Monday, 28 November 2011

We've found the ideal sustainable Big Five lodge for OTS

Over the last couple of weeks Will and I have been looking at more big five lodges to add to our safari itineraries for 2012. Of-course conservation and an environmentally sympathetic ethos are essential for each venue, but moreover its the feel of the accommodation has to be right for our guests. We look for high quality game viewing obviously (that goes without saying), on well established reserves, but also the lodge needs have the intimate, relaxed and friendly atmosphere that one expects from an On Track Safari.


Last week during a visit to the famous ThornyBush game reserve we found just that at Tangala Safari Camp. Spectacular game viewing on 12,000 hectares (with another 4,000 being added next month) and a lodge that ticked all the boxes. A lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service, we were in heaven. No power lines to polute the skyline, Tangala maintains sustainable sources for power and lighting, which is not only eco friendly but as importantly enhances the bush experience. Solar power is available to charge camera batteries etc and the rooms and walkways are lit using paraffin lamps, bringing a magical sparkle to the lodge each night. As you disembark from your afternoon game drive the lodge is bedecked with twinkling lanterns, leading to the main lounge where a lovely glass is waiting for you as a pre dinner aperitif.
Wood that has fallen or been removed on the reserve for land management purposes is burned in old fashioned geezers to heat water for your bathroom. A renewable source of fuel that augments the sustainable ethos that prevails. Below I've added a photo of the wood burning water geezer that heated water for our room. Old fashioned it may be, but efficiency isn't necessarily a new invention.

Written by Carol Fox

Thursday, 10 November 2011

School awards - thanks to all our safari guests who have helped make a wonderful day.


I have just enjoyed a great time at the achievers awards day at Bosfontein Primary School. On Track Safaris  helps to support this rural farm school throughout the year but the achievers day is something very special. It's a wonderful occasion with much laughter and one we always look forward to.
I have to say that (rather cheekily) we don't always follow schools recommendations to provide reference books and dictionaries as prizes. Instead we bring along mobile phones, bicycles etc which are always popular and add to the fun as well as bringing a smile to the teachers faces.
I'm pictured above with Cindy who has done very well in all academic subjects this year. She is lucky to have both parents at home who are helping her to progress to higher education, which is great news.
For the first time this year we have included prizes for the outstanding sports achievement. You may remember that with help from UK professional soccer team Middlesbrough FC and Virgin Atlantic, we managed to arrange sponsorship of soccer kit for forty players. This kit is not only used for soccer but every other sporting activity. In a poor school 'needs must' and sports kit has multiple purposes. The curious effect has been that since receiving the kit the school has started to do well in a whole host of sporting events. Proof that a little self belief and encouragement can go a long way.
Pictured below is Jacob who has done very well in long distance running, reaching the provinital finals which is the first time anyone from Bosfotein has competed at that level alongside the more afluent schools.

On behalf of OTS, we want to send a big well done to all the children. We'll continue to support this and other local schools and with the help and generosity of our safari guests we hope to be able to provide more support in 2012.

Written by Carol Fox
OTS Manager

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thanks for your company, you make it all worthwhile


Sundowners and Ele walking past - perfect

Many of our guests have been very kind and written some great reviews about their recent Safaris. The full reviews are being published by Responsible Travel  but here are a few comments that have been said about our safaris this week:

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing the big 5 on one morning on safari was a very good extra with a good guide Anton . 
Nothing is to much trouble. The school visit was very good.

What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Trust On-Track Safaris with your itinerary - it was perfect.

Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Absolutely

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
We have been to South Africa 5 times. This was the best. As we got close to the people and the country side. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

A big thanks to everyone who has reviewed our safaris. 
You know...... we have great jobs. Not only do we meet some amazing people but we also raise funds for our conservation work at the same time. 
It always gives me a boost to know that our guests started out as clients but even before they arrived have become friends. All members of our extended Ingwe family. We are very fortunate to meet some wonderful people, share some great wildlife experiences and enjoy their company and laughter. And long may it continue. We're all looking forward to 2012 safaris and once again sharing some great wildlife experiences with our safari guests. 

I've added a picture below that was taken of Anton, which will join others that have been sent to us on our website. Reminders of great times.

Written by Carol Fox




Thursday, 13 October 2011

Affinity with Nature is what we are all about

Our wildlife safaris are all about our visitors being immersed in nature. Our guests have had some great wildlife sightings of late and we believe that those opportunities stem from our staff being conservationists at heart and moreover having an affinity with nature. That almost sensual understanding of nature and wildlife is key to being able to enable our guests not only to see wildlife but go one step further and 'experience' nature.
Take the picture above showing OTS Manager Carol enjoying a close encounter with a Nyala this morning, while a herd of Wildebeest look on.
The trust that one is shown from wild animals comes from their sense that they are safe. This male Nyala, now named 'Neville' (sorry about that), lives on a large reserve, where after the recent rains there is plentiful sweet grazing for him. Yet along with many other Antelope species he is happy to spend time with Carol.
Join us and experience this for your self. Email: carol@ontracksafaris.com

Written by Will Fox

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

OTS safari guests take time out to visit a local school

On Track Safari guests, Penny and Chris Riggot and Charlotte and Mark Boughton from the UK, took time out from their Wildlife Safari last week, to visit one of the rural schools that we support.
Pictured with a pupil at Bosfontein Primary, they were shown the new IT room that we have helped to build for the school. Enabling pupils to reach out from their isolated rural community and get in touch with other children around the world as well as learning essential IT skills that we hope will serve them well in future years..
All four guests had a great afternoon at the school and have pledged their support, hoping to raise some donations once they return to the UK.
Although Bosfontien school needs to survive on a budget of less than $6,000/year  there is a great spirit amongst pupils and teachers alike. The atmosphere is one laughter coupled with a desire to learn, which is inspiring to all who visit. Their path out of poverty is not an easy one, but we know that with help from our safari guests such as Penny, Chris, Mark and Charlotte we will be able to help the pupils to enjoy a brighter future.
Written by
Carol Fox
Manager On Track Safaris.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Evans family enjoy an On Track Safari

Lynn, Emily and Justin Evans were first to enjoy our new family safari package. They contacted us earlier in the year looking for a special family holiday, so we put together a safari package that provided something for Mum and Dad as well as Emily aged thirteen.
They had heard of our family safaris when we made the UK's Daily Telegraph top 100 family holidays last year. Lynn held on to the cutting (we actually knew nothing about it) and got in touch.


After fouteen days where they visited Shiduli, the Kruger Park, Zuelika Country House and of-course our base at Black Leopard Camp, they were dropped off at Johannesburg airport on Sunday evening for their overnight flight home. Poor Justin was due at work at 9am the next day, but somehow Emily had wrangled a day off school.
Lynn, Emily and Justin are now firm friends and supporters of our work in conservation. They have already booked to come back next year (securing a safari at our 2011 prices, Justin isn't daft). Apparently Emily will be bringing her two best friends with her, who have already followed the safari on face book and Skype. The 'oh's and ah's' and 'wish we there's' came over on her Skype call every time Emily spun the camera around to show her friends in England the African views from her African lodges, so we feel like we know them already.

Written by Carol Fox

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Luxurious Shiduli now part of the Karongwe Portfolio


I took some time out of the office last week to go to visit Shiduli Private Game Lodge in the Karongwe Reserve, which forms part of our standard safari itinerary. I have great memories of Karongwe as it was there that Will and I released Shiloweni (who became quite a famous leopard) a couple of year ago. You can see a video clip of Will and our now tour manager Anton with Shiloweni in 2009 on you tube.
Anyway back to the present day. Shiduli was as ever looking great, their rooms (see my bed room picture below) are luxurious and their friendly staff are always attentive, making us feel at home from the moment we checked in. It is just one of the reasons that we have included Shiduli in our safari itinerary. The other being the magnificent Karongwe reserve, where my guests were fortunate to see the big five in their first game drive, followed by a bush walk with Cheetah...wonderful.
Shiduli now forms part of the Karongwe portfolio, that includes several other lodges on the resevrve. So while I was in the reserve I visited Kaname River Lodge where I was escorted by the rather dashing guide Bronson, who showed me this wonderfully luxurious yet intimate exclusive lodge. I then went on to visit Chisomo Safari Camp, where I had arranged to meet camp manger Ross, who showed me around the river lodge cabins. Again as you would expect each cabin can only be described as luxurious, yet light and airy unlike some of the cabins I have seen on other less well presented reserves.
All in all, Karongwe was a great hit with my guests and well...me.
We'll definitely be continuing to include all the lodges of Karongwe in our safari packages. If you would like to visit Karongwe and join us on a conservation safari then drop me an email carol@ontracksafaris.com


Written by Carol Fox
On Track Safaris manger




Thursday, 18 August 2011

Graham Cooke returns to Djuma for On Track Safaris guests

Great news for those who remember Graham Cooke from his days at Djuma following the Gowrie Gang.
Graham will be back in Djuma in September guiding for our Safari guests, who will also have chance to meet up with Tara, Marc and Seb.
I know that Tara and Marc have been keeping an eye on the Gowrie gang and in his absesnse so they'll be able to update him on the Baboons progress.
If you would like to join one of our Conservation Safaris and visit Vuyatlea to meet the crew and who knows the Gowrie Gang as well, then get in touch with my wife Carol (carol@ontracksafaris.com) or visit our website www.ontracksafarisuk.com


Written by Will Fox

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Lion at Djuma, just another day

Its easy to become complacent when living and working in the African Bush. I was reminded of that as I sat in my office talking with a safari guest in the UK who will be joining the Ingwe team and also visiting Djuma as part of her safari. It's always interesting to talk to folks around the world, and as we chatted about the weather and the current riots in the UK, I glanced out of my office window idly watching vultures gliding about 200 meters away. I casually mentioned this and was asked what the vultures were doing. 'Oh there'll be a leopard kill somewhere nearby'. There was silence on the other end of the line, followed by 'my word, I just wish I could live with wildlife as you do'.
I not only work in the bush but also live in the bush. I have to admit that having worked at Djuma Game Reserve over the last years, has also made me complacent about events that while every day, are amazing. On my last night with Safari Television the whole team sat around the fire enjoying a final beer together when we heard Lion roaring close by. We all jumped in a game drive vehicle, grabbed a torch and found four male lion which we followed for a while before heading back to the fire. I sometimes need to pinch myself.


If you would like to join us on safari and visit Djuma to meet the Djuma safari team then get in touch with my wife Carol carol@ontracksafaris.com


Written by Will Fox

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Conservation Safari and visit Djuma to meet the Safari team

On Track Safaris has a new special safari available for Safari Channel friends. Enjoy a conservation safari including a stay at Vuyatela, Djuma Game Reserve.  Our safaris mix big five game viewing with opportunities to be involved with wildlife conservation. Everyone hopes to see the infamous big five when on Safari and of-course soak up the atmosphere, sights and sounds of Africa. We aim to provide all those things (mother nature permitting),  but more than that, we want you to gain an insight into the real African bush. And even more, we provide opportunities for you to be involved with our work in conservation and particularly with Leopards as part of the Ingwe Leopard Research Team. All profits from On Track Safaris go to PAW Conservation Trust to fund the work of the Ingwe Leopard Team.
Carol and Will Fox will be known to all the friends of Safari Channel as pervious directors of Safari Television and we hope also for their work with Leopard research. This is your chance to join the Ingwe Team in Africa as well as meet the Djuam safari team at Vuyatela. Click on our logo to visit our website and get a feel for what we do, but remember this is a special safari and we can mix and match to tailor your safari to meet your requirements and to suit your pocket. Contact Carol 
Oh and if you would like to read some reviews of our safaris from past clients (now friends) read more