Botswana Trip Report

Oct 14th, 2006, 02:31 PM
  #1  
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Botswana Trip Report

Botswana Trip Report: To supplement the Linyanti portion of jweis' mail, we (my husband and I) were at Kings Pool 9/22-9/25 and saw the 3 lions known as the "border boys" one evening near the Linyanti. One lion had a badly scarred lip which you can see in one of the photos by copying and pasting the link below into your browser. Game was plentiful and we were impressed with the flow of buffalo crossing the Linyanti from Namibia to Botswana, as well as the movement of groups of elephants moving across the river into Namibia (and perhaps back again the next day).

http://picasaweb.google.com/Allen.Sm.../Botswana92006

Using the posts on this list was a tremendous help in planning our trip, and I'd like to thank all of you for your comments and suggestions. Based on your posts describing the different environments at various camps in Botswana, we planned our trip so we would spend 3 nights at Chitabe, Vumbura Plains and Kings Pool. As it turned out, we were evacuated from Chitabe after our 2nd night due to a fire that spread from a local village and was approaching the camp. WS acted quickly in getting 2 planes to the airstrip and removing all guests to Maun where we were assigned to other camps that had vacancies. (The fire reached to the fire break just outside of Chitabe and we were told it did not damage the camp.) Fortunately, we were sent to Vumbura Plains where we could then spend 4 nights in luxurious comfort. I know others have reacted negatively to the modern design/decor of VP, but we thought it showed a wonderful mix and integration of comfortable design, beautiful use of African woods in the furnishings, and strategic positioning of African artifacts throughout the camp. It was at VP where we saw 2 male sable antelopes attempting to lock horns in order to establish dominance in their group. Our guide, Peter, described the sequence of their behavior before it actually happened, so we were quite impressed when we actually saw it all happen, from the 2 males circling each other, facing off, knocking horns, and going down on their knees while banging their heads together.

We were also very impressed with the herd of approx. 1000 buffalo moving through, and then later seeing 4 young male lions practicing their positioning as they attempted to threaten a group of several hundred buffaloes. Several bulls discouraged their efforts and the 4 lions went off to join their adoptive "mom" who greeted them very warmly. We also had wonderful sightings of leopard and African fish eagles. Wild dogs were seen the day after we left VP, when 2 adults and 2 of their surviving pups were located. They had not been seen for weeks and the guides feared that they were no longer around.

Kings Pool, with its proximity to Namibia, was full of great viewing, too. As you'll see in our photos, I was especially charmed by the Carmine Bee Eaters that had just arrived. No matter how they were photographed, they were just exquisite. In fact all the bee eaters we saw were so beautiful.

One evening on our drive, after stopping to see the 3 "border boys" lounging under a tree, we started back to camp and stopped suddenly when a large python crossed in front of our vehicle. We all gasped at its size.

And what a surprise we had when one morning we saw a hippo plopped on the ground outside one of the rooms. It had a fresh but nasty gash on its face and many battle scars on its body. It got up later in the morning and returned to the water.

In closing, we had a marvelous trip and enjoyed each of the camps, all of the meals which were sumptuous and creatively presented, and appreciated the friendliness of the staff and attentiveness of the management at each location. Thanks again for your comments which provided so much valued guidance for our trip.
Daffy318 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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Great report and superlative photos, Daffy318!!

I loved each one of your pictures, especially the Painted Reed Frog (photos of which I screwed up 100% of the time at Nxabega).
DonTopaz is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 05:27 PM
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Great photos. You caught the sable in action! That is a unique sequence! You have some beautiful bird photos. I also really liked the hyena family and jumping leopard. You did the little creatures so well too.

Several years ago Chitabe burned. Hope it was not a loss this time. Glad your altered schedule worked out for you. It was an upgrade. I have been hearing reports of dogs at Vumbura and I am happy to hear they are surviving.

I know the 4 young Vumbura males you are referring to. They were fine specimens when I saw them in August. It appears their hunting skills are coming along. Those skills were noticeably lacking when I was there.

Python crossing! How exciting!

Welcome home.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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santharamhari
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daffy318,

Glad you had a good trip to Botswana and thanks for sharing your experiences with the rest of us. Quick question.....i saw a cheetah in one of your pics. Would i be right to assume you saw it at Vumbura? Did you bump into Ras, one of the guides at Vumbura?

Thanks
Hari
 
Oct 15th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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Hi, Hari

In reply to your question about the cheetah, we saw it at Chitabe and there was some concern about it since it had an injured leg and wasn't moving about. I hope it's recovering now. Surprisingly, that was the only cheetah we saw on this trip.

I don't recall meeting Ras at Vumbura Plains. We were in the northern group of rooms. Perhaps Ras works with the southern group. We actually had 2 different guides there. Moronga was our first guide and he got such pleasure in seeing so many birds that he hadn't noticed before. When he had to leave to renew his license, Peter took over. It was refreshing to see the different events that excited each of the guides.

I also should mention that Lazaus was our guide at Chitable. He's a terrific spotter and very knowledgable. One evening we went out with 2 Frenchmen who spoke no English, so they would have missed the names of the various animals, trees and plants that we saw due to the language barrier. But Lazarus, fortunately, could identify what we saw by using the Latin names, so the message came through anyway. Lazarus said that he also could identify the names of most animals in several other languages that are commonly spoken by the guests. We were all duly impressed.
Daffy318 is offline  
Oct 15th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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santharamhari
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Daffy318,

Thanks a lot. Hope the cheetah did receover. Actually, the reason i asked is...i think Vumbura is a good place for cheetah, but, with all the lion activity described in your report they may be hiding for the moment....

Lazarus, yes i remember him from Kings Pool from a few years ago when he was just starting around. Very nice guy, indeed!!!

Hari
 
Oct 16th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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Lazarus can call them names in any language but his favorite was the impala--because they are everywhere.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 16th, 2006, 05:32 PM
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We had Lazarus as our guide when I was at Chitabe in February. He's a great guide and an excellent driver. Many of the roads had turned to lakes and we made it through all of 'em without getting stuck.
ShayTay is offline  
Oct 17th, 2006, 06:14 AM
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Thanks for reporting back - sounds like you had a great trip! Great pics too!
Kavey is offline  
Oct 18th, 2006, 07:14 AM
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Daffy318
Glad you had a great trip. Your photos are outstanding - especially the dragonflies, the smaller birds and not to mention the Sable as well as the leopard jumping across the water.
Best Regards
Mark
Marksafari17 is offline  
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