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-   -   Botswana in June/08 (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/botswana-in-june-08-a-753103/)

africama Dec 13th, 2007 10:27 AM

Botswana in June/08
 
Hi,
IŽm new to this forum and have been searching a lot to define my itinerary for my next trip to botswana (thanks for all the posts, they helped me a lot). IŽve already been twice to south africa and once to botswana.
My main interest is predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dogs and hienas) and this time i will have 9 nights in bots (+ 1 in joburg).
My actual plan is:
- Duba Plains 4 nights (I read I should stay more time here to increase the chance of seing lion x buffalo interaction)
- 2 nights in kings pool/savuti/duma tau (try to find a cheetah, the only predator I still havenŽt seen)
- 3 nights at mombo
Have anyone gone to duba this time of year? Do you know how are the floods?
How is the linyanti region this time of year? Which of those 3 camps do you recommed for game / predators (excluding the fact that KP is 6paw and more expensive)?



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Author: PredatorBiologist ([email protected])
Date: 12/13/2007, 12:16 pm
africama: you are off to a great start with that itinerary. I have not been to Botswana in June so I'll leave that for someone others to comment on.

4 nights Duba Plains is ideal for lions! To maximize your opportunity for the buffalo interaction you will want to opt for a private vehicle and if possible book James 007 as your guide. If that is a budget issue I would drop Mombo, move to a suitable 5 paw level and invest the savings in the private vehicle here.

Kings Pool/Savuti/Duma Tau are all excellent with similar game viewing and the same cheetah and wild dogs in the area are seen by each camp so its just luck of the draw to be at the right camp at the right time. You should be able to choose based on which accommodation appeals the most as there should not be much difference in your viewing opportunities.

Mombo is excellent right now for lion but other predator sightings seem to have tailed off quite a bit due to the lion dominance. Still might be a good bet for leopard and general game is outstanding. If you want to focus on predator diversity and especially enhance your chances for cheetah I would drop Mombo and change to Kwara/Little Kwara or Chitabe. Of course things can change at anytime and there are no guarantees but virtually everyone to Kwara in the last year and a half has reported seeing cheetah. There is a very strong coalition of 3 brothers and now I believe there is a second pair as well so lots of great cheetah sightings.

The famous cheetah brothers patrol the Linyanti but they also wander through Selinda and Kwando all the way to Lagoon camp and perhaps beyond so with just 2 nights in Linyanti if you want to find your first cheetah I'd hedge my bets with more time in another good cheetah area.



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Author: africama
Date: 12/13/2007, 02:23 pm
Thanks for the fast reply. I decided this first itinerary looking at this forum.
The private vehicle is on my plans for duba plains. IŽm just checking availability with my TA on the camps and will ask for the private vehicle. IŽll ask for james 007, I remember others recommending him also.
I think IŽll keep mombo for the general game, knowing that the chance for lions is better than other predators. I had some wonderful sightings of leopards (always lots!!) and wild dogs (with pups this year) on my 2 trips to mala mala. And I decided with my wife to end the trip on a 6 paw camp and she always wanted to know mombo, we tried to go there on our last trip but it was booked and we couldnŽt change dates.
I still have the doubt about the other 2 nights. Little kwara can be an option to linyanti...

WildDogs Jan 5th, 2008 02:45 AM

Hi
I was in Botswana in June 07, if you want more info you can read the trip report at http://www.wilddogsandenglishmen.wordpress.com
My trip was a self-drive camping trip with some stays at some lodges, but it meant we saw everything you're looking for except for wild dogs.
WD.

atravelynn Jan 5th, 2008 08:06 AM

Here is another June Duba report.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=34833240

I'd agree with all of Predator's comments.

Little Kwara has had some nice cheetah sightings. As Predaotr said, if cheetah is a goal, then I'd more than one place that has frequent cheetah sightings.

Regarding KP, Savuti, and DT: any would give you access to the same area. I would save funds and not do KP. An exterminator who goes to almost all camps in Botswana told me his fav two camps were Duba Plains and Savuti Camp. I was at Duma Tau and really liked it.

Good question on the floods. I have not seen anything about them.

Your proposed itinerary looks fabulous.


jjmb Jan 5th, 2008 06:12 PM

Hi Africama,

I have been to Botswana 3 times in June, and it has been wonderful every time. Most recently in 2006, we spent 5 nights at Kwara, 5 nights at Duba Plains, and 6 nights at Zib. Kwara was great for variety of wildlife including lions and leopards, and Moses was a terrific guide, but I don't think he is there anymore. We weren't lucky enough to see cheetah or dogs here.

Duba was all about the lions and buffalos, and we saw 2 kills, one by each pride during our stay. Less diversity, but we were lucky enough to see leopard, and aardwolf, a first for me. I believe Duba is now a hot spot to view aardwolf as well as lion and buffalo! We asked for and got James 007, and he is awesome. He anticipates every move the lions make so he positions the jeep exactly where the attack is going to happen. And even when the lions were snoozing, he is expert with the birds and everything else, and his stories are fabulous. Book him if you can. The waters were getting high, and access to certain areas was limited, but we certainly had enough to see otherwise.

Zib was a great environment (same general area as the camps you are looking at). We had lots of lions, and we spent some time with the cheetah brothers, including them running by the waterhole in camp at breakfast. Unfortunately, our timing wasn't so good for the dogs, as they weren't in the neighbourhood at the time. There was also a big spike in the mouse population that season, so raptors were everywhere. Even if you aren't an avid birder, you can't help but be impressed with 1 tree holding a dozen eagles of varying species!

So in terms of recommendations for predator viewing, you can't beat Duba for lions and your chances of actually seeing some real action are good. But you will not see cheetah or dogs, and you will probably not see leopard either. You may see hyena, as we found the clan a few times. Kwara and Zib were better for diversity and in both areas you have chances for all of the predators, including dogs and cheetah.

With the camps on your list, you will have a wonderful trip, with so much to see. I am jealous! Have a great trip and I look forward to your trip report.

atravelynn Jan 5th, 2008 07:06 PM

Jjimb,

When were you at Duba?

Dana_M Jan 6th, 2008 08:56 AM

Hi Africama,
I was in Botswana in early July 2007. Game at both Duba Plains and Duma Tau was incredible. I had such a fantastic time that they are now two of my all time favorite camps. Here's a link to my trip report, which has photo links in it.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35051993

If you go to Duba ask for James 007 as your guide. At Duma Tau, ask for Ronald.

If you have any specific questions about either camp let me know.

Dana

atravelynn Jan 6th, 2008 09:02 AM

Early July in one year can certainly act like June in another depending on rains and weather.

James007 #1 I agree.

I have not found a site with flood info this year as I have in past years.

Shumba Jan 6th, 2008 10:10 AM

Heavy rains expected this year. So june maybe too early in many locations.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7169421.stm

As for James 007 the guy chats a lot of sh*t, IMHO, like many guides in Botswana. Not to the same Zim, SA standards.

Zambian guides are knowledgable, but they oftern can't balance between sounding like a text book and guiding.

jjmb Jan 6th, 2008 11:45 AM

atravelyn,

We were there from May 31 to June 5 I think, or at least thereabouts, in 2006. One of the water crossings became quite high, and shortly after we left, the had to leave jeeps on the other side and cross it by boat.


atravelynn Jan 6th, 2008 11:54 AM

I spent 4 wonderful days with James007. His intuition as to where the lions were heading and their actions was wonderful. He was very friendly but not over talkative in my opinion. His handling of the vehicle during lion hunts was excellent and he did not intrude on them. The genuine enthusiasm he exhibited was heartwarming.

I agree the training for Zim guides is the gold standard. It is especially important when doing activities on foot.


PredatorBiologist Jan 6th, 2008 05:36 PM

Shumba: we definitely have different opinions on James 007, but it is also an apples to oranges comparison. Duba is a specialist area -- it's about lions and buffalo and no one knows them better at Duba than he does and thus he earns high recommendations from me for guests going there. It is also a great area for birds and he is an outstanding birder. Guiding on foot in Zimbabwe is an entire different ball game that he could be great at but I wouldn't know since it's completely different. However, you highlight Zim and SA guides and he was originally an SA trained guide working in Sabi Sands -- Londolozi I think but that could be the wrong location. Pretty sure he produced a photographic book on leopards while working there.

Back when I visited to Duba in 2003 he was actually the camp manager and it remains the gold standard for the most well managed camp that I have encountered, he had great help from Julie and Ike (local who was an assistant manager), but that team was the best I have encountered.


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