gatoratlarge

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Everything posted by gatoratlarge

  1. Ha! @Alexander33 it is an old thread but for some reason popped up on my unread list of posts---maybe someone recently replied and it reactivated it. I agree with you. Very well stated regarding folks' varied safari experiences. They're all valid really. Funny that's where I went in South Africa outside of Kruger: Timbavati and Sabi Sands Exeter River. I would encourage you to contact Rod Cassidy at Sangha Lodge. He helped with all of the logistics for me to get to CAR and I could not have figured it out without him. The situation in CAR has improved dramatically since I was there and I think there are more options to get there now. Things are really picking up. But what is hard to convey is that even when things were bad in CAR, they were alright in this remote region of the country. During the conflict a few years ago the situation got bad briefly in Bayanga which is where Sangha Lodge is near. The question was really how to get there safely which is what Rod helped me with...thankfully, things have returned to normal three. The reason I'm saying that is that I think the experience in CAR is fantastic. There's no better place to see and observe forest elephants I'm certain of this...and they have habituated groups of western lowland gorillas including Makumba's family group with twins born a year or so ago...I've not been to Odzala but I think the overall experience might be better...plus Rod and Tamar are always rehabbing pangolins or other interesting creatures from the forest... @amybatt I count that as one of the great privileges I've had: being able to spend time with her at Dzanga Bai. I wonder if anyone else is there studying forest elephants now that she has retired? I can't help but think the fact that she was there living so close to the bai was a protective factor for the elephants...I did not know until spending time with her that she was married to Michael Faye of National Geographic/megatransect fame. She has had a very colorful and wonderful life...Sadly, she was more pessimistic/realistic? about the prospects and future of forest elephants...corrupt governments, Chinese and foreign logging/timber interests, exploitation of natural resources...she saw it all...one of the more interesting people I've ever met. I hope from retirement she can find ways to help the cause of conservation. I'm sure she will... The Bai is the main attraction I'd say of Sangha Dzanga...
  2. I voted "other" for the Central African Republic --- it was such an adventure and I am not sure I'll ever have a trip that had the "feel" of that one for me. A total adventure. The forest elephants in Dzanga Bai, the gorillas, plus the cultural aspect of the Ba'aka forest people, time spent with Andrea Turkalo on the viewing platform and visiting her in her encampment. Meeting Louis Sarno (RIP) and seeing a rare pair of picathartes flying out of a jungle cave...it was magic to me! That being said---it's an incredibly difficult question for Africa... I just read your comments and I sure hope you feel welcome on here @Alexander33 I'm a reIative newcomer to ST as well only discovering the site a few years ago ----I put off going to South Africa for years in search of the "real Africa" that so many opine about...when I finally got around to it, I had an AMAZING safari in Sabi Sands with the best leopard viewing I've had anywhere in Africa(13 trips now)! Plus The Big Five: as a rhino fan, I never get enough of these big tanks and there were plenty outside Kruger in these private reserves.. mating lions...an enormous male leopard (and then another!) on a giraffe kill---how'd they bring it down?? Hyenas were all over the carcass the next day with a roaring lion in the distance keeping them on edge...leopard cubs at play...all these years later I remember it well. Plus you can always put in a few days in Cape Town (Great White Sharks!!) which is one of my favorite cities in the world! I've just concluded it's different strokes for different folks...some people are interested in "the more remote, the better" approach....but animals are sometimes shyer and more reclusive in these spots...then some folks are "give me the goods!" and for the sightings and animal volumes they sacrifice a bit with regard to exclusivity (you are just likely to have more company in the camps and perhaps at a sighting)...and when I say exclusivity, I don't take that as pretentiousness but just the desire to find wilderness that gives one the feeling of being out there away from it all and away from humans---my last trip to Kenya was like that...the scenery was just spectacular...there are more people sharing it with you for sure but where else would I have seen a Mara River crossing with thousands of wildebeests and the crocs picking them off? I wouldn't trade that sight for anything...we also saw a couple (unsuccessful) lion hunts on that trip...where the game concentrations are, so go the predators and the ease of seeing them! So there really is no right or wrong answers and I read ST to get ideas for future safaris Some other favorites: I loved South Luangwa for that Old Africa feel, the wide winding river with hundreds (thousands?) of hippos and big crocs---plus it's where I saw my one and only aardvark! They popped the bubbly when we got back to camp over that one no leopards however for me wen its reputation is the best place for leopards in Africa... Namibia for a different sort of safari---I marveled at the wildlife that could survive in such stark surroundings...desert adapted elephants and rhinos and giraffes...zebra and oryx and springbok...Serra Cafema was magic but so was Skeleton Coast and Sossusvlei...charged by rhinos in Damarland? That's quite a rush! We were so close to seeing desert lions in Hoarusib along the skeleton coast but even the desert has dense scrub and they are very skittish due to hunting And how could I leave out Tanzania with the combination of Mahale Mountains and Katavi and Ruaha....I love the contrast and for sheer dramatic location it combines Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan's Africa with the traditional African veldt. So there's really no "one and only" answer contemplating the subject. Mountain gorillas? Gosh, the possibilities are endless. Still, I love to read other folks' thoughts and their safari favorites. The diversity of Africa and the fact you can go again and again to the same place and have different unique experiences each time...it's the animal behavior that makes it such an interesting journey like no other...I'm rambling now...surprised no one said Chad with as much excitement as it's generated with Zakouma...
  3. Some from the Zulu tribe in KwaZulu Natal near Phinda GR; a Himba woman and native women we gave a lift across the Kunene River in Namibia to the Angolan side...at Serra Cafema...I used a funky filter on the last one
  4. great chimp pics @optig! I loved Mahale and Katavi too---the setting is simply amazing. We saw a croc or two, plus the hippos, bush pigs visited my banda at night, red colobus, red tailed monkeys, yellow baboons and of course chimps...plus some nice birdlife...not likely to see leopard or other wildlife but the chimps are definitely the draw! Good to see a picture of Mwiga! His personality and enthusiasm for the chimps is infectious!
  5. Thks a lot @optig I think it will be quite the experience and the likelihood these tribes assimilate and lose their distinct culture makes visiting now all the more imperative...plus a flight over Gambella?? Very few will ever see what I hope to see with the kob migration...fingers crossed!
  6. These were taken along the Nile in Egypt:
  7. This group were a fisherman's children were splashing and playing in the Sangha River while we were trying to catch a tiger fish (no luck):
  8. The second batch from Malawi---roadside snacks---kids showing me their best Bruce Lee poses---children with after church cookies on Likoma Island in Lake Malawi; playing soccer on the beach and homemade toys---and a pet bird:
  9. I'm late to the game but happy to share some of the indigenous people I've come across in my travels of Africa: The first batch are some from the Ba'aka forest people in CAR:
  10. Sign me up! I think it'll be an incredible trip combined with Zakouma---wildlife plus the cultural richness of the Omo Valley---and a flyover of Gambella! That will be a very rich itinerary!
  11. Awesome---the lions eluded us on our stay in Katavi but I think it was due to a shake up of the power structure---new male or males had taken over the pride and they were in hiding or something to that effect...I agree it's a great safari destination and in combination with Mahale, it's hard to beat for the contrast...look forward to the rest of your report!
  12. I'm traveling to Tswalu in late September hoping to see an aardvark or a pangolin as others have been lucky to see there from SafariTalk but I was watching videos about Tswalu on YouTube and spotted zorillas toward the end on a night safari -- can't say I had ever seen them other than the drawings in the guide books...I'll see if I can make the link work (this is not my video but due to the rarity of seeing a zorilla, I thought worth sharing):
  13. Great preview -- I'll be in the Kafue in early October at Musekese and Kaingu --- thanks!!
  14. Wow--- good question @@SafariChick it may have been the late 90s! Those are scans from pictures I took with a film camera before I went digital... Brooks Lodge gets booked up so I flew from anchorage and then via a float plane to the lodge. I only had a short day there but it was amazing seeing the bears all over the rapids getting their fill of salmon. I seem to remember 14 bears over that one section of the river...
  15. Grizzlies feeding on salmon near Brooks Lodge. Here are a couple from the Katmai Peninsula --- scanned images from film photos I took:
  16. Love the Malayan tapir pics especially---how cool to see that! I saw two tapirs at Pouso Alegre in the Brazilian Pantanal. one on a long horse ride on the "back 40" so I snapped a pic using my iphone as quick;y as possible. We disturbed its spa day in a hyacinth filled pond. We also saw one at night feeding under a fruit tree:
  17. The first pic is the best pic of a polar bear I was able to snap---of course I wish the polar bears had swam around the boat doing water aerobics (which has happened, they can be quite curious) but I was perfectly content watching them through binoculars caring less about the ship and working the pack ice to find a napping seal. None of these are going to make it into National Geographic but trying to keep steady on the deck of a ship, find the polar bear in your binoculars and then re-find it in your camera lens ain't easy all the while your eyes are teary due to the wind coming off the ice! We spotted a total of six bears, some ringed seals, walruses and reindeer in the Svalbard Islands. It was really beautiful:
  18. I did use the dreamscope app on some of these to try to make them sharper (purists probably won't like it but I was trying to make the pic better if I could)-- a few more:
  19. Jaguars? I've posted them in my Trip Report but not here so here they are---the light is often difficult and my camera not too deluxe but saw some amazing jags near Porto Jofre in the Pantanal---here goes:
  20. Here are a couple forest buffs from Dzanga Bai to round out my African buffalo portfolio : They mainly enjoyed laying in the cool mud and ignoring the elephants until one young bull (or an old bull) scattered them to show their prowess over the bai:
  21. They all have "attitude":
  22. Here are some of mine: From the Masai Mara, outside Kruger, and parts in between---one of them has horns like "That Girl's" hairdo
  23. Thanks for the great report! I've been following closely as I will be making my first visit to Kafue in the fall (end of Sept and first couple days of Oct) and I'll be staying at Kaingu Lodge and also Musekese Camp---I wish it was longer but we'll be there for four nights and coming up from Vic Falls and Livingstone and Tswalu before that. I also reached out to Tyrone McKeith and all of your information helped convince me to check out this part of Zambia. Temp wise---how do you think it will be late Sept and early Oct?
  24. This is from 08 but had an absolutely remarkable trip to India...used Easy Tours of India and they did an excellent job...I knew exactly where I wanted to go (had been once before to Ranthambore and Nagarhole NPs)...had a limited number of days but it was wonderful. My itinerary would not be every one's choice as I'm a bit of a travel warrior...I will go on long drives or whatever it takes to see what I'd like to see so there were times of pretty long car drives which in India is a wildlife experience all to itself!...but the rewards were worth it to me... Trip went something like this: Kaziranga NP in Assam for four nights (Wild Grass Lodge) flight to Rajkot via Mumbai (overnight), drive to Gir Forest in Gujarat, two nights Flight out of Diu to Nagpur and drive to Bandhavgarh NP for three nights Drive to Khujaraho to see the temples and train to Delhi (flight was cancelled) Then morning train to Haridwar for two nights---trip to Reshikesh back to Delhi and flight home... Tigers: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4170...mp;l=a4d0984a6e Lions: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4170...mp;l=e759f375c4 Rhinos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4169...mp;l=fc0f6f7665 Gurus and Swamis: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4171...mp;l=7d7c2fafa1 http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4170...mp;l=d37deb53bb On the Brahmaputra: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4172...mp;l=cb52c133b7 Khajuraho: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4171...mp;l=ae4c7d0414
  25. @@Riaanf31 Sorry about the late response (four years late! LOL) but I just was looking back at various posts and saw your question. I would definitely consider moving the trip back a month or so --- I believe I've heard that October to March is the best time to visit India and by visiting in May I was flirting with monsoon season which is why Kaziranga was basically already closed. There is definitely a more optimum time to visit but I had no choice on my dates at the time. As others stated lions used to span Africa, the Middle East and Asia but are now relegated to this tiny population in Gujarat in India....the last place for Asian lions...

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