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Atravelynn
1 hour ago, Peter Connan said:

An exceptionally detailed report of a truly wonderful trip, thank you!

You have a most entertaining backyard.

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Peter Connan
17 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

You have a most entertaining backyard.

 

Indeed I am lucky in that regard.

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Zubbie15

Just catching up, finished page one. What a great trip, as we start to plan to bring our youngsters on a safari this seems like a trip that would be good for kids, with the variety. And you definitely get a nice set of mammals at Tswalu, there are quite a few on your list that is love to see, or see better! 

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Zubbie15

Finished the rest, definitely somewhere I need to keep in mind. Although my kids and well behaved don’t often seem to go together, so may have to think hard about risking being the troublemakers! :P  You really had some nice sightings, even if the density of game wasn’t as high as some other locations. Thanks for sharing.

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Atravelynn
On 10/4/2019 at 10:01 PM, Zubbie15 said:

Just catching up, finished page one. What a great trip, as we start to plan to bring our youngsters on a safari this seems like a trip that would be good for kids, with the variety.   Thanks. and I was told kids stay free in the Motse cottages in Tswalu.

 

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Kitsafari

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful TR with loads and loads of fine details that we have come to anticipate from you!  I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

 

On the dining arrangements at Tswalu - @Atravelynn and @Alexander33 - during my first visit when I was alone there,  my guide Adrian would sit with me but there was one night he was too tired so I ate alone. I agree that the guests there keep very much to themselves and when I tried to smile at them, they looked away uncomfortably. I used to put it down to me being an Asian, but from your accounts, now I understand it is just the guests there are a different breed altogether. It was the same when we were at Londolozi. Other than dinnertimes, I actually had little interaction with the other guests, since we were always the first ones out (6am) and the last ones back.

The staff there were stupendous. Loved the warmth and welcome they gave. 

 

 

 

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Alexander33

@Kitsafari

 

I know. It’s so odd. We actually had dinner with our guide and tracker on 3 of our 4 nights (and we added no pressure, just an invitation, when they chose — or not, as they did one night — to accept). The staff, as well as our guides, seemed delighted by the inclusion — genuinely. (I’ve traveled all over the world and enough to know when they’re feeling compelled to duty, and this was not one of those instances).  It was some of the guests there at the time who looked at us sideways for this, which I simply don’t understand — just very strange overall. 
 

Let me reiterate, I loved this place, and fully intend to return. The staff there simply was the best.  

 

Edited by Alexander33

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Atravelynn
10 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful TR with loads and loads of fine details that we have come to anticipate from you!  I thoroughly enjoyed it.   Thank you!  It was your comments and report that helped encourage me to go.  So again, thank YOU.

 

On the dining arrangements at Tswalu - @Atravelynn and @Alexander33 - during my first visit when I was alone there,  my guide Adrian would sit with me but there was one night he was too tired so I ate alone. I agree that the guests there keep very much to themselves and when I tried to smile at them, they looked away uncomfortably. I used to put it down to me being an Asian, but from your accounts, now I understand it is just the guests there are a different breed altogether.   Funny, a couple of the non-interactions I encountered were from Asians. So it is across the board.  Thanks for lending your perspective, Kit.

 

 

 

7 hours ago, Alexander33 said:

@Kitsafari

 

Let me reiterate, I loved this place, and fully intend to return. The staff there simply was the best.   My reiteration as well. It would be great to return, especially in a different season for perspective, but if it's a once-in-a-lifetime visit, I have extremely fond memories, and pictures to go with them.

 

One other thing I remembered, @Zubbie15--a couple of staff members spent an afternoon making pizza with a couple of kids who were about 8-11.  The staff really went out of their way to entertain the children and make sure they were having fun. (Not that the kids were acting bored and in need of entertaining).  Don't know how old your children are, but even I thought the pizza making would be fun during the down time.

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johnweir

Apologies, only just picked up your latest trip report. As usual it is excellent, the attention to detail and your storytelling are exceptional. The images are pretty good as well! Tswalu is certainly on my list and your report has definitely re-ignited my interest to visit sooner rather than later. Your infectious enthusiasm for the natural world always comes across strongly in your reports and I thoroughly enjoy reading them. Am I right to assume a trip out with the Pangolin research team can be arranged on arrival at the reserve if say you were doing a 5 night stay? Is it a generally acknowledged activity when staying at this camp and also does it come at an additional cost? A previous article on Tswalu (since removed) did suggest visiting later in the year than July for the best Pangolin and Aardvark sightings this seems to be contrary to your experiences?  A wonderful report I found it very interesting, thank you.

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Zubbie15
11 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

One other thing I remembered, @Zubbie15--a couple of staff members spent an afternoon making pizza with a couple of kids who were about 8-11.  The staff really went out of their way to entertain the children and make sure they were having fun. (Not that the kids were acting bored and in need of entertaining).  Don't know how old your children are, but even I thought the pizza making would be fun during the down time.

Thanks Lynn, very good to know. My kids are still going, 2 & 4, so a little time to go. I think one of the shark operators had a minimum age of 10, so time to start a "who's planning for 2028" thread! :D

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Amylovescritters

Omg what a phenomenal trip and I am only to Tswalu. Pangolins and aardvarks, plural? Meerkats? Definitely a bucket lister but the sharks, oh the sharks!  The Great White Shark, my favorite creature on the planet!! I’m so jealous. They are so incredibly beautiful. Fantastic photos!!  I want to go down in the cage, FOR  SURE. Not sure if it was one of the guides that gave you the info about males, though?? Females are larger in this species, as is the case in many sharks. We have some of the largest off the shore in California. There is speculation regarding the smaller size and faster speed of seals in SA as compared to the sea lions and enormous, elephant seals off of California having a role in size differences between the two populations. Also thought to be why the SA sharks breach more spectacularly and acrobatically to catch the preymuch more often. The baiting does concern me, especially with orcas being suspected of preying upon them recently in SA. Cannot wait to finish reading your report. I’m totally inspired and ready to start planning... But I’m off to Botswana and Vic Falls next year so SA will have to wait. Your TRs are always so amazing! Thanks!!

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Atravelynn
23 hours ago, johnweir said:

 Am I right to assume a trip out with the Pangolin research team can be arranged on arrival at the reserve if say you were doing a 5 night stay?  Can be arranged on  arrival and that is what I did with my guide on the first outing of my 5-night stay. Is it a generally acknowledged activity when staying at this camp and also does it come at an additional cost?  No additional cost to visit with the pangolin researcher. A previous article on Tswalu (since removed) did suggest visiting later in the year than July for the best Pangolin and Aardvark sightings this seems to be contrary to your experiences? May through Aug are the cold months when aardvark and pangolin sightings are more common I was told.  My guide seemed to think July was a good month, along with May-Aug.  I'd be interested in learning why later than mid-July is considered a better time for viewing aardvark and pangolin.  A wonderful report I found it very interesting, thank you.  You are most welcome.

 

14 hours ago, Amylovescritters said:

Omg what a phenomenal trip and I am only to Tswalu. Pangolins and aardvarks, plural? Meerkats? Definitely a bucket lister but the sharks, oh the sharks!  The Great White Shark, my favorite creature on the planet!! I’m so jealous. They are so incredibly beautiful. Fantastic photos!!  I want to go down in the cage, FOR  SURE.  If it is your fav creature on the planet, then you have to see them face to face in the water.  Not sure if it was one of the guides that gave you the info about males, though??  Yes that is what I was told, but perhaps I heard wrong.  The ratio of males to females was 6:1.  It may be that males grow faster than females even if the females ultimately are bigger.  Just speculating.  Females are larger in this species, as is the case in many sharks. We have some of the largest off the shore in California. There is speculation regarding the smaller size and faster speed of seals in SA as compared to the sea lions and enormous, elephant seals off of California having a role in size differences between the two populations. Also thought to be why the SA sharks breach more spectacularly and acrobatically to catch the preymuch more often. The baiting does concern me, especially with orcas being suspected of preying upon them recently in SA. Cannot wait to finish reading your report. I’m totally inspired and ready to start planning... But I’m off to Botswana and Vic Falls next year so SA will have to wait.  Your trips are stacking up! Your TRs are always so amazing! Thanks!! Why, thank you.

@Zubbie15, at 2 and 4, you have lots of planning time.

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MMMim

I'm a bit late to this topic, as I've been away and am trying to catch up.  Only saw the post this morning.  Atravelynn, your trips are amazing!  As usual, love the trip reports and pictures.  I am so jealous and wish I had your advice (more than one shark trip) before our trip to SA in September.  We did shark diving off Gansbaai, but unfortunately did not see the GW.  The morning dive saw a few small ones, but we only saw the bronze whalers (20 though!).  I really do believe that the GW are taking a break from that part of the ocean since the orca issues.  Hopefully they will return in great numbers.  The way our trip was configured, I don't think we would have been able to reorganize on-the-fly to accommodate a 2nd dive, but now I wish we would have tried.  Oh well, reason to return to a beautiful part of the world!

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