Calling for full trip report from tashak!!

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Jun 19th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Calling for full trip report from tashak!!

hi tashak, reading and looking at rocco's pics reminded me of a full trip report coming from you. hehehe. anyway, hopefully you can find the time and possibly the pics to share your recent botswana trip. i really am curious what mombo looks like in june and how high the water level is. thanks in advance.
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Jun 20th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Well thanks for the nudge! It will have to be in parts, but here goes...sorry, you'll have to wade through Zambia first, as I can only do it chronologically!

This trip was a combo of South Luangwa and Botswana. I've been to, and thoroughly love, both places . Had some mileage that was going to expire, so that dictated a May- early June trip. I knew that animals would not be as visible during the shoulder between rains and dry season, but wanted to see these places when things were green anyway.

Arrived in Mfuwe around May 7. Very heavy rains had continued through early April, so the grass was green and high. South Luangwa is a really lovely park! And as Roccco reports, the place is fun to visit because the people are so very nice and welcoming. Despite the long wet season, no problems with bugs-- I'm sure they were around, because there were some cases of malaria just a few weeks prior...but I took typical precautions, and didn't notice any mosquitoes after dark. The weather was warm during the day and long-sleeve cool at night. Really perfect...with the most beautiful blue, clean-washed skies filled with fat cumulus clouds. Amazingly beautiful.

Lots of the camps in South Luangwa don't open until June, so choices were a bit limited. Here are some brief descriptions and updates about various camps and lodges:

Flatdogs-- the budget choice is still a good one for a variety of reasons. Chalet rooms are large, clean, screened, brightly painted and comfy. Lots of hippo hanging around at night (!) but the elephants haven't moved into camp yet. (NOTE: Flatdogs has a big piece of property, on the river and right across from the parks main entrance. The owner is a dedicated conservationist, and clearly the animals feel safe and happy here-- later in the season the ellies really like to hang out here. So there always a watchman to escort you to your rooms.) I have done many game drives from Flatdogs in the past, and had a great time. It is very convenient to the main gate, and the area around the main gate is very, very productive in terms of animals. Guides tell me that all the tourist activity makes them feel safe here. Good. The downside is that this area is more heavily travelled-- by Zambia standards-- than the rest of the park. (Note: that means it is still way less crowded than any other place you'd go, save the private reserves in Botswana, Zim or Southern Tanzania.)

Good news: Flatdogs has upgraded their restaurant, both in terms of decor and food! Pasta was made on site, and excellent! So were specialties like fajitas (a visitor from New Mexico taught one of the cooks. And Flatdogs (bar and restaurant) is the place to hang out if you want to meet anyone other than tourists.

Flatdogs will appeal to budget travellers who want to extend their stay in the valley (chalets are $30 per person per night...camping even cheaper. Game drives are $20 per, plus a $20 daily entrance fee to the park. Chalets have refrigerators and cooking facilities--again good for families and budget travellers. I also like to stay there when I don't feel like going out on drives or walks every single day. It's a great place to catch up on sleep and take it easy... so I usually schedule a couple days there to recover from jetlag at the beginning of the trip. When I do this, I find I can really enjoy every single activity at the more expensive camps. (And let's face it...two activities and all those lunches and dinners seem like work after a while!)

Kafunta Lodge is a lovely camp... very well run by Ron and Anke, who are both guides. I believe Anke was one of the first women to become a guide in Zambia-- though she doesn't really guide these days. Rooms are really cabins--very large, made of a dark wood, and screened. each has a veranda overlooking the floodplain/ river. I found the verandas lovely and very relaxing...and a good place to watch baboons and zebra, as well as birds. (Only downside: they are large, comfy and rustic, but don't feel particularly "African". So you feel like you are in a wilderness, but not really "African". There is also a resident bush baby in the camp (not tame...just habituated) so its the best place to see and possibly photograph this elusive nocturnal primate. (Warning: take your camera and binoculars to dinner! Every night! I missed this great shot!!) And speaking of elusive animals-- this is where I saw the pangolin!1 Very rare and exciting! When our guide found it, we got out of the vehicle for photographs...then went back to tell everyone in camp. They were incredibly excited, and all ran out in various states of dress (it was only about 6:15 in the morning-- game drives here started at 6:00!) to see it too. This area-- across the river from the park-- is also a favorite of giraffe. We saw the largest herds of giraffe I've ever seen in Zambia here.

Good news-- Roccco found the Kafunta meals boring...but this year they must have a new cook. I thought they were very good...and varied. I'm vegetarian, and they did a great job catering for me. Another plus for Americans-- Kafunta really markets to Europeans, not the Brits or Americans (Anke speaks German), so you get a broader cross-section of tourists than the other camps. This is always nice when you are on vacation.. why be surrounded by other Americans?

More room comments: the very large rooms have an indoor sitting area, and unscreened veranda, an inroom "safe" (locking drawer) , a minibar that they will stock with your preferred drinks (it's pay as you go for alcohol here)...and for those who need it...a hairdryer! So very comfortable...but not exactly like getting away from civilization. An especially good place for a first trip for nervous travellers, since rooms have electricity and so many amenities.

Kafunta uses a pontoon bridge to get to the park for drives, but it wasn't in place while I was there. This makes the drives particularly long...however we did see lots of giraffe...and that fabulous pangolin on the way to the park, so can't complain about that! However, if you stay at Kafunta when the pontoon isn't in place, I'd highly recommend that you choose another camp that is in the park...otherwise you'll get sick of that drive to the main gate.

Nkwali, a Robin Pope Safaris camp, is located in the same area as Kafunta (outside park) but has a very different ambiance. Nkali's chalets are smaller thatched huts-- the walls inside are a white plaster, floors are smooth stone. The rooms are airy, light, open and very elegant. Big "picture window" overlooking the river...but no glass or screens! (They insert a large metal grate at night for safety, and use big mosquito nets over the bed.) The facilities are a walled, open to the sky shower and sink, and a small toilet rondavel-- connected to your room by a cotton curtain. Fabulous to take a shower under a spreading sausage tree! And thoughtfully, they removed all sausages that hung over my bathroom!) I really love the design of these rooms-- it is the perfect combo of comfort, elegance and connection to the outdoors. (Note: I MUCH prefer this to the over-the-top accomodations at places like Mombo. This is true, simple, African elegance. Just what you need and no more. Isn't that the definition of elegance?)

Another plus for RPS is that they have broken completely with the "you have one guide for your whole visit" philosophy. They ask you " what would you like to do today? Walk? drive? day-long drive? picnic?" Then they organize groups and guides depending on the response. If you have been at a camp that does this, you'll really appreciate this level of personal service. (At other camps, there is always pressure-- subtle or not so subtle-- to walk if others want to walk, or drive if others want to do that . If you have different preferences than the rest of the group with your guide, it's not always the most satisfying. But RPS has moved to a system that really does tailor activities to your preferences (Kaingo does this too...more on them later.) I think this is great...and after this, I found the experiences at some of the Wilderness Camps in Botswana not as good. (In fairness to Kafunta, I didn't even think to ask if they could arrange anything other than a drive for me...and if I had asked, I think that they would have. When I was there, it was a week earlier in the season, and the grass was higher so walks were not a good option...) One more RPS service plus: when the pontoon is not available, they use a boat to ferry you across the river to the park...vehicles are waiting there to start the drives. This gives them the option of beginning drives at camp (which is sometimes good-- we saw a HUGE heard of ellies--about 200 of them on the Nkwali side of the river this way) OR cutting off the drive to the park by using the boats. It is a nice option to have...

Now wildlife -- perhaps because I spent 5 days at Nkwali, there was lots of excitement here. Saw all the usuals-- except leopard.
But while at Nkwali, the wild dog were in the area. You may know that most of Zambia's dog were killed about 20 years ago by a big outbreak of anthrax in hippos. (Dogs ate the dead hippo-- and died. So did the jackals. But the hyena are immune to anthrax, and they have thrived.) But a few dogs remained, and they are making a comeback. The packs are typically easiestt to see in the spring, as they move into more remote areas later in the season. Well, we knew that they were around, but we kept missing them. Sometimes by minutes. They just move really fast...and when they want to hide in thick bush, they can really hide. Then on the third day we found them!! It was the most amazing sight-- we actually had stopped to look at some birds by a lagoon, and there they were. Now fortunately, we had a scout with us, so we could get out of the vehicle, and move closer on foot. We found a great spot overlooking the whole plain...and just then they started to organize to hunt. It was amazing to watch their strategy, as one dog herded the impala and selected a victim...the pack disappeared into/ behind thick brush. So we followed on foot, and managed to get really really close. They were finishing their meal. Which means that there was virtually no evidence of impala...just a few small bones, licked clean. The dogs are quite relaxed and actually a bit curious...a few moved closer to us (after they had finished eating). Then the lead dog trotted off...and the rest began to follow. These dogs were about the best looking painted dogs imaginable...they almost looked plump, and their coats were thick and kind of glossy. There were 14 of them...the last few to leave (lowest in the hierarchy, so eating last) were quite black, and again, clearly well-fed. So we got back to our vehicle, and slowly followed. And unbelievably, they began to hunt again!! Disappeared for a while...and when we caught up to them, one was running away with a leg/bone...so clearly they had been successful AGAIN. And all this happened in less than an hour. So an amazing experience...and kudos to the manager of Nkwali, who had decided that morning to send the scout with us on the drive (since no one was walking that morning).

Oops...have to finish the report (Kaingo in Zambia and the Botswana camps) a bit later...

The leopard was really elusive on this trip. I saw no leopard in SLNP-- we heard them many times at night...saw tracks...but no leopard. SLNP is crawling with leopard, and I s
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Jun 20th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Tashak,
Great trip report. So far. Your last sentence was

<<SLNP is crawling with leopard, and I s...>>

You've got to finish the story soon!
You got me so totally engrossed in reading about your incredible encounter w/ the wild dogs and then you just left us hanging.

You've got my undivided attention now...as I patiently wait for the rest of the story:-"


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Jun 20th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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Tashak,
thanks so much for your partial report...it's great to hear about a trip that combines more reasonable accomodation with more expensive safari lodges. We also enjoyed Nkwali a few years ago in fact we prefered it to Tena Tena.

I was interested in what you said about the customized approach as this is what I've experienced at Sausage Tree, Tongabezi and some of the smaller camps in Zimbabwe...but I've often travelled at the very end of the sesaon when theyre were fewer visitor so perhaps that explains the personal attention.

When we were at Nkwali we met a couple who were extending their trip for a night or two at a new ecotourism programme where you can stay in a local village. Apparently they had booked it through RPS and I think it was as little as $25 dollars although I've heard nothing of it before or since them.

Looking forward to Part II
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Jun 20th, 2004, 11:41 PM
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Sorry to create suspense over the lack of leopard!
So, we heard them many times...saw tracks...but no leopard revealed themselves. Very un-Zambia like...on other trips later in the season, I'd seen so many leopard--sometimes 3 in one night!-- that they began to seem regular. So this trip proved otherwise, and underlined the special it is to actually see these beautiful cats.

There were other lessons-- that rule about taking binoculars and camera everywhere, for example. One morning I went to breakfast without mine...so I returned to my room to pick them up. and of course the wild dog chose that moment to make their appearance, across the river. And they were thinking about hunting a bushbuck that had come down to the river to drink. (Bushbuck escaped...at least from the immediate danger.) So I missed that, but it was a thrill for the other guests. We hurried across the river to try to track them... and on foot we followed tracks to where they had a meal, but no further luck in seeing them.

Did see lion several times (as we did at other camps, but I didn't mention this, as lion are quite easy to find in SLNP. Of course it's always nice to get them posing in great light, and this was my favorite lion photo opp. Once we found 2 males sleeping. We drove up and parked really close, but they didn't even raise their heads. Then a helicopter flew over, rather low and noisy. It was the North Luangwa anti-poaching patrol, which occasionally helps out in South Luangwa. And I had two reasons to thank it--once for the protective patrols...and again for waking up the lazy lion! He raised his head to look at the sky...and stayed awake long enough to toss his mane handsomely in the sun. That's my favorite kind of supermodel!

OK-- then on to Kaingo. Roccco did a pretty full report on Kaingo...it's in the northern part of SL, with a lovely spot on the river. Small but comfortable cabins, and you feel like you are in a camp rather than a lodge. Kaingo has several hides, too, which could be a real plus for photographers later in the year...but no action in this very early part of the season. And as Roccco reported, great guides. Now I have high regard for the guides in Zambia, and all the places I visited have excellent guides--my list of great guides would be a long one. But Patrick and Ian at Kaingo are very very high on this list. Patrick is great overall-- and he gives visitors a great sense of life in the villages. He also "talks through" his thinking with you, which is a great way to learn about what guides do. And Ian provides a wonderful sense of history of the wildlife in the valley, and is super with birds. Despite Kaingo's namesake (means leopard in the local language)...no leopard however. Lots of wonderful wildlife-- and spectacular birding, but it was too early in the season to find those leopard. However I was thrilled at several bird sightings, many of which were the best and clearest sightings I have seen. The most memorable was a male paradise whydah in his mating plumage. He has a spectacular long, long tail..so long it actually changes the way he flies.

All in all, I'd have to say that Zambia offered far more in birding than Botswana (more on that later).

Also, as Well Travelled Brit mentioned, there are also wonderful options in South Luangwa for experiences with local people. I did not visit or stay at Kawazaa Village ( program sponsored by RPS) but I spoke with people who had visited for a day trip and they loved it. But as I have friends who live in the Valley and are involved in various community projects, I visited several local schools, a womens center, and the Chipembele Wildlife Education Center for local kids. The day I visited Chipembele there was a group of kids from Kawazaa school there-- they go regularly for an enrichment program about ecology, wildlife and natural history. It's a great program because although these kids live right next to the park, they typically have no opportunity to see or learn about wildlife...and if they don't grow up with an understanding and appreciation of it, they will have little real interest in protecting a park and wildlife. Chipembele provides a valuable classroom curriculum, and also does activities like nature walks for the kids. Their excitement at being there is so obvious. And oh can they sing...they arrive singing, and depart singing...I wish I had a video camera or tape recorder for such events. If you are in the area and have an interest in education, Chipembele is well-worth a visit..and well worth supporting!

All in all, I had a fabulous time in Zambia, which well-deserves it's slogan " the real AFrica". The camps each have a different ambiance and personality, but all are very comfortable, well-run and well-guided. I am actually torn by my desire to spread the word...and my fear that as more tourists discover it, it won't be as quiet and special. But there is a long way to go before that happens... It is just a very, very special place, and the magic of the experience there goes well beyond a list of sightings or a description of accomodations.

Next, it was on to Botswana, where I was going to visit Mokolodi Nature REserve (in the south, outside Gaborone), Mombo, Duma Tau and Kwetsani. But it's really late, so I'll have to finish that tomorrow...
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Jun 21st, 2004, 05:50 AM
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Excellent read tashak!!! I really appreciate you taking the time to post this.

I was wondering if you knew of any wildlife books/guides with photos that covered the wildlife in SLNP?

Thanks
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Jun 21st, 2004, 08:37 PM
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Oh Tashak, this is a wonderful report. This is what excellent management means - the manager who thought to send the scout with you. The camp that allows you to do whatever activity you want that day! Looking forward to more.
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Jun 21st, 2004, 10:47 PM
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Botswana?part 1: Mokolodi and Mombo

Botswana began at Gaborone, with a stay at Mokolodi Nature Reserve. Mokolodi is an educational reserve near the capital, created to offer a wildlife experience and education to Botswana?s children. Most of the population of the country is in the south, where locals have no chance to see or learn about the wildlife that they are being asked to protect. Mokolodi has wonderful programs for kids, but the reserve is also a wonderful place to begin a safari in Botswana. First, it is quite cheap?there are chalets of various sizes overlooking a waterhole, with kitchenettes and ensuite bathrooms. Think simple but adequate?rather like accommodations in a state or national park. However you will need a car to get to the chalets. Mokolodi has a variety of a la carte activities that allow visitors to see the wildlife?game drives, horseback safaris, walks with trained elephants, rhino tracking (a combo of a game drive and walk) and a visit to photograph 2 orphaned cheetah ( you get to enter their huge enclosure, so photos are fabulous?and they typically purr for visitors) We opted for the rhino tracking in the morning and the horseback safari in the afternoon.

Rhino tracking begins by vehicle?it?s basically a game drive in the reserve. Now the reserve is quite large, but it is recovered ranchland that has been restocked. The only predators are the leopard who managed to sneak in after the area has been restocked, but you won?t see them. Lots of antelope, giraffe, ellies, good birding. So a limited set of animals, but the animals are very habituated to vehicles?the birds seem to be too! So you can get some great photos. And although I?ve done many, many game drives, I was still entertained and educated by the guide?s introduction to the behavior of various birds and animals. When you find the rhino tracks, you leave the vehicle to follow them on foot. When we did this, we didn?t find the rhino easily?they appeared to be wandering around in circles. So we left the tracker to do more work and continued in the vehicle to see the rest of the reserve, including the 2 magnificent cheetah brothers who are so habituated to visits, and a simple picnic lunch. After lunch?this rhino tracking was turning into a day instead of just a morning activity!?we rejoined the tracker and continued on foot again. And there they were !!! Now I have seen black rhino in South Africa, and I thought this would be kind of ho-hum, more rhino. Was I wrong!! Seeing three enormous white rhino while on foot?far more massive, prehistoric looking, and fast on their feet---was an overwhelming, primal experience. It really conjured up a sense of what it was like to be on safari in Africa when thousands of these animals roamed?and this was only a few short decades ago. It was a powerful experience.

We were so tired from the excitement?and the long day?that we were actually relieved to hear that there was a problem doing the horse-backed safari. (Since this had to be complete before sundown.) Instead we cleaned up and opted for early drinks with a friend who does field work with Cheetah Conservation Botswana. (More on CCB in a separate post.) But since horseback is a super way to see animals?who do not run from you because the horses mask your scent?we?ll have to do this sometime on a future trip.

Another interesting activity near Gaborone?you need a car however?was a visit to a rocky outcrop where early rock paintings have been found. This was a wonderful side-trip, and only takes about 1.5 to 2 hours from Mokolodi. Now there are not a lot of paintings?just a few?but if you are in the area, and haven?t been to major sites in SA, Namibia or the Tsodilo Hills in Botswana, it is well worth a visit. The government caretaker/ guide clearly loves this evidence of local heritage, and did a nice introduction to the area, its history and the paintings. If you are interested in going, you?ll need to get good directions?the road is easy, but not marked at all!

Next, on to Mombo! On the flight we met a Mombo employee who had accompanied the rhino Mombo acquired from Mokolodi. He is now assigned to tracking and protecting the rhino, and clearly loves, loves, loves these animals. He was very excited that we had seen the rhino at Mokolodi, and thrilled to see the digital photos I took. ?That?s Pearl!! And her baby!!? (Of course her baby was now huge.) And he vowed that if he found the rhino while he was there, he would try to make sure that we saw them. (But we all knew this would be difficult given the thick vegetation during early June, and indeed they did not choose to reveal themselves during our 2 night stay)

On arrival at the airport, our greeter explained that the water was as high as they expected it to get this year, but that the rains had indeed been extraordinarily heavy. Now at Mombo it is difficult to see what the impact of high water is...you don't see it around camp. And on drives you stay on dry area. The only evidence of water is the plain in front of the camp. There was grass there, but it was underwater...so not many animals there. Apparently when it dries it is full of game, and predators. We saw only birds out there.

Our flight was so late that the plan was to take us to camp for tea, then to arrange a hookup with our guide/ vehicle later. But when we arrived, the vehicle was still there and on the spur of the moment we decided to grab our camera bags and a fleece and immediately go out with the group. Everyone was surprised---didn?t we want to see the rooms, take a break, have tea first? No?we didn?t want to waste a minute of wildlife time at the fabulous but oh-so-pricey Mombo. And it was the right choice?almost immediately?2 lion mating! Then on to a single male who was devouring ? defending a zebra kill. Then two more females and an amorous male?but in this case the female he was pursuing had no interest, and used our vehicle to mask her escape from him. (My reading?) The male, clearly irritated by her brush-off walked up to our vehicle, right up to? me. I thought I was cool around lion, but this huge head with its fixed cold stare unnerved me. He was so close the camera wouldn?t focus?and he continued to stare right at me. Then he moved behind the vehicle. He stopped again behind the vehicle and again I had the feeling that he was staring right at me, still irritated that the female had used our presence to make her escape. ( I know? I?m anthropomorphizing. But if housecats can manipulate and use us to get what they want?and show irritation with us when they don?t get it, what makes us think that the big cats don?t exhibit the same capabilities?)

OK?I?ve emphasized the cats. But that was the action. And there was so much of it that we skipped sundowners. We did see lots of other ?regulars?, but honestly, there were ?more? of all of them in South Luangwa. (Except for the lechwe and tssesebe). And South Luangwa definitely had Mombo beat for birding. The only exception was zebra?we did see some really large herds of zebra in Mombo and other places in Botswana. Mombo?s specialty seemed to be the big cats.

Despite the high water I didn?t notice any real mosquito or other bug activity. (Of course we took precautions with repellent, long sleeves and medication?but no evidence of mozzies or bites. Or any other bugs for that matter. Maybe the gecko in our room took care of them. Rooms are fabulous?and well tended. (unlike recent reports about Little Mombo, the rooms were immaculately clean.) In truth, the ?tents? are, imho, over the top. It?s a joke that they call these tents. I loved Mombo?s wildlife experience, but honestly, I?d be willing to pay as much for a simpler, on-the-ground, tent-in-the-wilderness experience. (like the old Jack?s Camp). I prefer tents where you feel that you are part of the wilderness landscape.

Next morning?wonderful lechwe running through the water (but camera not ready, drat). Fabulous long encounter with a young leopard (about a year old) known as the tortilla cub. Stunningly beautiful, and very habituated to vehicles. She is the subject of a film being made by Deryck and Beverly Joubert, and we did see them filming her. (She also appeared in the Today show segment with Matt Lauer in February.) And again?no time for a tea break! Wonderful zebra herds all around our vehicle and running through the water. And an interesting encounter with amorous warthogs. That is a sight to see?BTW, our guide, Tsile was excellent

Before the afternoon drive, we began tea early and Thompson, another guide, gave the group a short lecture and q& a about the Okavango?it?s geography, geology, ecosystem, and threats to this unique area. It was great?he is a fabulous speaker, and I really appreciated that Mombo offered this to guests. It was a far better intro than a guide could pack into a game drive.

Afternoon drive was again action packed?first the 4 female lions with a zebra kill. Then we found the torila leopard cub again?first in a tree, where she seemed to be finishing off some food. She was barely visible, so it was amazing that Tsile could find her, but he did know, from the Jouberts, that she was in the area. Then she left the tree and posed for a while on the ground before walking away. Finally she picked a new tree to climb?and a very photogenic tree she selected. What a poser?no wonder the Joubert?s chose her for their film. Can?t wait to see it?but it won?t be out for 2 years. Apparently it will be for National Geographic. After this we did take time for sundowners?it was quite late and just caught the sun dropping. While having drinks had an interesting encounter with a male elephant that seemed to be coming down to the water to drink. He got really quite close, and at one point Tsile had us move back to the vehicle?then the big guy backed off for a while. We finished our drinks quickly?it was now getting dark?and left the ellie to his waterhole. More spots after dinner: Mombo has 2 brazen genets who regularly sneak into the dining area after dinner to forage.

The highlight of our final morning really showed the ability of our guide again. We returned to an area where there had been a brief sighting of a leopard kill the previous morning. We had checked it out before, as had several other guides and vehicles, but no one had found the cat. When we returned, we found that there were new drag marks (or perhaps ones that everyone had missed before?) We followed them a good distance?and Tsile found the impala in a tree. (We drove right under it.) Stopped to take photos of the kill in the tree, and while maneuvering the vehicle, found the leopard. Then while trying to maneuver to a better position to see her, a cat walked out of a thicket?but it wasn?t her. It was her cub!!! Who proceeded to play with a stick, and pose by a tree trunk before walking away to hide again. Then mom walked out of the brush to follow. (This was not Tortila cub?it was another mom and cub.) Also found a group of 3 female and one adolescent male lion lounging post-meal by a waterhole. So?what a morning! Then just in time to distract me from packing, a large group of mongoose moved under and around our ?tent? to forage. I could watch scenes like this for hours.

All in all, we had a super time at Mombo, and found the action packed drives and extended, excellent photo opps well worth the price. There is so much happening during the day that we didn?t miss the night drives, either. Didn?t need the luxe tents , but it is very, very comfortable. Food was perfect for me?veggie options were excellent, and unlike the other camps they kept the serving sizes and number of courses reasonable. There are no sure things in Botswana (for that, go to South Africa). But Mombo comes as close as I can imagine to guaranteed lion and leopard action in Botswana.

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Jun 21st, 2004, 10:54 PM
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Greendrake:
Sorry, I don't know of any wildlife guides that cover Zambia or South Luangwa in particular. I did see some photo books while I was there, but I have not been able to find any of these in the U.S., even on Amazon.
Zambia does have some "specials"-- subspecies of wildebeest, zebra and giraffe that are slightly different, and of course things like puku and Kafue lechwe (another subspecies.) But not enough tourists to generate special guides or widely available photo books. If anyone has found such specialized books, please let us know.
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Jun 22nd, 2004, 09:45 AM
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great report tashak. we had tsile as our guide as well. that guy is great. when we went in jan the floodplain in front of teh camp was completely dry so we did see plenty of animals roamimg around (although no predators other than hyena). i look forward to teh rest of your report and possibly some pics. thanks again
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Jun 22nd, 2004, 10:45 AM
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What a wonderful, descriptive report, tashak! It sounds like you had an exceptional trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Jun 22nd, 2004, 06:07 PM
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oh, what a lovely report. sigh. THanks!
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Jun 23rd, 2004, 11:09 AM
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Tashak,

Thanks for the wonderful report.

I also enjoyed Ian's guiding at Kaingo and his vast knowledge of the bush makes his game drives a real pleasure.

I learned that the best time to see the wild dogs was between March to early May, as the water levels make it easier for most animals to stick to the roads, making sighting easier (but making it impossible to visit certain parts of the park).

Although it may have more of a 5* hotel feel to it, I do think a future visit to Chichele Presidential Lodge would be well worth your while, as the game activities were the best I have ever experienced. Nic is absolutely the best guide I have yet experienced.

Any photos coming???
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Jun 23rd, 2004, 11:11 AM
  #14
 
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Tashak,

By the way, that helicopter may have actually belonged to the new owner of Lions Camp (near Kaingo). Ian was complaining about the new owner, a wealthy Texan. and her helicopter disturbing the animals.
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Jun 29th, 2004, 12:08 PM
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tashak - Great trip report so far. How was Duma Tau and Kwetsani? Thanks
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