Kitsafari

Paradise Regained – Parc National Zakouma Tchad

285 posts in this topic

18 hours ago, ld1 said:

@Kitsafari Your report has been an absolute delight, best thing I have read in a very long time. Thank you.

 

@ld1 thanks so much for your kind comments! and thank for you keeping up with such a long-winded report too and giving me motivation to finish it. :)

 

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16 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

Just wonderful, Kit, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. That last drive was just beautiful, really love the two Rollers, and the Cobra is fascinating. And that night drive ... just wow! Really hope to see Pale Fox and Honey Badger myself. I was especially taken with those spellbinding landscape shots with masses of animals, such a unique setting, and I completely understand how you got your "romantic" notion of the park. I´m sure you were excellent company to the "gang", and I´m sure you will be this October - looking forward to that one!

 

And .... just what @ld1 said. :-)

 

@michael-ibk may you guys see loads of pale foxes, servals, mongooses and badgers since they seem to love to hang around Tinga surrounding areas! 

 

and a loong draggy four more months to go but I'm so excited to the GTG in October. I'll bring along an inflatable suit just in case you guys feel the need to throw me into the Kafue river to feed the crocs... :lol:

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13 hours ago, optig said:

@Kitsafari I'm particularly enthusiastic about going to Zakouma because you saw so much on your night drives. The pale foxes are particularly cute.

 

@optig i know you will be astounded by the sights and sounds of Zakouma and you will have a fantastic time. 

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Posted (edited)

@Kitsafari

 

Thank you for this amazing and comprehensive account of Zakouma.  I basically would like to second everything everyone has said.

 

And many thanks also to, in no particular order, Squack, @Sangeeta, @Twaffle  and Terry.  Did we really not have even an infinitesimal moment of slightest friction amongst us?  Kindness, respect and selflessness come to mind. 

 

I had met everyone before except Kit, and getting to know Kit was one of the highlights of the safari.

 

And here is my little contribution to this thread…

 

I am often asked what my favorite safari destination might be.  I always answer that by saying that I won’t answer that question, because it is like asking someone, “which one of your children do you love most?”  As such, I cannot say that Zakouma is my favorite safari destination.  But I will say this:  Zakouma was different.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

- Well, that was the river.  This is the sea.  Woo!

 

The Waterboys

 

 

All have been quite grand.  But this was different… this Zakouma…

 

The sheer numbers at Zakouma are shocking.  In East or Southern Africa, you get excited if you encounter a flock of a few thousand queleas or a couple of dozen crowned cranes.  At Zakouma, queleas and cranes, not to mention many other species of birds and mammals, subsume you.  One evening, as we were photographing queleas roosting in the woodland, I noticed the temperature of the woodland rising from the innumerable quelea bodies.  The escalating temperature and the noise reached a breaking point:  I had to leave.  The very next day, I had to temporarily abort my satellite phone call to the family due to the collective honking of 500+ black crowned cranes right in front of camp.  “What in hell is that noise?” she said.

 

During our 7-night stay at Camp Nomade, Zakouma’s dry season momentum was palpable.  Every day, there was less and less water available and greater and greater concentrations of cranes, geese, ducks, herons, pelicans, queleas, hartebeests and tiangs.  And it was only late February/early March.  The numbers would continue to build until the first rains in 8-10 weeks thence disperse the wildlife.  It was difficult to imagine that, in the coming weeks, there could actually be more cranes honking in front of camp, or there are enough fish in the dwindling pans to sustain the pelicans or the tree branches, already bending, could take any more roosting queleas.  Historically, these explosions of life have been the norm everywhere on the continent of Africa, but the genuine glimpses of them are now, sadly, restricted to a handful of spots – places such as Zakouma where there is minimal human footprint.

 

My one indelible moment has to be our last morning when the queleas put on quite a farewell show.  They (“they” meaning tens of thousands of them) had been coming to drink at a shrinking pool on the floodplain in front of camp every day beginning at 5:45am on the dot, in larger gatherings each successive day.  At 5:51am, the last flock of the morning and the largest flock seen to date approached with an escalating drone, having reached the threshold point in which it was thick enough to completely block out the background.  Orchestrated as one giant organism, the flock swooped down suddenly, sucked up the moisture only for a few seconds, and then departed forcefully with a loud whoosh, blackening the sky in its path, looking very much like a dark, filled-in, twirling lasso.  With the departure of the queleas, it was as if nothing ever happened.  The floodplain cleared and fell silent, at once waiting expectantly for the cranes to arrive from their nightly roosting site to fill the void.

 

Rivers are great.  But this is the sea.

 

 

Marabou.thumb.jpg.c5d05d0c134ae8f45962968d62457abe.jpg

A roosting Marabou Stork

 

 

Tiang.thumb.jpg.813f615cd1bc68d9bf268cfe0b7014bf.jpg

A tiang on the move

 

 

Pelicans.thumb.jpg.241767757c91719a7c3ec2c58d1eed1c.jpg

Pelicans on the Salamat River

 

 

Queleas.thumb.jpg.fe0659e5b2d0d0e3cda9b98ba55ad38a.jpg

Queleas at dusk

 

 

Queleas2.thumb.jpg.0b90f99b8b73831db277264c1b1b67b2.jpg

Queleas in front of camp

 

 

Queleas3.thumb.jpg.61daf5020e6091c3ee32b03693cfec8a.jpg

More queleas in front of camp

 

 

593e88ff01c6f_CampNomade.thumb.jpg.5265c3f828f390a7e3f7981384afe57d.jpg

The magic of Camp Nomade

Edited by Safaridude
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Thanks for that @Safaridude , of course we would all like to see more of your stunning photos - and of course some @twaffle goodness as well. :)

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Ah there you are @Safaridude. Love what you said - Rivers are great. But this is the sea. Very apt.

 

and second what @michael-ibk said!

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Oh man just when I thought @Kitsafari Zakouma dream was over, boom, in comes @Safaridude with his "wildlife photographer of the year" images and killer one-liners....I am not worthy 😍

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Posted (edited)

On 6/11/2017 at 4:31 AM, michael-ibk said:

Really hope to see Pale Fox and Honey Badger myself.

 

@michael-ibk @Kitsafari me too!

 

@Safaridude what an evocative description of what it is like there ... your words really paint a picture!  Super photos - I too would love to see more and also those of @twaffle !

Edited by SafariChick
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Almost caught up. Not sure if I'll have time to finish before I go but it's already more than enough you've seen and done. If I wasn't already sold I'd be sold now,

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@pault I'm already starting to look forward to your (joint hopefully, and epic for sure!) TR next year!

Edited by Kitsafari
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@Kitsafari, thank you for a MAGNIFICENT trip report!

 

Lots of magnificent photos! You got particularly good photos of the rollers on several occasions, and those flocks of Quelias are just amazing!

 

The quotes, so carefully chosen, and the prose is possibly better than the photos!

 

Thank you.

 

@Safaridude, love your work, as always!

 

 

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Thanks @Kitsafari once again for delivering such a superlative account of our time in Zakouma, bringing back the memories yet again. 

 

@Safaridude's additional photos and comments were perfect.  Zakouma's generosity in both quality and quantity of wildlife is what safari dreams are made of.  I really doubt that I have any photos that would add to what Kit and the 'dude have shared.

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@Peter Connan thank you for taking time out to read the TR! that stunning roller really lent itself to some good pictures - i think it's that beautiful blue that just make it stand out in all pictures. 

 

@twaffle  zakouma is indeed the stuff that safari dreams are made of! I can't wait to get back there..... 

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@Kitsafari Apologies for taking so long to respond, now this wonderful travelogue has regrettably come to an end.

Your narrative has been truly outstanding and supplemented with so many beautiful images. I apologise for interrupting the flow with my deliberations on the African Lion but your images showed a 'slightly different' lion to the the one I have observed numerous times and were the catalyst for some very interesting amateur research.

I was saddened by #163 in which you mentioned some feelings of guilt at having stayed at Camp Nomade, you should have no such feelings. Your writings have literally brought Zakouma N.P. and its unique wildlife alive to literally hundreds of wildlife enthusiasts world wide who may or may not decide to visit. However they have through your writings and images virtually been there already, to many that will be sufficient to others like myself I can't get there soon enough. 

I have read all your text several times and it is forming a vital part of my planning for my visit in February 2018. Interestingly several members have indicated via this thread that they could be on the same safari (6th - 14th February 2018), it would be great to make contact prior to the trip. (I hope there is a bird expert going!). Possibly 5 participants from the U.K. and 3 from Southern Africa?, use of the message facility on this site would be useful. (Just a thought).

Thank you again for all your hard work that went in to preparing this highly detailed report no doubt over several months, I and many others look forward to your next trip report. 

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Posted (edited)

On 2017-6-17 at 5:59 AM, johnweir said:

@Kitsafari  I apologise for interrupting the flow with my deliberations on the African Lion but your images showed a 'slightly different' lion to the the one I have observed numerous times and were the catalyst for some very interesting amateur research.

 

 

@johnweirNot at all, I should thank you for your initiative in digging up more research, I've learned more about lions. It is always fascinating and educational to know more about the wildlife we've seen. On my first safari four years ago (it seemed like just last year!), I only knew there was one species of lions, one species of giraffes, one species of topi, etc - but thanks to members like yourself on SafariTalk, I've learned so much, and have much much more to learn. I most welcome discussion like this in any of my TRs. 

 

I know that you will have an absolutely awesome trip to Zakouma next year and wish you and all those who are heading to that magical place a fabulous time - dreams of what Africa was in the decades of plenty will come true in magical, mystical, mythical Zakouma. 

Edited by Kitsafari
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For those going to Zakouma

 

 

6tPLUxW-SP3AQa3SKR0GUvZozWVIKyglP-qwxjFI

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@Kitsafari

 

I had thought your beautifully-written trip report was over, and, upon realizing that my conclusion was premature, it has been my good fortune at this late date to savor these last few pages.   Thank you so much for taking the time to share this unforgettable experience with us. This has been one for the ages, an epic, and I anticipate that it will be one of those to which I return again and again over time. 

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@Alexander33 thanks for staying the course! I always promise to keep the report short but end up being too long-winded and rambling and I did take a couple of looong breaks. those are really generous compliments which I truly appreciate. thank you. :)

 

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@Kitsafari I am amazed by the quantity and the quality of sightings you had during this safari! I would say that you have been particularly lucky to spot this leopard!!!!!!!! Thank you so much to take the time to post all these pictures and share your fantastic experience with us!

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@jeremie we sure were lucky we saw the leopard and the badgers on the last night, but would have been triple lucky if we also had seen a cheetah which is even more elusive in the park! but we were given incredible sightings so I can't complain. :) 

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@Kitsafari thanyou for a wonderful report and amzing photo's.

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thank you @Hads  I'm glad you enjoyed it!

 

I just got reminded by the below thread that popped up again recently - for those who want to go to zakouma and want to go soon, there is a very reasonable package being offered,  and what is makes the package even more attractive is the guests will be guided by Doug MacDonald - it's the icing on the cake - a lot of safaritalkers respect and rate him highly. I'm very tempted myself but next year is out for me... 

 

 

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@Kitsafari - am still savouring this special report on Zakouma beautifully portrayed in both your wording and photos.

 

In particular the Images that still linger hauntingly with me are those showing the plentiful herds of antelopes and the massive flocks of birds against the backdrop of Zakouma's landscape and skies.

They're like an echo speaking of earlier times.

Thank you.

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Nice work Kit.

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@Kitsafari

Thank you for a beautifully written  report. (Note: not long-winded, not rambling but beautifully written). A real pleasure. Your photos and videos give a real flavour of the specialness of Zakouna. It is amazing the sheer numbers of som of the creatures - the birds in particular. Thank you for taking the time to put this together - it has been much appreciated by many people!

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