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Namibia and Botswana - March 2015


dinkdunk
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I just wanted to share some of the highlights/lowlights of the trip to Hoanib, Serra Cafema, Savuti, and Little Tubu with Wilderness taking advantage of the green season special.

 

Namibia was all about the scenery, at least in the area we visited - the Kunene region including the Skeleton Coast. There were some animals to be found that had adapted to the desert climate, which made finding them all the more special.

 

My favorite camp of the trip was Hoanib. It was really a neat place and the exceptional staff helped it stand out. I really enjoyed the hike to a nearby mountain and the day trip to the Skeleton Coast.

 

The camp:

 

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During our hike, the view from the top of the mountain overlooking the dry riverbed:

 

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On our trip to the Skeleton Coast, we finally found a herd of elephants. They follow the water and resulting growth:

 

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The elephants are not at all used to vehicles, as in Botswana. We really didn't try to get close to them, but admired them from far away against the backdrop.

 

There are plenty of giraffe to be found, like this mother and her baby:

 

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We also were thrilled to stumble upon a pair of the desert lions being tracked as part of the lion conservation project in that area. The two females wandered into camp that night and chatted around the watering hole for our enjoyment :)

 

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The Skeleton Coast trip was great - we were able to see how the landscape changes from mountains, to riverbeds, to sand dunes, and finally the coast.

 

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Next we headed to Serra Cafema. This was my least favorite camp. The premium camps are just too over the top, the staff wasn't particularly engaging or enthusiastic (except for a few) and the visit to the local Himba tribes was very awkward for us. I was glad we only had two nights at this camp.

 

I did think the scenery in this area was beyond anything I could have imagined.

 

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Although I thought this might be a weird thing to do on a "safari" trip, the quadbiking trip was great fun - around here we call it 4 wheeling!

 

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Next we flew a chartered Wilderness Air flight to Botswana, as we didn't want to lose a night on commercial flights. I wouldn't recommend this after the 6am to 4pm experience of being in a tiny plane while we all started getting sick from something....not pleasant.

 

To top off the long flight, we landed at the wrong airstrip. It seems Wilderness Air Namibia doesn't communicate with Wilderness Air Botswana. After an hour of sitting on the hot airstrip, we finally figured out why our ride wasn't there.

 

Thankfully, the LTC Pack decided to brighten up our day with a hunt right around camp on our short evening drive. Thanks, wild dogs!

 

I only saw one lone female dog at Mombo on my last trip. I had no idea how entertaining these guys are - I couldn't even begin to get a decent photo of them hunting. They did pause every once in a while to help me out!

 

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I enjoyed Savuti camp, overall. It was a larger camp than I am used to, but the staff was really fun and entertaining. They seemed to all enjoy their jobs. They even let me try my hand at basket weaving.

 

The water levels were very low in the area - they said that they thought the channel in front of camp would probably dry up again in the near future.

 

We saw plenty of elephant herds and the other usual suspects. One of the couples at Savuti had just come from Tubu Tree (our next camp) and had a tale of a cranky matriarch elephant that charged their vehicle, managing to get a tusk stuck in the door and moving the whole defender a few feet. That made me a little wary of the large elephant herds, for sure!

 

I thought (what looked like) the three generations here was pretty cool:

 

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One day we were driving over by Kings Pool and we heard some irate trumpeting elephants in the distance. When we accidentally drove into the middle a herd of at least 30 elephants I nearly had a heart attack. Thank goodness they were not the angry herd and were more interested in listening to the other herd than what we were doing. I couldn't even zoom out enough to get more than the few right in front our vehicle.

 

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Namibia always delivers with scenic landscapes! @@dinkdunk, great phots. How many days was your Namibia part of the trip?

Edited by xelas
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We were in Namibia 5 nights and Botswana 5 nights. If I had to do it again, I would just pick one country and stay there. I loved being able to experience two totally different landscapes, but the travel between was no fun and I wish I had seen more of Namibia.

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Some drives at Savuti were pretty quiet, other than the usual suspects. Luckily my group also enjoys watching birds and small creatures! We saw some beautiful owls and found this cute little guy on one drive:

 

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When all else disappears, we always had the LBR to count on. I am amazed that such a pretty and colorful bird is so common.

 

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We were also lucky to find the Chobe boys wandering through the area one day.

 

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Your photo of the Namibian elephants has a really unique contrast between foreground and background.

 

More, please! :)

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We were again lucky to get to watch the LTC pack hunting our last morning before our flight. Although it was a rainy, chilly morning, it was made much better by watching these guys zoom around.

 

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and pause, but only for a moment:

 

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Just as we were heading to the airstrip, we heard that the Zib pack was heading right for the LTC pack we had just left. I hate that we missed that exciting encounter. We had only gotten to watch the HUGE Zib pack napping...

 

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Your photo of the Namibian elephants has a really unique contrast between foreground and background.

 

More, please! :)

 

I think that picture looks like we put a "blue screen" behind the riverbed and added a desert scene on it. It looks fake, doesn't it?

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Our final camp was Little Tubu, and I really liked it. I was worried the area would be overcrowded with all of the other camps being so close, but we rarely saw another vehicle. That might have been b/c we didn't find many of the more exciting predators that always bring in the crowds! The staff was like a family here and the food was exceptional.

 

The area around camp is really beautiful, even though I was very disappointed to find that the water levels hadn't reached this far....they were increasing more every day, though, which was really neat to watch. There had been a lot of fires in the area and much of the dry grass had been scorched. We saw some areas still burning during our flight in.

 

We spent a lot of time driving around tracking leopard prints. I swear they go out in the morning with a stamp and put fake prints in all the sand.

 

We did have an opportunity to sit with the lovely Little Tubu female one drive. She had a cub in the area, but we couldn't find him.

 

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This area was totally dry when we first arrived. The morning mist was really lovely coming off the new water in the area:

 

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I really like your Namibian landscapes and the elephants and especially the elephants in the landscape.

 

Good advice on that all day small plane ride. I'm woozy just reading it.

Edited by Atravelynn
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  • 4 weeks later...

~ @@dinkdunk

 

The colors...the landscapes...the sightings.

All the very essence of my African safari dreams.

You lived it...and were kind enough to share it with us.

Both the commentary and photographs are compelling.

Many, many THANKS!

Tom K.

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