Back in 2007...

Nov 17th, 2006, 09:43 PM
  #1  
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Back in 2007...

I'm off for a bit of an extended stay this time... I'm co-leading a digital photog. workshop / safari in Bots and then on to visit some camps in the Lowveld. The rest of the time will be spent with family in JNB...

4 L. Vumbura
4 Chitabe
4 Savuti
7 Mombo
2 King's Camp
2 MalaMala
1 Singita Boulders
1 Singita Lebombo
2 Leopard Hills

This should about finish me. I'll be doing a bit of hopping around in Sabi Sands area by heli to see at least 2-3 camps a day, plus get in a game drive per day.

I will be back in JNB for a day between Bots and RSA camps on 14-Dec and will try to find time to give a quick update on what we see in Bots (I'll watch out for the cheetahs in the Channel).

I'm not known for long posts or trip reports, but I'll endeavor to do one this time. This time of year is my favorite time in the Delta with all the baby animals, green grass and dramatic lighting and skies.

First time Xmas in RSA - my 1-year old will hopfully enjoy the warm weather more than Chicago (although snow awaits when we land on New Year's eve).

I leave Monday afternoon... Hope everyone has a happy and healthy Holiday season and year end.

James
jweis is offline  
Nov 17th, 2006, 10:01 PM
  #2  
skimmer
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James,

Have a great trip and travel safely.

It would be nice to hear what's going on in Botswana. I am especially curious about the cheetahs/wild dogs around Mombo.


Best regards,

Johan
 
Nov 17th, 2006, 11:13 PM
  #3  
santharamhari
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James,

Have a fantastic trip.....thanks for keeping an eye out for the 2 cheetah boys, wherever they may be....

Enjoy!!!

Hari
 
Nov 18th, 2006, 12:31 AM
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Have a great trip James.

John
afrigalah is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 12:43 AM
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Sounds wonderful - bon voyage!
Kavey is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 03:43 AM
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Have a great time James. That itinerary and photo safari looks fantastic.

divewop is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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A marvelous combination of locations. It should be a super trip.
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Nov 18th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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Wow what a dream trip!
Enjoy and bring us back many pictures;
Sherry
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Nov 18th, 2006, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for the well wishes.

I'm currently entering early panic mode trying to make sure everything here is sorted before we leave.

Also not looking forward to so much time away from the little guy when I'm in Bots and also our cats here in Chicago (who we consider our children too).

Bought a GPS today to see what fun I can have with it hooked up to my camera and just tracking stuff in the bush.

For those who use Google Earth, the area around Savuti Camp, Zib Lagoon, Kings Pool is now in high-res and you can even see the vehicle tracks on the transit road and along the Linyanti river and then down the channel. Pretty cool. Even found the woodpile hide at Savuti and each tent is pretty much visible.

I played around a bit and located a few camps. Some are there under Tracks4Africa (under Featured Content), but they seem to be a bit off.

Here's coordinates for anyone who wants to check it out:
Kings Pool: 1826'17.51"S 2342'24.32"E
DumaTau: 1832'5.20"S 2334'4.62"E
Zib Lagoon: 1834'33.36"S 2332'13.91"E
Savuti Camp: 1835'49.18"S 2340'24.18"E

Chief's Island is not scanned in high-res yet, but here's
Mombo: 1913'40.00"S 2246'37.50"E

Fun diversion for those who have visted.

Cheers for now,
James
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Nov 18th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Have a fabulous trip and holiday with the little one! Looking forward to hearing all about it when you return!

Sharon
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Nov 18th, 2006, 08:59 PM
  #11  
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Anyone have any experience with Garmin-compatible street map software for South Africa?

I know MapSource offer it here, but it looks like it hasn't been updated in a couple years.

I'm wondering if I should rather get it in SA.

James
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Nov 19th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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Jim, that's an incredible itinerary (of those lodges, I have only stayed at Savuti and Chitabe; I was very lucky at Savuti and saw my only aardwolf and caracal). Have a great trip. Looking forward to your reports and impressions when you return.

I am writing this from Dubai, and I am considering a desert safari in the next few days.

Michael
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Nov 19th, 2006, 05:01 PM
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Hi Michael,

I've only ever done Namibia for deserts (plus southwest USA).

What are the deserts like in Dubai?
Are you from the region or just there for vacation/business?

James
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Nov 19th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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Going to give 3G internet service a try in Joburg this time around. I still don't think they've figured out support for Mac's yet (I've been in discussion with various providers there), but if I can get Vodacom to give me a driver, I can hopefully take advantage. For Windows users, it's a snap and already a proven winner.

I love the idea of connecting with high speed wherever I want. This is going to be a great option for us all in the near future and hopefull one that will be offered here in the USA soon.

James
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Nov 19th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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I guess I'll cancel the Gallo Hearty Burgundy tasting if you're going out of town!
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Nov 20th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Jim, no, I live in NYC, but I'm spending the week in and around the United Arab Emirates (mostly the Emirates), but also visiting Oman and Bahrain.

In Africa, I spent time at Sossosvlei and also Kgalagadi, and I expect those to be more interesting than the desert around Dubai (which is almost all sand, with very little vegetation and almost no wildlife). But, it does allow 4x4 dune tours, and I may be able to combine that with a visit to a small reserve.

Michael
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Nov 20th, 2006, 09:20 AM
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James
If you want I will make a copy of my Garmin SA streetmap and leave it with Russel.
Let me know
Mark
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Dec 9th, 2006, 06:04 PM
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Hi James,

I would like to talk to you once you're back from your trip. I'll be in the Delta from 12/27-1/13. Can you send me an e-mail with your contact info?
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Jan 18th, 2007, 09:45 PM
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Hi all -

Only now getting caught up and checking Fodor's since my return.

Trip was great. Getting to and fro with the 15-month old shorty was not so fun... not a good age for the long-haul flights.

Bots was great with our digital group. Chitabe was a standout this time for game. The week at Mombo with Grant was killer - out early and bumbling all over the concession. We went about as far north as one can get (way up into Moremi Hippo Pools), as all the roads were very accessible. Also wen down all the way south to the Boro Boat Station - almost got stuck there though. Highlight for me at Mombo were the amazing skimmers pretty much every day. Had a flock of about 80 that we "chased" up and down a stretch of sandy channel trying to get them backlit, skimming, etc. Lots of fun.

Elephants still everywhere in the Savuti channel which was unusual to say the least; however, the rich sediment deposited by the water flowing down the channel this year had resulted in super-rich graze and the elie's were in there every afternoon.

Kruger reserves were amazing. I loved Rattray's for their exceptional rooms, very good guide and outstanding male leopards. Highlight for me there was meeting a baseball legend and hero of mine, Johnny Bench. I recognized him first thing at the bar, but only decided I had to say I knew who he was on the last day. Too cool.

Toured LOTS of camps along the way and Royal Malewane had to be the most over the top. Anyone have R39,000 per night for the suites? As I was taking photos of the property there, the manager interrupted me and mentioned that the person in the spa lap pool was concerned that I was photographing him. Actually, I was trying to get shots WITHOUT him in the frame, but he and his partned were at opposite ends of the pool and I didn't have much time. Turns out it was a Prince from Jordan andthe other guy was assumedly his bodyguard. Oh well.

Singita was my favorite - great game, superb service and the wine list,... my goodness. I'm a fairly serious wine collector and have been into RSA winessince about 1994. Well, I pondered the wine list for 15 minutes our first night at dinner, deciding which bottle I should try for each of the 2 nights we had there. Let me just say that the decision was not easy for me and I could have enjoyed a week there easily. Vintage SA stuff that you'd be lucky to find anywhere but in a private cellar today.

Also spent a day at Singita Lebombo - hotter than I could believe there, but a stunning property and superb game drive area. They have a pride of 27 lions there currently.

Being a pretty hard-core Botswana boy, I was really impressed with the Lowveld reserves. I preferred them to Madikwe for the game experience and also thought the guiding was generally much better there too.

Learning new plants and trees in the Reserves was also cool, as there's practically nothing left other than some grasses for me in the Delta.

------

Mark - Thx for the offer for the Garmin maps - bloody expensive here in the States. I'll be back in SA this May and again in July (heading to the Kafue camps) and may take you up on that offer. Will the copy work do you think?

BTW, the new Garmin was loads of fun for me. Tracked my course every day and also loaded up tons of waypoints at every camp. Putting them into Google Earth back at home was cool, although not everywhere is high-res on Google yet. The GPS also helps one learn the roads at the camps, so you know where you are.

If anyone has more detailed questions, I'm happy to answer, but I'm still swamped with catching up after 7+ weeks away and just do not have the time for a long trip report.

Cheers,
James
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Jan 18th, 2007, 10:38 PM
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Most welcome back and happy your trip was great. Please tell us more as you have the time. And expecting photos also
regards - tom
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