Back from Lebala,Zib and LKwara

Nov 15th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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Back from Lebala,Zib and LKwara

We are back from only 9 but very intense days in Botswana.We arrive at the beginning of the rainy season and had 2 big storms in the middle of our trip , but sunny and very hot days the rest of the time.
We booked all the services with Expert Africa and everything was perfect from preparation to ending. Maybe not the cheapest company but very knowledge and efficient.
I am not going to write an extend report because writing in English is not easy for me but i want to let you know at list some of our experience and wonderful time we had in this unique country.Our journie did not start very well because we had a 4 hour delay in the Air Botswana flight to Maun but that was the only incident we had for the rest of the trip.
When we landed at Lebala 2 eles where beside the airstrip waiting to welcome us.So was VUNDI, our guide for the six days at Kwando.We missed the PM game drive but in the way to camp we had elephants,impalas,red lechwe,warthogs and what was going to be the only relax jackal we had for the rest of the trip.When we where starting to see the camp tents and i was going to pack my camera Vundi point to a shade where a few lions where resting peacefully.It was the Selinda pride that had killed a buffalo 2 days ago close to camp so we where going to see them at the start and end of every game drive at Lebala.
The camp is very nice with more than in of comfort for us,very good food and what is more important very warm and attentive people.
Next day we had a mourning drive from 6 am to 10 am with lions ( at 6:05 ) eles,giraffes,impalas,lechwes,warthogs,hippos, buffalos,tsessebes(with lots of babies) and of course many beautiful birds.

After breakfast and have an hour rest we head north to Lagoon.I had tell Vundi that we wanted to try for sable so he prepared everything for the long drive north.We had very nice elephant herds in the water,giraffes in the beautiful mopane,zebras drinking,kudus,wildebeest,redbucks and more impalas,tsessebe,baboons,warthogs,mongooses,etc.We where driving south to Lebala along the river when we came across a very shy but magnificent bull sable that run away very fast.After a quick stop for lunch we went to look for the wild dogs and found 3 of them resting on the shade.One km apart we found another 3 dogs close to the water.We only spend a few minutes with them because we had a long drive to Lebala.In the way to camp we had the luck to find a young leopard that was very shy.We left him soon because Vundi said they want to let him space so he become more relax.Finally we pay a visit to the lions like everyday.A very hard but intense day at the Kwando concession.
Next day we had to leave Lebala(only 2 nights is not in of but it was full when we booked it) and we had a drive transfer to Zib so Vundi pack a breakfast box in order to maximize our time.Again the lions and lots of plain game, but the highlight was the hour we spend with a herd of around 50 eles and a hyena eating a buffalo calf in the water.

At the Kwando-Selinda boundaries Vundi let us in the hands of Ryan ,our nice guide for our 3 days at Zib.After more than one hour driving and some impalas we arrive to Zib.Very nice and intimate camp with wonderful people but due to the rains or any other reason i donīt know, the lack of animals was amazing.
During our stay we only saw 3 or 4 eles,a herd of buffalos,a group of female kudus,one giraff,a few lechwes and wildebeest and no zebras.Even tsessebe and impala(plenty in kwando and kwara) where scarce.So birds where our entertaining most of the time.A Brown snake eagle eating a snake,a pair of wattle cranes and a spotted eagle owl eating a frog was the best we had.Hippos and warthogs complete our stay along with and african wild cat,a water monitor lizard and a egipcian cobra.In 3 full days we where expecting more from this concession and didnīt expect to find such a lack of general game.When you go 3 days to a concession like this you expect to see some predators but if you don get them(witch is not easy) at list you expect zebras,giraffs,eles ,buffalos ...etc.

The last part of our trip was 4 days at LKwara,which is a very nice camp ,with very big and nice tents and also magnificent people in charge.The first pm drive Vundi track a family of cheetahs during 4 long hours and finally found them.We spend the next 2 and half hours seen them sleeping,grooming and even watching curious a leopard tortoise approaching them,one of the best moments of our trip.
A female leopard in daylight eating and hiding and impala killed the night before ,her cub moving the carcass the next day,2 hyenas stealing a tsessebe carcass from six lioness,2 honey badgers running ,walking beside a python snake ..this where some of the amazing experiences we had at the Kwara concession,apart from many eles,giraffs,zebras,wildebeest,impalas,red lechwe,redbucks,hippos,warthogs,baboons,velvets... and more.

I will post some pictures in a few days.If someone has questions i will be happy to answer.


We feel privileged persons after visiting this untamed and wild land that produce the most peaceful,joyful and happiest sensation that mother nature can transmit.We only hope that this can be maintained long time for the next generations to know.

Paco Ahedo.




PacoAhedo is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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Welcome back.... seems like you had a great trip. Good to hear about the Kwando camps. Cant wait to see your pics.

Richard
richardfh is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Sable, wild dogs, leopard, lion all in one outing! Wonderful!

I saw only a couple of eles at Zib also, in Aug. That's good you could appreciate the interesting bird and snake activity there.

Kwara really came through for you with the cheetah family, more leopard action.

Welcome back. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Thank you so much for posting your report.

I am excited by your news as I will (hopefully) going to Kwara & Lebala in May. It sounds like the camps will be great.

I was excited to hear about the sable and wild dog as I am really hoping to see these two species as I haven't see either in my safaris yet.

The leopard and cheetah (my favorite) sightings are encouraging. The number of birds sound wonderful.

And by the way, your English is perfectly clear. Thanks for sharing.

Deb
one2travel is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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Sounds like a great trip, even if the animals at Zib weren't reporting for work... For myself, however, I would count a decent sighting of the African Wild Cat as a great stroke of luck (did you get a photo?). Very nice to get to see wild dogs. And the quality experience with the Cheetahs! Thanks for the report.
rickmck is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 06:02 PM
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Hi Paco,

Glad you had such a fantastic trip!!! And glad Vundi kept you on your toes the entire time ...... was just thinking about your trip the other day and what you might be viewing.

I am very excieted about Little Kwara, that's next up. How was the overall gameviewing there? The cheetah you saw was the family of 4? I really do keep my fingers crossed to see either them or the 3brother co-alition. Did you see the Kwara female leopard or her daughter?

No cheetah at either Lebala or Zib?

Thanks for your short and crisp report!
Hari
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Nov 15th, 2007, 06:05 PM
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sorry, didn't read properly ...... you did find those star leopards!!! Awesome!!!

Hari
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Nov 15th, 2007, 10:39 PM
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mv
 
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Hi Paco

you mentioned 6 dogs at Lagoon. Do you know what has happened to the 9 puppies?
Michael
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Nov 17th, 2007, 12:45 AM
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Hi and thanks all for the welcome back,

Michael,we did not see the rest of the dogs because they were resting in thick bush.I asked the guide how many they where and he told me 6 adults and 9 pups but 2 of the pups had not been seen in the last 2 days.

Hari,the mother leopard and the cub at Kwara were spectacular.Our first night the mother killed a heavily pregnant impala 5 minutes from camp.When we got to the leopard it was resting a few meters apart but she start to be mad because one vulture and one bateleur were cycling over her.She went to the carcass,eat for a few minutes and pull the dead impala under a fallen tree.Then started to cover the blood with sand and leafs,it was amazing.
Next day we saw the cub moving the rest of the carcass to a thick bush out of sight and finally the next day we saw again the mother walking around in day light and making nervous some impalas.
Overall game at Kwara was excellent.The plains beside camp were full of zebras,and tsessebe.There were also plenty wildebeest and giraffs.Impalas and baboons all over(we saw the first baby impala on the last drive,i supposed now is full of baby impalas)
Also kudus,some waterbucks and of course hippos.Not many eles and only buffalo tracks.
The cheetah family of four that we saw,then they have another 3 cheetah at Tsum Tsum but     we did not see them.
We saw 2 solitary male lions and the group of 6 females .This group was new for them but we saw them 3 days(one of them has one eye like the selinda pride male)
They have been seen a pack of 22 dog.They had a confrontation with the 4 cheetahs the day before we arrived and we saw fresh tracks on our last day.

No cheetah at Lebala and Zib,looks like the brothers were at Savuti.

Rickmck,we were lucky to see a wild cat in day light,actually we saw 2 of them at Zib.I took pictures of one but not to good.

Deb,you will have a great time at Kwando camps but seen wild dogs and sable is a plus,you have to count on luck to see them.

Lynn,our overall trip was great.I always appreciate everything.We had excellent moments with baboons,mating frogs,million flying termites after the rain(this was a first for me) or the marvelous cicada concert in the beautiful mopane woodland (also a first for me).I love the landscape,the light after the storms,the sky,the trees...etc. We are lucky that this is not only about cats,dogs or eles.

Richard,this was my first visit to Kwando camps and is a fantastic place.Next week i will upload some pictures from Lebala.


Paco.
PacoAhedo is offline  
Nov 17th, 2007, 01:14 AM
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Thanks, Paco. Sounds like spectacular gameviewing at Kwara right now!!! Pack of 22 - sounds like the same pack as in Russ's current photo thread. Glad the Lagoon pack is doing well also, and i'm sure the other two pups are hiding in thick bush!!!

Rgds,
Hari

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Nov 17th, 2007, 02:06 AM
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Wonderful, wonderful report, Paco -- thank you so much for the excellent detail!
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Nov 17th, 2007, 02:42 AM
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sniktawk
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Great news about the Wild Dogs at Lagoon, let's hope a few can survive until next year. Also good news about the pack of 22 at Kwara, a large improvement on the 3 from a few years ago.
I am sorry to hear that the game viewing at Zib is still poor it has been like this for over a year. No doubt it will improve in time for the increased charges.
 
Nov 17th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for the detailed report. I may have passed you on the way to the Lebala airstrip.
We were lucky enough to see the pack of wild dogs at Lagoon - 6 adults and 7 pups. Also saw 2 cheetah, but saw the tracks of 3 others. The 2 brothers seemed to be marking their territory to keep the interlopers out.

Saw an advert for Kwando in a safari mag, with the strapline "Is there anywhere better?" Its hard to believe there is.
mcwomble is offline  
Nov 17th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Paco,

I know seeing any particular type of animal is a plus. I'm curious did you see any bat-eared foxes? I would love to see them as well.

Deb
one2travel is offline  
Nov 17th, 2007, 06:29 PM
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mcwomble,

I concur!!!

Hopefully, you will have a brief report with your sightings for all of us. You go to Kwara too this trip? Glad you saw the two cheetah boys ..... i hope all 9 pups are still around.

Hari
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Nov 17th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Deb,

Kwara is a pretty good concession for the bat-eared foxes.

Hari
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Nov 18th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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PacoAhedo,

Hope there will be photos. Your communication in English words has been just fine.


If Zib has experienced a downturn in wildlife viewing is it due to tectonic plate shifts that have caused water changes? Or is it climate? Can anyone offer a reason if indeed there are fewer animals seen?
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Lynn,

There were plenty of animals during my visit in June. Saw the Selinda pack looking for a densite (eventually, they picked Duma Tau), Saw the Selinda pride and young cubs there, Saw a big herd of Roan and plenty of good viewing on the spillway. However, there was the one incident that was strange and shocking (RE the cheetah) that i already mentioned to you about .......

Maybe the flooding may have an impact on some the cheetah fav hunting grounds????

Hari
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Nov 19th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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I think they mentioned that the increased water levels changed some of the routes that cheetahs were often seen. Maybe it is just a matter of less of one kind of animal, more of another.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 19th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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HariS....

Thanks glad to hear that I might just see a bat-eared fox!

Deb
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