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KSinNYC Oct 10th, 2007 10:27 PM

Botswana: Which of these guides would you choose (or avoid)?
Hi. We've gotten a list of the guides who are available at our camps in Botswana next week. We are staying at 4 camps. Which of these guides would you recommend? Any you would avoid? Thank you for the feedback!

Little Mombo
Guide at Little Mombo for the month of October will be Tsile Tsile.

Chitabe Lediba
Should you take a private vehicle they will allocate Sefo otherwise the choices are Phinley, Ebs, OT, Andy, Lazarus and Luke.

Little Vumbura
Moa & Kay

Thuso & Sefo

jweis Oct 10th, 2007 10:32 PM

Tsile is great.
Phinley has been at Chitabe forever, but is quiet. Still, for finding animals, the best there w/o doubt IMO.
Kay at LV, we use him for our Digital trips.
Savuti - Kane (a bushman) is the best, not sure if he is gone? Do not know the other two.


safarichuck Oct 11th, 2007 02:08 AM

At Savuti NOT Sefo. Sefo is very new and has much to learn. A nice fellow but little experience. He was our guide this summer. At Chitabe Ebs is very good, as is George (not listed). The managers, Shane and Kim are elightful and I'm sure they will work with you to provide the best guide for your preferences.

safarichuck Oct 11th, 2007 02:10 AM

"delightful" not elightful. Come on Fodor editors give us a way of editing our posts :-)

safarichuck Oct 11th, 2007 03:50 AM

I made a mistake and mixed Kwetsani with Chitabe Lediba. At Chitabe Lediba (Chitabi Trails), Ebs is very good as is Newman who you do not mention. The managers, Josephine and Kenny also go out of their way to help with special requests. At Savuti, I think I would try for Brandon if he is in the area. He does move around as he is a Wilderness manager as well as a guide. Sorry for the mix up above but Kwetsani is another great camp.

atravelynn Oct 11th, 2007 07:42 AM

In Aug 2005 Luke accompanied Newman and me on the overnight at the Chitabe Walking Trails. He also drove me to the airstrip at the end of the trip.

Luke was almost ready to get his guiding license at the time. I recall being very impressed with him, even in the constant presence of Newman. I recall thinking, "He'll make an outstanding guide." Except for the legalities, I considered him one already.

HariS Oct 11th, 2007 05:33 PM

Lazarus was a trainee guide at KP in 2004 when we were with Moses. Lazarus was the one who found the Selinda pack near lunch time (far from camp) during a training session and called us to come have a look. I believe the pack was in the 28 or something in number at that time!

eyelaser Oct 11th, 2007 07:42 PM

Just got back this past Sunday from Savuti, L. Vumbura and Chitabe Lediba. We had requested Kane but he was on leave, we were assigned Thuso but he came down with malaria and had to go to hospital. I think he was to be out a week so he is probably back. We then were assigned Jonah who is mostly at Kings Pool but occassionally at Savuti. He was great. Very personable, an amazing tracker who likes to share his knowledge if asked and new his way around as though he had been there for years. He also was willing to start early and stay out fact he enjoyed it as much as we did. We had used Kay in 2004 and requested him again for L. Vumbura. He just wants to stay in the bush and we did an all day drive with lunch at the Duma Tau hide and drove one day almost all the way to Duba Plains. He is very personable once you get to know him and he knows Vumbura like the back of his hand having been there many years and 28 years guiding in the Delta. At Chitabe Lediba we had requested Newman but he was on leave and we were assigned Phinley. Interesting, he is indeed very quiet and I couldn't figure out his personality. He didn't smile much and wasn't too talkative...but he was the most incredible guide I think I ever had. He had an uncanny way of not only finding everything but he knew where the animals would walk before they did...positioning the vehicle in just the right position. Everybody else was driving around to get in position and he would just wait and the animals would come to us. I wasn't sure how much he liked early and late drives but he was willing to do them without question. After all this as my son and I left he was the only guide who actually gave us each a big hug (and he hadn't even seen his gratuity yet). I don't recall this happening before and I was very surprised considering his demeanor in the vehicle and at meals. I would absolutely ask for him again. He is very patient. We sat for over 3 hours watching a leopard in a tree from 7:30-10:30am as he explained that we it got hot the game would come to the shade and as he was in a sausage tree that was dropping flowers they would come to eat them and the leopard would be in a position to pounce. Well over 3 hours later that is exactly what happened and we had our most incredible moment as a leopard leaped about 20 feet out of the tree in a dive not a drop on to the back of an unsuspecting kudu. Unlucky leopard that he picked the largest kudu instead of a youngster or the single impala also under the tree but the moment is etched in my memory (as well as high def video and still photos).
I have also had Cele twice, once at Duba and once at Mombo and he is a joy.

CarlaM Oct 11th, 2007 07:47 PM

Welcome back Eric. What an awesome leopard experience! Will keep an "eye" out for your photos!

HariS Oct 11th, 2007 08:04 PM

Hi Eric,

Your trip sounds fantastic! Any cheetah while at Savuti/Duma Tau?


jweis Oct 11th, 2007 08:09 PM


Cool story at Chitabe.

Yep, Phinley is laid-back, but once you are out with him on drive, you realise that the way he anticipates is astonishing. He has a LOT of experience and has likely been on more game drives than anyone could believe.

Great job waiting on that leopard. For those who have the luxury of a private vehicle and who are not on their first safari, this is THE way you get the amazing sightings.

Sure, you may get some lucky sightings on your first trip, but if you want cool stuff every trip, you have to put in the time and practice patience.

If I had to make a list of stuff I've bumbled across versus amazing sightings after long waiting, the long waiting wins out by a huge margin.

Most do not have the patience and would rather rely on endless driving to find things.

The more safaris you go on, the more you realize two things:
1. Patience is required if you want to see the "cool" stuff.
2. Going to see certain animals (say cheetah or dogs) and ignoring the little things, like birds or frogs, will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

Anyone who is a Cal Ripken (journeyman) of safaris will ultimately have to learn to appreciate the small stuff, birds especially, or your days of enjoyable safaris are limited.

Bit of a meandering diversion... sorry.


HariS Oct 11th, 2007 08:39 PM

That and photograph whatever you find ..... the more you wait around birds, zebras, whatever....the guide looks for signs and alarms from the bush that could lead to other stuff. That's what Spencer does!

Oh! and the patience of tracking .... if you track the steps of animals-step by step (can take upto 2+hours at times) you get to learn a whole lot more about animal behavior.


KSinNYC Oct 11th, 2007 10:35 PM

Thank you guys -- I will send in my requests and will let you know how it turns out!

afrigalah Oct 11th, 2007 11:07 PM

Words of wisdom, James.


Dana_M Oct 12th, 2007 07:09 AM

At Chitabe Andy was my guide, and he was great. We chased dogs one morning relentlessly even after other vehicles had given up. Andy asked us if we wanted to keep going and when we said yes he complied. We also spent a lot of time waiting for a baby leopard to show her face, again after many other vehicles had given up. Andy was great at finding the game and at listening to our wishes. I would recommend him highly.


ShayTay Oct 12th, 2007 07:17 AM

Lazarus was our guide at Chitabe last year. He's a good guide and driver. It was during the rainy season and he got us through areas where everyone else got stuck. He spotted a leopard for us before we even got to the camp from the airstrip.

Busylizzy Oct 13th, 2007 10:07 AM

Hi Safarichuck,

I see you mention a 'Brandon' in your post.

My husband and I had a guide by that name on one of our trips to the Okavango Delta a few years back. I'm not sure if it's the same person we are talking about, but this Brandon, a tallish, well-built, dark haired gentleman, I would say by now probably in his early forties, was an absolute delight concerning wit, humour and of course game sightings - very knowledgeable.

I would most certainly give him a thumbs up.

Would you please be so kind as to compare notes on Brandon.

He was back then

Busylizzy Oct 13th, 2007 10:19 AM

Oops too late, but plse ignore the last unfinished sentence...

skimmer Oct 13th, 2007 01:45 PM

Phinley is one the best guides I worked with and he's actually a very cool guy the moment you get to know him better.

Chitabe is one of the camps where the crew (managers/guides/general staff) tend to stay which means that Dave and Helena are doing a wonderful job.

Although there are lots of young potentials around, I still like to work with the very experienced guides who can find their own game and don't rely on their radios all the time.

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