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Elephant and leopard safari Part 1 : Shindzela, Umkumbe and Mashatu

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Sep 6th, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Elephant and leopard safari Part 1 : Shindzela, Umkumbe and Mashatu

Myself and 2 friends spent 5 wonderful weeks in South Africa and Botswana during July and August, 2011 . This was my 4th safari, Cheryl’s second and Caryl’s first, so a real mix of safari experience and expectations.

Highlights of the first 2 weeks at Shindzela, Umkumbe and Mashatu included leopard at all 3, rhino at both Shindzela and Umkumbe whilst Mashatu dazzled us with more leopard, hyena pups, leopard cubs, aardwolf, bushpig and porcupine together with many other great sightings.

The full itinerary was:

Shindzela (3 nights)
Umkumbe (2 nights)
Mashatu Tented Camp (5 nights) Photos for these three camps are available at https://picasaweb.go...aUmkumbeMashatu
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) - Nossob Rest Camp (3 nights), Gharagab Wilderness Camp (2 nights), Kalahari Tented Camp (2 nights) and Kalahari Rest for 2 nights between Maun and KTP. Photos available at https://picasaweb.go...ansfrontierPark
Mobile camping safari with Masson Safaris. Savute – 4 nights, Khwai – 3 nights and Moremi 3 nights. Photos available at https://picasaweb.go...ica2011Botswana


A full trip report with photos is available at http://safaritalk.net/index.php?showtopic=7275

Happy to answer questions about the itinarary planning and subsequent adventure.



Regards,


Pol
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:17 AM
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Wow!!!

I don't understand why we aren't all going to Mashatu more! Great stuff. It's still my favorite.

You had much better luck at Shindzela than we had in June. But the hospitality and food are enough to get me back. Those darn windy/cold days are a bummer.

Please continue!! I am in the process of planning a Kgalagadi trip. Can't figure out when is the best time to go. Sept is looking ok, but I can't wait to hear about your experience. Especially the "roads" in the Botswana part of the park.

Thanks.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 11:01 AM
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wow.. amazing shots on the Aardwolf! such luck!
what camera gear were you using?
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Sep 7th, 2011, 11:09 AM
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I'm looking forward to my visit to Shindzela in October (along with Cape Town, Kapama and Mohlabetsi.) We can compare the different seasons.
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Sep 8th, 2011, 12:47 AM
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Hi,

thanks for reading everyone.

@Christabir - I aim to have the Kgalagadi and Okavango section live at the weekend. We didn't go to the Bots side so I'm afraid that I can't help with your question about roads. I wouldn't recommend July as a great time to go - it was very cold and I think it effected the game viewing on a couple of days. The Sanparks Traveller's Tales forum is packed with useful hints and great trip reports - I'm sure you would find siome useful info there.

@Nikao - I have a Panasonic Lumix 18X optical zoom which is now 3 years old and awaiting an upgrade. The photo of the aardwolf running was taken with a new Nikon Coolpix that had a 35X optical zoom.

@Shaytay - I do hope you enjoy Shindzela as much as I did, and I will be interested in your photos and a comparison of seasons.


Regards,


Pol
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Sep 8th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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I'm looking forward to it. I assumed you drove from Kgalagadi to Bots. You're not allowed to drive in the Bots side unless you have a minimum of two vehicles. Trying to figure that out. Thanks for the info.
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Sep 9th, 2011, 01:16 AM
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We drove Maun to Kgalagadi and return as I had booked Massons Safaris for 3 weeks for the Kgalagadi and Okavango segments.

Will write more this weekend.


Cheers,


Pol
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Sep 9th, 2011, 05:39 AM
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wow.. nice photo's for a Point n Shoot!
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Jan 7th, 2012, 02:06 PM
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Hi Pol - sorry, I'm reviving an old topic here, but I was interested in your Mashatu report and/or photos but the link above doesn't seem to work anymore. I loved Mashatu and always enjoy hearing about it from others.

Also, I know you were considering a tiger/Indian safari in 2013. Are you still leaning that way? I was reading posts on the Asia forum in response to Lynn's trip report (I was posting as cjryan then due to a horrible computer virus that hijacked my account). I wanted to so let you know that I'm booking my 2013 India safari in a month or so and I'm very excited!
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Jan 7th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Pol, the photo link works through the Safari Talk link so all is good. Wow - you saw much more in the way of leopard activity than I did at Mashatu. I need to get back there soon!
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Jan 8th, 2012, 03:20 AM
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Hi Carrie - I'm pleased that you found an active link to the photos. There are more from my 2008 visit here, https://picasaweb.google.com/Treepol/Mashatu I'm doing a South Africa and Namibia safari with my mother in August-Sept this year and will probably add 4 nights at the end of the trip at Mashatu.

My plans for 2013 are leaning towards the Brazilian Pantanal and Amazon at the moment, although I still have India and Sr Lanka close to the top of my destinations list.

Great that you are booking to see tigers - can you post your itinerary and details of your operator sometime? Are you visiting Sri lanka as well?

Happy travels,


Pol
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Jan 8th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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Hi Pol, I'd be interested in hearing where you're staying and what you're doing in Namibia...that is on my list for 2015 (after tigers in 2013 and a cruise with my niece for her graduation in 2014). Do you have a thread here yet with the details? I'll post my India itinerary on the Asia forum in the next few months but, no, no Sri Lanka. ~CJ
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Jan 8th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for bringing Mashatu to my awareness. Looks like the viewing was fantastic!
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Jan 8th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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Carrie, I thought I was a super planner because I have 2012 and 2013 all laid out. You win hands down!
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Jan 8th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Ha ha - well, I guess if my niece wasn't graduating, I'd only have 2013 planned...but I've been promising her a cruise for her graduation for years. Certainly check out Mashatu - it was really amazing - my best sightings were there (especially of the cats!). Mala Mala was good too but Mashatu was something special - and I loved the tented camp! A little too rustic for some (like the person I was with) but perfect for me.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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Hope you are doing well Carrie. Lynda has already set a date for the next GTG in September and I hope to see you again there.
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Jan 8th, 2012, 10:00 PM
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@CarrieT - This year we fly direct from Cape Town to Swakopmund for 3 days 'R n R' - I'm travelling with my mother and she will appreciate some lazy days. We hope to stay at the Hotel Schweizerhaus, but if not the Swakopmund Boutique Hotel. This is a break for shopping and catching up with friends, probably over lunch at the Tug restaurant. Excursion wise we might do a dolphin cruise out of Walvis Bay or a half day desert drive.

Leaving Swakop we head to Etosha for 4 nights - I'm looking forward to the new Dolomite Camp, 2 nights at Okaukeujo and Namutoni. Then we head to Windhoek before setting off to the south to Bagatelle Game Lodge http://www.bagatelle-kalahari-gameranch.com/

This year's trip is being expertly managed by Gemma Dry Of Discover Namibia Tours and Safaris. Its my 3rd trip to Namibia - I'm a big fan of this scenic country where travelling is easy and the wildlife varied and remarkable.

@Femi - I must thank you for the idea of a Sri Lankan safari, visiting Yala with Noel and then I'll head to Tea Trails. Temple of the Tooth, the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnewala (sp?) are also in there somewhere. I really enjoyed your trip report and have it bookmarked.

Other camps I looked at are:

Shamvura http://www.shamvura.com/ - very disappointed this can't be included this trip, definitely some other time as they have access to a carmine bee-eater nesting site. Mark and Charlie have a very laid back camp in the Caprivi Strip and are very responsive to emails.

Kavita Lion Lodge - http://www.kavitalion.com/
Grootberg Lodge, Damaraland - http://www.grootberg.com/index.html
Frans Indongo Lodge - http://www.indongolodge.com/

Other places in the south:
Eagles Nest Chalets - http://www.namibweb.com/kav.htm
Hoodia Desert Lodge -
http://hammerstein.fridi.argon.websp...ch/index2.html
Sossus Dune Lodge - http://www.namibweb.com/sossusdunelodge.htm

Central areas
Camp Kipwe - www.kipwe.com
Mowani Mountain Camp - www.mowani.com
Erongo Wilderness Lodge - Erongo Wilderness Lodge
http://www.erongowilderness-namibia.com/index.php
Ai Aiba Lodge - http://www.aiaiba.com/
Mundulea Bush Camp http://www.turnstone-tours.com/mundulea.htm

I also posted some Namibian travel ideas on this thread last year, http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ves-kruger.cfm

2008 photos are here, https://picasaweb.google.com/Treepol/Namibia2008 Sadly, Hobatere Lodge was badly damaged by fire last March and remains closed.

During a 2005 trip I stayed at Okonjima, photos here https://picasaweb.google.com/Treepol...imaAfricat2005 Some of these aren't good as the white balance in the camera had been adjusted when someone reviewed my photos - grrrr....


Regards,


Pol
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Jan 9th, 2012, 05:06 AM
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Thanks for the list, although now you've made things so much harder for me! I'm trying to decide between Botswana, Namibia and Zim for 2013.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 05:25 AM
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Yes, realond, I heard a rumor that Lynda was already getting the date ready and I'm definitely planning to be there and while I won't have any new Africa stores, I'm looking forward to hearing about what everyone else has done during the last few months.

Pol, thanks for the trip info and all the links. I'm actually been in touch with Gemma too - but that's when I thought I was going to be going in 2013. Now everything is on hold for that trip obviously. In your previous trips there, have you visited the Namib Naukluft Park? What about the Skeleton Coast? Those are both on my list.... Are you renting a car and driving? When I go, I'm going to be solo but Gemma assures me that driving there is easy and there is always someone to help in the event of a problem.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 11:03 PM
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Yes, I have visited Namib Naukluft National Park - Sossuvlei Dunes, Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon. This area did not leave the same impression on me as it did to other members of the group, maybe because the dunes were similar to red sand Australian deserts. It was also incredibly hot when we were there in October 2005.

I would very much like to visit the Skeleton Coast NP, maybe next time. Have you seen this report http://safaritalk.net/topic/3008-back-in-nam/

No we aren't driving. We have a guide for Etosha who will take us to Windhoek and then return transfers to Bagatelle Game Lodge.

Cheerz,


Pol
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