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SAFARI 2006, Carolyn and Tom, So. Africa, Zambia, Kenya

SAFARI 2006, Carolyn and Tom, So. Africa, Zambia, Kenya

Oct 8th, 2006, 07:34 PM
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SAFARI 2006, Carolyn and Tom, So. Africa, Zambia, Kenya

Foreword – Ok gang, here goes my stab at this. I’ve created it in MSWord and then copying it over to Fodors. Hope it works as planned.

SAFARI 2006, Carolyn and Tom, So. Africa, Zambia, Kenya
Part 1 of 5 parts

This was our second safari, the first was in 2005 to Zambia (Robin Pope Nsefu), Botswana (Khwai River Lodge), and So. Africa (MalaMala). (Some photos at - http://www.kodakgallery.com/tdgraham/main/safari_2005 ).

We loved it all and after returning in September 2005 we started planning for 2006. We wanted to go back to MalaMala and Robin Pope. And, try a new camp so we chose Little Governors Camp , Kenya. The camps availability dictated their order of safari and it became MalaMala (four nights) then Robin Pope (Nsefu and Tena Tena, six nights), then Little Governors (five nights). This totaled 15 nights of safari which I felt was just great.
I’m breaking my trip report into five parts. The first is about getting to Kruger National Park including info about the photography equipment we took. The second is a short part about Kruger National Park. The third is MalaMala, the fourth Robin Pope Zambia, and the fifth is Little Governors and back home. Let me just say here and now that we had a great time and are planning for 2007.

One more thing, just so you know I know. I’ve been to only 4 different safari camps which is not many. I compare camps one to the other, not just “this is what we saw”. So from this aspect please take this report as from someone who is just speaking from very limited experience, but this is how I see it now. YMMV. If anyone wishes to email me re any of this report, my email address is tdgraham at sbcglobal dott net. Please put AFRICA FODORS in the subject line. My spam filter removes any unknown sender address and I must fish out the real email. If I don’t reply it is simply because I missed it, please send it again. I answer all real email.

To start with, a bit about our safari photography equipment. For 2005 we took the new Canon S2 and loved it. The photos from it are very good (see above link). And, it can take high quality video with stereo sound. So we did take many short video clips, just little scenes of action. Using the DVD making program ProShow Gold I made a DVD slide show of still photos, video clips, with sound. It was easy to do thanks to ProShow and when friends and family asked to see our safari pictures I give them a DVD that they can play on their TV. I’m doing the same for this year.

The big change this year in photos for me was going digital SLR. After years of using film SLR cameras I simply could not tolerate the electronic view finder (EVF) of the Canon S2 (or of any EVF). In 2006 Nikon introduced the D200 DSLR and a new lens, the 18-200mm zoom (28-300mm 35mm equivalent). With both getting rave reviews I decide the time was right to go DSLR with the D200 and stick the 18-200 lens on it and use it and only it for safari. ( I also got the Tokina 12-24 zoom, but figured I would not need it for safari photos). The Nikon combo was great on safari. The only limitation is the longest range of 300mm which is too short for most bird photos. (I do believe bird photos are the most difficult of all nature photos). I really enjoyed using the D200, that big bright optical view screen, the important options such as ISO, exposure bracketing, manual focus, shutter rates, white balance, etc, are all dedicated buttons. You don’t have to wade through three menu layers to access them. I did not shoot RAW, I did JPG, large, fine, with very mild image “processing” by the D200. I also had the Nikon SB-600 flash unit. I also took my Canon S2 as back up and for video. Carolyn used her “old” Canon S2 for photos and short videos.

The only “problem” I have with the D200 is that being an SLR it bangs when the shutter fires. So if Carolyn happens to be taking a video, that SLR noise, at least to me, on the video is distracting. I’m going to have to either clip it out or noise reduce it. If anyone has an easy way to do this, I’d like to know about it. Just another chore I don’t need.

In general, we do not have quite as many photos this year with that “wall hanging print” pizazz. I feel that this because last year we had some very awesome game sightings of attractive subjects (leopards and lion cubs) and because that the lighting this year was not as consistently as good. While there was mostly sunlight at Mala this year, the sun in Zambia and Kenya was obscured a lot by cloudy conditions. Now, I certainly don’t want bright noon time hard sun, but you do need the sun in the early morning or late evening for that wonderful glow. And, at least hazy sun during the rest of the day to avoid flat lighting. My favorite axiom about photo lighting is – light isn’t the only thing, it is everything.

With each of the other trip reports (but not this Part 1) I have associated a Kodak Gallery of photos. About 20 photos. Some are simply “editorial” illustrating the report but many I hope are good photos by their own right. Almost all of them have been post processed (PhotoShop) to some degree. The Canon S2 were mainly cropped some. The Nikon D200 jpgs (because of my image processing settings) all received more PhotoShop color work including sharpening.

For memory card backup I had two hard drives planning to load all cards into both backups. The first was an Archos 320 and the second a little 60gig 2.5inch hard drive (in a case) that downloads from a card reader. The Archos I have used for three years and it works fine and reliably for downloading off of cards. But it is very slow to playback/review photos so I do that just to check that the download completed successfully. The little housed 60 gig hard drive is less reliable but it is very small and is better than nothing for a second backup. I have considered taking a PC laptop and I would like to but there is a limit as to how much electronic “stuff” I want to haul around. The electron support for the two different cameras, that is; two backup drives, two different types of spare batteries, outlet adapters, three different types of battery chargers, duplicate cords and cables, is all much heavier and larger than the two Canon S2s and Nikon D200. Enough is enough, Good Lord.

First time I went to charge a set of four NiMH AA batteries one of them came up bad. So that negated a full set of 4 AAs, although now I had three spare AAs. Then at camp Nsefu I came back to my AA charger and it was smoking. Evidently the charger (LaCrosse BC-900U) had malfunctioned and the four AAs were fried, hot and bubbly. Tossed those four AAs and thus another full set of batteries lost. I did not have another AA charger but could rig up an AA charger using a Nikon charger and alligator clips. This worked for the AAs but required monitoring which is most inconvenient when you are out on game drives. The D200 has it’s own special battery so no problem there.
Enough already, on to safari 2006.

Last year at MalaMala we shared a Land Rover with a couple from New York who had driven to MalaMala after flying in from Joburg. This got me to thinking that since Mala was our first camp and we were flying into Joburg perhaps we should drive to Mala and see some of So. Africa along the way. Oh, and also, how about going to Kruger National Park. I inquired about the reasonableness of such here on this site and at the Kruger web site. Everyone said sure, easy, go for it. Thanks mkhonzo for your encouragement and advice.

We flew Northwest Airlines, LAX to Detroit, Detroit to Amsterdam, then KLM Amsterdam to Joburg. Connections were very short and we arrive Joburg on Sep 3rd at 9pm. This was too late to start anything so we spent the night at a very nice B&B near the airport. They, the Dove’s Nest, picked us up and took us back to the airport, cost was $60 for the night with breakfast. BTW, all the costs I give are in USA dollars.
Sep 4th, Monday morning we picked up rental/hired car form Avis at the airport, a VW Chico. It was the bare minimum of transport, more than big enough for only the two of us and safari luggage/duffels. But anything less would have been a three wheeled vehicle. Carolyn fancies herself proficient at driving on the wrong side of the road so that is fine with me, she handled the clutched manual stick shift smoothly. As long as a charging rhino did not hit my side of this tin can I was ok.

Off we went planning to spend that night somewhere around Hazyview then next morning drive into Kruger. Taking highway N12 to N4 we turned off heading north at Belfast for sight seeing. The little town of Dullstrom is really growing and bustling evidently do to sport fishing. There many shop, places to eat and lodging but ewe did not stop wanting to get up towards the great escarpment. We stretched our driving past Graskop into the escarpment to see the “Gods Window” and the “Three Roundavels” and just barely made it before sunset. On our drive out we planned to have pancakes at Harrie’s but it was after 6pm and they had closed. Next year. We decided to drive to Hazyview to find a B&B for the night. It was dark by the time we got there and this made reading signs for B&Bs difficult. It seems that the B&B’s a have little roadside signs that direct you up another little gravel road for a mile perhaps. The are not just simply sitting next to the main road. Being dark made this a bit harder and we found about the first four B&Bs to be already full and never did find a couple of them. The last full B&B recommend the B&B “Idle & Wilde” which we finally found and they had one room, a very pretty and large roundavel bungalow. We had a good nights sleep serenaded by frogs and a good breakfast. Cost was $90. We thought this cost very reasonable for B&B and now believe that South Africa is overall a better dollar value than either Zambia or Kenya.
After breakfast we set out for Kruger, about 30 miles away.
End of Part 1.
Next, Part 2, Kruger

cary999 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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Hi Tom,

Cannot wait to hear about MalaMala, as my favourite destination by far! Also keen to hear about the Zambia place as I get their newsletter every Monday and the snake cut open with the 67 (?) was fascinating though a bit gross, and a real shame that none of those pythons ever got a chance.

Kind regards,

KayeN is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 09:01 PM
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Kaye - a sneak preview, Mala is also my favourite by far.
regards - tom
ps - 67 what?
cary999 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 09:45 PM
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Hi Tom
Glad to see you made the right choice with a Nikon!(I have the D2Hs).
Have not found anything (on Google) in regards to the Joberg B&B- The Dove's Nest?
We'll need a nice B&B for our o'nighter before Zambia next Sept. Do have anymore details or a Web address perhaps?

africaddict is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 07:58 AM
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Dove's Nest
Colleen Groenewald
email- colleen_medic at yahoo dott com
phone - 011 975 1746 or 083 234 8525
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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A new camera Tom! I don't remember you mentioning this. Will be anxious to see your results and also here about Kruger and Mala Mala. MM is #1 on my list for next trip.

On a side note, did you catch the show last night?

CarlaM is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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A new camera Tom! I don't remember you mentioning this. Will be anxious to see your results and also here about Kruger and Mala Mala. MM is #1 on my list for next trip.

CarlaM is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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MM should be #1
Catch show? You mean the Leopard Eye?
Yes, saw it, recorded it on DVD for Julian. Will also bring a couple of extra copies to LA GTG if anyone wants it. Also recorded the first four chapters of Meerkat Manor for Julian (not sure if he gets it in UK) and anyone else.
New camera was fun, but also a lot more work with the photos back home. I also took the S2 for back up and video clips.
looking forward to Saturday.
regards - tom
ps - please don't tell the FBI copyright police what I did.
cary999 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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You couldn't have had any cuter lion cub photo opps. That little guy in the tree is adorable. Some excellent leopard action at Mala Mala. One of your lion and vehicle shots looks like the lion is on the game drive with you!

In one of your 5 parts, please post your itinerary. You are one of the few that spanned the continent from south to north stopping in 4 countries. It would be informative to see how you did that and the time frames. When posters ask about a cross-continent trip or staying within a country or two, your perspective would be helpful.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Itinerary, you're right, should have been in part 1. I tried posting the table of it just now and it reformatted into a mess here in this reply. Will redo it somehow and also put it in a summary section of part 5.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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Ok, here goes itinerary in format taht fodors likes. If it is a big mess I'll try again.

2006 Africa Itinerary for
Tom and Carolyn

Saturday 2-Sep-06
Fly leave LAX 10:38a

Sunday 3-Sep-06
arrive Joburg 9:00p Doves Nest B&B

Monday 4-Sep-06
drive So. Africa Idle & Wilde B&B

Tuesday 5-Sep-06 Kruger
Wednesday 6-Sep-06 Kruger
Thursday 7-Sep-06 Kruger

Friday 8-Sep-06 Kruger-Mala Mala
Drive to MalaMala
Saturday 9-Sep-06 Mala Mala
Sunday 10-Sep-06 Mala Mala
Monday 11-Sep-06 Mala Mala

Tuesday 12-Sep-06 Mala Mala-Jo'burg
Fly 12:30p-1:35p
Fly Jo'burg-Lusaka 6:10p-8:10p Holiday Inn Lusaka

Wednesday 13-Sep-06 Lusaka- Nsefu
Fly 11:30a-12:0p Lusaka -Mfuwe
Thursday 14-Sep-06 Nsefu
Friday 15-Sep-06 Nsefu
Saturday 16-Sep-06 Nsefu
Sunday 17-Sep-06 Tena Tena
Monday 18-Sep-06 Tena Tena

Tuesday 19-Sep-06 Mfuwe-Lusaka
Fly 9:45a-10:55a Holiday Inn
Wednesday 20-Sep-06 Lusak-Nairobi
Fly 12:50a-4:30p Norfolk Hotel

Thursday 21-Sep-06 Nairobi- Mara
Fly 10:00a-10:45a Lit. Gov. Camp
Friday 22-Sep-06 Lit. Gov. Camp
Saturday 23-Sep-06 Lit. Gov. Camp
Sunday 24-Sep-06 Lit. Gov. Camp
Monday 25-Sep-06 Lit. Gov .Camp

Tuesday 26-Sep-06 Mara-Nairobi
Fly 11:00a-12:15p Norfolk Hotel
Wednesday 27-Sep-06 Norfolk

Thursday 28-Sep-06 leave Nairobi
Fly 10:00p
Friday 29-Sep-06 arrive LAX
2:10p Home

Total of 18 nights in five safari camps
cary999 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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I must add to this list. We were on 14 (fourteen) different airplanes. Six just going and returning from Africa and then eight inside Africa.
regard - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Trip Report - SAFARI 2006, Carolyn and Tom, So. Africa, Zambia, Kenya
Kruger National Park, Part 2 of 5 parts.
A (very) few photos at http://www.kodakgallery.com/tdgraham/main/kruger_2006

Three nights September 5, 6, 7th.
This report part 2 is not really that long/wordy. But it is a real chore for me to wade through all our photos to pick out a few to show. That takes probably three times longer to do than to write this. So from a time wise perspective it makes it better for me even if the reports do not read that long.

Please note, adding Kruger to our camps brought the total of camp nights from 15 to 18.

September 5th. The drive of about 40 miles from Hazyview to the Paul Kruger Gate took about an hour and as we drove on highway S1 in we took notice of the road sign just before Kruger directing us to turn off for MalaMala (and other Sabi Sand camps). Just before the main Paul Kruger gate there is a large river and we had to stop and take photos of the few hippos in the river under the bridge. Our first game photos of the trip. Our stay at Kruger was for three nights at two camps. First was two nights at camp Mopani then one night at camp Satara. I would have liked all three night at camp Satara because Mopani is about 130 miles from the main gate. Kruger is a huge park. We needed to exit Kruger before noon the last day to drive to MalaMala in time for the afternoon game drive. But Satara was full for those first two nights and Mopani was the next closest big camp. First Kruger main camp was Sukuza, the main one about 50 miles from the Kruger Gate. Next was camp Satara and further up Mopani which we arrived at around 5pm. All of the camps are enclosed and you must arrive before the gate closes, typically 6pm. Along the way we saw very close to the road: elephants, giraffes, zebra, buffalo, vultures, antelope. But no big cats today.

We checked into bungalow 22 which is a free standing roundavel type and very clean and comfortable. Dinner was at the large camp restaurant which was only about 20 percent capacity. Next morning Sep 6th we had reserved an early morning walk and we left camp and were driven about 6 miles to begin the walk. We and a family of four walked for 2 hours in low rather flat land, low dead grass. We saw one giraffe about 100 meters away. I’d bet the walk leader chose this location because he knew there were no big animals anywhere near. A dull walk if you ask me. Back at camp we had breakfast, eggs, bacon toast, orange juice about $10 total for both of us. Took it easy the rest of the day. Cheeseburgers, fries, cokes for lunch again about $10. At 8pm we left on a night drive with 12 other guest in a small open sided truck. With the spotlight we saw a few eles, couple of giraffes, bush buck, impales, but no cats.

Sep 7th we simply woke up very early and at 6am went over to the restaurant for breakfast. The place was empty, the staff was mopping the floor. We asked when they opened for breakfast and they now was ok, what would we like. Coffee, juice, eggs, toast , $10. That night we were staying at Satara so at check out I asked the desk clerk if it was always so ‘quiet” at Mopani. She said on week days it is, but, on weekends and school holidays they are at capacity.

The drive to Satara is about 70 miles and we stopped briefly at two other camps just to see them and for coffee. They were nice also. ( I have no notes about and game we saw along the way). Checked in at Satara, our hut was nice but much smaller than the one at Mopani. Lunch, lamb curry, sandwich, beer and coke, $11. At 5pm our “sunset drive” until 8pm. Two comfortable open sided trucks of tourists went out, each truck about half full. We saw cats. A lioness and three cubs. About 50 meters from the road but very visible in the spotlight. Viewed them for about 10 minutes. Also saw a few eles, buffalos, hyenas, water bucks, impalas. Back at 8pm dinning was large buffet or ready made sandwiches. We weren’t very hungry so sandwiches, chips, beer, coke, $10.

Sep 8th, the day to drive to Mala Mala. Drove to camp Skukuza, about two hours with several stops to see game on the road. A party of 6 or 7 giraffes could not decide whether to cross the road or not. Five started to cross then stopped in the middle of the road. A car came around slowly and they then decided to scatter. It began raining, a light sprinkle, a troop of baboons were drinking from the small puddles on the road. We crept passed them.

Arrived at camp Skukuza which has an Avis car rental office. The plan again was to drive the car to Mala and let Avis collect it there. How this actually worked is that an Avis staff fellow joined is in the car and we (Carolyn) drove to Mala. Took somewhat over one hour over a gravel road, sometimes very bumpy. The Avis fellow said he makes this trip about twice a week. He drove the car back to Skukuza, nice for us, we got rid of it then and there.

We liked Kruger. Having just spent many hours getting to Africa, driving thru the countryside to Kruger and Kruger at our own pace was a good way to unwind and start to relax. (Easy for me to say since Carolyn was driving). Plus we got to see some of the game we came to Africa for, get us in the mood for the “big boys”. And the cost was very moderate. The Avis rental car was around $60 per day, and another $80 total for gasoline. The huts at Mopani and Satara were $70 per night and we spent about another $40 per day eating. The walks, sunset drives, were $15 each. So the cost for the two of us at $200 per day. One-fifth the cost of the safari camps we were going to next.
End of Part 2, Kruger
Next Part 3, Mala Mala

cary999 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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You had nice long stays in each of your camps/countries. I'm looking forward to Mala Mala since my first trip there is next June.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Trip Report
SAFARI 2006, Carolyn and Tom, So. Africa, Zambia, Kenya
Mala Mala South Africa, Part 3 of 5 parts.
Four nights September 8, 9, 10, 11th.

A few photos at – http://www.kodakgallery.com/tdgraham...mala_mala_2006
Well, it’s Sep 8th and after the night at camp Satara we’ve left Kruger Sukuza in our VW hired car with the Avis representative to drive to Mala Mala. Less than 3 miles out of the Paul Kruger Main Gate is a dirt/gravel road with many little signs indicating this is the road to Mala Mala, Sabi Sabi, Londolozi, Singita, and others. An hour plus drive on this bumpy road and we’re at Mala and turn the car over for the Avis guy to drive back. Our Mala Ranger Grant is there to meet us and show us to our bungalow number 8.

Good place to start with Mala Mala is the Rangers. Last year we had John, this year Grant. I really can’t say enough good about the rangers. They are your primary contact and interface with Mala and they do an excellent job of it. Your ranger starts by giving you a wake up call, 6:45 am, in the morning, meets you for breakfast, takes your egg order, sees that coffee or tea is served to you by waiters. At lunch he meets you in the lounge to show you to your table, sees that you have what you want to drink and joins you for lunch. Dinner at night in the Boma he does much the same. He is with you 12 hours a day. The rangers are excellent communicators, their English and vocabulary is excellent. They are university educated. They listen, they know what you are interested in. They know photography and have a personal camera with them. This is a big deal for me, this photography thing. Other “native” guides, at other camps, have not grown up with cameras, do not have a camera, and thus can’t appreciate the importance of lighting and subject position. The Mala rangers use radios, but they use a headset and you do not hear radio chatter. They have vehicle discipline at a sighting. No more than three vehicles and they rotate in and out. If the sighting is “still”, i.e., animals not moving about, only one vehicle moves at a time. Mala rangers are not a notch above the rest, they are ten notches above the rest. And then, there are the Shangaan trackers, they set high and in back on the Land Rovers. And on every game drive, not just at night with a spotlight. Theses natives are simply remarkable in seeing and knowing the game. While the ranger concentrates on driving the tracker sees every animal and insect within 400 meters all around, I swear they do.

Our bungalow, #8, was most attractive, large and comfortable. You enter into a large sitting room with couch, the bedroom was a roundavel and off of each side of it were toilet/bath facilities (2 sets). Both the sitting room and bedroom had large patio doors. There is air conditioning if you wish to use it. The meals were excellent. All basically buffet style with a good selection. Breakfast and lunch were on the lounge patio and dinner in the boma. There was no charge for bottled water but soft drinks and more were charged for at a reasonable cost. The electricity is on 24 hours a day which helps the battery charging situation. The electrical outlets are a combination to accept European and USA plugs.

Great, but what about the game drives, you ask. After breakfast, before 7:30am, you start the morning game drive and come back about 11:30am. Just after tea at 3pm another game drive into dark getting back around 7:30pm. This night game drive is important to me. After sundowners you usually follow the lion pride as they start hunting. This is very exciting at night by spotlight. We followed but did not stay out long enough to witness a kill which can take hours to accomplish or not at all. Every game drive is a delight. We saw lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo. Rhino is harder to come by and we saw them on only two game drives. For some of the game drive highlights –

The morning of Sep 9th we found part of the Styx pride, the male lion eating at a buffalo kill with three females near by. Ranger Grant told us that the night before two nomadic males had found the females who had three young cubs. The next morning there was one of the cubs high up in a tree and nothing known of the other two. We found the poor thing in the tree and it remained there under threat from the nomad males for a couple of days. (But we did not see the males). Then to every ones delight on Sep 10th we found the cub nursing with the three females just across the Sabi river from camp. We watched the cub for several minutes it knew only three things, eat, nurse, suckle. On Sep12th in the morning and that evening we followed the Styx pride out on hunt and the little cub was with them just as jaunty as could be. Also on the 10th morning we found an absolutely huge male rhino grazing. A klipspringer posed beautifully on a rock. The night of the 10th was very clear and I marveled at the vastness of the Milky Way Galaxy. I have been reading about the origins of the universe, big bang, the first three minutes, etc. And seeing the Milky Way took on new meaning.

Around this time the Newington Male leopard had wandered into the Bicycle Crossing Male’s territory. This upset both leopards and for a night and into the next day they fussed , growled, marked, from about 50 meters apart in the bush. Nothing else came of it. The next day the Newington Male had left for his own territory.

Bottom line - every game drive at Mala is worth three at any of the other camps. Sometimes it seems that when Mala Mala is mentioned (and maybe other Sabi Sand camps) an almost smirk is the visual response. I think perhaps some people can’t separate the excellent Mala facility from the bush. They feel that if the facility is civilized then the bush is also civilized. Well, if to have the true safari experience you must vehicle in for two hours on a dirt road, sleep in a tent and shower from a bucket then so be it. It doesn’t bother my safari experience to have a comfortable bed. Every day there were antelope grazing just outside of our patio. From the patio we could see elephants and giraffes just across the Sabi Sand River. One mid-day an elephant come into camp and destroyed several potted plants before being chased off. Finally, if Mala is one of the safari camps on your itinerary, don’t go – to Mala first. After Mala, at the other camps you will be saying – gee, this (fill in the blank) was better at MalaMala.
End of Part 3 Mala Mala
Part 4 is Zambia, Nsefu and Tena Tena
cary999 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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You saw some great stuff at Mala Mala, I had been reading about the little Lion cub, but to see him up the tree with the two males nearby must have been quite difficult. I think I have also seen the huge Rhino you refer to in the past. He seems to be significantly larger than any others.
As for your general comments on MM and SSGR you are IMO spot on. I love MM and the wildness of Botswana, but for sheer in your face quantity and quality of game viewing MM takes some beating. It is the equal of Mombo I think, though very different.
napamatt is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 07:23 PM
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interesting what you guys say at mala mala. i have only heard great things about the game and hopefully will visit one day. one complaint that i heard about MM was that the guides listened to the radio (i noticed you mentioned the earphones) and when asked questions by guests they werent even aware the guest was talking. i figured from all the rave reviews that this was a one off bad experience and not normal but i figured i'd ask. i really enjoy picking teh guides brains about the bush. learning new things is almost as enjoyable as seeing new things for me.
bigcountry is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 08:28 PM
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The rangers have a headset that has only one ear piece. But that still does not guarantee they would hear you. I did not notice this problem. They also have to hear the tracker when he signals so the ranger can't be totally lost in the radio.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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While i agree with you, that MM rangers have a good instinct for the correct angles for photography (I had Ryan as our ranger in 2004), i have to say that i've had several fantastic native African guides who did a brilliant job with the right angles for photography. It all depends on the training provided to them and their general instincts. I'm mostly referring to guiding in Botswana.....but, i also had a fantastic guide- "Jabu" at Lion Sands.....i think he is at Sabi Sabi now having read some fodorite reports over the past few months.

In East Africa, i have had mixed feelings about the guiding....but, my exposure to East Africa isnt as much as Southern Africa.

Oct 10th, 2006, 08:56 PM
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One more thing...you start your morning drive at 7 30?


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