For those who have been to Mombo and Little Vumbura

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Aug 19th, 2004, 11:38 PM
  #1
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For those who have been to Mombo and Little Vumbura

Who can you recommend as guide/tracker for game drives in Mombo, Little Mombo and Little Vumbura.
purplefish is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2004, 01:01 AM
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At Mombo this year we had Tsile. He was a good guide but not as good as B.K. who has now left or as good as a couple of other guides in other camps. I think he's one of their more experienced guides so hard to know if there are any better ones there.

LV too long ago to make any relevent comments on guides.
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Aug 20th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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We also had Tsile at Mombo, and thought he was excellent. Just curious kavey-- I know you have great judgement and experience about Africa-- what was it about Tsile that put him in the "good but not great" category for you? I ask because I have been wondering about the personalities and interactions with guides and trying to figure out (for myself, and for future trips) how to handle the expectations/preferences/personality part of guide interaction...
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Aug 20th, 2004, 08:09 AM
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Don't get me wrong, we did enjoy our guiding with Tsile. He just didn't rank as one of our best guides.

Let me try and put it into words.

Tsile's long involvement with Mombo meant he had a good understanding of the area itself and was reasonably good at finding animals but not wonderful. I base this not on how many animals we saw but on my own observation - he tended not to show as much of an understanding of bird alarm calls as some guides, he didn't seem to have such a good ability to read less fresh or unclear spoor, he tended to rely on his knowledge of those sightings that were easiest - ie the pride of lions known by all the guides to be in X area at the moment, the hyenas known to be in Y area at the moment rather than looking for signs and using them to find unexpected sightings. Many, though certainly not all, of our great sightings were down to other guides. When we were with BK last time at Mombo I don't think we ever had a moment to go to someone else's sighting, BK found the best ones time after time.
I'd also say that, although Tsile would answer when we asked questions, he didn't volunteer as much information on what we were seeing as other guides. Not only that but I found a number of times I'd ask him questions (such as how long jackal cubs/pups stay with their parents before leaving them) and he'd not only not know the answer but, when I asked if he could look it up and let us know later, he'd agree but not once do so.
Lastly, some guides made an effort to really understand what particular interests their guests held, and combine them when different guests in the same vehicle had different interests. Tsile didn't strike me as very good at that. There was one gentleman in the group who stated a preference to see big cats/ big five and not much else. We stated a preference to see smaller mammals and birds. The other couple with us were also very much into birding but also interested in the big animals. Instead of finding a balance, Tsile catered only for that gentleman, who wasn't being particularly insistent or anything. Other guides we had were better at adapting what they did for different interests. Tsile didn't seem to have that adaptive side.
Don't get me wrong though, he was a good guide, he took us to some great sightings, he moved the car, turned off the engine on request etc. He was also friendly and pleasant and did look after us very well. When I requested an extra blanket or hot water bottle he'd always make sure he did that for me.
Hence I'd rate him as very good but certainly not excellent.
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Aug 20th, 2004, 08:50 AM
  #5
Travelanes
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LOL, but Tsile almost got a Rover-load of us killed but he didn't mean to!

Tsile was terrific, but we liked Richard, who unfortunately had to rotate to Duba Plains. He could discourse for an hour on anthills! So informed. But he couldn't loctae a leopard.

So, Tsile inherited us ... and stubled into a breeding herd of elephants, and then the trouble began. They chased us for ten minutes, our engine threatening to die at any second. We escaped. We made Tsile promise no elephants the next day, and he was good to his word.

He pondered whether it might have been a mock charge. Nobody was willing to stop long enough to find out. We have fond memories of Tsile.
 
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Aug 20th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Please don't get me wrong. I would not be disappointed to have Tsile as our guide again, he's a lovely man.

The best guides we have had are B.K. (who has since left WS and apparently set up on his own), Grant Atkins at Tubu, James Tembe at Ndumo and Graham Bowles at Jack's.

Tsile is in the next rung of good, knowledgable guides with whom we still had a great experience.

Given that all of us can judge guides only on such a short stay (we had 4 nights with Tsile) I think it's impossible to categorically rank guides for others. We can rank them only according to our own personal experiences.
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Aug 20th, 2004, 09:12 AM
  #7
Travelanes
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I agree with Kavey ... Mombo coming up, you know! Tsile would be just fine, but I've no idea who is there right now. Any clue about Duba or Savuti? Tsile is very informed.

As brilliant as Richard was, he simply couldn't score a leaopard for us. We looked and looked, checking every tree, bush, you name it. Nada. We found everthing else, even those Steroid Boys. But no leopard.

After lunch we rode with him to the airstrip and said our goodbyes, and then met Tsile. My goodness, but all afternoon, the leopards were literally dropping out of the trees.

One even walked right up to us, his tummy twiching, and we all said in unison "Hairball" ... I was so excited I couldn't load the camera again. No pix to prove it. But I know a hairball when I see one, and he tossed a good one. Thank you for that, Tsile!! If only we stopped there. An hour later, elephants.
 
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Aug 20th, 2004, 09:20 AM
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Kavey, your comments are entirely fair, and I do understand. The truth is, we didn't have much opportunity to check him on things like birds. The group in the vehicle really wanted cats, and Tsile delivered-- he was the first to find cats, time after time. (Maybe he has become a cat-specialist, given Mombo and what most guests want...in fact our biggest problem was that our cat sightings were so packed that we didn't have time for tea or pee, but that is what we in the vehicle wanted, under the circumstances.) Also there was one very difficult tourist in our vehicle, and I thought he dealt with her and handled everyone elses needs as well as humanly possible, so I gave him high points for that.

I guess that I was thinking more about a guide like Relax at Chitabe-- his personality is rather gruff, not warm or outgoing. But he delivered by good tracking and experience with animal habits, and delivered super lectures on ecology, animal behavior, insects at any opportunity. But many guests didn't like him because of his more reserved personality (even when he singlehandedly found us amazing things, with no tips from anyone...)

I've heard great things about Grant at Tubu, and hope to meet BK someday...
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Aug 20th, 2004, 09:22 AM
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Had a guide called Thuto in Savuti who was very good. Incredible enthusiasm and energy and a real drive to show each guest the best. I'd rank him as not one of the very very best guides but very good. I have some absolutely great memories of drives with Thuto.

At Tubu Tree we requested and were placed with Grant who is simply superb. He's got such an instinctive understanding of animals and birds (especially birds) that it's hard to believe he didn't grow up in a wildlife area. He's also got a wicked sense of humour, a real ability to communicate knowledge and an eye that can spot a tiny Acacia Tree Mouse up in a tree from a moving car (that he's driving), illuminated by a searchlight (that he's holding).
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Aug 20th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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Tashak, I agree that a guide doesn't have to have a warm, outgoing personality if they can counter that by delivering wonderful insights into what you're seeing and find special sightings that other guides might miss.

For sure, the other guests at Savuti (who have made about 16 WS trips in the last 10 years) preferred the more reserved services of the other guide (whose name I forget) and who they therefore requested in advance.
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Aug 20th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Hey Kavey, this is almost like instant mail!
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Aug 25th, 2004, 09:20 PM
  #12
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Thanks for the reco on mombo. How about Little Vumbura? Anyone been there recently?
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Aug 26th, 2004, 10:16 AM
  #13
 
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Not since 2001 for us though on our recent trip I recall meeting some fellow guests at one camp who had just come from LV and enjoyed it tremendously for the water activities, less so for the land. I remember that because it tallied with how we felt about LV when we were there in 2001. I don't recall much more about what they said about it though...
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Aug 26th, 2004, 10:33 AM
  #14
Noswtnlo
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hey, Liz, Kavey, time growing short. Got the formal attire packed and ready after the game drive. Tsile and are are motoring into Maun for a wild night on the town! Will post how it was.
 
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Aug 26th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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Blacktie is that you?
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Aug 26th, 2004, 10:49 AM
  #16
Noswtnlo
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kavey, you devil, you. MWAH, and the same to Liz.
 
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Sep 4th, 2004, 09:53 AM
  #17
Lin
 
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Purplefish: For what it's worth, we had Shadrick as our guide at Little Vumbura in July and we did not feel his skills or attitude were very good.
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