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BRACQUENE

My 2017 trip to Ruaha

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BRACQUENE

Sorry to post this "amazing" trip so late but as I became a member only this week ..... :  those who read my column about Kafue NP will know that I prefer walking , remoteness and authentic experiences to overcrowded safari's and that is why I love Zambia and adored this part of Tanzania ; in other words a memorable safari for me is not about the sheer numbers of animals seen but about diversity , excellent guiding and if possible family owned lodges with a soul !

After a great walking safari in Zambia's South Luangwa in 2014, we decided on the remote Ruaha National Park for our second safari and stayed 5 nights at Mwagusi camp and 5 nights at Kichaka Expeditions : words can not describe how special Kichaka was from the walking and driving with Moli and Jacques to the delicious campsite overlooking the valley and the riverbed organised to perfection by Noelle and her staff who made us feel like part of the family from the moment we arrived together with Judy and Ian , our English friends we met in Tafika ; and then after a drink at the campfire delicious food was served every time again , even " pommes frites with garlic " to make us belgians feel totally at home.

In Mwagusi , a safari camp with fabulous bandas and great views overlooking  the dry riverbed where dinner was served daily and elephants crossed ; we saw several leopards in the sausage trees and our guide Jimmy drove us to a giraffe kill surrounded by lions and to "Little Serengeti " for our first cheeta's on the hunt !

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gatoratlarge

Thanks for sharing---Ruaha is such a beautiful park!

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BRACQUENE

It is gatoratlarge and I see you have been there 4 years ago ! Thanks for your reaction 

 

Peter Bracquené

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Caracal

You're really striking a chord with me @BRACQUENE - Kafue and Ruaha my two favourite parks and Nanzhila and Magwusi two favourite camps.

Great photos and sightings ( I never got to see cheetah in my two Ruaha safaris) -  thanks for posting.

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BRACQUENE

Thanks a lot Caracal for your response and appreciation  ; we were actually very lucky to see the cheetah at Mwagusi camp because we were miles away when the guide had a call on the radio ; so we drove 15 minutes to get there just in time to make those photo’s and in Kafue Nanzilha it was 6 30 in the morning when we saw the chasing and the kill!

 

Peter

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michael-ibk

Beautiful photos, especially like the Lesser Kudu. I'll be in Ruaha in about two months, and this is a very welcome "teaser" - thank you!

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BRACQUENE

Thank you Michael for your great reply ; those Lesser Kudu are very special indeed especially the males and I was lucky to see him at close range late in the afternoon on a drive!

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TonyQ

Great sightings and photos, and a beautiful park. Thank you for posting 

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BRACQUENE

I agree and remember like yesterday arriving with Coastal Aviation how magnificent the park looks from the sky with all those baobabs and it remains a must for big cat lovers especially in the Mwagusi area !!

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mopsy

Great images of a fantastic Park @BRACQUENE thanks for sharing.

 

What time of year were you there?

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BRACQUENE

It was the end of October Mopsy just before the rains and very hot and especially on the walking with Moly at Kichaka for Ruaha standards humid with salt deposits on my back so I remember drinking two bottles a walk !! But my son Willem who was on his first safari had the time of his life and saw three different leopards on the first two days and a variety of wildlife only matched by the Kafue in Zambia 
 

Peter

 

 

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AfricIan

First Kafue and now Ruaha! You are just piling up the memories aren't you @BRACQUENE :D.  Our 5 days with Moli & Noelle was outstanding and the view from their "new" camp on the top of the escarpment is stunning.

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BRACQUENE

Indeed Africlan , that view is so beautiful and Moly and Noelle claimed it was even better in the wet season ; if paradise exists it must be there.....some day we will return

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Julian

Some great photos from Ruaha, it brings back memories of when I was on safari there, at Mwagusi camp, in 2015. 

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BRACQUENE

Dear Julian I hesitated when planning that 2017 trip between Nomad Kigelia , Asilia Kwihala and Mwagusi family - owned  even when Chris was not present at the time ;  in the end I was very lucky to have chosen Mwagusi : it is big but has a real bush vibe and atmosphere you can not describe !

In the meantime Ikuka and Jabali , more luxurious have been added to the choice but I would return to Mwagusi for sure

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Amylovescritters

GreatTR and photos. Thinking of Ruaha and Selous in 2021, and  a visit to at least one of the DSWT Ellie camps. Next year is Botswana and the VF. Zambia is also a must. Man, I gotta win the lottery! Thanks for this must needed vicarious, safari dose. 

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BRACQUENE

Happy to have given you that extra safari dose , but I see you have already a very busy safari program in the near future ; Don't forget Zambia : I  can promise you that you will return especially if you like walking and remoteness !

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Amylovescritters

Love both @BRACQUENE.

Zambia is on my bucket list for sure, as are Mana Pools and a couple other spots in Zimbabwe. Not to mention gorilla trekking likely in Uganda, Namibia, a couple places in SA like Tswalu , and so much more. I am obsessed and  finally can afford to travel often (so thankful and also realize things could change)... I will definitely get to Africa at least every other year. Lol

Also longing for Indian Safari and the Pantanal...

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Amylovescritters

Too many amazingly tantalizing wildlife destinations and too little time and $$$

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BRACQUENE

 

The same problem for me Amylovescritters !!

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BRACQUENE

Some more memories of that unforgettable safari with the rock python hidden in the tree as a huge surprise !2135868525_Mwagusi483(2).jpg.ba9e5ea2302d26822c0f63f78844a0b7.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Bush dog

@BRACQUENE

 

I noticed that you made the choice of the two best camps in Ruaha.

I've been at Mwagusi twice in 1997 when it was the only camp (I'm not taking into consideration Ruaha River Lodge) in the park.  Chris Fox who spent all his childhood in the area knew perfectly well where was the best location to build a camp.  I came back in 2014 and was very lucky to meet him again.

As for Andrew Molinaro, I imagine he has not lost his great sense of humor.  I met him and Noelle in 2010 at Jongomero.

 

I see that you love walking.  So I warmly recommend Hwange Bush Camp in Zimbabwe and what I consider to be one of the best guides in Africa, Spike Williamson.  If one day you make the choice to go there be sure that he will be present when you go.

 

I enjoyed your pictures and your enthousiasm.

 

 

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BRACQUENE

@Bush dog

 

Thanks for your appreciated response ! Chris Fox was not in camp at the time in oktober 2017  but recently , according to some comments I have read , he is  mostly present again but  the management  in place has changed since we were there ; anyway the wildlife , the food and the camp itself are outstandig : but I must be honest it is Kichaka Expeditions I would ( and hopefully will ) visit again  one day ; I remember driving up the hill the first day at the turn of the Rangers post made famous by the series "Where the Wild Men Are" with Ben Fogle ( a must see !! ) to arrive at their new campsite ( the old was completely destroyed by flooding ) and like Ben I was absolutely bewitched by the place,  the views and that amazing couple and their staff !

 

 

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BRACQUENE

@Bush dog


As for walking in Zimbabwe Hwange Bush  Camp thanks for the tip ; it has been in my thoughts together with Ant Kaschula’s mobile camp in Gonarezhou and Stretch Ferreira in Mana Pools 

 

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Bush dog

@BRACQUENE

 

Never done Ant Kaschula's mobile Camp, but well people I know, a tremandous experience.

 

As for Stretch Ferreira, I'm pretty reluctant to try the experiment with him.  I think he exceeeds what is reasonnable and prudent a 

 

 

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