the 'circle of death') on your screen this means that for some reason the stream does not reach your PC as fast as it should.

How this works is that when you start the stream on your PC, the first thing that happens is that about 5 seconds worth of data is buffered before the stream start playing. This buffer is meant to smoothen out any brief internet hick-ups without impacting the viewing. However, when there is a continuous problem this buffer will run empty, the stream stops, and Ringo will show while the buffer refills. Then the stream starts again.

The problem we are currently facing is that the player on your PC expects more data than is being delivered, so the buffer empties and the stream stops, Ringo appears while the buffer fills, the streams starts, the buffer empties and Ringo re-appears, etc. This is the start/stopping that you see.

Now what causes this and, just as importantly, what are we doing about it?

In this case the problem with the data transfer lies between our base in Djuma and our server in Europe from where the stream is sent on to your PCs. (This is why everyone has the same problem). Our international connection is supposed to have at least 2 Mbps at all times, but last week this has dropped to only a fraction of that. It has effectively dropped to the point that the available bandwidth is less than the amount we need to properly send out our stream to Europe, resulting in the frequent Ringos on your screen.

We have been pushing hard to get our international bandwidth provider to resolve this issue asap, and are hopeful it will be sorted out by tomorrow (Monday), but for this we are unfortunately totally dependent on them and from our side can do no more than to keep calling, pushing, and asking, which is what we're doing.

In the mean time we have made some changes to the stream (lowering the bit rate to fit in with what is available) and have asked everybody on site not to use the Internet during drive times (all Internet goes through this connection) to keep as much bandwidth as possible available for the stream.

This should stop Ringo from appearing as frequently as he (she?, it?) has been the last couple of days and provide a continuous stream, albeit at a somewhat lower picture quality.

Let's hope it will indeed be sorted tomorrow and we can give Ringo his marching papers.

-- Peter

It’s a cat’s life!

Hello everyone from a hot and sunny Djuma Game Reserve. Although it was somewhat chilly this morning we are into full swing of Spring and loving it! Well, at least I am Some prefer winter, others summer - it is a good thing we are all different.


Siphiwe has taken this beautiful weekend off, just for 2 days, to go to a wedding. What wonderful weather for a celebration. And Marc will be back from his leave on Tuesday presenting the PM Drive that day. From what we know, Patrick has gone to stay with him for a bit at his house and im sure the 2 of them are getting up to no good on their leave and having a blast!! Patrick will still be on leave for another week or so and he has lots planned for his time away.



This week really has been a buzz of sightings. To the extent that when you are out on drive, some of the time you really don't know which sighting you would prefer to be in, the lions and leopards at the moment are out in full force and giving us so many quality sightings it really is difficult to choose which one to spend time at!


Thursday morning Jared and Sebastien went out, not for the full 3 hours as there were some equipment problems, but to start off they found some Buffalo around Gowrie Dam area. They then heard of Induna walking around Quarantine and went off to find him. They were surprised with an even greater sighting as Mixo was also around and they tried to follow the 2 boys for a bit. However they were walking through the drainage line and soon the guys weren't able to follow through the thick bush and had to leave. But a great start to the day.


In the afternoon Tara and Herman went out and also saw some Buffalo. They had a great sighting of a single rhino bull that was wallowing in the mud at the dam and to end off the day they found Induna again and as they were spending the last remaining moments with him before the end of drive, 2 male lion came through the area and Induna ran away to safety. They managed to relocate Induna and went into overtime watching the elusive leopard.



Friday morning with Tara and Sebastien started with them going back to follow up on Induna and the lions to find that the lion during the night or early morning had made a Buffalo Kill (probably from the herd they saw yesterday at Gowrie Dam). The kill was right next to the road just off Philemon's cutline - a great viewpoint for us and close to Gowrie Dam as well. Jared and myself went out in the afternoon to follow up on the lion and their kill and found them at the same spot, one lying next to the kill, full after a day's eating. We spent a bit of time with the kill and one male and then went off in search of the other male. We found him about 200m down the road, with an injured leg which he seems to have had for a little while, but doing well. We spent a good 2 hours with him as he gave us great entertainment by moving around and lying on a termite mound close by - what a handsome chap!! And to end off our drive we went past Treehouse dam to have a scratch around and found some buffalo and Induna later on walking up to the dam with a hyena mooching around on the other side. It was all happening that afternoon! What a great drive!


To end off the day we had a special fireside chat with Tara hosting. Dr Patrick Benson joined us to talk about Vultures and all the research he has done and is doing all over South Africa with the birds. He was a wealth of knowledge and we all watched and asked questions as we got to know a little bit more about these creatures! Great fireside chat!


Saturday started off with Jared and I following up on the lion in the morning. They were flat cats and very full after feeding so well for 2 days so we spent just a half hour with them and moved on to help some of the Djuma Rangers locate a leopard they had heard of around the Twin Dams area. We drove around in search of her and eventually managed to see Karula after the Djuma Rangers had found her in a very thick block of bush. After watching Karula for awhile we left and just before we were due to close down from drive, we found a small herd of Elephant along Buffelshoek cutline which was such a nice sighting considering we hadn't seen ellies in a while.


And that's all for now folks.


Chat again on Thursday next week. Have a good one!


Kathryn.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Alex is on the case

Folks, I thought you might like an update on our efforts to fix the water hole camera. Well as you know the news isn't great, but it's not for a lack of effort that we haven't managed to get the pan and tilt working. Alex is looking at the problem with Peter providing support via a phone link, but it is one of those niggling intermittent faults that is just taking time to nail down. Of-course access isn't easy, we have many factors that restrict the times we can get to the water hole and then we have wildlife to consider. We've stopped work because of Elephants and had to keep a very close eye on the Hippos, but we'll get there. Bare with us Alex is on the case.





Thursday, September 2, 2010

I very much hope that everyone has been enjoying our Safari TV diaries. As most of you will know, they have been edited and directed by Sebastien for the last couple of months.
As I'm sure you can imagine Sebastien has been sat in front of the edit suite for most of his time with us, hardly seeing the bush and wildlife outside. So it is high time he had the chance to take a game drive or two.
Seb has many strings to his bow, one of which is that he had previously completed training at the wildlife film academy. That is why he has now been trained in 3D camera rig operations. It is very different from normal 2d camera work, but it is a skill that he has picked up very quickly, sufficient to go solo recently.
Like all of us, Seb has a passion for wildlife and deserves to enjoy some time away from his desk. Of-course he'll still edit and direct the diaries and is busier than ever, but he tells me he's loving his time with Safari TV and enjoys the challenges we face every day.

Written by Will Fox
CEO Safari TV

The Ostrich and the Cheetah!

Good morning everyone and welcome to another Blog. This week has been full of rare and wonderful sightings and the crew are all elated as to what has been encountered and seen over the past few days.


Spring has sprung as of yesterday and the weather has definitely taken a turn for the better. The mornings are still a little bit chilly with some mist hanging around but for the most part of the day the temperatures are hitting the 30's already. Some of the August wind is still around but the season is changing and summer this year is going to be a hot one I think!


Rhino at Buffelshoek Dam


Sundays game drives were the start of the wonderful sightings. In the morning Jared and myself went to scout out Buffelshoek dam which lately has been a hive of leopard activity. True to form we hear a leopard sawing moments after we had switched off the vehicle and went in chase of it. We found Karula strolling along marking her territory so we followed her! Eventually after some heavy off roading with Karula on the march, we discovered that she had made 2 kills (a steenbok and a grey duiker) and had hoisted them up some trees. We spent most of the rest of the drive with her which was fantastic. In the afternoon we had some 3D rig issues that we needed to sort out and the drive didn't go out for very long. For the little bit of time the crew did manage to go out in they found a fantastic bird that is hardly ever seen strutting along Philimons cutline: an Ostrich!!! What a rare and amazing thing to see and a highlight for the week for sure! And to end of the day Patrick hosted the fireside chat where we spoke about the hyena den that had been found the previous week.


Monday morning started off with Tara and Herman going back out to visit Karula after the night. She was still there in her tree with her 2 kills she had made looking very lethargic. They also had some rhino visit the scene and a hyena or 2 and Karula dashed off for a while to return a little later once she realized the rhino were no threat to her.


Sunset over Buffelshoek Cutline


In the middle of the day, the crew went down to Gowrie Dam again to try and fix the waterhole camera but to avail and so in the afternoon Patrick and myself went out on drive to go and see Karula again. There she was still in her tree sleeping with the hyena underneath her at the base of the tree. We had a few technical issues again on drive but managed to see some elephant around Gowrie dam and some buffalo at Treehouse dam aswell!


Tuesday morning with Jared and Sebastien out on the Ganda started off very well with Jared spotting a kill in a tree just off Philimon's cutline. They drove in to get a closer view of it and found Induna lying at the base of the tree. The culprit to the crime! They spent most of the morning with Induna. And in the afternoon Tara and Herman had huge amounts of luck when one of the Djuma rangers found some cheetah around Gowrie Dam. There had been tracks in the morning but no one had found anything but the afternoon brought about the rewards. Again, another fantastic sighting for the week and the cheetah seemed to want to stay for a little while.


On Wednesday morning, Tara and Herman went out again to find the cheetah and managed to relocate them around Treehouse dam area. What followed was the best cheetah sighting Herman says he has ever seen! How lucky they were to witness 3 cheetahs drinking and playing around the dam. In the afternoon Jared and myself went out to try and find the cheetah again but they seemed to have moved off but we did find some buffalo at chela pan wallowing but had some technical problems on the vehicle as well as the internet was down for a little while so drive was intermittent over the afternoon.


So that was that for the past few days. And what a few days they have been! We can only hope to see more amazing sightings for the rest of the week.


Till next time! Kath.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Life in the old girl yet.

Folks as most of you will know we have had a dilemma to ponder over the last weeks. That of should we opt for increased traversing range at the cost of increased ambient noise from the broadcast systems i.e. the newly installed signal Amplifier.
Of-course the ideal would be a silent Amp, but that is not currently the case. The new bigger Amplifier we installed on the Ganda means we have a better traversing range (probably better than ever before), but it takes a lot of power and needs to be cooled via fans which increase the ambient noise. This back ground hum is made worse for our viewers because of the stereo microphone we now use, which is a much higher quality than before and even with the bespoke sound mixing desk we have installed, we can't filter that hum.
Of-course this is all part of our efforts to bring a higher quality service and we have a plan for a different amp. However our problem (as ever), is that we're breaking boundaries here and you can't just pluck the Amp we need off the shelf and definitely not in Africa.
So, after thought and listening to your comments, we made the decision to install the new Amp and increase the traversing range. We very much hope that this will give you more frequent and better sightings.

I have been asked about the fate of the Jigga and I know a lot of our viewers have an affection for the old girl (as we do), so fear not. She won't be scrapped. After many hard years working in the bush she needs a lot of TLC
(and when I say a lot, I mean it, you should see the mechanics estimate!).
Anyway we'll give her the care and attention she is due and put her back to work supporting the team soon. As to the question of should we fit the old redundant equipment on her and keep her as a museum piece and reminder of the years passed? I like that thought, but it seems too early for that. There is still life in the old girl. Retirement can wait a while.

Written by Will Fox
CEO Safari TV