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Beginner's Luck? Botswana, April 2013


Carina

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johnkok

The guide drove to a waterhole where a herd of buffalo were drinking on the opposite side. He got out of the vehicle with his camera and walked up to the edge of the waterhole, scaring off the herd

To be charitable, maybe he wanted to set something positive up for his guests and it didn't work out. So he came back and looked for a "teaching point" from it. Then again, maybe not.

 

I know that Hobbs (our guide in L.Kwara) would always make sure - to the extent of driving away to get some cover - that the animals would not see any humans emerge from the vehicle. The many times he had Chester the tracker come off the front and into the vehicle were always arranged this way. When we did see the coalition of three cheetah (famous in the Kwara - Tsum Tsum area) one day, Hobbs actually said they were behaving rather skittishly, and wondered if some tracker had come off their vehicle within sight of them. He said this in a tone which told me there would be some words back in the staff area back in camp.

 

This not-getting-out-within-sight of the animals (so they do not associate humans on foot with the vehicles) was repeated with Tshabo and Steve in Sandibe (same concession as Chitabe). If it is my business and the way to make my living to drive guests around to view animals, I really wouldn't want animals to keep running away from the vehicles would I (charging elephants notwithstanding)?

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It’s my last drive at Lagoon. Seeing these cheetah in the daylight has become my first safari’s holy grail. Spencer comes to get me for breakfast and mentions the leopard tracks up to the front steps

The next morning, the boat trip to Jao was uneventful, and I smugly confirmed to myself that I had been right about this day being a total waste. We had a lovely brunch and the manager took us on a t

The drive into camp from the airstrip allowed my pants to dry and I was delusional enough to think that no one could possibly discern what had transpired just by looking at me. The camp manager, Elois

madaboutcheetah

 

The guide drove to a waterhole where a herd of buffalo were drinking on the opposite side. He got out of the vehicle with his camera and walked up to the edge of the waterhole, scaring off the herd

To be charitable, maybe he wanted to set something positive up for his guests and it didn't work out. So he came back and looked for a "teaching point" from it. Then again, maybe not.

 

I know that Hobbs (our guide in L.Kwara) would always make sure - to the extent of driving away to get some cover - that the animals would not see any humans emerge from the vehicle. The many times he had Chester the tracker come off the front and into the vehicle were always arranged this way. When we did see the coalition of three cheetah (famous in the Kwara - Tsum Tsum area) one day, Hobbs actually said they were behaving rather skittishly, and wondered if some tracker had come off their vehicle within sight of them. He said this in a tone which told me there would be some words back in the staff area back in camp.

 

This not-getting-out-within-sight of the animals (so they do not associate humans on foot with the vehicles) was repeated with Tshabo and Steve in Sandibe (same concession as Chitabe). If it is my business and the way to make my living to drive guests around to view animals, I really wouldn't want animals to keep running away from the vehicles would I (charging elephants notwithstanding)?

 

Sometimes, it's not intentional. Some trackers (i have no idea what was the situation in this case that Hobbs was telling you) ..... The tracker gets totally into his tracking and does not want to be thrown off guard and keeps walking following the tracks (the animals do twist and turn and one miss and you've lost them or their direction) - sometimes, you do tend to get seen by them (ofcourse, fresh tracks will mean get into the vehicle and drive so that you don't get seen. Yet, if it's a windy day the tracks can be disturbed and it would be hard to tell the time of the tracks.

 

I do remember a very relaxed female cheetah at Lebala/Lagoon/Selinda, though that didn't really care with trackers on the ground. She would just continue doing what she was and then the guys on the ground would literally walk into her.

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Sharifa

@Carina loved reading your report and am so pleased you found your cheetahs and lovely wild dogs too :)

but especially glad you found some sables, my favourite antelope ;):D

 

The roar of a lion is unforgetable. We experienced it when we were in Kruger. The lion was about 2m from our vehicle and was walking and marking his territory. My window was open and when he started roaring I could feel the tremble. Scary but exciting as well!

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