mobile camping & wildlife viewing

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Mar 9th, 2006, 09:40 AM
  #1
laurar
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mobile camping & wildlife viewing

This forum is always so full of wonderful ideas and input! My husband and I are both professional wildlife biologists and avid wildlife photographers, so you can imagine that we are pretty intense on safaris, and like to spend a great deal of time sitting and viewing wildlife, waiting for that perfect photo opportunity. We have been to the Serengeti 3 times, and just adore that park ecosystem...it is quite difficult to tear ourselves away. We've also been spoiled, as we've had fabulous lion, leopard, and cheetah viewing in the Serengeti. However, we are interested in trying a new area, and are looking into Botswana. Of course, Botswana is over our price range for the lodges/permanent camps. So, we were looking into a private mobile camping safari (a private guide is essential for us because few others would be as patient as we are, and really want to sit and watch). We have been in contact with Masson safaris, and they have recommended the following itineraries (one focusing on the Kalahari desert areas, and one focusing on Chobe Moremi:

Itinerary 1
Desert and Delta.
Day 1.
Fly into Maun and drive into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Here we will camp in a private campsite in Deception Valley.
Day 2 and 3.
Game drives from Camp. Camp the same.
Day 4.
Drive through the Reserve to Tau Pan or Piper's Pan and camp here in a private campsite.
Day 5 and 6.
Game drives from Camp. Camp the same.
Day 7.
Drive out through the Reserve and camp near the Boteti River at Kumaga Camp.
Day 8.
Drive across the Magadigadi Game Reserve and on to Nxai Pan National Park.
Here we will camp in a private campsite.
Day 9 and 10.
Game drives from Camp, with a visit to Baines' Baobabs.
Day 11.
Drive through Maun and onto Moremi Game Reserve. Here we will camp near the Okavango Delta.
Day 12, 13,14 and 15.
Spend exploring this wonderland. We can stay in one camp and drive out from it or we can choose to camp on the West side of the Reserve and the East side.
Day 16.
Drive into Maun to fly out.

Itineraray 2
Delta to the Chobe River:

Day 1.
Fly into Maun and drive into Moremi Game Reserve. Here we will camp near the Okavango Delta.
Day 2,3 and 4.
Game drives from camp. Camp the same.
Day 5.
Drive through Moremi, across Khwai bridge and camp in a private concession area near the Khwai River.
Day 6, 7 and 8.
Game drives from camp and here we will be able to do night drives as well as we are camping outside the Reserve.
Day 9.
Drive into Chobe National Park and camp near the Savuti Channel.
Day 10 and 11.
Game drives from camp. Camp the same.
Day 12.
Drive through the National Park, some traditional villages, the forest reserve and onto the Chobe River. Camp near the River.
Day 13, 14 and 15.
Game drives from camp. Camp the same.
Day 16.
Drive into Kasane to fly out or to transfer by road to Livingstone in Zambia or Vic Falls in Zimbabwe.

These both look interesting to us. However, I have read mixed reports on the wildlife viewing in Botswana. Some reports are glowing. Others refer to more skittish animals (due to hunting in some adjacent areas), and a lack of the cats (particularly leopards and cheetahs -- of course, Mombo has cats, but we can't afford that!). It also seems that a mobile camping safari does not allow you to get to some of the more remote areas where wildlife viewing may be better. So, on a mobile camping safari, I am most interested in input on the quality of wildlife viewing (particularly cats) -- and if these itineraries put us in quality wildlife viewing areas.

Thanks for any input.

Laura.
 
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Mar 9th, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,766
My game viewing experience has been top notch on Chiefs Island (Chiefs and Mombo) in the Linyanti (Savuti and Kings Pool) and at Kwando (Lagoon). At all places I have seen lots of well habituated animals.

I'm sure there are others on the board who can speak to your issue better, but I assume that a good operator would not want to be near hunting concessions for that very reason.
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