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The Magic of Mana-October 2013


wilddog

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wilddog

As some of you know I am a bit of a regular to Zimbabwe (7 visits I think, to date) and this is my 5th To Mana Pools. I returned to the UK about 10 days ago and I am finally getting to grips with all the images I took and writing the text to go with them. The first chapters will be up very shortly. :)

 

Many of us who know Mana talk about the special light and although we often focus on the wildlife experiences we have, it is the landscape that can make it so special.

 

So as a taster here we go .................................................Mana and it's special light. More to follow very soon

 

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As some of you know I am a bit of a regular to Zimbabwe (7 visits I think, to date) and this is my 5th To Mana Pools. I returned to the UK about 10 days ago and I am finally getting to grips with all

Part 2 Chikwenya camp is very well appointed with spacious luxurious chalets with views onto the flood plain. Below are a few images of the accommodation. If you would to see more images of the camp

Day 2 at Chikwenya   Overnight the wind had woken me quite a few times and in the morning the skies were very heavy with, a definite sense of rain on the way. Despite that we went out for a morning

Soukous

Can't wait.

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wilddog

There is something about getting off the plane in Africa that gives me a feeling of coming home. Perhaps it is simply the heat and sunshine when leaving from a steadily colder UK or simply the excitement of an adventure to come. I think there is more to it than that. Doug was busy out in Mana getting ready for our arrival so, arriving in Harare, tired from the long but comfortable, flight on Ethiopian, I was pleased to find the taxi driver waiting in arrivals. The taxi took me to Guinea Fowls rest , a very pleasant Bed and Breakfast in Harare, where I met up with Caroline, my travelling companion, who had arrived in Harare a little earlier. We had decided to stop one night in town so we were fresh for an early start to Mana in the morning.

 

The B and B is very comfortable and well appointed and in addition to breakfast, they will do sandwich lunch and full dinner to order. The hosts, Dave and Annette, are very accommodating and offered to take us shopping or anywhere else we wanted to go but we both decided to enjoy the lovely garden, have a couple of Castle beers and have a catch up on all our news.

 

 

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I have just realised that I did not take any pictures of the bedrooms but these were very spacious and comfortable and most had doors directly on to the garden.

 

The following morning we left early to get the Altair flight out to Chikwenya, which lies to the east of the Mana flood plain, where we were to spend our first three nights.

The flight was trouble free and took about 1.25 hours and as flew in to land at the airstrip we took a sweep over the Zambezi, to line up with the runway. We could see the blue/green water in which the hippos were resting and the shallow sandbanks on which elephants could be seen grazing. As headed in we could see Doug standing to attention at the end of the run way ready to greet us with his trusty land cruiser. As is befitting for such important UK visitors ;) , the red carpet was laid out ready, with the staff standing by to load the luggage and ensure our trip went smoothly. :rolleyes: :D

 

 

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After waving good bye to the pilot we headed off to the camp taking in a bit of a game drive en route. Doug then told us how the previous evening he had been driving to the camp at last light when he came across a pack of dogs. There were 6 pups on the road but the adults had been back amongst the trees so numbers were unclear. He showed us the dogs tracks in the road and a bit of video which he had taken showing the dogs silhouettes in the last light of the evening.

Previous reports from the field suggested that the dogs were not being very cooperative and putting in an appearance.

 

Were we going to be luckier than some?.................................................................. Only time would tell.

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Game Warden

Haha, I guess the handrail was important too, now that you are old and doddery... ;)

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wilddog

Haha, I guess the handrail was important too, now that you are old and doddery... ;)

I will report you to the @@Game Warden for insubordination................oh ...................you are the Game Warden. :( Off with your head! How about the flag? Caused a few sideways glances I can tell you.

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Whyone?

Linda, you put me to shame...you travelled to Mana after me, yet get your trip report before!

 

Pleased to ear that the dogs have put in an appearance (doubly so with young) and very much looking forward to hearing how your visit went.

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wilddog

Part 2

Chikwenya camp is very well appointed with spacious luxurious chalets with views onto the flood plain. Below are a few images of the accommodation. If you would to see more images of the camp please check out my report form 2012 which can be found here. http://safaritalk.net/topic/9669-my-annual-migration-to-mana-pools-zimbabwe-october-2012/page-3?hl=mana .

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The temperatures in the the first two days reached over 45 degrees and humidity was high so full day drives were not on the cards. The animals were not keen to do much either so we had some lunch and I spent the early part of the afternoon taking in the view .

 

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On the afternoon drive we are on a mission to find the dogs so we set off at about 4pm returning to the area where Doug had seen the dogs the night before. We spent a long of time looking for fresh tracks and signs ('Dogging' as we call it.) and searching the bush to no avail. Having been unsuccessful with our search so far, a sun downer was called for within sight of a huge baobab. A great spot for our first bush sunset.

 

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We headed back down to the flood plain area to find that a bush dinner awaited us. This was a wonderful surprise for our first night and we must have sat there for at least and an hour and a half, enjoying our meal whilst listening to the sounds of the bush (including lion and hyena calls), gazing at the stars and just delighting in being there. A glass or two of wine of helped.

 

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By the time we went back to camp it was very dark but did spot four hyenas who were just rousing for their nights work. We also found a honey badger close to camp who was obviously heading for the kitchens .

 

Roll on tomorrow.

 

 


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Morkel Erasmus

Oh goodie! Some Mana Magic! I'm on board...

Love that light and those forests....

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Zim Girl

Beautiful first picture - puts me right back there!!

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wilddog

@@Whyone? well I have been nagged a bit by the boss since I got back, but on behalf of GW and the moderating team..............you should get writing too! (Cracking whip!)./ We all enjoy your reports. I had great hopes that everyone else who had been to Mana would have put up their TR's before I got home so I could just do a post script type TR but there we go.

 

@@Morkel Erasmus I have still not managed to get that shot of Boswell/Handstand on his hind legs, as you have done. In fact I did not see him this year. Next time perhaps........................

 

@@Zim Girl.......... so evocative. BTW I loved your TR hope you enjoy mine too. :)

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kittykat23uk

Great start! I still hven't seen a honey badger so am a bit jealous! :)

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Soukous

@@wilddog, now that you've got started we do expect daily updates. I need something to help me through the drab winter months and looking at pictures of Africa sure beats clearing fallen trees.

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Game Warden

Would you believe I read that as digging? Need to check my eyesight... :)

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Whyone?

Would you believe I read that as digging?...

No!

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wilddog

Ha ha, Dogging in Mana Pools. Now there's a trip report title.

Glad to see you are reading the text @@stokeygirl not just looking at the pictures. Shows you are paying attention. :) Did consider that title but.............

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Kitsafari

I love the first picture. It looks so ethereal and magical. Seriously, is the light special there? It has to be the African magical stardust, @@wilddog

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Whyone?

The light at Mana in Sept-Oct., especially in the first hour or two after dawn is unusual and very beautiful. Etherial describes it well. A lilac-blue haze underneath the muted greens of the Acacia Albida trees, rather less so!

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Tdgraves

Would you believe I read that as digging? Need to check my eyesight... :)

 

or at least that's what you told the nice officer... ;)

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Sangeeta

@@wilddog - The red carpet is a fantastic touch :) Do you have a close-up of the flag? Can't see it very clearly in the photo...

 

The bush dinner looks simply divine. Mana as magical as always, but I have to say, all of you are very brave to even have contemplated the outdoors at 45 C!! I would have quietly melted into a puddle in the shade.

 

What a lovely start to the report. The elusive dogs made an appearance right away for you?

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wilddog

The elusive dogs made an appearance right away for you?

 

Only the tracks there so far @@Sangeeta. Doug had seen them the night before we arrived!

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Sangeeta

Sorry, I was jumping the gun :D (Knowing what a good tracker Doug is, I bet he found them for you once he'd seen the tracks!) But I shall now be good and wait for the tale to unfold properly...

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Morkel Erasmus

Ha ha, Dogging in Mana Pools. Now there's a trip report title.

 

Having recently found out what "Dogging" really is from one of my UK guests in the Mara - I found this quite amusing too ;):D

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