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Paolo last won the day on April 3

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About Paolo

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  1. @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?
  2. 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!
  3. @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.
  4. @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?
  5. @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:[1571903072851030]&action_type_map=["news.publishes"]&action_ref_map=[]
  6. @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).
  7. @michael-ibk, Excellent report and photos as usual, and glad of having been of some limited help. Very sad to see that the situation in Awash has further deteriorated since my visit in 2013 (it was very bleak then already). As to the lions, I recall that the rangers got really excited during our second morning, since apparently lions were heard calling close to the Filwoha Hot Springs. Even if we made a dash, obviously it took us some time to get there, and by the time we reached we could only see Afar and their livestock. Somehow I have always been doubtful as to the genuiness of those lion vocalization we had been told had been heard, but who knows? The rangers escorting us in Ali Deghe also told us that lions were present in the area - but again no more evidence than that.
  8. @jeremie The first proper survey of Garamba was conducted in 1976. The results were 22,000 elephants, 500 Northern White Rhino, 350 giraffes and, if memory serves me well, 40 -50,000 buffalos. I think that in the early 1960s, before the Simba rebellion, the number of Northern White Rhino amounted to 2,000 individuals. Scary, eh?
  9. Not sure if any of their projects may be more difficult than Garamba...
  10. @@optig This is incorrect. Hunting plays quite an important role in Bangweulu as far as I know. I also believe hunting will be re-instated in Chinko if and when conditions will allow.
  11. @@inyathi Of course it all adds up in the end and the more money the better. No one is disputing this. I was just indicating some figures closer to the reality. As to the fundraising strategy of AP (or others) I am no expert in that field, though I know AP has some dedicated professionals who surely know better than me.
  12. @@inyathi Unfortunately, African Parks has been forced by certain circumstances to discontinue its involvement in Gambella towards the end of last year. As to the Emmanuel de Merode fundraising in connection with the London Marathon, in total as you say 3400 people donated but half the $1 million as Paul Leander-Engström, though his organisation, The World We Want Foundation,doubled the donated amount (with a match dollar for dollar scheme ) to bring it to the USD1,080,000 number. Of the 3400, 1255 donated on the Virgin Giving site a total of USD121K at an average of USD 100 and since there were a number of of USD 25-40 donations, some people must have donated much more than the average. Balance people donated offline and would have definitely had some bigger donations to bring it. Its usually a 90/10 ppprtion in crowd donations like this.
  13. Haha, yes. A few days back I received out of the blue a message on FB by the lady of this nice British couple - she apologized for not having had the chance to tell me face to face, but she attributed to my writings (so she said) their decision to take the jump and visiting Zakouma, a place she had longed to see for a long time. Now I understand why she seemed so star-struck when she recognized Michael at the airport....
  14. @@ld1 Two things: 1) You mentioned "not being able to access a place". This is incorrect, since you will still be able to visit Zakouma by staying at Tinga. It would be a bit like saying that one is not able to visit London because they cannot afford the Savoy or the Dorchester 2) I doubt that only people in certain "invite list" will be able to access the new Camp Nomade. It will be just fewer operators selling it, at an higher price. So it would be the same as now - if you can pay for it, you will be able to go. Only the distribution channel will be different and more focussed.
  15. @@Tony Busanga In the past three years, I have spent roughly one week at Tinga and three weeks at Camp Nomade, so I guess I might have an opinion on this. I think the statement quoted above may be accurate only in certain circumstances - for sure if you are an expat driving from N'Djamena (there are a lot more of them these days, since the US and French Embassies have removed the prohibition to travel to Zakouma by road) you are at mercy of what is available, but I believe this would not be the case in an organized trip. My experience at Tinga in 2014 did not incur any such limitation, but again it might not be representative, since we were for the most part guests of AP at a time when there was virtually no tourism in the park. It is plainly obvious that Tinga and Camp Nomade are totally different products, in terms of experience, location, level of service (as it has been acutely observed by a friend, Zakouma has the unique feature of being the park where you can have both the best - at Camp Nomade - and the worst - at Tinga - safari camp food in Africa), flexibility etc... But, for the sake of argument, one may argue that the guides now shortlisted to conduct "Camp Nomade trips" from 2019 onwards (if they are those I think) are amongst the very top names in the guiding fraternity, and offer a different "product" and experience from the other - albeit very good in all respects - guides accredited at the moment. Based on the current situation, personally I would not stay inTinga, but I am also unsure of the extent Camp Nomade has worked for AP and Zakouma as it stands now. In 2017, Tinga has received 458 visitors as of April 30, and generated roughly 150k USD of revenues for the park. Camp Nomade, during the same period, has received 87 visitors and generated roughly 390k USD of revenues for the park. Whilst the contribution by Tinga visitors is indeed minimal, also the one by guests at Camp Nomade, as @@Anita points out, is less than it appears, once taken into account all expenditures etc... I have known for quite a while that AP was not entirely happy with Camp Nomade, since - when it was conceived - it was hoped it would have had a greater conversion of guests becoming donors. This has not happened for a number of reasons, including the "scheduled" weekly departures, that have de facto prevented existing or potential donors to visit. It is just logical that, in order to address this, the system needed to be overhauled, and equally logic the restriction to those guides who, being at the very top of their profession, have access to larger pools of donors or potential donors. The reality is that - with the revenue figures mentioned above - tourism is quite secondary, and a few serious donors will go a long way further to support Zakouma than 30 or 50 more guests at Camp Nomade. Contrary to most people's conviction, I think that in many cases tourism and conservation are at odds with each other, and only in certain, virtuous instances, they overlap. Having said that, tourism in Zakouma is necessary for many reasons - for giving visibility to the Park, for creating more employment in the surrounding communities, because Zakouma has become such a source of pride for Chad and the local people. Much more for these factors than for its financial contribution. What will happen in the future tourism-wise? I do not really know, but I would guess that Tinga might be further upgraded to become a decent 3- star lodge, comfortably accommodating regular visitors, and that Camp Nomade (or whatever it will be) will be used to leverage donors, hopefully making a difference not only for Zakouma, but also for other parks in the AP portfolio that are much more difficult to "sell". ( All this hoping that Chad remains the stable and safe country it is now)

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