Saturday, 22 February 2014

Lions on the Prowl



The Black Dam pride consists now of 3 large females, their 4 cubs (10 months old) and two males who are sometimes around, sometimes not. While watching them one evening, they got the scent of a herd of wildebeest further down the road and the pride went into hunt mode.

 The females split off from the cubs and surrounded the herd, but the wildebeest were too alert for them, and the lions were seen. They gave up on the hunt and did what lions do best, went to sleep. Maybe another time they will be more successful. 


Thursday, 20 February 2014

22 months to go



It is a rare sight indeed to see elephants mating, we often see bulls in musth around the females, but the actual act is not seen often. We were just at the end of a game drive, and our guide took us to a road he had heard the elephants had been seen, and we came across a male and female mating. 



Elephants have a 22 month gestation period, so fingers crossed, in just under 2 years there will be a new baby elephant for us to see and enjoy. The rest of the herd quickly appeared, and ignoring the happy couple, started playing in the sand. 

The baby in this photo may not look very well, but was in fact happily sliding down the bank very happily.




Just another day at Thaba Tholo


“Will call back for Rudi”.
The call came over the reserve radio, which was strange as Rudi had only left my house a few minutes earlier.
“I've found a kudu carcass close to Remys pool. Looks like a leopard kill and the nearest camera trap has been damaged in the fight”
Carol and I had heard a leopard around our house during the previous evening which made sense as this was only 500 meters away. Well, when I say heard a leopard, what I really mean is we heard lots of antelope alarm calls and watched their anxious behaviour as they knew a predator was close at hand.
While Rudi took the damaged camera away to see if he could repair it, I took my Quad bike to go and investigate. The carcass was fairly fresh, no more than a day or so old, which probably meant that the leopard (or in this case leopards) were somewhere close by. 
I spotted one leopard watching me from an adjacent bank just as Rudi radioed back to let me know that he’d checked out the SD card from the damaged camera trap and sure enough it had some great pictures of Diamond Girls two adolescent cubs.

Just another day on the Thaba Tholo wilderness reserve, but it set up some exciting game drives for our safari guests over the next few days.

Written by Will Fox


Monday, 17 February 2014

Breakfast at Kruger




After a good morning of game viewing, seeing lots of game, my guests and I decided a breakfast break was in order. There are only a few places in Kruger where you can get out of your vehicle, but the one we chose gave us a stunning view of the river and a good section of the park. It might not have been a full English breakfast, but it was certainly special.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Cameras at Balule






And it is official, Ingwe Leopard Research has now started collecting data on Balule. A big thank you to all those who helped get this new branch of the research up and running, with a special thanks to Drifters for their continuing support.

I look forward to posting updates, and of course, the first photos from the camera traps!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

INGWE goes to Balule

Ingwe leopard research is branching out to include a new location to research leopards. We are setting up on the Balule reserve with the aid of Drifters. The final touch we have been waiting for is protective boxes for the camera traps to sit in, no one wants a cheeky hyena to break the cameras as soon as they go out! The boxes are now ready, and the cameras should be up and running from today, so watch out for updates and photos!



If you are interested in receiving photos from these cameras or ones on Thaba Tholo, don't forget you can join our camera club and see all the action from your very own camera. For more information, please visit http://ingweleopard.com/Donate.html

Monday, 10 February 2014

Linda and the Leopardets


We have just returned from the Times Destinations Show, where we had a great time meeting so many people who have a passion for wildlife and are interested in joining us on safari.

Our South African Safaris and Volunteer programs (all aimed at raising funds for our work in wildlife conservation), were of keen interest to visitors to the show. Many of our previous guests popped in to say hello and offer to help out by talking to the visitors to our stand.

Huge thanks go to Linda Snape who came on safari with us in 2013 and is now a firm member of the On Track Safaris team. Linda has a wealth of travelling experience and is able to offer advice to anyone who is interested in wildlife travel. Click here if you would like to contact Linda for free advice.

Together with her partner Chris, Linda will be back with us in Africa in two months time. Chris has a list of different animals he would like to see that will add some spice to their safari, and in the meantime will keep the Thaba Tholo guides busy getting things ready for them.

Pictured are our Leopardets (Freya, Amy and Ellise), who volunteered their time to aid the cause of leopard conservation and add some some glamour (not to mention cheeky fun) to the occasion.

Our thanks go out to everyone we met in London. We hope to see you all in Africa.

Written by Will Fox
www.ontracksafaris.co.uk

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Rhino Poaching

Rhino poaching is a topic we cannot escape from. The number of rhinos slaughtered for their horn is increasing every year, and 2013 was no exception. The official figures were released recently, and in 2013 rhino poaching reached an all time high of 1004, with 606 of those being from Kruger National Park alone. We are barely into 2014, and yet by Jan 30th, the total was already at 86.

 Table taken from and copyright of Stop Rhino Poaching 
(http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/statistics.aspx)

It breaks my heart to say that one of those 86 was from the Thornybush reserve. Last month, for the first time poachers broke onto the reserve and took a white rhino cow. Until now, Thornybush had been "safe" from poachers, but with poaching on the increase as it is, it was only ever a matter of time.


Monday, 3 February 2014

Lions visit us.

It may sound strange, but it's not always the case that we need to go out on game drive. As seen above with a pride of lions resting by the dam at our lodge in Thorny Bush Reserve, its sometimes the case that wildlife visits us.
Of-course that also means that the time between morning and afternoon game drives can be just as exciting.

Written by Will Fox
www.ontracksafaris.co.uk