The USA And Turkey Resume Visa Services For Citizens

The USA And Turkey Resume Visa Services For Citizens

The USA announced earlier today that it would resume issuing visas for Turkish citizens seeking to enter the USA.   Turkey has reciprocated by removing the ban on travel to Turkey by US Citizens.

The lifting of the bans are effective as of today.

The bans were first put in place on October 9  as part of the American protest over the arrest of a Turkish citizen who worked for the US Embassy in Ankara.  The Turks claim the employee has links to Fethullah Gulen, an individual that Turkey believes is behind terrorist attacks within their borders.

With the removal of the travel ban to Turkey, US can now once again purchase visas to enter turkey in Istanbul at a kiosk located near passport control.   The current cost of the visa is $30.

a close-up of a plane


Safari 2017:  Part 2 of Many Including Video Of Helicopter Run Through The Blyde River Canyon

Safari 2017: Part 2 of Many Including Video Of Helicopter Run Through The Blyde River Canyon

Following up on Part I of Safari 2017, Part II picks up where 1 left off with more photos and also an hour-long video capturing a transfer between 2 Lodges during our trip to South Africa.   The video is actually quite good, especially at the 32 minute mark as we entered the Blyde River Canyon with a GoPro suctioned to the belly of the chopper.    A big thanks to Jana and her team at Wild Skies Aviation for providing such a fantastic service.    If your ever in the Hoedspruit area of South Africa and need/want to take a phenomenal Helicopter tour of the area, do it!  You won’t be sorry!

The second batch of photos combines shots taken at 2 of the 3 lodges we visited:   Dulini Private Game Reserve (where I will probably want to be interred in one day) in the western sector of the Sabi Sands of South Africa and the wonderful Jaci’s Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve.   The reason we chose to visit Jaci’s was the fact that they have a submerged ‘Hide’ for photographers to get to water level at a dam for some amazing photo ops.   Jaci’s did not disappoint.   In fact we’ve already booked next year’s stay.

As far as gear goes for this trip, I packed my Nikon D800 and D5, along with a Nikon 24-70, Sigma 150-600S, Rokinon 24mm 1.4 (For the star trails), and the ‘toddler’ as my wife calls it, the Nikon 600mm / f4.   The D5 did the most of the heavy lifting, but the D800 took lead on anything that needed huge megapixels or situations where the I didn’t want to risk damage to the D5.

Enjoy these for now.   More on the way!

Here is the video I referred to earlier.   It covers the 1 hour transfer flight between Dulini Private Game Reserve to the Khaya Ndlovu Manor House where we stayed while we visited with the volunteers and staff of the Rhino Revolution.   My wife brought a fair amount of medical tools and equipment to them on this trip to help with their efforts to tend to orphaned Rhinos (whose Mothers were poached).  Rhino Rev’s mission is to rehabilitate these orphans and then release them into the wild, where they will be monitored closely by private security.



a close up of a leopard

Known as the ‘Dewane’ male Leopard, he is a dominant predator in the Western Sector of the Sabi Sands reserve.  Taken at Dulini.

an elephant in the water

Adolescent male Elephant enjoys a nice swim….Taken at Jaci’s

a group of elephants walking on the sand

Elder female accompanies a ‘teenager’ as well as a one year old to the dam….Taken at Jaci’s

a large animal with large horns

A Kudu Bull surprisingly stays around long enough to pose….Taken at Jaci’s.

a lion sleeping on the ground

Male Lion resting at Jaci’s…..

a bird on a tree branch

A Tawny Eagle perches on a Marula Tree awaiting a target to come by. Taken at Dulini.

a group of hyenas in a field

Young Wild Dogs play ‘tug of war’ over an Impala hide. One of the most endangered species on the planet unfortunately. Taken at Jaci’s.

a crocodile with a fish in its mouth

One of my top 5 shots from the trip. A Croc surfaces showing off his successful Tilapia hunt. Taken at Jaci’s.

a group of elephants walking near water

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as the Ellies crossed between me and setting sun. Taken at Jaci’s.

a bird eating a fish in the water

Heron and Tilapia do not see eye to eye….Taken at Jaci’s.

a bird with a fish in its beak

Bad day for the Tilapia….

a bird from a nest

A Village Weaver works hard on his nest in the hopes that he can attract a female to call it her home…Taken at Dulini.

a lion eating a animal

‘Dark Mane’ of the Majingilane coalition of Lions takes a moment after stealing the Impala carcass from a Lion Pride that hunted it. Typical behavior of Male Lions who are part of coalitions. Taken at Dulini.

a bird sitting on a branch

My most favorite critter…..the Lilac Breasted Roller. Taken at Dulini.

a bird standing in water

Unfortunately these beautiful birds are highly endangered, but for the moment this Saddle Billed Stork enjoys fishing in a river. Taken at Dulini.

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Safari 2017:   Helicopter Run Through The Blyde River Canyon

Safari 2017: Helicopter Run Through The Blyde River Canyon

Over the last 2 weeks, we spent time at 3 different Safari Camps including the Dulini Private Game Reserve, Jaci’s Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve and Khaya Ndlovu where we spent time with the Rhino Revolution team.

In order to get between most camps in South Africa, you either have to fly on scheduled Charters, drive for an unGodly amount of hours over horrible terrain, or take a Helicopter.  When it was time to transit between Dulini and Khaya Ndlovu, we decided to hire a Helicopter through Wild Skies Aviation out of Hoedspruit so that we can take in one of South Africa’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Blyde River Canyon.   The canyon is set apart from other canyons as it is the only ‘living’ canyon in the world, meaning that vegetation is found in abundance at the bottom of the canyon.

These photos will explain exactly what I mean! 🙂

a large canyon with trees and mountains

a rocky cliff with trees and mountains in the background

a rocky mountains with trees and clouds

a river with rocks and trees

However, the photos don’t quite do it justice!

As you’ll see in the video (taken with a GoPro mounted on the belly of the chopper), departing from Dulini and heading towards Bushbuckridge and Hoedspruit is fairly uneventful.   However as you approach the lush borders that surround the canyon, the world below is transformed into something magical.  Pay attention at the 30 minute mark and beyond since it is at that point that we enter the canyon and then weave through the canyon walls following the Blyde River out of the canyon and over a series of citrus orchards as we headed to Khaya Ndlovu.



a close-up of a plane