The African Buffalo is a respected member of the Big Five even though he might look like a mellow bovine. His cousins in the East, the Asian Water Buffalo, can be domesticated. Not this guy! He is extremely dangerous, and is capable of killing a lion. He is on the trophy wish list of big game hunters and I am pleased to report that he has gored and maimed many a hunter! You have heard the expression – ‘like a wounded buffalo’ to describe someone who is so mad with rage and attacks relentlessly again and again…Those geeky looking horns actually act as a ‘shield’ and the thick bone is capable of stopping a rifle bullet. We do NOT condone big game hunting! But we do encourage you to join an African Safaris photographic safari to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands, the South Luangwa National Park, the Lower Zambezi National Park, the Masai Mara and the Serengeti.
Wildlife pic of the week: The African Buffalo
About Vanessa RatcliffePassionate about travel in Africa, Vanessa spends her days brainstorming safari itineraries, checking out fabulous African destinations, connecting with travellers (past and present) and trawling the internet for travel news and views. She can’t wait for her baby daughter to be old enough to go on safari… and learn to love Africa, her wild places and wildlife.
africa, african buffalo, african safari, against hunting, anti hunting, big 5, big 5 safari, buffalo, buffalo herd, conservation, East africa, kruger national park, kruger park, malaria free safari, masai mara, photgraphic safari, photography, sabi sand, safari, safaris, serengeti, south africa, wildlife photography
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Hi Sarah, Xaranna was the most remote place we visited while we were in Southern Africa. It's about 45 minutes by air from Maun to the Pom Pom airstrip, then 10+ minutes by vehicle to the landing and 30+ minutes by water to the camp. The + depends on the wildlife one encounters en route. Our tracker and guide met our plane and the safari began as we drove away from the airstrip. The tents, lounge and dining area were well-designed and decorated, well-maintained and very comfortable. (Special treat: hot water bottles in the beds at night!) Meals were delicious and served beautifully. I am a vegetarian and was impressed with the vegetarian options. Service in all respects was first rate: we were very well cared for. Despite the casual, laid-back feel of the camp, everything ran like clockwork. They were completely flexible about activities, dining arrangements, etc. Our tracker and guide were knowledgeable and did an excellent job. Although, as I understand it, game in the delta at this time of year is not concentrated and still a little leery of vehicles, we saw really good variety on land and got very close to birdlife(and hippos) on the water. & Beyond/Xaranna are involved in a project to relocate hippos to Botswana (Hippos Without Borders). A PhD student from the UK working on the project for the next two years is staying at Xaranna and provided a wealth of information about her research and the project. There is nothing to keep wildlife out of the camp, and wildlife do come through, during the day and at night. While we were there one couple encountered a young elephant on the path outside their tent at mid-day; we had kudus eating leaves from branches just outside the screened wall of our tent in the middle of the night, and on our last evening a hippo grazed alongside the dining deck during dinner. Talk about a real wildlife experience! The warmth and good humour of the staff really struck me. On arrival at the camp we were greeted by perhaps 10 of the staff who were on the dock singing a welcome - in fact, we heard the singing before we saw the dock. Throughout our stay we were treated with warmth and there was lots of laughter. It felt like a large happy family welcoming us to their home. Because the camp is remote, the staff put on the boma entertainment themselves and all the staff participate. They even managed to get the guests up dancing and singing! The manager and all staff are indigenous Botswanans and welcomed questions about their country, their culture and their lives. We were seen off, as we were welcomed, by the staff singing on the dock and waving. It was very touching. I'd go back in a nanosecond. Sincerely, N. Smith
Gabriella: I have worked with Jeff and Liesl on our annual "Around the World Gang" for the last 5 years and during that time there was NEVER ONE tiny detail left undone. Both Liesl and Jeff are enthusiastic, thorough, dependable, very knowledgeable and committed to their profession. From my experience, they are "above & beyond" anyone's expectation and you will find no one that could surpass their performance. Dee Phillips
On Safari, we saw all of the Big Five plus a multitude of animals and a beautiful array of birds. Included was the first spotting of a white rhino in the last several weeks at Mombo and following a pride of lions from laying around and cubs playing, to their stalking a herd of buffalo, isolating one and eventually taking it down. National Geographic definitely abridges their footage and removes the sound track! What an experience!!! All of the camps were excellent, with highly knowledgeable guides who made sure that we saw all. Thank you so very much for the work you did to put this together for us! It was truly a fantastic dream of a lifetime trip!!!http://www.africansafaris.com/ →
Good morning! It sure was a terrific trip for all of us...thanks to both of you for putting up with my endless emails---I guess I worried unnecessarily! The stay at the Stanley was a perfect introduction to the city, and the hotel is wonderful, well preserved, very helpful and friendly staff, great location. We did the Kazuri bead factory one day, and volunteered the next. We had a really nice dinner in an alley down the road from the hotel...called BoBos which is a Turkish outdoor restaurant. Certainly nothing formal, outdoor seating with few amenities, but very good inexpensive food. Worth a look. Then had Gamewatchers pick us up to begin the safari...our driver Stephen was an excellent guide, full of info, very interactive. Took great care of us. The other driver, Tony, was also very good though I was not in his RangeRover too often. Sweetwaters was a great choice. Nothing negative to say there. Lodging very nice, food good, game sightings excellent, fun nighttime entertainment. We all enjoyed. Lake Nakuru was the following day. Unfortunately, I would say that of all the experiences, this was the least favorite. The lodge was quite good, food good, good location within the park. The lake water was apparently very high for this season due to prior months' rains, so the bird life was marginal. Game viewing ok, but of course nothing like the Mara. Mara Entim was one of the favorites of all the camps. Beautiful location, top quality staff, camping on the river's edge couldn't be beat, though the sounds of the hippos grunting all night long was very disruptive to our sleep! The game drives with the park staff were incredible with awesome sightings, just overall magnificent! We got to the NBO in plenty of time for flight out to EBB. I was very impressed with Gamewatchers and our guides. The only negative was Nakuru and the long drive. I think we would have been better off hitting a different park between Mt. Kenya and Mara making the drive less intense. In Entebbe, as you know, we changed lodging to the Karibu House instead of the Lake Vic Hotel. I would strongly suggest you look at Karibu. It's a guest house with about 6 rooms, excellent ownership, very secure location, great staff, good chef in the kitchen, all in all a perfect stop over. First day was Ndali Lodge which a beautiful setting. The owner is very friendly and spends time with the guests, though his staff is not as well trained as I would have expected given his British background, quality of the lodging. Enjoyed Kibale. Could have passed on the Bigodi walk I think, esp during mid day when very hot. Then QE park at Mweya...what a great setting. We loved it! A perfect end to the travel. The Kazinga channel ride as lots of fun as were the game drives, though I was a bit underwhelmed with the volume and diversity of the game in QE. Especially as I compared to the Mara or Mt. Kenya. The landscape and views are unbeatable, but not many animals. Example no giraffe, rhino, few lions. Despite that, we had a marvellous time there. The setting really is unbeatable. Entertainment at night with tribal dancers was fun. Our Wild Frontier guide was named Ham, and he was outstanding. Very personable, soft spoken, courteous, well informed, etc. I would highly recommend him to future travellers. We all really liked the variety that Uganda gave us after a week in Kenya. The varied terrain and different cultures were educational, and it fulfilled the desire I always had to get to this area of Africa. I would not really change anything on the itinerary except the Nakuru stop. Otherwise all lodging and guides were very well chosen You both did a great job for us....thanks loads. I wish we were headed back to the continent soon, but I fear it will be a few yers. Garth
Hello Sarah, I am back from Tanzania, and wanted to thank you for your help in preparing an amazing trip! I took over 3000 pictures, which I am now beginning to sort through, and saw as many other amazing things. I wanted to provide you some comments on the lodges, camps, and tour operator. Kitela Lodge was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, let alone stayed. Besides the spectacular scenery and gorgeous grounds, the amenities provided, including internet, pool, hot water, and satellite TV (for all of us interested in the Africa Cup final) made Kitela feel like a hotel any where else in the world. The staff were also wonderfully friendly and the food was delicious. The coffee, grown right on their grounds, was likely the best I have ever tasted. I would have sacrificed my entire trip to Zanzibar to have stayed at Kitela Lodge for a few more nights. I noticed that they were a bit under-booked, and would encourage you to send as many clients as possible. Ang'ata Camps provided the perfect mix of the bush experience with hotel-like amenities: hot water for showers, clean and comfortable beds, and great food. My guide, who was not a man to be surprised, was even impressed. The staff were also great...I could not walk anywhere without receiving a friendly greeting, offer for food or drink, and question as to how I enjoyed my game drive or sleep. Matambwe Beach Village forces people to relax by providing none of the amenities that could distract from the beach. I especially liked that the use of footwear and the single guest computer were generally discouraged in the gentlest of ways. Finally to Wild Frontiers and Onesmo Sanka, my guide, to whom I owe the biggest of thanks for my trip. The vehicle was sound, the trip well-planned, and they offer what I believe is most important in a game drive: unlimited kilometers per day. I would highly encourage you to request Onesmo for your future clients. First, he drove slow and careful, which I believe is unique! He grew up in the bush and would see things that other guides did not, for instance a pride of 6 lions laying in the grass just 200 meters from the road that four vehicles in front of us had just sped past. Onesmo not only knew the ecology of the animals, but their habits, which provided many instances where my vehicle was placed specifically in front of where something amazing was about to happen. For instance, we did not park in front of the tree in which a leopard and her two cubs had been seen before a rainfall, but in front of a nearby snag, for Onesmo knew that leopards do not like rain, had gone to hide in the grass, and would likely come up on the snag when the rain had stopped. I had front-row seats to two leopard cubs playing on the snag while their mother cleaned herself in the background. I noticed that many of the guides of oncoming vehicles, upon seeing Onesmo at the wheen of our vehicle, would flag him down for advice. Onesmo was also extremely attentive to my habits: by the second day, he would automatically stop the vehicle when I went for my camera, and then start again when he heard the lens cap snap back on. He also started to avoid the crowds, choosing instead to quiet back roads where we may see a bit less but were alone when we saw it. I could go on for hours, but instead will just again recommend Onesmo for your future clients, with one warning: he is a quiet person and may come off as uninterested at first. However, once the ice is broken, I found him to be truly passionate about the animals, their survival and life history, and how everything in the bush fits together. Again, by the second day, I knew not to worry about a single thing: I simply put my trust as to the perfect parking place, vantage point for photos, route, and time into Onesmo's hands, and he delivered perfectly each time. So there is my gushing post-safari email which I'm sure you receive from every client! I want to thank you again for everything, and please let me know if there is anything else I can provide in terms of feedback for you or any of the above. Ben