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Found 13 results

  1. As last year, I left Selinda in the middle of the morning and landed at Kasane at noon. A driver was waiting for me. The formalities at the two border posts were carried out, as usual, without problems. Two hours later, we reached Hwange Town where we turned right and quickly arrived at Mbala Gate where my guide of last year, Washington Sibandi, was waiting for me. He was again my guide but only for the three first days. For the two last days, I joined Adam Jones, who was guiding a keen photographer who was in camp for fifty-five days. For information, the journey to the camp is about 2 hours and a half if you do not see anything spectacular on the way. In this year of heavy rains, the situation was similar to that of Selinda ; water everywhere, on the roads and on the plains. Hwange had, moreover, given itself some airs of Okavango. So apart from hippos, shy elands, solitary elephants and some plains game, we did not see a lot of mammals. No matter what, we were again able to focus on birds and smaller creatures. There were nevertheless some good and interesting sightings of lions, leopard, martial eagle, spotted eagle owls and…… bullfrogs. Concerning the camp itself, nothing more to add to what I wrote in the report on my stay last November : still a great place with great people. The day of my arrival, between Masuma and Shumba, we found the Masuma pride making its way on the road. Unfortunately, it did not stay there and disappeared very quickly on the left side in the mopanes and the kopjes. When we arrived at the camp, we were told that four lions, two females and two sub adults, called the Super Models, had been spotted nearby. Photo taken in the space between the hood of the vehicle and the windscreen, turned down on it. One of the two dominant males of the Masuma pride, Liam or Mandla, seen near Masuma. Another lion, this one nomadic, was heard roaring every night and even seen by other guests feeding on a dead elephant.
  2. Hi, Safaritalkers, I just got back from my 2017 vacation (Israel and Jordan) and am back on track to go back to Africa in 2018! I realized that is where my heart is and I dream about going back there all the time. (my son is studying abroad in Jordan so that was great to go see him there as well, but no lions....) I've done two Africa trips--one to Botswana in June 2012 (3 camps in the Delta, Sandibe, Okuto, and Shinde), and Victoria falls. The second trip in 2015 I visited in May and went to Mashatu (Botswana), and Sabi Sands, and Phinda in South Africa. I'm very interested in trying a "green season" trip for the different experience, especially in terms of photographic potential, but I wanted to get some frank advice. First of all the bugs--I don't love bugs, but I understand of course there are more of them in the summer. But how bad is it? Are there mosquitos constantly buzzing in your ears all night long? (LOL) Also, I'd like to be able to see baby animals, and am trying to figure out which month is optimal, January, February, or March. Also, the heat--is it really bad, i.e. like you can't sleep? I'm a Southern California person so I'm not used to humidity, but I also don't plan to be doing walking safaris, which I believe is not usually done at that time of the year anyway. I'm thinking Zimbabwe because I haven't been there and I really would like to economize a bit on this trip. I saw some camps in Zimbabwe in green season where you can get specials for as little as $250-$350 a night, and I would like to stay in that range if possible. I also may be traveling on my own, another reason for Green Season since I understand you can often get single supplements waived or lower at that time. Has anyone here done Hwange in green season? Or should I look at going back to Botswana? I think Botswana even in green season will be out of that price range. If I went back there I would be interested in Chobe and maybe the Nxai pans, but I'm not sure about Chobe in green season. Also I am very interested in hides--I loved the hides at Mashatu, but I"m not sure if hides work well in the summer months. I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with green safaris about your thoughts. One other thing, having done very luxurious camps like Sandibe and Phinda I am actually looking for a more "camping-like" experience this time (although not participatory camping). I'm thinking I may try to include Mashatu and do their tented camp instead of the lodge, where we were last time. Also, I was wondering if anyone has any experience with &Beyond's mobile camping trips in Botswana? They look very nice but are still pretty expensive. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  3. This report relates mainly to my ten day stay in March this year. I have included pictures, scans of slides, made in May 1998 during a business trip as well as those taken in September 2000 during a ten day stay. In 1998, I spent only one night in Hwange and I completely forgotten where it was (nothing unforgettable, I guess ?). I made one game drive from Main Camp to Robin’s Camp. I saw a lot of elephants and hippos. The following pictures were taken somewhere between Sinamatela and Robin. If I remember rightly, ten days in high season, even with better viewing conditions (less vegetation and no tall grass), sixteen years ago, were not better than ten days in green season, nowadays, but this is only my opinion.
  4. I left Somalisa Camp in Hwange early in the morning. Another car was waiting for me at Main Camp. We took the road to Vic’ Falls. Conversely, there was a continuous traffic of trucks carrying copper from Zambia to South Africa. Without entering Vic’Falls, we took the road to the border post of Kazungula. After having met the Zimbabwe and Botswana exit and entry formalities, we went to Kasane airport for the Mack Air flight to Selinda. For those who did not have a look at my report on Duba Plains, I repeat, here, certain things that were said there. Selinda was the third stopping place of a three weeks trip in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Thus far, I had never been in Africa in March, it was my first green season safari. Throughout the trip, thunder storms and rains were present until they abruptly stop the day after I arrived in Duba, my fourth stop. Moreover, when I arrived at Selinda, it was raining and there will be daily showers throughout my stay. Wet morning Wild dogs in the rain The priority concern of Great Plains is the Guest. He is king. In this context, game drive times are extremely flexible. Secondly, their policy is to allocate , to the extent possible, a vehicle by visiting entity (family, small group or individual). In fact, it is almost a private vehicle included in the daily rate. In each tent, as well as in Duba, there is a pair of Swarovski binoculars at guests’ disposal. Why did I come back to Selinda after nine years? In the following report, I said, for some reasons, that I would never go back to Selinda. Well, never say never. When I prepared this trip in the beginning of February, I decided to go to Duba Plains. At this stage I had not yet chosen a second camp. I said to myself that I might get a good price if I chose one of the same company. Selinda was the only option. I got a fair price and eventually, I realized that I was very happy to go back. Off the plane, two typical aspects of Selinda made me immediately dive into the bath of the past, despite the tall grass and the fact that the vegetation was lush and extremely green : the omnipresent smell of the wild sage and the tall palm trees. Taken from the seat near the driver Selinda Camp is a luxurious camp but is not like a lot of others of the same type, more a hotel than a camp. It still has that deep camp spirit and atmosphere maintained by the management and staff. So, thanks a lot to Noxy, Banaki and the whole staff for their competence, professionalism and great sense of humour. There is a wine cellar, which is for me totally unnecessary in a bush camp but I must say, as a fan of good wines, that it is well stocked with fine south african wines. I was very surprised and pleased to meet someone that I was not expecting to see again. I did not know that he was still working at Selinda. When he guided me in 2004, when I was staying at old Zib, Motsamai (Mots) Murundu was a young guide with no experience at all. Now he is the new Kanawe. My excellent guide, this time, was one of the Mokopi brothers, Gobusamang (Kops). Both are called Kops but fortunately the other one is guiding at Duba. Selinda was not as spectacular as Duba, mainly because of the tall grass. Yet, the five days allowed me to see many species. I did not see sables and cheetahs. Giraffe in the rain Wet jackal in the wet grass
  5. I was coming from Selinda. As my stay in Great Plains two camps exceeded six days, I had the advantage of a helicopter transfer, a thirty-five minutes flight at very low altitude, with some showers on the way. Duba was the fourth and last stopping place of a three weeks trip in Zimbabwe and Botswana. It was my first trip since October 2014 and after a year 2015 to forget, due to serious health problems. Thus far, I had never been in Africa in March, it was my first green season safari and my first visit to Duba . Throughout the trip, thunder storms and rains were present until they abruptly stop the day after I arrived in Duba. I was one of the last guests. Indeed, at the moment, the full demolition of the camp is in progress and construction of a new, that will open on April 10, is nearing completion a few hundred meters further. The priority concern of Great Plains is the Guest. He is king. In this context, game drive times are extremely flexible. Secondly, their policy is to allocate , to the extent possible, a vehicle by visiting entity (family, small group or individual). In fact, it is almost a private vehicle included in the daily rate. I was lucky, the guide that was allocated to me was Vundi. Indeed he was by far the best of all those present during my stay. The first two days, Dereck and Beverly Joubert were in the camp and as, at mealtimes, it is communal dining, it was an opportunity to discuss with them about many issues related to wildlife conservation. Duba is a unique place, the scenery like nowhere else. Despite the absence, of the fact that it is an island, of a number of species, this place is really mesmerizing. On the island, there are no cheetahs, or wild dogs, or zebras, or wildebeests, or black-backed jackals, or elands, or giraffes, or roan and sable antelopes, or ostriches. It was the first time that I visited a place without impalas and that was rather disconcerting. Red lechwes and warthogs are in great number and lions and elephants, the stars. There are also, in broad daylight, a lot of hippos on the ground, as many as in the water. It was a moment question of introducing white rhinos but the project was canceled, perhaps because all the guarantees of their safety and protection were not met.
  6. First of all I'd like to thank all the Safaritalkers for sharing their experience and expertise on destinations around the world. It's now my turn to add to the resource, even if it's only a minimal addition. I've been on a few safaris, and my target season has always been the dry or winter season as I had thought that was the 'best' time to go. My last safari was in Ruaha in October 2014, the height of the dry season. My guide at the time strongly recommended a return visit in the green season, particularly because I am interested in birds. I did some research on what to expect prior to booking my first green season safari, but I had a hard time finding as much information as I wanted as the vast majority of postings described the dry season. Having just returned, I would rate my visit to Ruaha in February was a resounding success. I prefer the lush views, the moisture in the air, cooler temperatures, fewer tsetse bites, and watching the herbivores revel in the time of plenty. There were butterflies galore and a myriad other little creatures (like chameleons, frogs and crabs) that immeasureably increased my enjoyment of the trip. I have to admit that I do not have a strong interest in predators or big cats for which the guides recommend a dry season visit. Also the rainfall during my visit was well above that expected, and resulted in the flooding of a few camps and difficulties traversing the terrain. I stayed at Kwihala for 10 days and loved every minute. I'll let my pictures do the talking. Please feel free to ask questions and I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability. I'll start with just a few photos to see how things look... Flap Necked Chameleon Kirk's Dik Dik The guides admit that Ruaha lions don't have poster boy good looks, but their battle scars are evidence of their preference for hunting big game.
  7. Udzungwa National Park & Ruaha National Park 10-15th March 2014 Setting out early from Iringa and enjoying views into the Udzungwa mountains for much of the journey we arrived at Hondo Hondo lodge in time for lunch. We were greeted by four primate species (baboons, udzungwa red colobus, black & white colobus and sykes monkey) in the trees around the restaurant. Keen to explore the forest we soon headed to the park gate and our first trail up into the mountains. The humidity and steepness of the trail made the afternoon more taxing than expected, not to mention the illusive elephants having trashed parts of the trail the night before. However frequent monkey sightings and the excitement of being in such a different and unique habitat put our tired legs to the back of our minds. The next day after what surely must be one of the finest cooked breakfasts in all of Tanzania, we headed out to walk the Sanje Falls trail. During the rainy season the falls are impressive to say the least and the view from the top is nothing short of spectacular. Our efforts were rewarded with a breathtaking swim at the foot of the falls and Lucy's famous cinnamon buns on return to the lodge. The second half of the trip began with the awesome view from Hilltop lodge followed by a walk into the last village along the road into Ruaha, Tungamalenga. The bush is lush and green at the moment with wildflowers and butterflies everywhere. The guys then got to visit the Wildlife Connection library and learn about how beehive fences can help local farmers with an additional livelihood and protect their crops from elephants. We were joined on the walk back by two trainee guides from the locally run guide school who impressed us with their knowledge of local birds and tree species. After lunch it was time to head to the park, personally I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the river and how green the park was, having seen it dry for so long. Despite the rain we managed to find two male lions and enjoyed their company right next to the car before the light began to fail. Over the following days we relaxed by the river, ate our fill of chapatis and got very lucky with our sightings which included cheetah on consecutive days, plenty of elephants, bat eared fox and pushing 100 birds species without really trying. But for me the highlights were an early morning bush walk along the Great Ruaha River which was really living up to its name and a wonderful encounter with a heard of elephants late on the last evening, feeding and socialising around us as the sun went down - magic! Big thank you to Mark, Martyn & Becky (not forgetting Habibu) for making it such a great safari. You can find photos from the trip above. What they said: "Thank you for a great week, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience & will remember it for a long time! Having you along with your extensive knowledge of the animals, ecosystems and local social/political influences definitely enhanced the experience (without it becoming a dull educational field trip!). I was pleasantly surprised to find the walk outside of the national park & into the local village just as enjoyable and interesting as being in the park - it's a great unique experience that we wouldn't have received with many other tour operators." Martyn Rosser. "Thanks again for a wonderful trip: very well organised and good choice of vehicle and safe driver Habibe. Paul's passion for the wildlife of Africa provides both added interest and enjoyment to the trip. I would say the end of the rainy season is a time to go as the country and game are at their prime. " Mark Westwood. If you are interested in a safari, you can contact us here:
  8. Ngoko Safaris is delighted to announce our first small group scheduled departure with Benson Siyawareva, a guide that many on this forum are already very familiar with. Over the years we have been asked time and time again by potential guests whether there is a scheduled departure they can join, in order to allow them to travel with Benson at a more affordable price than booking him exclusively. Each time the answer has been an apologetic no. We have considered running a scheduled small group trip many times but always found reasons not to. Well for the very first time we are taking the plunge and offering our guests the opportunity to travel with Benson as a specialist guide, within a small group of maximum six guests. For this trial trip we have chosen to travel during the photogenic Green Season in Botswana, staying at the Kwando camps which are some of Benson’s personal favorites. The summer rains are a time of plenty in Africa; mammals are fat and healthy and for many species, it is a time to bring their young into the world. The bush is an emerald green, dotted with an abundance of flowers and migrant bird species arrive in their thousands. For the experienced African traveller and specialist photographer, this is the time to visit southern Africa. In brief the itinerary is: 11 March 2015: Start Maun, Botswana. Scheduled light air transfer Maun – Tau Pan 3 nights Tau Pan Camp, Central Kalahari 14 March: Scheduled light air transfer Tau Pan – Little Kwara 3 nights Little Kwara Camp, Kwara Concession, Okavango Delta 17 March: Scheduled light air transfer Little Kwara – Lebala Camp 2 nights Lebala Camp, Kwando Concession 19 March: Game drive transfer Lebala – Lagoon Camp 2 nights Lagoon Camp, Kwando Concession 21 March: Scheduled light air transfer Lagoon – Kasane, Botswana to connect with your International Flight (or we could arrange to extend your trip, perhaps with a few nights in Victoria Falls or Cape Town or even continuing the safari experience) Price: US$7,250.00 per person sharing. No single supplement (maximum 2 singles per group). Price Includes: Accommodation with all meals and beverages, including premier brands (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), all game viewing activities and laundry; Services of Benson Siyawareva as specialist guide throughout; All transfers starting in Maun (Botswana) and ending in Kasane (Botswana). We could arrange for you to finish in Maun instead of Kasane or fly direct to another safari camp in Botswana. From Kasane it is simple to arrange a road or air transfer to Victoria Falls. There are daily flights between Johannesburg/Maun and Kasane/Johannesburg. Private open game-viewing vehicle at each safari camp with a “window” seat for each guest; Maximum 6 guests. Price Excludes: International flights (to Maun and returning from Kasane); Visas; Compulsory travel insurance; All relevant entry and departure Government taxes; Gratuities; All personal purchases; All other travel arrangements pre or post the safari and any new Government taxes or levies; Fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control. We are extremely excited to be offering this special itinerary and already have a confirmed booking, so there are only two rooms still available. If you think you may be interested please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information and a detailed itinerary. We look forward to hearing from you! Contact details: Fiona Thompson Director - Ngoko Safaris Tel: +44 (0)1442 827500 Mob: +44 (0)7709 339341 Email: Web: Skype: ngoko.fiona
  9. Cue Elton John This zebra foal is minutes old Itinerary, booked with The Wild Source, using Guide George Mbwambo 1 night Manyara at Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge + 7 nights Ndutu at Wild Frontier Camp = 8 nights, 9 days on safari. 2014 Feb 12 Depart Chicago 4:25 pm on KLM Flight 0612 to Amsterdam, then KLM Flight 0571 to Kilimanjaro. Feb 13 Arrive Kilimanjaro at 8:50 pm and o/nt KIA Lodge, 5 minutes from airport on hotel shuttle. Feb 14 Depart KIA Lodge, Kilimanjaro 7:30 am and arrive Lake Manyara 11:15 am, 30 minutes of stops enroute. Game drive from arrival until 6:00 pm, boxed lunch. O/nt Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge. Feb 15 Depart Wildlife Lodge about 7:00 am after breakfast, morning game drive in Lake Manyara until 11:00 am. Arrive at Ngorongoro Conservation Area Lodoare gate at 12:00* noon. Box lunch and arrive at Wild Frontier Camp in Ndutu 6:15 pm, game drive enroute. Feb 16 – 21 Ndutu. Depart Wild Frontier Camp at 6:30 am with breakfast and lunch boxes, return to Wild Frontier Camp between 5:55 and 6:25 pm. One mid-morning until afternoon excursion (4.5 hours round trip) to the plains at the foot of Gol Mountains. Feb 22 Depart Wild Frontier Camp at 6:30 am with breakfast and lunch boxes, arrive at Ngorongoro Conservation Area Lodoare gate at 11:45 am.* Back in Kilmanjaro about 4:15 pm after a 25 minute stop in Arusha. KLM Flight 0569 at 9:50 pm to Amsterdam, then KLM Flight 0611 to Chicago. Feb 23 Arrive Chicago 2:25 pm. * To avoid paying for another day in the park ($50 I think it is) you need to arrive back at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Lodoare gate no later than the hour you entered. Park permits are in 24 hour increments. A short grace period is sometimes granted, especially during the rainy season when vehicles get stuck and delayed. Wildebeest calf being born
  10. We are a family with teenagers, planning our first safari as an add-on to a trip to Cape Town. If we only have 4-5 nights, which combination of Okavango, Linyanti and Nxai Pan would be best at that time of year? Since it is our first time, our primary interest is game viewing, and we would be happy to see lots of animals (giraffe, zebras, elephant, buffalo, etc.), and not just predators. All advice appreciated!
  11. We are just back from a green season mobile safari to The Central Kalahari and Moremi Game Reserve with Moses Ntema, owner of Unlimited Tours ( and Safaris in Maun, Botswana (
  12. I am trying to arrange my first safari on a tight budget which means I'll have to travel in the green season or maybe shoulder if I save harder. What I want to know is the standard of game viewing around May or June in the area. I've looked through all the trip reports but they are all based around July to Oct which will be out of my reach unfortunately. I would like to start with 4 or 5 days in a camp with walking/game drives followed by say 3 days doing the canoe trail then back to a camp for more drives/walking for the last say 4 days. All dates/itineraries can be very flexible it's the budget that will decide so all suggestions will be taken on board and looked at before the final decision is made. Thank you in advance for any input on this subject. Andy.
  13. Itinerary: Jan 2: Kalahari Plains Camp Jan 3-4: Camping in Passarge Valley Jan 5-6: Camping in Deception Valley Jan 7-9: Chitabe Lediba Jan 10-12: Duba Plains I just returned from my second safari to Botswana. Our last trip was in June, so I wanted to try something different for this trip. I settled on a green season trip to the Kalahari and the Okavango Delta. I organized the trip through Natural Habitat Adventures (NatHab). Once again I was traveling with my family. There was a total of 8, including spouses and significant others. We also went with the same guide we had on our last safari, Thuto Moutloatse. Thuto is an excellent guide and has a wide breadth of knowledge about wildlife, tracking, conservation issues, etc. He is an avid birder and has a near encyclopedic knowledge of the birds of Southern Africa. However, I think his best characteristic is his ability to balance the desires and needs of everyone in the group. Even with such a large group, Thuto kept everyone interested and involved no matter what the activity or sighting. We arrived in Maun around 2pm and immediately transferred to a Wilderness Air flight to Kalahari Plains camp. It was quite stormy and bumpy the entire flight as we zig-zagged around storm clouds. We could see plenty of rain and lightning in the distance. We had been in Botswana less than an hour and already you could see a huge difference between the green season and the dry season.

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