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My Kwando experience : report & stories


Bush dog

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Bush dog

May 2006

 

Pom Pom

 

Continued

 

The pictures of the fish eagle were made using a dead fish as bait, as, moreover, the majority of those, that can be seen in major magazines or in some deluxe editions, made by professional photographers. Often the eagle holds the fish in its talons, by the belly, not by the back. Personally, I have never seen a living fish that swims belly up?

 

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Steenbok.

 

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I saw at Pom Pom, the largest number of elephants drinking together in one place. I estimated their number at about seventy five individuals. We were busy sipping our sundowners, when they got around to our left, to our right, to almost encircle us. We were careful not to move too much, nor to make any noise. I did not, therefore, take any pictures. The moment was awe-inspiring and magical, I will never forget it.

 

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Here are a few pictures taken at Mapula.

 

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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

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

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Geoff

Lovely egret series.

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twaffle

Wonderful to see the changes in your photography over time and all the history you've captured.

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Bush dog

October 2006

 

This time, I will not have to rely on my memory, I will be able to say more and go into more details. I, it does not matter for once, took notes that I found in my archives.

 

LAGOON

 

On the way to Lagoon, the plane landed at Pom Pom. One of the tires of the aircraft being deflated, the pilot requested a pump that was brought from the camp by Nigel Cantle. It was nice to see him again. So, I arrived at Lagoon with some delay. Apart from some faithful, such as Spencer, Hobbs and some others, staff turnover has always been great in Kwando Safaris camps. Therefore, I do not quite know anymore who ran the camp, perhaps BK? The time to put the luggage down in the tent, and I was leaving the camp for my first game drive with a guide that I remember quite well, but of which I'm not very sure of the name? Was that Ras, Russ or something similar. It was not a very young guy, small,wearing glasses, I think, and having a hoarse voice. His tracker was a young man, quite tall and athletic, BD. It was one of my best (if not the best) stays in a Kwando camp. These two persons formed a strong team where professionalism and humor and fantasy got on well together. There was between them a great complicity.

 

So we first searched, on the edge of the camp, a pack of six wild dogs we did not find. Then we went to see the carmine bee eaters’ colony, nesting in the walls of the banks of the Kwando. Given the lack of room for all of them, some had dug their nests on the ground, giving more opportunities to monitor lizards, snakes, ….. to steal their eggs.

 

We had, then, been warned of the presence of three male lions on the route to the north. They were sleeping under a bush. The sun was almost down, when one of them, seeing a buffaloes’ herd, got up and went to hide itself in the tall grass, across their path. A second herd, then, came from the opposite direction. Once the buffaloes were close to it, the lurking lion tried his luck, without success. This caused the turning round of the majority of the two herds, some yet charging the lion. The first herd then decided, at full gallop, and in a huge cloud of dust, to join the second. The night had fallen, the two remaining lions decided then to also follow the herd. We decided, given the darkness, to withdraw and return to the camp, accompanied by the roars of the lions.

 

One of the lions

 

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To be continued

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madaboutcheetah

Mike, Sounds like we had the exact combination in 2006 ...... I went in the second half of August, 2006 and that year did indeed have BK as manager of Lagoon. I too had Russ (Ruster) guiding me with tracker, Baruti that year. His voice has mysteriously cleared up completely - I bumped into him in Maun airport a couple of years ago!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Bush dog

@@madaboutcheetah

 

Thanks, Hari, for the information concerning Russ. I'm glad to hear that he's good. It's a guy that I really appreciated not only as a guide, but also as a human being.

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Marks

Wow - the third hippo shot on the last page is one I dream of getting someday.

Greatly enjoying your storytelling, as well.

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Bush dog

October 2006

 

Continued

 

LAGOON

 

The next day, we decided to track the lions. We followed the trail, very far north, without finding them. Meanwhile, we saw many buffaloes, some elephants, kudus and one roan antelope, that, as in many cases, did not allow us time to observe it. On returning, we found, very close to the camp, the six wild dogs, we wanted to find the day before.

 

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At the camp, I had the pleasant surprise to see Charles, passing through Lagoon with guests from Lebala.

 

In the afternoon, we found the six wild dogs, already seen them in the morning. This time I was the only guest on the vehicle.

 

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I decided, after discussion with Russ, to wait for the sunset, thinking that the pack may then decide to move and that we could follow it. It is always worthwhile, if one has the opportunity to do so, to follow the wild dogs when they move; in most cases, something will happen. As there was still some time, we went two hundred meters away, where it was still possible for us to keep an eye on the wild dogs, to the place where the carmine bee-eaters were nesting. I sat on the sand, close to those nesting in the ground, and I waited, until they were accustomed to my presence, to start photographing. I stayed there a long time.

 

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We then returned close to the wild dogs for sundowners that we had outside the vehicle, while remaining side thereof. A wild dog, probably more curious than the others, then calmly and gradually approached and came to my feet, to sniff my shoes, and then returned to its congeners.

 

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On this photo, only the look is sharp. To emphasize it, I strongly decreased the brightness. This is the result, in both black and white and colours.

 

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The sun was almost down, when, as we had expected, they moved. It did not take long for something to happen. They spotted a five years old male leopard that had just time to find shelter on the extreme branches of a small fallen tree, that elephants had uprooted. It was at roughly two and a half meters above the ground, in unstable equilibrium, like a tightrope walker on a wire, on thin branches that were bending under its weight. The wild dogs were yelping and jumping around it, without having the opportunity to catch it. It was obvious that it could not stay long on this unstable perch and would, sooner or later, fall and finish teared to pieces by the dogs. However, it was fortunate that they locate its sister that was safely on a big tree, and head to that new centre of interest. This diversion allowed the young male to quickly go to safety on another tree. The wild dogs then decided to leave. We stayed a while, hoping to see the mother and finally, the night being totally fallen, we went back to the camp.

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Geoff

Excellent Mike.

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mvecht

@@Bush dog

 

Great report that brings back a lot of memories from Kwando.

I think you just had very bad luck with Cheetah sightings.

I went to the Kwando concession in dry season 2004/2005/2006 and 2007 with a total of 22 nights.

I had a total of 18 Cheetah sightings and 6 Leopard sightings and actually spent a lot of the time looking for the Dogs so not specifically looking for Cheetah (sorry Hari ;) ). 10 Dog sightings (4 kills) during that period

12 nights at Kwara produced 4 Cheetah sightings, 6 Leopard sightings and 2 Dog sightings.

Plenty of Lion sightings for all four visits and all camps with only 2007 being a Little slow in Kwando.

Edited by mvecht
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Bush dog

October 2006

 

Continued

 

LAGOON

 

The next two days were rather quiet, insofar as big cats and wild dogs were not seen, which was not the case for many other species. The night drives were very productive.

 

Amongst the day sightings, a huge herd of buffaloes of about a thousand individuals, six sable, two honey badgers, and also elephants, giraffes, kudus, zebras, baboons and tsessebes.

 

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During the night drives, we saw a very relaxed caracal, two genets, a steenbok and its fawn, a young Mozambique spitting cobra, two African wild cats and many springhares.

 

The morning of the second day, we found under a thick bush, the carcass of a male lechwe, but no sign of the leopard that had killed it. We came back in the afternoon and found two fat hyenas, that had chased the leopard away.

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penolva

@@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 .....

Would that be the same Moses that now runs his own mobile safari business? Pen

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madaboutcheetah

Pen, no this is Moses the manager ...... Different guy.

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Bush dog

October 2006

 

Continued

 

LAGOON

 

The next day, we left earlier to go to the Lebala sector. Arrived in the area, we noted that on a particular spot, all the trees were occupied by a high concentration of vultures and marabou storcks.

 

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Two buffaloes had been killed by lions. The two males were busy finishing the carcasses and a female was nearby. One of the two males was, I imagine, Milky Eye.

 

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madaboutcheetah

Brilliant last segment, Mike!!! and a Milky Eye sighting!!!! although, he was not blessed with good looks - he was a BEAST!!! an ex-safaritalker Sniktawk used to refer to these as "Mohican" Lions.

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Bush dog

@@madaboutcheetah

 

Thanks Hari! You could also refer to these as "Punk" lions.

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Bush dog

October 2006

 

Continued

 

LAGOON

 

Here is the continuation of the previous post and of the banquet of the beasts.

 

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Further we followed one of the males that rejoined three other females. On the way back to camp, we stopped for a family of giant eagle owls and saw a roan.

 

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Bush dog

October 2006

 

Continued

 

LAGOON

 

The next day, on my last game drive at Lagoon, we saw a couple of sidestriped jackals and a dwarf mongooses’ colony.

 

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On the way to the airstrip, a young leopard, probably one of the two seen during their confrontation with the six wild dogs, was sitting on a large branch of leadwood.

 

 

KWARA

 

I arrived in the early afternoon at Little Kwara. While landing, I saw a huge herd of buffaloes. Little Kwara was managed by Jonah. My guide was Doctor, and the tracker, Martin.

 

The game drive in the afternoon was pretty quiet. We saw the same herd of buffaloes that the one seen from the plane, and two lions, one of them had fresh marks of a hoof’s blow on the mouth.

 

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madaboutcheetah

Mike, that jackal image is brilliant!!! Very artistic when he's hidden in that golden grass in perfect light -

 

Jonah!!! What a true gentleman! ....... My very first guide at Kwando in 2004.

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Bush dog

Thanks Hari,

 

Indeed, Jonah is, like yous aid, a real gentlemen. I met him first in 2003 at Lebala where he was guiding..

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Bush dog

October 2006

 

Continued

 

K WARA

 

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The next day we found lions, on a buffalo carcass, a young male, three females and two cubs. We also had to face the mock charge of an elephant.

 

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After lunch, Doctor picked me up at my room, a leopard had been spotted near the camp, a beautiful five years old female. This female will be seen several times, not only during the four days of my stay, but also in 2009. I think all those who have been to Kwara, between 2006 and 2011, must know it. It died, I think, early 2011.

 

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In the afternoon, we went to the rookery. En route, we saw an elephant in the water, moving in the papyri.

 

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On the way back, two hundred meters from the jetty, we saw two vehicles from Kwara camp with their occupants photographing something on a tree. It was Russian tourists, in the vehicles of course, not on the tree. They were sixteen, fifteen men and one woman. They never stayed long on a sighting, just a few minutes, the time to make their photos and then next please. The two camps are close to each other, at night you could hear them, feasting at great reinforcement of alcohol, I guess. On the tree in question, was the female leopard. On its descent from the tree, we followed it for two hours before returning to the camp. It was obviously looking for its cub and had probably forgotten where it had left it.

 

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Mike, brilliant segment again. I think this female also had a cub in 2006 and both were seen a lot around both camps until maybe 2008 or 2009 ........

 

Also, love the Lion eye in the earlier segment.

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Bush dog

Hi Hari,

 

Thanks again! In the next post, there will be pictures of the cub. In 2009, I only saw the mother.

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AfricIan

Fascinating look-back @@Bush dog, it's bringing back great memories of our trip in 2007. Here are a few photo's of our "Little Kwara leopard", my cat recognition skills aren't upto saying if it's that same one as you photographed.

 

Bots07_0500.jpg

Bots07_0502.JPG

Bots07_0514.JPG

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Bush dog

@@AfricIan

 

Thanks a lot! It is, indeed the same one as mine.

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