Thursday, 29 August 2013

Sultan of Ranthambore

I've already blogged about the first time that we saw Sultan, a year old tiger cub, but 2 days later we came across him again. From behind the rocks we could hear the sounds of 2 female tigers fighting. As it was T39's territory we looked around for Sultan as T39, also known as Noor, was his mother. Further up the hill Sultan was spotted making his way down through the rocks towards the trucks on the path below. Un-perturbed by the tourists he made his way towards a shady pool to cool down.

Sultan turning to pose behind a red dragonfly

Looking back to check we weren't following him!
Cooling off in the shade

Friday, 23 August 2013

Our close Cheetah encounter.

One morning in Ndutu at the crack of dawn we came across a Cheetah family with 3 young cubs. It looked as though Mum had just caught a young Thompson's Gazelle for breakfast. Despite the fresh meat in front of them one of the Cheetah cubs got distracted by a lone wildebeest calf. Soon all three cubs were darting through the safari trucks before chasing the young wildebeest across the plains. Unfortunately the cubs were not yet old enough to understand how to trip prey, so were hopelessly chasing the wildebeest in circles until Mum came to the rescue, sprinting across the plains and tripping the wildebeest in one swipe of the paw.

It wasn't until after their second breakfast that the Cheetah cubs noticed us and came to say 'hi!'

The 3 cheetah cubs tucking into their second breakfast
The cheetahs playing tug of war over the wildbeest calf

Cheetah cub portrait

Cheetah cub checking out her reflection on the side of our truck
(probably my favourite iPhone photo)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Camping in Wadi Rum

The south of Jordan is mostly made up of the Arabian desert and was a spectacular place. Full of large rock formations and orange sand, it was easy to see why it was chosen as the film set for Lawrence of Arabia. We arrived at our campsite at around mid afternoon, and took off in 4 x 4 s across the sand venturing to sand dunes and Bedouin tea tents. Walking back towards the setting sun we collected firewood for later. Despite a night of barbecued goat, shisha and drinking around an open fire I still managed to make it out of our tent in time to capture the sunrise.

A view over the sandstone rock formations of Wadi Rum

Our Jordanian guide, Zuhair, watching the sun go down.

The rock face lit from the light of our camp fire.
Our group listening to Zuhair's stories around the camp fire.

Sunrise over Wadi Rum was definitely worth getting up for!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Two days in Istanbul

When I realised the cheapest way to fly to Israel was via Istanbul I thought where better to stop for the weekend! Especially when it was November and still beautifully sunny for my whole time there. I would highly recommend it as a city to visit; the beautiful mosques, views over the Bosphorus, friendly locals, and night-life (I took all of these photos hungover) probably made it one of my favourite cities in the world. The only advice I would have is try to stay for longer than 2 days!

The inside of Hagia Sophie - a Byzantine Church, 
turned Mosque which is now a museum

Hagia Sophia

Fishermen at sunset

There are so many great mosques in Istanbul that I can't actually remember which one this was taken in, sorry!

A view over the Bosphorus

Having seen Skyfall, I was fairly determined to find a way onto the roof of the Grand Bazaar. 
Once there I was told no photos.. so I smiled until the guard said 'just one'. 
Hence the panorama on my phone.

The Istanbul skyline from the ferry between the European side and the Asian side.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

World lion day

Apparently the 10th of August is world lion day so in anticipation I'll share some more of my lion images. All of these lions have been photographed in Ndutu, Tanzania.

Peekaboo! A young lion cub peering around a tree

A tree climbing lion. For some reason the lion thought they could climb
 trees as well as the leopards.. 
and then looked very confused when they couldn't.

A portrait of a young lion cub.

Bedtime! The three young lions taking a mid-morning nap.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

My first wild tiger!

After 4 fruitless days in Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve a few years ago my family vowed to try once again to go on the hunt for a wild tiger. After 2 days in Ranthambore, with the most experienced guide in the park, I was starting to think we were cursed. We had seen and heard all of the usual warning signs - footprints, alarm calls and other peoples tiger photos but we just couldn't seem to get any luck.. Until the morning of our third day on safari, when somehow my brother caught a glimpse of a cub, lying still in the forest about 80 metres from our Jeep. There was a young 1 year old male called Sultan and he was the most amazing animal we had ever seen. He curiously wandered over to us, crossing the road and looping around the truck. In the distance we heard the calls of his mother Noor (T39) and other trucks approaching from the track behind us. Sultan wandered off into the forest in search of his mother and we continued making our way through the jungle.
Noor (T39)
Noor (T39)

A Red-Wattled Lapwing, one of the many birds we photographed in the absence of tigers

Sultan of Ranthambore, patiently waiting for his Mum.

Showing off his teeth!

Sultan backlit by the early morning sun
A brief sighting but fantastic nonetheless, I don't think I will ever forgot my first tiger!

A local woman in a green saari taken on the way home,
 on the only road in and out of the National Park

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The lions and the spare wheel cover

One morning, while in Ndutu in Tanzania, we came across a large pride of lions, about 20 in total including cubs. They mischievously stalked around our truck, peering around the exhausts and through the muddy back windows. A male started tugging at the spare wheel cover, deciding it would make a good plaything. We followed the lions and our spare wheel cover from the plains towards the marsh area, where we had a wonderful view of them breeching the top of a hill. Eventually the lions stopped on the bank of the big marsh, half resting on the short grass the other half playing hide and seek with the spare wheel cover. Eventually one of the older female lions snatched away the spare wheel cover and hide it in the long reeds of the marsh, causing the restless lions to find trees to climb.
The pride at first light

Lionesses, with a golden hale from the morning sun

A cheeky female lion peering around our exhaust
The male chewing at our spare tire cover (shot through our back window!)

The Male lion proudly walking away with his prize
A young lion cub gazing over the marsh
Mum and lion cub playing with the spare wheel cover
'Help I'm not sure I'm supposed to climb trees!'
Sorry for the long blog post, but it was a great morning, and I wanted to include enough photographs so that they could tell the story.