Friday, 27 June 2014

Reminiscing

Africa still looms large in our imagination.  Even though it has been nearly 7 months since we were last there, many of the sounds and experiences remain vivid and almost touchable.

videoTwo of the funniest sightings on our last trip were of elephants. As much as we enjoy all of the animals that we encounter, I am pretty sure that elephants are the most amusing of them all. The interactions within the herd are positively touching. The video here is a classic example.

We came across a herd of about two dozen animals exiting a waterhole and crossing the track we were travelling along. There was plenty of noise and commotion as the youngsters in the herd were playing around as they came up to the track.

One of the senior females took up a "guard" position to ensure that we kept a respectable distance from the youngsters as they crossed. She had a bit of attitude which you can see towards the end of the video, she was reminding us just who was the boss.

Elephants, you could watch them all day!

Enjoy!

DADFAP

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Wild Dogs in the Kruger

video
Here's a short video of some wild dogs at play we saw early one morning in the Kruger. We had watched these guys for about 20 minutes when they turned in our direction. They trotted to within a few metres and then relaxed for a while.

They are hyper active, hardly able to stay still for more than a few minutes.

Cheers

DADFAP

Sunday, 26 January 2014

South Africa Nov/Dec13 part 2

My wife and I stayed at Jock's for 3 nights at the beginning of our recent 2 week trip to the Kruger and surrounds. It is one of the older lodges within the park and you do get that feeling. It is immaculately kept though with an extremely well run and efficient operation.

Our host was Louis Strauss who is an extremely personable person who relates the history of the dog Jock (after whom the lodge is named), the Jackal Berry tree story and the history of the lodge with an obvious enjoyment for what he dos.

Our guide, Jacob, was very knowledgeable and showed a passion for what he was doing. He tried hard to ensure that we got the most out of our drives. He went above and beyond one evening when after dinner, we received news that 3 male lions were about 15 minutes away and wandering along the roads.

Jacob grabbed us and off we went. We were treated to a display of the 3 lions reestablishing their territorial markings after the rain and the sight of a large male lion being frightened of by a scorpion. Not sure if he was stung but it was comical.


Young male Hyena, South Africa, Nov2013
We were also fortunate enough to come across a juvenile male Hyena sitting by the side of the road. He was reasonably relaxed at first but slowly became more animated as we stayed a while. The reason was obvious when after a few minutes one of the more senior males emerged from the bush. 

Male Hyenas have an unusual and very intimate way of introducing
Hyena greeting
themselves. They spend quite a few minutes smelling each others penis, if that doesn't inspire confidence in each other, I am not sure what would.


Jacob was also aware that we wanted more than just the big 5 and ensured that we met two of our favourites, the wild dogs and also hyenas. 

It's not always about the Big 5 or the predators. It is also about the birds, lizards and the other mammals that are out and about at different times of the day.  Jacob made sure that we saw just about everything that there was to see as we wandered around the Kruger.  Well done Jacob!!

The food was good, the place nice and clean, the staff very welcoming and the drives conducted by a great guide.


Rating 4/5, well worth a visit when you're in the Kruger.

Cheers

DADFAP
 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

South Africa Trip Nov/Dec 2013

I recently spent two weeks with my wife in and around the Kruger Park in South Africa. The main reason that we go there is photography although my wife likes it because we are so “disconnected” from my real job. Mobile phone coverage is available but when the choice is talking on the phone or photographing wild dogs …................. phone loses every time!
 
www.dadfaphotography.com
Female lion suckling cubs, Kapama Buffalo Camp, South Africa, Dec13
The Kruger is obviously well known, the Sabi Sabi is an area adjacent to the main Kruger Park. The beauty of this whole area is that the fences between the various conservancies on the area were brought down many years ago. This meant that the Kruger as greatly expanded, the animals had greater freedom to roam and the whole experience for tourists was greatly enhanced.
 
Travelling in the South African bush does not mean roughing it unless that's your style. There are camps (tented and buildings) that cater for every accommodation level. On this trip we stayed at Jock (the original concession in the Kruger), Nottens, Shumbalala and Kapama Buffalo Lodge. 
We typically stay no more than three nights at any lodge. We find that we start to feel a little stale at the lodge if we stay any longer.
 
It is hard to pick highlights from any trip to South Africa or

Namibia. On this trip we saw a young male leopard chased up a tree by a herd of buffalo. They then tried to knock the tree down or hit it hard enough to shake him from it.





Then we witnessed a juvenile male hyena greet a senior male from
the pack. The young male was sun baking on some rocks on the side of the road as we passed in our vehicle. We stopped and photographed him for a while, watching him enjoy the late morning sun. About 10 minutes went by when he started to become a little restless and it was then that the senior male emerged from the bush to be greeted by the more junior male.
 
Or the other time at sundowners (the evening cold drink out in the veldt watching the sun go down over the bush) when a small group of rhino emerged from the bush about 150m away.
These curious animals simply stood there trying to work out what we were doing. They wandered a few metres in our direction before stopping and staring at us for a while. After about ten minutes they wandered off, bored with just standing there watching us watch them.
 
Each of the lodges is different in terms of accommodation style, the game drives and sightings, the food experience and the overall feeling of the lodges. It is hard to get bored with a two week stay in and around the Kruger. We have spent as long as four weeks on game drives in different lodges and enjoyed each and every one.

For a voyeuristic “fix” of Africa and the wildlife, I often use the South African National Parks (SANParks) web-cam feed. It is available at ; http://www.sanparks.org/webcams/

Our trip was organised by a very efficient and organised lady at Go2Africa (http://www.go2africa.com/). She was highly attentive to our needs and what we wanted from this trip and I would recommend them for travels to South Africa.
 
Put a trip to South Africa on your bucket list, then move it to the top. That's where it belongs!