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Found 9 results

  1. Dear All, Happy Diwali ........ First of all, back home after another amazing trip to the Kwando concession. A million laughs, the joys of cheetah tracking through the heat of suicide month, what more can one ask for ....... Many many Thanks to Spencer and Mr.Moe for another magical safari up and down the Kwando Concession. Many highlights which include the new very young Cheetah coalition trying to take a strangle hold of the neighbourhood, the dominant Lagoon Super Pride, Incredible Carmine colony, Bumping into a Cheetah mum and cubs who had never been seen before or who in turn had possibly never seen a vehicle before , stumbling into random Lions trying to make their way from the migratory corridor from Namibia, not to forget bumping into a curious Aardwolf while cheetah tracking, massive Elephant herds........ but, start with the first few photos from my final morning
  2. We booked this trip with African Travel Resource as we did not get the desired travel dates with our German TO. ATR was able to produce the desired dates. Itinerary: 07.11. depart from Frankfurt with KLM via Amsterdam to Johannesburg – overnight OR Tambo Garden Court 08.11. - 13.11. Kwara Camp, Okavango Delta 13.11. - 15.11. Lebala Camp, Kwando 15.11. - 18.11. Lagoon Camp, Kwando 18.11. Johannesburg – overnight OR Tambo Garden Court 19.11. - 21.11. Berg En Dal Restcamp, Kruger National Park 21.11. - 25.11. Satara Restcamp, Kruger National Park 25.11. - 03.12. Wine 6 Dine Safari Cape Winelands We chose to fly KLM for 2 reasons: 1. they do have a Premium Economy class with more leg room 2. due to the ne regulations, which allow only one piece of luggage pp, we had to store our luggage at the OR Tambo hotel and repack our safari stuff into 2 softbags. The KLM was a dayflight. So we did not have to kill time in JNB. 08.11. day one Kwara Flying into the Okavango Delta showed, what we had to expect: it was raining. The delta looked already green, greener than we experienced in previous years. With us in the plane was AT, who was supposed to be our tracker at Kwara, which we did not know at that time. On the air strip we were awaited by our guide Dix. AT + Dix Funny enough, Dix was our guide some years ago in the Mapula Lodge. 2 years ago Matt was our guide in Lagoon, who was also guiding us one day at Mapula. We come so many years to the Kwando camps, but we never get the a guide, we had before. We were told, that we would be the only guests this afternoon, the next morning we should be with another couple and the rest of our stay it would always be a full car. The pack of 28 African Wild Dogs are around and we find them quickly on our afternoon drive. The light is very low, something we should experience on almost every drive. It´s a high ISO safari. All these shots here are taken between ISO 6400 and 8000. We stay the whole drive with the dogs. They caught an Impala and are busy feeding. The puppies gave us a nice show. As usual there is the battle for the impala head, something we witnessed almost on every impala kill. The alpha female is extremely pale, Dix says, that she came over from Vumbura to the Kwara area. Mapula´s just next door to Vumbura, so he knew this striking dog. while the alpha male has seen better times, when standing still he almost falls, he´s tumbling his way. The guides hope, that he dies quickly. That sounds strange, but it is for good reason. The sooner he dies, the sooner a new male from outside the pack will replace him, that should happen so early, that he will be able to produce new puppies for the next season. Everybody of the Kwando guides seemed to know, that my Leopard pic was the runner up at 2013s competition. The Guides we had throughout our trip always asked me, if I was happy with the pictures I took, maybe a bit selfish, as the guide who´s guiding the winner also gets a price. Nevertheless I found the guides, with one exception, not too knowledgable on the photography side. They all tried to drive you right into the action. Many times we were to close, shooting upside down. I know, that it´s a problem in a shared vehicle to get everybody happy. On one occasion, I asked Dix not to drive to close to the animal, esp. for the perspective, and there was big laugh from our fellow car sharers, from which one was also a big-gear photographer, who laughed the loudest. He should have the same problem as me. That was the day one, we found my loved dogs. The guiding team is good and Kwara is Kwara! And Kwara still had a lot to show!
  3. In 2003, I decided to see what was happening north of Selinda, while saying that the region should be similar. Although the atmosphere of the Kwando camps was different, I was not disappointed. I spent a week in Lebala & Lagoon. This trip was followed by three others in 2006, 2009 & 2011, each time including Kwara. In 2003, there were many lions, including the three males’ coalition that had dominated the Selinda pride for a few years, and wild dogs, but no leopards or cheetahs. During my four travels, I will, moreover, see, and very briefly, only very few cheetahs, at Kwara, as well as at Lebala and Lagoon. Like what, an individual reality never totally reflects THE reality of a place. There is not a single cheetah’s picture in this report. The lion population has decreased over the years. In 2011, I saw only 2 shy males feeding on the carcass of a young elephant, they had not killed, and that hastened to clear off when we arrived. In Kwara, on the other hand, the lions were still present, and continuously. Wild dogs, more discreet in Kwara, were mostly found in Lagoon, on a daily basis. As for leopards, from 2006, we could see them regularly everywhere. Elephants were everywhere, especially in Lebala. There were more great buffaloes’ herds in 2003 than in subsequent years. There were also sightings, that if not many, were regular, of smaller cats and honey badgers. May 2003 The pictures and some of 2006 are slides’ scans. Lagoon was managed by a lady who, if I remember correctly, was the wife of the chief-pilot of Moremi Air. Charles Sebaka was my guide. The camp was as I like, comfortable and without ostentatious luxury. The tents had a side entrance. It was then a small hall / dressing room with, en-suite, to the right the bathroom, and left the bedroom, facing the lagoon. I remember all this because one day, returning to my tent, I came up against something unpleasant, that, at the extreme, could have ended badly for me. More details on this a bit further. The dining room had no floor or tiles. The table and chairs were laid on the sand. Pictures taken from and around the camp. Lebala was managed, on an interim basis, by a charming young woman, Dee. Ras Mundu was my excellent guide. Ras is a brother of Barberton (BB) who was guide at Selinda. I do not quite remember the details of the camp. I imagine that the tents were to be similar to those of Lagoon. To be continued
  4. I have previously posted a TR about my ventures with guide Steve Kgwatalala in This TR will cover my other trips to the Kwando properties with different guides. In August 2004 after spending 6 days with Steve K at Lagoon/Lebala I finished the trip wit 3 days at Kwara. I was in a shared vehicle with some Germans that would qualify for a post in "Pet peeves on safari". My guide was Joe who did a decent job. However he was not truly passionate about his job and left the safari industri shortly after. On the first game drive we were just out of camp when we came across a Buffalo herd of at least a thousand animals. Two male Lions, intruders, were watching them. It was fascinating to watch them for almost an hour as the Buffalo herd walked slowly past. The Lions were clearly waiting for the tail end of the herd. Finally the herd was past with only a few Dagga boys trailing behind and the one Lion went into action expecting the other to follow. However the other Lion was too "love sick" to bother and nothing came out of the hunt. On the way back to camp we had some nice sigthings of Porcupine and Giant Eagle Owl on the airstrip. The next morning we did a Mekoro trip. A nice way to spend the morning but a little too quiet for my taste. Little Bee-eater Coming back to camp we saw one of the male Lions from the previous evening lying very close to my tent /nr 8) We went to investigate and got a glimpse of him mating with a female and then returning to a kill he had made nearby. Another predator in our safari vehicle.
  5. many thanks to the Safari Talk forum for help in planning an exceptional 18 day safari in Botswana and Zambia. Special shout out to Safari dude who introduced us to Benson Siyawareva who still has us laughing..what a great guy and guide who went with us to Botswana. Also always appreciate Twaffle's help as her advice has been so spot on over the years....And Fiona at Ngoko Safaris did all the arrangements superbly...not a hitch, not even one..... arrived home at about noon and started downloading the images to my computer so will have something to post shortly..... camps were Little Vumbura, Little Kwara, Lagoon, Lebala, Kaingo and Mwamba with a one night stay at Royal Livingstone as we moved from Botswana to Zambia...stayed 3 nights at all the camps except Lebala where we split 5 days between Lagoon and Lebala.... Saw every kind of game imaginable with lots of predator action and babies as well.....and who can forget a Ferrari Safari with the wild dogs? Anyway thanks again for being such a valuable resource.... Mr and Mrs Mosquito
  6. In the "better late than never" category, I thought it was about time I repaid the forum by presenting a trip report. I confess, I do not keep any kind of daily diary--any free time on a trip is taken up with photographing, downloading and backing up photos. The photos are my diary! So this won't be a day-by-day, drive-by-drive account, but I'll try to hit the highlights on a camp-by-camp basis. This trip to Botswana came about rather side-ways; we were planning Zambia, not really thinking we could afford Botswana, since I'd always heard how pricey it is. But we soon discovered that our time frame--which would afford us low-season rates, mid-to-late November--could be excruciatingly hot in Zambia. We were working with Bill Givens at Wildsource, and he suggested that for similar money we could do Green Season in Botswana. Okay! We'd read much about how "easy" it is to see Wild Dogs in the Okavango camps, and that was high on my list of "most wanted", since after three prior African trips we'd yet to see one. We are also pretty serious birders and wanted to get some specialty birds like Carmine Bee-eater and Pel's Fishing Owl. To make a long story short, we ended up with three nights in each of four camps: Kwara, Lagoon, Duma Tau, and Xigera. We were hesitant about Xigera because it offered less chance of big predators (or so we thought--more on that later but included it for the birds. And surprisingly it turned out to be our absolute favorite of all the camps we visited. On our way to Kwara! Kwara was our first camp and first experience in Botswana, and things started out slowly and a bit disappointingly. Naturally, as soon as we arrived we inquired about the dogs, which had been making a great show of it all summer. Of course, they had moved off and hadn't been seen in a week Oh well, there is lots more to see! Lions! Leopard! And lots of birds! Well....Kwara was slow. Really slow. It was extremely hot...inside our tent on one afternoon break my thermometer read 104F. Ouch! I spent the break sitting on the porch pouring cold water over my head. But we did get some lovely sights of non-predators, and birds. Here are a few highlights: We did find one sleepy lion--the only lion we saw at Kwara: And one Spotted Hyena on a night drive: And some birds....I spotted this guy outside our room as I was sitting on the porch pouring water over my head That's probably enough for one post, to be continued....
  7. Hello, Greetings!!!! Just back to Joburg and back to the real world again after a rocking safari in the Kwando concession. Lebala is rocking at the moment!!!!! Quick update from the triple den situation .............. Initially there was a lot of apprehension from the three mothers who gave birth to the puppies, but, now things seem to be settling down. One of the mums seem to have adopted all pups into her den and the other two mums are off hunting with the other 5 in the pack. The 3 intruding males from Muvumbi seem to be absolutely useless at hunting. Could not even count the number of puppies - that many! well over 20! ............... they also started eating meat. Good times for anyone visiting Lebala. Cheetah wise - had some amazing viewing of the two new young males that pop in and out of the concession. They certainly are show stoppers - they pose and perform brilliantly. One particular day - we had them perform from sun up to sun down ................. could not break for morning coffee or lunch. Had to eat lunch in the car.............. serving lunch from the tupper ware boxes. Brilliant!!! They are better at posing than hunting - yet, we were the first to have ever witnessed a hunt of them in view of the game drives (a warthog piglet). Alas, no sighting of the 3 old brothers - who seem to perfer the Muvumbi valley (I was almost in tears having missed them) ........... Oh well - I think they are slow with age and can't quite cover the huge grounds anymore. Lions - what can I say? ............. best Lion viewing on the concession since atleast 2007 ................ Leopard and cub at lagoon. Good plains game. Elephants and buffalo not in their massive numbers yet ............... Some awesome Tssesebe sightings ( I dig Topi/Tssesebe these days) .......... One 45 minute sighting of Sable in Lagoon. Travelled with 3 others - it was the first visit for two others ............. They loved every minute of it - the people, the experience and just about everything ....... As always, a HUGE Thank You to Spencer and Mr.Moe ........... Another great experience! Thanks to Leso for his wonderful camp management at Lebala - a truly awesome time!!! P.S - my trip started with pangolin on my first game drive (my second ever!) ........... at 4 PM - I hadn't seen impala or kudu at that point in my trip. That elusive Aardvark will have to wait another trip. Now the low point ........... I packed my camera gear at sunset and left the lions last night ............... what happens next? literally 5 minutes later - they kill two wildebeest. Oh well!!! Trust everyone is doing well and chat soon!
  8. This was my wife's (Stephanie) and my (Chris) fourth safari all in Botswana and this is my first report, so if I am getting it wrong please say so. Our trip was influenced by reading the trip reports posted here. We decided to try Nxai Pan and Tau Pan based on michael-ibk's report. We have been to Lagoon and Lebala before and always enjoyed the game drives there. We used Safari Specialists in Maun as our TA, they were substantially cheaper than ATR. Our itinery was: Nxai Pan Nov 25-28 Tau Pan Nov 28-Dec 01 Lagoon Dec 01-04 Lebala Dec 04-07 Approaching Nxai Pan, you may just make out the elephants at the water hole far right. Our guide was Moshabi (Spencer's younger brother) and our tracker was Obzar. Elephant. Emu + 9 youngsters We then went to one of the man made water holes and more elephant. We had stopped a little way from the water hole we moved closer and the road turned to the left and there she was. I didn't notice where she was looking. Then one arrived. Then the second. Followed by the third. And finally number four. As it was late we had to miss our sundowner, it was well worth it. On our way back to camp, a lonely wilderbeast.
  9. I didn´t have a lot expectations as we started to this trip. Organizing it was a bit chaotic. We used frequent traveler miles to get into Johannesburg and booked early, which was a mistake. We should have first looked into availability of camps before booking the flight. But we waited for that, expecting the Wilderness Safari Summer Special. When it came out, the camps were almost booked for the time we had already booked our flights for. We´ve booked from JNB to Maun with Air Botswana, return flight should go to Cape Town directly with their new routing. But again, Air Botswana cancelled this connection. So I cancelled Air Botswana and we booked South African Airlink, which came out to be a very good decision, new aircraft and on schedule. No more Air Botswana for me as long there is this SAA connection into Maun. Packing was another challenge as there is this new 1 bag p.p. regulation on Lufthansa. As we always go to Cape Town for a week after Safari, we usually pack on bag each for Safari and one bag together for CT. Now we had to pack all our Safari stuff in one bag as we didn´t want to carry all our stuff into camp. In Johannesburg we realized that the lady on the check-in counter only checked one bag thru to Maun, she forgot to do it for the second bag. Luckily we received both bags in Maun and left one in the airline´s office as always. The schedule: 10. - 14.11. Kwando Lagoon 14. - 15.11. Little Kwara 15. - 17.11. Kwara 17. - 19.11. Planet Baobab then off to the Cape I carried my new 5D MKIII, not knowing exactly how to set it up with lenses (no crop). I didn´t really feel that I was ready for Safari. So let´s start with the trip report. I will do it on day by day, with mostly pictures, I am not that much the „writer“. First and last words on food: food was good and plenty, drinks were cold and mostly alcoholic ) 10.11.2012 Kwando Lagoon We were picked up at the airstrip by our guide Matt and the tracker Aaron. We´ve met Matt some years ago, when he was guiding us on one drive at the Mapula Lodge in the Okavango Delta. He is now new with the Kwando organization. The new Toyota Land Cruisers arrived a week before, they look good with 3 rows à 2 guests. The guides take good care on these cars and we had the impression, that the times of excessive hunting with wild dogs are over at Kwando with these cars, which would be a shame. Managers in Camp were Ob, Maipelo and Tussu. It was a big hello as we knew Ob and Maipelo from our trip in 2010. We immediately felt at home and as we saw Spencer everything was fine. On our first drive we´ve been with 6 guests in the car, which was the only time with a full vehicle on our trip. Of our 14 drives we had the car on 7 drives for our own, much better than in 2010. With us were 2 couples from the UK, Steve and Pat (nice birders), the others I forgot the names. In all 3 camps we realized, that there were NO guests from the US, mostly british, a few German, some swiss, dutch and indian. Okay enough of that, first game drive. Matt said, that the Lagoon Pack was around and we found them quickly. They looked well-fed and they did the lion thing: nothing! I know, it might sound arrogant, but that was a boring sighting of African Wild Dogs. I took advantage of the high ISO performance of my new 5d, especially when we met a herd of Elephants at extreme low light. I pushed the ISO up to 2500 and the results were great. The night drive was as most of the night drives quite. I don´t know, why these night drives in Botswana are mostly poor, while in the South Luangwa Valley you get to see so much at night. So, that was it for the first day. We were tired after a long journey and looked forward to the next day

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