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Kwando Nov & Dec 2014


CDL111

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This was my wife's (Stephanie) and my (Chris) fourth safari all in Botswana and this is my first report, so if I am getting it wrong please say so.

Our trip was influenced by reading the trip reports posted here. We decided to try Nxai Pan and Tau Pan based on michael-ibk's report. We have been to Lagoon and Lebala before and always enjoyed the game drives there.

 

We used Safari Specialists in Maun as our TA, they were substantially cheaper than ATR.

 

Our itinery was:

Nxai Pan Nov 25-28

Tau Pan Nov 28-Dec 01

Lagoon Dec 01-04

Lebala Dec 04-07

Approaching Nxai Pan, you may just make out the elephants at the water hole far right.

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Our guide was Moshabi (Spencer's younger brother) and our tracker was Obzar.

 

Elephant.

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Emu + 9 youngsters

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We then went to one of the man made water holes and more elephant.

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We had stopped a little way from the water hole we moved closer and the road turned to the left and there she was.

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I didn't notice where she was looking.

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Then one arrived.

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Then the second.

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Followed by the third.

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And finally number four.

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As it was late we had to miss our sundowner, it was well worth it.

 

On our way back to camp, a lonely wilderbeast.

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Bush dog

It's an excellent start for a first TR!

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michael-ibk

Great start, Chris, looking forward to this. Very interested to see how Nxai and Tau Pan look at that time of the year since I'd like to return to Kwando at the beginning of the Green season, probably Nov. 2016.

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Tdgraves

I think your emu is an ostrich! Great first drive, lovely to see the cubs

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I think your emu is an ostrich! Great first drive, lovely to see the cubs

 

I do have an eye test booked for next Thursday!

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madaboutcheetah

Spencer's brother? ..... Haven't met him yet, but, really looking forward to the rest of this report.

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Great start! I enjoyed the wildebeest's spiky hair.

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Atravelynn

I am very interested in the time of year you went. Off to a fine start!

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Day 2. Morning call at 0500hrs, which was the same at all camps. Not many different mammals about today and it turned out to be another hot day (37c), yesterday was 35c. All vehicles had the roof fitted, which helps with shade but obviously can restrict the viewing or photographing of birds not on your side of the vehicle.

 

Sunrise.

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Black backed jackel

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Bat eared fox

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Elephant.

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Springbok

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More of elephant

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Young impala

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Swallow-tailed bee-eater

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Yellow billed kite

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Lappet-faced vulture

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Pin-tailed whydah

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Giraffe

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Pale chanting goshawk

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Elephant

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This is the only photograph that I was able to take that wasn't too blurred. The dogs were spotted by the other guide (Simon) and as soon as we got there they were off. There were 3 adults and 3 young adults. We did try and follow the dogs but having to stay on the road it was impossible. At least, we had a record to llok back on.

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michael-ibk

Great to see Bat-Eared Foxes and even Dogs, and lovely waterhole pics.

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graceland

Enjoyed the elies at the water hole. And you did see the dogs!

 

But loved the beginning with the lion family..awesome.

 

And, Safari Specialists are a fine group; I used them as well for Botswana Green Season - a terrific trip organized by Erica.

 

Looking forward to more!

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There's a dynamic sense of movement to your ele photos. Looks like a nice variety of sightings so far.

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Day 3 and a trip to Baines Baobabs.

 

We did a game drive before heading to the baobabs.

 

Breakfast is nearly ready

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Crimson-breasted shrike.

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Buffalo

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Giraffe

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On the road to Baines Baobab

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Steenbok

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Elephant

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Zebras

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Double-banded courser

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Baines Baobab

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Elephant

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Cheetah

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Day 4, our last game drive at Nxai Pan.

 

Cheetah a long way away.

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Young springbok

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elephant

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ALL the staff worked hard to make it an enjoyable stay. We were fully aware of the rules in the national parks, and therefore we accept that we were unable to follow the dogs or cheetah.

It may well be that we were still too early for the full migration as the only animal in any quantity was zebra which we saw on our way to Baines. The largest herd of wilderbeast was 8. It may well be worth researching if Jan/Feb may be a better time to stay here. Would we go here again? Possibly, but not late November. It could well be that the wildlife was not in the right place at the right time. Our sightings at Tau Pan were totally different.

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We left Nxai Pan for Tau Pan and as there was another couple also leaving but flying to Lagoon we were flown to Maun and then onto our respective destinations.

We arrived at the camp and no sooner had we been intoduced to the staff that thunder and lightening started. It was quite spectacular to watch and the storm was some distance away. We we shown to our room and I had a shower outside. I had just finished when the wind and rain started. We were in room 5 nearest the main building. The wind was that strong that it was blowing the rain into the room and even though I haad moved our luggage to the back wall the rain was still reaching it. I went outside and dropped the outside covers that protected the sliding doors and the one covering the first window on the steps, could not reach the cover for the other window so the rain was still being blown in and the leather chairs against the back wall were getting a good soaking. After a while the rain abaited, but not the wind, so we made our way to the main building. Just to give you an idea as to the strength of the wind, all the sofas in the main builing were soaked before they had managed to drop all the outside covers.

Our game drive was obviously delayed and about 1730hrs the wind and rain had eased, we were asked if we would like to go one a game drive.The ladies that we were sharing the vehicle with were up for it so off we went. Our guide was Josiah and our tracker was Diploma. Rosi, Marian and Cynthia are keen bird watchers and asked us if it would be OK for Josiah to stop at the birds they had not seen. It would have been extreamly selfish to say no. So ponchos on and black plastic bags for the camera off we went. The vehicle had the roof fitted so it kept some of the rain off. A few birds were spotted but other than that, no photographs worth showing.

When we got back, the main room and all our rooms had been cleaned up and other than wet carpets and furniture there was no sign of the damade that the wind and rain had caused, well done to all the staff.

 

Day 2.

A nice fine day and our first ever sighting of red hartebeest, not an animal that will let you get close to take a photograph.

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Kori Buzzard

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Josiah had spotted a lion and said to us that he thought it was dead, we were all watching for a breathing movement, but there was none, and then behold he opened his eyes, yes Josiah had fooled us all.

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Time to get up and walk off this little snack!

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Time for us to move on.

 

Ground squirrel

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There were some good sightings of birds for the ladies but none close enough to take a good photograph of.

 

A little while later yippee, a pride of lions. 1 male, 5 females and we could only see 4 cubs.

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Lapwing

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Gosshawk

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Back for brunch. For us it was very pleasing to see predators and the ladies were happy just spotting the birds, photgraphy for them was secondary.

 

Afternoon drive. Josiah had been told of a leopard sighting so we are going to see if it is still there.

 

Gemsbok

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Unusual gathering? top is a white backed vulture, next ?, then 2 bateleur and at the bottom a tawney eagle.

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At the waterhole and no sign of the leopard. So its time to find a suitable place for our sundowner.

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Having a sundowner and taking a photograph of a southern masked-weaver. Didn't spill adrop of G & T.

 

Gemsbok, same herd, the 2 phots are from left to right of the large herd.

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Tomorrow is our trip to Deception Valley, can it live up to today's sightings? YES and more!

 

 

 

 

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Our trip to Deception valley was pre booked with by our TA. We had discussed the trip with the ladies that were sharing the vehicle with us and the declined as they did not want a full day trip, however a couple who had arrived that afternoon asked Josiah if they could come, which was agreed to.

 

So our game drive began, another dry day with a little cloud cover. Initially just birds to photograph.

 

First is a crimson breasted shrike, not the best photograph, and hopefully I can persuade the wife that we need but another camera so we get better results.

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This is then followed by white stork.

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One of many northern black korhaans. To watch them land reminds me of seeing a harrier jump jet landing.

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There were so many springboks in this herd that if I had tried to phtograph the whole herd it would have been just dots in a picture.

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We then came across a family of ground squirrels.

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A little while later was a secretary bird strutting around.

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It was within a minute and the other side of the road that we then saw pride of lionesses with their cubs. Try as we could, we could not see all the cubs, as Josiah has made this game drive many times, that he told us that the last time he was here there were 6 cubs.

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We had just left the pride when a secretary bird in flight was spotted.

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Four minutes from seeing the pride we saw the male of the pride.

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Not long after leaving the lion, we had brunch. Then on with our drive.

 

An iguana checking out if it is safe.

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A chestnut-backed sparrowlark.

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We then arrived at Deception Valley. There was only an ostrich (got this right) on the far side and Josiah said that because of the recent rain it was too risky to go across the pan.

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So we then headed to Sunday Pan, spotted a few brown veined white butterfly.

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A little while later a giraffe was spotted.

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Aother herd of springbok.

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And then a skulk (?) of bat eared foxes.

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Josiah recieved a call and immediately stopped. He then told us that there had been a lion kill, and that is was at least 2 hours away. It was agreed by all that we would like to go see the kill. After a while it started to rain and the wind had increased, so out came the ponchos.

Josiah stopped so we could take this photograph of the first of eleven of these views. The photo just not do justice as, to the naked eye it really gave the impression that the world is flat and when you got to the far end you were going to drop off.

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Kudo was spotted.

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We then arrived at the kill, this was another first for us.

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After a while one of the males decided to have a look at our vehicle soon followed by the other male, as one was going to the front and the other to the back Josiah said it was time to leave as he could not watch the lions at the same time. It certainly got the adrenalin pumping. The wife said she wasn't too bothered as I was the closest to the lions.

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Spotted the clean up crews on the way back to the lodge

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Tomorrow we move on to Lagoon and as we have to be on the plane before 11am, do not expect to see anything other that birds. Wrong again! do not ask me to pick lottery numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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wilddog

You had some lovely sightings. :) I particularly like your pictures of those mud spattered elephants. Looking forward to the next section.

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The wife said she wasn't too bothered as I was the closest to the lions.

Haha, well, can't argue with that logic!

 

Nice lions in this post. I enjoyed the appearance of one at the kill which appears to have a beard rather than a mane. Perhaps it is @@Game Warden's new rival? Also, the big pride male from earlier in the post is a such an archetypal male lion...beautiful photos.

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Tau Pan....brings back some great memories....we were there in Feb 2014. And to be honest we loved Tau Pan and of the 3 camps the other 2 were Little Kwara and Lagoon if we had to pick we would probably go back to TP...just something about it is awesome....

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graceland

I loved your butterflies......

 

and then the contrast of the lion kill. wow,

 

had to put my wine down. :wacko:

Very intense those lions were.

 

Picking it back up now...but a great day for you!

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You had some lovely sightings. :) I particularly like your pictures of those mud spattered elephants. Looking forward to the next section.

 

You had some lovely sightings. :) I particularly like your pictures of those mud spattered elephants. Looking forward to the next section.

Thanks wilddog, no elephants at Tau Pan, there is a big herd at Lebala

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The wife said she wasn't too bothered as I was the closest to the lions.

Haha, well, can't argue with that logic!

 

Nice lions in this post. I enjoyed the appearance of one at the kill which appears to have a beard rather than a mane. Perhaps it is @@Game Warden's new rival? Also, the big pride male from earlier in the post is a such an archetypal male lion...beautiful photos.

 

And I no longer have life assurance to old at 65.

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I loved your butterflies......

 

and then the contrast of the lion kill. wow,

 

had to put my wine down. :wacko:

Very intense those lions were.

 

Picking it back up now...but a great day for you!

 

Thankyou Graceland, even now, looking at the pictures I feel that I am in the vehicle looking at the kill.

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Tau Pan....brings back some great memories....we were there in Feb 2014. And to be honest we loved Tau Pan and of the 3 camps the other 2 were Little Kwara and Lagoon if we had to pick we would probably go back to TP...just something about it is awesome....

Thanks @@SSF556, the view of the waterhole from the room is excellent, we were in room 5, nearest the main building.

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michael-ibk

Really enjoy seeing Tau Pan again in this report, thank you! You had great sightings there, especially with lions. That kill is quite intense. I´m wondering if some of the cubs you´re showing us here are the product of what we witnessed in March. :)

 

I think we had room 5 as well. Looking forward to your last morning - and Lagoon and Lebala of course!

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The wife said she wasn't too bothered as I was the closest to the lions.

Haha, well, can't argue with that logic!

 

Nice lions in this post. I enjoyed the appearance of one at the kill which appears to have a beard rather than a mane. Perhaps it is @@Game Warden's new rival? Also, the big pride male from earlier in the post is a such an archetypal male lion...beautiful photos.

 

Thanks @@Marks, after a slow start on preditors we have had some good sightings.

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