africa geographic expeditions-botswana

Sep 11th, 2005, 09:24 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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africa geographic expeditions-botswana

Has anyone ever been on one of these photographic expeditions - it's called predators at kwando, botswana with mark tennant? have no pricing as yet but interested to hear from anyone who has been on such a trip or any comments that I should keep in mind! Looking at June 2006, and they go to Lebala Camp, Kwara Camp and Lagoon Camp.


austkaye is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Some people (including me) regard the Kwando game drive experience the best you can get in Botswana.

Havn't been on such an 'expedition', and certainly will never do, but IMO it's a good opportunity to be on safari with a top guide without paying the high rates of a private guide.

More info on Kwando:
and on Mark:

Sep 12th, 2005, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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I met Daryl Balfour on my last trip, he runs the AG trip to see the migration and was very enthusiastica bout the quality of the trip. Tennant is a highly regarded guide, though I have some issues with his TV show. The only problem you may have is actually getting AG to send you information!
napamatt is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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OK Mitch,

Why "certainly never will" - I cannot say that I am one to really want to do an organised trip, but I was thinking with such a guide I would have great gameviewing which to me is #1, #2 & #3.


I sent an email to AG 12/9 and received a reply overnight. The one I am looking at now is in 19 June and out 27 June 2006 and this is obviously low season - the rate is US$4243 per person sharing and US$6698 for a single person.
I am a Sabi Sands person and looking at a daily rate this is on the lower scale of what I pay at SS. But I am now on the lookout for other destinations so I am considering this, and while I would think the TV show is often beyond belief with what they do as a team, I can't believe that that is what MT would do with guests.

My one and only time in Botswana, was in September 2001 and the trip was one cost so I am unaware of what I paid per day, but for the single cost that works out at about US$840 per night, I'll look at the cost of these places and see if this is reasonable as this does include some light plane flights from Maun and inbetween the camps.


austkaye is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 07:56 PM
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I doubt that you will see more game with Mark than with the local guides. And unless such 'expedition' addresses a specialist group (such those with a renowned birder) I would expect more 'ordinary' safari travelers in such a group, with their requirements for the 'standard program'. As an amateur photographer you may get some valuable tips, but nothing more.

That's my opinion. As I said I never made such a trip. Maybe I'm wrong.

Sep 13th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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PS: I even would go further and say that with none of those renowned guides, or all these private white guides you can hire, you will have better game sightings (accentuation is on sightings). These guides usually have great knowledge on wildlife, botany and/or zoology, and can tell you a lot about wildlife species. They are also very good in small talk which makes their talks very entertaining, but if it comes to bush skills and tracking they can't compete with the abilities of a local native guide (and they certainly will never deny that).

So if your priorities are game sightings I always would recommend to hire a private vehicle with one of the camp's more experienced guides.

Sep 13th, 2005, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 281

I totally agree about the local guide.
In this case though you have to remember that Mark has worked at Kwando for many years and the tracker will be local!
mv is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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You are totally right. This guide/tracker scheme at Kwando is the best, especially with a renowned guide.

In my posting I thought more about the other places...

Apr 9th, 2006, 10:35 PM
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Hi! Anyone on this board, done this trip with Mark Tennant??? very curious to know........i am sure it would be a good experience.

My only concern is 6 ppl in the jeep is too tight (especially for 8 nights). BTW, anyone really interested can hire Mark Tennant as a private guide for any trip to Kwando. However, it would be much more expensive than this expedition.

Apr 9th, 2006, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hi Hari,

I did consider it at one stage, but the seating arrangement put me off - I understand that it is two rows of 3.

Kind regards,
KayeN is offline  
Apr 9th, 2006, 11:25 PM
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Hi Kaye,

Yes, two rows of three......i'd consider the person in the middle seat to be very unlucky and very uncomfortable!!! Also, IMO the back row is a bit too high for my liking for the best pics......

Also, their scheduling of the trip....just two nights at Kwara...very debatable....ideally atleast a minimum of three, IMO.

Apr 10th, 2006, 02:05 AM
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following the info I received from AG on their trip to Kwando in 2005:

Track predators at Kwando, Northern Botswana
With Mark Tennant

This document includes: Dates, overview, itinerary, information on the accommodation with pictures, rates, information on Mark Tennant, report on our other expeditions, booking details, contact details, other Africa Geographic expeditions in 2005.


Each expedition will consist of 6 people only
In 25 June – Out 3 July 2005 ( Fully Booked)
In 12 – Out 20 August 2005
In 5 – Out 13 October 2005
In 24 October – Out 1 November 2005
Red indicates high season dates.

“ Kwando is well known for its high density of predators and this is one of the main reasons we have chosen the reserve for our readers' predator tour. Visitors have a better-than-average chance of getting close to lions, leopards and cheetahs and, with a modicum of good fortune, wild dogs too. Few experiences are as thrilling as coming across these highly social and engaging canids that are acknowledged as the most efficient of all Africa's predatory species. We will always do our very best to ensure that guests get what they come for, but it has to be within the context of the unpredictability of the animals. What I can promise, though, is a life-changing experience - there is something about the African landscape that does that.” Mark Tennant, Africa Geographic Magazine February 2003.

Join Africa Geographic and Mark Tennant as we once again explore the extensive Kwando and Kwara areas in northern Botswana in search of Africa’s predators. This wilderness area generates regular sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyena, and the smaller predators such as serval and African wildcat. Large herds of elephant and buffalo are also a common sight and the area has high populations of other herbivores.
Mark has worked in the area for many years and his knowledge of local wildlife, and predators in particular, has made him a popular choice for international film crews. Read all about him and his experiences in the Feb 2003 issue of Africa Geographic. We will spend 8 days with Mark in a private open vehicle and our wanderings will take us to all corners of the massive 232,000 ha Kwando and 175,000 ha Kwara concession areas. We will overnight at the luxurious Kwando Lebala, Lagoon and Kwara camps, with our exact itinerary being determined by wildlife movements at that time.

Itinerary in brief:
1 Arrival in Maun (see flight details for arrival times) overnight Kwando Lagoon
2 Kwando Lagoon
3 Kwando Lagoon
4 Kwando Lebala
5 Kwando Lebala
6 Kwando Lebala
7 Light aircraft transfer to Kwara
8 Kwara
9 Depart for Maun

Note: The order of the lodges will be determined by the movement of game during the period of your expedition.

Itinerary in full:

Day 1: Overnight Kwando Lagoon Lodge
You will arrive in Maun by your own arrangements, and will be met a representative of Kwando, who will assist you with your luggage and will arrange for your transfer to the light aircraft waiting to transfer you to Kwando. Your flight will be a bit over one hour and will be wonderfully scenic as you fly over the watery expanse of the Okavango Delta. Upon arrival at Kwando, you will meet Mark Tennant and will have a briefing and meet the rest of your group. That night will be spent at Lagoon Lodge.

Day 2, 3: Overnight Kwando Lagoon Lodge
During the next two days you will spend your days out in the bush with Mark in search of predators.

Lagoon Camp: lies on the shady banks of the Kwando River among tall and ancient African Ebony and Marula trees, under the watchful gaze of the resident hippos.
Lagoon Camp accommodates only 12 guests in 6 twin bedded luxury safari-style tents. Each tent looks out over the water and has private en-suite facilities, including 24 hour hot and cold running water, open-air showers, flush toilets and modern amenities.

Day 4, 5, 6: Overnight Kwando Lebala Lodge
A game drive transfer will take you to Lebala Lodge, where your expedition will continue in this new part of the concession.

Lebala Camp: Open grasslands scattered with Illala Palms stretch to the south and west of Lebala. The eight spacious tents are unique and were designed specifically for this camp. Each one is built on a raised teak deck, laid out with maximum comfort and privacy in mind. The tents have an entrance foyer with a reading and writing area, en-suite bathrooms with Victorian clawfoot bathtubs, "his and hers" washbasins and flush toilets. The bathrooms lead out to a reed enclosed open-air shower with hot and cold running water, powered by LP gas for hot water on demand. Each secluded tent has its own sundeck, and is set back among the trees. The endless vistas from the large windows and decks across the vast plains, make Lebala one of the finest wilderness camps in Africa.
Day 7, 8 : Overnight Kwara Lodge
A light aircraft transfer will get you to this very different area, offering more of an Okavango experience. Here you will have the opportunity to view predators and other game by boat and mokoro.

Kwara Camp: Kwara fronts onto a huge floodplain, adjacent to the permanent water of the Delta and is backed by extensive bush. The eight luxury safari-style tents are built on raised decks, within a grove of huge and ancient African Ebony trees. Resident hippos will generally serenade you year round from the water on the floodplain in front of the camp. Each tent has its own viewing deck, private en-suite facilities including hot and cold running showers, flush toilets and modern amenities.
Day 9: Depart
After breakfast you will transfer by light aircraft to Maun, with arrival time to coincide with Air Botswana’s international flight to JHB.

Expedition Rates:
In 25 June – Out 3 July 2005 : USD 3, 978 per person sharing.
Single USD 6,109
In 12 – Out 20 August 2005 : USD 6, 120 per person sharing.
Single USD 8, 931
In 5 – Out 13 October 2005 : USD 6, 120 per person sharing.
Single USD 8, 931
In 24 October – Out 1 November 2005 : USD 3, 978 per person sharing.
Single USD 6,109

The above costs include: all meals, drinks and beverages (including premium brands), game activities, laundry, park fees, airstrip transfers, medical evacuation cover (although you still need your own travel insurance), services of Mark Tennant and a tracker (if required), flights between Maun and the camps and also flights between camps.

Excluded are: international flights and gratuities. Your international flights should be booked as follows:
Air Botswana flight: Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana 10H00 - 11H40 and the return should be Maun to Johannesburg 15H00 - 16H40

Apr 10th, 2006, 03:19 AM
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Hi! Thanks for the info.....

I think the pricing for that October 24-Nov 1 timeframe is a real bargain.....$4000 for that time is awesome!!!

I wonder why they price all their different groups differently. Kwando High season rates are the same between June 1 and Oct 31. Why is their August expedition priced higher?

Apr 10th, 2006, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 300
Hi all,

Nicky and I know Mark well and he is a very good guide. He also knows the Kwando areas extremely well. That said... whether you will experience better game viewing ... perhaps to some degree...

Mark is known for doing things like calling a leopard to make it approach their vehicle. I've seen him do this with a young cat at Kwara and he literally stuck his nose into Mark's 300mm lens (way too close for him to get a pic). I have a shot of this as we watched from our vehicle.

I am opposed to this sort of thing though and was not impressed as I don't believe this is a positive way to habituate cats to safari vehicles. Just my opinion though, who really knows.

Mark is a great guy and, like any experienced and entertaining guide, he is fun and full of information. IMO, this is more of what you will be paying for to join these trips. Game viewing should be comparable in a PV.

In fact, my cover shot of a cheetah (April 2004 Africa Geo) was taken at Kwara and Mark's Africa Geo group was at the same sighting (we were in our own vehicle). Zebra image in the same AG issue also taken same trip at Kwara.

jweis is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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Hi James,

Yes, i have that issue of africa geo....fabulous pics.....

Calling a leopard.....and making it approach the vehicle (not cool!!!)....his mad mike and mark show, is very entertaining but goes against everything in the text book.....i'm sure he is a brilliant guide and hope to bump into him one of these days in Botswana....
Apr 10th, 2006, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 300

Mark doesn't do mad Mike things with his AG guests - that I'm sure of, but he knows a few tricks to be sure.

I've known life-long bush guides who have told me some pretty crazy stories - climbing into a tree where a leopard was sitting, tackling warthogs, tying a fresh carcass to a mate's tent so hyenas would drag the tent down while the poor ouk slept.

At any rate, Mark is great to be on safari with. Nicky became great friends with him when she was still working for Wilderness in JNB and she's been on safari with him. He's really into Wild Dogs too (he wrote the article on Hyenas vs. Wild Dogs in last month's AG)!

jweis is offline  
Apr 10th, 2006, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501

The late October price is probably lower because of the weather -- not too many people can tolerate, much less enjoy, 40C in the shade!

jasher is offline  
Apr 15th, 2006, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 300
Just took a look through the AG site and found something interesting...

They offer a Zambia trip which includes a 2-day stay at Shiwa Ng'andu (other nights are at Mwaleshi and Kafunta).

I only just finished reading Africa House last month and had wondered whether Stuart's old estate was still being used for anything.

I recommend "Africa House" if you haven't already read it - interesting history and actually a bit incredible once you consider the story in its entirety.

jweis is offline  

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