Game Warden

Where am I?

727 posts in this topic

I wondered myself. As you may recall Geoff, I got Leon-- our guide-- to draw dotted lines on a 1:250,000 official map of the area to show the routes of our walks. To my surprise when looking later, none of Leon's lines crossed the Busi River...but our longest walk crossed and followed a tributary, the Chimbova.

 

Whatever, it was fascinating country. Truly beautiful. And looking at the pic of this marvellous sand river now brings back memories which I will never lose.

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I wondered myself. As you may recall Geoff, I got Leon-- our guide-- to draw dotted lines on a 1:250,000 official map of the area to show the routes of our walks. To my surprise when looking later, none of Leon's lines crossed the Busi River...but our longest walk crossed and followed a tributary, the Chimbova.

 

Whatever, it was fascinating country. Truly beautiful. And looking at the pic of this marvellous sand river now brings back memories which I will never lose.

 

The reason we did not cross the river was that poaching had been rampant. Leon told me that the Shenga? plains were deviod of life and it was not worth walking there at that time. On a backpacking expedition through Chizaria (the previous year) I personally removed in excess of 50 snares not far from where that picture was taken. A day later we chased poachers and found their camp with an improvised tree platform with lines of meat and skins drying below.

 

Yes. It is beautiful country and it is a real shame that ALL the black rhino are now gone.

 

Geoff.

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Thought I would revive the thread on behalf of Hari:

 

Where Am I?

 

97132885.jpg

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Paradise? Heaven?

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Matt,

 

Close, but no cigar!

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Thanks, Russell - Apologies, for not posting a pic!

 

To your pic - the trees in the horizon gives me a clue - South of Lebala camp on those flood plains? on the way to Twin Pools.

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If DWNP would declare the eastern section of Moremi as low-density tourism zone (such as the Mombo zone), create some concession areas for upmarket lodges plus a wilderness zone for HATAB operators - I'm sure they'll get much more money. Minus all the hassles they have with some of the self-driving people today.

I certainly hope they never do! Being able to drive through Moremi and Chobe yourself and camp there is wonderful and for a photographer the only option. It would be a sad thing if such an area would be closed off and be available only to a few companies with very wealthy guests! :o

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Thanks, Russell - Apologies, for not posting a pic!

 

To your pic - the trees in the horizon gives me a clue - South of Lebala camp on those flood plains? on the way to Twin Pools.

 

Our survey says...........correct. Wading back to the main land from one of the many islands.

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If DWNP would declare the eastern section of Moremi as low-density tourism zone (such as the Mombo zone), create some concession areas for upmarket lodges plus a wilderness zone for HATAB operators - I'm sure they'll get much more money. Minus all the hassles they have with some of the self-driving people today.

I certainly hope they never do! Being able to drive through Moremi and Chobe yourself and camp there is wonderful and for a photographer the only option. It would be a sad thing if such an area would be closed off and be available only to a few companies with very wealthy guests! :o

 

I think that Eastern Moremi will end as private areas, split between HATAB and lodges. Sadly, self drives are rather destructive on the whole and I am a firm believer that a country should maximize the revenues from their national resources. In the case of Botswana, one is Wildlife. Apart from the continual rule breaking, especially in Kwai, the economic impact of a self drive is low. They do not generate jobs etc......whilst it is a shame that so many are not able to share such a wilderness, for it to remain in tact and paying for itself, I feel that this is the best option.

 

This quite an interesting observation of wildlife photographers...........many are wealthy people, able to spend large sums of money in areas they can offroad, do night drives and have minimal other distractions from vehicles. Often they have large stock libraries and take photos in the right locations and newtwork well. Just an observation. Good examples of this would be Mike Poliza and Gerald Hinde. The former is someone who has a lot of press, without really taking spectacular photographs compared to someone like Ruchard Du Toit.

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I must say I have to totally disagree with the above comments from Russel and totally support Nyama...

Don't get me wrong - I have a more neutral opinion on self-drive tourism, but when looking at current developments I see no future for self-drivers in prime game areas. And the behaviour of a few of them might be one reason.

 

... but how many of the rich in the ludiucrously priced private concessions are well behaved...

One reason why the insurance companies forced WS to build all these wooden walkways in their camps. It's just an instrument to keep clients under control. Unfortunately this also has an effect on those who know how to behave well.

 

Why do you not cite photographers who have either no idea or treat animals badly to get a picture such as Beverley and Darryl.

Is there anything personal between you and the Balfours?

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There may be some bad apples under the self drive tourists visiting the parks of Botswana. But is that a reason to ban them all? And are there no bad apples under the tourists visiting expensive private reserves? I have seen several of these which seem to have much more money than style or sense.

 

I always remember one particular American family (father, mother, grandmother and two kids) we kept seeing in Moremi. They were driven round in an open Landrover, all dressed in neatly tailored, washed and ironed fresh safari clothes straight out of a catalog. The kids sitting in the back of the Landrover looking terribly bored while listening to their MP3 player on headphones and playing games on their portable computer. This family was supported by an entire "portable" camp with several cars and a huge truck. The camp was erected specially for them each time. All together they must have had a staff of about 12 people traveling with them. Before sunset the big truck would drive to a waterhole and the staff would set up tables and chairs with linen table cloths, crystal glasses, silver champagne cooler etc. Then they would hide the truck in the bush and the Landrover would bring the family to have a quick drink. Then everything would be torn down again. It would have costed a fortune, it did employ about a dozen people but what is the overall impact on the environment compared to a self-driver staying on the DWNP campsite?

 

As to wildlife photographers. Most of them are certainly not wealthy at all. Of course there are a few exceptions who have become very famous and make a good living. But I can assure you most full time wildlife photographers are struggling to make ends meet. Since the arrival of digital photography and cheap airline tickets there are hordes of amateurs traveling the world and snapping away. The equipment these days is good enough to let almost everyone get acceptable results and magazines are flooded with images from amateurs who give them away for free just to see them published. Prices for wildlife images have dropped very much and it is hard to make a living this way. Many photographers are even forced to make use of the royalty free image banks to get some income. A well known English wildlife photographer was even forced to stop visiting Kruger for photography as he could no longer afford the extra fees applicable for professional photography.

 

I know it is the way the world seems to work, but I would be sad if someone with lots of money and little respect for nature could still visit such places while truly enthusiastic nature lovers are prevented from doing so.....

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I have worked in the Xaxanaka area during the peak season, on average, most do behave, but there is a signigicant minority that don't. The number of animals I have seen harassed or lion hunts interrupted. Though as I said, I am a firm believer that prime areas should get their economic value, which sadly self drive does not do.

 

The people you mention, who have a camp setu, have little impact on the environment. They are using HATAB camping sites which they book months in advance. It is these mobile operations that I can see becoming the norm over the mis-behaving self drivers. Their impact is no different to that of a self drive convey. About two vehicles, though the difference in this case, is that one is a game viewer and the other for transport, rather the two for transporting self drivers.

 

Whilst I understand peoples frustration at seeing wealthy people monopolising wilderness areas, with seemingly little interest. Why should areas not maximize their revenues and allow the country to develop. Whilst many people bemoan the hike in prices becasue of demand, it has had a number of positive knock on effects. Other areas are now being developed and restocked. So that cheaper safari in Botswana can now be enjoyed in the newly developing Zamiba as people enter and look to exploit the market. Charging lower rates as the area develops. So overall, the benefits for conversation are greater than the single traveller losing out in Botswana.

 

As for Wildlife photographers, yes, many people are now traveling and making it more difficult to make a living. Though traditionally, they have alsways done weddings etc on the side to supplement their passion. This may sound quite obnoxious, but the english photographer can not be that well known if he if he is not able to get discounted stays at Lodges. Photography is like acting, only a fortunate few at the top of their game make serious money. For the rest, wildlife should be a passion that could maybe buy a new piece of kit.

 

Why wealthy (good) photographers produce better wildlife photos, they have no finincial contraints, so can stay in the bush for longer periods in private vehicles with top guides. This enables you to observe more animal behaviour and also understand animal behviour too. Which is probably the key to getting your shot.

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In terms of behaviour at top lodges compared to self drives, I think it is important to draw a number of serious points.

 

Those that misbehave at lodges do so by making noises at animals, or showing their ignorance, are not impacting heavily on the environment. It may only be one vehicle in a 200,000 hectare concession.

 

If one car were to offroad at Third bridge, many would follow, the same if one vehicle chased an animal, or a group of vehicles block in the lions. Just look at the photos from this months africa geopgraphic at Savute.

 

Guests at private lodges are driven by guides, some who I have seen remove vehicles from sightings becasue of their guests behaviour. Who regualtes the self drive vehicle?

 

As for Luxury in the bush, I think this is a completely different argument, as I am advocating like Nyama, mobile operations using the traditional self drive areas.

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I must say I have to totally disagree with the above comments from Russel and totally support Nyama, why should poor people not be able to experience the wonders of nature. I will also say that many of the self drive people visiting publicly available areas are not necesssarily well behaved, but how many of the rich in the ludiucrously priced private concessions are well behaved i.e. expecting luxury in the middle of nowhere and constantly detailing their ignorance, LOUDLY.

Most wild life photographers are hardly wealthy if they get any privileges from lodges it is from their ability to generate publicity. I have no idea why you select the photographers you do but I agree that Richard du Toit is a fine photographer, but why would you criticise Mike Poliza, his photos of wet Namibia in 2006 are wonderful and taken in areas where you do not pay to get to. Why do you not cite photographers who have either no idea or treat animals badly to get a picture such as Beverley and Darryl.

 

My point with Mike Poliza is that he has the luxury of being able to drop everything and view Namibia in the unique period of 2006. There are also the costs with all the aerial photography. I am not saying that he does not take good photos, but place other photographers in that position, and I think the results could have been even better. The average photographer has to logistically plan all their travel etc, based on other work loads etc etc.

 

I don't rate Balfours photography, though that is just personal perference.

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Guests at private lodges are driven by guides, some who I have seen remove vehicles from sightings becasue of their guests behaviour. Who regualtes the self drive vehicle?

I am not trying to get into a "who is right yes/no contest". But I have seen guides misbehave as well. Some may just have a bad day or are pressured by their guests to get them the best view. Last year in Kruger I was nearly ran off the road by a guide who was suddenly driving backwards at full speed to get his guests a better view (while his rear lights were not functioning so nothing idicated he was going backwards). I could only reverse myself and could barely avoid a collision. When I politely asked him to be a bit more careful, he showed me his middle finger, cut me off and tried to push me of the road. So, I don't think bad behavior only occurs with self drivers. Guides are no exception. And lets not even talk about overland trucks......

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Certainly guiding standards ought to be maintained in terms of quality and acceptability. Particularly, in this day and age where operators seem to charge an arm and a leg - using the tools of fancy Marketing blitz to sell their Lodge and camp safaris in Southern Africa! The least they can do is maintain certain levels of guiding standards. Or, do the new age clientele not care about this anymore as long as they are fed well and have palaces to dwell in?

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Yep, let's try and stay on topic: actually, as Nyama said, this would make an interesting thread for the debates forum.

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Where are we? Can someone post a picture please?

Alright. this can be a very difficult one.

where.jpg

 

Could be a lot of places but perhaps someone does recognize it.

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Is it Kruger... if so I'll go into more detail.

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Is it Kruger... if so I'll go into more detail.

This one was indeed kruger. :o

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Okay, I think it's the boabab tree which you can circle round on the H1-4 south of Ngotso dam, (on the right if traveling south towards Satara: can't remember if its north or south of Satara).

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No, it is not that one. :o

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This is a toughie.

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Ok. That was an easy one. But not this one. I'll come back in a week or so to see if anyone got this.

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