Finished Second Tour

Well, I have just finished my second tour. Don't want to get carried away in the details, but here are the basics:

Birding was just great. Just hit the near-endemics very easily. Didn't see Hartlaub's Franklin, although I was in Hobateres' camp sight, were a little walking in the morning should have produced one. But it wasn't a birding tour, and on camping trips, birding really is tough - usually at the best birding times we are braking or putting up camp, cooking and so on. Certainly camping is great for getting to certain places, but it would be much nicer with a support team, leaving time for the guides to focus on guiding.

In Palmwag we a saw a Parabuthus villosus. This is a scorpion which I am very familiar with. One of the ones you occasionally see in day time, and it is one of the really big ones, making it easy to find without UV lights. What was amazing was how different the color was to the ones I got to know further in the south! Amazing. In Palmwag it appeared almost a Coca Cola Black (Black with a hint of red to it.) We know it as a scorpion with much more yellow. Just goes to show that the color has nothing to do with the potency of the venom.

Otherwise, a very exciting sighting of lions (two females, four cubs) in the Palmwag consession. I consider myself very lucky to have seen that. Missed Rhinos (they are hard to find) and elephants (buggers weren't around that area.)

In the north I saw a White-bellied Sunbird in our camp at Opuwo. It's just amazing how the birding changes in the far north - a real hint of Caprivi type area.

In Etosha we really didn't have much luck. I was starting to have a cronic toothache (Which is why I have been on the internet since three this morning.) I think it didn't help my guiding and sightings. But I also think the wind was a little problematic. The first day nothing much in the morning. We did get into the park a little late, but not to bad. Afternoon some lions at Goas.

Next morning we were first out the gate (me, happy guide,) and the sightings were great for a while. Great guest spotting produced six lion cubs by the road and two black rhinos. Then more lions at Goas (this time the mating pair from the night before and a couple other males.) Then the wind got up and things started to get quiet. I was really trying for Cheetah (it's the one thing that I haven't seen, anywhere, for ages - I think the last ones I saw may have been in South Africa, or the one I saw in Etosha in 2003? Not sure, but since I have had such luck with leopards, I really wanted to see cheetah. The open plains were quiet. Some Elephants and then lunch. Afternoon was quiet and I tried to squeeze to much in anyway. The mating lions finally mating (normal guest reaction...lions mating behaviors just strick a cord with some of our sterio types...enough of that for this blog....)

Morning was dead. I knew that there had been some Blue Cranes at Salvadora and I always think that I should see a cheetah in that area one day. No Cranes or cheetahs. Even springbok seemed less common.

Dropped off the guests in Windhoek, and then headed home to Swakopmund in the night. On our way out of Windhoek, in the twilight...a dog?? What..?? A CHEETAH was in the road? Amazing. I hope it got a fright and got away from the road. The traffic was fast, and the cheetah would have got run over if it didn't get out of the road. It was one a split second view, and such a surprise to see it where we did. But no doubting it, it was a cheetah.

So, great tour in the end. The guests enjoyed it, we saw many interesting things even if we had some very quiet times in Etosha, and I saw my Cheetah?!!?
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