Friday, 26 July 2013

Happy, if emotional day for the OTS team.

OTS Manager Carol Fox cuts the ribbon to open the new kitchen and dining room
Thanks again to all those OTS guests who so generously donated funds in support of our renovating three buildings at Sizo community school. As seen above Carol did the honours and officially opened the buildings yesterday (25th July).
Carol and Will with two of the pupils, together with school principle Andries and building contractor William 
Pupils, Teachers and parents attended a wonderful and emotion charged day, where all the hard work by so many people was celebrated.
Will with Andries and Carol planting a Protea to mark the ocasion

Tara Pirie and the Ingwe Leopard Research team 
Our research team headed by Phd candidate Tara Pirie were also on duty teaching at Sizo. We attend the school every second Thursday to help out with IT lessons, sports and English. For most of us the best part of the day was when we heard the children talking about wildlife conservation. It makes it all worthwhile.

Written by Will Fox

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

New IT centre for Sizo

The new IT room we have created with kind donations from many OTS guests.
With some very generous donations from our safari guests and a lot of hard work from our research team volunteers we are making some real progress in improving the lives of the pupils at Sizo Primary School.
Sizo is a small community school that we support. We often visit the school during our safaris as the school children really get a boost out of knowing that there are folks around the world who are interested in their lives. It is a privilege to be able to help these children, most of whom come from the local farming community and live in very poor conditions. With your support we are making a real difference.
Some of our volunteers at Sizo last week.
Written by Will Fox
On Track Safaris

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Delighting in seeing folks enjoying their On Track safari

We are very proud of the wonderful reviews we have received from our safari guests. I say guests but our safarists are more than that. They quickly become part of the family and together we have enjoyed some great times on safari.
For us to see our guests enjoying their safari is akin to the excited feeling you get when giving presents on Christmas morning. One of sharing the moment and delighting in seeing folks enjoying themselves.

I have added some of the most recent reviews that have been posted on Safari Review below and if you would like to, you can also check out our reviews from Responsible Travellers.

From Ian and Jackie

Wildlife viewing in Africa is such a brilliant experience that it would be easy to get carried away and give virtually any safari holiday a 5star review on the back of the thrill of wildlife sightings, ignoring how well other aspects of the holiday have been put together. This was our second African safari holiday and whilst we would at the time have given our first holiday (with another company) a 5 star rating, we now realise that a 3-4 star rating for that holiday would have been more appropriate - because the organisation, thought, skill, service and attention to detail that went into ensuring the maximum enjoyment possible from this holiday with On Track Safaris was absolutely faultless and clearly superior to what we had experienced before. Consequently we have no hesitation in rating this holiday a genuine 5 star experience.
We chose this safari after reading several reviews which were full of praise and because it offered something a little extra and different from other options. We were not disappointed. Our experience actually exceeded our already high expectations! The itinerary was clearly put together with great care to maximise the chances of thrilling and varied wildlife viewing in a range of different habitats and in such small groups that it was always possible to stop and watch what interested us, whatever the time of day. Visits to a conservation/leopard research camp, wildlife rehabilitation centre, historic and scenic sites and a local school all added to our experience and understanding of local issues.
The tour operators - Will and Carol- had clearly selected every location with great care, having vetted every lodge and camp we stayed at thoroughly. Will transferred us personally between sites. The service and hospitality we enjoyed at every location was second to none and our guides could not have been more helpful in maximising our viewing experiences. Each location paid more than just lip service to being eco - friendly yet always managed to produce wonderful meals. We would particularly make special mention of Alan, Lyndsay and the staff at Black Leopard Camp in the mountains of Thaba tholo, where this holiday began and ended, and who along with Will and Carol did so much to ensure this was a holiday we will never forget. We love the conservation work you are all doing.
Ian and Jackie.
June 2013

From Marjo

It was the first time for me to be in Africa. As a female solo traveller I really enjoyed my safari with you. It was so well organised and the transfers to other lodges were very comfortable. Will and Carol Fox and Lynsey and Alan from Black Leopard camp were so nice and friendly; it felt really like coming home after being elsewhere. 
I loved Tangala Lodge because of the atmosphere and the beautiful view over the waterhole. I was very impressed to see elephants in a close encounter, lion cubs playing next to the vehicle, rhinos and giraffes and a big herd of buffaloes drinking at the waterhole at Tangala and many beautiful birds. Although we didn't see a leopard it was a great time. At the end I spend some days at the conservation village with head researcher Tara and the volunteers. They are a very nice team of young people. Being there I learned a lot about the research and conservation at Thaba Tholo. I will say a big thank you to all of you for organising things so well and I had definitely a very wonderful time. I enjoyed every minute of it. I can sure recommend On Track Safaris.

June 2013

From Moyra
This was my first safari and my first solo travelling experience. Everything was so well organised from start to finish. I didn't have to worry about anything. Black Leopard Camp was fantastic, lovely food and the Thaba Tholo reserve is beautiful. Balule Drifters was great, it would have been nice to have a second night there. Tangala Safari Camp was beautiful, very atmospheric, lit by oil lamps and sitting around the camp fire having supper. Everyone I met was genuinely friendly. I would definitely recommend On Track Safaris.
June 2013

From Chris
This was our first safari and we were somewhat apprehensive about what sort of experience we would have having spent a fair amount of money.
We didn't want to be part of a crowd rushed around the sights and taken from Big 5 to Big 5 sighting.
We needn't have worried, there are no preconceptions and all the staff and guides have the same enthusiasm whatever your experience. This is as close to a personal, tailor made safari you can probably get without spending vast amounts.
You are encouraged to get as involved as you wish and the itinerary is as flexible as you wish it to be.
It is very difficult to list just one memorable experience. Though we saw a vast array of wildlife including some special leopard sightings, the chance to observe animal behaviour and learn some tracking skills made us appreciate the overall experience much more.
Black Leopard Camp and Tangala Camp are superb, the hospitality is outstanding.
The On Track Safari guides and representatives are a font of knowledge and never failed to keep us informed and interested during our travels.
Don’t be concerned if you don’t see the Big 5 straight away, there are so many other animals and creatures out there that will enthrall you.
Don’t forget a torch.
Don’t expect to stay on your diet, the food is superb and plentiful.
Get involved in the experience and ask the guides as many questions as possible.
You will take a lot of photographs, it is worth investing in a spare battery for the camera. Recharging facilities at Tangala are limited.
We booked this holiday as the organisers champion the conservation message. We were not disappointed as we experienced the research and conservation projects that any profits go towards.
Those camps that did have power appeared to use it sparingly and be as environmentally friendly as possible.
He company seem to go out of their way to only use the most eco-friendly camps in the area.
I will never drive through a pile of dung again after we were shown the impact of this on the mass of creatures that rely on it for their survival.
I can only rate the accommodation as excellent, none of the accommodation is 5 star hotel like but the experience is all the better for it.
Each place has its own special qualities which made them 5 star in our eyes.
It is apparent that the company care about Africa and they make sure that you have the best experience you can in the relatively short time you are with them.
Can’t recommend the holiday enough, we will be back.
April 2013
Thanks to everyone who has joined us on safari. I've had some great times and I'm looking forward to a lot more. 

Written by Will Fox

Monday, 1 July 2013

Black or White Rhino?

White Rhino Grazing
We're often fortunate enough to  see both White and Black Rhino when on Safari. Of-course nothing can be guaranteed, these are wild animals that work to their own rules. However its always a treat to see these almost prehistoric creatures.
Although all Rhino are under significant threat (especially from poaching, which is a huge problem throughout Africa), we are likely to see more of the White Rhino (as seen above) then the Black Rhino.
Black Rhino
Both White and Black Rhino can live harmoniously within the same area, primarily because the White Rhino is a grazer (hence the long neck and head, capable of grazing grasses easily), whereas the Black Rhino is a bowser preferring leaves and bushes. In other words there is no threat in terms of taking food from the other.
White Rhino and her calf
Both species have poor eye sight but have very efficient hearing and smell, but have quite different temperaments. Neither could be described as easy going especially with humans on foot, but without doubt the Black Rhino can be more aggressive than the the White. That's not to say that they present a particular threat to us in a game viewing vehicle. As long as we maintain a reasonable distance and stay outside of their comfort zone, then we'll be able to enjoy some wonderful times viewing these creatures.

When on safari, you'll be able to tell the difference between the two by the body size and head shape. And if you see them walking with a calf, then you'll see how they walk in different orders. With Black Rhino the youngster travels behind mum, while with the White Rhino the calf walks in front. I'm not sure about the White Rhino logic of having the youngster in front leading the way, but that's the way it works.

Join us on Safari and see these wonderful creatures for yourself.

Written by Will Fox
On Track Safaris