Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Carol was beaming. "We have to add this option to our safaris"

"Okay Fabian, so where are the Whales?"
We had just arrived at our beach front accommodation in Hermanus and our host Fabian sat chatting with us on our balcony.
Fabian, looked at me curiously (okay if I'm being honest it was more a look which said this fella must be blind!).
"There" he said, looking towards the sea. "There are three of them in front of the lodge"
I searched the horizon, desperately trying to spot a fin or water spout and not appear to be the total idiot I obviously was. But nothing.
"There" he said again, this time pointing down at the sea. Not out to sea, where I had been looking.
An expletive slipped out, followed by a disapproving look from Carol.

Right in front of us, there were three Whales playing in the surf!
Carol was beaming. "We have to add this option to our safaris"

So......If you would like to mix big game viewing with whale watching, then read on.
Our new - Big Game and Whales safari is available from August to November next year. Those are the months when the Southern Right Whales whales return to Walker bay to breed.  
The package starts with our ten day wildlife safari, followed by a short flight down to Cape Town and a three night stay on the beach front in Hermanus. 
Hermanus is the Mecca for Whale watching in South Africa and is the worlds premier place for land based Whale watching.
Not only will you be able to view the magnificent bay from your private balcony, but also take a boat trip out into the bay to experience being on the water with these wonderful creatures.
Note: Reassuringly the boat operates under a strict code that ensures they don't affect the Whales behaviour, or interfere with them in any way.
During our stay we also wandered out through the gate at the bottom of the garden and onto the magnificent wild beach to sit on the sand. With a glass of fizz in one had and binoculars in the other, we watched young calfs with their mothers working the edge of the surf. It doesn' get much better than that.
Click here to contact Carol and she will let you have more details

Written by Will Fox
On Track safaris

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Single ladies safaris

Wendy on game drive with us in Thornybush
Safari guest Wendy (pictured above), sent us some of her pictures of Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve leopards (see below).
Wendy was traveling alone and it was a chance remark about her feeling safe by being met in Joberg and fully escorted throughout that led us to thinking about offering special single ladies safaris in 2013.
So if you are a single lady looking to join other ladies for a Safari in 2013 then please send me an email and I'll be able to let you know more.
Thaba Tholo Leopard

Written by Carol Fox
On Track Safaris

Monday, 22 October 2012

Making a real difference.

A pupil whose proud parents were there to see her receive her award
We were proud to attend and contribute to the end of year open day at Sizo school. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful, happy day celebrating the achievements of not only the learners but teachers as well.
As many of you who have visited Sizo school when on Safari with us this year will know, we still face challenges in terms of improving resources and addressing a crumbling infrastructure. However we are making some real progress.
The children may come from a poor rural area, but that doesn't dampen the happy spirit at the school, that is encouraging and captivating. From teachers through to the learners the feeling is one of wanting to improve and develop, and of-course have some time for fun as well.
Thank you very much to everyone who has helped and supported us with our schools program this year. Next, we aim to help to rebuild the kitchen and improve the sewage system. We  have also had some great news with the offer of sponsorship for the school football team from a UK professional club. More on that soon.
For now, well done to everyone at Sizo.
It was very touching at the end of the day when the principle, teachers and parents collectively thanked us and all of our safari guests who have made donations to the school. We are making a real difference to the lives of these children. Thank you all and long may it continue.
INGWE head researcher Tara Pirie assisted with the prize giving. Volunteers from our wildlife campus  provide support to the teachers at the school by taking classes in IT, English and Sports during regular visits.
Head boy and girl with prizes donated by Safari guests Tina and Tony
The award wining choir performing for their parents
Written by Carol Fox
On Track Safaris

Friday, 19 October 2012

More camera trap pics taken by OTS guests

Following on form my last blog. Here are some more camera trap pictures taken by On Track safari guests:

Caracal not far from Black Leopard Camp

Serval, we're seeing quite a few on the reserve

Always a favourite the Slender Mongoose

The new boy

The new boy again

Written by Will Fox
OTS Manager

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Guest Reviews

We have been very fortunate to meet some great folks during our safaris. I always say to our guests that we want them to feel at home and part of the family, not just during their safari but to stay in touch when they get home. The old saying 'start as a guest and leave as a friend' is never more true than with our safaris.
We have some great times and lots of laughs along the way, which is reflected in the reviews we get from Responsible Travel guests. CLICK HERE to check out our latest guest reviews. And if you would like to speak to some of our previous guests, then many are happy to take a call or answer an email, just let us know and we'll introduce you.

Written by Will Fox

Monday, 15 October 2012

Camera Trapping On Safari

All of our Safari guests are able to be involved with our work with leopards during their safari. For example camera trapping is a key research tool, but more than that it is great fun and helps you to understand leopard behaviour that much more.
From the very first game drive you're encouraged to think about leopards. Where they walk, why they would be in a certain area, that sort of thing.
Then on day two or three you put a camera trap out on the reserve at a place where you think leopards will pass. The choice is yours, but we are on hand to advise if required. From our prospective its great to see how our safari guests quickly get a feel for leopard movement.
As all of you who have kindly joined Taras camera trap club will know, camera traps are simply motion activated cameras, that we place at certain points on the reserve to monitor our leopards.
On the final day of safari, we haul in the camera traps and take them to our research base (known by all on the reserve as the Conservation Village), where we can review your pictures and see what you photographed. But of-course it isn't just about leopards, we often get some wonderful pics of other animals, and even some rare examples, such as the Mellers Mongoose below.
As well as being a fun activity (and the winning picture does get a prize), the pictures are entered into the INGWE - research data base and contribute towards our leopard research. The very close up picture below, with Diamond sniffing the camera, if a little blurred still gives us the data we need i.e. we can identify which cat it was.
We also hope that camera trapping will have added to your awareness of the bush and leopard behaviour, which is after all, one of the elements that makes an On Track safari unique.

Written by Will Fox
OTS Manager

Monday, 8 October 2012

It's not just the camera

We are very fortunate to be able to take lots of wildlife photographs when we are on Safari. Thank heavens for digital cameras that's all I can say. If we were still in the days of film, it would cost us a fortune.
Many of our safari guests are keen photographers and more often than not take some wonderful pictures. But I have to say there was a cheeky glint in the eye of one guest recently who brought a simple point and shoot camera and still managed to challenge for best Safari picture.
Written by Will Fox
OTS Manager