Sometimes your best sighting of the day is not one of the big five. Today was such a day. As beautiful and exciting as the Rhino, Buffalo and Cheetah sightings were, seeing this African Harrier Hawk flying from tree to tree and looking for nests was very special.
The Thanda guests enjoyed watching this raptor concentrating on his afternoon hunt (and almost giving some Guinea Fowls a heart attack in the process :-)).
Fight Rhino Poaching from the Air!
ZAP-Wing is a partnership between the provincial conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Project Rhino KZN. 24 game reserves (300,000ha) in northern KwaZulu-Natal currently benefit from daily aerial surveillance and reaction support; over 3,000 rhino are under the ZAP-Wing watch.
Thanda supports the organization and the reserve is covered by the ZAP-Wing.
Watch the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YY883N2d-Og),
check out the website (www.zapwing.org),
and support the fight for Rhinos!
On Saturday and Sunday I was invited to a game reserve near Pongola named Pakamisa. This very special place specializes in exploring the African bush on horseback (for more information go to www.pakamisa.co.za).
I enjoy taking pictures of these beautiful horses in action. The really good news for me is that they recently got a new horse, which will be able to take my weight. I am looking forward to my first time on a horse 🙂
This morning’s game drive on Ithala was excellent.
First I saw a lot of Baboons on a newly burned area …
… the I got some great shots of a Secretary Bird …
… and finally I found a small breeding herd of Elephants near one of the waterholes …
… and as per Ithala rule I kept my distance (over 30 meters from the herd). But one cow did not like me looking at all and chased me down the road. She was quite serious in her attack (ears back, trunk rolled up, so sound and fast takeoff). While driving with my left hand and watching her in the mirror I took a picture with my point and shoot camera out of the window at 40 kph…
An exciting morning at Ithala. I will be back!
Today’s evening game drive on Ithala was rather quiet. Besides the usual suspects (Zebra, Wildebeest, Kudu and Warthog) I got some funny images of a female Ostrich and when I got back to my room at the camp a Bushbuck was eyeing me for a while before disappearing into the bush.
Now I am off to dinner after a lot of driving 🙂
A good morning drive on Ithala. I encountered …
… a new species (for me :-)): An antelope named Tsessebe, which I have never seen before.
… two Secretary birds with their funny walk across a burned area.
… a Tawny Eagle who was harassed by a Black-shouldered Kite.
… a well light scene at sunrise with Zebra and Wildebeest.
… and an exciting drive on a very rocky 4×4 trail.
Let’s see what the afternoon will bring!
Today I have spent my first day at Ithala Game Reserve in the North of Kwazulu Natal. Ithala is a beautiful mountainous reserve with many interesting tracks. I will spend three days of my off-time here.
Next to regular roads Ithala has some interesting 4×4 trails. Some of them are rather rocky and very challenging (Inclines for first gear low with center and back diff set). My Toyota Fortuner mastered the steepest one very well.
This image was taken after the ascent from top of the mountain …
… Once back in the plains I took this image of a male Giraffe at sunset …
… and just after sunset I encountered this male Ostrich along the road.
I also saw White Rhino, Zebra, Wildebeest, Kudu and many different bird species.
A good first day!
I like all the wild animals on Thanda but if I had to name my favorite Elephant this is the one. His name is Thulani.
Normally I do not use individual names for wildlife, but for our two largest bulls (40-45 years old / approx 6 tons in weight) I make an exception. Thulani can be identified by his calm nature and the “slightly out of line” tusks.
The Thanda guests on my vehicle really enjoyed the recent sighting of this gentle giant.
Thanda’s two Cheetah brothers had an exciting encounter today. When walking along Thanda’s fence line they walked into two Lionesses which gave immediate chase.
The Cheetah out-ran the Lions to the open Savanna and then were very alert for a while to make sure that the “ladies” were no longer around.
At the start of today’s morning game drive we found ourselves in the middle of Thanda’s herd of Cape Buffalo …
… Then we watched a herd of Elephants drinking at a waterhole and …
… at the end tracked down the North Pride of Lions (the images shows a young male at his morning cleaning routine).
Three out of five – a good morning!