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Everything posted by Treepol

  1. @jeremiethanks for this TR from the little known Beni region. I do hope that Fenelon and Marcelo are succesful in their new venture as the wldlife sightings that you enjoyed were certainly very high quality with a diverse range of animals. Sorry you missed jaguar, however the Tamandua sightings and the armadillo and pit viper interaction are very special. Beni looks a bit like how I imagine the Northern Pantanal looked about 30 years ago.
  2. @Spaldingthanks for taking the time to share you Ecuadarian adventure. For a last minute trip this went very well, you did a great job with the organising. I am pleased to hear that Paz de las Aves is going from strength to strength, their accommodation sounds wonderful. Its great that Napo Cultural and Wildlife Centers are doing well under local ownership. Great shots of a very contented looking spectacled bear!
  3. All the best to all STers for a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and a healthy, happy and successful 2018.
  4. @Levantethanks so much for continuing with your TR. Your notes on the itinerary and accommodation are very helpful.
  5. @Towlersonsafari congratulations on your anniversary and what a splendid African celebration you have planned. I'll be interested to hear about the new chalets at Nossob. @pomkiwi what a variety of travel you have lined up for 2018! Whereabouts are you going in the Western Cape?
  6. @michael-ibk @Atravelynn@Kitsafari I read your TR right through last night and thoroughly enjoyed your 3 perspectives on the same safari. Beautiful bird photos as usual. I was especially interested to read your views on the game viewing in the Konkamoya area as we will be there for 3 nights next year, staying in the reed huts at Hippo Bay Camp Site.
  7. @Bush dogthanks for this detailed De Hoop report. What a diverse place De Hoop is - bonteboks, proteas and whales to name just a few stars from your photos. I enjoyed the photos from the wine region and have made a note for our 2018 visit, thanks again.
  8. @PeterHG what a lovely idea to put time aside to spend time with your brother each year, and even better when you can spend time in Kruger. Thanks for this in-depth report from Kruger and your wonderful photos. I particularly like the sunset giraffe and the last sunset photo. I found your comments on cameras and lenses very helpful and timely.
  9. @Jaycees2012 I am really enjoying your detailed report of KTP. Thanks for the photos of the area around Bitterpan, haven't seen anything recent from here for a while now. The Cape Fox pups are so cute.
  10. My friends and I have just paid deposits on this mostly overland trip for 2018 departing Oz for Dar es Salaam and then heading south. 21 June - Hobart-Sydney 22 June Sydney-JNB 23-25 June - JNB-DAR 26-29 June - Zanzibar 30-1 July - Mikumi NP (Operator for southern Tanzania is Authentic Tanzania) 2-3 July - Udzungwa NP 4-7 July - Ruaha NP 8 July - Iringa 9 July - near Mbeya (Operator from Iringa to Vic Falls is Doug Macdonald Safaris, guide is Johnny Russell) 10-11 July - Kapishya 12-13 July - Mutinondo 14 July - Lusaka 15-20 July - Kafue NP 21-22 July - Vic Falls 23 July - JNB 24-26 July - Marrick Farm (Operator is Lawsons Safaris) 27 July - JNB 28-30 July - Tembe Elephant Park 31-1 - Manyoni Private Game Reserve 2-3 August - Emdoneni Lodge 4-6 August - St Lucia 7-8 August - Mountain Zebra NP 9-10 August - Karoo NP 11-13 August - Cape Town 14-15 August - West Coast NP/ Winelands (Private guides) 16 August - Cape Town 17 August - Giants Castle 18 August - JNB 19 August - Marievale Bird Sanctuary with @Peter Connan (really looking forward to this day) 20 August - Home I am hoping that Lawsons will run a 2 week Birds and Wildflowers tour between 20 August-2 September and if this gets off the ground I may change my flights so that I can travel to Noordhoek, Swellendam, Ceres, Tankwa Karoo, Nieuwoodtville, Lamberts Bay and Langebaan. There is lots of time to anticipate this exciting overland trip and I am so looking forward to a return to Ruaha NP and the overland journey thru' Northern Zambia. This itinerary is mostly new for me except for Ruaha NP, St Lucia and Cape Town so there are lots of places to discover!
  11. @xelas thats a nice itinerary, I will be especially interested in your views (both sorts!) and thoughts on Wilderness NP, Karoo and Franschoek. I have a feeling that I am going to regret not including Wilderness NP in the 2018 itinerary.
  12. @Levantethanks for the detailed TR. I particularly enjoyed the photos of Luderitz and Kolmanskop as I've not seen anything recent from this area for a long time. Where did you stay at Luderitz?
  13. @Peter Connanand @xelas thanks for the kind words on this TR - xelas, if you make it to Oz, or Tas let me know as it would be great to meet up.
  14. I have just returned from a couple of weeks in North Queensland with Mum and @@GnuGnu. The itinerary was: Day 1 : Fly Hobart-Cairns, overnight at the Hilton Double Tree on the Cairns Esplanade Days 2-6: Overnight at Chambers Rainforest Lodge at Lake Eacham Days 7-9: Overnight at Red Mill House, Daintree Days 10-11: Overnight at Milkwood Lodge, Cooktown Day 12: Overnight at the Hilton Double Tree on the Cairns Esplanade My last visit to Northern Queensland was in 1991 when I travelled overland to the tip of Cape York and visited Thursday Island. This was before I became interested (obsessed some would say) with wildlife viewing which was the focus of this year’s trip. This year in addition to wildlife we were seeking sun as a respite from the Tasmanian winter, local food and produce and a relaxing trip with some downtime for reading and birding. High on my list of ‘want to sees’ were wild Cassowary, Kingfishers, Rainbow bee-eaters, Striped Possums and Tree Kangaroos. I was delighted to be leaving a chilly Hobart with a forecast top of 10C to fly to tropical North Queensland. Large raindrops and a cold wind blew as I hurried across the tarmac to the plane for the flight to Brisbane and from there I had one connection to the Cairns flight. Flight times were 2.5 hours to Brisbane and then a further 2.5 hours to Cairns. I arrived at the hotel around 9pm and found Mum and @@GnuGnu before settling in for the night. Next morning I took an early morning walk along the boardwalk where pelicans preened in the early morning sun and Welcome Swallows wheeled and dived overhead. After breakfast we picked up the hire car and headed west to Lake Eacham on the Atherton Tableland where Chambers Rainforest was to be our base for the next 5 nights. This hide-away is tucked away in the rainforest and is a peaceful haven. My first visitor was a Victoria’s Riflebird followed closely by Spotted Catbirds and Lewin’s Honeyeaters. The resident Brush Turkey jealously guards the territory around Chalets 1-3, chasing off all other birds. Whenever I heard a quiet step and a rustle on the stairs, it would be him trying to creep onto the deck - think vervet monkeys with wings and you will get the idea. The first night 2 sugar gliders came to the feeder.
  15. @michael-ibk the how-to-do-it is to book with a reliable operator who can get you into the villages where the birds are regularly seen, to say nothing of getting you around the country. Otherwise an awful lot of time and money can be spent with not much to show for it. I was very fortunate to have booked with Sicklebill who have excellent in-country guides and operators and allowed us to pack so much into just 2 weeks.
  16. @TonyQ it was a different sort of trip for me, and one that I am definitely pleased to have done. Now my focus is turning to Africa in 2018, the booking for which are mostly in the bag.
  17. The last 2 days of my holiday were spent relaxing in Cairns, a very laid back coastal city. I wandered along the boardwalk on the esplanade a few times and managed varied sightings of bush, garden and sea birds. I'll finish this TR with a few shots from the Boardwalk and around the Mantra. Rainbow Lorikeets Peaceful Dove Black-fronted Dotterel Sacred Kingfisher Curlew sandpipers White-breasted Woodswallows Australasian Figbird Mistletoe Bird Varied Honeyeater Gull-billed Terns Eastern Curlew Australian Pelicans
  18. My last day in PNG begins with a leisurely breakfast with LeslieAnn. The adventure has a sense of coming to an end with a sudden change of pace, leisurely breakfasts and the anticipation of a couple of lazy, light days at the Mantra Esplanade in Cairns. Our happy travelling band quickly scatters as onward journeys take shape. Ben and I are booked on the 5 pm flight from Port Moresby to Cairns, so we have some time to fill in and where better than the Nature Park. Michael (our Port Moresby driver) accompanies us to the walk through aviaries at the Nature Park where I hope to take some close shots of the colourful birds we have seen flying high above during the past fortnight. The aviary is constructed from some leftover World War 2 scrap metal which is ideal for the purpose. Spectacled Flying Foxes roost in the trees near the entrance. The Black-capped Lory seen in the wild in Varirata NP is a real stunner, as are the male and female King Parrots. The Eclectus Parrot is a friendly fellow, and the Crinkle-collared Manucode flies close to check us out. The Golden-headed Myna stays in the treetops whilst the Victoria's Crowned Pigeons strut their stuff, showing off elaborate hair-dos. A Raggiana BoP darts amongst the greenery before settling on a high perch. The exhibits include Northern and Dwarf Cassowaries. The Spotted Cuscus was very handsome, but too snoozy to turn around for a photo. This young Saltwater Crocodile is also taking things easy. The Vulturine Parrot was enjoying a shower from the overhead sprinklers. There were Doria's, Huon and Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroos that shared a space with a pair of Blue-winged Kookaburras. Doria's Tree Kangaroo Huon Tree Kangaroo The last mammals we saw were the Agile and Grey Darcopsis Wallabies and a small Dusky Pademelon. Agile Wallaby Grey Darcopsis Wallaby This dainty Trobriand yam house is located near the exit. We hurry back to the Citi Serviced Apartments for a hasty lunch, final pack and trip to the airport. However, we needn't have rushed as the flight is delayed by 45 minutes - we know from experience that it could have been much longer. Duty free has some interesting goods from PNG and I stock up on coffee, tea, Bougainville cocoa, chocolate and locally made soap to complement the baskets and bilums I bought at the mini-show. After the short flight (1 hour 45 minutes) I was pleased to arrive in Cairns and checkin to the Mantra Esplanade for a 2 night stay.
  19. Today we are returning to Port Moresby from Mt Hagen. The mini-bus is pre-booked for another job so we are driven in a Landcruiser with protective mesh over the windows and windscreen. Unfortunately the security guard at the airport gate didn't like the look of the vehicle and wouldn't it into the airport precinct, so we are decanted outside the airport and make a short walk to the entrance where our bags are manually searched because there is no security screening after which we finally get to checkin. Once again the Air Niugini plane is late and as we listen to a succession of updates we watch the smart people who booked PNG Air lining up and taking off. Eventually we fly at 3.30 pm having lost another half day's activity because of Air Niugini's poor performance. Some passengers were dismayed to see 2 fire engines spraying water on the plane as it taxied to take off - a retired fireman was leaving Mt Hagen and this was his farewell from former colleagues! Here are some aerial photos I took on the flight back to Port Moresby. We were supposed to spend the afternoon in the grounds of the Pacific Adventist University, known locally as PAU. We arrived close to 5 pm as the light was fading, however we did see Purple Swamphen, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Intermediate Egret, a solitary Hardhead, Sacred Kingfisher, Australian Figbird and Pied Heron. A Black-backed Butcherbird is sitting on a nest, which was a bonus sighting as we searched unsuccessfully for the Papuan Frogmouth. Pacific Black Ducks Comb-crested Jacana Intermediate egret Purple Swamp-hen Little cormorants Hardhead Plumed Whistling Ducks I'm sorry that the PAU excursion was so short and late with fading light not conducive to good photos. It's a pleasant campus, clean, green and peaceful from which we set out to return to the Citi-Serviced Apartments. The trip seems to end suddenly at dinner as we complete a final bird call and make arrangements for airport transfers next morning. All up, we have seen a total of 234 birds and the bird of the trip is a tie between Blue Bird of Paradise and the Flightless Rail.
  20. @AmyT I have faced this situation twice this year, and later today will be sending an email to an 'únsuccessful' bidder for a South African safari. What I usually do is obtain 2-3 quotes, not too many as this reduces the emails and the arguments at the end of the process. Sometimes I only get one quote, usually when I am travelling with an operator I know, or who is recommended by someone I trust or where there is limited/no choice for the itinerary that I want. When I seek more than one quote, I am usually so far out (maybe 18 months in advance) that the rates for the next year won't be available, so I just give the number of nights for an indicative booking. When the travelling dates become relevant I give the real dates to the preferred operator, just in case they hold accommodation and if requested I give different dates (but for the same number of nights) to other operators so that I obtain a comparative quote. This means that the outsiders can't hold accommodation that they later refuse to relinquish and as most accommodaton is held in the operators name rather than the client's name the accommodation place is usually none the wiser. Even if you don't ask an operator to hold accommodation, they often do anyway - not something you can do a lot about. If the unsuccessful operator is reputable, they will relinquish any held accommodation as soon as they receive the no thanks email. This whole business of wanting a second bite at the cherry and only providing a second and more reasonable quote late in the day is annoying and unfair to companies who put up a best price quote on the first response. Its too easy for companies who quote an unrealistic "first price" to make larger reductions in a second round which operators providing an honest response in the first round can't match - even though the end prices are probably going to be very close. It is all too easy to get involved in long-winded email conversations when an unsuccessful bidder attempts to get back into the race with promises of lower prices, extra inclusions and any number of 'better' deals. If they are very persistent it may be necessary to block their emails or send their emails straight to trash - I've never done this, but both are options that I have available. I do think it is important and fair to advise unsuccessful companies promptly so they are not unnecessarily holding bookings for vehicles, guides and accommodation. I always provide a truthful reason for why we are placing the booking with another company which is usually price-based but it can be based on itinerary choices or extra services offered by the successful company, often consolidating bookings or booking flights, transfers etc. Earlier in the year, I was looking for an operator for a Southern Tanzania safari and had been talking to a company who answered all my questions (and there were a lot), however there weren't many online reviews and in the end we ended up booking with a company who appeared to be better established and offered a 'wilder' safari experience as they operate seasonal camps in 3 Southern Tanzania parks. As we wanted the seasonal camp accommodation it seemed fair to switch to the operating company, particulalrly as the pricing was very similar. I advised Company A that we had accepted another quote that met our expectations, and they came back expressing disappointment and offering to assist in any future plans and offering. They asked for more details on whether it was a pricing or itinerary difference that influenced our final decision, to which I did not reply as I had already advised that it was itinerary differences rather than pricing that influenced the group's choice of operator. Providing quotes for services is part of the business of being a safari company and if some quotes are declined that is part of the safari business, surely? Later today I will be advising another company that they have been unsuccessful, and that the group has accepted another quote due to an exorbitant price difference. Company A have quoted 57,255 ZAR per single for a 20 day South African safari whilst Company B have quoted 82750 ZAR for the same itinerary - if my maths are correct, this is a 47% difference, why would I recommend to my group of friends that we book with them?? Both companies are well established and both have a notable web presence. There are also some itinerary gaps from Company B, e.g. I asked for Cape Town accommodaton and have been given Simons Town. I will advise Company B that there is a difference of more than 20K ZAR and that we have accepted the lower quote. I won't mention the itinerary difference as this provides them with an opportunity to re-open negotiations nor will I negotiate on the price. Company A provided a fair quote at the outset, and won't be able to match the value of any reductions offered by Company B - its not a fair race to re-open the conversation with both companies. I don't feel that I have to further justify this choice to Company B, nor do I have time to spend fielding emails. Its now time to get on filling out the booking forms and paying deposits to the successful operator. @TulipsI am sorry to hear that you have thrown in the towel for now on your next safari. There are many reputable in-country operators who will give you an honest price (OK, you might have to sort the wheat from the chaff). There are also plenty of people on ST who can help you choose and operator, won't you re-think the need for a Canadian agent? When I booked my first safari in 2004 I used an Australian agent, however one year down the track in 2005 I had realised the benefit of dealing with in-country operators and have done so ever since. I see that @Botswanadreams has come to the same conclusion. I understand your caution, however it is possible to book direct and save $$$ (and go to Africa more often )
  21. @janzin@Geoff@TonyQ thanks for your kind comments and your understanding regarding the difficult birding conditions. Now, on with the show, literally! Today we were attending the Mt Hagen Show (the maxi one). We had to collect our tickets which turned out to be a metal badge, and on the way we had a look around uninspiring Mt Hagen town. I noticed that there were a lot of trainers tied together and slung over power lines – strange that in this country where so little is wasted, one of the most common forms of rubbish is 10 metres overhead. At the show we had time for a quick look around the sale area before crossing the road to where hundreds of performers were in various states of dress (or undress?) - these Mt Hagen women using nail varnish and liquid paper to colour their faces. Flamboyance comes naturally in this country where shells, pig tusks, cassowary quills, feathers, human hair, moss and even a whole possum are included in the regalia on display, along with generous tankets. Bodies are coloured and covered by mud, clay and charcoal. Kundu drums are used extensively at the shows, made from local woods and lizard skin these produce a sonorous, intense drumbeat. Others are arranging tankets, feathers, body painting and primping in hand-held mirrors. About 60 groups participated in the show, although some cultures from the Mt Hagen area were repsented by multiple groups in the same costume. The Fire hat people and another group from Cillimulli with mossy green hair decorations made notable performances. The Huli are red today and the Skeleton Men were accompanied by a devil. This guy has a possum head-dress. No show is complete without the Asaro Mudmen. However, my favourite photos are the ones I took after the show had finished when everyone was tired, hot and relaxed. These are the apres show photos, like when Miss America peels off her gloves, removes the tiara and kicks off her shoes before reaching for a glass of wine at the end of the day. Again, some visitors entered into the spirit of the day. We left about 2 pm, making our way slowly through the crowd to the bus park, where the Mudmen were packing for home. The driver took us to a bottle shop on the way back to the hotel, so I took opportunity to look around the supermarket where a whole aisle was devoted to myriad varieties of tinned fish, another to 'square meat' (bully beef) and a third to cooking oil. These signs give a fair indication of the local diet. Closer to the hotel, these signs in pidgin (say it phonetically) are good fun. Electioneering, is it the same all over the world?
  22. @Geoff lovely photos of the intense Yellow-billed and Maribou storks feeding activity - looks like a popular spot. Sorry to hear that your first day was spoilt by a migraine. I hope the quality leopard sighting restored some joy into your day.
  23. This morning I decided against an early bird walk and slept in until 6.30. After breakfast I spent a last half hour at the feeder where the Ribbon-tailed Astrapias chased among the trees. A Regent Whistler bobbed about in a tree top but didn't stop for a photo and a pair of White-winged Robins flitted and flirted around the garden. This Friendly Flycatcher lived up to its name and posed perfectly. The next 2 days are a frenzy of face paint, feathers, finery and photos for today we attend the mini-show at Paiya village and tomorrow the singsing at Mt Hagen. Singsings are tribal get-togethers initiated by district patrol officers in the 1960s to bring together hostile tribes in an organised event that emphasised cultural diversity and provided a forum for peaceful social interaction. The singsings have moved on, and many performers now sport mobile phones and one group at Mt Hagen used nail polish and liquid paper for facial decoration. However, the gatherings are still important events on the PNG calendar and showcase the extravagant colours, tribal finery and bizarre headgear of unique tribes such as the Huli Wigmen and the Asaro Mudmen, a visual feast that is all the richer because such celebrations are rapidly disappearing from our world. At Paiya village we walked through the garden to get to the performance area. The pigs were housed in wooden shelters and this poor cassowary was being fattened to eat. The mini-show is a taster for the famous Mt Hagen singsing where about 60 ethnic groups come together to sing, dance and socialise. These people were applying make-up, with the help of an old rear view mirror note the headpiece that includes the plumes of 3 BoPs, King-of-Saxony, Superb and Lesser - enough said. Photography was a major focus of both days with the performers holding poses good-naturedly and mostly enjoying the attention. Well there is always one exception! Visitors with oversized cameras and mobile phones weave between performers, adopting some strange poses to get the best angle, snapping selfies – and screaming at other tourists to get out of the way. These guys had a grandstand seat. There were some good quality handcrafts on sale and I was accompanied by Win who advised whether the billums were made of natural or synthetic fibres and the quality of the baskets. Win The guys from Mt Garawe were ready quite early. The Hagen ladies receive a final dust-off before the show begins whilst the Enga girls have a mud treatment. The Asaro Mudmen are popular participants, they make sharp clacking noises with the bamboo "fingernails" and perform a high, slow step, twisty dance. The Huli Wigmen are crowd favourites and were the first performers once the show got underway, leaping and chanting around the parade-ground to the primal beat of kundu drums. I had been looking forward to seeing these wig-makers and warriors and whilst my pursuit of the hirsute was finally rewarded, I was dismayed at the number of Raggiana BoP head-dresses worn by this group and the number of hornbill necklaces. Hairdos are an important status symbol to the Huli, who take 18 months to grow hair which is made into wigs and modelled at singsings, complemented by egg-yellow face paint and plumed head-dresses. The price of a wig for sale at the Mt Hagen show was 80 Kina or about $40 AUD. The Huli have an apprentice along this year. Next came the Chimbu, dancing around a headman. followed by the graceful Enga ladies The Hagen ladies with the heavy shell necklaces danced in a circle and were followed by the Hagen men. Next came the Hagen Wigmen, a separate group from the Huli. The final act was the Skeleton Men from Chimbu. The ghostly, ghastly skeletons are moving - shuffling and twisting. As this group draws closer it becomes clear that they are not ghosts but tribesmen painted in black with a vivid white paint outlining the head and body to give the impression of a skeleton. They crept around the ground, twisting and grimacing for the crowd. After lunch the show closed with a make-believe war which is resolved by a marriage between the two tribes. At the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom agree to get married and the families negotiate a dowry of Kina shells and pigs. First the Kina shells are displayed and the pigs are bought out. In this society, land, pigs and women (in that order!) are symbols of wealth. The bride's family The groom's family. The locals enjoyed the performance and their numbers increased once school was over for the day. Some visitors also got into the spirit of the day. This guy from Spain had a great day. Driving back to Mt Hagen we once again negotiated the continuous potholes before arriving at the Shine Inn. The town is heavily fortified, most shops having both bars and grills. There are a lot of people around, long queues at the BSP ATM and a lot of mud at the market where an escaped pig was running around. I'll finish up with a few last photos from the mini-show.
  24. My apologies for taking such a long break, I have been recovering from whooping cough that I picked up in PNG. Before I begin the final sections on the Highland Shows where the many cultures of PNG are on display I wanted to add a bit about birding in PNG. PNG has a reputation as one of the most difficult birding spots in the world and I wish I had realised how different birding in PNG would be to birding in Africa and South America and adjusted my expectations accordingly. I hoped to see as many BoPs as possible and to get OK photos, not BBC standard but OK as I have achieved on other safaris. However, this is no Pantanal or Peru with a bird on every dead tree that will perch obligingly for photos. I discovered during this trip that I have a birding comfort threshold. I won't slog through mud, sweat, leeches and chiggers for promises of maybe sightings, give me the riverside perches of the Pantanal or the open savannah birding in Africa any day! There are hundreds of beautiful birds in PNG, with the fabled BoPs at the top of the list. Parrots, parotias, satin birds, bowerbirds, flowerpeckers and berrypeckers are highly sought after and scope and binocular views are usually possible, however it was taking decent photos that I really missed. A guy joined us for a day at Tonga village and he had a 400 mm lens, however his shots of the Blue Bird of Paradise were about the same as those I took on my Panasonic Lumix FZ200. One guy in our group left his 800mm lens at home because he was afraid it would be damaged in the difficult travelling conditions. The tropical rainforest is dark and the birds are hard to see, and when a bird is spotted it usually flies into the thickest part of the tree. The bird life is usually high up - the BoPs can be 30-50m high in the trees (out of arrow or trap range?) and sometimes the walk to the lek or perch is uphill or through ankle-deep mud or out in the blazing sun. Trails might also be infested with leeches or chiggers. Further, overcast skies fail to light up the bright colours making identification even more difficult. Ben, the Sicklebill guide and the local guides were good at identifying them from size, bill shape, flight pattern etc., but I found it hard to stay interested in silhouettes flying high above. Whilst waiting for the BoPs, we saw lots of other small birds, but views were fleeting and photography well nigh impossible due to foliage, poor views and light conditions. These difficulties result from the challenging landscape, lack of infrastructure and climate. The Sicklebill and local guides were always professional and very knowledgeable. The scope was always carried on each outing to allow for distant views.
  25. @lmSA84it is rather epic! There are 7 of us starting in Dar with a week in Dar/Zanzibar then 2 nights each for Mikumi and Udzungwa NPs before 4 nights at Kilimatonge Camp in Ruaha. We are picked up from Iringa from where we drive south through northern Zambia with 2 nights each at Kapishya (I am very keen to see Shiwa N'gandu aka the Africa House) and Mutinondo before overnighting for a night in Lusaka to provision for 6 nights in Kafue NP where we have to partly fend for ourselves at Hippo Bay campsite for 3 nights before spending the next 3 nights in lodges - be seeing you @KaingU Lodge. Our guide will then take us to Vic Falls for 2 nights and then we fly to JNB. Next up is a 3 night stay at Marrick Farm - there are a few changes in the group along the way. Four maybe 5 of the original 7 will have departed by the time we leave Marrick, however @farin and @GnuGnu are flying in for RSA and the Marrick and another 2 for the RSA sector only. In RSA we are at Tembe for 3 nights, Manyoni and Endomeni for 2 nights with 3 nights at St Lucia. This is followed by 2 nights each at Mountain Zebra and Karoo NPs and Cape Town after which the group trip ends. Three of us are staying on for an extra night in Cape Town and a 3 day trip to West Coast NP returning thru' the Winelands. Just 2 of us are continuing to Giant's Castle where the vulture hide has been booked for us and then we fly back to JNB where @Peter Connan has very kindly offered to take both myself and @farinto Marievale. I may stay on for a further 2 weeks if a scheduled Birds and Wildflowers trip gets off the ground. The company need 4 clients for this to run and so far I am the only one to show interest - the trip didn't run this yearand there is no one on a waiting list, so I think its unlikely (and very sad) that it won't run next year. I'd very much like to do it, but have booked my international flights to take advantage of a special and to ensure that I land in Dar with the others on 23 June 2018. I will post a detailed itinerary when the RSA sector is booked and deposits paid.

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