Trip report: Selinda, Kwando Lagoon, Zib

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Sep 18th, 2005, 11:15 PM
  #1
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Trip report: Selinda, Kwando Lagoon, Zib

Pictures are far more effective than words: www.afrigalah.com/slideshow.html

No part of Africa has ever disappointed me (even walking nearly 200 Km in Chizarira & Hwange, when the wildlife-- even a black rhino at 15 metres-- kept running away!), but this August '05 trip was oh, so memorable photographically. I spent most of my vehicle time crouched on the floor to get the lowest possible perspective. It helps if the animals are up on a nice clean termite mound (it reduces the strain on knees and back) but there's nothing like being level with or below your target's eyes to reduce the impression that you're above them and perfectly safe!...so the floor is the way to go. The majority of the shots in these slideshows are from the latest trip. Some are from trips as long as nine years ago.
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Sep 19th, 2005, 12:27 AM
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Wow! These are tremendous. Wonderful cheetah and leopard photos. But my favorite is the one of elephants crossing the river at sunset.

Thanks for sharing!
Judy
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:30 AM
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You win -- those are, by far, the very best photos I have seen. Absolutely stunning.
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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Spectacularly professional!

Would you mind giving us some highlights of your 3 locations? Did you go to both Zib and Selinda camp? How long at each?

I'll be at Zib next August so I'm most interested in those insights.

Thanks!
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Afrigalah,

Firstly, interesting name! They are great photos - there are so many really great ones - I loved the cheetah with 2 cubs and the vultures and the 2 Secretary birds were also fantastic. Is this a hobby or do you do this professionally, because over the computer screen they look absolutely fantastic and really clear. I was pleased that I could see them as my computer skills are sadly lacking and I often cannot see photos that people have put onto the internet.

Now, I would like to know anything about the Kwando area and camps as I am looking at a trip there next year. I was going to do an Africa Geographic Expedition but I have now off that idea from comments made here and I think I shall just do it myself.

One thing I didn't like was the vehicle with 2 rows of three, would not want to be the person in the middle! Are you an Australian and if you are, can you let me know who you book your trips through. I have for a while gone to Sabi Sands and I do love the gameviewing there, but for different reasons I am considering another area, as I really would love to see some different animals one being Sable.

You are right when you say that pictures are more effective than words. They are just too good!

Kaye
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Sep 19th, 2005, 07:17 PM
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Incredible photos! What kind of snake was that? Thanks for sharing
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Sep 19th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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These are wonderful - My favorite is one of the pack of wild dogs -they look like clones!

But I sure wish you'd include their locations!

Thanks for sharing!
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Sep 19th, 2005, 08:23 PM
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Firstly, thanks all for your kind comments.

atravelynn: we went to both Selinda (fourth visit) and Zib (second visit) for three and five nights respectively, separated by three nights at Kwando Lagoon (first visit). Highlights many, but they included lions taking lechwe and waterbuck in a single hunt on our first afternoon; cheetahs taking two impala also in a single hunt, at dusk, but leaving one kill for the hyenas; many, many elephants and buffalo, attracted by the flooded spillway; tracking lion near Kwando Reserve; watching a male lion steal a roan kill from lionesses on the spillway; watching two pairs of mating lions near Zib over three days; following cheetah mother and her young on the hunt; and several contacts with wild dogs, including the pups at their den. We did long road transfers to and from Kwando Lagoon...tiring, but as they amounted to very interesting scenic/game drives, they were preferable to air transfers.

Kaye: yep, I'm an Aussie (the nickname is obvious, isn't it?) and the agent I always use is African Wildlife Safaris of South Melbourne.

Photography is my wife's and my hobby, but we use professional and semi-pro equipment. We do manage to sell the odd shot. She's a convert to digital, I still use film. She takes excellent action shots, because her reflexes are honed by shooting basketball (NBL) at home.

I doubt that Kwando (Lagoon or Lebala) would disappoint you, but we prefer Selinda & Zib. For us, Kwando was good (the country is so beautiful and Lagoon camp is one of the best we've been to), but its wildlife was surpassed by S & Z at every turn. But as many know, fortunes change, and it could be the other way around next time. We had some very windy days (typical August) at Zib, resulting in an awesome dust storm or two occupying the middle hours of the day-- siesta time, so there was little effect on our drives. You would be unlucky not to see sable and roan at both Kwando and Selinda. Our best sable sighting this time was at Kwando, but the best roan was at Selinda (including the unfortunate victim of the lions at the spillway).

We've never been unlucky enough to have to use the middle seat, and rarely have had a third person sitting between us, even when camp bookings have been heavy. It didn't happen to us once this time. Maybe the camera gear we carry has an advantage.

matnikstym: the snake was photographed a year ago. It's a Kalahari or yellow-bellied sand-snake. Very small...I was fortunate to have a sharp-eyed guide who spotted it and then allowed me to leave the vehicle and lie on my stomach for a closeup shot with a macro lens. And I was grateful that the snake waited for me.
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Sep 19th, 2005, 08:31 PM
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cooncat2: sorry I didn't see your comment until late. The wild dogs were photographed both at their den sites near Zibalianja camp (they moved den during our stay), and at the spillway half an hour's drive away. One of my shots shows the dogs drinking in sight of the male lion while he lay next to the roan carcass (our vehicle was in between); and another shot shows the dogs staring in the lion's direction. He was too full and sleepy to worry about them.
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Sep 20th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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AG

Great shots, would love to hear a more detailed trip report if you're up to it. Questions, one of the elephant shots shows you getting back into a closed vehicle. Was this used for the transfers you mentioned? Also what is the bird immediately before the Grey Lourie?
Favourite pic - the elephants in the water at sunset.
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Sep 20th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Hello,

Did you stay in the new 'upgraded' accommodation at Selinda? Did you notice any changes at Selinda/Zib now that they have become Wilderness camps?

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 20th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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napamatt: the closed vehicle was photographed some years ago at Samburu (by me, so it wasn't me getting into the vehicle). As I mentioned, some of the slideshow shots are old ones, but the majority were taken on the latest trip. I've never seen a closed vehicle on safari in Botswana. Even our long road transfers, a full day's driving in one case a few years ago, have been in the wonderful open vehicles of the south.

The bird immediately before the grey lourie is a Melba finch (Pytilia melba). I get much enjoyment out of photographing the small critters, probably because it's so difficult. It's helpful to have a vehicle to yourself (doesn't happen often!); but interestingly, several people on safari-- usually women -- have told us they really appreciate stopping for birds and small animals because they get to see so much more than if we just kept barrelling along looking for the big mean ones.

Julian: no, we had one of the older tents at Selinda. There are two new (additional) ones; the original tents will be replaced in the months ahead. The tents at Zib are to be replaced as well, but that camp will remain the same size, thank goodness.

S & Z aren't Wilderness camps, not yet anyway. They are still owned and run by Linyanti Explorations, but a marketing arrangement was made between the two organisations soon after LE's new owners took over from the Grahams. I know about the rumours, and figure that where there's smoke, there's fire...but I hope it never happens. LE would lose its special flavour.

cheers
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Sep 20th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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Hello,

The upgrading of the accommodation certainly seems to indicate a move in a WS-type direction. A lot of the Wilderness camps aren't owned by them, but are managed and marketed by WS staff -- the Jouberts have a long association with WS so it wouldn't be surprising if they're planning on making S&Z into Wilderness camps.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 20th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Agree with your sentiments on the vehicles, and thanks for the ID on the Melba Finch, I'm sitting here without books for reference and was having a struggle.
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Sep 20th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Julian: the conversion of Motswiri (a good thing) was entirely predictable because of the Jouberts, so I suspect you're right...but I hope you're wrong.

cheers
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Sep 20th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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afrigalah - you have some beautiful images! It would be hard for me to pick a favorite because I really liked so many of them.

Thanks for sharing them and the details of your trip.
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Sep 20th, 2005, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for your response and Kwando/Selinda comments. Again, you have some awesome shots--hard to pick a favorite!
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Sep 21st, 2005, 02:58 AM
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WOW!

What an absolutely stunning collection. I shall revisit it again and again, I know.

As for just one or two sales, I'm surprised you haven't made hundreds. Do you have your images registered with any stock agencies such as Alamy, Corbis or Getty? Or a specialist one called NHPA which would surely love your work?

I aspire to produce images like yours.

Thank you for sharing them.
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Sep 21st, 2005, 01:41 PM
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Thanks Kavey. I'm quite stunned by the response these photos have received. I've done better selling Australian wildlife images, because the market for African material is much more competitive and there are many brilliant photographers out there who make my pictures look ordinary. But it is just a hobby, and a very enjoyable one because I love African wildlife so much. As it happens, I do lodge images with an international stock library, including some of these. It may interest you to know that the two (of the new ones) they have rated best so far are the charging elephant and the giraffe drinking, and I tend to agree.
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