Mfazana Hide

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Mfazana hide is one of the best hides I have ever seen. Built on two levels it allows great views of one of the waterholes at iSimangaliso Wetland Park (former St.Lucia Wetlands).

I stayed for about three hours and I got images of Grey Heron, Malachite Kingfisher, Cormorant, Water Lily, Saddle-billed Stork, Egret, Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Little Grebe, African Jacana, African Fish-Eagle and White Rhino.

My favorite shot is the one of this African Jacana male and his young chick.

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Concentration!

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This Lion cub was concentrating hard on the “toy-stick”. He got so upset with the branch that he even used his claws!

Have a good weekend and relax 🙂

Cape Vidal

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On the first two days of my off-time I took a short trip to Cape Vidal on the Indian Ocean. This was the first time I was near the ocean since I arrived in South Africa last June.

In the next few days I will post a few picture stories from my excursion to the St.Lucia Wetlands and Cape Vidal.

This picture shows me walking on the beach at sunset. During the day there were a few dozen people on the beach, but in the late evening only the overnight guests at Cape Vidal remained. I had most of the beach to myself. Good for thinking. I loved it!

Unusual Sightings

On the last day of our work cycle we had some unusual sightings. The Thanda guests on today’s morning game drive enjoyed a Spotted Hyena crossing the savanna in full daylight (a very rare occurrence).

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We caught a glimpse of a young Leopard before it retreated into very thick bush and …

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… we ended the game drive with an unusual view of the Elephant herd on the side of a hill, on which we cannot drive with our vehicles.

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We also saw Cheetahs, a White Rhino, Giraffes and a Yellow-billed Kite on the same drive. A great morning!

After a very long work cycle (26 instead of 21 days) I will now be off for eight days before I leave for another “Trails Guiding Contact Session Course” with African Nature Training – ANT (www.africanaturetraining.co.za)  in the Sabi Sands. I will return to Thanda on 24 March.

There will be fewer blogs during this time, but look out for the unusual ones 🙂

Not your best day!

Imagine you are a Lion!

You are feeding on a Zebra kill and you had already a lot to eat. So it is a bit hard to move with your full belly. And just as you feel ready for a snooze a herd of Buffalo is crashing the dinner site of your family. They chase all of you around a bit.

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You climb a tree and find out that the tree you chose was not high enough.

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You growl at the Buffalo and they get even more agitated than they already were.

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At the right moment you jump out of the tree and you flee to the next tree.

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There you wait until the annoying bulls and cows are gone.

Only then can you re-join your other eight family members (coming down from other trees) to continue the meal and the now well deserved snooze.

Not your best day!

A very special sighting at Thanda Private Game Reserve 🙂

Heart Rate!

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It is always an unexpected thrill when Lions pass within hands reach of the vehicle. All nine Lions of the Thanda North Pride were walking along the northern fence line when we had this beautiful encounter.

The Thanda guests on this morning game drive loved it, even if their heart rate was up a bit 🙂

Below is the Thanda North Pride “Organization Chart”!

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Cheetah kill

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This was the first time that I saw our two male Cheetahs on a kill. They often hunt in very thick areas and only appear once they are well fed, far away from the actual kill. On this occasion they brought down a baby Zebra on the savanna. In this picture one of the brothers is keeping watch while the other one still feeds on the carcass.

Cheetahs eat incredibly fast because they often loose their kill to larger predators.

They can “stuff” themselves to the point they have difficulties moving – except when motivated by an approaching Lion :-).

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The Zebra’s mother was still looking and calling for her calf when we arrived at the scene. A wound on her back showed that she had recently survived a Lion attack. And now she lost her new-born calf to the Cheetah. Let’s hope she survives her injury and that she will be able to have another calf.

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Keen and not willing!

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Well, this Thanda Cape Buffalo bull was very keen to mate with one of the cows. But she not was not very willing to oblige 🙂

He chased her all over the place, up a hill, down a hill and even straight through a waterhole. At the end she fended off the unwelcome attention successfully.

Have a good weekend!