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My Kwando experience : report & stories


Bush dog

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Bush dog

May 2003

 

Continued

 

One morning, we stopped, as usual, to have tea / coffee. Charles drew our attention to the song of a bird he spotted. He said it was a honeyguide. He began, by imitating its song, to respond to it and invited us to follow him. While advancing, they continued their musical dialogue. The bird, being faster, stopped on a tree branch, when necessary, to expect us. As soon as we arrived at its height, it set off again to land a little farther, until it began to turn around a particular tree while continuing to sing. Then we saw in a hollow in the trunk, at about six meters from the ground, a swarm of bees. The bird had led us there and to the honey at the same time.

 

post-48450-0-44669900-1432886438_thumb.jpg

 

Exchange of courtesies between elephants and wild dogs that do not impress the latter.

 

post-48450-0-67077500-1432886457_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-17338500-1432886475_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-17937700-1432886493_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-07933700-1432886508_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-83879300-1432886519_thumb.jpg

 

Greater kudu.

 

post-48450-0-15749700-1432886531_thumb.jpg

 

Geckos on the canvas of the tents’ windows.

Inside

 

post-48450-0-19541500-1432886559_thumb.jpg

 

Outside

 

post-48450-0-98008800-1432886634_thumb.jpg

 

To be continued

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May 2003   Continued   At Lagoon, there was at the time (maybe it still is?) a large African marula tree, also called, rightly, elephant tree. The camp was visited by two elephants, a very large

May 2003   Continued   One morning, we stopped, as usual, to have tea / coffee. Charles drew our attention to the song of a bird he spotted. He said it was a honeyguide. He began, by imitating

May 2003   Continued   A series of pictures of the three big males and members of their pride.     To be continued

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Kitsafari

@@Bush dog marvellous re-capture of the past days of the safari. you wouldn't want to mess around with those fierce looking male lions.

 

it's interesting to hear that the lion population was high in the 2003 that you were there, then it dipped but is now rising again. did anyone discover the reasons for the fluctuations?

 

you were a brave man to face the lesser (still big!) elephant alone Bush Dog!

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Bush dog

@@Kitsafari

 

Thanks a lot for your comments!

 

Unfortunately, I do not know the reasons for the decrease and rising again of the lions' population.

 

Well, it's very kind of you to say that I am a brave man, but in reality, I had no choice, the situation was forced on me. I did not panic and obviously had the appropriate behaviour.

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Tom Kellie

As long as the people on the vehicles don't have any bad intentions towards them, it's OK. Let's just hope that in the future decisions are not taken to again dedicate those places to hunting!

 

~ @@Bush dog

 

Thank you for explaining that to me.

I hope that visitors indeed have only the most benign of intentions.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-50661400-1432903753_thumb.jpg

~ @@Bush dog

 

This is a pleasing effect.

As ubiquitous as geckos may be, I've never before seen an image like this.

A specialized sort of silhouette.

Very Nice!

Tom K.

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Marks

Thrilling elephant story. I'm definitely more comfortable reading about it than I would be experiencing it.

 

Great photos to follow, particularly the 7th ele photo on the last page. Great shadows and light.

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Alex The Lion

@@Bush dog marvellous re-capture of the past days of the safari. you wouldn't want to mess around with those fierce looking male lions.

 

it's interesting to hear that the lion population was high in the 2003 that you were there, then it dipped but is now rising again. did anyone discover the reasons for the fluctuations?

 

you were a brave man to face the lesser (still big!) elephant alone Bush Dog!

 

@@Bush dog @@Kitsafari

 

I would attribute the lion dynamics on a couple of factors:

 

1. Between 2001 and 2005, there was a hunting moratorium on Lion in Botswana. I remember 4 large males that were seen in the concession in 2007, they soon became 3 on my next visit in May 2008, and were not seen again. The cessation of hunting in the concession from 2010 is probably reducing the difficulties in establishing a pride due to pride males being harvested.

 

2. The water levels down the Spillway has dispersed wildlife, hence predators too.

 

3. In 2006-7, the Lagoon pride crossed into Namibia (not uncommon) and not much of the pride returned. Those that did return were very skittish and left the area. There are rumours that a lot of the pride were killed by farmers.

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Bush dog

@@russell

 

Thanks a lot for the information!

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madaboutcheetah

 

@@Bush dog marvellous re-capture of the past days of the safari. you wouldn't want to mess around with those fierce looking male lions.

 

it's interesting to hear that the lion population was high in the 2003 that you were there, then it dipped but is now rising again. did anyone discover the reasons for the fluctuations?

 

you were a brave man to face the lesser (still big!) elephant alone Bush Dog!

 

@@Bush dog @@Kitsafari

 

I would attribute the lion dynamics on a couple of factors:

 

1. Between 2001 and 2005, there was a hunting moratorium on Lion in Botswana. I remember 4 large males that were seen in the concession in 2007, they soon became 3 on my next visit in May 2008, and were not seen again. The cessation of hunting in the concession from 2010 is probably reducing the difficulties in establishing a pride due to pride males being harvested.

 

2. The water levels down the Spillway has dispersed wildlife, hence predators too.

 

3. In 2006-7, the Lagoon pride crossed into Namibia (not uncommon) and not much of the pride returned. Those that did return were very skittish and left the area. There are rumours that a lot of the pride were killed by farmers.

@@russell - I'm pretty sure I saw those males with Alwyn iin savute in feb 2011. Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Bird Safaris were kicked off and their two camps taken over in 2008.

 

Re Lion prides - I think the situation is still to date pretty fluid ...... There are just so many nomadic males/ male Coalitions coming in and out of the concession at the current time, I do not know how the cubs are going to make it.

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Kitsafari

@@russell thanks so much for the explanation. Interesting to note that the cessation of hunting will lead hopefully to more male lions that aren't harvested now.

 

You mentioned In point 3 that the Lagoon pride were rumoured to have been killed by farmers.were these farmers from Namibia? I understand that lions in Namibia faces a lot of challenges especially from Namibian villagers who kill lions when they have a chance. It is not for me to say whether it is right or wrong as they have for years feared lions, but just very sad they have no opportunity to understand lion dynamics.

 

Sorrt @@Bush dog for hijacking your thread but you raised a pertinent factor in your trip. Always a chance for me to learn new things!

 

.

Edited by Kitsafari
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Big_Dog

Just loving everything in this, as with the Selinda report. Must have been nice to recognise some leonine faces from Selinda!

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Bush dog

 

 

@@Bush dog marvellous re-capture of the past days of the safari. you wouldn't want to mess around with those fierce looking male lions.

 

it's interesting to hear that the lion population was high in the 2003 that you were there, then it dipped but is now rising again. did anyone discover the reasons for the fluctuations?

 

you were a brave man to face the lesser (still big!) elephant alone Bush Dog!

@@Bush dog @@Kitsafari

 

I would attribute the lion dynamics on a couple of factors:

 

1. Between 2001 and 2005, there was a hunting moratorium on Lion in Botswana. I remember 4 large males that were seen in the concession in 2007, they soon became 3 on my next visit in May 2008, and were not seen again. The cessation of hunting in the concession from 2010 is probably reducing the difficulties in establishing a pride due to pride males being harvested.

 

2. The water levels down the Spillway has dispersed wildlife, hence predators too.

 

3. In 2006-7, the Lagoon pride crossed into Namibia (not uncommon) and not much of the pride returned. Those that did return were very skittish and left the area. There are rumours that a lot of the pride were killed by farmers.

@@russell - I'm pretty sure I saw those males with Alwyn iin savute in feb 2011.

 

It might also be the two skyttish males, I mentioned in post #1

 

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Bush dog

Sorry @@Bush dog for hijacking your thread but you raised a pertinent factor in your trip. Always a chance for me to learn new things!

 

.

You are not at all hijacking my thread. Besides, the discussion is directly linked to the topic.

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Bush dog

May 2003

 

Continued

 

At Lagoon, one morning, we found this porcupine near the dining room. It did not moved a lot, nor pretend to run away, to our approach. It did not look very well. On examination, we found that it had, on top of its skull, a hole the size of a leopard’s canine. We could even see its brain. This leopard was certainly still somewhere near the camp, waiting for the night to come and finish its prey. This leopard was also probably trying to get rid of some quills that its prey had certainly left in its face and muzzle.

 

post-48450-0-63676500-1432967882_thumb.jpg

 

We stopped to look at this lonely hippo. Restarting, we found that the battery was flat. We were unable to report our problem to the camp, no battery, no radio. Would we have to wait several hours before the camp, anxious not to see us, do initiate researches? We were on a land dip, with very slight slopes, in front and behind us. Ras asked everyone to try to push the vehicle as far back as possible and then push forward, while taking advantage of the downward slope. The vehicle restarted and we continued our game drive quietly.

Meanwhile, the hippo had made us its territorial show.

 

post-48450-0-58747000-1432967893_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-27571100-1432967905_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-77039300-1432967915_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-12141000-1432967925_thumb.jpg

 

To close the chapter, some buffaloes’ pictures.

 

post-48450-0-22265700-1432967937_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-98906700-1432967947_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-85711900-1432967959_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-61725200-1432967968_thumb.jpg

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Alex The Lion

@@russell thanks so much for the explanation. Interesting to note that the cessation of hunting will lead hopefully to more male lions that aren't harvested now.

 

You mentioned In point 3 that the Lagoon pride were rumoured to have been killed by farmers.were these farmers from Namibia? I understand that lions in Namibia faces a lot of challenges especially from Namibian villagers who kill lions when they have a chance. It is not for me to say whether it is right or wrong as they have for years feared lions, but just very sad they have no opportunity to understand lion dynamics.

 

Sorrt @@Bush dog for hijacking your thread but you raised a pertinent factor in your trip. Always a chance for me to learn new things!

 

.

 

Last post before I just enjoy @@Bush dog 's images.

 

@@Kitsafari The Capivi area is the location they would cross into. Although there are conservancies and national parks on that side, the is still a human habitation conflict. When the waters were far lower, they would often follow large herds onto the islands etc and across the country. The border is very pourous, and although there is a BDF anti poaching presence, there has been reported poaching along the river.

 

@@madaboutcheetah - I don't think it is the same lions, as these guys were pretty big already. I thought we speculated the 5 coaltion was the offspring from the Selinda (Milky Eye) pride circa 2007 when they had all those male cubs.

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madaboutcheetah

http://safaritalk.net/topic/6344-lucky-dry-weather-safari-amidst-a-wet-botswana/

 

Hi Russell,

Post 4 in the report - Now, I can't confirm that ..... just speculation.

 

You might well be right - Milky Eye's cubs 7 in the litter were born in 2007 and moved away in 2008 to Duma Tau - never to come back! ....

 

Sorry, Mike for hijacking the thread ;)

 

On the topic of poaching - did you guys read the last Ngami Times report? The BDF did shoot down 3 poachers!!!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Bush dog

May 2006

 

I had to go to Kwara and be one of the very first guests of Little Kwara. A week before my departure, they told me that there was a delay in finishing the building and that the new camp was not ready to receive its first guests in due time. They proposed to resettle me in two non-Kwando camps, theirs being, certainly, fully booked. The first was Pom Pom and the second Mapula. I accepted their proposal.

 

Pom Pom belonged to a family member of the owners of Kwando. The camp was similar to Kwara, comfortable and without unnecessary luxury, the tents being a bit larger. It was not fenced and therefore received day and night’s visits of many elephants. The central unit was facing a lagoon where it was possible to do mokoro’s trips. The food was excellent and the bar well stocked. The manager was Nigel Cantle. Kwando had sent Mothusi to guide me.

 

Mapula belonged, just before my arrival, to a local guide. When I arrived, I learned that, close to bankruptcy, he had to sell it, if I remember quiet well, to a Scandinavian investor. I was the only guest. The very few remaining staff knew that the camp had been sold and was awaiting instructions, which never came during my stay. The man in charge, Moses, that I will see again in Lagoon in 2011, as relief manager, tried hard, despite the circumstances, to make my stay as pleasant as possible. It was not easy for him. The one and only vehicle available was an old Land Rover, not at all designed for game drives. I can not imagine what I would have had to live in case of failure in the bush or in the middle of the floodplains. Not to mention the lagoon, the whole surrounding area was flooded. We had to make a few kilometers to find dry land. Concerning the wildlife, I only saw a few elephants, zebras, giraffes and impalas and some waterfowls. It was eventually boring. I still cannot figure out how Kwando sent me there, perhaps they were not aware of the seriousness of the situation? Still, upon my return, I made them a report, sharing my disappointment and telling them that what this camp offered me was largerly below the value of the amounts that I paid. They, then, immediately, offered me, in compensation, some free days, valid on a future visit.

 

Pom Pom

 

The stay at Pom Pom was good.

 

The highlight was this female leopard that was seen during almost every game drive.

 

post-48450-0-91435100-1433061925_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-65856600-1433061934_thumb.jpg

 

Here it stalks a group of impalas, wondering, I'm going, I do not go, give up and eventually take a look at the vehicle behind.

 

post-48450-0-34296000-1433061959_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-63691000-1433061972_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-04287500-1433061984_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-40655900-1433061991_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-55428800-1433062001_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-47542400-1433062015_thumb.jpg

 

 

Every day also, we went to see this nest of a Pel's fishing owl, whose chick could be seen on several occasions.

 

post-48450-0-42756200-1433062027_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-96009300-1433062035_thumb.jpg

 

We only saw one lion.

 

post-48450-0-12895700-1433062046_thumb.jpgpost-48450-0-44682200-1433062061_thumb.jpg

 

To be continued

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Big_Dog

What an unfortunate porcupine. :(
The leopardess was very beautiful though, and a fat, fluffy Pel's Fishing owl chick is a fantastically rare sighting!

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madaboutcheetah

An unfortunate situation, Mike ..... LK from memory only opened in July of 2006. Mapula was marketed a lot on their sable and wild dog viewing towards the early 2010s??? ..... sadly, one hears very little of Mapula in recent times .......

 

I have not been to Pom Pom except for brief stops at the airstrip to pick or drop other guests ...... looks like a good game area based on your description.

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graceland

@@Bush dog

 

I love love the leopard series; but I can also say all your photos are just superb! The lighting is very attractive; I love shades of the light playing off a specimen like your owl; some people get rid of natural looks, but I love them! I not a post processor so can't tell if it is or isn't but no matter = just delightful

 

Thanks for sharing your Kwando stories.

Edited by graceland
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optig

I remember Moses well because he was the co-manager along with Obi when I visited Lebala in 2011. He's a very kind, as well as knowledgeable man; I hope that I see him again at either Lebala,Lagoon,

or Little Kwara all of which I'll be visiting this year. Mothusi (Mr.Mo) is always a tracker at Lebala or Lagoon. He's very popular amongst safari goers.

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madaboutcheetah

@@optig - Mothusi is a legendary guide who now runs his own logistics business based in Maun. Not to be confused with Mr Moe (Moeti) the tracker extraordinaire .....

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optig

Thank you for the correction.

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Bush dog

@@graceland,

 

Thanks a lot! Except where it's obvious, and this only concerns a minority of my pictures, adjustments to contrast, saturation, sharpening,..... are minor and does not corrupt the initial look.

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