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


Tdgraves

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Tdgraves

Final game drive continued

 

I have had lunch and am ready to continue!! Trying to get it all done before we fly off tomorrow....

 

There were plenty of birds

 

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Red-capped lark

 

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Chinspot batis

 

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Black-shouldered kite

 

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Groundscraper thrush

 

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Striped kingfisher (only the second time I have seen one)

 

We had coffee and then found some more lion tracks. We followed them for a while and then they were lost into an area where we could not drive.

 

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Back for our last breakfast. As we were the only guests leaving, it was leisurely and they were happy to take us to the gate whenever we were ready. We only had a relatively short drive back to Johannesburg and we managed to fit in a curio shop along the way.

 

Another night in Joburg and the emergency purchase of a 100-400 mark II lens and it was back to the UK (I will explain more in the Mashatu part of the TR!)

 

Both experiences were different to the first visits, namely the time of year. But also, we had far less safari and photography experience the first time and we definitely were not noticing birds back then. It did not feel repetitive and indeed in both reserves, there was only one occasion where I recognised somewhere that we had been before. Would we go back? Definitely. Welgevonden is a beautiful reserve and it is really close to Joburg. Being malaria free is also a bonus. It seems to be a good place for white rhino as well as general game and lots of birds. Tswalu? In a heartbeat. I was quite perturbed that they had raised the tariff by 25% for 2016, but I think that they were just predicting the failure of the Rand - it is actually cheaper now in foreign currency terms than when we booked a year ago!! Next time I would book further in advance to get more nights and check the lunar calendar!! I'm not sure that I would go in the dead of winter to get more aardvark though, I like a hot safari!

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Towlersonsafari

Very much enjoyed your report, thank you @@Tdgraves!

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Awesome stuff, and sorry for so many likes yet few actual replies!
A brown hyaena...even if fleeting, lord I'm envious!
And great leopard sighting - that treed warthog was a whopper! It's always interesting how the reserve affects the sightings, how a 'normal' sighting in a reserve where a species is infrequent becomes an excellent sighting.

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kittykat23uk

Lovely photos of the hare! :)

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Tdgraves

Lovely photos of the hare! :)

I know, you usually only see them in the dark and far away!

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Peter Connan

Beautiful TR thanks @@Tdgraves

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Safaridude

@@Tdgraves

 

Many great photos as usual and stories. Thanks. You got great results from the motion-sensored camera too.

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FlyTraveler

Great TR and photos @@Tdgraves! Thanks for sharing! I was quite curious about Welgevonden since I was hesitating between this reserve and Entabeni (both are in the Waterberg Biosphere area) and finally went for Entabeni (in combination with Madikwe) at the end of September. Welgevonden looks very nice, though...

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Great report. Looks like you picked a good spot to set up the camera trap, too.

 

The night drive section yielded bushbabies and this the best shot I've ever got of a civet (not saying much really!)

 

Still better than any of mine! :)

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twaffle

Thanks for posting a very engaging report with some lovely photos.

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  • 2 months later...

Fantastic trip report @@Tdgraves!! So many great sightings and images!! Lions in golden morning light, leopards at night, the aardvark, meerkats and lots lots more... Looking forward to reading your Mashatu report! :)

 

Cheers,

 

Michel

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Atravelynn

"There are leopard in Tswalu, but they are not habituated like those in Sabi Sands, for instance". There has to be something left for Sabi Sands with all Tswala has to offer!

 

Nice night shot of the Jameson's red rock rabbit. That's better than just a sighting.

 

What a great itinerary you had. Thanks for the Mashatu link. I thought I had overlooked it.

 

Can you comment on 4 nights Tswala after having done it? About right? Would you recommend more time, even if it meant forgoing other places due to time and the cost of Tswala?

 

I saw the comment on the emergency lens but did not find out what happened to your original lens.

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Tdgraves

Hi @@Atravelynn I think 4 nights at tswalu would be my minimum as the reserve is far away, large and so different to anywhere else - you will not get bored! For this you get free flights included. I wanted to stay 5, but there was no availability (for this you get 5 for the price of 4). My lens kept getting stuck - it turns out that some screws had come loose, so it's all fixed now.

 

Ps the best way to maximise your time there is to fly in from Cape Town and on to joburg (due to the flight schedules)

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Atravelynn

Hi @@Atravelynn I think 4 nights at tswalu would be my minimum (my thoughts exactly on 4 nt min from reading your report and others) as the reserve is far away, large and so different to anywhere else - you will not get bored! For this you get free flights included. I wanted to stay 5, but there was no availability (for this you get 5 for the price of 4). My lens kept getting stuck - it turns out that some screws had come loose, so it's all fixed now.

 

Ps the best way to maximise your time there is to fly in from Cape Town and on to joburg (due to the flight schedules)

Good advice. Glad your lens is ok now.

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