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Trip Report : Makololo Plains (zimbabwe) and Mombo (Botswana)

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Makololo Plains

It took about 50 min to fly from vic falls airport to hwange. The drive from the airstrip to Makololo the brush seems similar to kruger national park, relatively thick and rugged. we didnt see much and i started to worry if coming to hwange in Jan was teh wrong idea. my thoughts disappeared quickly as we reached the camp. sprawling in front of us was a 2km diameter pan seemingly carved out the surrounding thick brush. from camp we could see elephant, waterbuck, ostrich, warthog, baboon, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and a kori bustard. the setting is on par if not better than Mombo's. the place captivated me. the tents are set on raised walkways, each one overlooking the huge pan. the 3 of us were the ONLY people in the camp for our 3 day stay. during our game drives we saw teh following interesting things:

a pride of lions ("the spice girls") hunt buffalo, charging back and forth into the thick brush across the road until eventually the big bull buffs turned the lions back and sent 2 of them up a tree. amazing.

a male cheetah at night half heartedly hunting wildebeest

large herds of elephants drinking and playing at teh waterholes. hundreds and hundreds of them, more than i'd seen at kings pool in sept. also very large herds of buffalo.

2 large male lions dominant in the area on a couple of occasions.

large herds of roan and sable antelope both of which can also be seen from camp.

a large white rhino at a waterhole that was chased off into the thicket by large herds of eles coming to drink in the afternoon.

a pack of 9 wild dogs right in front of camp 1 evening!!!!

and most amazingly, sitting one night after dinner beside the plunge pool, we watched as elephant after elephant came up and drank from the pool. we were literally 5 ft away from the eles. the most incredible wildlife experience i have had. the sights and sounds of them drinking was incredible. by the time they are finished over half of teh pool has been drained.

very diverse species of birds including martial eagles, kori bustards, secretary birds, crowned cranes and numerous other eagles

other less common species seen: eland, marsh owl, small spotted genet and bat eared fox

we saw all of this and plenty of plains game in just 3 days, including 15 mammal species from camp. did i mention that we had the camp to ourselves. And our guide Tendai was very, very good. Makololo far exceeded my hopes. it has sveral differnt hides (a logpile like that at savuti, as well as numerous tree hides at differnt waterholes and a bunker hide as well). its a real shame that no one visits zimbabwe. the prices are extermely cheap for luxury safari standards. the game is more diverse tahn any camp i've been to, and the quality of game viewing is equal to any botswana wilderness camp other than mombo.

without question, makololo is the best deal on the safari circuit. and the staffs said that mana pools is just as amazing. a zimbabwe safari has to be the best deal in southern africa far and away.

i will finish my report with mombo's highlights this weekend but for roccoo's sake, i posted this along with my pics from both camps. originally i had over 1100 photos but i narrowed it down to just under 300 so as not to bore people.

http://www.ofoto.com/BrowsePhotos.jsp?&collid=878709650205&page=1&sort_order=0

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