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Mashatu, Kgalagadi to Caprivi overland and a Moremi mobile with Masson Safaris : 6 weeks in Southern Africa 2014


Treepol

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There's something nice about knowing that older lioness is still active and well.

 

I also really like the elephants in the mud.

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@@michael-ibk @@MR1980 @@TonyQ and @@Marks thanks for the encouragement. Moving on to Etosha, a premier park in my view.   Namibia (cont.)   We arrive at Okaukuejo around 1 pm and in our first day

@@Tdgraves hope that memory card issue gets sorted soon   @@Marks thanks for reading along   @@Seniortraveller, I've never heard the Mashatu tree called Nyala Berry, thanks for the info   @@Towl

This year we were a party of 5 – myself, @@farin, Mum (both on second safaris) and the Cousins (safari newbies) on a soft adventure safari followed by a 6 day Moremi mobile with Masson Safaris. The h

Treepol

@@TonyQ @@Marks thanks for staying with the report.

 

@@FlyTraveler thank for your kind words. I am very taken with your Ruaha TR and am already planning a return hat involves Warthog Adventures, Ruaha and Katavi.

 

@@Sangeeta we were very lucky with the diversity of sightings resulting from the varied habitats visited during the safari. Kgalagadi to Caprivi is a big contrast!

 

@@Safaridude I hope you make it to the Caprivi some day, maybe even to Shamvura and Mazambala. I'm thinking of a future trip that does Etosha, Shamvura, Drotsky's (or a houseboat stay out of Shakawe) and then onto Maun through the 'Caprivi corridor'.

 

 

Moremi (cont.)

 

Early next morning we find the 6 lions interested in a dazzle of zebra, but they are startled by eles and scupper the hunt.

 

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A small herd of buffalo graze alongside the eles – 3 of the big 5 in one view. One of the elephant calves has no trunk or tail, most probably lost in an encounter with lion or hyena.

 

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We cross First Bridge heading to Xakanaxa via a chain of shrinking waterholes HATAB 9 is to be our next campsite. This Pied Kingfisher has a small catfish he is beating into submission before swallowing it whole.

 

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Shortly after we see a Bradfield’s Hornbill with a chameleon kill – that’s 2 kills and one attempted kill for the morning!

 

Next we see a Black Mamba determinedly heading for the nearest shade which is a tree containing a large family of alarm-calling starlings.

 

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Further on Roger Dugmore and his clients are parked in the shade at the edge of a floodplain dotted with lechwe.

 

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Roger tells his clients that Ewan is a rare sighting, I do really enjoy the camaraderie amongst guides wherever I am travelling. An Uncharted Africa vehicle is stuck in the deep sand. Ewan drives on, stopping a safe distance from the churned up section and walks back to offer help. They cut branches and place them under the wheels and are soon on their way again. HATAB 9 is a well-sited camp alongside a waterhole rich in birdlife. This Goliath Heron has claimed temporary rights to the pool and will stay for as long as the food lasts. Here he is cooling off during the heat of the day.

 

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The other residents of the waterhole are mainly White-faced ducks and egrets. Wild dogs have been seen in the area around camp so we drive slowly to Paradise Pools but they are long gone. This hoopoe pants in a shady tree and this giraffe with ox-peckers slakes its thirst from a flooded corner of the road.

 

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The day ends with sunset at Jessie’s Pool.

 

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michael-ibk

Beautiful photo of the Hoopoe, and very much like that Zebra shot as well.Black Mamba is of course a thrill, how close did you dare to approach? :)

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Treepol

Next day we are out early looking for the dogs again which @@farin is especially keen to see. The light strengthens through the mopane trees and we see 2 ele bulls eating the bark from a tree they have just demolished.

 

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All morning we see sleepy lechwe, zebra and impala, nothing that looks like it has been stressed by a predator. Then we hear there are lions at HATAB 9 s we hurry back to camp to find a laid back pair – too disinterested to be a mating pair Ewan says.

 

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As we are close to home, we have morning tea in camp we head out across Fourth Bridge where the Kalahari Apple Leaf Trees are in bloom, bringing a pink cast to the landscape. Kudu feast on these small flowers and will happily munch away for hours during the short season they are available. This part of Moremi is very scenic and we sit back and enjoy the vistas.

 

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Third Bridge is under repair, large piles of mopane and treated gum are waiting to be used.

 

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This Brown Snake Eagle keeps watch from a tall tree.

 

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Closer to camp a cloud of hooded vultures leads us to an abandoned impala carcass, possibly a wild dog kill but Ewan says they usually eat everything and this still has the head attached. We return camp for lunch after which we watch the tree squirrels running around before retiring for a read and a snooze.

 

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The afternoon game drive is quiet until we see these eles with white socks and improves exponentially with a serval (evidence photo only I’m afraid) sighting followed by side-striped jackal.

 

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Next morning we hear a Woodland Kingfisher calling. Ewan explains that this is thought to herald the first rains, so maybe the Delta will have early rain this year. Moremi looks serene in the pink dawn light.

 

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While we are watching waterbuck, the guys radio through to say that wild dog are at our campsite, so we quickly reverse and return to camp.

 

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On the way we pass a lone hippo and a large troupe of baboons crossing the road.

 

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Nearby, Yellow-billed stork, whistling ducks, spoonbill and a black-winged stilt are fishing for breakfast. Sadly, the search for wild dog is fruitless (we later learn that no one saw them this morning) so we resume the drive to Xakanaxa Boat Station where a kudu bachelor group is feeding.

 

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During the boat cruise we are unlucky with a chilly wind but still manage to see African Darter, Purple Heron, Pygmy Geese, hippo, Pied Kingfisher and elephant. Bones is our boat driver and he explains the uses of papyrus that include sleeping mats and making traditional skirts for children. There are waterlilies throughout this part of the delta – white, pink and blue. A Fish Eagle tears at a freshly caught fish.

 

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Back at the boat station Ewan has lunch ready after which we pack up and head for HATAB 14 for our last night in the bush, passing elephants seeking waterholes and lechwe crossing the swamp.

 

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Within minutes of arriving in camp an elephant walks past the tents, a rusty-coloured baby tree squirrel scampers after an adult and a Giant Eagle Owl chick enjoys the sun under the watchful eyes of an adult.

 

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Sallie joins us for the last night in Moremi, together with Killer a second guide for Ewan’s group that arrives tomorrow. The last game drive is uneventful – the usual suspects of ele, kudu, zebra, impala and lechwe. This ele has a broken cartilage in one ear giving him a lop-sided look and a Dikkop gazes into the last of the sun.

 

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Early next morning after a final visit to the Giant Eagle Owl nest, where the chick teeters on the edge of the nest, Sallie drives us back to Maun and although we stop to investigate alarm calls no predators are sighted.

 

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A Purple Swamp Hen forages in the early morning and this baboon bared his fangs to frighten away any youngsters brave enough to approach.

 

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We stop for lunch before we reach Maun and Sallie takes us to the Spar to purchase dinner supplies. At the Kraal we disappear into our rooms to get squeaky clean and do a major re-pack and throw out ready for the flight to Joberg tomorrow. June Liversidge arranges for us to see Roar in the theatre above their gallery opposite Maun Airport. Roar was made by her husband Tim about 10 years ago and tells the story of a pride take over. It was filmed in Nxai Pan and Central Kalahari Game Reserve and is a fitting end to the 2014 safari, causing us to reflect on the true life drama behind some of the animal lives we have observed.

 

The Masson’s mobile was an ideal way to end this year’s safari. I have been fortunate to travel with Ewan and Sallie Masson on three safaris since 2008. Setting out this year was like meeting up with friends - enquiring after family, their son’s schooling in Zimbabwe and life in general since we last met in 2011. I was pleased to see Vincent and Bendi again, having first met in 2011. Both have worked for Massons for many years whilst Keletso joined the team recently and seems to enjoy working in the bush. I have often been asked about the mobile safaris over the years so I thought I would summarise the Massons mobile exeperience in response to questions like:

 

  • is it safe?
  • Is it dangerous?
  • are there lions around at night?
  • what is the food like?
  • do you have to swim in the river to get clean?
  • do you sleep outside around the fire?
  • do you have beds? sleeping bags?

 

Ewan’s guiding is of a consistent high standard and is complemented by the relaxed, daily routine and laid back camp atmosphere. The tents with en suite bathroom (chemical toilet and canvas hand basin) are comfortable – strange how quickly a tent comes to feel like home.

 

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A warm, daily shower is such a luxury.The guys fetch enough water to ensure showers are available for everyone in camp. Here is the shower tent from HATAB 6 this year,

 

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Vincent, Bendigo and Keletso produce delicious meals in the bush kitchen - Vincent’s camp bread served warm at lunchtime deserves a special mention here. Vegetarians and clients with food allergies present no problems for the talented Vincent who has an admirable repertoire of camp meals.

 

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Campfire conversation during the evening is stimulating, informative and fun – we cover a wide range of topics including books, the day’s game viewing and Safaritalk.

 

The guys work hard to ensure that guests have a comfortable safari. They are first up and last to bed - they cook, look after the tents and fetch water for showers, most of which happens while we are on a game drive. Here they are enjoying a well-earned break from camp duties in Xakanaxa.

 

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Sallie handles the bookings and has always managed to accommodate requests for single tents, small details like types of tea we enjoy and rusks, transfers, pre- and post-safari accommodation and lodge bookings if needed. It is a treat when Sallie arrives in camp with fresh food supplies and we are spoiled with two guides on game drives.

 

Masson Safaris take safety seriously. Guides see guests to the tents at night, checking around camp for inquisitive wildlife and during the day ensuring that the coast is clear before guests leave the vehicle. Vehicles are well maintained to avoid preventable breakdowns in the bush.

 

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Written safety advice is provided in each tent which is reinforced by verbal advice such as not walking around camp after dark, not keeping food in tents and checking around before using the en suite during the night. Ewan’s commitment to the environment is illustrated by the clean condition in which campsites are left and I have seen him stop to remove unsightly rubbish from the roadside. He keeps a respectful and safe distance from animals at game sightings. Ewan and Sallie are respected by other guides who happily stop to chat and share game viewing tips. This camaraderie enhances the feel good factor of the safari.

 

It will be 3-4 years before I get back to Africa and a Massons mobile will be high on the list with a trip to any or all of Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Mabuasehube and Makgadikgadi.

 

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Endnote

 

This was my sixth African safari and when asked why I keep going back my reply is still the same.

 

Safari restores my soul, time in wildlife rich environments primes a sense of discovery - around the next corner or over the next hill may be a sight to surprise and delight and create lifelong memories. A herd of doe-eyed impala, hippos peering from a waterhole or secretary birds striding over the plain are just as welcome as lions on a kill or a crash of rhino – all demonstrate nature’s increasingly elusive accord. Appreciating the small creatures as well as the large, the everyday as well as the highly sought safari stars brings its own rewards.

 

Safari travel is intoxicating - fresh air, the sun on my face, nothing to do but look, seeing the patterns and colours of nature and listening to the sound of the wild is far removed from an air-conditioned office and inner-city life. I have a fondness for mobile safaris utilising private campsites where its possible to develop a true sense of sharing the land, the sky and the stars with others whose home it is. The roar of the lion in the night, the honk and bellow of the hippo, the giggle of the hyena and the soft sound of elephant feeding near the tent are sounds to be savoured and remembered.

 

 

The fine print

 

The land content of this safari was booked with Africa-based operators. Rowan Matthewson of Travelworld Kingston efficiently booked the flights and as usual we had no hiccups. A last minute cancellation by Qantas was quickly sorted out before it became a problem.

 

I chose a variety of accommodation beginning with Mashatu Tented Camp to ensure a rest and high quality game viewing after the 14 hour flight from Sydney to Johannesberg. The itinerary included a range of habitats - desert in Kgalagadi, salt pan in Etosha, the coast at Swakopmund, Caprivi wetlands and the delta scenery of Moremi to maximise the number and quality of species sighted. Twee Riverien was a taste of Sanparks self-catering accommodation whilst throughout Namibia we stayed in well located mid-range lodges with 3 nights at NWR accommodation at Okaukuejo and Halali. Francois managed all the arrangements for Mashatu, KTP and Namibia with most of the bookings being capably handled by Nureth Jordan at Live the journey in Cape Town. Sallie Masson booked the Kraal and handled all of the mobile camping arrangements.

 

The Kraal is located on the Thamalakane River and provides an ‘away from it all’ experience outside dusty Maun. The safari concluded with 6 nights mobile camping in Moremi with Masson Safaris for a real bush experience. Overnight airport accommodation in Johannesberg was at the OR Tambo City Lodge which is a 5 minute walk from the arrivals hall and in Sydney, the Ibis in O’Riordan Street has reasonably priced rooms and an efficient shuttle service to and from the airport.

 

I must mention of how refreshing it was to have 31 days (from Upington to Maun) without entering an airport or climbing aboard a plane. I have noted the benefits of the 'Caprivi corridor' that we used to link travel between Etosha and Maun and in future planning will try to make use of other overland transfers through wildlife areas to avoid flights as time permits.

 

Rob Bentley drove us from the Airport Hotel to the Cheetah Centre and the Monkey Sanctuary and patiently waited while we used an ATM and found a chemist in Hartbeespoort. I would contact Rob again if I was looking for Joberg based transfers, he may be contacted on bentleyafrica@gmail.com

Edited by Treepol
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FlyTraveler

@@FlyTraveler thank for your kind words. I am very taken with your Ruaha TR and am already planning a return hat involves Warthog Adventures, Ruaha and Katavi.

 

 

 

 

That's a brilliant idea, I feel like going back to Ruaha myself. May I suggest that you include in your plans also the guide Alphonce Kihwele. I and my wife were extremely happy with him, according to our standards and safari experience, of course (we are a lot less experienced than you).

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FlyTraveler

What a brilliant TR, writing and photography @@Treepol and what an epic trip! I am sure that I will keep coming back to this report many times in the future, either for a reference purposes or just to enjoy the photos and the narrative. Thanks for your time and effort to share this amazing experience with us. Do you have trip reports written about your previous safaris?

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Treepol

@@FlyTraveler thanks so much for your interest and encouragement.

 

There are 6 other trip reports on ST and during summer I plan to upload a report of a long South American trip to Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru that I did in 2010. I've said it now so I'll have to do it!

 

2011 - Shindzela, Umkumbe and Mashatu

 

2011 - Kgalagadi and Okavango Delta

 

2012 - Kruger, Cape Town and Namibia

 

2013 - Pantanal, Peru and Polynesia

 

2013 - Bruny Island, Tasmania

 

2014 - Northwest Tasmania and Corinna

 

 

Enjoy.

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michael-ibk

Thank you very much for your report, Treepol. You had such a varied itinerary with so many different landscapes and animals, it was a pleasure to read. The Caprivi strip was especially interesting since it is a bit of a terra incognita for most tourists. I liked very much what you wrote about why you go on safari, excellently put! I´m sure most of us feel this way but I wouldn´t have been able to express that feeling so accurately.

Looking forward to your South American trip report. So, what´s next for you? And 3 to 4 years till a return to Africa?!? :wacko::o

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@@Treepol

Thank you for another excellent trip report of a superb itinerary. You visited a real variety of habitats and that led to many different sightings. As michael said, it is particularly interesting to see the Caprivi strip - but all of it was fascinating. We went on a mobile camp in Moremi a very long time ago, so it was lovely to see that area and relive some memories.

 

Your writing was really interesting and your photos excellent throughout. The paragraphs at the end summed it all up so well. After a pause, I will sit down and read it again, all in one go!

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Treepol

@@michael-ibk thanks for your kind comments. Whats next....hmmmm

 

Possibly Hokkaido for a couple of weeks in July 2015 with a few days around Cairns in northern Queensland on the return. February-April 2016 amost certainly India subject to getting leave approved at work. Very excited about this one as Í've been to India twice before, last time in 2001. Didn't see a tiger though, nor much other wildlife or birds.

 

The first 2 weeks are a mix of cultural sights and wildlife reserves (Ranthambhore, Bharatpur and Chambal River) and the last 4 weeks are all wildlife in Satpura, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Gir, Blackbuck NP, Corbett and Kazaringa. I am very much looking forward to your TR after your March 2015 trip! So you see, thats why it will be 3-4 years before I return to Africa.

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An excellent TR, I have enjoyed every moment.

That trunkless elephant calf...any idea what its prospects are/were?

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Treepol

@@Marks I have just checked with @@farin and we think Ewan said that he had only seen teenager eles with trunks that short, no older eles.

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Thanks @@Treepol, that makes sense. I imagine that would be a huge impediment to all kinds of activities they need to do to survive.

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Atravelynn

I'm up to Namibia (4th time). So much variety. I especially liked the Swallow-tailed bee-eaters. The sun hit them just right.

 

How would you compare visiting Kgalagadi this time vs. with Masson's Mobile on your previous trip?

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Treepol

@@Atravelynn thats a tough question.

 

In 2011, we went with Ewan Masson to KTP and stayed in cabins at Nossob, Kalahari tented Camp and Gharaghab and concentrated on the north and east of the park. This year we stayed at Twee Riverien and outside the park at Kalahari Farmstall and concentrated on the south and west of the park.

 

The weather was definitely warmer in August than I remember in July 2011. I wrote in 2011 that the lion count was 21 which when added to 15 cheetah and 1 leopard points to a healthy cat population in KTP. We only saw one cheetah and no leopard this year. Lion sightings were good on both trips, with many more males this year than in 2011. We didn't see as many small animals such as mongoose, and only 3 bat-eared fox whereas in 2011 we saw 21 bat-eared foxes in a single day. Owls were very good this year with 2 quality sightings of Spotted Eagle Owls and we had an excellent African Wildcat sighting this year. Birds were about the same, maybe more raptors in July. Cape foxes were also good this year with 3 close sightings.

 

If I had to choose, I'd say stay away from cold July which makes the animals go to ground and not move around until later in the day. Visiting during the warmer months is more pleasant temperature wise and it seemed that the animals move around earlier. Overall, there isn't a lot of difference between July and August, I think temperatures and game patterns would be more marked between say May and July or July and October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Atravelynn

@@Atravelynn thats a tough question.

 

In 2011, we went with Ewan Masson to KTP and stayed in cabins at Nossob, Kalahari tented Camp and Gharaghab and concentrated on the north and east of the park. This year we stayed at Twee Riverien and outside the park at Kalahari Farmstall and concentrated on the south and west of the park.

 

The weather was definitely warmer in August than I remember in July 2011. I wrote in 2011 that the lion count was 21 which when added to 15 cheetah and 1 leopard points to a healthy cat population in KTP. We only saw one cheetah and no leopard this year. Lion sightings were good on both trips, with many more males this year than in 2011. We didn't see as many small animals such as mongoose, and only 3 bat-eared fox whereas in 2011 we saw 21 bat-eared foxes in a single day. Owls were very good this year with 2 quality sightings of Spotted Eagle Owls and we had an excellent African Wildcat sighting this year. Birds were about the same, maybe more raptors in July. Cape foxes were also good this year with 3 close sightings.

 

If I had to choose, I'd say stay away from cold July which makes the animals go to ground and not move around until later in the day. Visiting during the warmer months is more pleasant temperature wise and it seemed that the animals move around earlier. Overall, there isn't a lot of difference between July and August, I think temperatures and game patterns would be more marked between say May and July or July and October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

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Atravelynn

The reflection of the brown hyena really turned out well. Just unusual, not rare? You have caught crocs and mongoose in nontraditional poses.

 

The Pantanal flashed through my mind when I saw those herons, even before reading your "Pantanal déjà vu" comment.

 

Mazambala looks fascinating. How did you choose that lodge? Sable, sable, roan, roan with calf, sable with calf, roan. Wow!

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@@Treepol just catching up with your travels now. We've just done Swakopmund and are heading out into the wilds again. Great stuff and loving thee sightings of KTP as usual. I am seeing some intriguing comments above so am looking forward to the rest, and it is nice to see the Massons back on Safaritalk again. You got some great photos, I have to say. What do you use again (I think that you mentioned this somewhere but I sometimes get confused between you and Lynn because you both seem to consistently do very similar trips to those I would like to do). And what does it zoom out to? (Ignore this if it is coming up in the next pages anyway!)

 

I wonder how often Namibian guides like Francois visit KTP and how much he added to the experience compared to being on your own (which I know is not an option in your case, so might not be something you want to comment on). Also, can you remind us who Francois is? I think your omission of this info is probably because it is in an older trip report, but just in case can you tell us about him. It seems good Namibian guides doing this kind of trip are still not common. (Again, ignore this if it is coming up).

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Treepol

@@Atravelynn Francois didn't seem overly surprised to see the brown hyena at Okaukuejo so I'm guessing this wasn't a rare sighting, maybe uncommon though. Mazambala was delightful and a good choice for us.

 

Francois booked/recommended most of the lodges, and he made excellent choices for us. Mazambala was included as they have reliable carmine bee-eater sightings due to proximity of a local colony (that thankfully the carmines returned to this year) and I was so looking forward to seeing these brilliantly coloured birds. Definitely a stellar choice. The Caprivi and Mahango GR were surprisingly rich in wildlife and I was very pleased at the abundance of sable and the regular sightings of roan.

@@pault the photos were taken with a Panasonic Lumix FZ150 - a P&S that has done me proud for 3 safaris now. The zoom is 604mm and it has a 25mm wide angle, I'm very pleased with it and am agonizing about whether to upgrade to the F200 which has significantly better low light handling capacity. Maybe Santa will deliver!

 

Francois hadn't been to KTP for 15 years and was very pleased that we opted to start our Namibian safari on the RSA side of the border. I don't know that any other Nam guides routinely visit KTP. Ewan Masson has only returned once with clients from the Bots side since our 2011 safari. Mum and I met Francois in 2012 when we booked Namibia through Namibia Tours and Discovery and Francois was our guide. We stayed in touch with him and booked directly with him for this year. He's worked in tourism for 20 years, most of that time being spent with marine tours as he used to own a dolphin cruise company in Walvis Bay.

 

It was excellent having Francois guide/drive and even cook in KTP as I don't feel confident to drive in Africa and he is a first rate cook! He's a great fixer and sorted out any issue before it became a problem and he is also a keen spotter - he has sharp eyes. Having Francois as our guide really made the Namibia sector of the trip because he organised everything so well and chose excellent mid-range lodges. He has a comfortable, renovated Landrover that has lots of space - we all had a window seat for the whole 3 weeks that we were with him. The link to the older TR is here.

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the additional Mazmbala info.

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Atravelynn

Black Mamba is of course a thrill, how close did you dare to approach? :)

That's what I want to know. Did the snake react at all to you?

 

I think I've exclaimed about the carmine bee eaters, but it bears repeating. The Pygmy Geese are outstanding.

 

25 ostrich chicks! Must be the product of a kidnapping, which I understand ostriches do. Apparently that leaves the mother who lost the chicks free to produce more and the most able parents now have the brood to raise. Seems cruel, but a survival mechanism.

 

"chemist in Hartbeespoor" hopefully for routine, mundane reasons.

 

You had a guide in Etosha, like I did. While I understand all the reasons for self drive--from the budget aspect to the independent sense of adventure, I found my guide to indispensable in Etosha (and elsewhere). No way would I have maneuvered the car for such good shots; he saw stuff I would have missed; he knew the terrain so we could head 'em off at the pass and be in the right spot for animals on the move; he was a more confident driver than I'd be under those conditions so we covered more ground and never got lost; I was never tired from driving. But all these observations of mine are from a 1st time visitor to Etosha. I believe you are a 4 time visitor to Etosha (or at least Namibia) and you also normally drive on the left side of the road (just like in Namibia) so your views on a driver/guide vs. driving yourself would add another dimension.

 

Your endnote is perfect!

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Treepol

@@Atravelynn we were 10-15 metres from the mamba in the vehicle. The snake didn't take any notice of us, it was hotfooting it to a shady bush in which a noisy crowd of starlings was shouting at its approach.

 

Yes, I have heard that ostrich will sometimes 'kidnap' clutches of chicks and that might explain why some were slightly larger than others.

 

The chemist was just for a cold before anything more serious had a chance to develop like bronchitis....

 

Regarding a guide for Etosha, I agree with everything you have written. Francois Landrover was quite high and we all had a window seat, difficult to achieve in a rented vehicle. He is a capable driver and was very good at positioning the vehicle for photos. Francois is an excellent spotter and I am sure we would have missed many sights without a guide.We also benefitted from the camaraderie between guides as they were happy to share locations of sightings which may not be so willingly given to self-drivers.

 

Its funny you should pose this question now as I am toying with the idea of a self-drive for my 5th Namibia/Etosha trip. Considering the loop Maun, Kuiseb Canyon, Swakopmund, don't know if we'd make it to Sesfontein and Kunene without a driver/guide, Etosha, Caprivi, maybe Kaudom, Shamvura for a few days with the Paxtons, maybe Mazambala, Mahango GR, Okavango houseboat out of Shakawe, maybe Drotsky's (I will need to choose b/w Shamvura, Mazambala and Drotsky's) before returning to Maun.

 

It would be wonderful to go at our own pace from day to day with a self-drive, however I do have some concerns regarding elephant encounters and there was a post here that outlined all the considrations that self-drivers need to consider, unfortunately I can't find it now.

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Atravelynn

@@Atravelynn we were 10-15 metres from the mamba in the vehicle. The snake didn't take any notice of us, it was hotfooting it to a shady bush in which a noisy crowd of starlings was shouting at its approach. Cool!

 

Yes, I have heard that ostrich will sometimes 'kidnap' clutches of chicks and that might explain why some were slightly larger than others.

 

The chemist was just for a cold before anything more serious had a chance to develop like bronchitis....That's good

 

Regarding a guide for Etosha, I agree with everything you have written. Francois Landrover was quite high and we all had a window seat, difficult to achieve in a rented vehicle. He is a capable driver and was very good at positioning the vehicle for photos. Francois is an excellent spotter and I am sure we would have missed many sights without a guide.We also benefitted from the camaraderie between guides as they were happy to share locations of sightings which may not be so willingly given to self-drivers. Very good point.

 

Its funny you should pose this question now as I am toying with the idea of a self-drive for my 5th Namibia/Etosha trip. Considering the loop Maun, Kuiseb Canyon, Swakopmund, don't know if we'd make it to Sesfontein and Kunene without a driver/guide, Etosha, Caprivi, maybe Kaudom, Shamvura for a few days with the Paxtons, maybe Mazambala, Mahango GR, Okavango houseboat out of Shakawe, maybe Drotsky's (I will need to choose b/w Shamvura, Mazambala and Drotsky's) before returning to Maun.

 

It would be wonderful to go at our own pace from day to day with a self-drive, however I do have some concerns regarding elephant encounters and there was a post here that outlined all the considrations that self-drivers need to consider, unfortunately I can't find it now. Let's see what we can find.

Thanks for your responses on self drive and guided drive.

 

 

 

How about this one?

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/7096-survival-in-the-bush-tips-for-hardy-self-drivers/

Edited by Atravelynn
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