Jump to content
SimplyRed

A short report on Botswana with photos

Recommended Posts

SimplyRed

November 2013: We started with a very comfortable overnight (Business Class) flight from Minneapolis to Jo’berg. Oh how lovely those lay-flat seats are! Flew non-stop from Atlanta right into JNB. We were met by a bellman from the InterContinental Hotel, which is in a sterling location just across an access road from the airport. He handled our luggage and even brought umbrellas for the few steps in a sprinkle of rain. Our room was compact, but had an amazing, deep tub for soaking tired muscles. We had a good long swim in their pool before a delicious dinner and off to bed. The next morning, our bellman walked us back to the airport and made sure we were in the right place for our departure to Maun. The airport is sprawling, so it was nice to have a guide. I realize the IC is expensive, but we were able to get it on points – so essentially for free. Although other hotels are less expensive, many operators add in a “meet and greet” service (which we got for free at the IC), so the price might be justifiable. We flew to Maun on SAA with no problems and were greeted by our Wilderness Safari rep at the airport. From that point on we were completely in the care of WS with no worries.

 

First camp: Tubu Tree (5 nights). I had requested Phenyo as our guide. He was great! Flying in over the Delta was beautiful. Loved the camp and our tent. The food was a bit less than stellar, but in the process of an upgrade, so I reserve judgment. We had a small herd of elephants browsing under our raised tent the whole first night. What a treat!

Things I learned at TT:

  • Staying five days was a good choice as we got to book an all day water outing to other camps --Kwetsani, Jacana and Jao.
  • We booked a private guide for the first two days. We had him for the whole five.

post-17518-0-70002800-1404932218_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-27921300-1404932298_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-34912500-1404932329_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

A few more photos that I like.

post-17518-0-80314300-1404932427_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-03582500-1404932456_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-53021000-1404932478_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-53241400-1404932561_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-28574400-1404932605_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

Second camp: Xigera (3 nights). The camp is a beautiful setting on a small channel. There were hippo and elephants in the channel – and in the camp every day. The tents can be a long walk from the main area at this camp. Our young guide, Onx, was a little green, but we had fun with our jeep mates. Did lots of mokoro outings from Xigera. This is the camp that gave me my “shiner”. Returning to our tent after dinner on the second night, a loose board tripped me and on the way down I smacked my temple on the big, wooden handrails. A true “goose-egg” appeared in seconds and I had a beautiful black-eye for the rest of our trip. Luckily I didn’t break either my glasses or the camera around my neck.

post-17518-0-17038100-1404933318_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-67018200-1404933359_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-50462900-1404933483_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-07039200-1404933524_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-52590300-1404933567_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-07994700-1404933666_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-98192100-1404933798_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

Great beginning! I love Bots in Green Season..it comes so alive..lovely scenery and of course shots!!

 

I know some women who actually wear purple eyeshadow - think of it as "safari" chic :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marks

The mokoro perspective really shows the size of that ele in the water!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
twaffle

Lovely start, don't see many Xigera reports so that is very interesting. I like the photos but have to say that your eye looks sore.

 

Nice to see you posting here again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AKR1

Very nice report and pictures. Thank you!

Wow- that's a real shiner you have but could have been far worse. Hope your eye has healed ok.

Edited by AKR1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sangeeta

Ouch on that eye! But the photos of the eles and the channels look great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

You wear the eye shiner like a badge of honour, a real trooper.

 

Looking forward to more of this report. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

Thanks for all your kind words. I am happy to be back with some proof of our trip. It was wonderful, but as many of you know...a little hectic since we returned.

 

That shiner was quite the conversation starter. It didn't hurt after the first day, but stayed quite colorful for the rest of the trip. At each camp hubby made me announce at dinner that he wasn't beating me. I usually blamed it on the guide at the last camp.........as in, "they're really serious at Tubu Tree about keeping quiet at a sighting". ;)

 

We did feel very vulnerable at that mokoro elephant sighting. You certainly get the idea of their size when you're sitting at their feet. He/She could have given us a hard time, but just kept an eye on us while munching the tender water plants. It was so interesting to watch him wash the dirt and grit off of the plant roots before eating. So smart. That gritty sand is hard on the teeth.

 

More to come.

Cheers!

'Red

Edited by SimplyRed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

For today we have a few birds that I liked. The birds are always so stunning in any part of Africa. It makes me supremely bored with our dull Midwestern birds at home. I know that my birding lens and photo skills don't do the birds justice. I'm terrible about remembering name of birds, too. The little owlet (I think he is a Pearl Spotted owlet) visited our tent at Savuti one afternoon. He was only about 6 inches tall and not the least bit timid. I think before the day was out, nearly everyone in the camp had been 'round to see him and snap a few photos. What a little ham! I adore the giraffe "facials". We watched those birds take their payment though. They were pulling long hairs from the giraffe manes to use for nesting. The price of a good groom, I guess. The larger owl (can't remember the name) was my spotting glory. I still can't believe my old eyes found him in that tree and at nearly dusk. I am always on the look out for Kingfishers in all shapes and sizes. We watched the Woodland kingfisher spreading his wings in the greatest display for a mate. She didn't seem one bit interested. And the Pied kingfisher did indeed, have that dragonfly for lunch. My very favorite bird is the Janaca -- with the blue head. I was awe struck that the male rears the chicks on islands in the delta. When they babes need to be moved, the papa hoists them up on his wings and walks them to safety. That would be something to see, indeed. Our paddler at Xigera, Rider, said he had been lucky enough to witness it only once in all his years on the delta.

 

Enjoy!

 

Cheers,

'Red

post-17518-0-17346200-1405020016_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-01029400-1405020036_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-47695200-1405020088_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-52233300-1405020119_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-00404500-1405020133_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-60029100-1405020160_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-36736000-1405020186_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-18517600-1405020214_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-13140100-1405020228_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-30306000-1405020245_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-80705000-1405020257_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-64089600-1405020367_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-52643000-1405020412_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-42979600-1405020424_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-86964300-1405020440_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-72979800-1405020456_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-50501500-1405020470_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-82998300-1405020485_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-45937000-1405020596_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-99354000-1405020608_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

Ooops! The bird with the blue head is a Jacana.....I knew that, but the fingers get ahead of the brain at times.

 

Here are those funny oxpeckers picking out nesting material. They were very particular; looking long and hard for just the right strand. I suppose the giraffe don't miss a few and its a nice symbiotic relationship.

post-17518-0-26554600-1405089779_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
madaboutcheetah

How you been? @@SimplyRed ...... Thanks for this! Lovely report and images. Thank YOu!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marks

Such a great variety of bird sightings; I like the owlet in particular, though I think that the LBR remains my favorite bird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

Terrific bird snaps!

 

At the end of your report would you mind doing a brief review of your camps. I have some friends wanting to go and I know you stayed in a few Idid not; I would love for them to have an opportunity to hear about more than my four...thanks

 

So glad you came back to ST with the report!

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

Thanks for all your kind words. I apologize for taking so long to get this trip report on the board. For those of you who have followed my "From Botswans to Cancer" travails, I am doing well….and thank you for asking. I have just been through my first post-op, six month check up. My doctor is slightly concerned about two spots. One lymph node in the kidney area is slightly enlarged and a spot on my left lung (which was there in December) is slightly larger. Each has increased by about 5mm. There could be perfectly reasonable, non-cancerous explanations for both. The lymph node may be enlarged simply as an aftermath of the surgery. It could still be filtering out leftover toxins. The nodule in the lung is about 5mm larger than previously - but still quite small at about 10mm. That could be something as simple as the angle from which the CT scan was taken. A 5mm difference isn't much. So...the next step is to continue watching a little more closely. I will go back in October at 3 months instead of waiting 6 months for all the scans again. We'll see what that turns up and go from there. Overall, I'm not too worried since there are reasonable explanations for the changes. I guess we'll just wait and see.

 

So…back to Botswana:

 

Third camp: Vumbura Plains (4 nights). This was our big splash out for our anniversary. What can I say? Its amazing! The “villas” are unbelievable. The food is 5 star. The views go on forever. I wanted to stay a lifetime. We had requested and got O.B. as our guide and on a few days we were joined by Silas – a guide from Mombo. Silas was amazing. He could spot the tiniest of things and he also looked exactly like Magic Johnson. He had no idea who that was. We were in VP North camp but had the opportunity to visit VP-South when we met up with a great ST friend – “Shay-Tay”. We enjoyed dinner with her, and her friend Paula, at their digs at the south camp. What an evening. It was the great termite hatch that night. I have never in my life seen so many insects in one place. They were hanging on the lights so thick that they appeared like a modern sculpture. I’m sure we all ingested a few. In the candle light, who could tell the termites from the salad?

 

Returning from our first game drive, the camp was visited by a fairly large herd of elephant. They seemed completely at ease browsing the vegetation. At one point we had a young fellow help himself to a drink from our plunge pool. (Who says plunge pools are a complete waste?) ;)

 

Hubby had a great time one evening when O.B. and Sparks took us fishing. I didn’t fish, but played look out for the nearby hippos. It was an absolutely beautiful evening with skies of purple and gold as a storm front moved in. I couldn’t have been happier with my G&T, camera and a pod of hippos for company.

 

O.K.....call me a "safari-slut" but here are a few photos of VP camp. I know the purists among you will be shocked -- but I could get used to this. :wub: VP offered amazing sun rise views. Tent #3-North is a great location.

post-17518-0-84086500-1405100375_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-73896100-1405100394_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-48957500-1405100411_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-37146200-1405100441_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-47680600-1405100479_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-26336300-1405100498_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-90130400-1405100632_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-74071800-1405101160_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-22995300-1405101201_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-28433300-1405101304_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-44985500-1405101524_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-50160400-1405101606_thumb.jpg

Edited by SimplyRed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

Absolutely Graceland, I can post my overall thoughts on the camps and WS in general near the end.

 

So a few more photos today if I can keep AOL from crashing, then I have to dash off. Neighbors are all over for drinks on the deck tonight and I haven't even iced the wine. Too bad you're not all here to enjoy with us.

 

You can probably tell that I'm having some fun "arting-up" a few of the photos. Digital post-production is a blast. Many photos I take are purely for the fun -- like giraffes peaking around a tree. I loved the three generations of elephants and they cooperated spectacularly by lining up for the "3-eyes" shot. One of our leopards had what I thought was a great wound, but didn't seem fussed by it. O.B found a small pack of dogs for us. We weren't lucky enough to see them hunting, but got some nice portraits. The sideways lion is one of two brothers we found who had just gorged on a buffalo. They were so full to bursting that they could barely roll over, let alone stand. In stark contrast to the young lions we found, who couldn't hold still. I especially loved the two playing hide-n-seek around the log. They had a grand time "hunting" a mongoose who was hiding there. Lastly is dear, O.B. changing our flat. There was a pride of lions very nearby slowly stalking zebra. Its was a quandry.....should we wait and watch hoping for a kill, but knowing we can't give chase with a flat......or should we pull out and try to quickly change the flat in hopes of not missing the action. We opt for changing, but O.B. was nearly hysterical discharging his passengers into the bush with lions so near. He made us hide behind the vehicle and call out to him every 30 seconds -- "lions are still quiet". He had two other vehicles monitoring the movements, too. All was well in the end -- although the lions never made a move on the zebra.

 

Off to play hostess.

 

Enjoy!

'Red

post-17518-0-01001200-1405105907_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-19148500-1405105969_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-32013500-1405106016_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-17004600-1405106067_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-86016800-1405106119_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-46125200-1405106144_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-01289600-1405106185_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-93041800-1405106228_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-53986100-1405106247_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-91770700-1405106263_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-91586300-1405106317_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-47989000-1405106349_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-26992100-1405106378_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-20185300-1405106398_thumb.jpg

post-17518-0-96991400-1405106420_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PT123

Wow, these are great! I love the two lion pictures and am looking forward to more.

 

 

PS - thanks for the health update - we're all glad to have you back!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SSF556

great photos and we will keep you in pur prayers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Game Warden

Everyday, look back at these photos, recall the great experiences and get stronger. Positive vibes from the HQ. Matt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
marg

The last trip plans that I remember for you were to a beach in Mexico. This is great that you have returned to Africa...a double celebration! Very much enjoying the trip report and the photos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

Red, I love your photos..I have to say I have no idea how to "post production" an image. If you have a magic app, please share. i have always uploaded to ST what I took literally....and sometimes took flack for it, but hey, it' s what I saw. If I could find out how to "digitally" enhance without buying PHOTOSHOP for hundreds of dollars, I'd love to try it.

 

Ahh-- Vum Plains.....when Erica at Safari Specialists recommended it I said" NO Way "- it is not me ...But get past the faded "Las Vegas" look and it is spectacular; one of my all time fav experiences; the people, the game (outrageous...non stop) and the staff. THE VIEW.... Awesome. They do need to redo the rooms...but you are never in them so really who cares. Faded Las Vegas Shabby Chic. Kind of fun. ha ha

 

Thanks for taking the time from an all consuming I am sure health issue to share with us; it is much enjoyed and appreciated!

 

Hugs to good health ahead...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dam2810

Beautiful pictures, i think i was in the same lodge (the 1st one next to the main area) at VP but a few days/weeks before you;-) I guess you went at the end of November? Seems you had a great time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ZaminOz

Enjoying hour report.

Nice photos, and nice camera too! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SimplyRed

Graceland, Try the app...Snapseed....for your iPad. I don't remember the cost. It may have been free when I first got it, but certain it's no more than $2-$5. It is the easiest, most user friendly big bang, app for photo enhancements without going Photoshop (which I still can't figure out how to use). I could sit for hours playing. I don't think there has been one of my photos that the "auto correct" hasn't helped a little just by pumping up the contrast and adjusting the color. The crop feature is a breeze. It is very easy to undo anything you don't like. The photos are saved as a copy, so your originals are still pristine. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

 

'Red

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is quite old. Unless updating a photographic thread with new images, please consider starting a new discussion. Thank you.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy