Monday, 28 December 2009

The Congo's lowland Gorillas just got easier to reach

With experience,knowledge and planning our man in the Congo has come up with a plan to get our clients in to the key wildlife hot spots of the Central African Rep & Congo (Brazzaville)more quickly and easily. For 2010 we will be starting our safaris in Bangui from where we fly to Bomassa and then just a reasonably short drive to the first camp. Full details of these incredible trips of a life time to the encounter the rarest and most wonderful wildlife and people on earth follow the links on our website, Tony has lead clients on safaris to this region and would be very happy to answer your questions and tell you more about the safaris.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Iberian Lynx close encounter

Our Man in Spain (Jules)recently returned from guiding a small group of clients in search of the Iberian Lynx and managed to get a great sighting of a Lynx which was spotted at around 6o mtr, Jules managed to get a few photos which are wonderful as they are of a completly wild Lynx , most photos are of captive animals. Contacty us if you would like to join one of these interesteing Wildlife/birding short breaks, we have dates available in Feb .

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Kwetsani's Chacma Baboons are Opportunistic Carnivores

Tony vsisted Kwetsani in October and we have plans to build this fantasic lodge in to our safari plans for 2010. .
The chacma baboon (Papio ursinus), the largest and most common of all baboons, is the only species found in Botswana. Chacma baboons live in troops averaging between 20 and 50 members. On Kwetsani Island there are presently two large troops, numbering around 80 animals in total.

Kwetsani also hosts large herds of red lechwe, which are the most common antelope found in this region. Herds of 100 - 200 lechwe can be seen grazing on the floodplains in front of Kwetsani Camp and quite often these two species can be found intermingling quite happily as they forage.

During a morning game drive on Kwetsani's northern floodplains, guests George, Nancy and Jaques, guided by OP, were observing a troop of baboons weaving in and out of a large herd of lechwe, whilst foraging for insects. What appeared to be an idyllic early morning setting suddenly became considerably less idyllic. A young sub-adult lechwe, lying on the periphery of the herd, was suddenly set upon by a large male baboon. The animal was so startled that there was no opportunity for an escape. Guests watched in horror as the large baboon proceeded to rip chunks of meat from the antelope whilst it was still alive. The most amazing thing of all was that, although the animal was whinnying in distress, the rest of the herd appeared to be oblivious to its plight and simply moved off slightly and carried on grazing as if nothing was happening.

Although it is not uncommon for baboons to prey on small mammals, it is unusual to see a baboon attack a sub-adult antelope which, quite possibly, weighed as much as the baboon itself. OP has suggested that perhaps the animal had been injured and this is what attracted the baboon's attention in the first place. Baboons have an incredibly advanced sense of smell, as well as very large canine teeth because they are carnivorous. The canine teeth, which can be as long as 5cm (2 inches), are used to defend themselves and can quite easily inflict a deep wound in a predator. If the lechwe had been injured and bleeding, it is quite possible that the baboon would have been attracted by the smell of blood, sidled over to observe the animal and, being an opportunist, made a grab at the lechwe which gave little resistance due to its injury. One morning we observed a young teenage baboon making an opportunistic grab at the leg of a young bushbuck while they were both foraging close to each other.

The chacma baboon is described by Jonathan Kingdon (The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals) as "an opportunistic omnivore with a preference for bulbs, roots, shoots, seeds or fruits. Invertebrates, small vertebrates, seashore life, fungi and lichen are eaten as and when available. Crops (maize, tomatoes, citrus and root crops) are raided in settled areas. Lambs and smalls stock are taken in some ranching areas".

It is very interesting to note that over the past two years, staff and guests at Kwetsani have witnessed baboons killing and eating newborn bushbuck on three occasions. On another occasion a guest reported seeing the troop of baboons "hunting" - as she described it, a sub-adult bushbuck. This incident occurred at the height of the flood this year and it was suggested that the baboons might have been experiencing difficulty finding food on the island. This is a possibility, but it is also interesting to note that the baboons living in this area are well-adapted to this wet environment and are quite accustomed to crossing large bodies of water in order to get to other islands if the food source in their territory is becoming scarce.

The chacma baboons on Kwetsani Island have also been observed killing and eating baby vervet monkeys and Smith's bush squirrels.

It is uncertain what studies have been conducted in the floodplains, but Richard Estes reports that in South Africa baboons can become major predators of young sheep and goats. This behaviour is normally practiced by large male baboons and they normally don't share their prey. It would be difficult to establish, as a percentage, how frequently these baboons prey on other mammals but it would appear as if the Kwetsani baboons have developed a definite taste for fresh venison.

If you are3 interested in a stay at Kwetsani or want to know more about the Delta contact Tony he will be happy to tell you all you need to know.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Lounge Lizard Lions at Busanga Bush Camp

On 20 October at about 08h00 one of the adult male lions from the Busanga Pride from the camp. Was moving directly towards Camp. Nothing unusual in this as Busanga Bush Camp does after all form the core of this pride's territory.

He continued walking straight past the main area and down the path to the viewing deck about 10 metres away from Staff and guests. For the next few hours he alternated between lying on the pathway and walking 5 metres into the open plains and lying there. Around mid-morning he was joined by one of the pride lionesses and her three cubs. They followed the same route past the main area and went to lie in the thicket next to the viewing deck.

Later in the day when it started getting really hot, the male moved up onto the viewing deck! This was presumably to take advantage of the breeze, something this pride often does in the fig trees dotted across the plains. He lay here all afternoon, for all the world behaving like the camp had long been deserted and reclaimed by nature. It is perhaps something this pride learnt in the wet season when the camp is closed, since the first sighting of this behaviour came earlier in the year when the camp team found four lionesses from the pride lying there when the island was still inaccessible due to high water levels.

In the early evening the male and female moved off and left the three cubs essentially in camp. The youngsters moved onto the helicopter landing pad and played with wild abandon on this open area before wandering off into the night slightly out of camp.

This is why we love the Busanga ......

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Gorillas of the Congo

You can read Tonys account of a safari to the Congo by visiting
Wildlife extra the leading wildlife online news site.

Also check out Tyrones article on the Zambia's Kafue National park and it's wildlife.

Lions & Giants

For decades the Savuti lion pride on the western boundary of the Chobe National Park in Botswana has ruled supreme. This pride, numbering up to 40 individuals, has made the unique practise of hunting elephants their specialty. Lions And Giants is the story of a few breakaway lionesses and a group of elephants who are forced to leave Savuti and travel north to the Chobe River.
Keep an eye on the Animal Planet channel on sky for a dramatic and brilliantly filmed documentary, first shown on 5th Dec knowing Animal planet I am sure this will be repeated many times.

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Jao is an area of the Okavango Delta, a jewel of crystal clear streams and lush Papyrus grass and home to great herds on Lechwe antelope, Elephants , Buffalo and Lions who have adapted to this watery environment to take advantage of the great numbers of game. Tony has just returned from Jao and for next season we will have created several safaris which visit Jao and northern Botswana on interesting and exciting wildlife journeys.
Keep an eye open for a new TV series on Animal Planet which explores Jao and its wildlife, "be prepared to fall in love" this place is beautiful.


UK PREMIERE ONE-OFF TV show on Animal PLanet

For decades the Savuti lion pride on the western boundary of the Chobe National Park in Botswana has ruled supreme. This pride, numbering up to 40 individuals, has made the unique practise of hunting elephants their specialty. Lions And Giants is the story of a few breakaway lionesses and a group of elephants who are forced to leave Savuti and travel north to the Chobe River.Our safaris to Norther Botswana explore these areas and provide the chance to see first hand the struggle for life that is living in the bush.

Friday, 4 December 2009

News !!! Our new website is live...

We are really looking forward to the next safari season. We have
been working really hard in the bush and in the office this year to
bring together some exciting new safaris for 2010.
We have stuck to our principles of only offering safaris which offer
great wildlife in wonderfully wild places, we also thought about how
you might like to experience the bush and have created a selection
of special interest safaris to compliment our suggested safari
ideas, these will appeal to the wildlife enthusiasts, keen birder,
adventurer, walker, artist and even fishermen. Wildlife does not
respect boundaries and so we decided that we shouldn't either, our
new 'Out of Africa' section has some interesting alternative ideas.
And the best bit is that we have a great new website which is easy
to use and gives all the information and photos you could want in
just a few clicks, to give you an idea of what you can expect.

We really hope you enjoy the site and that you find something to
inspire your next safari.

We are available 7 days a week and always happy to hear from you.