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firmin13

Botswana Feb 2017, advice needed

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Hello,

we’re planning a 3 week trip to Botswana in February 2017 and need some advice.

We’ve visited the neighbouring countries, but it’s the first time to Botswana, and it’s the first time travelling during the green season. Our focus is on photography and wildlife, especially predators not so easily to be seen like wild dogs and leopard.

Up to now, our plan is to stay for 3 nights at Nxai pan, two nights at the Makgadikgadi salt pans, 5 nights in the CKGR and 4 nights in Linyanti region. We’re not sure where to go to in the Delta. We don’t want to visit Chobe and prefer land based activities rather than boating.

Thanks for any help.

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I would have thought that with the stated goals Savuti would be a must-visit? I know that one shouldn't judge on a single visit, but we spent three nights there and saw both leopard and wild dog (the last came trotting right through camp).

 

Are you self-driving and camping or staying in lodges?

 

I would also have placed Mabuasehube high on the list, probably ahead of the CKGR (although that is also an amazing experience, although mostly for the solitude).

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Self drive or lodges?

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Posted (edited)

In February, the dogs are always going to be hit or miss given their huge home ranges ...... You will be extremely lucky if you see them at Nxai pan, CKGR or in the Makgadikagadi.

 

Leopard you will have a fair chance in most of the delta, Linyanti ......

Edited by madaboutcheetah

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Posted (edited)

@@Peter Connan where did you stay in Savuti - was it a permanent camp or mobile? Sounds great!

Edited by SafariChick

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I've seen wild dog three times in Botswana- 2 times in the Savuti area (times of year were April and June) and once in the Vumbura concession (March). Feb is a beautiful time (though my one experience with that time of year was that it was really hot), one just has to work harder to find the critters. That Feb trip also included Kalahari Plains and although supposedly that's a really good time to go, I didn't see much. I know, it's always a crap shoot so one just never knows. And I think water activities in general in the delta at that time of year are fewer as the water is low. Sounds like fun though- 3 whole weeks..."sigh"...jealous :)

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@@SafariChick, in the public campsite.

 

Indeed it's a magic place.

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The great advantage to visiting Botswana in the Green Season is that prices are considerably lower. As other safari talkers will confirm there birding is also at it's best.

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Thanks for your answers so far!

We´re not yet decided whether to do a mobile or a lodge based safari with private vehicle.

From your experience: How hot and wet can a mobile in CKGR and Nxai Pan get?

Any recommendations for camps in Linyanti and Delta?

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@firmin13 My one experience with CKGR in Feb....it was really really hot. As previously mentioned, I stayed at Kalahari Plains camp. The pool was appreciated (salt water) but became a nightmare for me. The birds were so desperate for water that the juvenile ones (mostly Quelea) were basically drowning themselves because they'd go to the pool for a sip and fall in...I spent an inordinate amount of time rescuing them (generally to no avail due to the salt water) and I came to call it the pool of death. Ok- so a little macabre, but it really did affect me. I love birds :( I was also thankful for the fan which I doubt one would have on a mobile trip? In the Linyanti and Delta I've only experienced Wilderness camps (I hope to change that in the future). In the Linyanti Savuti camp was hands down my favorite. And now that there is no water in front (still so strange to me), most of the activities are land based. My last trip there was in April a couple years ago and we did see wild dog. In the Delta? There are so many choices....Chitabe is a good area for dog and I prefer Chitabe Ledeba over the main Chitabe. It is smaller and I think the tents are much nicer. The year I went in February I went to Kalahari Plains, Chitabe (both camps as they couldn't accommodate me for three nights at one) and Abu. Hot in all three. I loved Abu. I was the only one there for 2 of the 3 nights so royalty for a couple days ) I go for the elephants- walking with the elephants I should emphasize. Did one ride and that was and will be my last. I love the walking with them. And, allegedly there may be a new baby in the herd later this year (though I've not heard any more about that). One very minor rainstorm in Kalahari and one serious storm at Abu. Other than that, no wet :)

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I agree with what @@madaboutcheetah stated above.

 

You'll be very lucky to find/see dogs in February. So fingers crossed for you....

 

Camps in the Linyanti? they are expensive but take your pick from Savuti Bush Camp, Duma Tau (Wilderness), Selinda, Zarafa (Great Plains), Lagoon, Lebela (Kwando). You could also try Linyanti Bush Camp but I was disappointed with my one visit there due to lack of game. We ended up driving to Savuti each day, a 160 km round trip (not including driving around at Savuti) and slow going at times through soft sand.

 

My experience in the Linyanti is rather dated (last visited in 2005) but I have never missed out on seeing wild dog but they were denning at the time or had pups in tow so it was not hard to find them.

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Posted (edited)

The Linyanti would rank amongst the best places in all of Southern Africa for dogs - If dogs were very high on my list I'd include some significant time here (not just 3-4 nights). I'd recommend some form of Duma Tau/Selinda/Lagoon/Lebala. In the Delta - the best places would include Kwara/Vumbura/Khwai ........ but, the dogs are very mobile in the green season.

CKGR - I have spent two weeks on a mobile safari there in I think, March 2010. Yes, very hot - but, the place was magical to explore especially when you are camping out in the prime areas of Deception valley, Passarge, Letiahou. We did get caught in one very severe T'storm that was really frightening (yes, everything got immensely wet). I've also stayed at the lodge in Tau Pan a long time ago - the pan is stunning too.

Edited by madaboutcheetah

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I agree with what @@madaboutcheetah stated above.

 

You'll be very lucky to find/see dogs in February. So fingers crossed for you....

 

Camps in the Linyanti? they are expensive but take your pick from Savuti Bush Camp, Duma Tau (Wilderness), Selinda, Zarafa (Great Plains), Lagoon, Lebela (Kwando). You could also try Linyanti Bush Camp but I was disappointed with my one visit there due to lack of game. We ended up driving to Savuti each day, a 160 km round trip (not including driving around at Savuti) and slow going at times through soft sand.

 

My experience in the Linyanti is rather dated (last visited in 2005) but I have never missed out on seeing wild dog but they were denning at the time or had pups in tow so it was not hard to find them.

 

 

Yes, I've been in touch with a guide who works at Linyanti Bush Camp - doesn't sound like the viewing has picked up over time ...... it sounds like a pretty marginal area. Good for Elephant though especially in the dry season months ...... They do a lot of day trips into Chobe/Savuti.

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Thanks again for the input! Right now we think of Nxai Pan Camp followed by a mobile safari for CKGR. For the Linyanti region it probably will be Lagoon or Lebala, thanks for the info regarding L. Bush Camp. We're considering to go to Machaba and Kwara or Little Kwara as well ... Any comments on this?

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Super - Machaba is in Khwai. There and Kwara will be amazing - dogs, will be mobile that time of the year....... but, then again there are so many packs around those areas at the moment.

 

I'm hoping for a green season visit to Kwara myself when i am able to plan ...... who knows!!!

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We saw a lot of the wild dogs at Savuti Bush Camp in April 2015.

 

My favorite camp in Botswana thus far has been Chitabe Lediba.

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I would visit Tau Pan if I was going to be in Botswana for 3 weeks in Feb.

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Planning is finished. It's going to be Nxai Pan, a mobile safari in CKGR ending in Tau Pan, 4 nights Lagoon/Lebala, 3 Kwara and 4 Machaba. Still 5 month to wait ...

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sounds awesome @@firmin13 - hope to hear back after your trip; especially the CKGR mobile; L and L; Kwara. Definitely go to Passarge valley while in the CKGR - it's true magic!!!

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I had a great trip to Botswana and Kwando a few years ago in February. You will have an amazing time!

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