Atravelynn to Duba, Vumbura, Zib

Old Sep 1st, 2006, 11:35 AM
  #41  
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Predator,

Those were some amazing encounters you had with Duba testosterone. It is indeed an exciting place and what way to kick off safari #1! I agree there was a definite homey feel to the camp.

I would have been leery in the vehicle also, with all those irate male lions around. In fact, I am surprised the lions never jump onto the vehicle just as they might jump onto a log or something.

The Duba boys are 14 now and remain in excellent health. They look wonderful. But the dynasty cannot last.

I would suggest Little Vumbura for your Vumbura stay.
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Thanks so much for your detailed review. I head off to Vumbura Plains next week for a three night stay in the family unit. Can't wait!

You wrote that there were no mekoros. Were there just none available that day, or are there absolutely no mekoros? We had hoped to to ride in them this trip since we so enjoyed the experience on our last trip to the Delta.

Can't wait to hear more about your trip!
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 11:45 AM
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Lynn, this is magical. It's making me almost sick with longing but don't worry, that's just a sign of how wonderfully well you're evoking it all! I can't wait to read more!

And PB, enjoyed your reminisce also!
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 12:58 PM
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We had room 1 at Vumbura South a good five minutes walking fast to the lounge and dining area.
Linda is great, very helpful and friendly.
LV is supposed to be getting a refurb soon, not an upgrade to 6 paw, but a redec etc. Which usually means some upgrading of facilities.
We saw some good nocturnal game including a wildcat and a relaxed kitten, I'm not sure I Would have given that up to choose LV over VP. Whilst at VP we did an afternoon boat ride for an hour and got some great bird shots, but again I would prefer that as an additional activity not instead of a game drive.
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Napamatt,
So you did boats and not mekoros, too. That would make since since I thought they said there were no mekoros when I asked, but because it was not an issue for me, I did not pursue it.

If you can do an hour boat ride instead of substituting the boat for a game drive substitution that is ideal. Did you have a private vehicle? I recall you stating that you and likeminded friends safari together and pitch in for one. On a private game drive you can probably do any kind of boat ride-game drive mix that you want.

You are right about little Vumbura having reduced night drives. I suggested LV for Predator because LV is less expensive than Vumbura Plains. I recall Predator usually prefering less expensive accommodations and even enjoying ones more rustic than either of the Vumburas. Who knows what the costs will be in the future? And maybe Vumbura Plains will become another birthday gift for Mrs. Predator like the last fancy lodge was (if I have that right.

Travelwmn,
If you have specific boat-mekoro requests, I'd suggest letting your agent know and maybe your requests can be arranged for you if Vumbura knows in advance. That 6-Paw "Silver Service" as they call it can do just about anything so a midday boat ride would probably work.

Predator,
I'll stop writing ABOUT you and start writing TO you.

I wonder where Mr. Handsome is now. That name sure sounds like a wrestler! Maybe his genes made it to Vumbura because those four young male lions of the Kubu pride were a handsome bunch with their glossy golden coats still unblemished by the battles of lion life.
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Hello,

When I was at LV we did do some night driving, though this did mean coming back in the boats after dark - a game drive spotlight was used as a headlamp. I had some great sightings on my night drives, including a serval on the hunt (including a mouse kill).

Cheers,
Julian
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 05:52 PM
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I, too, am confused about the lack of mokoros at Vumbura. The Wilderness website shows the icon for mokoros there. Is it possible that they no longer have them?
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 06:01 PM
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Lynn

I did both a boat trip and a mekoro at VP. Being a group of 4 or 5 with a private guide we naturally had our own vehicle at VP. One morning while in search of Garfield (Pels Fishing Owl) I took a Mekoro with Grant our private guide which was great. But I was on a 13 day safari with plenty of very long and all day drives, so felt it was worth missing a drive for the chance of Garfield.
We did afternoon boat trips at both Duma Tau and VP with our private guide, I guess like all things YMMV.
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 07:01 PM
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Lynn: It seems Mr. Handsome and his brother that they were calling Hollywood were only around Duba for 4 weeks or so. I'd love to know where they went as well as the Skimmer and Tsaro males. If I ever see James again I will definitely ask because he probably knows where they went or else no one knows. BTW, I just picked up the September National Geographic that has a spread on Duba -- I haven't read it yet.

You do know my travel habits pretty well. I pick my lodges almost completely based on wildlife factors and support community involvement when available. Rustic is fine with me if the wildlife is there and I often do prefer smaller more rustic camps. Sometimes ultra luxury has a pretentious feel that isn't our favorite but we do love a private plunge pool and beautiful digs as much as anyone.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:48 AM
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Hello,

It's certainly possibl to do a mekoro at Vumbura -- I did one at LV. Interestingly, I also saw Pel's fishing owl on my mekoro excursion -- there is a pair that lives behind LV and my guide and I followed their calls across some of the little islands there until we found them.

Cheers,
Julian
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:52 AM
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Looks like a mekoro ride is a go for Vumbura, then. That's good to have the option. Hope the Pel's fishing owls are still in residence.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Lynn

Hope you get lucky, we went to all the favorite haunts and didn't.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:17 PM
  #53  
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<font color="green">When I awoke, the beautiful view of those plains from Vumbura Plains, which had been hidden by darkness when I arrived, became evident. Breakfast was light, but offered a larger selection than other camps, including a cheese platter—another 6-Paw perk.

Z and I were off for our full day of adventure, which began with a check of the lion pride, known as Kubu. It consisted of five lionesses and four young males, all sporting the first signs of a mane. One of the females had given birth to an all boy brood of four and now they were teenagers. This pride was in beautiful shape, especially the four young males. Their coats were flawless with not a single scar or mark.

Our vehicle, along with a few others, was nearing the lions. We got a radio call that it appeared the lions were hunting the nearby buffalo. (This pride also hunts regularly in the day, just like the Duba lions. Z said day hunts reduced hyena interference.) Z quickly explained some Vumbura ground rules. Only three vehicles are allowed at any sight so only three could follow the hunt. There were four vehicles in the area, therefore he asked if I would be willing to join a family in their vehicle, bringing the total number of vehicles back to three. That was fine. I made the vehicle switch and headed off to the hunt with my new vehicle-mates, a very enthusiastic family of three.

Later Z explained the potential downside of the private vehicle especially if there were numerous in the area. He said that if those who paid for a private vehicle refused to join others, thereby reducing the total number of vehicles, then that private client could find himself waiting in the wings for two hours or more to see a good sight.

There was lots of strategizing, crouching, and stalking among the five lionesses that was modeled far less effectively by the four young males. It was quite exciting to watch as the hunt played out in the brush separated by the occasional clearing. After about an hour the lions made their move. They rushed forward out of our sight, while the buffalo stampeded and bellowed alarm calls. One loud call was especially chilling. We were on the scene in moments to find several bewildered lions milling about but no buffalo, except those in a distant cloud of dust. The guides believed the lions had jumped a buffalo, but that it had gotten away.

I rejoined Z, who had been tracking a leopard during our separation, but was not successful in locating it. Z suggested we find the lion pride, which had retired under a Kalahari Green Apple tree, and wait for their next attempt on the buffalo that he believed would occur before sunset.

I thought my days of napping with the lions had ended with my departure from Duba Plains. But here I was again with my feline friends, able to take a midday snooze. How delightful. The vegetation of Vumbura provided lots of comfortable shade for the lions and for us. Z busied himself with a book on constellations during my little nap.

In the five and a half hours that we waited and chatted, I learned part of the inspiring tale behind Z becoming a guide. His uncle worked for Xigera back when it had only outside drop toilets and his uncle’s job was to clean those loos. Eventually the uncle found a better job at Xigera. But a prerequisite of the new job was finding someone to fill the old job. He asked Z, who had left school to help his parents support his sizeable family. So Z’s career in the bush began with the Xigera loos. After about six weeks he was promoted to “leave raking and lanterns.” From there it was bartender at another camp. Obviously his magnetic personality was found to be better suited for interaction with the guests than with loos or lanterns. While bartending he studied for his guiding license and picked the brains of the guides he knew. He still remembered the favorite drink of Eyes on Africa’s Nicky from those bartending days! Hard work and perseverance paid off and here was Z sitting with the lions and me, doing a job he loved and at which he excelled.

With my prompting, Z also recounted a tale of the most bizarre incident in his guiding career. (I always like to ask guides about their most bizarre client/guiding/game-viewing incident and I am usually amazed at the responses.)

Here’s how it went: A couple arrived at camp and asked Z to come to their tent because they had a present for him and Z obliged. But instead of a gift, the husband opened up a case and removed what looked like miniature toy car. The man explained that he planned to mount a camera on the rover and maneuver it by remote control so that close-ups of the wildlife could be taken. Wrong! Z immediately informed him this was not allowed and he could not bring the device. Z also expressed his puzzlement to me about what this guy considered a gift. Showing off your own contraptions to others is not usually considered presenting a “gift.” But this guy was full of misconceptions.

The first day out Z noticed that the wife would try to distract him with photo questions or requests to position the vehicle so that the husband, who sat in back, could try to exit the vehicle. Z put an end to that routine and issued a stern warning to them.

The next day while viewing lions, the wife again became quite inquisitive and engaged Z in conversation as a ruse. Suddenly Z heard the whirring sound of a small motor and spun around to see the mini rover rolling over to where the lions were sleeping. The guy was doing a test run in anticipation of mounting the camera. Well, the lions also heard this foreign sound and immediately pounced on the rover. (Funny, lions are oblivious to a huge Land Rover full of chatty tourists wearing hats, extending monopods and pointing big lenses. Once a nearby vehicle’s horn even sounded for several seconds, which resulted in no more than a disgusted look from the lions. But this little rover got their attention.) The guy continued to activate the remote so that the rover’s wheels were spinning in the lion’s mouth. The lion freaked and flung down the rover and gave it a swat. End of rover. The guy was near tears and Z was furious. The guy even had the gall to ask to get out of the vehicle and retrieve the remains of the rover. Request denied and Z immediately drove them back to camp where the couple had the riot act read to them by the camp managers. They were threatened with “deportation” from camp. Apparently it made an impression and Z said they were model guests the rest of the trip.
(Pardon the digression)
</font>
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 08:37 PM
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I'm really enjoying your report Lynn! Interesting about the private guide and vehicle and how they have to wait. Loved the remote controlled car story!
Thanks! Dennis
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 01:11 AM
  #55  
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Lynn,

Great trip report, just skimmed thru a bit of it as i hv just returned home.

While at Vumbura, did you meet a guide called Ras? He's really very good. Is one of the originals from Kwando and very very talented.

Glad you had a good trip.

Hari
 
Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 06:35 AM
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Hari,

Here's the answer to the question about Ras.

At Vumbura I met who I thought was Russ. But now I wonder if it was really Ras and I was just thrown by the accent on the vowel.

Later I met BB at Zibalianja, who is the younger brother of Ras/Russ. BB told me his full name was Barberton, BB for short. When I asked if his brother's full name was Russell, BB said, &quot;No, just Ras/Russ.&quot; That makes me think I heard Russ when the name was really Ras, since Russ is usually the nickname for Russell.

So I bet I did meet Ras. I was with him for only part of one game drive when I joined his vehicle of three guests.

BB told me that Ras is getting married in October.

So after all that I think I can answer the question YES.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Hi Lynn,

Next time I'm at Vumbura I may request Z as my guide -- he sounds fantastic!

The stunt with the rover made me laugh -- that guy must have been crazy...though not quite in the same league as the man who saw a python hanging from an overhead branch during a mokoro ride at Jao and reached up and grabbed it. Naturally it promptly bit him, to his complete astonishment -- apparently he has pet snakes at home and sees himself as the 'Snake Whisperer'. The logic here escapes me -- I have a cat, but that doesn't mean I try to pet the leopards!

Cheers,
Julian
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:27 AM
  #58  
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Lynn,

I'm very happy for Ras. He is a very very good guide and has the two big teeth? One of the Kwando originals.

Hari
 
Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Love the NASA guy with his unmanned vehicle, boldly going where no toy car has gone before,

Quote remembered Nicky's favorite drink - that could be anything with alcohol
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 01:15 PM
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Oh my. That story about the remote control truck... it almost has an air of urban legend about it. Oh to have been in that vehicle!!!!

As a dumb aside - every time I see the title of your report on the left hand side, I read &quot;Atravelyn to Dubya&quot;... &gt;&lt;
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