Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 8th March 2012, 19:07   #26
Jos Stratford
Pondering the next...
 
Jos Stratford's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Exile in East Europe
Posts: 12,813
At the end of the day however, the choice of guided in a private reserve or self-drive in the national parks is down to how much money you have and your personal desire of approach. Even if they paid me, I would not wish to go on a guided trip, I like nothing more than to go out and search for the stuff, this being the excitement for me. For others, the skill and dedication of the guides will make the holiday a fantastic experience. Whichever you choose, RSA will not disappoint.
__________________
For photographs and articles, Lithuania and beyond, click here for my website
Jos Stratford is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2007 2009
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Thursday 8th March 2012, 22:33   #27
Dave Kennedy
Registered User
 
Dave Kennedy's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South Africa
Posts: 1,372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford View Post
This is correct - you can only drive to the lodge, but not go on game drives yourself. I am not familiar with the private reserves, but I think generally you can not drive from lodge to lodge through the reserves either - you drive to the lodge, stay, then leave and would enter another private reserve through theri entrance. I might be wrong here however.

Note however, it is completely possible to visit parts of even Kruger, the most visited of all RSA parks, without seeing other tourists for periods - particularly if you choose the north for the park and don't go when RSA schools are on holiday. Even more so for Kgaladai, even though the road network here is far more limited. Onthe private reserves, yes they might get you to animals on your own, but you are also tied to however long the game drive is, and you will not be alone. Self driving, you can be out morning to evening, settle yourself at a key spot and just sit and wait, or slowly wander as you want.
Agreed 100%. Kruger Park is supposed to be the size of Wales, or some such statistic. There is no need to be swamped by the madding crowd if you prefer otherwise. Likewise Kgalagadi is not usually too crowded, simply because it is relatively isolated. It is good for game viewing, particularly cats, and if you stay clear of the rainy season there is not a whole lot of vegetation for the animals to hide behind. On our last visit, we scored Lion, Cheetah and African Wild Cat, Spotted Hyaena and Cape Fox, along with some avian specials like Burchell's Courser, Double-banded Courser, as well as Pygmy, Lanner and Red-necked Falcons. Just avoid school holiday times, and you should have no problems.
It is up to you, Marcus, and entirely a matter of your preference and budget. Should you self-drive, you should print out that check-list for animal spotting I referred you to in #16 in the previous page of this thread. It may help you to locate your subjects a little more easily.
Best wishes,
Dave

Last edited by Dave Kennedy : Thursday 8th March 2012 at 22:37.
Dave Kennedy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 9th March 2012, 03:18   #28
Sal
Registered User
 
Sal's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: KZN Midlands, South Africa
Posts: 7,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
Thanks Sal - I appreciate the time taken to respond.

So what you are saying it is possible to drive between lodges on private reserves but not from the lodges on private reserves - so you have to book onto their game drives.
it depends on the way a particular area is run and I suggest that you contact the ones you are interested in to find out. I think Jos is probably right in that many of the roads in the private areas cannot be driven on by private vehicles. This is partly to reduce environmental stress and partly so as not to spoil the client's viewing. Thus you may find you have to drive back to the gate and take a set route. In some, such as Nambiti, there is a dedicated parking at the main gate and you are picked up by the lodge's own vehicle To me there is little point in driving from lodge to lodge on one private reserve anyway. Rather choose one and then go to another reserve in a different region which may be able to offer something else.
__________________
Sal
Sal is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Friday 9th March 2012, 03:20   #29
Sal
Registered User
 
Sal's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: KZN Midlands, South Africa
Posts: 7,617
I agree with Dave - the North of Kruger is generally much quieter, but the central area around Satara gives you your best chance of cats if your time is limited. But if you go to Kalagadi, you should see most of the cats there!
__________________
Sal
Sal is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Friday 9th March 2012, 09:51   #30
Trevor Hardaker
Registered User
 
Trevor Hardaker's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 339
I think one carefully needs to understand exactly what you are after here Marcus. There are plenty of places to see wildlife and the regular parks like Kruger are as good a place as any to do that. You will see plenty of wildlife in those parks and, if you are just interested in seeing the animals, then you can’t really do much better than a self-drive in those parks. You will get plenty of opportunities to aim your camera at wildlife here, but if you are happy to walk away with point-and-shoot type images for the most part, then look no further. The main “problem”, photographically speaking, with these parks is that you are restricted to your car and a limited network of roads. In the private reserves, they roads are less of an issue and the game vehicles will more often than not drive off the roads to give you a better view of the subject. If you get a good guide in the private reserves who is catering for your specific needs, they will know how to place the vehicle to provide you with the best possible photographic opportunity. They understand the need to have the light in the right place (you can tell them if you want your subject lit from the front or you want side light or back lighting depending on the mood you are trying to create), the need for a clean, uncluttered background as well as an uncluttered foreground without those pesky blades of grass or twigs in front of the subject, etc. Unfortunately, as has already been mentioned, there is a premium to be paid to get these opportunities.

So, really, you just need to decide what exactly your main aim is. Is it just seeing the wildlife and getting reasonable shots of them or do you want to walk away with the potential of some seriously great wildlife shots (from a technical photographic point of view).

Anyway, you are bound to get lots more advice here still. I already mentioned Motswari as a great place to try for Leopard shots – if you do go there, you could not do much better than asking for Chad Cocking as your guide. Chad is a top notch wildlife photographer in his own right and there are few people that understand how to get the best possible shots of those animals in that area than he does. Here is a link to some of Chad’s work - http://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/galler...e=chad-cocking. If this is the kind of wildlife photography that you are wanting to achieve, then, in my opinion, a private reserve is the way to go without a doubt.
__________________
Trevor Hardaker, Cape Town, South Africa
My photos and reports at www.hardaker.co.za
Last South African lifer: Amsterdam Albatross - 13 Jul 2013 - Cape pelagic trip
Last world lifer: Junin Canastero - 24 May 2014 - Marcapomacocha, Peru
Trevor Hardaker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 10th March 2012, 10:47   #31
Marcus Conway - ebirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Highlands
Posts: 5,177
Hi

- are Motswiri and Motswari different places?

Thanks
Marcus Conway - ebirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2006
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Saturday 10th March 2012, 11:54   #32
Mike Richardson
Formerly known as Skink1978
 
Mike Richardson's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bridlington, East Yorkshire
Posts: 2,429
Some great advice here Marcus! I'm sure you will have no problem finding your own wildlife on a self drive basis. Send me a PM or give me a call if you need any help with general tourist questions or if I can help in any other way (like carry your equipment!).
__________________
Mike

www.wildlifewanderer.co.uk - Travel exploits of a reptile obsessed, mammal mad, birder
Mike Richardson is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2008
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 12th March 2012, 08:07   #33
Trevor Hardaker
Registered User
 
Trevor Hardaker's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
Hi

- are Motswiri and Motswari different places?

Thanks
Yes, Motswiri is in the North-west Province near Madikwe and Motswari is in the Lowveld and is part of the Timbavati area...

Of course, if you bring Mike with you, that throws a whole different light on things... I still owe him a few animals, so I may have to join you...
__________________
Trevor Hardaker, Cape Town, South Africa
My photos and reports at www.hardaker.co.za
Last South African lifer: Amsterdam Albatross - 13 Jul 2013 - Cape pelagic trip
Last world lifer: Junin Canastero - 24 May 2014 - Marcapomacocha, Peru
Trevor Hardaker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 09:01   #34
Marcus Conway - ebirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Highlands
Posts: 5,177
Okay so I have an update.

I have booked a private vehicle for a week in the Masai Mara. Sure its expensive but I think its the only way I would happy and from experiences of lots of other photographers most likely to get what I want. This is the last week in Feb.

So that leaves me the following still to plan.

------

1. A day in the Cape plus some Penguin action - am staying near Hermanes so that should be straightforward. Any suggestions?
2. A pelagic. I have been recommended Zest for birds. Does anyone know the schedule for 013. Do they run in March. I suspect Trevor can help
3. A short Safari break with my OH. After the wedding we want to spend two or three days doing a more normal tourist style safari (of course photo opps not spurned!). I am thinking a lodge for a few days but would welcome suggestions? Is it realistic to drive from the Cape or is is best to fly, bearing in mind we are limited on time? Targets I suppose would be Leopard, or anything we are likely to struggle with in MM.

Thanks.
Marcus Conway - ebirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2006
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 17:12   #35
Mike Richardson
Formerly known as Skink1978
 
Mike Richardson's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bridlington, East Yorkshire
Posts: 2,429
Where to go for your family safari depends on a couple of factors.

Firstly (and apart from Leopard) do you want to see the large iconic African mammals such as The Big Five? There are game parks within a short drive of Cape Town that offer all the large game in easy viewing conditions. Most animals are introduced and the enclosures are relatively small. They are not everyone's cup of tea (certainly not mine, and I dare say not yours) but they will give the Missus a chance to see some animals (presuming she is not accompanying you on your MM safari).

If you want to see The Big Five in much wilder conditions then you'll need to fly to Kruger or a similar reserve. I'll leave others to advise you on which ones. Driving to any of them would waste far too much time in such a short period.

For general wildlife and birding opportunities you could just spend your three days in the Cape Town area. National Parks such as Cape Point and West Coast will provide plenty of different birds, reptiles, antelopes, baboons and various small mammals. You may even come across a Caracal if you're lucky. You can also combine birding with general touristy stuff and visit the botanical gardens etc.

If you want to drive a little further afield I can recommend the Karoo National Park where they have recently reintroduced Black Rhino and Lion. Much easier to see are two species of zebra and a wide range of antelope.
__________________
Mike

www.wildlifewanderer.co.uk - Travel exploits of a reptile obsessed, mammal mad, birder
Mike Richardson is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2008
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 17:56   #36
Sal
Registered User
 
Sal's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: KZN Midlands, South Africa
Posts: 7,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
Okay so I have an update.

I have booked a private vehicle for a week in the Masai Mara. Sure its expensive but I think its the only way I would happy and from experiences of lots of other photographers most likely to get what I want. This is the last week in Feb.

So that leaves me the following still to plan.

------

1. A day in the Cape plus some Penguin action - am staying near Hermanes so that should be straightforward. Any suggestions?
2. A pelagic. I have been recommended Zest for birds. Does anyone know the schedule for 013. Do they run in March. I suspect Trevor can help
3. A short Safari break with my OH. After the wedding we want to spend two or three days doing a more normal tourist style safari (of course photo opps not spurned!). I am thinking a lodge for a few days but would welcome suggestions? Is it realistic to drive from the Cape or is is best to fly, bearing in mind we are limited on time? Targets I suppose would be Leopard, or anything we are likely to struggle with in MM.

Thanks.
I can't advise you on 1 or 2 but I'm sure Trevor or Dave can. Re the safari break it depends so much on what you want. If you go to a lodge somewhere you will have luxury and all your meals and be driven. There are some good concession lodges in Kruger such as Singita , Lukumbi, Tinga, Jocks Safari Lodge and Spa, Hamiltons Tented Camp and so on, and you can fly in to Nelspruit International airport from CapeTown. I would imagine that you could then arrange to be met there by whichever lodge you chose. If not, you could hire a vehicle. Pre-book it and it will be waiting for you at the airport. I think I have already mentioned other lodges in Sabi Sands. I don't know the Cape so well, but others do and could make some suggestions that would mean you didn't have to travel so far afield for just a few days. All of these places have the big 5 but there are never guarantees. Lodges in Sabi Sands might have the edge here as they have a very well set-up radio network and controlled drive-ins to sightings.
__________________
Sal
Sal is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 18:11   #37
Marcus Conway - ebirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Highlands
Posts: 5,177
Thanks guy

- yes I am doing MM without the missus
- I do not want to photograph animals in enclosures
- is a guide needed for the Cape? My targets are

Ground Woodpecker
Cape Sugarbird,
Orange-breasted and Lesser Double-collared Sunbird,
Cape Rock Thrush
African Black Oystercatcher

I don't think any of the above or too tricky in the right areas?
Marcus Conway - ebirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2006
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 18:26   #38
birdboybowley
Registered User
 
birdboybowley's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: W Sussex, England
Posts: 7,215
All targets can be seen at Rooiels.....we had (eventually!) excellent views of a family of Rockjumpers there. Sugarbird and both wanted sunbirds were seen easily too along with Victorin's Warbler and the breeding Verreaux's Eagle. We only saw Cape Rock Thrush around Sani but have friends who have had them at Rooiels. Ground Woodpecker is regular there too from what I've read but the strength of the wind on our visit kinda reduced bird numbers somewhat!!
Oystercatcher was seen around the penguin colony at Boulders and at most places we stopped along the coast.
__________________
"...Bureaucracy is a parasite that preys on free thought and suffocates free spirit..." Douglas Adams

www.adambowleyart.com
birdboybowley is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 19:01   #39
Marcus Conway - ebirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Highlands
Posts: 5,177
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdboybowley View Post
All targets can be seen at Rooiels.....we had (eventually!) excellent views of a family of Rockjumpers there. Sugarbird and both wanted sunbirds were seen easily too along with Victorin's Warbler and the breeding Verreaux's Eagle. We only saw Cape Rock Thrush around Sani but have friends who have had them at Rooiels. Ground Woodpecker is regular there too from what I've read but the strength of the wind on our visit kinda reduced bird numbers somewhat!!
Oystercatcher was seen around the penguin colony at Boulders and at most places we stopped along the coast.
Thanks I just found this link with a handy speices map too !

Cheers

vhttp://www.getbirding.com/?p=1998
Marcus Conway - ebirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2006
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 19:25   #40
Chris Galvin
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 783
Marcus, let me know how you get on in the Mara, as I will be going later in the year in October. I have hired a private vehicle at Kicheche for a week
__________________
Chris Galvin
My Website
Chris Galvin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 9th July 2012, 19:37   #41
Marcus Conway - ebirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Highlands
Posts: 5,177
Will do I am three days in Entumoto and three days in Ashnil
Marcus Conway - ebirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2006
Click here to Support BirdForum
Old Wednesday 18th July 2012, 11:51   #42
Trevor Hardaker
Registered User
 
Trevor Hardaker's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 339
Hi Marcus,

Sorry that it's taken me so long to respond - haven't been on to BF for quite some time...

Obviously, the suggestions to head to one of the reserves near Kruger or actually Kruger itself are all great. You will definitely see most of your target mammals there.

If you are wanting to avoid the big traveling distances across the country and give your wife some wildlife in luxury, there is a reserve about 2,5 hours drive from Cape Town called Sanbona Wildlife Reserve which has the Big 5 too. Apart from Leopard (which is near on impossible to find in the Cape due to their preferred habitat of rugged mountainous regions), the others are all introduced. They are however free-roaming and, with the reserve being 54000ha in size, it is not always straight-forward finding them. It is one of those reserves where you get driven around, rather than being allowed to drive on your own, but if you give them a list of target mammals up front, they will do their utmost to find them for you. The reserve also has all the other typical African species like Hippos, Giraffes, Brown Hyena, Black-backed Jackal, Caracal, African Wild Cat, etc. It will also give you an opportunity (probably one of the best in the country) to see Riverine Rabbit, the rarest mammal on the continent and the 13th rarest in the world, as well as a reasonable chance (as these things go) of finding Aardvark. Check out www.sanbona.com if you are interested.

As to the birding, most of the Cape stuff is very easy and you won't need a guide. Just pray for some good weather and the stuff at Rooi-els should be a doddle - they can be tough if the wind is howling...!

If you need any further info, you are welcome to email me or contact me via Facebook, as I check those a lot more regularly than BF.

Cheers
Trevor
__________________
Trevor Hardaker, Cape Town, South Africa
My photos and reports at www.hardaker.co.za
Last South African lifer: Amsterdam Albatross - 13 Jul 2013 - Cape pelagic trip
Last world lifer: Junin Canastero - 24 May 2014 - Marcapomacocha, Peru
Trevor Hardaker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 23rd July 2012, 15:41   #43
Marcus Conway - ebirder
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Highlands
Posts: 5,177
Thanks Trevor this fits much better into our plans. Are there any other good game reserves near the cape.
Marcus Conway - ebirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
BF Supporter 2006
Click here to Support BirdForum
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
18 months in Shanghai: March 2012 - August 2013 McMadd China (including Hong Kong & Macau) 597 Tuesday 30th September 2014 17:08
ISRAEL - The North 26 Feb to 6 March FXM Your Birding Day 24 Saturday 17th March 2012 17:32
2011 mid-Feb + March Recommendations please Log cabin Texas 7 Friday 21st January 2011 22:52
Uganda feb/march 2009 forthbirder Uganda 1 Wednesday 14th January 2009 18:07
Morocco Safari March 2008 Black Wheatear Vacational Trip Reports 8 Saturday 7th June 2008 13:49

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.18539906 seconds with 30 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 00:18.