It was the kind of sighting one only hears about, almost too outrageous to believe. Did that really happen? If it did really happen, it always happens to someone else, some really lucky person. This time however, we were the lucky folks. Here’s the summarized account of what happened, recounted by Lawson’s tour leader Leon Marais…
“The day started off cool and damp with a ‘Scottish mist’, and what a day it was to be. We headed off at 05h30 without any expectations on what was to be an almost unbelievable morning. Our guide Mornè heard that a pack of 8 male Wild Dogs had been found and we quickly joined the line up to see them. Soon we caught up with them on the hunt, moving at a fast trot through the bush. At one point a Duiker made a lucky escape, as did a herd of Impala, the dogs’ main prey item. Eventually, after an already spectacular sighting, we left them, allowing another vehicle to take our place, and headed off to a nearby dam for a coffee break. Mornè confirmed over the radio that they were moving in a westerly direction, away from the dam, and we disembarked and Dion, the tracker, began pouring the coffee. Then we noticed a herd of Kudu on the run close by, followed by an Impala ewe tearing across a clearing at a terrific pace with the dogs in hot pursuit. She ran around the inlet of the dam and then launched herself into the water to escape the dogs (at this point we were still standing around the vehicle with dropped jaws). The Impala then paddled into the middle of the dam where the Hippo’s set upon her, one bull even dunking her under the water. The dogs ran around to our side waiting for her to make the shore, with one of the Hippo’s charging out of the water to chase the dogs off. The resident Crocodile then also got involved, probably equally happy to latch on to the Impala or an unfortunate dog. Eventually the Impala made the shore and, with dogs after her she dashed back into the inlet area, where she collapsed into the shallow water. One of the dogs then bounded in and tackled her, but the attentions of the Crocodile convinced the dog to get out of the water fast. On the shore a pair of Waterbuck stormed in, chasing the dogs, and a curious Spotted Hyena arrived on the scene. The wily Impala then went to hide behind a large tree trunk in the water, out of sight of the Crocodile, which had now become the main threat. The dogs eventually, and very reluctantly, decided to give up and slowly made their way out of the area, calling with their mournful ‘hoo-hoo’ goose-bump-inducing call as they went –what a moment!. The Hyena also left the area, and the Impala suddenly made a dash for the shore, emerging somewhat shocked but not visibly injured, a pure miracle indeed. After the action had subsided we resumed our coffee stop (we felt like we needed shots of Whiskey in the coffee to calm down), with a White Rhino coming down to the dam opposite us just to end things off”
Dear fellow travelers.
Today we are glad to announce that one of our tours – 14-Day Wildlife and
Photography: The Cape and the Kruger Tour – has been chosen as an Unordinary Trip of the
Month by InfoHub.com, the #1 travel portal on the Internet specialized in the out-of-ordinary, special
interest vacations. As one of the key operators of quality safari in South Africa, we see this as a good
opportunity to further promote international tourism in South Africa and remain hopeful to see more
people come and explore our beautiful country in the near future.
In connection with this, we have a special offer for our customers! Any of you who book the above
tour before September 30, 2017 may be eligible for a very special prize from InfoHub’s sister company
GPSmyCity – publisher of travel apps for Apple and Android. The GPSmyCity app features
offline city maps, self-guided walking tours and travel articles for 1,000 cities worldwide, using which
you can turn your mobile into a personal tour guide. With this app in hand you can explore Cape
Town, Durban, Pretoria and many other urban destinations in South (and not only South) Africa on
your own, at your own pace. The GPSmyCity app works offline so there’s NO need to worry about
roaming charges when traveling abroad.
A lucky winner, chosen at random, will get a one-year full membership of the GPSmyCity app
including access to ALL the GPSmyCity content – over 6,500 self-guided city walks and travel articles
– to the total value of over $8,000!!!
Book now and enjoy your safari experience at Lawson’s!
Not long to go now to that biggest global event for birding and nature enthusiasts… 20 000+ visitors over the three days! Dubbed the ‘Birdwatching Glastonbury’, the British Birdfair takes place at the usual spot in Rutland County on 19, 20 and 21 August. Lawson’s will be appearing for the 23rd year in a row, in Marquee 6, Stands 44 – 45. If you are going to be there, please come and chat to us! If you would like to find out more about this fair, which this year is going to be the biggest ever, check out the website: www.birdfair.org.uk.
Freelance travel writer Jackie Edwards has kindly given us this short blurb on visa-free travel in Africa for American passport holders. Just another good reason to come on safari in Africa!
Attention American Travellers! These African Countries are Visa-Free!
According to VisaIndex, the American passport is one of the most respected passports around the globe, ranking fourth in the world. However, not all countries allow Americans to enter for extended stays, requiring special visas and other documentation.
When planning your next vacation, you may be envisioning an exciting destination in the wild that offers adventures on a safari amongst exotic animals and plants. If you are an American and this sounds like you, the good news is that Africa has many options for U.S. passport holders to visit the continent without applying for a specific visa.
The countries in Africa that allow Americans to enter for free (and some that grant a visa on arrival) include:
1. Botswana – maximum stay of 3 months
2. Comoros Islands – visa on arrival
3. Ivory Coast – maximum stay of 90 days
4. Djibouti – visa on arrival
5. Egypt – visa on arrival
6. Equatorial Guinea – maximum stay of 90 days
7. Lesotho – maximum stay of 180 days
8. Malawi – visa on arrival
9. Morocco – maximum stay of 90 days
10. Namibia – maximum stay of 3 months
11. Rwanda – visa on arrival
12. Senegal – maximum stay of 3 months
13. Seychelles – maximum stay 1 month
14. South Africa – maximum stay of 90 days
15. Swaziland – maximum stay of 30 days
16. Tanzania – visa on arrival
17. Togo – visa on arrival
18. Tunisia – maximum stay of 90 days
19. Zambia – visa on arrival
20. Zimbabwe – visa on arrival
With all of these African visa-free options for US citizens, you can easily plan an unforgettable vacation and see many of the stunning sights that the wildlife in Africa has to offer.
At night, while sitting on your porch for a few minutes before you retire, the soulful two-note call of a Pel’s Fishing Owl reaches you from across the river (just too far to catch it in the beam of your torch!). From downstream in the big trees on your side of the river an African Wood-Owl pair breaks into a duet, somewhat livelier than the languid call of the Pel’s. Then, from the more open Acacia woodland just behind the camp, the deep pig-like grunting of a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl comes through, while Fiery-necked Nightjars (“Good Lord deliver us!”), the whoops of foraging Hyenas and a plethora of insect clicks, rasps and chirps provide a sonic backdrop to the calls of the three owl species. What a way to end off the day at Pafuri Camp!
Pafuri Camp is located on the northern bank of the Luvuvhu River, in the Makuleke Concession area of the far northern Kruger National Park. This is the way to do the northern Kruger – from the closest public camp, Punda Maria, you can only really scratch the surface as you are basically limited to the southern bank of the Luvuvhu River. It’s north of the Luvuvhu, ie: between the Luvuvhu and the Limpopo Rivers, where it really gets exciting. Habitats are incredible, including Baobab savanna, iLala Palm savanna, incredible riverine forest, Fever Tree groves that glow yellow in the sun (see banner photo at top), seasonal pans holding amazing water birds, fantastic rocky gorges and more. Special bird species include Pel’s Fishing Owl (sometimes seen fishing in the river at night from the bar at Pafuri Camp), Racket-tailed Roller, Arnot’s Chat, Three-banded Courser, the rather strange Bӧhm’s Spinetail, Tropical Boubou, Meve’s Starling plus the ‘usual’ range of Kruger birds. Big cats are not encountered here as often as they are in the south of Kruger, but for birders and those not overly concerned about cats, Pafuri is hard to beat. The camp is made up of 19 individual luxury safari tents, all spaced out along the river front for views and privacy. Three wonderful meals per day take care of all things gastronomical, while activities include morning and afternoon / evening wildlife and birding drives. In between drives one can continue birding and wildlife viewing from the public areas or your private porch, which is as idyllic as it sounds (see photos below). All in all this adds up to one incredible birding and wildlife destination. Experience Pafuri Camp on our Eagles, Elephants and Baobabs Birding and Wildlife set-departure, 3 – 15 March 2018. From ZAR 49 550 Per Person Sharing (based on 4 participants).