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From Termites to Elephants: Around Botswana, Finale at Vic Falls

From Termites to Elephants: Around Botswana, Finale at Vic Falls

Jun 23rd, 2009, 05:32 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
So now we know why termites was included in your title. You may have created a documentary entry for Cannes, in the category of either wildlife or comedy.

Kwetasani was probably one of the most affected camps from the floods but your sightings and experiences certainly did not suffer. The water might even have contributed to a unique sundowners location. Some more great leopard shots. I really like the African Jacana, one of my favorite birds.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 03:41 PM
  #22  
 
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Thanks for your continuing report. I love your outdoor shower references -- those was a great experience for me, too.
samcat is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 03:45 PM
  #23  
 
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Not too long - great report - thanks!!
Maybe breaking into more paragraphs would make it easier on the eyeballs, though.
Leslie_S is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 04:05 PM
  #24  
 
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oh

I am loving your report, and I haven't even clicked to see your photos yet, but it is so much fun to recognize how quickly you were seduced and involved in your safari experience.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 04:23 PM
  #25  
 
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Agree with LS, nice if more paragraph breaks.

Put a blank line between them like this.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:40 PM
  #26  
 
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Love the report and photos! Beautiful cheetah photos. Keep it coming...and the length is fine and I'm looking forward to your Victoria Falls description since I'm headed there next year.
CarrieT is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 07:06 PM
  #27  
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Sorry for not paragraphing, I am amazed that anyone my age even attempted to read it. I am paragraphing on my next installment. But I need a break, I want to get it all out there, but I want to relive my excitement, and I find my writing is getting a bit tedious and just listing what I saw rather then how I felt about it, or what I learned.

So know that I am working on it, and want to make it worthy of your time, rather than rushing to get it up.

But the pics are all up at
http://gallery.me.com/amycyma

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:02 PM
  #28  
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Part 3a- Camp Kalahari (review)

As many have requested a “review” of this camp, I am putting this part first- the rest of the experience will follow

Accommodations-Our tent was indeed a tent. Large, but you zipped it down to get in, and zipped it up when you got in (lots of bees). It held 2 elevated cots, each with a small bedside table. There was a small chest at the foot of each cot to store things, a desk with mirror and toiletries, and a rack/shelves that held our towels, etc.
Opposite the entrance, was another zippered opening which lead to a concrete enclosed, but open topped area that had a shower, toilet and sink in a large area equivalent to the size of the tent. There was no electricity, though at night they set up various kerosene lanterns, inside and outside the tent, and in the toilet area. At the entrance to the tent were 2 canvas-backed chairs. The walkways were dirt pathways. There was no electricity, but when I asked if I could charge a battery, it was easily accommodated. Laundry was done, though they picked up our laundry in the late afternoon the first day, and we did not get it back till a day and a half later (in this case just before we departed). The common area consisted of the dining table, and the “bar area” that consisted of an ice chest that contained water, beer, and soft drinks, and a big wooden chest that contained wine and liquor. There were also several thatched benches, with some pillows, as well as another area with the same benches/pillows. Since we never sat on them, I can’t describe their comfort, though I did hear complaints as to their lack of comfort. There was always hot water and coffee available. I also will comment that their hot water bottles are really HOT, and continue to be warm in the early morning.

Food- Breakfast: On the morning of our game drive, we had juice and coffee before we left. Breakfast was served in the middle of the game drive, about 8:15. It consisted of hard-boiled eggs, cold cereals (these were very good), tea or coffee, and juice. A beautiful wooden chest contained the cutlery and dishes, and the food was in a cooler. On the morning of our Meerkat “activity” we had a similar breakfast at the camp.

Lunch- We were served lunch, (not a buffet) and it was a hot meal.

Dinner- On the first night we had a Braii (barbecue) in the pans. We started off with soup, and then we were served our meal, which was barbecued beef, vegetable and potato, dessert followed. There may have been more that I can’t remember. The dinner the following night was also served, and started with soup, and then the main course, vegetable, and starch, followed by dessert. I thought the food was quite good, and my son, who I feel is never full, felt the quantity of food was sufficient. (though I did hear another couple note that the amount of food served was somewhat insufficient).

Activities- We were there only 2 nights- and easily felt that we could /should have stayed a 3rd night.
We were able to do the following-
• A quad bike ride into the pans as a late afternoon/sunset activity.
• A morning game drive- We were the only ones on the drive, so the wakeup and departure time was set by us. We asked to wake at 5:30 and were ready to leave by 6-6:15 and returned at 11 or 11:30.
• Walk with the Bushmen – This was set as our afternoon activity on the second afternoon, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.
• Morning with the habituated Meerkats. Wonderful!

Staff- Our guide was very good, and the camp staff attentive and accommodating.

General Comments- Camp Kalahari is not in the same price range as the Wilderness camps I stayed in, so comparisons as to camp accommodations are not appropriate. The food was as good, though we were not given the quantity of food as Wilderness provides (not necessarily a detraction). However I did feel that we spent less time doing “activities” then I had become accustomed to at the Wilderness camps. The Meerkat experience, Bushman walk, and Quad bike activities started later and ended earlier then a typical game drive. As such, we were finished with dinner, and headed to our tent by 8:30. Not that I couldn’t use the extra sleep, but I didn’t come to Africa to sleep. Perhaps if the camp had more people we might have stayed up talking with the others, but this was not the case here.

We were told that our night to “sleep out under the stars" was the first night we arrived, but “Ralph” (not really sure who he is, but I think he is at Jack’s camp) decided the pans were still too wet. Though “interestingly” the following night another group of people at our camp were able to do it. (We chose not to ask if we could join them, as we felt their company would detract from the experience)

again photos are at
http://gallery.me.com/amycyma

I will write about the wonders of the Makgadikgadi pans next.

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:19 PM
  #29  
 
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Amy- Interesting about your missed night under the stars. I had read and been told that you get the "special night" only if you stay 3 nights, which is one reason I have booked 3 nts., and nothing has been said about it being too wet to do so at any time and we are going in December, middle of the wet! Yikes, sounds like I might need to do some more research. So, even though you did not get your night out, you still think 3 nights would not have been too many? Is there an option for a second meerkat visit? I believe that "Ralph" may be Ralph Bousfield, the owner of Uncharted Africa (Camp Kalahari, Jack's Camp, San Camp, Planet Baobab. Ralph's father, Jack, started the whole quad bikes in the Kalahari thing (I believe).
As usual, I cannot wait to hear the rest. Thanks again for a good report.
Pat
scruffypuma is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:42 PM
  #30  
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Pat-

The night we were told was to be our night under the stars was the other couple's 3rd night. The other group were 2 nights at Camp Kalahari and then they were going to Planet Baobab (but one was a travel agent- so who knows what they might do for her).
Also when I had read the info, I thought I read that if you stay 2 nights you can stay one night under the stars.

i do not think 3 nights would be too many. We would happily have done another game drive, possibly a night one(??) my son would happily have done the quad biking and either of us would enjoy spending more time with the Meerkats. The trouble with the Meerkats, is that it makes for a very brief encounter. They don't arise from their dens until after 7-7:30, and then by 10 they are beginning to forage ( at least this is the times in early June)

As I noted the camp was most accommodating (and I think that if I protested about sleeping out we might have been accommodated-but...) I think if you make you wishes known they will do their best. (The group we did not wish to spend the night with were busy dictating how much spice they wanted in their food, etc)

Anyway, not having spent the night under the stars gives me one more reason to go back- as i say, the glass is always more full then empty.

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:55 PM
  #31  
 
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Amy-
Thank you very much for the extra info. I have been a bit nervous about Camp K because I did not know much about it, but Jack's is just too expensive (we already have our share of expensive camps on the books). I have done other similar tented camps and don't mind that at all. I am really looking forward to the meerkats and hopefully, they will be up a bit earlier as it should be plenty hot when we are there. Looking forward to the "rest of the story". Thanks.
Pat
scruffypuma is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 05:10 AM
  #32  
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Pat

Make sure you visit Jack's camp, they have a wonderful museum there. One that I wished we had seen in more light (we went there after the bushmen walk). They have artifacts from the San people (Bushmen), skulls showing the evolution of various species, preserved animal specimens, If you find the "down" time in the midday too long, perhaps you can ask to go there before your Bushmen walk, as that is where one goes for the walk anyway.

When we were at the airstrip the guide from jacks was telling us they had found an old ( and I mean ancient) elephant skull in the pans recently, and the Dept of Conservation was sending someone out.

CK is a totally different experience then the other camps I stayed at, and it was a nice change in ALL respects.

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 07:11 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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amy,

thank you for this wonderful report. reading it has brought back a flood of memories for me.

i find it increasingly difficult spending time on this board, in particular reading trip reports, because i'm so broke. it will be many years before i get back to africa. but i followed your pre-trip posts and excitement with great pleasure and was anxious to read about your trip. i'm so glad that it turned out to be wonderful - no big surprise there, it is afreekah - and, how great to be able to share it with your son!

looking forward to the rest.
regards,
anita
aknards is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 04:48 PM
  #34  
 
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Amy
Thank you for the info, I am feeling a bit more secure about the 3 nts at CK. Looking forwrd to the bushmen and the meerkats!
Pat
scruffypuma is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:37 PM
  #35  
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Part 3 Camp Kalahari (see above for CK overview)

5/31 – We were met at the airstrip by Ndabono, who was to be our guide. We drove about 10 minutes, to camp, passing 4-legged animals I hadn’t seen here in Africa. Cattle. When we arrived, we were given lunch, and spoke with the one other couple that were there. He admitted he “knew” me, from Fodor’s. Though he described himself as a lurker, rather than a (like me-incessant) poster.

Our afternoon activity was Quad Biking on the pans. Sam and I shared one bike and the Fodor’s “lurkers”, a very nice couple, shared another. Off we rode into the pans they are quite interesting texturally. The top crust tends to curl upward. In places this curl was short and abrupt. In other places, the crust was broken up into quite large (2 feet diameter) discs. Along the way we stopped and videoed each other riding on the pans, and the light was quite spectacular. We stopped a bit later, and Ndabono took photos of all of us jumping. The pictures look as if we are falling from the sky, as the land is so flat, it meets the sky not far from where seem to be standing. Sam and Melanie did a variety of flips and cartwheels, having a great time. We then walked around on the pans, finding some stone-age tools. The sunset was beautiful. We headed back and in the darkness ahead we noticed some fires burning in the midst of the pans. It was our camp staff and they had set up a Braii (barbecue) for us. Some new camp guests joined us. We sat under the stars having our sundowners, or in this case “star risers”. Dinner was served, and it was lovely. We headed back by quad bike, and soon went to bed (very early before 9pm).

June 1 – AM activity. All the others had decided to sleep in (??) So Sam and I decided our wakeup and departure time. (5:30 wakeup, a bit after 6am departure.) As we were the only passengers in the Land Cruiser, Ndabono suggested we sit up in the enclosed front compartment with the heater blasting. It gets much colder in the Kalahari then we had experienced elsewhere in Botswana. The game reserve was not far from camp. The first animal we saw was a Black-Backed Jackal -a truly beautiful animal- I seem to always see them in the early morning, so they always have the warm glow of the early sunlight on them. Ndabono pointed out the small bird with the rapid wing beat, and told us it was an Ant Eating Chat, and he proceeded to mimic its call. something he enjoyed doing throughout our game drive. We saw several eagles, amongst them the Bateleur, which eats both carrion as well as live prey. We saw a tree full of vultures, mostly White-Backed, but also some Lappet-Faced- though by the time I photoed them the Lappet-faced had flown off. It made for an amazing sight. Both the ones still sitting in the tree, and the wingspan of those that flew off. Soon we came to a herd of Oryx, the first we had seen. They are really quite striking, with their long horns and dark black bodies against the grasses of Wild Dagga. One of the loveliest “grasses” is the Wild Dagga. It is a creamy white, and has a lovely seedpod that gives it such nice texture when looking at it either from a distance or up close. We enjoyed watching the herd move slowly through the grasses, with the early morning sun on them.

Ndabono stopped for breakfast soon after this, about 8:15. He took out a large wooden chest that contained dishes, cutlery, and containers with cereals, and hard-boiled eggs. There was a thermos of coffee and hot water for tea or hot chocolate. Juice was also in the cooler along with milk and yogurt. We stood around eating in the midst of the beauiful the wild dagga. While we were eating Ndabono pointed out these small mounds of sand. These he noted were Harvest Termite mounds. It was interesting to note the difference in the size of these termite mounds as compared the extremely large mounds of the other species of termite. The harvest termite is much more common in the Kalahari, as we saw very few of the large termite mounds.

We then came upon a pair of Bat-Eared Foxes- another of my “little five”. They were in the midst of the pans, and we enjoyed watching them amble across the pans, until they moved up into the “grassland”. We drove along to a part of the pans that was still filled with some water, Ndabono noted that there had been some late rains this year. There were groups of juvenile Greater Flamingo as well as Lesser Flamingo. They were a grey and white color that Ndabono said is due to their diet. We walked up to the edge of the water, scattering the flocks of flamingos briefly (Sam got a nice video of them in flight) before they settled back into the water again. At the water’s edge Ndabono looked in the sand and picked up a few dried shrimp that are the diet of the flamingo.

As we drove on, we came upon a small herd of Springbok, the first we had seen. We thoroughly enjoyed watching them as they did their springy run. It is quite a sight. This is the time of the Zebra and Wildebeest migration Ndabono told us, and everywhere we looked there were Zebra and Wildebeest, along with smaller groupings of Springbok and Steenbok. Ndabono noted that he had seen several Cheetahs on the previous day, and that sightings of the Kalahari Lion and Brown Hyena, while not common, have been observed.

We got back to camp around 11:30, and had a shower before a nice lunch. We said goodbye to our quad bike companions, who were leaving, and ate a delicious lunch. We chatted with Ndabono and he told us that they were enlarging the camp, adding I think 4 additional tents. He also noted that when we all departed on the next day, there were no guests for at least a week. And before we arrived the couple that we had gone quad biking with had been the only guests for the 2 nights they were there prior to our arrival.

PM Activity-Our afternoon activity was a walk with the Bushmen. I was looking forward to this, as I remember reading Bushmen of the Kalahari in an anthropology course I took many, many years ago in college- and it fueled a fantasy of life as an anthropologist. And it bothers me to call them Bushmen, as they are more properly known as San people, but…We left camp about 4, after tea (I can’t remember what the tea consisted of at CK, but while good, I don’t think they were quite as lavish as at Wilderness, but certainly adequate. Ndabono drove us towards the “meeting” place, just nearby Jack’s camp.

We were met by 5 men. 2 of them spoke English. We all introduced ourselves. We began to walk along the road, and they pointed out various animal tracks, as well as telling us how recently the animal had left the track. We saw tracks of various hoofed animals, as well as 2 different snakes (they move differently so therefore leave a different type of track). We could see the track of a lizard quite clearly, with the impression of its body, tail, and feet, clear in the sand. They then pointed out a small mound of sand, and I told THEM it was from Harvest Termites. One of the men translated this to the others, and they all broke out in a smiles, and nods of their head. (This was my LAST TERMITE story!) After looking at tracks, they picked up animal dung, and noted which animal it had come from, and then, by breaking it apart, could tell what it had eaten. They showed us some of the plants, and discussed how they use it. Specifically they discussed the Russet Bush Willow. They use the sap in their bird traps; the seedpods are used to make jewelry. The man who explained this did not speak English, and we got a chance to hear their language. It is wonderful to listen to, being completely unlike any language I had heard, as it is full of clicks of (I think) the tongue.

We walked into the bush, and we all sat down as they showed us how they make a fire from friction. They first make a small bed with bits of dried grass, and powdered zebra dung. They then twist a stick rapidly about into a small notch in another piece of wood. Soon the grass, and dung material starts smoking. They then pick it up in their hands, and blow on it till a flame is going. They then fed the fire with twigs and small branches. After the fire died down they played a “game” 2 of the men were “springboks” and the other 2 were duiker (I think). The game consisted of various movements of their arms as well as making marks on the sand. Then one team won. It was fascinating to watch, and they clearly were enjoying themselves, moving more and more rapidly as the game went on. At its basic level, it seems similar to games such as Odds/Evens or Rock, Paper, Scissors. But the movements were much more complex.

While we had been watching the fire and the game, one of the men built a small trap. He had me reach into to grab the bait, (which was the sap of the tree placed on a small stick). My hand was immediately “caught” They then showed us how it was made, but I didn’t really understand the mechanism that caused the ensnaring. Next we were shown a small plant. They carefully pointed out the seedpods on it as its distinguishing feature, and one of them began to dig and dig to get to the bulbous root. It was over a foot deep, and out he pulled a spherical bulb, about 7” in diameter. He began to shave off thin strips of it. He took his shavings, and put them into his hand. He squeezed the shavings over another man’s open mouth, and a thin milky fluid ran into it. Afterwards he carefully put the bulb back into the ground. This we were told is how they can always find something to drink in the desert. We walked back, to Jack’s camp, and thanked them for all we had learned. Ndabono later told us that one of men came from a nearby village, and that the other 4 live in a village up near the Namibia border. The 2 younger men are in “training”. They come for a period of 3 months, and then return to their village.

Ndabono met us, and then gave us a tour of the “museum” in Jack’s camp. It contained skulls of a variety of modern and ancient animals. Sam noted one with extremely long canine teeth, which Ndabono said was an ancient ancestor of the Baboon. There were stone-age tools, and pottery, as well as preserved animals in jars. I would have liked more time as well as more light to be able to see it all, as it was now well past sunset, and there was not much lighting directed on the cases. We headed back to camp. We sat around the fire while I sipped some wine, and then had a nice dinner; it was just Sam and I, and Ndabono and the manager (whose name I forget how to spell/pronounce, but she was very nice), as the others were sleeping under the stars. (Read part 3a as to why we didn’t get to do this). We went back to the tent after deciding what time we wanted to get up for our morning Meerkat experience.

June 2- AM activity with the Meerkats. We asked to be wakened at 6, and depart before 6:30 so we would be there before they come out of their underground dens. We had some juice (coffee if we wanted) before we left. We got to the dens before sunrise, and sat near the openings waiting. Soon one came up, Ndabono said it was the dominant female. She stood up with her darker front side facing the sun to begin to warm up. As we moved closer to her, she went back into the den, but we sat right by the opening, not moving, until she soon poked her head out, and eventually came out. Others slowly began to poke their heads out, and eventually there were about 10 or 11 of them. Sam lay on his stomach watching them, and soon there were 4 meerkats standing on him, sunning themselves. I of course was taking pictures. They were curious too, and one poked his face towards Sam. I enjoyed looking at them from behind, as their fur is quite pretty. I too, lay down, and 1 meerkat came on my back. None of them climbed onto our heads, as we were told they might, as they like to be up as high as possible to watch the area for predators (eagles are their dominant predator). Ndabono noted that they could “see” an eagle from further away then a human can. After they warm themselves they begin to hunt, we were told that they eat scorpions and other insects. We left when a few were beginning to forage for food.

Unfortunately for us we have no videos of the experience, as some sand got into the lens cover, and jammed it. When we realized this happened the man from Jack’s (who keeps track of the Meerkats) took the camera and walked back there, to try to blow it out, but it was still not opening fully. Sam was later able to pry it open, and the camera was not affected so it worked fine.

We came back to camp and had breakfast. We were told our plane was coming at 11. So I took a quick shower, and we headed off to the airstrip. When the plane had not arrived by 11:20, Ndabono radioed back to Jack’s camp. They checked on it, and radioed back that it would come at 1:15. As CK was now closed (everyone was heading to Jack’s) Ndabono took us on a short drive through the area. This area had many more trees, then we had seen in the pans. Some of which were quite lovely, so I amused myself taking some photos of the trees.

again photos are at
http://gallery.me.com/amycyma

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:45 PM
  #36  
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Anita

I have always appreciated all your advice and support as I prepared for this trip. So I am glad you are reading it and enjoying it. Thou have only been back 3 weeks, already I want to return, so I completely understand how you feel.

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 02:41 PM
  #37  
 
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Love the meerkats! The picture of the one staring into your son's face is fabulous.
Leslie_S is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 02:42 PM
  #38  
 
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I am enjoying your report.

The meerkat experience sounds like it was really fun, and your pictures of them are nice.

Your experiences at Camp Kalahari seems to have rounded out your trip.
ilovecats is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 06:36 PM
  #39  
 
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Cool photos!
Femi is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 06:30 PM
  #40  
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Part 4 Savuti

June 2- It was a long flight from Camp Kalahari to Savuti. There was a slight “leak” in the doorframe where Sam was sitting. Whether it was this, or the thin air, it caused him some discomfort (he has had “altitude “ sickness in the past). But once we landed and were on our way to Savuti he felt much better.
Goodman our guide picked us up. The drive to camp was about 40 minutes, through a completely different ecosystem then we had seen before. Goodman described it as Mopane woodlands. The Mopane tree has a leaf that looks like the wings of a butterfly. The other dominant tree in the area is the Kalahari Apple. Goodman told us how the Savuti channel is now filled with water. (I had read about it on the Savuti site- this information was new to Sam). He said that the water had started arriving in August 2008.

We arrived in camp and were met by the managers Terry and Nigel. We were the only guests that night. We had a briefing, which included information on the changes at Savuti since the water arrived. They discussed, complete with a map, where the waters were now, and where they had once ended. It had been over 20 years since water had flowed into the channel, and they were quite excited by the changes this caused.

Savuti was the most lavish of all the camps we stayed at. It’s common areas were larger (granted it has 7 tents rather 10 as at Chitabe and Kwetsani.) There is an outdoor deck with chairs that encircle the fire right next to the water, and this extends to the bar. Breakfast is served here in the morning, and it is nice to warm yourself by the fire as you eat. They also have blankets on the chairs (a nice touch, and one that I made use of). The upper common area is divided into 3 parts, with 2 separate seating areas, and then a dining area. There is also an outdoor boma area. We were assigned to tent #1 the family tent. It is separate from the other tents, which are on the other side of the common areas. Our “Tent” was HUGE. My room consisted of 2 twin beds, a desk, and 2 comfortable chairs; there were various lighting options. The facilities consisted of a separate toilet area, double sink, and a huge shower area. It also had a large “closet” area opposite the sinks. There was a deck outside with 2 comfortable chairs and a table. Then there was a connecting passageway, with a tree growing in it, which led to Sam’s room. It was a bit smaller than mine, as it did not have the comfortable sitting chairs. Both rooms had field guides to the animals and birds. Savuti has only one drawback in terms of accommodations-NO OUTDOOR SHOWER. And I had so loved them, oh well. But it was much nicer for us each to have our own room and facilities.

After we briefly settled in, we went back for a sumptuous tea. They were afraid we might not have eaten lunch before we arrived. Sam did his best to make them feel that they had not made too much food for us. Then we were off on our first game drive at Savuti. Goodman was our most passionate and informative guide. He clearly cares a lot about what he does, and wants his guests to learn much about the animals and ecosystems. He therefore would often ask us questions about things he had discussed before, or what we had seen.

We came upon 3 female and 1 male Kudu on the other side of the channel. They walked back and forth along the water’s edge, and Goodman noted how many of the animals still are not accustomed to the water, and some are reluctant to cross it, and he felt that was the case with these kudu. We sat watching them. The light was lovely with their reflection in the water, then all of a sudden, they began to cross the water, at quite a rapid rate. It was actually quite exciting to watch, as they definitely did not seem all that comfortable with the water.

We then saw a Slender Mongoose, and many Eles, and an African Fish Eagle. We came upon a large herd of Zebra, called a Dazzle – which in the late afternoon light, they were! Goodman pointed out one of the Zebra, whose mane was floppy-poor genes he noted. Amongst the Zebra was a lone Giraffe. He walked along the waters edge. Goodman pointed out several things. Giraffe’s have a parallel gait pattern that he noted aids them with balance. He also noted that Giraffes are not particularly comfortable crossing large areas of water, and that this Giraffe wanted to cross, as he was quite far from any of the trees (he was on the other side of the plains area) while the side of the channel we were on was amongst the trees. He also felt that if the Zebras crossed the Giraffe would most likely go along with them, which is why he was near them. But the Zebras did not cross, and so we left the Giraffe continuing to walk along the channels edge.


The light was getting low, and soon just below our LR we saw first one, then another and eventually 3 Honey Badgers. Goodman told us that they have virtually no predators. Their skin is very tough, and that their underside has an especially thick layer of fat, which further protects them from cat and snake predators. As we drove along the Savuti Channel, we came upon a pod of Hippos. We watched as they used their tails to scatter their dung. It was quite fun to see. Goodman noted that this helps them mark their territory, as they are extremely territorial (one of the reasons that they cause more human casualties then any other animal in Africa). Their dung also is a source of food for fish. We watched them form quite near the water’s edge, and then they alternately began to “yawn” opening their huge mouths, with their neck outstretched. It was quite a site. (Unfortunately photo wise, I forgot to place my camera on a beanbag, so may pictures all had too much ‘shake”. Goodman then explained that the reason that Hippos can remain underwater for so long is because their nose has a ‘valve” that they can “shut”.

We had sundowners near a small water hole. And then darkness was soon complete. As we drove, we saw our first Spotted Hyena across the channel. In the water we saw several pairs of orange eyes as the spotlight was swept along. They were Crocodiles Goodman noted. We also saw a sleeping Black Striped Jackal, and some Springhares.

We had dinner on the deck with Terry; it was a quiet but lovely dinner. The Milky Way was less intense as the moon was getting fuller.

again photos are at
http://gallery.me.com/amycyma

I will continue Savuti day by day

amy
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