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Kwando 2004 - 2007


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mvecht

I have previously posted a TR about my ventures with guide Steve Kgwatalala in http://safaritalk.net/topic/14662-a-tribute-to-steve-kgwatalala-or-how-a-good-guide-can-make-a-difference/

This TR will cover my other trips to the Kwando properties with different guides.

In August 2004 after spending 6 days with Steve K at Lagoon/Lebala I finished the trip wit 3 days at Kwara.

I was in a shared vehicle with some Germans that would qualify for a post in "Pet peeves on safari".

My guide was Joe who did a decent job. However he was not truly passionate about his job and left the safari industri shortly after.

On the first game drive we were just out of camp when we came across a Buffalo herd of at least a thousand animals. Two male Lions, intruders, were watching them. It was fascinating to watch them for almost an hour as the Buffalo herd walked slowly past. The Lions were clearly waiting for the tail end of the herd. Finally the herd was past with only a few Dagga boys trailing behind and the one Lion went into action expecting the other to follow. However the other Lion was too "love sick" to bother and nothing came out of the hunt.

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On the way back to camp we had some nice sigthings of Porcupine and Giant Eagle Owl on the airstrip.

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The next morning we did a Mekoro trip. A nice way to spend the morning but a little too quiet for my taste.

 

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Little Bee-eater

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Coming back to camp we saw one of the male Lions from the previous evening lying very close to my tent /nr 8)

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We went to investigate and got a glimpse of him mating with a female and then returning to a kill he had made nearby.

Another predator in our safari vehicle.

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I have previously posted a TR about my ventures with guide Steve Kgwatalala in http://safaritalk.net/topic/14662-a-tribute-to-steve-kgwatalala-or-how-a-good-guide-can-make-a-difference/ This TR will

Back in camp we had Buffaloes visiting. During the afternoon drive: Steenbok Roan Antelope Saddle billed stork And thenwe rejoined the Cheetah brothers. Still not hungry but just relax

More Lion activity. The Lions wanted to cross the pool but were a little apprehensive. Females first. It was clear that they were not fond of the water. and then some playing.

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Marks

Great porcupine photos. Really looking forward to your sightings over the years.

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michael-ibk

Agree about the porcupines, and really love that Bee-Eater shot. I´m very glad that you decided to share your past experiences with us.

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mvecht

Afternoon visit to the Heronry.

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@@madaboutcheetah Hari, before you ask :D The guide in the boat is Mothusi and the tracker is Justice.

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Collecting nest material.

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Nice sunset on the way back to the boat station.

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On the way back to camp the tracker found us a nice Leopard.

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The next morning we found the amourous Lion again but the mating part was over.

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Impala in the air.

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"ABR"

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PS @@michael-ibk and @@Marks thank you for the nice comments, I am enjoying to do this report and it cuts down on the waiting time until my safari in December!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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madaboutcheetah

Haha - I would have certainly asked

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mvecht

Next morning it was Leopard time.

We heard alarm calls from Vervets but after searching the area extensively we had no luck in finding the arborial predator. However the Vervets kept alarming so we kept searching. Finally the tracker found the Leopard. Itwas much higher up in the tree than he our our Guide had ever seen a Leopard before.

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Some nice birds and general game.

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Red Lechwe in camp

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Joe the guide.

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Last morning.

The territorial Lions were back in town and intent on chasing the intruders out of the territory.

First we had the two Lions roaring next to the vehicle. This is something that is impossible to describe. It is loud but what really gets to you is the vibration. You can feel it in your body.

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Joe decided to move ahead so we could get some nice shots of the Lions crossing the (airstrip) bridge.

As we had moved to the other side of the bridge I got this nice shot of the other vehicle with guide Mothusi, tracker Justice and 2 UK guests. I did not think of it at the time as I was busy looking through the viewfinder but when I got back home I started wondering what the the people in the vehicle were looking at!

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I only got the answer the following year when I had Justice as a tracker. A Leopard was hiding under their vehicle. You can just make it out on the B/W picture. The butt of the Leopard is under the O in "Kwando) and the head is towards the rear of the vehicle.

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The Lions then crossed the bridge and picked up speed. These lazy animals can really move when they want to.

They ran towards a swampy part of the area where we could not follow, so I am not sure about the outcome.

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Coppery-tailed Coucal

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Green Pigeon

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Go away bird

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Baboon and Hippo in Camp.

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Baboon sentinel in camp finished my first visit to the Kwando properties.

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I was now addicted to Kwando.

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Marks

Wow. I had already saved the leopard/lions picture and zoomed in on it all the way, all to no avail, before I scrolled down and saw that you had already figured it out. :P But what a moment to capture!

 

Something about that lechwe's pose looks rather uncomfortable.

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mvecht

@@Marks

I agree about the Lechwe`s pose. I think it was alert because it had noticed me but I am not sure if that bend of the front leg is normal?

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mvecht

Little Kwara 2006

Kwando 2005 + Lebala 2006 was covered in this TR http://safaritalk.net/topic/14662-a-tribute-to-steve-kgwatalala-or-how-a-good-guide-can-make-a-difference/

Little Kwara had opened just shortly before so I was ofcourse curious to try it out.

It is smaller and more luxurious than Kwara but I prefer Kwara due to location.

I was in a shared vehicle with a couple of American ladies. Our guide was Doctor that some of you may know from Mapula lodge.

Little Sparrowhawk in camp.

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The first drive was fairly uneventful.

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Barred Owlet

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The next day was day of the Lions.

After driving around for a while we headed to the airstrip to pick up some new guests.

The Lions were occupying the airstrip when we arrived but left shortly before the plane arrived.

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As soon as we had picked up the new arrivals we realised that the Lions were up to something. They were pouncing on something in the grass just like a Cat or a Fox would pounce on a Mouse.

As we came close we could see that the victim was a Serval that was lying on its back to protect itself. At this time the Serval already had problems with its spine.

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When the Lions left the Serval was still alive, but there was nothing we could do.

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The Lions then went down to Hippo Pools for a drink

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To be continued

 

 

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mvecht

More Lion activity.

The Lions wanted to cross the pool but were a little apprehensive.

Females first.

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It was clear that they were not fond of the water.

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and then some playing.

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We had to take a very different route from the Lions but joined them again 30 minutes later

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So the morning was all about Lions but who am I to complain :rolleyes:

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Marks

Great sequence of the lions splashing through the water.

The serval was a bit sad, but what can you do? Still quite a sighting.

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It is very enjoyable to read historical reports and yes the photo of the leopard hiding under the vehicle must be a one and only. Looking forward to the rest of your report.

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mvecht

The afternoon drive was quiet but still some nice sightings

Baboons outside the tent in camp

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Giraffe in nice evening light

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Pregnant Zebra

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Beautiful sundowner with Zebras

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The highlight of the drive was watching a Kudu just as it was getting dark. The tracker spotted a Wild Cat nearby and immediately one of the guests asked in all earnest "is ithe Cat going to kill the Antelope?"

 

Night Jar (species?)

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The next morning we drove on the roads close to camp.

Baby Giraffe.

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Little Bee-eater

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Nice Male Waterbuck

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Red faced Mousebirds

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LBR

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LBR making a kill close to camp

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I like the Kwara area as even on the quiet days there is a lot to see.

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Marks

The bee-eater photo is unbelievably crisp and colorful. Awesome work.

That would have been one ambitious wildcat. :)

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mvecht

@@Marks I was hoping for a kill but the Kudu just ignored the Cat :rolleyes:

 

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michael-ibk

Continue to love this report, Kwando really delivered for you. :)

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mvecht

Next stop the rookery

For me this is one of the highlights of visiting the Delta.

I just love the Papyrus lined waterways, the tranquility and all the birds.

Juvenile Fish Eagle

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Coppery tailed Coucal

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Spoonbill

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Another Juvenile Fish Eagle

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Long crested Eagle

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As we came back to the boat station we met up with another vehicle less than 100m away. The Lions had killed a Warthog and were now feasting.

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Another Night Jar. Again I am unsure exactly which species it is.

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Last morning we had a group of Southern Ground Hornbills

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Pygmy Geese

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Another trip to Kwando had come to an end so I just had to return the following year :)

A trip with lots of Cheetah and action.

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mvecht

September 2007 My wifes first visit to Kwando

I had selected Spencer as our private guide for Lagoon and Lebala. I had never used Spencer before but had talked to him on my previous visits and had really liked his personality.

He met us at the Lagoon airstrip and the focus on our two days at Lagoon would be dogs.

However at this time of year the area is normally inundated with Elephants and this year was no exception so the first gamedrive was mainly about Elephants.

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Red-billed Hornbill looking for insects.

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The pictures give a good indication of how deep/shallow the water is.

 

The drive was not only about Elephants we also had a nice herd of Buffalo.

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and the night drive produced a Genet

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and a Wild Cat.

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The next day dogs were on the menu.

 

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mvecht

We went north to look for the dogs.

First sign was a vulture in a tree looking at something.

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and then we found a Hyena feeding on the remains of an Impala carcass.

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There were some prints left indicating that it was the dogs that had made the kill.

Once the Hyena had left the kill Spencer and his tracker (Moteti?) and the guide/tracker from the other vehicle started tracking on foot. After about 15 minutes I tried to move the vehicle closer to them but something in the steering snapped and I was stranded. We had to continue the drive in the other vehicle. As soon as we got into the other vehicle the guest in that vehicle and I spoyyed something disappearing behind a small hill. Dogs!

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A herd of Sable appeared and some of the dogs gave a short chase but with all the Sables being healthy they would not have a chance so they quickly came back.

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Time to rest in the shade. Not much of shade in the area so you have to stay close!

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On the way back to camp we stopped to check what the Male Lions were doing. Mainly resting!

As it was close to 10am the light was a bit harsh.

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Mission accomplished. My wife had seen her first wild Dogs and Lions.

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Marks

Dogs and sable, very nice.

The first dog picture is the perfect group photo.

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mvecht

More Dogs

In the afternoon we went back to look for the dogs. They were in the same area and slowly getting ready for the evenings hunt.

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They tried again chasing Sable but both Sable and dogs disappeared into an area were we could not follow.

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In the evening I got my first ever decent shot of a Springhare. They are very common but never sit still long enough!

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The next morning we saw some amorous Side Striped Jackals

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The plan was to move slowly down to Lagoon Camp for a late breakfast. However we heard on the radio that a female Cheetah had been spotted close to the Selinda border so we started moving at good spped towards the South of the concession. We did however stop a few times.

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We caught a quick glimpse of the female Cheetah but she was in a hurry to get back to Selinda. A few minutes later we realised why. The two Cheetah brothers (by some known as the Blood borthers) were back in town. No pictures in this installment but there will be plenty of pictures and action later in the report.

 

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mvecht

Cheetah kill

 

In the afternoon the brothers were soon located and looked as if they were very alert to 3 Kudus that were approaching slowly from some 150 meters away.

The 2 game drive vehicles were positioned in a respectful distance from the Cheetahs. The Kudu were browsing and came closer ever so slowly. The Cheetah kept a very low profile and actually allowed the first 2 Kudu to walk by before they very effectively took down the third one. Unfortunately the area of the take down was not very open. I had to lie down in the vehicle and take pictures through some small openings trying to avoid all the branches from obscuring the view.

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We stayed with them for over an hour. They had a very good meal. Later in the evening the Hyena ate the leftovers.

On the night drive we came across a beautiful male Leopard that had just had a drink.

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The next day we would encounter the Cheetah again and another kill.

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Marks

Really excellent pics of the cheetah kill.

On the leopard pictures, were you using a camera flash in addition to a spotlight?

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mvecht

@@Marks

Sorry but I dont remember in this specific case. I was using flash and then normally I would ask the tracker to use the spotlight for obtaining focus and then point it away when I am ready to shoot.

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madaboutcheetah

Mike, also if you have any images of that female cheetah will be awesome ......... She was one of my favourites for sure!

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