Paolo

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  1. @douglaswise very interesting report. Do you know how much Mkulumadzi contribute to the park?
  2. Yes, off-road driving is not normally a practice in Zimbabwe (which, given the nature of the terrain and the amount of vehicles in places like Mana seems pretty sound). Equally, it is a common feature that Zim guides report transgressors, particularly in Chitake (I remember once a guy that was caught off-roading along the Chitake river bed coming to our camp and begging - in vain - not to be reported to Park authorities...)
  3. @douglaswise You might be a bit provocative, but in reality I think you have a point. Speaking with conservationists in different parts of Africa, it really emerges that conservation and tourism are fundamentally at odds with each other. There might be instances where they overlap, but this happens on a case by case basis, there is no structural link. And eco-tourism (at least, what is maintained as such - often purely due to some green washing) has its ecological impact too - for instance, infrastructures are oftem much less eco-friendly than - say - a standard hunting camp.
  4. @jeremie Great video! It seems to focus on translocations from Gorongosa (not surprising, considering the enormous Waterbuck population in the latter). Incidentally, the scenes of the waterbucks capture brought back fond memories of what @Anita and myself had lived in Liwonde during African Parks' Malawi Elephant (and other wildlife) Translocation - such a thrilling experience (in all senses - a waterbuck shooting less than one metre form where you are standing can be a bit nerve-wrecking.... )
  5. I think that the main reason why Joy's closed was commercial. Occupancy rate was very low, and when Stefano Cheli sold its properties to Elewana, the new owner decided to shut it down. As to the security situation in Shaba, I do not have last minute information, but - at least until very recently - some of the very top Kenya safari guides were setting their mobile camps there as part of their safaris. Given the high end nature of their product, I am sure security concerns were taken into account. The situation in the area has always been a bit volatile (I had to cancel a trip there in 2009, but it was more due to the invasion of illegal cattle due to the drought). My understanding was that in recent years the establishment of Nakrupat-Gotu Conservancy had been very beneficial from a stability perspective, but everything seems to be in a state of flux in Kenya right now.
  6. @Matias Cox Sorry if I have not been clear in my post. I meant to point out that the situation in Botswana is far from what described in wrong/inaccurate articles like the one posted at the beginning of this thread. Just a word on Paragraph #5. My point was that the current government policies are often alienating some of the communities living on the periphery of wildlife areas. If democracy makes the full circle and the opposition comes into power (a scenario that I am sure you will endorse since you are so embued of "ethics") that might translate into a backlash against wildlife. This is not my fantasy but a worry expressed to me by a leading conservationist in Botswana, who has worked for 30 years in the country and is in talking terms with Ian Khama himself, members of the opposition and communities alike - hence I suppose he is more knowledgeable than me or you. I did not refer to hunting and I think it was a good choice. In fact, most of your last post is so ideologically biased that from my point of view it would be pointless discussing it (I obviously agree on the concern about human growth and overpopulation). I will just say that I think that the kind of attitude shown in your post is symptomatic of a lot of things that are undermining real conservation efforts in Africa today and are causing more harm than good to wildlife. (For the record, I am not a hunter).
  7. @Matias Coxp Whilst. I like several of the stances pursued by Ian Khama, such as his attitude towards poaching, I am somewhat skeptica about the "ethical conservation project" you mention. Speaking with respected, on the ground, conservationists in Botswana (who are not necessarily pro hunting), the situation appears quite bleak. Bushmeat poaching is rampant, with up to 100,000 animals per year killed in the Okavango. The entire ecosystem is under stress, due to excessive fires and the negative effects now felt of all the pesticides used to eradicate tsetses in the 1980s and 1990s, which has affected all the ecological chain (the amount of water birds seen in the Okavango has drastically reduced over time - it is also clear to someone as me who - simply as a tourist - has been visiting the country for almost 30 years). The much vaunted eco-tourism contributes almost nothing to conservation, and it is mostly a green-washing exercise by the operators. There is open dissatisfaction in several local communities, and the fear is that, should there be in the future a change in government, this may translate into a backlash against the wildlife. I am also not sure if Botswana can take an higher moral ground towards other African countries, considering the destruction of the CKGR herds due to the veterinary cordon fences, or the fact that it holds the singular record of having had his rhinos extinct twice in the same century. There are definitely things that work in the Botswana conservation model, but other things that do not, and they are generally swept under the rug.
  8. @plambers Another vote for Lewa. There are various options there - Sirikoi, Wilderness Trails and Lewa House are all great, each different from the other. Lewa Safari Camp is a more budget option. i find it quite difficult to advise on Laikipia at the moment - I have been to a few places there, and (wild dogs experience apart) I thought that there were areas with higher game density and better general game viewing than LWC (which I did enjoy in any case); now what is the situation in some of those ranches is quite uncertain (a point in case is Mugie - one of the most wildlife rich, but also one of the most affected by the invasions). Lewa however is a very safe bet - scenery is beautiful, and wildlife numbers are at an all time high (in particular elephants, rhinos and buffalos).
  9. @Geoff i am not sure. In 1989, my guide in Chobe was a lady called Pam. I need to go and find her surname, but I recall that she and her husband had been guarding over Chobe Game Lodge during the years when the lodge was closed due to insecurity caused by the warfare in nearby Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) - in the late 1970s. I do not know what kind of qualifications for guides were in place in 1989, but she and her husband were definitely considered senior guides.
  10. @Africalover I am glad I visited Kidepo at the time I did. Even then, you could subtly feel in the air that the place was on the edge of changes bound to happen in the near future, and already different from a few years earlier. When Michael Lorentz visited it for the first time (in 2003, I think - anyway, well before the building of Apoka Lodge), he and his party were the the first visitors the park had seen in a few years. I know someone who trekked to the Ik some years ago, and indeed the Ik were generally not wearing clothes back then. "Getting less and less remote"....familiar story, eh?
  11. They are centrally located, of course, but - if I am honest - I found the entire complex not very attractive. I never understood why Apoka Lodge was built so close to the HQ, with all the marvellous possible sites in the Narus Valley....(f.e. our camp was located on the edge of a hill with views on the valley and the passing buffalo herds...). FWIW, at the time of my visit (February 2013) wildlife was more concentrated in the southern part of the Narus Valley (from Apoka to Nga'moru, so to speak), so Apoka's location was not really an advantage from a game viewing perspective. Things might be obviously different at other times. We did not do any night drive. I am trying to recall if we took it into consideration, but memory is failing me. I remember some wonderful nights around the campfire though!
  12. @FlyTraveler I am not sure if I can be of help on this. In Kidepo I used a private mobile camp which, whilst not "basic camping" in the sense @Botswanadreams mentions (we had proper beds, detached toilets, a few people as camp staff etc...) would probably not fit your requirements. Nga'moru Wilderness Camp is indeed outside of the park, in the Karenga Community Conservation Area. Depending on rains, the area adjacent to Nga'moru can be pretty good for wildlife - at the time of my visit to Kidepo, there was a flush of short green grass close to Nga',oru attracting many grazers. I think this was also due to regular burning (unlike in the park). Karenga is (or at least was back in 2013) a hunting area (hence a reason for the burning) and there was a hunting camp just a few km from the lodge. i never heard of Kidepo Savannah Lodge, but I have not really followed the developments in Kidepo for the past five years, so I guess that several things have changed. I assume that Buffalo Base must bethe same as Buffalo Rocks, a place aimed at overlanders that I think was under construction in 2013. if memory serves me well, I recall some other self-catering bandas to the north of Apoka. They seemed quite in disarray, so I do not know whether they are operational. Re Murchison Falls. Pakuba Lodge was a very popular lodge in the 1960s, and - assuming the "new"'Pakuba Lodge is on the same site (not sures, I think the old Pakuba was inside the park; anyway I suppose it should be close-by) - it is in a good location, not too far from the Albert Nile track from which you can access the Delta. I agree that avoiding the Paraa ferry is an advantage. I never heard of Bwana Tembo.
  13. @Zarek Cockar Thank you very much for a very thorough and helpful review of Lentorre, which has really whetted my appetite for my forthcoming stay there in a little more than one month. Lots of things to do and look for. We will also be using Lentorre as a base for helicopter trips into Lake Natron and adjacent areas in northern Tanzania. As to the local wildlife, I had read somewhere that also Greater Kudu is present in the area (besides obviously Lesser Kudu as you mention) - do you think that information is correct?
  14. @pault Well, things do not seem that rosy in the Mara either. Besides the usual illegal grazing inside the Reserve and the excessive pressure from tourists and tourism establishments, there is now this: https://africasustainableconservation.com/2017/07/18/kenya-are-fences-going-to-ruin-the-mara-ecosystem/?fb_action_ids=10155507291511419&fb_action_types=news.publishes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[1571903072851030]&action_type_map=["news.publishes"]&action_ref_map=[]
  15. @jeremie i am not very optimistic on the lion population in the Omo either. There is very little prey left for a healrhy lion popultion on the eastern side of the river. The western side is definitely faring better, but I guess that the big buffalo and eland herds for which the area was once famed are a thing of the past (I hope I am wrong).

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