Didima Camp was our last stop. This is where our guest had some time to relax and did a hike into the mountains to Rainbow Gorge.
After finally finding our guests at the airport we headed to a guest house nearby for a good nights sleep. The next morning we embarked on our journey to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, making a few stops on the road to do some shopping, try local pineapples and gave our guest the opportunity to see the ever changing landscape and to see how the local people live in Zululand!
Arriving in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve late afternoon we were greeted by small herds of Zebra, Impala and Kudu. In the distance we spotted some Rhino and an Elephant crossing the Black Imfolozi River.
In this park we had some amazing game viewing of Spotted Hyena coming up to our braai, White Rhino and a Black Rhino lying in a dry riverbed fifty meters from each other, Cheetah lying at a vantage point scanning the Acacia Plains and Wild Dogs on an afternoon hunt! We also had a guided walk that took us through some open wilderness and down into the Black Imfolozi where we met a White Rhino that was very curious to find out what we were.
St. Lucia gave our guest a chance to rest their eyes from game spotting and to wonder around town, see the estuary with all its fauna and flora by boat and to explore the beach. They also had a guided safari into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park where they saw a couple of Rhino, Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Kudu and Red Duikers. The lunch spot was good and we were soon surrounded by a group of Banded Mongoose and Skye’s Monkeys waiting for a gap to steal something off our table!
Our guests also visited Bayete Zulu Elephant Interaction and Emdoneni Cheetah Project where they met Rambo, Rachel and Jabulani and interacted with Rehabilitated Cheetahs, Serval and African Wild Cats!
Our next stop was Tembe Elephant Park! This is where we had the rare opportunity of watching a Lioness stalk and kill a Nyala. It was remarkable to see how patient and focused this large cat was to take down its prey, knowing she had three cubs to feed! Our guest also had great sightings of Elephants dust bathing, drinking, walking in the road and playing close to our vehicle.
Kosi Bay was as always a treat, allowing our guest to discover the Kosi Lake System’s by boat, travelling through a tight channel from one lake to the other, appreciating the diversity in bird life, sheer beauty of Ancient Sand Dunes covered by thick Dune Forests and Thulani, our local guide giving great information about the traditional Tonga Fish Kraals.
Although the devastating effects of the current drought that Mkuze Game Reserve is experiencing was evident, this Park once again surprised our guests with exceptional sightings of the Pel’s Fishing Owl at a very good viewing distance, Elephants drinking and bathing at arms length away from us in Kumasinga Hide and a Lion crossing the road to lie down and watch us watching him! Amazing photographic opportunity and great luck with exceptional timing!
The lodge at Thendele Camp gave our guest a great view of the Amphitheatre and we did two walks along paths with an amazing landscape of mountains, green hills and forests. Although there wasn’t an abundance of water we walked to Gudu Falls through well shaded Afromontane Forests.
Didima Camp was our last stop. This is where our guest had some time to relax and did a hike into the mountains to Rainbow Gorge.
With the tour wrapped up our guests were satisfied with the diversity in animal and plant life, differences in landscapes and the exceptional sightings they experienced!
Na veel goede ervaringen zijn we wederom met Safari´s Op Maat op reis gegaan. Dit jaar zijn we begonnen in Drakensbergen, daarna Ithala, Mkuze, St.Lucia, Hluhluwe en als afsluiter Kruger.
In Drakensbergen hebben we geweldige uitzichten gehad en genoten van een mooie wandeling.
Ook de overnachtingsplek was boven verwachting, net zoals in Ithala. In Ithala begonnen de gamedrives en….. de zoektocht naar de zwarte neushoorns. Nou, dit was een korte zoektocht want al op de eerste gamedrive zagen we een drietal zwarte neushoorns. Eindelijk na vele jaren !
Na 2 nachten zijn we vertrokken naar Mkuze. Hier hebben we overnacht in tenten in een niet omheind park. Op een avond is er naast de tent een nyala geboren, erg bijzonder.
De waterhole Kumasinga Hide was zeer bijzonder. We hebben er ontzettend veel zebra’s, gnoes, buffels, impala´s, nyala´s en verschillende soorten vogels gezien. Verder nog een neushoorn met jong.
Hierna een paar dagen rust in St. Lucia waar we overnacht hebben in een guesthouse. In St.Lucia hebben we vooral gewinkeld en genoten van de terrasjes. Cape Vidal zat natuurlijk ook in het programma, waar we een heerlijke sushi lunch hebben gehad.
Na deze rustperiode zijn we verder gegaan naar Hluhluwe. Ook hier hebben we weer veel dieren en vogels gezien. De bezoekjes van de hyenas waren erg spannend !
Voor wat luxe zijn we naar Ubizane Lodge gegaan voor een overnachting in een mooie boomhut. Hierna begon de reis naar Kruger via Piet Retief. In Kruger hebben we een aantal verschillende lokaties bezocht, Berg en Dal, Lower Sabie en toen naar Shindzela (Greater Kruger) en tot slot Tamboti tented camp. In Kruger hebben we prachtige sightings gehad; wederom de zwarte neushoorn, leeuwen, cheetahs, luipaarden, honingdas, veel vogels, wilde honden, olifanten, bavianen, verschillende soorten antilopen, nijlpaarden en nog veel meer.
Vooral shindzela was erg bijzonder omdat dit een privepark is waar je off road mag. Hierdoor konden we erg dicht bij de wilde dieren komen.
Na 3 weken kwam er helaas weer een einde aan een geweldige reis! Het was allemaal weer goed georganiseerd, vervoer, de lodges, de catering, de gidsen, alles!
Safari´s Op Maat, Paul en Geert, bedankt voor weer een geweldige ervaring en tot een volgende keer!
William, Gitte, Peter and Annemarie joined us yet again for another guided safari. They had a memorable experience, visiting Thendele Camp in the Drakensberg, Ithala Game Reserve, Mkuze Game Reserve, St. Lucia, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park and the Kruger National Park.
The tour started in Johannesburg where we met our guests at O.R Tambo International Airport. We spent the evening at the Safari Club, enjoying a few glasses of Amarula and discussing what our plans were for the next few weeks. Our guests were very excited and couldn’t wait to get on the road!
Arriving later in the afternoon at Thendele Camp, our guests were able to sit in front of the lodge and enjoyed cold beers and wine as we spotted Eland feeding on the mountain slopes and birds calling as the sun started setting.
The next day we embarked on a walk along a trail to Gudu Falls and the Cascades. The walk was relaxing and we focused on smaller things like insects and birds as we entered patches of forest. Peter and Annemarie were amazed at the beauty of Gudu falls and took many photographs to remember this magnificent water fall.
Ithala Game Reserve-Ntshondwe Camp
Next stop was Ithala Game Reserve! Renowned for its landscape, mountains and grasslands our guests were eager to see what we could find here. Ithala Game Reserve didn’t disappoint!
As we drove in we spotted Black-backed Jackals running from a kill, Secretarybirds chasing each other, White-bellied Korhaan, herds of Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Zebra, Eland, Giraffe, three Black Rhinos and a flock of Southern Bald Ibises. To celebrate our entrance we yet again had a “proost” on the deck of the lodge overlooking the incredible landscape!
The next two day we did the loop roads finding Elephants, another Black Rhino, more Secretarybirds, had an Elephant bull join us at our coffee stop and stood at viewpoints that overlook the extraordinary Pongola River.
Mkuze Game Reserve-Mantuma Camp
En route to Mkuze Game Reserve in a blistering heat wave, we stopped off at the luxurious Ghost Mountain Inn to enjoy a cold beverage. We stayed in the tented camp for three days, where they enjoyed a braai every evening and listened to the bush after the wind died down. We were visited by Bushbabies in the trees, heard lions close by, saw that Elephants had walked past our camp and even saw a newly born Nyala calf!
The bird hides also gave our guest great opportunity for photographs as waves of Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Nyala, Greater Kudu and Buffalo came to drink.
St. Lucia once again served its role in providing our guests with comfortable accommodation (with WIFI to catch up with family and friends), restaurants to choose from, a night drive and day trip through the Isimagaliso Wetland Park and a boat cruise on the estuary. The beach was lovely but our guests loved their sushi for lunch whilst Banded Mongoose and Syke’s and Vervet Monkeys surrounded us!
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve-Mpila Camp
We headed into KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest national park with our guests hoping that this is where we would find our first large cats! Entering the gate we headed to where other vehicles were looking at something. In a horizontal branch of a Marula tree, 250 meters from the road was a Lion sleeping and every now and then looking at all the vehicles stopping to look at him!
We stopped at a picnic site, I walked around to check the areas where cats could be sleeping, wandered down a trail to inspect the dry riverbed, and this is where I discovered a pride of thirteen Lions sleeping in the cool river sand. Guest hurried to my calling and we quietly watched the Lions from our safe distance. Great find and a stroke of luck for other guests that were not even part of our group!
Other highlights included braaing outside and having Spotted Hyenas visit our camp site in search of food. Peter and William entertained us with their use of two way radios to find one another and added to the airiness of wild animals being very close!
Ubizane-Tree Lodge and Piet Retief
We had another wonderful stay over at the Ubizane Tree Lodge before making our way up to the Kruger National Park. The rooms are elevated on stilts that look into a Fever Tree Forest, food, drinks amazing and our guests rated this highly!
We also stopped over in Piet Retief to rest before entering the Kruger National Park. William and Annemarie enjoyed some local flavour in the Sundowners Bar as we supported the Springboks who sadly lost their opening match to Japan!
Kruger National Park-Berg en Dal Camp
Finally we were in the Kruger National Park and the level of excitement was high, especially for me being a first timer to this unbelievably large and diverse wilderness area!
Making our way to Berg en Dal Camp from the Malelane Gate we encountered White Rhinos, Elephants, Dwarf Mongoose, Hawk Eagles and Magpie Shrikes very close to the road. We quickly off loaded our bags and jumped back into the bus to see what we could find before driving times ended.
Not even 15 minutes into our drive we found a Black Rhino bull slowly making his way towards our vehicle. The inquisitive behaviour of this very rare Black Rhino that we found in the Kruger National Park, suddenly came charging out of the bush, stopped, turned around and walked back into the bushveld! Wow, amazing, a brief sighting but a very special sighting regarding the current rate at which these incredible beasts are being poached!
We also then found a large herd of Elephants feeding and youngsters playing, Wild dogs on the road on the hunt! To top off this drive we then found a Leopard in a tree, relaxed as ever, looking around scoping what its next meal might be. The Leopard then came down from the tree, crossed the road and went into the thicket, where we later found out that it was looking at a small herd of Impala.
Kruger National Park- Lower Sabie Camp
The road to Lower Sabie Camp was very quiet in the morning but sightings of Saddle-billed Storks, Waterbuck, Elephant’s, Cheetahs and Black Rhino with a calf made the drive interesting! We stopped at Crocodile Bridge where our guest enjoyed a cup of coffee and stretched their legs before we carried on with our journey.
Arriving at Lower Sabie, our guest opted to hop on the sun downer game drive which would allow them to get a chance to see animals like Leopard, African Civet and Lions. William, Gitte, Annemarie and Peter did then get the chance to watch a Leopard up in a tree with a kill!
Timbavati-Shindzela Tented Camp
Travelling through the Kruger to make our way into the Timbavati, we stopped for a coffee break. This is where I made the vital error of leaving a bag with rusks on the table where I was preparing the coffee. This presented a chance for a cunning Baboon to sneak down from a roof, he jumped on the table and grabbed the bag! I was alright to let him take it when he showed me the size of his canines and let his friends rather harass him for what he had stolen!
We arrived at Shindzela tented camp and soon enjoyed lunch on an open deck from where we could see a waterhole, dry riverbed and the sheer openness of the camp. Our first game drive allowed us to get very close to a pride of lions which had been chased off their zebra kill by an older male.
We were yet again fortunate to also see Secretarybird, Pearl spotted Owlet, Purple Roller, Elephants drinking at the waterhole in front of the camp, an African Wild Cat and the mating display of the Red-crested Korhaan as they fly up into the air and then plummet to the ground.
Kruger National Park- Tamboti Camp
Last stop, Tamboti Camp! We arrived in the blistering heat of the day to sit and relax on the decks of the tented camp and watched baboons as they jumped the fence and crossed the dry riverbed of the Timbavati. Our guest enjoyed another braai before we went on a night drive. On the drive we saw a Spotted Hyena, Black-backed Jackal and Lesser Bushbabies.
Our tent rubbish bins were visited by resident Honey Badgers foraging for left overs. They were noisy and fast but we were able to get some photographs of them!
We drove up to Satara Camp, en-route we had a birthday coffee stop for Gitte, where we enjoyed chocolate cake and watched Elephants feeding on the other side of the river. We spotted a Cheetah getting mobbed by an African Fish Eagle and saw three Ground Hornbills feeding next to the road.
Great trip and definitely created memories our guest and I will never forget!
Mkuze Game Reserve
The Veroude family started their safari along the Elephant Coast, first visiting Mkuze Game Reserve! We entered the park over the foothills of the Lebombo Mountain range, through Mshopi gate and headed for Mantuma camp. The next few days they enjoyed finding and spotting different antelope species and birds, learning about the history of the park and relaxing next to the pool!
Some of the highlights included walking through the spectacular Fig Forest and encountering a bull elephant whilst having a braai at night! Unfortunately we didn’t find the Pel’s Fishing Owl on the Fig Forest walk but the Veroude’s got a good look at the Narina Trogon, Trumpeter Hornbills and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher to mention a few. The bull elephant that graced us with his presence was on his way to the bird hide for a drink. He got our guests really excited and allowed us to jump into the bus and to watch him walking across the road as he was set on quenching his thirst!
Kosi Bay Lodge
We then set off to our next stop, Kosi Bay Lodge. On arrival we quickly settled into a very tropical environment and got ready to go on a boat cruise on the lake system. Going through shallow channels from one lake to the next allowed us to see what lives and depends on this ancient lake system for survival. Hippos, fish, water birds, mangroves, dense dune forests and local fishing traditions were the highlights of this extraordinary ecosystem!
The following day we drove over rolling hills en-route to Kosi Bay mouth for a day at the beach. We stopped at a view point to look at the intriguing traditional Tonga fish kraals and Kosi Bay mouth. Thulani our guide demonstrated how the locals use wild banana leaves to build and fix their fish kraals. Julia learned quickly and showed her brothers how it’s done! Having never snorkelled before the Veroude’s were very keen to get in the water, put on their snorkelling gear and followed myself and Nick into the water. Amazed by the diversity of life under the water we went through books to see which species of colourful reef fish we had seen.
Tembe Elephant Park
Tembe Elephant Park never seems to disappoint our guest’s expectations! We were warmly welcomed on arrival, with the Tembe ladies singing and making our guests feel at home. First game drive got the Veroude’s very excited to find some tuskers and to see what Tembe had to offer! We found three elephants close to the marsh and watched them play fighting right in front and next to our vehicle. Stijn never thought he would be siting eye to eye with Africa’s largest mammal!
Although a cold front was passing by we were lucky to see some amazing birds like the: Martial Eagle, Ret’z Helmetshrikes and African Harrier-Hawk. We also followed eight lions walking through the bush and watched them drinking at a waterhole whist having a coffee! If that wasn’t enough we found tracks of a female leopard with two cubs, stopped to see where they were going, heard nyala alarm calling, turned around and went to investigate. Turning onto the road where the nyala alarm call came from we spotted a leopard in the road! Great timing as we stopped to give her time to relax and to try get another look at her as she had started heading for the thicket.
St. Lucia and Surroundings
Arriving in St. Lucia and the next few days being busy with activities, the Veroude family were looking forward to their stay at Avalone guest house. The next few days they were guided through the town, looking for birds, hippos and crocodiles. They also enjoyed the boat based whale watching and a sunset boat cruise on the estuary. We had superb sightings of purple swamphens fighting, goliath herons soaking up the last bit of heat from the sun and pods of hippo’s meters from the boat! A day interacting with elephants, cheetahs and serval allowed our guests to get even closer to the animals they've always wanted to see.
Ithala Game Reserve
The all amazing Ithala Game Reserve had our guests in awe at its sheer beauty! Very different to any of the other game reserves our guests visited, Ithala has an amazing open landscape, mountains with deep valleys and different bird and mammal species that live there! We did early morning and afternoon game drives and found secretary birds, ostriches, bald ibis’s, jackal buzzards, eland, tsessebe, a black rhino bull with a massive horn, three more black rhinos running up a hill and moved trees off the road that elephants had pushed over! We also did a walk up the mountain to find where the Vereaux’s Eagles were nesting and encountered a couple of big elephant bulls close to the path!
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park was the last game reserve the Veroude’s visited. Morning drives in the south allowed us to find two lion cubs walking in the road by themselves and plenty of white rhinos which our guest were really happy to see. We found ourselves far in the south of the reserve having a lunch stop next to Black Imfolozi River with three elephants crossing. The north of the reserve brought us great luck as we spent time with lions feeding on a buffalo kill and watched a pair of African Crowned Eagles soaring and calling above us whilst having lunch at Hilltop Camp!
As a trainee Ranger at Phinda Forest Lodge some of my time was spent exploring the Sand Forest. The Sand Forest is a very special habitat and although regarded as a “dry forest”, it hosts an incredible amount of species that depend on it for survival. Many of these species include insects, small flowering orchids, lichens, small mammals, reptiles and of course birds that are difficult to spot in the canopy, but easily identified by their call!
Part of being a trainee ranger was to walk to the bird hide in the mornings, to fill up the bird bath, sit and observe what came in to drink. On many occasions the bird hide was very quiet, not a single bird would come in to drink! On returning back to the ranger’s room and walking past all the guest rooms you would find Suni (the smallest antelope species in Northern Zululand), red duiker and nyala feeding very close to you. It is only then that you start hearing the calls of Square-tailed Drongos, Trumpeter Hornbills, Crowned Hornbills, Bearded Scrub-Robins, Eastern Nicators, Dark-backed Weavers, Black-backed Puffbacks and Golden-tailed Woodpeckers to name a few.
On one specific morning I sat at the bird hide whilst waiting for the bird bath to fill up and only a Red Duiker coming in close, but too scared to drink because of my presence. I started slowly making my way back to the lodge, scanning the canopy with the hope of finding something special perching looking at me! Half way back I realised that I had left the tap on and had to go back to turn it off. Approaching the bird hide I found out that suddenly there was a bird party!
As I continued, a bird unexpectedly came flying passed my head and landed on a branch about 4 meters away from me. To my disbelief it was an African Broadbill, one of the many extraordinary bird species found in the Sand Forest! Quickly I whipped out my camera and started snapping away. The little fella looked at me for a bit and then took off. It was at this moment that another bird caught my attention! It was a Woodward’s Batis, my first sighting of this species and it had to be caught by my lens! Not too far up the canopy I was lucky to get two photographs. Content with what I had spotted I turned off the tap and made my way back to the ranger’s room.
Part of my ranger training at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve required me to spend some alone time in the bush! This time allowed me to really experience the bush by myself without having the instructors or my fellow trainees around.
The prospect of being in a ‘Big 5’ game reserve with my handheld radio, rifle, map, binoculars, ash bag and a packed lunch was beyond exciting for me. After spending weeks learning and understanding animal behavior and what to do when meeting any potentially dangerous animal on foot, it was time to put my training to the test!
Apart from spending time alone walking around this remarkably diverse game reserve, it forced me to learn some of the areas that aren’t frequently driven to find animals, familiarize myself with road names, landmarks, understand where to find certain game and bird species, photograph the smaller animals (butterflies, reptiles and other insects) /plants and ultimately improving on my level of awareness.
With all this said I must admit that I had read my map incorrectly and found myself deep in the mountains of the western side of the reserve. By the time I realized I 'd gone the wrong way it was too late to turn back. I decided to continue on the road hoping that I could get back on route once I got to the next junction.
As I continued walking and observing every so often I stopped dead in my tracks! On the right side of the road, approximately 30 meters ahead of me was an animal feeding. At first I thought it was a buffalo but to my surprise it was a rhino, not a White Rhino but a Bhejane (Zulu for Black Rhino)!
In those few seconds of looking around for a tree to climb, thoughts of this animal charging me and every other behavioral aspect regarding Black Rhino’s were going through my head, including the fact that my heart was sitting in my throat! Luckily the Bhejane hadn’t yet heard or smelt me yet. I turned around, tippy toed to a Milkwood Tree on the opposite side of the road. I placed my rifle nest to the tree, took my backpack off, crabbed my camera and was up that Milkwood in a blink of an eye!
From a crook in the tree, very uncomfortable I turned my camera on and started recording the action on the ground. The Bhejane still hadn’t registered of my presence and continued on feeding. It was from here
that I could see and hear it pulling out small sickle bush shrubs and other forbs. I zoomed in on the lesions (area on skin that is damaged due to parasitic fly larvae) on the side of its body and also managed to make out that it was in fact a bull, because it started spraying urine and defecating in the act of marking its territory!
Suddenly the wind direction changed, the Bhejane looked up in my direction, snorted, turned and ran around some bush up the side of the hill! It then stopped looked in my direction again and decided to charge toward the tree I was in. Stopping again with its ears and nose pointed towards me it turned around again, walked up the hill and started scent marking.
I remained as still as I could watching its every move. Only once it had calmed down I decided on a route to take, which had lots of cover. Slowly I descended from the tree watching the Bhejane, crabbed my backpack and rifle and made my way towards the tree line.
Once on the road, I picked up my pace, looking back making sure the Bhejane wasn’t following me and hoping that nothing else would be ahead of me!
St. Lucia is a small coastal town that lies at the southernmost tip of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The Park is a renowned World Heritage Site, stretching from Kosi Bay in the north to Mapelane in the south of Zululand. St. Lucia is known for its ancient lush dune forests, warm Indian ocean, large hippo and crocodile population, diverse fauna and flora and ofcourse being a hotspot for birders and naturalist to tick off and photograph rare bird species!
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park covers over 328 000 hectares comprising of many different habitats. Within this area Lake St . Lucia covers about 30000 hectares and is home to many different bird species. These habitats include; mangrove swamps, grasslands, natural wetlands, coastal dune forests and the beach. It is through these prestine habitats that bird lovers and naturalist can enjoy spending time watching, identifying and snapping away at the sheer beauty of what St. Lucia has to offer!
Walking the streets of St. Lucia on any given morning you are bound to find something interesting on your explorations. Listen and look out for the the Livingstone's and Purple-crested Turacos, White-eared Barbets, Green Malkhoha's , Trumpeter and Crowned Hornbills as thes birds are bold, have distinctive calls that are striking to the ear! The wetland and estuarine ecosystems make suitable areas for large flocks of birds like Lesser/Greater Flamingo's and other small waders to feed, whilst Pink-backed/Great White Pelican's catch fish.
The iGwalagwala trail is a short walk that takes you through some coastal dune forest. Here you are able to find the Red-capped Robin-Chat, Green-backed Camoroptera, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, African Crowned Eagle, Narina Trogon, African Goshawk and the Rudd's Apalis. Most of these species are secretive making photography slightly difficult at times. Also look out for leopard tracks and scat as these large cats are interested in preyin on Bushbuck, Red Duiker or even a tiny Suni! You will also find that there are paths that have been made by hippos that are making their way from the estuary and back. Be careful as these large animals may be on the path and have not returned to the water yet!
The boardwalk that takes you to the beach offers another great birding opportunity especially early in the morning and late afternoon. Bird parties can include, Black-bellied Starlings, Dark-backed Weavers, Olive, Grey, Collared and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds to name a few. Keep an eye out for any African Fish Eagles, Caspian Terns and sometimes even Western Ospreys that hang around the mouth of the Estaury in search of food. Large crocodiles and hippos are often seen on the sand banks basking or lazying about in the water.
Canoeing is another opportunity to get closer to the hippos and crocodiles and to paddle across the estaury to get to the mangrove swamps. There is always a chance of finding a leopard in the mangrove forest and maybe, just maybe you look up and there sits the striking Mangrove Kingfisher! If this doesn't tickle your fancy then enjoy a walk on the beach, watch ghost crabs as they hurry into their holes, whales breaching, White-fronted Plovers scuttling across the beach and Common Wimbrels and Black Oystercatches feeding on what the tides bring in.
Thinking I had missed my guests and waiting for them to walk through the arrivals, I was happily greeted by Jacques, Marino and Sofieke. They were very happy to have landed after a delay on their flight and were very excited to be exploring South Africa with me for the next three weeks.
After driving for a long time and the guest appreciating the landscape as we approached the Drakensberg we were at the foothills of the Amphitheater and ascending to Thendele camp. We were all in absolute awe at the size of the mountains, the position of the camp and what we would see on our exploration in the mountains. We were fortunate to have good weather, which made our hike to Thukela Gorge a super photographic opportunity. The Rodrigo’s really enjoyed walking through the afromontane forest, they had never seen anything like it before! We were lucky to see many different animal species including the Gurney’s Sugarbird, Chorister Robin Chat, Small Grey Mongoose, baboons and bushbuck. Cascades was another highlight, short walk to get there where the guest had an opportunity to take photographs of the waterfall, selfies, bushbuck and very attractive Gaudy Commodore butterfly.
My name is Quinton Paul Josop I’m from Cape Town but have been studying and working in KwaZulu-Natal for the past four years. Before I moved to KwaZulu-Natal I studied BSc Sports Science for a year at Stellenbosch University. Whilst at university I had a friend studying nature guiding and conservation at Bhejane Nature Training, based in the Hluhluwe area. It was through him that I pursued my dream of coming to the bush and learning all about it.
I’m a naturalist at heart, love wildlife, climbing mountains and teaching people about the bush. I was attracted to the Elephant Coast/ Northern Zululand because of its diversity in fauna and flora. Accepted onto the three year advanced nature guiding and conservation course I was set to explore a new area, learn about things I’ve only read about and seen on television. During my time at Bhejane Nature Training Academy my interest in animal behaviour, bird watching, plants/trees, local culture and photography started growing. After my two years of theoretical and practical training at Bhejane Nature Training Academy, I had completed qualifications and was a level 1 FGASA (Field Guide Association of Southern Africa) Nature Guide, Regional Specialist Bird Guide for the savanna and forest biomes, Backup Trails Guide, Level 1 Marine Guide and PADI Rescue Diver.
Deciding on what I was to do for my practical placement year out in the field, I opted to apply for the Inkwazi Ranger Training course at Phinda Private Game Reserve. Accepted onto the course I started my training on the beautiful Munyawana Game Reserve, Phinda. The training at Phinda was thorough doing game drive techniques, hospitality, rifle training and lodge training. After nearly seven months of training at Phinda things didn’t work out for me so I started looking for a guiding position elsewhere.
Luckily for me I found a job next door on Zulu Nyala Private Game Reserve. Zulu Nyala was a great learning opportunity because I started guiding guests within the first week of working there. Great working on a reserve with a fair amount of game including rhinos, elephants, buffalo, leopards, cheetah as well as being able to do guided trips into surrounding parks. After 6 months of working there Tailor Made Safaris was looking for a specialist guide to fill a position.
Fascinated by the fact that Tailor Made Safaris is offering top-quality guided safaris for guest along the Elephant Coast, Drakensberg and the Kruger National Park, I was delighted to make the move. Working for Tailor Made Safaris means I will be able to broaden my knowledge of other areas, have the opportunity of interacting with guest for a longer period and using my skills and knowledge to give guests a better guided experience.
Hi there! My name is Paul and I am the new specialist guide for Tailor Made Safaris! On this blog I will keep you all updated with trip reports and interesting stories about the African Bush!
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