Kwando Question for Hari

Oct 6th, 2006, 05:46 PM
  #1  
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Kwando Question for Hari

I really appreciate your reply to my question regarding the wild dogs in Botswana. We've re-evaluated our itinerary based on your suggestions. Our emphasis is on wild dogs first and foremost and then predators. Would Lebala, Lagoon and Kwara be a good combination considering we have seven days to play with? Do you know if it's better to book directly with Kwando Safari's or through a travel agency, considering we are from Canada. We are planning to go in September '07. We are unable to go in July or August. Which would be the best time to view wild dogs, based on your extensive experience. Thanks so much for your help!
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Oct 6th, 2006, 06:11 PM
  #2  
santharamhari
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Loru100,

Thanks for the trust in my knowledge. If i had 7 nights only with Kwando, and if Wild dogs were very high on my mind, i would stick to a combination of Kwando Lagoon and Lebala. (3+4) or (2+5). Not that you wont see dogs at Kwara....lots of people are fortunate, but, your chances here are better.

However, September is a great time of the year for all game viewing. Big herds of elephants and buffalo and ofcourse all the predators. Kwando is great for predators and is one of the reasons why Africa Geographic magazine has it's Mark Tennant guided expeditions called, "Predators of Botswana" safari tailored around Kwando safari camps. I myself wont do a trip with them, but....talks highly of the sightings at Kwando.

Kwando doesnt do direct bookings, so it is better you look for a local well-reputed travel agent.

Did you get a chance to read my trip report? It is called,"Back home from Kwando (Hari)". The Kwando experience is not just the animals but the total intimate and homely atmosphere at their camps.

Hope this helps and yes, feel free to ask me any questions.....

Hari
 
Oct 6th, 2006, 06:20 PM
  #3  
santharamhari
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Before i get into another controversy, i just want to add....i'm sure the Africa Geographic trip is good and well guided by Mark, but, a trip like that is not my style....i like to interact with Kwando's own full-time guides that i'm comfortable with and i think they are the best guides i have ever had and i dont want to change the winning formula...

Cheers
Hari
 
Oct 6th, 2006, 07:29 PM
  #4  
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Ballpark, what do they charge per night with a private guide/vehicle? Thanks again!
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Oct 6th, 2006, 07:45 PM
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Sorry, that second URL should be 'selindaC' with a lower case 's', that is: www.afrigalah.com/selindaC.html

John
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Oct 6th, 2006, 07:52 PM
  #6  
santharamhari
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Hi! Their private vehicle inclusive of the guide(in house guide) is $200 per night. If you want to book a specific specialist private guide that they use (names are listed on their website) the charges will be more. Rates for which, i dont know.....

Their rates for next year, i'm not sure. Best to check with different agents. Strongly recommend some of those listed on their website. For example, Islands in Africa was mentioned recently on one of the threads as someone very good for Kwando and ofcourse they may be able to give you best possible rates as you intend to do a complete Kwando itinerary.

Hari
 
Oct 6th, 2006, 07:53 PM
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The gremlins seem hard at work today. This is what I've been trying to post:

I don't want to detract from Hari's recommendation because I appreciate his knowledge of the Kwando area. But keep in mind that the Selinda pack dens, more often than not, in the Zibalianja area, and even when it doesn't, it is often seen there. Hari mentioned Zib in his previous reply to you. This year, the pack has made frequent visits to the Zib camp waterhole, which is right in front of the open-air camp bar . I believe you would greatly increase your chances of seeing the pack if you combined Lebala with Zib, either 3-4 or 4-3. It's an easy land transfer between the two camps. Zib's own website is www.linyanti.com, and you can find photos of the pack, taken in the Selinda/Zib area, at the URL mentioned in my previous post to this thread.

John
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Oct 6th, 2006, 08:24 PM
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santharamhari
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John has a good point about the Selinda pack of dog.....by Sept, i suspect that they may be highly mobile and so on any day they can be anywhere (Lebala, Selinda/Zib, Duma Tau) all depends on your luck of the draw. This pack has denned in different years in the various concessions.....

Lagoon has a resident pack of dog, also in and out of the immediate area. They are known to come and go every few days and hunt near camp....just like other packs do....(hunt near various camps)

Ofcourse, as you may have read in my trip report these are not the only dogs in the area....there are mystery dogs around!!!

Hari
 
Dec 13th, 2006, 07:53 AM
  #9  
sniktawk
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Seeing wild dogs anywhere is extremely difficult, the only place you have a "guarantee" is Madikwe in South Africa, but this is hardly the "wild. I regurlarly visit Leballa and Lagoon and have just returned, having seen the Wild Dogs at Lagoon for the first time on my 22nd game drive, there are 6 healthy adults. I have never seen them at Leballa I agree with Afrigalah that you are more likely to see them in the Selinda concession.I have seen them on 5 different occassions, obviously you would be guaranteed if they den at Zib again,they did not this year, but this is usually in June or July. At present both Selinda and Kwara are undergoing a major dissapearance of Lion packs. The Selinda pack is no longer but there are a small pack of 8, new to the area. The Lagoon pack which was 15 strong last year has also dissapeared. Do not let the above put you off visiting these areas as they are both marvelous just do not expect too see wild dogs
 
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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I spent all of November 2006 in Botswana (including 9 days in Kwando, 4 days in Linyanti and many hours exploring Selinda , including the spillway).

I was fortunate to see the Lagoon Pack (6) and Selinda Pack (16) during my stay in Kwando (and a third pack somewhere else but you'll have to wait for me to catch up on my trip report ).

During that month some guests had seen the Selinda Pack in Linyanti too. All the guests that I had met who had stayed in the Selinda concession did not have much luck with the dogs.

During my time there one of the Selinda adults was separated from the pack and seen on its own for 2 days, calling for the pack (I'm not sure if it was re-united).

Recently the Selinda pack has been very mobile and has been seen as far as Kasane!!! The Selinda alpha female also prepared 5 den sites in Kwando this year but at the last minute she decided to den in the Duma Tau area. They have become very unpredictable. Sniktawk is correct about the lion situation in Kwando - it is very unstable. The Lagoon pride hadn't been seen for 3 months. We only saw 4 lions in 9 days (and one was suffering from a suspected snake bite during our last drive - more bad news), but this has made Kwando quite favourable for the dogs. There is a good chance that the Selinda pack may soon decide to den in Kwando. More detailed information and photos when I get to that part of my trip report.....

Gaurang
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Dec 13th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Gaurang & sniktawk: Thanks for the latest on the Kwando/Selinda areas, great info on the wild dogs and lions!
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 05:30 PM
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santharamhari
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Lots of great info, thanks.....

Lagoon pride was 6 when i saw them in August......wonder if it was one of the last sightings of them.....

Hari
 
Dec 13th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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santharamhari
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Gaurang,

Agreed about the lion dynamics. But the 3 Hyena clans in the area are still a HUGE problem for the dogs to opt to den there......

Hari
 
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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Gaurang,

Interested to know how you managed to explore Selinda territory without staying there. I assume it was part of a road transfer. Did special arrangements have to be made?

And that's remarkable information about the Selinda pack being seen at Kasane. That must be close to 200 km in a straight line from the Linyanti-Selinda-Kwando area where they are most commonly seen. Do you know who saw them and ID'd them?

John
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Dec 13th, 2006, 11:18 PM
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Wild dogs routinely cover 50km in a day and range estimates vary widely but tend to go from 150 sq. km to over 2,400 sq km. We always talk about how mobile and free ranging they are but when you hear a real example like that you realize how impressive it is.
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Dec 14th, 2006, 12:58 AM
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We were just taking advantage of the good relationship between Kwando and Selinda - the guides from both concessions know each other and get on very well, which is the way it should be. LE vehicles will also come in to the Kwando area if something interesting is nearby. There is no radio communication between Lebala and Selinda - but if they meet during a drive, they will update each other. I think that this is great because you have wild dogs, cheetahs and lions which range across both concessions.

Sadly, the relationship between Linyanti and Selinda is still very cold.

In the Kwando area, the Lagoon side has a very small hyena population. There were remains of a dead elephant nearby and I was told that it was 3 days before the hyenas arrived. There is a healthy clan in the John's Pan area but when we saw the Selinda pack in the John's pan area, they were in battle with a clan of 10 hyenas (photos and info will follow in my trip report ). But this was a different clan - and it is assumed that now there is a clan of hyenas that follow the Selinda pack. It is not unusual to see these two groups fighting with each other. A possible reason why the dogs are moving even further away from their usual home range?

Steve K gave me some amazing information on the Selinda pack. He used to guide full-time in the Kwando area but now does more private work. He was helping out during our stay in Kwando. Steve K knows the Selinda pack very well and has kept accurate records of them for many years - including this own drawings of facial and body markings. He is obsessed with wild dogs, particularly the Selinda pack which he has followed for many years. He has seen some amazing wild dog behaviour that has never been documented in books. It was Steve that told me that the pack was recently seen in the Kasane area and the Linyanti guides told me that these dogs have even been seen moving in to the Chobe NP area - so they are very mobile at the moment.

Gaurang

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Dec 14th, 2006, 01:07 AM
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Bill, that certainly is impressive. They're covering a far greater distance than I ever imagined. I wonder why. You'd have a better insight than me. Is it because whatever early rain falls in November causes the prey species immediately to scatter and become harder to find? With adolescent pups running along, they'd need to find more.

John
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Dec 14th, 2006, 01:38 AM
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Gaurang,

Thanks for the extra information about the sightings of the dogs.

I agree with you, the relationship between Kwando and Selinda is wonderful. There should be more of it in the border areas of all concessions. I've experienced it, and it is very productive.

But to spend many hours exploring another concession where you are not a paying client? Many operators advertise how 'exclusive' their areas of operation are. I spend a great deal of money to enjoy the benefits of these 'exclusive' concessions where I have a reasonable idea of how many other vehicles I am likely to encounter...and, of course, the fewer the better. That's one of the reasons you use a private vehicle, isn't it? No matter how careful your intrusion is, you've increased my chances of encountering more vehicles than I want.

John

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Dec 14th, 2006, 01:41 AM
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santharamhari
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My goodness!!! Those dogs are all over the place.....besides their core areas they are spending a hell of a lot of time far and away........and by golly, they damn well stay PUT next winter!!!

Hari
 
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:46 AM
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Hi John

No need to worry, we only ever saw one Selinda Camp vehicle and that was from a distance near the border. We had a guide who was new to the Kwando area (former WS guide), who was learning his new surroundings and covering huge distances (some of our drives were 12-14 hours). This is a quality that I hugely endorse. When we were in the spillway, it was during the heat of the day and we never encountered another vehicle. The guide and I shared the same passion - to explore new areas regardless of the game that we might or might not see. We were driving through areas of thick Mopane and using very obscure routes that Kwando and Selinda guides usually avoid. In the Selinda areas close to the Kwando borders (open plains), game was very scarce, so we never spent much time there. I don't believe the exclusive experience was ever compromised. I also think that having knowledge of access routes to and from bordering concessions can be valuable information, especially in situations where help may be required. For example, many years ago Lebala camp had a serious fire and the Selinda guides came to their aid.

Gaurang
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