help needed for botswana in july 2006

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Feb 17th, 2006, 06:24 PM
  #1
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help needed for botswana in july 2006

I am off to Botswana for 2 weeks in July 2006, followed by 10 nights at Londolozi. This trip was finalised, now I am told that I will not see sable or roan antelope at the 2 camps I am going to in Botswana, Sandibe and Nxageba. So at this stage, I am now adding another camp for 3-4 nights - I have been given these suggestions: Savute Elephant Camp, Savute Safari Lodge, Matetsi Water Lodge. I would have preferred to stay within Botswana, so that I am not missing any gamedrives, I am also not that sure that I wish to travel to Zimbabwe. I also want to do 3 camps for the trip, so now I also need to decide if I will ditch one of the original bookings, or if I should really do both camps - from past trip reports, they both had some great reviews and not so good reviews.

Going in July, where do people who have been to these lodges, think I will have a very good chance of seeing my sable and roan antelope? I will add that I want to see a lot of the smaller cats and nightlife that I do not see regularly at Sabi Sands - I love all the cats, but I am not a big 5 gameviewer, I just want to see everything!

Kind regards,
Kaye
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Feb 17th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Can't speak for Nxageba, but in 8 days at Chitabe (near Sandibe) in August there was indeed no sign of roan or sable. Those are such hard species to see. Savuti may have some herds but I've seen only one skittish roan in Savuti and no sable.

The only other roan or sable sightings I've had: Hwange had big herds of sable. I saw a few sable in Motoba Hills in Zimbabwe. Kafue in Zambia had herds of both, but when I was there in July, they were viewed only at a distance.

Good luck with your pursuit of these two beautiful antelope species.

As to smaller cats, in Chitabe, we averaged one African wildcat per nightly game drive. I would think Sandibe would be similar.
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Feb 17th, 2006, 07:40 PM
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In a day or two at either of the Vumbura camps, you have a VERY good chance of seeing Sable. I have seen them each and every visit to Vumbura (maybe 6 different visits over last 10 years).

Roan are far more unpredictable. In Bots, I have seen them most often at Kings Pool (DumaTau too).

James
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Feb 17th, 2006, 09:38 PM
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johan_belgium
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Kaye,

It already sounds like a great trip.

You'll probably see sable antelope at the Vumbura concession or near the Chobe riverfront.

It's a bit more difficult to see roan antelope in Botswana - I've seen only six of them in Moremi national park in June 2003. Actually we saw two magnificent bulls near our tent. (less than 100 meters away). I hope to see more of them when going to Lebala in late September 2006.


Your best chances of seeing them in Botswana are at the end of the dry season (late September/October) in the Linyanti and Kwando concession.

An excellent place to see sable and roan is Kafue national Park (Busanga plains). I was there in September 2005 and had top class sightings of both species. I think driving is still difficult in July because of the black cotton soil there.

Best place to see roan is actually in Malawi at Nyika National Park.

Concerning your other camps: on which basis did you choose both of them?

Was it because they all belonged to the CC Africa portfolio?

If I had to choose I did the following:

- Chitabe (instead of Sandibe);
- Selinda/Lebala;
- Little vumbura (instead of Nxabega)(combining water activities with chances to see sable antelope)

Greetings,

Johan
 
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Feb 18th, 2006, 02:25 AM
  #5
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Hi Johan,

Yes, I chose CCA after they visited my home town in Australia at the end of last year. I had also read some quite good reports here as well. The main reason for me going to Botswana was to see sable antelope, roan would have been a bonus. That started with seeing something on Animal Planet or Nation Geographic when a Kruger animal removal team went to Malawi to transfer sable from one national park to another, 100's and 100's of them. My sable viewing consists of 3 single bulls, one in Sabi Sands and two at Chobe but in Sept 2001. I need to see them again!

Out of the three choices I have been given, Matetsi Water Lodge is the only camp to have sable listed in their brochures, but as I will probably be staying there 4 to 5 nights, I am hoping to improve my chances.

Thanks atravelyn and James for your words of wisdom. I have had a look at lodge positions in the delta and in chobe so I will have to make up my mind quickly as I worried things will be booked out!

Kind regards,

Kaye
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Feb 18th, 2006, 02:42 AM
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Hello Kaye,

It sounds like you have a great itinerary!

In the Okavango, Little Vumbura or Vumbura Plains are supposed to be the best for sable -- Vumbura is the only concession to report regular sable sightings. That being said...I spent four nights at LV last year and the closest I got was a skull by the roadside, proving that sightings can never be predicted with certainty.

I've heard that sable and roan are often seen at Matetsi, with sable being seen more frequently than roan.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 18th, 2006, 02:51 AM
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hi kaye,
if roan and sable are at the top of your list the best place to see them is at makololo plains in hwange. we combined a trip of botswana with zimbabwe in jan 2005 and didnt miss a game drive. we made sure to tell the people taht we wanted to get to mombo before the afternoon game drive so they had us leave on an early flight from makololo. i think the flight left at 10 am so we still went out for an abbreviated morning game drive and made it to the delta with time to spare.
in botswana i have seen roan/sable at kings pool and lagoon camp and the best place to see sable is vumbura. however you will most likely not see roan there.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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I'm sure your trip will have some great sightings, KayeN and hope some roan and sable are included.

Thanks jweis for encouraging words about sable at Vumbura. Maybe I'll catch a glimpse when I visit in August.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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Kaye

I have seen Sable and/or Roan in a few places.
Just outside Vic Falls (S)
Chobe River (S)
Susuwe, Namibia, (S+R)
Kwara (S)
Lebala (S+R)
Lagoon (S+R)
Last trip to Lagoon/Lebala in September/October produced 3 sightings of Sable and 9 sightings of Roan.
I would suggest that you spend a couple of days at Lagoon with the possible added bonus of seeing dogs
Michael
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Feb 18th, 2006, 10:07 PM
  #10
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Thanks everyone for your assistance. I am doing this through CCAfrica, and those 3 camps were suggested to me. Matetsi Water Lodge does seem to be the best for what I want - viewing sable and hopefully roan antelope as well.

Has anyone visited there fairly recently? Did they see sable and or roan? Besides being a bit worried about my safety, I am leaning towards this camp. Certainly it looks good on paper. I am being picked up at Kasane and driven to camp which sounds good. As yet I have no idea of the cost of all these little plane trips but no doubt I shall find out!

I looked at some of the other camps you guys have suggested and they looked nice, but the gameviewing would have to be so good, in fact beyond good, to justify those outrageous prices, plus in some I would have to pay the dreaded single supplement!

Kind regards,
Kaye
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Feb 18th, 2006, 11:35 PM
  #11
santharamhari
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Kaye,

My only sighting of Sable is in Kwara....but i hope to see more Roan and Sable during my august trip to Kwando Lagoon and Lebala.
 
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Feb 18th, 2006, 11:51 PM
  #12
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Hi Hari,

Yes, from their website you should have great viewing of both sable and roan. There are both beautiful antelope and an awesome sighting, even with a single bull, let alone a small herd. All 3 Kwando camps mention the sable and roan as regular sightings, so stay there long enough and you will be lucky!

Hopefully I shall be lucky in sable and roan sightings in July. They are a wonderful animal to photograph.

Kind regards,

Kaye
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Feb 19th, 2006, 10:19 AM
  #13
 
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Kaye

We saw Roan about 6 of them at the Kings Pool water hole last July, no Sable though. We hope to see them this June at Vumbura.
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Feb 19th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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If You are serious about seeing Roan & Sable, then I would suggest that you cut back the number of days at londoz and spend three days in the KNP.

Sirheni Bush Camp is in the Kruger National Park’s northern plains ( a mopane area) The Sirheni Dam, on the Mphongolo River are close to thecamp.
And because of it's location in this topography you will virtually be guaranteed roan, sable and even eland.

I think the rondavel fee is around $100 and sleeps four.
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