Saturday, 23 May 2015

Rhino and Ele, do they get on?

I'm often asked "do Rhino and Elephants get on?"
Which as they say is a good question. As with everything in nature its a brave man who would give a definitive answer, but as a general rule the answer is ...... they will normally tolerate each other.
Sure I have seen an adolescent elephant bull being chased by a Rhino, but only after the young Elephant had chanced his arm just once too often by trying to mock charge the Rhino.
As I say, they will tend to tolerate each other in most cases. Which is great for us, because we can sometimes get a 'two for one' photograph like that taken by one of our safari guest above.

Written by Will Fox

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Let sleeping leopards lie

What to do when you come across a sleeping leopard on safari?
Take lots of pictures, of-course.
Enjoy sitting with this beautiful creature, of-course.
But what then?
Simple, leave the site but make sure one of the reserve guides keeps an eye on the cat. Especially during the afternoon game drive when the chances are good that the leopard will start to hunt as it becomes cooler. Then when the cat moves, return to observe what unfolds from a respectful distance.
Easy as that! :)

Written by Will Fox

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Dans bush blog 6

Afternoon all and welcome back to the blog. 

I’ve spent the past couple of days working hard on INGWE's leopard research and I have to say it’s certainly an interesting experience analysing all of our camera trap images for big cats as well as other predators but now I can definitely see how our volunteer program is such an efficient and productive way of learning about the different species and behaviours of the variety of animals in Thaba Tholo Reserve. 

But aside from my duties as a research assistant, I’ve also been given a very unique opportunity to help move some new residents into the reserve. Thaba Tholo will now be home to Buffalo!

Of course this is all very exciting news but what that meant for me was a day of solid graft moving 300kg buffalo from one reserve to their new home. As a tourism student from the UK I can honestly I wasn’t exactly a professional in this field but I soon found out that carrying sedated masses of pure muscle on a stretcher to their transport trailers is not the easiest work in the world. But never the less, it was quite rewarding once we moved all 13 to their new enclosure in Thaba Tholo as they seemed to look and feel at home in no time. You can see my pictures in the blog show the buffalo leaping from the trailers and this has been one of the most memorable moments for me so far during my trip to South Africa…memorable because it’s a new species that can be admired and enjoyed by safari guests but also memorable because the next day my whole body was aching so much I couldn’t move from the sofa.

Thank you for following the blog and I hope you’re all enjoying partaking in my experience and can see what South Africa and On Track Safaris has to offer.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Dans bush blog 5

Hey everyone!

Reporting in for another bush blog and the latest news is I have been called to action to work at our safari base Black Leopard Camp! Due to the lodge being fully booked with excited safari guests it was requested I leave behind my territory of Conservation Village and help out the rest of team at BLC. 

During my delivery up to through the mountains of Thaba Tholo I was treated to a cheeky game drive where we were lucky enough to bump into the local group of giraffe which have been recently seen with the arrival of their new shaky-legged baby!

After this little treat I finally arrived at Black Leopard Camp and I’ve got to say all of the stunning photos I’d seen previous to my trip to South Africa still didn’t do this place justice. You’ll be able to see from my photos how authentic and unique BLC is but I still couldn’t capture the welcoming atmosphere and how it embodied my own personal presumptions and perceptions of how African style lodges should be (big words I know). I was given the responsibility to help host on the bar which not only meant I was able to interact with all the guests but also meant I could enjoy all the breath-taking views of both the engulfing mountains and gorgeous valley…and looking at all this from a place that makes you immediately feel at home with such fantastic hosts Alan, Lynsey and the rest of the On Track Safaris team.

Enjoy my pics of the lodge and if you fancy getting some more information on joining us on safari then don’t hesitate to drop Carol an email - 

Speak to you all soon. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Dans bush blog 3

Hi everyone.
So today was my chance for this “city boy” to enhance the senses and really tune into the African bush through the very unique “Bush Experience”
Myself and our guests were driven into the heart of the reserve and given a range of equipment to dull our already inexperienced senses. After adjusting to the gloves, blindfold and ear-protectors, each one was gradually peeled off to give a new level of sensitivity to each sense. I must say my touch and sight were noticeably sharper but without a doubt I felt the most difference when the ear protectors came off and it felt like the bush just came alive around us.
It felt like I’d shed away a load of the dullness that had been building up over the years of living in cities because straight away I noticed the different levels of birds calling, insects buzzing past and antelope running. 

It honestly felt like someone had just switched the bush to HD!

If you want to know more about my bush experience, or you just fancy seeing the camp in a video then check out the next entry to my video blog.

I’ll also be dipping into the wildlife conservation work of INGWE leopard research over the next couple of days so stay tuned. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Dans bush blog 2

Welcome back!

So I’ve woken up to another sun-soaked morning in the Thaba Tholo Reserve and even though I’m still feeling a little bit drained from travelling I’m still keen to check out the area and have a wander around. 
My new home is the stunning 'Conservation Village' in the Thaba Tholo Reserve. This camp is mainly for our On Track Safaris volunteers and the base of operations for INGWE leopard research and I have to say for a small set up it has so much character and feels like there is a lot of history behind it. So far it looks so raw and authentic so it really feels like I’ve been thrown in the deep end of the life in the bush which is still a priceless experience that really is the opposite of my usual student routine. 
Tomorrow I’ll be heading further into the reserve to join Becky and the rest of the OTS & Black Leopard Camp team for our Bush Sense Experience which should be which is a unique approach for getting our guests adjusted their wild surroundings.

Also take a look at our YouTube chanel for my personal tour around Conservation Village so you can get to better grips with my bush life so far. 

See you soon.

Written by Dan Swan