Aggy has taken some remarkable photos of yet another outstanding day out on safari!
Togara and Aggy tracked down the cheetahs in the Mbezi river (dry at this time of the year) and got some cool photos with the Vuyani Landcruiser in the background. And why stay in it? Let’s get out of it, and walk up to the cheetahs, and take a closer look! And loads of photos in the process. You won’t get that in many places in Africa. This is as exhilirating an experience as it gets. The reason why you don’t see guests on the game driver (we are fully booked these days) is because they are right behind Aggy who took the photos. So you can imagine the excitement …
We also stumbled upon some rhino at a watering hole. The weather is hot at the moment so the rhinos are enjoying their time in the water and mud, bum in first! First things first.
We also saw a beautiful Goshawk and then in the afternoon MRL radioed in that they had found some fresh Lion tracks and were going to investigate. Great news!
Steven and Diff found the male and two younger females at Caracal Pan. They were having a drink of water (what else?) and lying down. They really did not do much but sleep and sleep and sleep. We stayed with them for nearly an hour until it was fully dark. Well … there was LOADS to talk about at dinner time … this was yet again one of those amazing days out with our guests, showing them the best and most beautiful that African nature has on offer. What a privilege.
We started off the month of October with a very much deserved elephant sighting. Vuyani Safari Lodge and MRL have been tracking them for more than 5 days (which is unusual!), so this morning the guys set out determined to outsmart them today, and they did! MRL picked up the tracks and Vuyani went to assist.
In no time they spotted the herd just off the Madrid cutline (Madrid is one of the many pieces of land that constitute the huge reserve we traverse on for our safaris). The sighting was on and off as they were feeding in some pretty thick bush – but we sneaked some very beautiful photos. Also seen was the little baby elephant, who has been growing up nicely over the last months. Our guests loved that in particular.
We ended it off with a great rhino sighting on the way back to the lodge. The rhino sighting was mind-blowing as it was very close (and in the open). Our guests took loads of photos from many different angles. Very, very cool indeed.
See the photos below and judge for yourselves! Let me know what you think, comments are always welcome! And if you are a past guest, please do feel free to email in your best shots (Bernard@vuyanilodge.com), and I will be more than happy to share them with our many fans. There are lots of guests with footage that really deserves to be shared with as many out there as possible. These are rare and endangered animals, so raising awareness, in any way, can only be a good thing. We all want our children and grand-children and in fact all future generations to witness these stunning creatures as we still do now.
It’s been an unusual month … first high temperatures, much higher than average, and then a cold spell with rain, which is also very unusual, so early on in the season, and then it was followed up again by very high temperatures, and that’s how the month of September ended.
But on the last day it ended beautifully. Loads of sightings, lots of happy guests!
What did we see? Well, loads of giraffes, and Uyai managed a stunning photo of a giraffe journey. Beware: these animals are MUCH bigger in the flesh than on the pictures. They are a sight to be seen!
And what would an African safari be without seeing a huge croc? Well, you certainly get to see them here!
And last but not least, a crash of rhinos! Super rare, super impressive, a sighting that is a pure privilege, especially if it is this up-close. We sat with these white rhinos for about 20min, taking loads of photos. Amazing, just amazing.
We then heard on the radio that fresh lion tracks had been spotted on Muruti and we decided to investigate after drinks stop.
MRL beat us to it and Diff found the female with the cubs on the move. We followed them for a while and they settled near a little water pan – we stayed with them for about 20 minutes or so and then turned down for dinner at the lodge.
Wow, what an amazing end to September. We are looking forward to spring time in October. This day was a very good omen indeed!
We see the big game every day, of course, sometimes more of them sometimes a little less of them. But this blog often overlooks the hundreds of other sightings our guests have when here, and often they are just as exciting, or beautiful as the “famous” game.
And let’s be honest: who can name all 5 animals that form the Big 5? Most of our guests certainly can’t. Well, you will learn all about them here, and then so much more.
So let’s take a look at a pretty bird we saw today: the Black-Bellied Korhaan.
Uyai managed quite a nice snap of one of them today. I have personally never seen one on this reserve, so that’s very nice. They are generally speaking not rare or endangered, but now with the early (and heavy rains), it has been seen on our reserve.
What makes this bird quite funny is its mating call … it’s a kind of long wheez … and then followed by a “plop” a few seconds later. See below a Youtube video I have found that demonstrates what I mean. It’s a very “African” sound, and you will probably hear it when on visit here.
It is VERY hot these days, which is ironic, given last week’s cold weather. And we have had two major rain fronts come through already post-dry season, which is very early for this time of year. Overall, of course, we are happy about that. It has reduced the risk of bush fires, and there is no such thing as too much rain here in Africa. Humans and animals are always longing for more rain here, it is the source of life, pure and simple.
Yes it can! We set off in the afternoon in search of nothing in particular and stumbled across some fresh lion tracks – we followed up and Hendrick found the Lioness with her cubs on Bloubank/Leopards bend cutline just west of Diepdam. They were fairly active so we could only manage a couple of photos of the cubs before they disappeared into the thicket.
We had a spectacular sunset with White backed Vultures sitting a Leadwood tree with the moonshine behind them. Made for some dramatic and beautiful shots! Check it out below …
In the morning our goal was to find rhino and we set off on a mission. We saw a dazzle of zebras, giraffes and some Warthogs. We headed to Leopard’s Bend.
We got a surprise and picked up fresh Cheetah tracks – we followed up and they had taken down a waterbuck. How lucky!!! It must have been 30 – 40 minutes after the kill was made that we found them in a thicket. It required some tricky driving skills and we managed some photos whilst driving as Aggy is on his off days, nonetheless some great shots were captured.
Well, all I can say is … it’s already a privilege (and super-rare) to witness cheetahs in the wild, but to see them on a kill … that’s the cherry on top for any African safari. Lucky guests, for sure.
The sun is out and the reserve is alive! We started off with Giraffe and Warthog. We picked up fresh Cheetah Tracks and decided to follow up. We found the two brothers taking a nap in a shady spot on the Khaya Ndlovu cutline, we spent a considerable amount of time with them and on our way back to the lodge we found them again! They had moved maybe ine inch. Lazy boys, that’s the life.
We also tracked and found the elephants on Essem /Bokmakierie cutline – we tracked the “Grey Ghosts” for nearly an hour before we found the whole herd on the move, we followed them and spent around 30 minutes snapping away photos. I personally love seeing the little baby elephant growing up … he’s still shy and staying close to his mum. Very cute!
The weather has been dreadful, it has been raining from all sides. And it has been cold. We have had a fire going in the lodge for three days straight, that’s extremely rare for this time of year, it really is.
Yesterday afternoon was the first time the guides could take the camera out without it getting wet and this morning it seems like the weather has gotten better, the sun is shining (AT LAST!) but it is still quite windy.
We saw the male and female lion yesterday afternoon on safari on Leopards Bend. They were taking a nap and were found at dusk. The photo came out spectacularly with the spotlight on the male and the female in the background. Such contrast! We stayed with them for nearly 40 minutes. Great sighting, and Aggi has become quite the expert in taking photos. Great work.
So all in all, three really not so great days on safari, but then it was all rewarded by some of the most icoic lion shots one can imagine. Possibly the best I have ever seen of our lions …
I have been away for a few days (I also spent some days at the lodge), so that explains my absence of the safari blog for a bit over a week. All back in action new! Can’t wait.
Well, how about we kick it all off again with last week’s best photo shots? I haven’t done that in a while. There were literally over 300 photos to sort through, it took me quite a while, as many were of very high quality, and of animals of serious interest. But I have to wittle it down to half a dozen or so … literally just the very, very best.
With the additional game drivers out there, intelligence (not IQ-wise, but intell-wise, you know what I mean ) has hugely increased, and we have very exciting sightings now every day: elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, the list goes on and on …
So here they are! Some very impressive stuff indeed! Enjoy! And come and see for yourselves!
Our guests are currently decidedly spoilt. Quasi every day offers an outstanding sighting, or two, or three, and often even more. And the thing on this reserve is that you get to spend “quality time” with the animals, unlike on most other reserves where you just end up being chased around, and you get very short amounts of times at a sighting. It’s about quality here, not quantity. It’s not a zoo over here, this is the real deal.
Speaking of which …. we saw the lions again yesterday, on a fresh kill. An amazing sighting, and our guests absulutely loved it. It was a lucky moment, and it was very interesting to observe the social structure of a lion pride while dividing the “loot”. But somehow our male lion has a softer spot, and he lets the little ones have as much as they want, and he is very involved with rearing the little ones. That said, he hunts unusually much, and he’s very good at it (which is unusual for male lions).
As we continued, we ran into yet another unusual sighting. Not that it is an unusual thing for a rhino to do, but to witness it, that up-close, that is rare. It’s a privilege.
Rhinos take mud baths to cool down, and get rid of ticks and other parasites. By letting the mud dry on them, and then scratch it off (with the ticks glued in the mud), it is an effective means of getting rid of the annoying little critters.
I have never seen this myself, so yes, I’d say lucky guests indeed.