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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:13 am 
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Hi OWN

Generally speaking I work on 25km/h, unless I am going to a point for a specific purpose, then I concentrate on keeping to 45/50.

Things to remember to improve your tally, train yourself to look through the bush, train your eyes to look from right to left rather than left to right as you would in reading a book, its amazing what you miss out the one way and pick up the other way, learn the different silhouettes, including the sizes, by this I mean for yourself have three or four general sizes as references, very much they way one would do in looking for birds.
Time of day, terrain, position of the sun, prevailing winds and general weather conditions also play a part in where you look in any given direction.

But my best advice, if you're not out there no chance of that special moment that you are looking for.


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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:19 am 
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OWN, I do think that the birders tend to be the most successful mammal spotters as well.

I tend to stop a lot at water holes and view sites and wait with my flask of coffee.. we won't mention "bush toilets" here. :wink: I find that my best sightings are often at these points.

When I am on the road, I think I drive at about 25km/hr, unless I'm on a mission.
Even then, I tend to drive about 10km/below the speed limit.

If I am staying at the Park for a longer period, I tend to read during the heat of the day.

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:36 am 
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Thank you for the exquisite advice, Groovy!! :clap: :clap:
I'd like to badger you on what you said though - just for clarification purposes as I didn't know all that till now!

When you say "train yourself ton look from right to left", do you mean from the right side of the car across the road to the left side? Or do you mean shooting the eyes backwards at right angles to the car direction, then sliding the eyes forward in the direction of the car, and then back to the original position again?

And how please does Time of day, Terrain, Position of the sun, Prevailing winds, and General weather conditions play a part in where you look in any given direction?

Just need some clarification so that I can acquire these amazing techniques too!

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:57 am 
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Whatever direction you are facing at any given moment, move your eyes right to left, by doing this you are picking up more detail.

Time of day - early morning(you need to get out as soon as the gates open) and late afternoon (I always try to be last in at the gates, but beware this can backfire and you would need a really good excuse like elephant tusk punctures through the doors or something like that to evade a fine) you are most likely to see predator movement, as they tend to hide up during the heat of the day, in shaded areas(this is where the general silhouettes that you have identified for yourself comes into pay),
position of the sun will leave a shadow under trees etc, and its these shaded areas animals will generally use, but beware nature has a cruel way of surprising you when you least expect it.
Prevailing winds, one tends to have better sightings being downwind of any specific animal, their tolerance of humans tends to be higher if they cant smell you.
Weather conditions, animals tend to be more active when it is cooler, ie overcast, early am, late pm. This is where the curve ball comes in, animals will tend to be on the warmer side of a given structure, be it a tree or bush or rocky outcrop.

Had some of my best sighting shortly before and/or after a storm, or even during a monkeys wedding.

These are purely guidelines to assist you in getting or actually making a sighting. Human elements such as patience, endurance and tolerance also have a part to play.


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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:55 am 
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This depends a lot on a number of factors. Terrain, being an important one.
Having been to parks a lot, when I go with my dad, we are not really interested in a glimpse 300 metres into the bush, especially as our eyesight is not great, so we tend to go about 40, cover more distance and see it on the road.

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:25 pm 
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I'll give my ten cents worth...
I tend to drive at about 20 km/ph, no matter where I am, I am usually so busy with looking I forget the petrol and a few times I've come to a dead stop... :doh: But, we've seen a LOT by doing this...

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:26 pm 
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20 is also my average speed.
Only when we are tired and ready to go back to camp we beef it up to 40 on the tar.
btw, never stand in line at the gate.
Hate it. Always exit camp 15-30 min later.

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:39 pm 
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We always try an leave camp when (or very shortly after) the gates open, although the photography is poor in the early morning we have always found the first hour to be the most rewarding period.
We usually drive at 20 kph but always slow down at river crossings and stop for a thorough scan (at least 10 minutes) at every water hole and dam.

We also stop to soak up the atmosphere at sun rise. If we come across a herd of animals crossing the road we wait for 5~10 minutes at the same spot and have often been rewarded by seeing predators following their prey.


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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:35 pm 
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We average around 20km/h
We have been going our whole lives and we say that after a few days we get our bush eyes and you can see and spot animals alot better!

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:38 pm 
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As Mike said we average around 20km/h and have been very successful with that speed.
most of the time we stay out the entire day coming back just before the gate closes and if we are there for 2 weeks every few days we come back in the afternoon.
One tactic we have been very successful with is watching the behaviour of other animals, especially impala, giraffe and kudu.
If you see them keeping perfectly still gazing in one direction we always spend a few min. scanning the bush and have often spotted a predator.

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:36 pm 
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From 15:00 or so we drive around again until gate closing time.
Sometimes I drive slowly especially on the gravel roads but usually I drive 40/45 or even 50 km/h on the tar roads depending on the circumstances....doing the km's and distance has always been working for me.

I guess there are no golden rules, it's all about relaxing and enjoying the time spend in the bush that really matters for us. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:46 am 
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FASCINATING READING, this thread! :thumbs_up: So much we can learn from each other ...

I tend to also drive 20km/h.
So, since most people roar past when you're doing 20, one can safely assume that a car going 20 km/h is a mite :hmz:

I have also learnt that an animal's camouflage is often underestimated.
Many times you think an a multicoloured bird, or skin colour different from surrounds, is easy to spot.
And every time you are dead wrong!
So, at any open piece of ground extending some way back, I grab the binocs and do a rapid scan.
Often, you will find some animal lying under a tree that one's eyes don't readily pick up while moving.
Once I took a careful naked-eye survey at Rabelais Dam, and was convinced I could see everything and there was nothing around. Something told me to check with the binocs, and low and behold I picked up a leopard skirting the reservoir, in a slight declivity. So I scan a lot.

Also, I check every gap in the bush. I'm not shy to see something far away - in the bush you take what you can get. I recently picked up a sable perhaps 500 m distant, just the magnificent sweep of the horns clearly visible.
Nobody else bothered to stop, but for me that was rare, and excellent, sighting.
Once, at Nkumbe, I saw a cat moving decisively through the bush, but it was too far away too distinguish if it was a lioness or a leopard! Still, my instinct suggested a lioness.

The first two hours after and before sunset are, for me, the golden hours. Most of my great sightings have been then, although nature can do anything: I've seen leopard sidling across a road at 11h45, and walking down the centre of a tar road at 15h00 in the heat of summer.

I haven't been one to park at dams or waterholes in the early morning because I have this strange belief that I'm wasting time in the golden hours when I could be covering more ground. However, the cats often drink early in the morning, so a 5-10 minutes stop at water is now becoming part of my morning drives.

Finally, I exercise great patience. If I know there is a leopard or pride of lion deep in the bush, I wait as the impatient milling cars move off, which allows me to move into a prime position, whereupon I watch and wait.
Almost every time I have seen the carnivore venture forth when the noise level and fumes die down as cars move off. For some reason, I have always had an uncanny ability to select just the right spot for the sighting to walk right in front of my car, or right next to it!

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:12 am 
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It depends:

1. If I'm travelling between camps I now tend to try and keep a steady speed of 40 to 45 especially if there is a distance to go. I do this as I find myself distracted and then end up just getting to the camp in time :doh:

2. Just out for a drive - I go somewhere between the rate of a slow tortoise and the rate of many buffalo :mrgreen: Whatever it takes to have the best viewing in the bush whether it's a squirrel or an elephant.

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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:48 am 
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We normally travel at about 30 ks stopping often to scan.
Silhouettes and looking through the bush is good advice and works more often than not.
I am afraid I am to impatient to sit for too long at any dam or watering hole and tend to drive most of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: How Fast Do You Drive?
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:57 am 
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On my last trip to Kruger, I experimented with various speeds, and assured myself that 20-25 km/h in thick bush is the most appropriate speed to minimise not seeing camouflaged animals.
In winter, in open plains areas (e.g. parts of the S100), it may be possible to do 30-40 km/h and still see everything.

However, 40 and 50 km/h in most areas was an eye-opener: it's virtually impossible to see most animals at that speed!
I almost missed a kudu and an elephant, right near the verge of the road, because they stand still as you roar past, and their camouflage does the rest.
I cannot fathom how anyone can see much at that speed, let alone enjoy the wonderful tranquillity and sounds of the bush that, for me, is at least half of the pleasure of being there! And then, while driving fast, some people also keep their windows closed! :doh:

No, I slowed back to my perfect 20 km/h and I was on cloud a hundred immediately!

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

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