Only after I have held many talks and signed a pile of paper, I get access to the “Sperrgebiet”, a diamond restricted area. Not only the precious stones benefited from the enormous security measures. Incidentally, the most protected nature reserve in the world was created – an African wilderness that is not in the public eye because it is so difficult to access. This makes birdwatching and photography as appealing as it is complicated. Of many settlements of the Diamond era, only ghost towns remain, which are recaptured by the desert again. The ruins of these ghost towns are populated by animals. In addition to birds such as the Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori), reptiles also feel at ease here.
The restricted area is larger than many states in Europe and is only permeated by a few dust tracks. Only where gems are extracted, it is worth to maintain connecting routes. The remaining slopes are quickly reclaimed from the desert. An off-road vehicle is therefore indispensable. Nevertheless, many areas of the restricted area were simply not accessible.
Since the operators of the mines are no longer interested in nature, the infrastructure is correspondingly poor. Detailed maps are not available, there are no Rangers and few other people who can help Continue reading Wildlife in The SPERRGEBIET / Namibia
Im frühen Frühling kehrt das Leben in die trockene Savannen- und Buschlandschaft im Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary zurück. In voller Blüte stehende Knopf-Dorn Akazien prägen die Landschaft in ihrer gelben Pracht. Markantes Merkmal dieser Akazienart ist der Stamm mit seinen knopfartigen Auswüchsen und seine oft lichte Baumkrone.
Aber auch Vögel erleben einen neuen Energieschub. Eines Tages sah ich eine männliche Riesentrappe (Ardeotis kori) in einiger Entfernung von der Straße laufen. Steinschmätzer (Oenanthe oenanthe) tauchten in der gleichen Gegend teils in einem Abstand von wenigen 100 Metern hintereinander auf.
Ich konnte ein paar schöne Fotos von der Riesentrappe machen, als sie sich in Position brachte und ihren tiefen, dröhnenden Balzruf ausstieß. Ich beschloss, in der Gegend zu bleiben, in der Hoffnung, er könnte näher kommen, um bessere Fotos zu machen, aber ich musste das Warten bei Sonnenuntergang wegen dem schlechten Licht aufgeben. Obwohl ich nicht damit rechnete, ihn wiederzusehen, kehrte ich am nächsten Nachmittag in die mit niedrigen Büschen bestandene Grassavanne zurück. Zu meiner Überraschung war der Vogel immer noch – oder schon wieder – da. Diesmal folgte er zwei weiblichen Riesentrappen. Als die Weibchen hinter unserem Land Cruiser die Straße überquerten, näherte sich das Männchen ganz nah und erlaubte mir, Bilder von seinem ziemlich extravaganten, aber beeindruckenden stolzierenden Gang Continue reading Riesentrappe und Steinschmätzer in der ostafrikanischen Steppe der Taita Hills
Early spring sees life returning to the thirsty bushveld landscape in the Taita Hills. Knob-thorn trees (Acacia nigrescens) in full bloom dot the landscape in their yellow splendor, and birds too experience a renewed surge of energy. One day I saw a male Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) displaying in some distance from the road.
I was able to get some fair pictures of him as he stood in one position, displaying and uttering his low, booming call. I decided to stay in the area, hoping that he might come closer to allow me to take better images, but l had to abandon the passionate wait at sunset due to bad light. Although not expecting to see him again, I returned to the grassy area with low bushes the following afternoon and to my surprise the bird was still around. This time he was following two female Kori Bustards. As the females crossed the road behind our Land Cruiser, the male tried to approach them but they felt offended and disappeared. As an alternative the male Kori Bustard started to catch grashoppers quite close by allowing me to capture images of him in his extravagant and impressive beauty.
Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a privately owned sanctuary, located Continue reading Kori Bustard in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary
In the surrounding bushes of the Tidodi Dam there is loud bustle already. In the gallery forest around, numerous birds such as the Grey-headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala) enjoy the first sun beams. Haze floats above the water. It is morning shortly after sunrise. The surrounding trees of the dam form a small gallery forest, which attracts many birds such as Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas), Grey-headed Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris), Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii), Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) and Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus).
An alternative is the Malatse Dam along the Dithabaneng Drive. This dam offers the opportunity to photograph the African Fish-Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) and other birds such as Ibisse and Spoonbills at their sleeping retreat.
Not far from the Malatse dam is the Dithabaneng dam. If the water is high, you can go by car directly to the shore. The light is perfect for taking photos in the morning and in the evening. It is worth driving to the Ruighoek waterhole in the afternoon. At this small dam is a relatively low-lying hide.
From the frog’s perspective you can take pictures at the waterhole of the Kwa Maritane Lodge. The waterhole of the Kwa Maritane Continue reading Nationalpark Pilanesberg: a heaven not only for Kingfishers