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I left Somalisa Camp in Hwange early in the morning. Another car was waiting for me at Main Camp. We took the road to Vic’ Falls. Conversely, there was a continuous traffic of trucks carrying copper from Zambia to South Africa. Without entering Vic’Falls, we took the road to the border post of Kazungula. After having met the Zimbabwe and Botswana exit and entry formalities, we went to Kasane airport for the Mack Air flight to Selinda.

 

 

For those who did not have a look at my report on Duba Plains, I repeat, here, certain things that were said there. Selinda was the third stopping place of a three weeks trip in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Thus far, I had never been in Africa in March, it was my first green season safari. Throughout the trip, thunder storms and rains were present until they abruptly stop the day after I arrived in Duba, my fourth stop. Moreover, when I arrived at Selinda, it was raining and there will be daily showers throughout my stay.

 

 

Wet morning

 

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Wild dogs in the rain

 

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The priority concern of Great Plains is the Guest. He is king. In this context, game drive times are extremely flexible. Secondly, their policy is to allocate , to the extent possible, a vehicle by visiting entity (family, small group or individual). In fact, it is almost a private vehicle included in the daily rate. In each tent, as well as in Duba, there is a pair of Swarovski binoculars at guests’ disposal.

 

Why did I come back to Selinda after nine years? In the following report, http://safaritalk.net/topic/13958-selinda-a-ten-years-love-story/ I said, for some reasons, that I would never go back to Selinda. Well, never say never. When I prepared this trip in the beginning of February, I decided to go to Duba Plains. At this stage I had not yet chosen a second camp. I said to myself that I might get a good price if I chose one of the same company. Selinda was the only option. I got a fair price and eventually, I realized that I was very happy to go back. Off the plane, two typical aspects of Selinda made me immediately dive into the bath of the past, despite the tall grass and the fact that the vegetation was lush and extremely green : the omnipresent smell of the wild sage and the tall palm trees.

 

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Taken from the seat near the driver

 

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Selinda Camp is a luxurious camp but is not like a lot of others of the same type, more a hotel than a camp. It still has that deep camp spirit and atmosphere maintained by the management and staff. So, thanks a lot to Noxy, Banaki and the whole staff for their competence, professionalism and great sense of humour. There is a wine cellar, which is for me totally unnecessary in a bush camp but I must say, as a fan of good wines, that it is well stocked with fine south african wines.

 

 

I was very surprised and pleased to meet someone that I was not expecting to see again. I did not know that he was still working at Selinda. When he guided me in 2004, when I was staying at old Zib, Motsamai (Mots) Murundu was a young guide with no experience at all. Now he is the new Kanawe. My excellent guide, this time, was one of the Mokopi brothers, Gobusamang (Kops). Both are called Kops but fortunately the other one is guiding at Duba.

 

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Selinda was not as spectacular as Duba, mainly because of the tall grass. Yet, the five days allowed me to see many species. I did not see sables and cheetahs.

 

Giraffe in the rain

 

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Wet jackal in the wet grass

 

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What dramatic landscape shots! and the poor half drowned Jackal. Looking forward to reading and seeing more.

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Fantastic intro sprinkled with nostalgia and fine photography. Eager for more.

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offshorebirder

Thanks @@Bush dog - I love the photo with the sunlight illuminating palm trees against a background of dark clouds!

 

I also appreciate seeing the GP vehicle.

 

Looking forward to the rest of this report.

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Atravelynn

You do rain very well, especially when there is a jackal or giraffe involved. Great job with the March skies too! March in Bots has been on my mind, so your reports are of utmost interest.

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@@Bush dog "kanawe"? please explain

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@@marg

 

Kanawe Ntema was guide at Selinda for more than fifteen years (from the mid-nineties to 2011). Then he went for a shortwhile to Kwando. For family reasons, he decided to leave the bush and to stay in Kasane. He is now working for a local operator. Like an ancient director of Selinda, Grant Nel, was telling me a shortwhile ago, a waste of talent.

 

I consider Kanawe as one of the best guides in Botswana. He knew Selinda as his pocket. Mots is now guiding at Selinda for about twelve years, from where the new Kanawe.

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@@Bush dog...thank you. Mots was our guide at Selinda in 2007. At that time he was saving money for his dowry. We were at Zafara in 2010. I had taken a some photos of Mots with us. Reuben and he met up one one game drive so that I could give Mots the photos. The first thing that he did was stick out his hand. He was wearing a wedding ring. Africa is more than landscapes and animals.

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Carmine Bee-eaters

 

I had seen already drongos and other birds following, in or along tall grass, rhinos, elephants or any other big species because they drive out all kinds of insects. It was the first time that I witnessed it with the carmine bee-eaters following cars. What a tremendous sighting ! They were sometimes more than fifteen, flying around the car, synchronizing them with the speed of the vehicle. They were often so close that one could almost touch them. It was like a superb aerial ballet or even a fight of combat aircrafts in the sky, highlighting the colors of their plumage and their ability to catch their prey in flight, far or close to the car. Those sightings were one of the highlights of my trip. Trying to get some decent pictures was not exactly a rest cure.

 

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Following ostriches.

 

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michael-ibk

Love the Carmines - impressive shots given their speed!

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Roan antelopes

 

A group with young ones was seen twice. They were, uncommonly, very comfortable in our presence, obviously habituated to cars, which allowed the following series of pictures.

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Peter Connan

Inspirational photography as always Sir!

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Hybrid

 

This rare species, seen twice, cross of a waterbuck and a red lechwe, was another highlight of my trip.

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Kitsafari

love those shots of the carmine bee eaters! really impressive.

 

and your roan pics makes me think i have to really put them high on my to-see list. is that a baby roan hiding in the bushes?

 

how wonderfully strange to see that bushbuck-lechwe male. he's a handsome one. are they able to reproduce?

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@@Kitsafari

 

It's a baby roan, indeed.

 

Usually, hybrids are sterile. So I do not think that it is able to reproduce.

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elefromoz

@@Bush dog, really enjoyed the Roan, don't think Ive seen a photo of a baby before here, lovely.

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Red-billed hornbill

 

Like other hornbills, to protect its nest, the female seals itself in a tree hollow. It leaves a fissure. The male feeds them, female and chicks, through it.

 

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In this case, the nest is close to the ground, at the level of the top of the crow feet, so at all predator’s mercy. The danger for the nest to be plundered is great.

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Safaridude

@@Bush dog

 

Ha! I had Kanawe as my guide back in 1993 at Chobe Chilwero Camp.

 

A great start. The first photo, in particular, is a beauty.

Edited by Safaridude
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@@Safaridude

 

Thanks a lot! There are still some (wet mornings) to come.

 

Talking about Benson, I spent 5 days with his son, Honest, in Hwange, 2 months ago. This young lad is really impressive, really walking in the steps of his father.

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What a sweet little baby Roan.
Love the weird hybrid too, very cool!

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African harrier-hawk (Gymnogene)

 

This happened on another red-billed hornbill’s nest.

 

When I arrived, this subadult african harrier-hawk was, I think, just finishing its work of destruction and plundering. The red-billed hornbill was vainly trying to chase it away. Eventually, the gymnogene moved to another tree.

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@@Bush dog...your photos are both interesting and beautiful!

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Leopards

 

The first leopard we saw was a female. We had followed the Selinda pride in thick vegetation together with a vehicle of Selinda Explorers Camp, the guide on this car was Victor, when we came across leopard spoors that were not easy to follow on that type of ground. During at least one hour, Kops and Victor showed they, both, were excellent trackers. Eventually, Victor found the leopardess in the shade of a bush. Victor impressed me a lot and reminded me of Spencer from Kwando : methodical, persevering and sometimes stubborn, great guide and tracker.

 

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Eye of the leopard. I must have been unwittingly inspired by the Joubert.

 

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The second leopard was the female (the one with three cubs) that Hari mentioned a few months ago in one of his threads. It was on my last game drive. Unfortunately, we did not see the cubs because, afraid of the car, they remained in the bushes. The leopardess had killed an impala.

 

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A Gymnogene raid and leopardess on a kill...fantastic photos from a fantastic trip!

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LastChanceSafaris

@@Bush dog

Been off the forum for awhile - mostly safari'ing. Just returned from Selinda where I was guiding a Swiss group. We had excellent viewing which included your hybrid! I had just posted a pic of it hoping to cause some head scratching amongst safaritalkers when I came across this thread.....

Interestingly it approached a male waterbuck and displayed typical waterbuck submission/dominance behaviour and the 'thouroughbred' seemed to view the hybrid as a competitor, not another species!

It gladdens the heart that you enjoyed your return to Selinda and that you saw another (wet) face of this wonderful reserve. You should check out Explorers - it is Zibadianja Camp reincarnated and a personal favourite. Our viewing over two days included that relaxed family of Roan (3 babies now), lionesses with cubs (3mths), dominant male lion, 13 dogs, and (the proverbial cherry) hyena/leopard interaction over a baby giraffe kill (leopard's). Elephants, beautiful landscapes and that smell of wild sage just rounded it off perfectly.

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