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Dawie Jacobs

A Sprinbok Mother Fiercely Defends her Threatened Baby ..

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Dawie’s Update from Ta Sebube Lodge on the on the Kgalagadi Photo Safari:

We arrived rather late at the Kgalagadi Game Reserve after only leaving Upington at midday. But we made it in time for a very successful first game drive.

As always, there was much to see and experience in this unique reserve. We saw plenty of Oryx, Springbok, Ostriches, Jackals, and various birds including Pale Chanting Goshawks.

Numerous Sringbok have given birth since we were here less than two weeks ago, and because the babies are so vulnerable, predators seek them out. We saw a very dramatic interaction when a Jackal decided to go after one of the little Springbok lambs. The mother defended her little baby fiercely and a fight developed that eventually caused the Black-backed Jackal to retreat hastily when faced with her fury.

We spotted a Wild Cat sleeping peacefully in a tree, but unfortunately, although it was a terrific sighting, photography was just about impossible as the tree was just too far from the road.

But there is so much else to photograph, and we stopped for more Gemsbok and a Tawny Eagle.

On the way back to the Lodge we were incredibly lucky to find another Wild Cat. And this one was right next to the road, so it more than made up for the distance of the previous sighting. Our cameras came out and we spent quite a few very busy minutes photographing the little cat. The cat was very relaxed as it walked about, searching for suitable prey to hunt.

Our final sighting before we reached the Lodge was also impressive. We saw a couple of Cape Foxes, that really ended a fabulous start to our safari. We arrived at the Lodge ready for predinner drinks and the delicious spread that we knew was waiting for us. In the morning we plan to drive along a different road to see what lies in that direction …

An Aerial Dispute …

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Dawie’s Update from Ta Sebube Lodge on the on the Kgalagadi Photo Safari:

As planned we headed straight towards the Auob River as soon as we were able to leave the Lodge this morning. We wanted to follow up on the Cheetahs and also to check on the Cape Fox Den.

Exactly as previously, the little Cape Fox was lying outside his den when we arrived. He was right at the entrance to his den. This time he was far more relaxed, and instead of dashing into hiding when we arrived, he remained where he was. We were able to capture images from all different angles, and with different techniques until after half an hour or so we had to depart to make way for another vehicle.

We went in search of Wild Cats, and passed the usual wide variety and large numbers of Plains animals and numerous Meerkats and Ground Squirrels.

When we heard that lions had been spotted further along the Auob River we headed there and found two very handsome, healthy male lions. They were very sleepy as the morning was quite advanced, and they did little other than open an eye from time to time to check us out.

From there we turned towards Twee Rivieren where we needed to refuel our vehicles. We bumped into a Springbok with the tiniest little newborn youngster. Many of the females are heavily pregnant, but this was the first baby that we saw, and certainly one of the first of the season. It was still wet and rather wobbly on its legs, and we realised that it must have been born just a couple of hours before. It staggered around, trying to suckle from its mother. There were many oohs and aaahs as our cameras worked busily to capture images of the tiny lamb.

At Twee Rivieren we refuelled our vehicles and then took a slow meandering drive back to the Lodge for a latish brunch.

This afternoon we tried to find the Caracal again as we drove along the Nossob River. We stopped many times to photograph Gemsbok, Springbok, and Wildebeest. We practised high key photography again as the settings with dunes, dry riverbed, and the Camelthorn Trees were just perfect for the effect.

We noticed a wide variety of birds, including a Spotted Eagle Owl and later a Tawny Eagle. Our memory cards certainly filled up. Then just we had finished photographing the Tawny Eagle and prepared to leave, the Eagle was mobbed by Pale Chanting Goshawks, and a brawl erupted. It looked quite dramatic, but the confrontation was quite short lived and the goshawks suddenly flew away.

On our way back to the Lodge we spotted a very relaxed little African Wild Cat. He was very relaxed and didn’t mind our presence at all. And after that awesome encounter it was time to head back to the Lodge for our final evening on this safari.

Tomorrow we may just try to find that elusive Caracal again before our departure time …

We Narrowly Miss a Lion Visit …

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Dawie’s Day from Ta Sebube Lodge on the on the Kgalagadi Photo Safari:

The morning started off fairly quietly. We started at the waterhole to see if the lion that hung around there previously was still in the area. But all we found were his tracks. – and they led directly to the Lodge. Then close to the Lodge the tracks veered off and disappeared over a ridge.

We were keen to see smaller cats like the Caracal again, and thought that a drive up and along the Nossob river might be successful. Well, it was very successful from the varieties of animals that we saw. There were oryx, springbok, and wildebeest, and we spent a large portion of the morning photographing these and different rodents in their picturesque habitats. As we photographed the active and rather cute rodents hopping around we hoped against hope that a small cat head, maybe a Caracal, would pop up and surprise us. No luck!

We traveled further up the riverbed and although we saw fairly new lion tracks, there was no sign of any cat, large or small.

We turned back for a slow drive back to the Lodge. On the way back we practised our high-key expertise as the light was very bright. The wildebeest looked wonderful as they ran around or clumped together under trees.

As we arrived back at the Lodge the staff informed us that the lion tracks we had seen veering away actually turned back and the lion had strolled right through the camp to reach the waterhole overlooked by the Lodge.

We could see a pride of lions way in the distance where they had moved after their drink at the waterhole. Then in the day we saw the pride approach the waterhole and we could see them lying comfortably under trees not far away.

During the afternoon drive we did not want to venture far from the Lodge because we fully expected the lions to get up for a drink at the waterhole and we really wanted to photograph them there.

We went up the dune road and photographed jackals and the Plains animals before we turned back to see if the lions would oblige us. No! They just lay there under the trees, looking around from time to time, but they made no attempt to move anywhere. We waited until the time came to return to the Lodge for sundowners and dinner.

But that was not the end of the lions. After sunset they started to call and roar – and this they did for the whole evening. So, in the morning we would like to start our drive back at the lions again …

A Busy Arrival at Kgalagadi …

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Dawie’s News from Ta Sebube Lodge on the on the Kgalagadi Photo Safari:

Everyone met at Upington for an overnight rest before we headed to the reserve immediately after an early breakfast.

We arrived at the reserve before noon after an easy drive. During short drive from the entrance to the reserve to the Lodge we were lucky enough to see numerous animals. Plenty of Plains animals everywhere, with ostriches, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok to name a few.

We checked into the Lodge and after a splendid high tea we headed out for our first game drive. The day was overcast and windy, but we managed some really rewarding photographs.

Wildebeest ran across a dry riverbed, giving us an ideal opportunity for panning shots.

Springbok and ostriches also obliged by running around and we were able to capture some closeup portrait shots of both.

When we came across an area with plenty of rodents we knew that this was where we had reports of a caracal hunting on previous days. We didn’t see the cat but spent some time with the rodents, notably the Brants’s Whistling Rats that are unique to the area, and abound here.

Back at the Lodge we enjoyed a beautiful sunset before dinner and then bed, full of expectations for tomorrow …

From Savute Wild Dogs to Chobe River Wildlife …

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Dawie’s News from the Savute Elephant Lodge on the Okavango Savute & Chobe Photo Tour:
(Thanks to UliHB for Lion Images – Wild Dogs from back of Dawie’s Camera)

This morning was our last drive at Savute before we left for Kasane. We split up again as some guests preferred to do the journey by air while others preferred and enjoyed the drive.

The morning game drive was really great with fabulous sightings. Almost immediately after we left the Lodge we spotted Wild Dogs. When we found them they were running about and with the lovely morning light we positioned ourselves to make the most of the sighting. Occasionally we took backlit shots while at other times the sun lit the dogs beautifully for us.

We spent more than an hour with the dogs and at that stage some of our number had to leave. The other half of the group wanted more lion pictures so we returned to the pride with the cubs. We found them easily again. They were moving through the grass and we were able to collect some lovely images before we also had to leave.

We arrived at Kasane shortly after lunch and after a briefing we were on the boats for our first river excursion.

The sightings were really awesome. We saw numerous hers of elephants along the banks, swimming in the river, playing and drinking. We also saw buffalo resting on the river banks and then we stopped to enjoy the antics of a troop of baboons. They were jumping up and down a bank, chasing each other, and having great fun in the late afternoon sun. A herd of kudu milled around while impala rams sparred and locked horns. There was so much to see, it was difficult at times to decide where to point our cameras.

We came upon African Skimmers on an island where they have numerous nests. They flew up and down, and regularly swooped down to the river to scoop water in the skimming way that gives them their descriptive name.

After such a fabulous introduction to the river, we are all keen to get going again in the morning as early as we will be allowed …

The Lion Pride Comes Together – to Hunt?

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Dawie’s News from the Savute Elephant Lodge on the Okavango Savute & Chobe Photo Tour:
(Photos from back of Dawie’s Camera)

Because we heard lions calling close to the camp we immediately went in search of them when we left the camp in the cool early dawn. We found tracks quite quickly and followed them as far as some dense Mopanes, where we gave up as the bush was much too thick to even think of going through.

We turned back to where we saw the lions with the tiny cubs yesterday. We had no sooner arrived when the lionesses started to hunt. We followed them as they stalked wildebeest. We we close to the lionesses when we noticed that across the marsh the remainder of the pride with two large males had arrived to join their family.

Well, the excitement! The lions moved in and we were sure that they would cooperate by chasing the wildebeest towards the lionesses. The tension became quite intense. We thought that at any moment there would be action. But then, inexplicably the lions changed direction and strolled away, leaving the females hunting alone. But as the morning progressed it became too warm to hunt comfortably and the lionesses found a shady spot to rest during the hottest hours of the day.

We decided to locate the remainder of the pride and found them walking across a wide open plain. The two large males are in peak condition and looked really magnificent and very regal as they strode along. They then also chose a lovely shady spot where they settled down to sleep until sunset.

On our slow drive back to the camp we spotted a leopard on a rocky hill. We hoped that she would get up and look in our direction, but she remained asleep.

This afternoon we caught up with the lions again. The cubs were playing and rolling around, looking so very cute as they played their clumsy, adorable little games and then stopped intermittently to suckle and doze a little.

We moved on to a waterhole where a herd of elephants were drinking and splashing in the water. Out came our wide angle lenses to capture the herd together.

When we returned to the lions they were asleep, so we started our slow journey back to the camp. And can one believe it – on the way back we found the same leopard we had seen during the morning. This time she was awake, but partly concealed behind some bushes, and not in a good position for photography. So, we will try to find her again in the morning when hopefully she will be in a position for some photos …

From the Khwai Lions to Savute …

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Dawie’s Update from the Savute Elephant Lodge on the Okavango Savute & Chobe Photo Tour:
(Hyena Pup from Back of Wim’s Camera))

This was our final morning at Khwai and we decided to follow up on those lions that made the wildebeest kill last night. We took a slow drive along the river, keeping our eyes open for any further excitement.

When we reached the pride of lions they were still feeding on their wildebeest kill, and we decided to wait, hoping that they would stop eating for a drink at the nearby waterhole. However, by the time we had to return to the Lodge to pack and make our way to Savute, the lions were still feeding, with no signs of thirst.

Some guests flew to Savute, while others preferred to drive, and we all gathered there by lunchtime. We were served a sumptuous lunch and then left for our first game drive. Plenty of Plains animals could be seen everywhere and we also saw large elephant herds.

We found a number of elephants drinking at an open pan with a bright blue sky behind them. It was so picturesque and we just had to stop for photographs.

The bird life here is abundant and we stopped for so many of them. People really enjoyed the Secretary Birds and Rollers.

We passed a hyena den where nine pups of different ages came out to play. They enjoyed a game of hide and seek around our vehicles, as they tumbled around and stalked each other. The adults looked on lazily as they basked in the late afternoon sun rays.

After that lovely, relaxed first afternoon at Savute we returned to the Lodge, ready for dinner and an early night, without a single thought about what to search for in the morning …

Three Leopards, Three Hunts, One Kill …

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Dawie’s News from Khwai River Lodge on the Okavango Savute & Chobe Photo Tour:
(Photos from back of Dawie’s Camera)

We were out again in the early morning darkness, anxious to get going as early as possible to maximise our time here.

We started at the nearby hyena den where three of the youngsters were romping around, chasing one another, and mischievously hiding and jumping out on anything that moved. They were so cute to watch! Eventually they were exhausted and went to suckle and then fell asleep.

There were lion tracks not far from the den and we followed these to a thick Mopane area where we found a fairly large pride moving about. The visibility wasn’t great in the thick Mopane bush so we took a few photos and then moved on.

The Plains animals as always are plentiful and we photographed lechwe, kudus, impalas, and plenty of zebras.

We headed back towards the Lodge and spotted a leopard hunting in a grassy area.

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We followed her as she first followed a herd of impala for a while and then she suddenly put on a burst of speed and within seconds she had her prize – a francolin. She carried it to a nearby bush where she settled down to eat.

After a rest back at the Lodge we set out again and within less than ten minutes we encountered a beautiful leopard. She is distinguished by her lovely blue eyes that give her an especially fabulous look. In fact her name is Blue-Eyes. She was sitting in longish grass on an open plain. We followed her for a while as she hunted until she spotted a herd of impala and immediately went into hunting mode. Because the area where she was hunting is covered with shrubs we decided not to follow her as we realised that our presence would interfere with the hunt.

We left the leopard to hunt and went in search of Wild Dogs. On the way we saw giraffes crossing a channel and we stopped to photograph them as they leaped and splashed across the water. They were very nervous and the splashing water made them even more anxious.

On the way back to the camp we saw another leopard stalking impala. It was exciting as always to watch, although once again it was a failed hunt.

This evening we are being treated by the Lodge with a special dinner in a boma out in the bush. What an amazing experience, with the smells and sounds of the African bush all around and the glittering stars in an inky black sky above. Who could ask for more!

And in the morning we would like to find one of those leopards again and hopefully they will decide to hunt again …

A Leopard and her Cub …

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Dawie Reports from Khwai River Lodge on the Okavango Savute & Chobe Photo Tour:

Most of us arrived at Khwai River Lodge in really good time and were delighted to see a large herd of elephants drinking at the river right in front of the Lodge while we enjoyed a delicious high tea. The elephants were drinking, spraying, and playing in the water. What a welcome to this area! Then after a quick briefing we set out on our first game drive.

Not only did we see numerous elephants around almost every corner, there were plenty of Plains animals as well, including impala, kudu, and zebra in large numbers.

A leopard had been spotted during the morning drive and we decided to go in that direction to see whether we could find her. And wow! Luck was 100% on our side! We found not only the leopard – she was accompanied by her cub.

The cub is already almost bigger than his mother, and he watched patiently as she fed from an impala kill way up in a tree. The cub wasn’t the only observer. On the ground a few hyenas milled around, gazing expectantly up into the tree, hoping that the carcass would fall or that some scraps would rain down on them. They didn’t have have too much luck, but they were determined to remain there as long as the kill was up in that tree.

Meanwhile the cub restlessly climbed up and down the tree, with a beautiful sunset sky behind him. As the light faded out spotlights came out and we were able to capture some fabulous nighttime shots of both leopards and the hyenas.

In the morning we will probably return to the leopards …

A Very Anxious Leopard …

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Dawie Shares from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:
(Photos from back of Dawie’s Camera)

It was quite a bit cooler today with drizzle and plenty of cloud cover.

Clearly the cats all were sheltering because at first we didn’t see any predators at all. We stopped to photograph a herd of elephants and just then we received a message that very fresh female leopard tracks had been located.

We headed towards the leopard but were delayed frequently as we stopped to view and photograph zebra, giraffe, impala and a handsome rhino. We spent a long time with the rhino, and by then it was too late to search for anything at all as it was time to get back to the Lodge.

This afternoon we decided to head straight to the area where the leopard was seen earlier. Again we delayed ourselves with frequent stops for other animals including elephants and rhino again.

Finally we actually did find fresh leopard tracks – the same leopard from the morning. We started to follow these and didn’t find her, but we did come across a rather nervous, skittish male leopard. He was lying on a termite mound but he got up soon after we arrived and went off into the bushes. We decided not to follow him because we did not want to put pressure on him in that clearly nervous state.

And because it was late we headed back to the Lodge, determined to try and locate that elusive leopard in the morning …