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Niyam's African Adventure (August 2013)


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Thanks @@PT123. When I'm an old man, I'll have three strapping young lads to do all the driving and carry all my camera bags on safari - well, that's the plan :D

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Cheetahs in Tarangire


Our first cheetah sighting was close to the woodland near the Kuro Airstrip (a tsetse fly stronghold!) This pair of males seemed quite relaxed but were quite a distance away and photography was further impaired by poor light levels and obstructive vegetation. Although I took some photos, I'm going to skip to our second sighting. It was a morning drive and we headed to one of the quieter stretches of the Tarangire River, further south, in search of leopards that prefer the trees lining the river banks. Instead we found another pair of male cheetahs! These two were very relaxed and we spent about one hour with them. Although they were quite a distance away on the opposite bank of the river, the light was good. The cheetahs were very active and playful but one seemed intent on "dominating" the other which led to a few scuffles. This was also a "safari first" for me - although I've seen many cheetahs, I've never come across cheetahs relaxing on the banks of a major river. This made for some interesting photos.



This photo gives you a perspective of the actual distance from the vehicle






The one standing was always looking to dominate the other


"I've had enough" - a kick in the chest using the back legs


Heading down to the river for a drink



The cheetahs were continuously taunted by various birds but the chief tormentors were a pair of Egyptian geese that followed the cheetahs wherever they went


No need to worry about crocodiles or hippos in the Tarangire River



Eventually moving off

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:D I'm sure he'll find it - "river" cheetahs was a first for me but the absence of hippos and crocodiles in the Tarangire River would help anybody relax!

Edited by africapurohit
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You were a good dad, taking all the bites for him!


River cheetahs are very nice and more evidence that around Silale Swamp is a mongoose hotspot (some super-good photos there). Long may that last. Shame about the leopards and lions (very surprsing, even without the radio) but I think the cheetahs more than compensate.

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@@pault I only packed 4 bottles (100 mL each), so I had to conserve the Rid for the 17 days in Katavi and northern Serengeti. I wasn't too concerned about finding lions, considering the next two destinations but I was surprised by the lack of leopard news in Tarangire. I was starting to think I may have been jinxed because I had lunch with @@PersonalPangea at the Lonon GTG the day before I left :D (http://safaritalk.net/topic/4684-show-us-your-leopard-pics/page-9). The cheetahs and birding more than made up for it.

The relaxed mongooses along the Silale swamp were a joy - one Slender mongoose let us approach within a 2 metres and was still really relaxed, allowing me to get the close-up shots. We could have got closer but my camera lenses would have struggled to focus!


Birding extravaganza coming next..........

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Birds of Tarangire - Part 1


African Grey Flycatcher


Male African Grey Hornbill



African Jacana


Ashy Starling - a bird endemic to the Tarangire region


Immature Augur Buzzard


Black-bellied Bustard


Black-shouldered Kite on a rat kill - you just have to love those eyes!




Coqui Francolin

Edited by africapurohit
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Black-shouldered Kite on a rat kill - you just have to love those eyes!

Quite right, I do. What a beautiful bird. I´m enjoying your new bird-passion very much, btw.

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 no luck with pythons at Tarangire or Arusha National Park (another good place to find them, close to the lakes) but I didn't specifically try finding them. With only 4 camps in 26 days, it allowed Niyam to settle and get to know each area and the camp staff and this really helped. Niyam loved it but strangely he showed the same excitement and interest in an agama lizard, ring-necked dove or impala as he did with the big cats or elephants.


He was very impartial and demonstrated no bias towards any animals :).


Fringe-eared oryx photos coming up after I finish the bird compendium!

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Thanks @@michael-ibk - I hope to convert some ST members into twitchers by the end of this report!

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Birds of Tarangire - Part 2


Crested Francolins



Crowned Lapwings



Eastern Chanting-Goshawk


Eastern Chanting-Goshawk hunting on the ground


Egyptian Geese



Grey Heron near Silale Swamp


Grey Heron on the banks of the Tarangire River

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I think the last one is the ultimate "twitcher´s pic": A cheetah(!) is relegated to blurry background status, the heron is the undisputed star. :)

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I think the last one is the ultimate "twitcher´s pic": A cheetah(!) is relegated to blurry background status, the heron is the undisputed star. :)

That's one of the males that had post #54 dedicated to them, so I want no complaints from the non-twitchers :D

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I'm loving this report - your writing and your brilliant photos. It is really good seeing the wildlife in their context as well as the close-ups.

I am really enjoying the bird pictures.

It sounds like a fantastic trip!

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Thanks @@TonyQ - I'm glad you're enjoying it and welcome to Safaritalk :)

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Birds of Tarangire - Part 3


Grey-headed Kingfisher


Helmeted Guineafowl


Hildebrandt's Starling


Male Knob-billed Ducks


Kori Bustards - I love photographing these birds and the newly burnt areas around southern Tarangire were a magnet for them (as well as White-bellied and Black-bellied Bustards). The burnt areas also provided good contrast for photographing these fair-coloured birds. On some occasions, we drove about 50 metres along a burnt stretch and found 3 to 4 Kori Bustards.



I'm sure @@pault photographed this same Lilac-breasted Roller sitting on the Oliver's Camp sign at the edge of the Silale Swamp.


Little Bee-eaters


Edited by africapurohit
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Kori Bustards work well in black and white if you have a dark background:




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What a trip! Can't wait to read/see the rest!

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Birds of Tarangire - Part 4


Long-tailed Fiscals



Long-toed Lapwing


Magpie Shrike


Immature Martial Eagle


Namaqua Doves


Northern White-crowned Shrike


Open-billed Stork posing on one leg


Red-billed Teal


Red-headed Falcon


Red-necked Spurfowl

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Birds of Tarangire - Part 5 (there are more but this is the final part) :D


Spur-winged Lapwing


Superb Starlings



Two-banded Courser


Verreaux's Eagle Owl


Male Von der Decken's Hornbill


White-browed Coucal


Yellow-collared Lovebirds


Yellow-necked Spurfowl


Female Yellow-throated Sandgrouse


Male Yellow-throated Sandgrouse

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I had to cut the Tarangire bird fest short and there's still 17 days in Katavi and Serengeti to come! You won't want to look at another bird by the end of this report :D

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Still loving this report! Well done with the tsetses :)

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