wildpicture

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About wildpicture

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  1. Nice story. We'll be visiting them next July on our Botswana trip. I am looking forward to that.
  2. Great advice to stay three days, but it just is not possible. We stay more days at other places. So it is either one night in Deception or not at all. But nobody has any knowledge of the road conditions to Lekubu from the south in July/August?
  3. Thanks for the suggestion. I would love three nights there. But we can manage only one night in our schedule. We'll be spending most of the time in Moremi and Chobe with some extra nights at Lekubu, Nxai and Livingstone/Vic Falls.
  4. For next July/August we have prepared a trip through Botswana with a small detour through Zambia and Zimbabwe to see the falls from both sides. We (my wife and I and two children) will be self driving a fully equipped Landrover. On one part of the trip we haven't made a decision yet. We do have reservations Khama Rhino and for a night at Lekubu Island. But we could either drive from Khama Rhino to Nata (stay there for a night) and then to Lekubu. Or we could drive from Khama Rhino to Deception Valley (stay for one night) and then to Lekubu. From Lekubu we go on to Nxai Pan. I would very much like to spend a night in Deception Valley. This place has haunted me ever since I met Mark and Delia Owens 20 years ago in Africa and talked with them about it. I have never been able to go there before, but I would love to see it. But my worries are about the distances. Khama Rhino - Deception and Deception - Lekubu are quite long drives with little room for "unexpected things". I am also not quite sure about the condition of the tracks entering Lekubu from the south. End of July should be dry, but you never know. We have just one vehicle and a full schedule. Any advice from people who have driven this part and know about the (recent) conditions?
  5. That Kruger trip was special (though an awfull lot went wrong). We spent a full month in a Landrover going from camp to camp. Even though my daughter had just turned three and my son five a few weeks before the trip, they had both studied the guide book I had specially made for them. They knew all mammals, dozens of of birds and even a lot of trees by heart. My daughter couldn't even pronounce the names correctly, but she knew them all. One anecdote: At the Elephant museum in Letaba and older South African man heard this little one speak dutch and asked her in Afrikaans if she knew what that was, pointing at at skull with horns. My daughter didn't hesitate a second and said: "Yes, that is Kudu". The South African gentleman was completely perplex and didnt know what to say.
  6. We plan to go (from/to Jo'Burg 25 days): Khama Rhino - Kubu Island - Nxai Pan - Maun - Moremi (3rd Bridge-Xakanaka-Kwai) - Chobe (Savuti-Linyanti-Ihaha) - Kasane - Livingstone - Vic Falls - Kasane Our intention is to do the Moremi-Chobe part in 10 days. So 10 days in the wilderness! We might still throw in a day at Deception Valley. I would like that because I would love to visit the spot Mark and Delia Owens stayed at in the 70-ties. I know these people personally and it would be fun to send them a picture of our kids in their old campsite.
  7. Hi everybody. It is great to be back on the forum after a few years. Family, kids, work, money and everything prevented us from safari trips for a couple of years. Our last safari trip was in 2007 when we drove around Kruger for a full month. Our kids had just turned 3 and 5 then and I found them too young for rougher places. Now that they are a bit older and we saved up a bit, it is time to show them the beauty of the real wilderness. We have just booked our flights and Landrover for a self-drive camping trip to Botswana (with small detours to Zambia and Zimbabwe) next year. So we will be counting down many, many, many days before we board the plane. But a great thing to look forward to!
  8. Very wise words indeed!
  9. Maybe this book is helpfull for you: http://safaritalk.net/index.php?showtopic=3149 I hope this isn't regarded as advertising
  10. How would you replace these elephants by other animals? I suppose you mean this with regard to carrying capacity. If you remove elephants because they destroy trees, what will happen? More dense bush, therefore the "open" carrying capacity will only be filled with specialist browsers which mainly remain in thick bush. Which in turn will attract few predators. Maybe leopard. For larger numbers of game with corresponding larger numbers of predators, you need more open spaces (savanna) and semi open bush. To get that, you would first need elephant to open up the thicker bush..... By the way, the carrying capacity in Kruger in general is much higher than the number of animal presently there. Just stop burning the grasses. That is what 50 years of veld fire studies clearly show.
  11. It depends on your point of view and what is your reference point. People in favor of elephant culling always come up with the example that elephant are destroying big trees. But you may ask yourself what exactly happened. Were there always lots of forests and big trees? Does the increase in elephant numbers cause destruction of these trees? Or did previous elephant hunting bring down the number to nearly zero in the early 1900's, which gave trees are better chance to grow? I like big old trees as much as I like elephants. But nature works with very long cycles and time periods. We humans think in decades and compare the situation now with for example the sixties (when scientific research in Kruger really started). In nature time path that is rushing extremely. So the situation then does not have to be "the" best situation. It is merely "a" situation. According to my research in Kruger the most important factor in carrying capacity is water (rainfall). A second factor which is extremely important is veld fires (burning grasses which serve as food). Opening up the park in the east (Mozambique) may bring some relief for all. But I guess the elephants have to be lured by artificial waters, as there will be no elephants left that have real memories of the routes eastward. On a personal note. I wouldn't mind if elephant "buldozered" some parts of the endless mopane forests and made it more open and created a habitat that is more suitable to more species.
  12. http://www.africahunting.com/content.php?2...l-Park-Part-One Well, it seems numbers depend on who uses them. Somehow hunters like to see elephant culling starting again while non-hunting conservationists have a different opinion. According to scientific studies the number of elephants in South Africa before 1900 were MUCH higher than nowadays. For example: http://www.koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/390 I had a bit of an argument (in person) with one the archetypical hunting-fans (Ron Thomson) about this very subject. He is one person who presents data as scientific facts, but uses them extremely selectively. Though this man has a huge bush experience, which I respect, his work is far from scientific.
  13. Many years back, in 1996, I met Mark and Delia in Africa and ever since I have become a close friend of their family. I know them as two people with a mission and a heart. Passion? Yes. Determined? Yes. Approving homicide? No! So I feel I have to step in and explain some things about what happened back then and what is happening right now. When Mark and Delia were thrown out of Botswana for criticizing the government because of the cattle fence, they were looking for a new place and found this in Zambia's North Luangwa. At that time poaching was normal there and animal life largely removed. Especially the numbers of elephants were extremely low. Poaching elephant was normal routine there. The area had hardly any government supervision or control. There was no protection for wildlife. They started setting up infrastructures for a reserve/park, including anti poaching control. As poaching was an important source of income (though be it very limited income!!!) for the locals, they also started setting up local programmes for education and creating jobs (as an alternative for poaching income). The poachers (at the top) were quite aggressive and used automatic guns readily to protect "their hunting grounds". There were lots and lots of AK47's around from the previous civil wars and conflicts. To be prepared for these poachers, rangers were equipped and trained. Poachers have not only shot at elephants but on numerous occasions have actively tried to kill Mark and Delia and their rangers. In defence and to stop poachers there have been many shootings. In these shootings poachers have been killed. Not much different from the doctrine introduced by Richard Leaky in Kenya for example. Botswana did the same. I remember a National Geographic documentary were Botswana soldiers actively seek and attack poachers. They shoot to kill and do kill. One of the last scenes shows a soldier finding a blood trail from a wounded poacher and remarking that there is no need to trail him as the lions will pick up the trail and finish the job. Some further remarks about "coincidence" that this story surfaces right at this particular moment after so many years. Jef Goldberg from the New Yorker has been in Zambia for many years, being involved with the "hunting lobby". His story comes right at the very moment of the CITES conference on the ban of ivory trade. Mark and Delia finally were able to get their elephant research data published and now they are being distracted from supporting the continuation of the ban on the commercial trade on ivory by this mess. So there is much more behind the story then you might expect at first.......
  14. Most netbooks are available with bigger batteries. If not standard it is usually available as an option. Such batteries last very long. Specially if you switch off WiFi, which you don't need in the bush anyway. Mine uses a battery that lasts up to 9 hours. Normally that is more than enough for a week including viewing and sorting etc. If you are economical with the power, it might even last two weeks. Within that period you can often find a place to recharge the battery. I always use a small inverter to charge it in the car while driving.
  15. I would indeed advise a netbook with 10 or 11 inch screen. They are small, light and very inexpensive (about $250-$400). Still they usually have a 160GB or even 250GB harddisk. You can install a simple and fast viewer on them. Personally I would recommend using BreezeBrowser en Downloader. Small and inexpensive software that doesn't need much processing power at all. Still very convenient for downloading, sorting, renaming etc etc. On safari trips I also take a small portable 250GB hard disk ($75 or less) to make a back up from the laptop/netbook and store the small harddisk in a different place. Just in case.... In the evenings I download all CF cards to the laptop. Then view then and sort them out, deleting all the rejects. At that moment I like to import them into my database and assign keywords (which just takes a few minutes and saves me hours of work back home). Then I backup everything to the small external harddisk.

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