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Shame you just missed the dogs and the herd of buffaloes. However, the lion kill more than makes up for it. Your pictures of Chitake are some of the best I have ever seen, I felt like I was right back there.

The landscapes and sunsets and sunrises were beautiful. Great snake pictures at the end there.

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@@michael-ibk and @@AndMic, thanks for the camera and lens info, gives me something to reference.


One night I almost didn´t dare to leave the emergency toilet, did hardly dare to move when all of a sudden lions started roaring 2 metres next to me. (I admit, could have been a bit farther away, but it sure sounded that way. :))

I heard my heart race - were we really going after a lion? On foot? In sandals?


and "The Night is dark and full of terrors."... so I have had my laughs for the day, thank you!


What an old warhorse that Sapi is, she barely has any lower teeth, but she looks terrifying nevertheless, especially I imagine if you are in sandals.


So much excitement.

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@@michael-ibk, the birds and your photography of them in the last couple of posts, just beautiful, especially the Hornbill in flight and the Lovebirds flying down to drink. I especially love the Elephants in the moonlight, what a special thing to experience. I bet that mud felt divine in 40 degrees, phew, that is hot.

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i am sure you invented "mammality", it's almost shakespearean.


the baboon portraits were wonderful, the lone ele in the riverbed, and when the last morning in Chitake dawned! you were happy and every single foto and line in your TR gives evidence of your enthusiasm.


the leopard drinking and mirrored in the pool has this magic you evoke in the title. i love your first idea calling the TR "down and dirty with doug", it is so funny, and apparently there was fun.

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Ah, welcome to Safaritalk @@screentraveller!! I thought that @@michael-ibk must have made it up too since I'd never heard it, but I googled it and sure enough it is a real word! I had heard mammalian but not mammality before. So you taught me something about my own language, Michael!

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Eh, I am sure you are the one that taught Michael that strange word :) ! Welcome on the forum, it is such fun hanging around, reading the trip reports, etc. In a way it is like reading Karl May when I was (much) younger.


BTW, how could we trick Michael and Andrew to prepare us another great lunch ;) ?

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nextsummer we will have our second central european safaritalkers gettogether in mühldorf, no tricks necessary. I enjoyed having you and your wife at my place and listening to safari talk. or is it the third meeting, after Vienna this december?

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"ghost in the darkness" , what a poetical caption for this unique pic!

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...but I got a new Hornbill for me - the Crowned Hornbill:









The Crown hornbill in flight photo is perhaps the best hornbill image that I have ever seen.

Edited by FlyTraveler
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Fabulous stuff @@michael-ibk! The Baboon photos are just amazing, love the riverbed scenery with the coming elephant and the impalas, as well. Some of your birds photos are like frames from the Hitchcock's film "The Birds". :) :)


With this trip you have crossed into a different league (category) safarista!

Edited by FlyTraveler
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as I am only a screentraveller who enjoys reading this incredible variety ofTRs, I am not so well acquainted with your customs.


I want to thank everybody very much for welcoming me, experienced only in reading and looking at pics. Like @@xelas I love this page, it is so far from allthe problems we have in Europe.

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You can´t win them all. But of course it´s so much more fun if you do! Chitake was not quite done with us yet. Just as we had left the river and walked back, what did we see a bit farther off? Of course - a buffalo herd approaching.

So back back back to our spot, they surely would come drinking. :)


Or not. After they did not show up for 20 minutes we went back up. No sign of them. Damn! Had we spooked them?

But Doug checked again from an elevation point, and yes, they still were approaching, but slowly. It was almost 10:45 now, hot, and we still had to walk back - did we want to wait? Of course we did, stupid.


And the safari god had finally decided after all that our faith had been sufficiently tested and was to be rewarded - after another 10 minutes the herd galloped down in the dust, and seeing this was every bit as impressive as Doug had told us:

Even if the herd was not exactly huge, another clear highlight of this trip! They stayed with us for maybe half an hour.



Of course, where there´s Buffaloes the Oxpeckers (Red-Billed here) come with them:





Doug had instructed us to be quite careful and avoid sudden moves. When a buffalo would make us (or rather that something was there that should not be) and looked at us we were told to freeze. They can be easily spooked.





This one had some wallowing fun. :)


Soon they had quenched their thirst and moved off again.






On the way back we found lions, but couldn´t approach them very closely. (Doug had been told by Andy about them earlier, they had killed a buffalo, and the others were spending time at the kill, but we had preferred to stay at "our spot".)


They had dragged the carcass deep into the thickish where they were out of reach for us. "There´s things you do and things you don´t do when walking up on lions." This was a "don´t do" thing. We could just make out where the rest of the pride would by by the way the vultures were looking.


Finally, after this long morning, we walked back to camp. Or where our camp had been - no traces of our stay were left.




Good Bye, Chitake Springs, you were fantastic - and have I mentioned the absolute best thing about it? We met other people on foot exactly once, before we approached Sapi the first time, and saw a vehicle one other time - that was it. :D


And now - on to "classic" Mana Pools, here come the Flood Plains!

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So pleased you got them in the end Michael. We sat/lay in the spot for quite a long time but they did not appear. Patience pays off.


Love the mud bathing buffalo.

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I didn't know you got them either, you kept that quiet. You did deserve a result after all your effort and you got some great images for your trouble, well done. It looks like you're sat in the same position I was in in your earlier post.

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I gave up on you too soon, trickster. Thrilled that you got your buffalo herd. When you've wished for something for so long and you finally get it right in the nick of time, it makes it all the more sweet -- truly the "cherry on top" of a memorable camp experience.


Looking forward to moving on to Mana with you.

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@@michael-ibk ah, what a fitting moment - your description of finally finding the buffalos coincided with your 2000th post! Hearty Congratulations on both finding the buffalos and on joining the lofty club, the Order of the Pith!

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I really couldn´t quite believe itwhen they finally showed up in the very last minutes of our stay after so many hours of waiting, and I had made my peace with not getting the herd experience. Lucky, and of course we have Doug´s stubborness to thank for it, too.


@@Big Andy

Did we really not talk about us finding the buffs? It must simply have been too hot for our brains being able to articulate any thoughts. ;)


Yes, that is the exact spot you were.




Call me Loki. ;) Thanks, and indeed - wish fullfillment is pretty satisfying when it´s working out like that - it often does not.




Thanks, it seemed to be a better place for my 2000th post than the "Quick Word Association Game". :)

Edited by michael-ibk
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congratulations. how does it feel being in the club?


are you SER (GoT) Michael now?


i loved the mighty buffalo and his tiny help, the oxpecker.

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More crested guineafowl! Rapidly becoming a favorite of mine thanks for the efforts of various TRs.

What exactly was the magic device for tsetse bites?

Beautiful snake.

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You got yourself a spotted bush snake too. And much better photos of it than mine! I could really relate to your search for the buffalo. We had the same experience with only a brief glimpse of a very quickly departing herd, plus a couple of dagga boys.


Without that white arrow I would not have spotted a human! The tree impression was successful @@Big Andy

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Mana Pools Flood Plains - Where are my doggies?


The drive to the flood plains took us maybe 90 minutes. Most of it was through very dry and barren land, not one mammal in sight, and Mana Pools seemed to be an antithesis to life here, brown and orange everywhere we looked.


But the mountains came closer and closer, and we knew it couldn´t be too far to the Zambezi now. Even when we were approaching the place looked anything like the fertile flood plains I had seen so many picures of, even when some Kudu and Zebra, then Impala and Baboons would show up more and more . The soil was broken up by the heat, and what should be tender green meadows were harsh dustbowls. But things changed more and more, the wonderful big old trees of Mana Pools, sausage trees and Albida came into sight and we were beginning to get the beautiful cathedral-like open woodland settings the park is so famous for.

It was hot! Much more so even than at Chitake, and way more humid. The Zambezi stores the heat, and the effect is quite noticeable. Doug told us later that during our stay temperatures had overpassed the 50 ° degrees mark at noontime. Suicide month indeed!


And then we were there - the mighty Zambezi was to be our home for the next four nights!


We were booked for Trichellia, but some operator had simply left his tents there, counting on that we would have to relocate since there were other free sites. Doug was quite irked about that behaviour, but I couldn´t care less. The other free site was Mucheni 1 (which I will show in detail in later posts), and it was so beautiful that I could hardly imagine that this change meant any disadvantage to our stay.

We caught up with the two Andies and Shirley and enjoyed our lunch, and then just lay in the shades under a magnificent ancient, very big tree which was to serve as our roof for the coming lunches, siestas and dinners. Sometime after 15:00 we went for a walk, Doug had suggested to just explore the nearby area to get acquainted with the place which we were more than happy with.

Only a few hundred metres from camp we had a small shrinking pool (not one of the four), and the Marabous and Yellow-Billed Storks were celebrating their catfish banquet.


But we didn´t even have the time to get into position here because one, or rather THE Mana celebrity had decided that he wanted to say Hello.


Boswell! Doug had a huge grin on his face too and was very relieved to see him, we all were! At Kanga we had been told by a guide that Boswell had left the plains and had entered one of the close-by hunting areas so everybody was very concerned about him. What a trophy he would make. :( He hadn´t been seen for weeks!


But here he was, and he was walking straight towards us. Doug had us sit on a log, gently talked to Boswell, and the huge bull looked at us, stopped for a while, and walked us by, only a few metres separated us. An incredible experience looking up to this Big Boy, I still get goosebumps thinking about it.


Of course we followed him to the trees, and were waiting with baited breaths when he stopped.



Would he...?

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As most of you would know, some elephants in Mana Pools have learned a very special trick to get to their favourite food, and Boswell is the most famous one of them.




And it´s really circus-like. So, here´s Boswell doing what Boswell does best:










This was just wowwowwowwowwow! It´s one thing seeing photos of it, but watching it for yourself, witnessing this giant of an elephant getting on his feet, moving all of his, what, four, five tons, seemingly so effortlessly is one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen. Especially if you´re on foot and so close that you have a hard time getting all of him into the frame. :)
















And he would do it again. And again and again! :):DB)








Boswell is never alone for too long. The other elephants hear him crashing down branches, and then everyone rushes to him to have their share of the goodies.




That´s why good old Boswell is quite popular with the ladies. Apparently he has no problem sharing a bit, he´s a generous guy.




Which was our cue to leave. Staying around too close with more and more females "is not a clever thing to do", as Doug would say so often, and we slowly retreated, grins all over.


What an intro to the flood plains, and we had gone no further from camp than 500m!

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