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A Safari of Returns: Tswalu and Welgevonden, South Africa, September 2015


Tdgraves

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Tdgraves

That puppy portrait is wonderful!

 

@@wenchy the one with the sandy nose?

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Day 3 Evening Drive 2/9/15   As it was the OH's birthday, today was the day for the aardvark. As each vehicle leaves the lodge, the guide radios in the direction they intend to go in and if there is

Day 2: Afternoon game drive, 1/9/15   Today was the day for dogs. Although they have radio-collared several of the pack and the guide knew their recent GPS location, it still took a lot of driving a

Day 1 Tswalu Evening Drive 31/8/15   I am starting this as the official day 1 as the time at our friends lodge was an added extra and not a true safari. We had a good send off with a full South Afri

Tdgraves

some doggy movies

 

 

 

 

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Alexander33

I will not resort to the dreaded "What if?" game by debating again whether we should have stayed with the dogs. I won't. Clearly you had the better position with the sun, although I was holding out for a hunt that involved something other than what the puppies were munching on!

 

Thanks for rounding out the story.

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Tdgraves

I will not resort to the dreaded "What if?" game by debating again whether we should have stayed with the dogs. I won't. Clearly you had the better position with the sun, although I was holding out for a hunt that involved something other than what the puppies were munching on!

 

Thanks for rounding out the story.

 

@@Alexander33 I didn't want to rub it in, especially in your own TR! We are suckers for wild dogs, so there was no way that we were leaving....

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Alexander33

Ah, see, that's my problem: I'm a sucker for "everything."

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Tdgraves

and a couple more videos

 

 

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Atravelynn

A good day is an understatement! There's the aardvark.

 

From the adoration of the poo to the action shots at full speed to the silhouette in the sunset your dog encounter was a brilliant success!

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Love every single cheetah picture! I think most all of us, if not all, are "mad about cheetah". Great wild dog pictures also - especially the sunset silhouette of dog - so beautiful.

 

And then I definitely hear drum rolls when I look at both the aardvark and the Bat-eared Fox!

 

Terry

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Tdgraves

Love every single cheetah picture! I think most all of us, if not all, are "mad about cheetah". Great wild dog pictures also - especially the sunset silhouette of dog - so beautiful.

 

And then I definitely hear drum rolls when I look at both the aardvark and the Bat-eared Fox!

 

Terry

 

 

@@Terry this is my problem and the reason I have to post so many photos - I can never choose between them!!

 

the silhouette is the cover to my photo book for this trip

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Tdgraves

A good day is an understatement! There's the aardvark.

 

From the adoration of the poo to the action shots at full speed to the silhouette in the sunset your dog encounter was a brilliant success!

 

thanks @@Atravelynn but there is better aardvark to come, rather than a slightly blurry photo in the dark....

 

I love wild dogs :D:D

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Oh my, those cheetahs. Endearing despite the blood, as they always seem to be.

Enjoyed the birds on the first page and the dogs on this page a lot, too.

 

Aardvark! A good day indeed.

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TonyQ

Excellent pictures and videos of the dogs!

And the bat eared fox is a wonderful animal.

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xelas

@@Tdgraves

 

Having a backlog of trip reports ... any traveller's dream! Write fast as KNP departure is closing on :) !

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Tdgraves

Day 3 Tswalu Morning Drive 2/9/15

 

It was my husband's birthday and as we loaded the vehicle, we heard the staff rehearsing "Happy Birthday", which we assumed was for later on, although this never materialised...

 

Today was the day for black rhino, which means a bit of a longer drive over the dunes to get to the area which they favour. So we tried to get up and go ASAP. This had a pleasant side effect of finding this pair of bat-eared foxes returning from their nights' adventures.

 

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And some general game

 

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We stopped at a waterhole that the rhino are known to use and our guide and tracker got out to have a look for fresh tracks. Although there were some, they were not fresh enough to track, so we carried on into rhino territory. Eventually we let the tracker off of the vehicle when we found some fairly fresh mother and calf tracks. Tracking was slow going, as we had to circumnavigate each block to ensure that they had not just walked through it into the next one. This lead to a false start, some wasted off-roading and a lot of walking by the tracker, as we had inadvertently parked over their exit tracks from the first block we explored! The guide was embarrassed and if the tracker was not happy, he didn't let it show. I'm sure he'll never live it down....

 

Anyway, we eventually found them and as it was a bit later and the sun was out, they were already keen for a rest.

 

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It soon became clear that we were not the only ones tracking them

 

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This skittish young male was lurking in the bushes

 

By the time we had repositioned, they had collapsed.

 

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We watched them for quite a while and just as we'd come to terms with the fact that they were bedded down for the day - they got up!

 

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So we could get some "action" shots

 

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As we pulled out of the sighting, we caught another glimpse of the lurking male

 

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And caught a nice kudu on a dune ridge

 

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It was getting quite hot now, so a fairly direct drive back for breakfast.

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Tdgraves

a couple of little videos

 

 

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Tdgraves

just realised that I didn't upload any cheetah videos

 

 

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TonyQ

Good job you remembered! The two cubs are so intense in grooming each other

Good view of the rhino - and I love your bat eared foxes - a reward for an early start

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Tdgraves

Day 3 Evening Drive 2/9/15

 

As it was the OH's birthday, today was the day for the aardvark. As each vehicle leaves the lodge, the guide radios in the direction they intend to go in and if there is a specific target, what that may be. When Juan told the radio operator what his plans were, the response was laughter. Another guide also chipped in "good luck with that". But we were not disheartened. Aardvark in the daylight was what we had come for and aardvark in the daylight was what were going to get. It turns out that when they say winter is a good time for seeing them, they mean June or July, when it is really cold, not early September, which is nearly summer. However, part of the reason of going on safari is to feel the warm sun on the skin. I can be cold and miserable at home, I'm not spending a fortune going to Africa to do it!!

 

Anyway, off we set in a completely different direction than on previous drives. Our first spot of the day was Hartman's mountain zebra, one of the few places you can see them. And a much better sighting than we had on our last visit.

 

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And a chilled out dagga boy

 

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As we trundled along, there was not much game, so I had my head stuck in the bird book, trying to identify a bird that I had spotted near our room at lunchtime, when the tracker and guide got very animated. They had heard a double-banded courser! A lifer....

 

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And then I had a camera disaster, which shows that the extra expense of the 5D is well worth it. On the 7D mark I there is a tendency that as you flick the on/off button to switch the camera on, that the mode dial gets inadvertently turned by one or two positions. This cannot occur on the 5D as there is a locking button. So when we saw a family of bat-eared foxes, I grabbed the camera and switched it on, hurriedly pointing and shooting in their direction, as they decided to run as soon as the vehicle stopped. Only when I had taken a few shots and they had run out of sight, did I see that it had moved from aperture priority (AV) to shutter priority (TV). This may not have mattered, but it was set to such a ridiculously high shutter speed that with the sun already setting, they were too dark. This was the "best" effort....

 

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Anyway, no sooner had this happened than the tracker spotted our quarry, an aardvark! So we drove a bit closer and then got out to track it on foot. Just in time before the light left us. We would creep up, stop, take a few shots, it'd move off, so we'd follow. It is amazing how fast they can walk and the distance that we had covered in the 15 minutes that we followed. We had thick jackets on for wind protection and by the time we returned to the vehicle, we were boiling, but smiling.

 

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What a birthday present! Another good day...

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michael-ibk

So that´s how it works? Having birthday in Africa and just make a wish, that simple? Good to know, I will wish for Aardvark, Pangolin and Aardwolf on mine, let´s see how that works out. ;)

 

Great sighting!

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beautiful aardvark photos!!

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kittykat23uk

Fabulous sighting of the aardvark!

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Zim Girl

Great aardvark pictures, you must have been so pleased!

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TonyQ

What superb photos of the Aardvark! (not a bad birthday present :) )

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Towlersonsafari

Hurrah! those Aardvark photos made me smile even in the face of another Engalnd batting collapse !!

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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