Image of The Month | June 2018

As mammal watching destinations go, Northern Tanzania is easily regarded as one of the world’s best and most iconic; and for good reason! From the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest on their annual migration across the vast plains of the Serengeti in the south to the Maasai Mara in the north to the superlative Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania holds phenomena largely unmatched by anywhere else in the world. Northern Tanzania’s various parks and reserves also boast one of the world’s highest concentrations of predators. While Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Spotted Hyaena understandably steal the limelight, this area is also home to a number of smaller species: Bat-eared Fox, Golden and Black-backed Jackals, African Wild Cat, Caracal and the less frequently encountered Serval.

Our featured photo this month is of the attractive and graceful Cheetah; a female with her three young cubs are the stars of this stunning study by Cuan Rush. Cheetah are truly beautiful creatures, and seeing these fleet-footed cats sprint across the grassy plains is truly an unforgettable sight. One that is usually high on any wildlife enthusiast’s wish list.

In the early 20th-century, it is believed that about 100,000 Cheetah roamed the Earth. Slowly, however, they have been exterminated from large portions of their former range in Africa and the Middle East. Once plentiful in places such as India, Cheetah are now extinct in 20 countries and occupy only about 17% of their historic range. Fewer than 10,000 Cheetah survive in the wild today, with the remaining significant populations found in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.

The Cheetah’s social system is unique among cats – apart from brief encounters with the opposite sex during mating, females lead solitary lives while males form lifelong social coalitions of 2-5 individuals, often with siblings. Females raise their cubs on their own, teaching them critical survival skills. Being a young Cheetah is risky business. Cubs are most vulnerable from 6 weeks to 4 months of age and in open habitat such as the Serengeti plains, less than 5% of cubs reach adulthood. Predation by Lions and hyaenas accounts for more than 70% of mortality.

Cheetah hunt in the early morning and late afternoon, using their phenomenal eyesight – often scanning first from elevated vantage points, such as rocks, termite mounds and low, horizontal tree limbs, to locate prey, which includes small to medium-sized antelope, young warthogs, hares and gamebirds. Solitary females and males may hunt every 2 to 3 days but females with cubs, such as the one pictured here, need to hunt every day. Although Cheetah enjoy a high average hunting success rate of 50%, this is also high risk; in open habitats, up to half of kills are stolen by other predators.

The magnificent parks of Northern Tanzania offer excellent opportunities for seeing this iconic species. During our upcoming Northern Tanzania Safari, ample time will be available to explore the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, where we usually have extensive sightings of Cheetah, together with many other mammals, birds and other wildlife. Not only are these great places to find game and birds, but the Serengeti’s expansive green-gold savannas dotted with thorn trees, together with the grasslands, patches of forest, and often cloud-shrouded rim of the Ngorongoro Crater also make them ideal for photography. These areas are stunning and offer long, undisturbed views of utterly dramatic panoramas!

Upcoming tours to Tanzania:

Northern Tanzania – Ultimate Ngorongoro & Serengeti
01 – 11 Nov 2018 (11 days)
Tour Price: US$6,350 *€5,250 *£4,680 *ZAR76,560

East Africa – Mega Safari​
02 – 19 May 2019 (18 days)
Tour Price: US$8,550 *€7,280 *£6,420 *ZAR114,320

*Alternate currencies are for comparative purposes only

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Trip has been wonderful! Dale is second to none! Really thrilled to have him and Eric (driver)!

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Great tour, the mix of participants also worked well. Many eyes help spot things which might otherwise be missed (back seats are higher and sometimes you just catch a glimpse that the front seat people miss).

EB - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

Great communications and customer service.
One of the best trips I’ve been on. The sightings were fantastic, Andre was great, the food phenomenal and the support staff exceptional!
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The tour was excellent. The staff from the Safari company were also excellent.

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LH - Tailor-made South Africa & Botswana October 2018

I want to thank all of you at Rockjumper who worked to give me and my six friends the trip of a lifetime! The trip was perfectly planned; we saw a wonderful array of sights in perfect settings and lodgings all throughout the thirteen days. Logistically, everything worked like clockwork and it took all the stress out of traveling.

But without a doubt, what made the trip so incredibly special was our tour guide/leader, Rainer Summers. He not only lead us to the sights, through airports and into the bush but he managed to keep us all together, without losing anyone for more than five minutes – and I can assure you: that was not an easy task. (We really are not senile – just a bit independent).

His knowledge of what we saw and where to take us, especially in Cape Town improved our experience greatly. His knowledge of the wildlife and its social structure and behavior at Mala Mala and in Botswana increased our appreciation of what we saw exponentially. Nothing was too much trouble whether it was showing us how to use binoculars or camera or how to spot birds.

He also made sure that everyone was comfortable and at ease in all situations. He anticipated everyone’s needs and he ensured that we all had what we needed and/or wanted everywhere.

But most of all, Rainer was delightful to be with. He was fun and his wit and sense of humor made him a great companion. He is a tremendous asset to your organization. We all would like to return to Africa and Rockjumper’s tours but we will want to have no one but Rainer with us!!! We cannot envision a tour leader who could top this experience.

So, thank you for arranging the tour and a special thanks for choosing Rainer to be our guide. It was a magnificent experience and a week later, I am still wishing I was in Africa!


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