Jump to content

All creatures small and beautiful - Tswalu-Cape of Good Hope NP


Recommended Posts

optig

@@Kitsafari I particularly love your photos of the meerkats. Needless to say I'm looking forward to my 10 day safari to Tswalu Kalahari next year.Your photos have increased my already incredible excitement enthusiast. I also want to bring my niece and nephew to Tswalu Kalahari because I know they will simply love it. I feel that it's an ideal lodge for families with children to visit

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 212
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Kitsafari

    113

  • optig

    19

  • TonyQ

    11

  • Alexander33

    10

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Meerkats.   I’ve watched these adorable creatures on TV, with the adults standing straight up and the young vainly trying to emulate the older ones but failing as their eyes droop and they keen tow

bear with me please, just a few more...     a portrait of a meerkat (uncropped)                 the moon peeks out     as she judges the onset of the night     as they

we are out at just after 3pm. Tea isn't even ready but after a full lunch, I'm just too full to partake of afternoon tea.   It’s a fairly sedate afternoon. I’m out in the bush and that is all that

michael-ibk

Very cute! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

@@Kitsafari your kalahari scrub robin is not one, it looks more like a shrike to me...

 

Well done with catching the meerkats in the evening, we did better in the mornings :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
Caracal

I always like to see the handsome black backed jackal and am enjoying your ride with the smaller creatures @@Kitsafari.

 

The backdrop of that red soil is stunning and I see what you mean about the meerkats eyes - they look soulful and intelligent.

Link to post
Share on other sites
optig

I must say I never realized before that meerkats were so adapt to climb tress. I love that photo of a meerkat in a tree.

Edited by optig
Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@optig I know they will love the meerkats!

 

the tree the sentry was in was a small one. it was more like a tall bush. but it looks really uncomfortable in it!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@Tdgraves urgh. that's what the guide said as I don't have shrike in my notes. I think the white mask across the eyes could have misled the identification.

 

After you suggested shrikes, I tried to search for matches. the bird ID-ed as the kalahari scrub robin looks like a fiscal shrike while I can't find a perfect match for the bird with the African red-eyed bulbul. It looks like a Mackinnon's shrike but they don't seem to be found in Southern africa.

 

Let me post them in a separate post and hopefully the ST's bird experts can help me ID them!

 

thanks for alerting me to it.

 

Also, I did see the meerkats in the morning light and I think the morning sightings are better as they give you more time to spend with them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

@@Kitsafari re. Bulbul do you mean the other fiscal shrike or the one with its' back to us out of the depth of field?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Connan

While I agree with @@Tdgraves that the first bird is not a Kalahari Scrub-robin, I also doubt that it's a common Fiscal.

 

In fact I have no idea what it is, and I don't know what the birds with the Bulbuls are either. Is it the same bird in both shots (with the Bulbuls)?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@Tdgraves @Peter Connan thanks for helping me to clear my confusion! it's the bird with the sole bulbul. I thought it was a different bird from the first shrike but on closer look now, I am not sure.

 

@@inyathi responded to my ID help posting and he thinks both are fiscal shrikes. http://safaritalk.net/topic/16427-please-help-with-id-of-birds/#entry200859

 

let's ping @@michael-ibk and see what he thinks. :wacko:

Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

I don´t have my books with me at the moment but I´d also go with Fiscal Shrike aka "Southern Fiscal" for both.

Link to post
Share on other sites
TonyQ

Lovely photos - the animals against the red earth make very striking pictures.

The meerkats are beautiful, and worth many pictures. About how far away from them were you?

Link to post
Share on other sites
elefromoz

@@Kitsafari, great fun with the Meercat family. Like most, I followed Meercat Manor, the complex, competitive and sometimes brutal little world they live in. Glad you got to enjoy time with them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Connan

Having looked at other sources, I see the Common Fiscal in that area has a white stripe above the eye (as does yours), whereas the ones we get down here in JHB don't.

 

So obviously I am wrong again and it is a Common Fiscal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alexander33

Great meerkat shots, @@Kitsafari. Love the sentinel. I wasn't able to get as close to one. Like you say, they don't look like they are particularly comfortable when they are up in those prickly branches.

Edited by Alexander33
Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

What incredible shots you got of the meerkats! And what inquisitive little faces they have. Very adorable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@Tdgraves @michael-ibk @@Peter Connan Majority says fiscal shrike, so I'll go with fiscal shrikes! Thanks for helping me ID.

 

and Peter thanks for checking again. :)

Edited by Kitsafari
Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@TonyQ these are meerkats habituated by the researchers so the closest I got to was around 2 feet but generally around 7-10 feet away as I worried about panicking them. one of the younger ones was foraging and came very close to where I was standing watching.

Edited by Kitsafari
Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

I forgot I had two video clips of that evening - one of them spring cleaning the burrows and another where you can see how close we can get to the meerkts.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

Tuesday dawns a little warmer, which means I don’t need fleece gloves. But I’m packed and all ready for our first full day outing. There is no real agenda but that’s just typical of me. I may have a list of must-sees but I like to go along with the flow, leave the schedules to the guide (who surely will know better than me what can be seen when) and wait for the unexpected to happen.

 

All we are planning today is to go far south, so far down that we will reach the furthest tip of the reserve. Few have been there. The Tsamma section and the section below that were closed to the guests in 2008 but I’m not certain when it opened to the guests.

 

 

Adrian gets a lot of teasing from other guides, who basically say they can’t retrieve him if he gets lost – a hint of how few guides have ventured down there. It is shaping up to be much of an expedition, an exploration for what we know not. There’s been talk about rare black wildebeests and blesboks far down south. Great if we see them, but fine with me if we don’t. I'm not worried we will get lost. Can you seriously get lost in a reserve? All I’m aware is is I’m out in the bush, and that’s all I care, for now.

 

Below is a illustrated map of the Tswalu reserve, which hangs in the main hall. Adrian makes it a point to tell me at the end of the day where we have been and that';s so useful. I have to break the map into two so that I can see the wordings (I'm old , i need large letters!)

 

This is the northern expanse with the thick line in the middle that marks the fence that separates the lions in the eastern side Lekgaba from the western side. Motse is somewhere in the middle (to the lower right of Korannanaberg). Today we are traversing sand dunes through Kalkpan down to Tsamma (2nd map) and southwards past Klogopiets to the southern tip.

 

P1160500-1.JPG

 

P1160501-1.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

I've not been to KTP but I imagine KTP would be almost similar to Tswalu. The red sands that are so bright it just pops against the cloudless blue skies. I had prepared for more sandy and bare dunes but the sands are anchored by scrawny bushes in the duneveld and thornveld.

 

 

The reserve’s vegetation is described as arid savanna. The western section is dominated by dunes and is drier because of the location of the Korranaberg mountains. The eastern section receives slightly more rain and has a denser vegetation and this is very obvious at the foothills of the mountain range.

 

As we go up and down the dunes, each time we hit the top of the dunes, a vast space opens up to us.

 

P1150761-1.JPG

 

Kalahari thornveld surrounds us as we pass Griffon Pan. Rows of grey camelthorn trees line along the roads, vainly promising black rhinos who love to partake of camelthorn. But none appeared.Shepherd's trees dot around the surroundings.

 

we surprise a steenbok before the sun rises, a male ostrich dashes from us, a kudu stag greets us while a solo oryx watches us. I'm struck by how the animals are often solitary or in small groups and Adrian remarks that the situation is different in the eastern section where the antelopes herd together more frequently. No large predators are in the western section, so prey feel no need to bunch up as a defensive strategy.

 

 

P1150759-1.JPG

 

P1150766-1.JPG

 

a handsome kudu with magnificent horns

 

P1150767-1.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

I'll now let the pictures unfold much of the day's general events. My notes say along the way we see white backed mousebird, a red crested korhaan, a white backed vulture, a eastern clapper lark (quite a few of them, one of which clapped very well for me), an African pippet - all of which Mdm Slowhand can't capture on the camera.

 

P1150774-1.JPG

 

P1150775-1.JPG

 

P1150779-1.JPG

 

P1150783-1.JPG

 

P1150786-1.JPG

 

P1150787-1.JPG

 

P1150788-1.JPG

 

P1150789-1.JPG

Edited by Kitsafari
Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

While we are in the Kalkpan area, one of the other guides called in a rhino sighting. Since we are in the vicinity, we dashed to the area. It is a desert black rhino mum and her calf, both resting in the shade.

 

DSC06245-1.JPG

 

P1150791-1.JPG

 

Mum is not bothered by our arrival. Like the lions would do, she lifts her head for a split second and then puts it down to continue sleeping

 

DSC06242-1-2.JPG

 

DSC06246-1.JPG

 

P1150794-1.JPG

 

P1150798-1.JPG

 

The calf is more edgy and uncomfortable dozing in the hot sun.it eventually moves to the shade next to mum for security

 

DSC06251-1-2.JPG

 

P1150801-1.JPG

 

 

As the calf watches us, she started crying for the mum. It is the most amazing sound - it is so soft you can hardly hear it in the video clip. (from 0.29 secs there are intermittent cries)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

A public road runs between the Kalpan and Tsamma sections and both sides are not fenced. We enter the Tsamma section and it is a long drive with sparse game. I don't even recall seeing any large mammal, except for lots of Korhaans flying the sky and yelling at us for disturbing their peace, and Koribustards also always on its wings in the skies. and one gabar goshawk which my stumbling fingers couldn't capture well.

 

P1150804-1.JPG

 

The vegetation looks different too. it is more natural and bushy, not trimmed and gardened by the antelopes. we stop at the Tsamma waterhole for breakfast, while the antelopes at the waterhole quench their thirst and lick the salt block.

 

P1150805-1.JPG

 

P1150806-1.JPG

 

 

 

P1150813-1.JPG

 

preparing my mocharula

 

P1150816-1.JPG

 

P1150819-1.JPG

 

a very rare Bibiana sp - Adrian finds it and has never seen it in Tswalu

 

P1150823-1.JPG

 

more ground squirrels amid devil's thorns

 

P1150824-1.JPG

 

P1150828-1.JPG

 

P1150833-1.JPG

 

spike heeled lark

Link to post
Share on other sites
TonyQ

It sounds fascinating going off to this little visited section of the reserve. The landscape and colours are very striking.

I see you were very close to the meerkats - the video where one is showering the standing meerkat with earth is very funny!

Ground squirrels are cute, and a lovely sighting of the rhino and baby.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy