Trip report Namibia/Botswana August 2004

Old Aug 18th, 2005, 01:20 AM
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mv
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Trip report Namibia/Botswana August 2004

After having stayed with friends in Jo`burg I left for Namibia on Sunday the 8th of August. Flew Jo`burg to Kasane and then transferred by boat to Impalila Island Lodge in Namibia. The boat transfer takes app 1 hour including a stop at the Namibian border station. Got a nice room at Impalila.
Most activities are done by boat. In the afternoon we went to Chobe and did game viewing by boat. The elephant viewing is magnificent. Lots of Hippo, Buffalo, Lechwe, Impala but unfortunately no predators. The river also offers good opportunity to see really large crocodiles and water monitors. Birding is fantastic.
Back to the lodge for a really nice dinner (fresh caught bream as far as I remember). Next morning I tried my luck fishing combined with birding on the Zambezi. Caught a small Tiger (app 1 pound) and in doing so almost caught a Fish Eagle that took interest in the Tiger Fish that I had just hooked. Impalila can really be recommended. The rooms are fairly small but absolutely adequate. Beautifull views of the river and rapids and fantastic food. Impalila will respond positively to individual requests for activities.
Off to the airport and an hours flight to Susuwe Island Lodge. From the airport a 45 minute Game drive followed by a 1 minute river crossing by boat. The rooms at Susuwe are much larger with a small plunge pools overlooking the river and floodplains.
Food is superb here as well. Activities includes walks, birding or fishing on the river and game/night drives. Lots of elephants in the area and good leopard viewing. After 2 nights I left for Kwando Lagoon. First a 1 hour drive to Lianshulu Lodge (acts as Namibian border crossing station) followed by a boat ride to the Botswana border. At the border station I was picked up by the camp staff for the 15 minute ride to camp.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 01:37 AM
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For the first day I had Willy as my private guide. One of my main purposes of visiting Lagoon camp was to see the wild dogs. Unfortunately they had left the den the previous day because the Lions had made a kill nearby. The dogs new den had not been located. We spent a few hours unsuccesfully looking for the den and then started looking for lions. Found the pride most of the adults were sleeping but the 3 cubs were extremely playful. During the nightdrive we found two different cheetahs. The next morning we spent an hour with the female cheetah that we had seen the night before. She made an unsuccesful chase of some impala. In the afternoon I met up with my guide for thext 5 days, called Steve. Steve is fanatic about "his" wild dogs so we spent a considerable amount of time checking every termite mound for tracks. We had sundowners watching a herd of app 1500 Buffalo. Just after dark we searched for the lions that were just round the corner. We followed them for 20 minutes as they started warming up for the night Buffalo hunt. Spotlights were turned off in order not to disturb the hunt. Two minutes later we heard commotion which turned out to be the Male Lion having caught an old Hyena. We watched for 15 minutes as the male Lion suffocated the hyena and then crunched every bone in its body (nature can be cruel!). The lions left the hyenas body and then set off for the real hunt.
The noise of the buffalo running combined with the dust was unbelieavable. The lions made severral attacks but the buffalo would regroup and counterattack. After a battle of several hours the lions gave up so we started heading back for camp. After about half a mile we had a puncture. This turned out to be quite interesting as the male lion of the pride was resting 30 yards away on one side of the vehicle and the females 40 yards away on the other side. The tracker used his spotlight on the male lion and I used my tine flashlight on the females as steve was changing the tyre! Back to the camp for an 11.30 pm dinner. What a night!
Next morning we found the female civet in a tree. The male that had been at the base of the tree took off. Beautiful sighting of the civet that was very curious all the time. A little bit later our tracker LT saw dragmarks next to the road. 40 yards from the road hidden by some bushes was the female cheetah with her Impala kill. In the afternoon we found her again as she had started eating again. At this time the vulture started arriving and finally took over the kill.
Just before dark we finally found the wild dogs. 4 adults and 7 pups (no 8 lay dead next to the den, probably killed by a snake bite).
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 01:51 AM
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Over the next two days we spent a lot of time with the dogs, watching the puppies play, moving the den and hunting (unsuccesfully). We hooked up with the Lions a couple of times. Lots of elephants and plains game in the area. I would watch elephants every day from my tent that was overlooking the lagoon. Gamewatching is very important to the people at all the Kwando camps. This means that there are no set meal times. You will never hear a guide say "we have to leave this rare sighting, dinner is waiting).
Food is pretty good. After 4 days total at Lagoon, Steve and I set off for Lebala. Tents here are bigger and a little bit nicer than at Lagoon. First Game drive we saw the 3 cheetah brothers as soon as we left camp. They were resting on a termite mound. This turned out to be an incredible game drive as we saw 5 of the 6 true cats (only caracal missing) We spent 15 minutes with a young female leopard that was drinking from the lagoon and later in the evening as she was eating of a buffalo carcass. The next morning we spent looking for the 3 brothers. We spent several hours with bot steve and the tracker getting out of the vehicle looking for tracks. Steve and I then did a 1 hour walk still looking for tracks. Shortly after we got back in the vehicle we finally found them. We sat with them for 30 minutes near a pan as wildebeest and zebra were approaching. The zebra and wildebeest didnt get close enough so finally the cheetah got impatient and initiated an unsuccesful hunt. Lebala has a different atmosphere than Lagoon and complements it well. It was time to say goodbye to Steve and fly down to Kwara camp to be met by the guide Joe.
Kwara has a beautiful setting by a Lagoon and was probably my favorite amongst the 3 camps.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 02:00 AM
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First game drive we followed two male lions hunting Buffalo on the floodplains (we actually got stuck due to the high water levels). One Lion got on the back of an old Buffalo but it managed to get away. Night drive yielded Porcupine, Bushbaby and Giant Eagle Owl. I have forgotten to mention that the night drives at Lagoon/Lebala yielde multiple Wild Cats (one with kittens), Genets, civet and bushbabies.
Next morning a mekoro trip followed by a walk on one of the Islands. Returning to camp we had mating Lions in sight from Camp. In the evening we took a boatride to the Heronry. The heronry was an amazing sight with thousands of herons, storks and egret nesting. On the following night drive we saw a beautiful male Leopard. Next day we found another male Leopard.
The most exciting game drive was probably the last where the two territorrial male Lions were chasing of the two intruders that had been mating with one of the females. We followed the two territorrial males as they ran at high speed for about a mile!.
I can highly recommend all of the above camps. I have now been to Impalila/Susuwe twice and will be going back to the Kwando camps this October
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 03:03 AM
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PS I booke the trip with "Islands in Africa". They are extremely helpful and knowleadgeble
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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Wonderful. Thank you for posting!
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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MV

Thanks for the report and photos. I think if I went back to Kwando I would definitely have a private vehicle, I can't imagine being six to a vehicle in one of those Land Cruisers.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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santharamhari
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Hi Michael,

Just got hold of your old trip report....do you know if it is still possible to fly Joburg-Kasane direct?

Because my first camp is Lagoon....and i dont know why i'm flying into Maun.

Thanks
Hari
 
Old Jul 26th, 2006, 01:51 AM
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Hari

According to the Air Botswana webpage it they dont fly that route anymore.
Maun is as close to Lagoon as Kasane is so it does not make any difference.
Anyhow the flight to Kasane was fairly slow compared to the one to Maun.
Michael
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Old Jul 26th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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santharamhari
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Ok, Thanks Michael.

Hari
 
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