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Kwando Nov. 2014, a mixed safari experience


Wild Dogger

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Wild Dogger

That evening at dinner time I am talking to Matt about the issue that we don´t find any predators besides the dogs.

His explanation was, that due to the fact that the Impalas have been given birth to their offspring, there´s plenty food for the cats.

They don´t have to move around a lot to find prey. That means, that there are no tracks to be found by the guides and trackers.

Even the dogs were not moving much, they stayed mainly in the area close to camp.

Sounded obvious to me.

 

18.11.2014

Our last morning in Lagoon.

 

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The light is beautiful but there are no animals.

 

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Paul cruises around always quietly talking on the radio.

 

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There must be something, but he does not tell. He leaves us in unknowing.

 

It takes more than an hour of boring driving thru the bush. No information from our guide what he´s looking for. Then we realize that we were looking for dogs.

 

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We are already in the Mopane woodlands as one dogs crosses our way. He´s calling his mates. He´s lost them.

 

Again we lose him. After almost an hour the other car found the pack. The lost boy is already there.

 

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We spent some time with them before we have a short coffee break. We must get to the airstrip.

 

On our way there we step over a group of Sable antilopes.

 

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Where have u been all days? It seems as if Lagoon wants to say: „Hey, don´t judge us too bad.“

 

Good thing they do nowadays at Kwando, is, that if you have an early flight, they bring your luggage separatly to the airstrip. Last time we had to carry the luggage with us during the drive.

 

Another thing we observed this year, was that many travellers are wearing bright colours on their safari.

 

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Especially bright blue (I like to call it walking Tsetse fly traps) is hip.

 

On the airstrip Paul asks, if we are likely to come back to Lagoon. Unfortunately I had to answer, that I won´t at that time of the year. It´s too much hit or miss. And for that it is too expensive IMHO. I know, that it´s not a zoo out there and you can always be unlucky, but if I remind all our travels in that area (6 times always at that time), I must observe, that the fruitless time was always overbalanced.

Esp. compared to Kwara. The reason we always said, we go to Lagoon or Lebala was the good chance of seeing African Wild Dogs.

If I´d go to that area at that time of the year again, I´d prefer Lebala. I might be wrong, but due to the wide open spaces there, it appears to me easier to catch up game.

 

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Lagoon Camp from above

 

Our flight to Maun goes via Lebala. There we pick up our fellow travellers from England. We also say hello to Bate and Mr. Moe. While we´ve been in Lagoon, they found the 7 dogs and were able to spend a whole drive with a Leopard and his cub. Lucky guys.

 

In Maun we have some time before our flight to JNB leaves, so we take a drink in the pub on the opposite side of the International Airport. As we are about to leave, we have our last and very special sighting:
Cassie, the assistent camp manager of Little Kwara in 2012 and now working in the Kwando office. She heard that we should arrive that time from Lagoon and wanted to say hello to us during her lunch break. She already missed us on our way in to Maun. That was very nice from her and now we leave with the good feeling to have seen her.

Edited by Wild Dogger
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We booked this trip with African Travel Resource as we did not get the desired travel dates with our German TO. ATR was able to produce the desired dates. Itinerary:   07.11. depart from Frankfurt

09.11. day 2 pt. 1, better known as predator´s sunday   We wake up with the lion´s roaring east of camp. After a quick caffee and cookie by the fire we head east. Needless to say that the ponchos

A happy New Year everybody!

graceland

@@Wild Dogger

 

It is unfortunate the Lagoon segment did not life up to billing for a variety of reasons, looks like you got some good shots none the less. I remember in November 2011, we could drive for 1 hour without seeing anything.

 

It is unfortunate you did not click with Paul (I have not met him). The truth is, you could not pay me to be guided by Spencer, and my experience with him for 2/3 days in 2007 was something I never want to relive. But that is the nature of guiding/hospitality, horses for courses!

 

You can also get guides at the wrong time, for example, the dead week before their leave starts!

 

I would also agree that it is a little mean not to utilise more vehicles. If I were managing, treating repeat guests to a private vehicle is something I would consider. (They can't use the price of fuel as an excuse for too much longer)

 

Yep we had a"dead week" while at LK, and our guide was so exasperating to me. I could not wait to leave. It truly is the guide who makes the experience; and in turn I try to show my appreciation when that happens. Management was absent as well during our stay at LK. I always wondered why folks made over Kwando as they do; perhaps one day I will return to find out

 

But we did meet Cassie as well and she was the bright light over the three days we spent in camp!

 

Beautiful last shot of the river at Lagoon.

Edited by graceland
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I would also agree that it is a little mean not to utilise more vehicles. If I were managing, treating repeat guests to a private vehicle is something I would consider. (They can't use the price of fuel as an excuse for too much longer)

@@russell

in 2012, when Obi and Maipelo were managing Lagoon, they gave us a private vehicle on one drive as courtesy as we were frequent guests. We really were happy that year and it was one main reason to go back there. They really treated us nicely, also gave us a present when leaving.

Might also be because Spencer was in the house. He was very helpful that year to his guests, making it possible that they could share a vehicle in Kwara also, despite the fact one couple was in LK and the other in Kwara.

This year none of the above was in Lagoon. Management was different but I won´t complain about that.

 

@@russell, Maipelo departed from Kwando at the end of November 2014, as I understand, she has taken up a job in teaching. Pity as she had just be give the deputy manager's job at Nxai Pan.

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madaboutcheetah

@@Wild Dogger - It's a pity that you were unlucky with the early rains this year up north ...... For the majority of 2014, the Lion Pride with young cubs were show-stoppers and we had good sightings of them last winter. With the cubs growing up quickly, I suppose they followed the buffaloes into the mopane.

 

On the flip side, everyone booked at Lagoon were there MOSTLY for the Wild dogs who had packed up and shifted den at Lebala.

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

 

 

I would also agree that it is a little mean not to utilise more vehicles. If I were managing, treating repeat guests to a private vehicle is something I would consider. (They can't use the price of fuel as an excuse for too much longer)

@@russell

in 2012, when Obi and Maipelo were managing Lagoon, they gave us a private vehicle on one drive as courtesy as we were frequent guests. We really were happy that year and it was one main reason to go back there. They really treated us nicely, also gave us a present when leaving.

Might also be because Spencer was in the house. He was very helpful that year to his guests, making it possible that they could share a vehicle in Kwara also, despite the fact one couple was in LK and the other in Kwara.

This year none of the above was in Lagoon. Management was different but I won´t complain about that.

 

@@russell, Maipelo departed from Kwando at the end of November 2014, as I understand, she has taken up a job in teaching. Pity as she had just be give the deputy manager's job at Nxai Pan.

 

 

Oh no ....... She personally sat with a guide (who had a free day with no guests) with the cheetah brothers in 2013 as she knew that I had been searching high and low for them for the best part of 10 days and they finally popped out when I went away to Kwara. She sat with them when she knew I was taking the flight back to Lagoon.

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Beautiful dogs and sable! Too bad about the other predators, but everything looks wonderful and you produced some great photos whilst living up to your username.

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twaffle

Thanks Wild Dogger for your honesty in compiling this report which I find refreshing. Safaris are such wonderful things that sometimes we can be loath to relate the not so good experiences yet I think it is important for people planning their own safari, especially if it is their first one, to realise that there are some down times as well as the good ones.

 

I find it hard, in my own experiences, to include negatives because they are nearly always out weighed by the positive, however, it has it's place to mention them. For instance, the issues with travelling in a vehicle with strangers not always being easy, is a good one to discuss as it helps future travellers to prepare themselves. Also knowing what to do in the event of being given a guide who is not performing to your expectations. Even to the extent of knowing what is a balanced expectation.

 

I still think that you came back with interesting experiences and sightings and I've enjoyed the report very much.

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penolva

For me those Aardwolf puppy photos are outstanding. What a privilege. If you enter the "New Life" category of the Kwando photo competition I reckon you will win.

Edited by penolva
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  • 2 weeks later...
Wild Dogger

If you´re interested in our following KNP experience click here.

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KaingU Lodge

Thanks Wild Dogger for your honesty in compiling this report which I find refreshing. Safaris are such wonderful things that sometimes we can be loath to relate the not so good experiences yet I think it is important for people planning their own safari, especially if it is their first one, to realise that there are some down times as well as the good ones.

 

I find it hard, in my own experiences, to include negatives because they are nearly always out weighed by the positive, however, it has it's place to mention them. For instance, the issues with travelling in a vehicle with strangers not always being easy, is a good one to discuss as it helps future travellers to prepare themselves. Also knowing what to do in the event of being given a guide who is not performing to your expectations. Even to the extent of knowing what is a balanced expectation.

 

I still think that you came back with interesting experiences and sightings and I've enjoyed the report very much.

 

I have relished this TR and the fantastic photography @@Wild Dogger To be honest if I just look at the pictures I would never have guessed that the whole experience was nothing short of five star.

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I have to say that I remember Obi very well from when I stayed at Lebala Camp in 2011, and Lagoon Camp in 2013. She's a beautiful lady both on physically, and far more importantly on the inside. I hope that she'll be a co-manager at either Lagoon,Lebala or Little Kwara Camp when I go there later this year.

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Wild Dogger

I have to say that I remember Obi very well from when I stayed at Lebala Camp in 2011, and Lagoon Camp in 2013. She's a beautiful lady both on physically, and far more importantly on the inside. I hope that she'll be a co-manager at either Lagoon,Lebala or Little Kwara Camp when I go there later this year.

I agree, Obi is a very welcoming person. Missed her at either Lebala or Lagoon.

 

As I know, Obi just gave birth to a child. Not sure, when she will be back in the camps.

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  • 11 months later...
martywilddog

Just read through your report @@Wild Dogger and what a great read it was! Such great pictures too! Makes me reconsider a trip report :-s

 

Could I just ask you what you mean by this quote. "There is another older guy from Germany new in this car. He´s never been on Safari before. He´s totally lost. Sometimes I don´t understand those travel agents, why they sell such specialized places like the Kwando camps to first timers. This guy would have been perfectly suited with a camp somewhere in the Xakanaka area, where there´s no offroad and not that hardcore like Kwando."

 

I am planning our second safari (cannot afford Kwando though) and I don't want to end up making a mistake on where we go :)

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