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Nightjar Travelled
14 Jan 2013
 
     

After a busy week researching our destination guide, we decided to get some quality relaxation over the weekend, and that means bush time.  The bush veld around Bela Bela was vivaciously green, with most of the grass being nearly shoulder high - testament to good rains.  This meant a fantastic ambiance, but some patience was necessary to get a photo of game instead of grass with blurs behind it!

Another seasonal delight was that all the babies born late last year had matured enough by now that you could watch them playing confidently.  Add to this all the usual perks of being in the bush - birdsong, braais, sunsets - and relaxation was indeed achieved.

Hartebeespoort Dam
11 Jan 2013
 
     

We're currently expanding the Nightjar Travel destination guide, and the last week has been focussed on the Hartebeespoort Dam (Bojanala) area.  As a Cape Towner, I had no idea how 'buzzing' this region is!  There are more places to stop for a coffee and a sandwich than there is room for in the average stomach (even mine hehe), from art cafes through craft villages and all the way to quaint little pubs, and the whole lot with their own distinctive vibe.

We ended our visit by stopping at the set of the 50's themed Afrikaans movie, Pretville, which has been left standing as a tourist attraction, and we were amazed by the effort that has gone into it.  I will upload the photos to Facebook, because the pictures say it all, but the experience was as convincing as any of these types of towns that I've seen in the USA.  

If you do stop by, don't forget to pop into the diner for a milkshake or a slushie, and a 50's themed photo where they let you dress up in gear from the movie!  Also, keep a careful eye out for the turnoff - the sign is quite small and the dirt road looks relatively unassuming.

See the rest of the photos on Facebook.

Bat Eared Foxes
17 Dec 2012
 
     

This rather bedraggled cub was part of a family of five that were caught in a downpour on the harsh plains of the Northern Cape. We found them next to the roadside on the road between Pofadder and Kliprand, and suspect that their burrow got flooded out.

Bat-eared foxes are predominantly monogamous and the male carries most of the parenting duties after lactation, which lasts 14 to 15 weeks. From then on males groom, defend, huddle, chaperone, and carry the young between den sites.

Bat-eared foxes are insectivores and use their large ears to locate their prey, which consists mostly of harvester termites. When this particular species of termite is not available they will also feed on ants, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, millipedes, moths, scorpions, spiders, and occasionally birds, small mammals, and reptiles. The insects they eat fulfil the majority of their water intake needs, which helps explain why they survive so well in arid places.

We've put a few more pictures up on the Nightjar Travel Facebook page:

http://nightjar.travel/BatFox

Riemvasmaak
15 Dec 2012
 
     

You didn't think we would go all the way to Riemvasmaak, rave about it in a blog, and then leave you with only one photo… did you?? Here are our favourites from the day. As we hinted in our blog, we really were just 'passing through' and the stunning scenery ended up sucking us in for hours - and we didn't even walk more than 100m from the road! We are itching to go back and explore the hikes, mountain biking, hot springs, and 4x4 trails! 

Our enthusiasm may be stoked slightly by the luck we've had with the weather - the locals keep telling us that this time of year, the Northern Cape usually ranges around 40 - 45 Celcius, but it has been a cloudy 32 all week… so bear this in mind when you plan a Northern Cape trip! The word on the street is that autumn / winter are good times to come (although apparently August is windy).

The rest of the gallery is here.

Northern Cape - Day 1
13 Dec 2012
 
     

This week, Nightjar Travel is exploring the Northern Cape. In order to get there, we left from Jo'burg, and because we wanted to explore at a leisurely pace we did 800km on the first day, 'to get it out of the way'. This meant that we were all fairly zoned out when we arrived at Witsand Nature Reserve... which explains how this photo happened. 

I don't know who got a bigger fright - myself or the buck! Luckily I had the camera pointed at some nearby bushes in vaguely the right direction, because he did a proper Usain Bolt and disappeared almost before I could click... So apologies for the out of focus photo :-) We will do our best to bring you some nicer ones over the next few days - we won't be caught sleeping again!

Shooting the Gallery
12 Dec 2012
 
     

We're currently in the field to expand the Nightjar Gallery a bit, which of course led to some mulling over old photos and this is by far one of the favourites.  This little guy popped out from behind an anthill while we were relaxing after a fantastic leopard sighting, mouth open, almost screaming "Hey you!  Notice me too!"

Crested Guineafowl
29 Oct 2012
 
     

Did you know that Crested Guineafowl are monogamous, with long-lasting pair bonds?  Males are often seen running meters and meters with food in their mouths to feed females during courtship. Gives a nice story to this photo from the Nightjar Gallery [taken at Cape Vidal] - although, with my luck, these two are probably totally just friends :-)

Join the discussion on Facebook.

Growing up...
10 Oct 2012
 
     

Growing up in South Africa, there was always a part of me that wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of my life in the bushveld, drinking in our magical natural splendour all day, every day. I spent a good few years dreaming about qualifying as a game ranger after school, and living out Jock of the Bushveld-style adventures… and then one day, almost accidentally, I was all grown up - degree, job and all! So now what? 

Well, a bit of digging revealed that even if you can’t dedicate yourself to it full-time, there are still a few things you can do to integrate a natural knowledge into your life. There’s the minimum effort of learning what you can from the internet (which usually sees me looking at a lot of wildlife photos and eventually pictures of cats doing funny things…) A bit more involved is a part-time nature training course, and even more hands on than that are short tracking courses and wildlife volunteering.

Further reading:

Nature Enthusiast Course.

Wildlife Tracking.

Wildlife - Act!

Now to find some weekend courses!

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Erik