Friday, 27 July 2012

Living in the African Bush

Carol and I are very lucky to live in the African bush, but moreover to be able to share some of what we often taken for granted with our Safari guests.
We wake up most mornings with a herd of WildeBeast grazing on the lawn outside our bedroom window alongside a clan of wart hogs wandering around between their legs. It is probably a different morning view to that which many people have, but that's life in the African bush. One can forgive the frustrations of having intermittent cell phone reception and/or Internet supply, when surrounded by wildlife.
Okay, so in terms of business communications it would be much more efficient for us to have an office in a town or city, but that (for us) is too high a price to pay.
Frustrating services aside, we aim to reply to everyone who enquiries about a safari on the same day, where at all possible. If we miss that deadline, it's not for the want of trying, but more the vagrancies of living in the African bush.
One other benefit of living and working in the bush is the view from our office window. As I write I have a small herd of Nyala steadily finishing off the last of what we hoped would be a small herb garden. More fool us.

Written by Will Fox
OTS Manager

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Remarkable Leopard kill on Game Drive

Finishing off the Waterbuck Calf, he isn't going to release
On Monday evening we had a remarkable game drive, when we found Diamonds son killing a Waterbuck Calf.  There are many safari guides who go for years without ever seeing a leopard make a kill, making this a very rare yet exciting sighting for our guests. It’s an event that brings home the harsh reality of the African bush, but is nonetheless a thrilling experience. During the drive we were tracking the fresh spoor of a young male leopard.Mike and I were off the vehicle checking the direction of his tracks when we heard a Waterbuck alarm call very close.We quickly headed to the spot just in time to see him finishing off a Waterbuck calf about ten meters away from the road. All the while, several other Waterbuck females stood by barking at the leopard, which undetered by the noise stuck to his task. Once he was sure the calf was dead he retreated from the mobbing Waterbuck, to find some nearby sanctuary. It is likely that an older, more confident leopard may well have stayed put and started to feed, but this young leopard is still a little unsure of himself and although anxious not to move too far from his prize opted to take refuge close by and lay up on the opposite bank as dusk fell. All the while, keeping an eye on his evening meal and us.

As the Waterbuck moved off and started grazing further down the valley (no longer concerned about the leopard) we also moved away to leave him in peace for a while. We did pass by the scene about half an hour later, only to find that he had dragged his prize off into some thick bushes, from where we could hear (if not see) him enjoying his meal.
At that point Kudu warning barks from the adjacent mountainside indicated that another leopard was in the area, so we headed off to inestgate that situation.
For our newly arrived OTS guests, on their first safari, it had been quite a day. Not only had they seen their first leopard, but also had experienced a very rare and amazing sighting. And all on their first full day in Africa.
Back at Black Leopard Camp, some very excited guests recounted the days events over dinner. As for me, well I was excited as they were about such an exceptional sighting. Not only the sighting but to know that diamonds son was now all grown up and operating without his mother help. Who knows where his future will lie, but for now he is developing well within the safety of the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve.

Written by Will Fox
OTS Manager.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

2013 Safari - Grab a great deal now.

Great News for folks who are thinking about joining us on safari in 2013. You can beat the 2013 price rise and secure our 2012 prices for any of our safari packages taken in 2013.
A token deposit of £100 made before the end of August 2012, secures our current prices and there is more....
If you book direct with us for a safari to be taken in February or March 2013 then we can offer a huge 25% off our 2012 price.
How do we do this?
February and March are traditionally the low season, which we find very strange as it provides some of the best game viewing opportunities. What it does mean is that we can negotiate better accommodation deals with the lodges we visit and pass those savings on to you.

Join us in 2013 and experience the difference of an On Track Safari.

Click here to contact Carol for more information

Friday, 6 July 2012

EXCITING NEWS, don't miss the chance

EXCITING NEWS..... especially for our Safari guest who have booked a Safari in late August or early September 2012.  Wildlife capture expert Dairen Simpson will be assisting Tara and the INGWE team to catch and collar three leopards within the the Thaba Tholo Reserve as part of INGWE's ongoing research.
This work will also be filmed as part of a TV documentary series that is being produced about Dairens work as wildlife trapper working with conservation projects around the world.
Dairen and the film crew will be staying at Black Leopard Camp, which is the base for all of our Safaris.
As ever our safari guests will have an opportunity to 'be involved' in our work in conservation and see at close hand how we collar and monitor big cats. It is important for the survival of the species, that INGWE gather more data on the behaviour of free roaming leopards to assist the provincial nature conservation authorities.
If you are considering a Safari in 2012, and want to be involved with leopard conservation, then this is the chance of a life time at no extra cost.
As you'll see from some of the pictures, Dairen is a good friend and has worked with Will in various locations (including Thaba Tholo) over the last five years. We're all very excited about this new development and looking forward to introducing our guests to one of the worlds leading conservation professionals.

Written by Carol Fox

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Testament to the INGWE team

As many of you will know, our Safaris are based from Black Leopard Camp on the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve, which is also the home of INGWE - Leopard Research.
Everyone who is involved with On Track Safaris are dedicated conservationists and we actively support and help fund INGWE at Thaba Tholo.
Over the last few years we have seen the leopard sightings at TT change from a fleeting glimpse of  a tail disappearing into the grass, to the level we are now at; which is to enjoy time in the company of these magnificent creatures. It is a testament to the INGWE team and the reserve management that Leopards have found a safe haven. The pictures tell the story better than words.

Click here to contact Carol if you would like to join us on Safari.

Written by Will Fox

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Long may it continue

We've had some great wildlife experiences and sightings at our Safari base Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve, but things are really hotting up right now (even if not in temperature).
Two of the cubs from Diamond (a resident female Leopard) are the stars of the show, and although often as hard to find as any leopard, they are very relaxed when sighted on our game drives. Pictured is the male cub, posing for the camera.
We also had some great news recently with the birth of a baby Giraffe. We initially noticed that the mother had left her small herd and gone up into a remote valley, only to proudly appear two weeks later with her new born.

But its not all about leopards. While taking a morning break from game drive by the main dam, we had another rare sighting when we were joined by a pair of Cape Clawless Otters. These often secretive creatures bobbed around for quite a while, seemingly unphazed by our presence. This was the first time that safari guests (I got it right this time Rose), were able to see Otters at Thaba Tholo, long may it continue.
Written by Will Fox