Jump to content

The Something New of "Something Old, Something New"


hannahcat

Recommended Posts

hannahcat

This is a continuation of the trip report started in the South Africa forum. To sum up: my mom and I traveled to South Africa and stayed at Dulini Lodge, where I had stayed once before. After a quick overnight at Victoria Falls, we were now venturing on to a place new to both of us: Botswana and the Okavango Delta.

 

First off, as newbies to the whole system of small flights in and out of the Delta camps, it was thrilling to be flying in our first small aircraft.

 

(Side note: I've just realized that this trip report is probably going to be full of lots of squeals over little things that will probably get annoying to people who do this more regularly. Small planes! Look, we're *driving* through water! There are *elephants* actually *in camp*!!! etc. Sorry about that. What can I say, I'm still excited about it all. When I was a little kid, I watched "Animals are Beautiful People" obsessively, and I mean really obsessively. I couldn't be convinced to rent anything else at the video store. So, maybe I watched it at least once a week, maybe more, for at least a year. The only thing that stopped me was my older half-brother coming into town -- he thought I was going a little nuts and insisted that I be made to rent a Disney movie. Disney movies never did catch on with me, but it did break me of my compulsive nature documentary watching. Anyway, even though that movie was about the Kalahari, they do mention the Okavango, so by the time I got there, I was ready to be there. Everything was exciting. The water was exciting. The reeds were exciting. The sky and the wine glass noises of the frogs were exciting, and keeping my mom from being trampled by an elephant was most definitely exciting (more on that later).

Some days you're not up for that. Some days you want to read trip reports from someone who can distinguish all the antelopes or from someone who has learned opinions about the state of the elephants. This is not that trip report. This is mostly a squee! trip report, with a few, "hmmm, I do wish this human bit had been a bit different" moments thrown in for good measure. Anyway, just a fair warning for those following along.)

Along the "squee!" theme, it was wonderful to watch a dry landscape slowly transform into a wet one. As a reminder, we were there in mid-May, so just as the flood was coming in -- ever stronger each day, it seemed.

 

post-48823-0-31256800-1471819929_thumb.jpg

 

 

We had quite a welcoming committee once we landed, including this LBR with a little snack offering (no thanks, we're really not hungry).

 

post-48823-0-45194000-1471819994_thumb.jpg

 

And, spectacularly, a pack of wild dogs nested down for the day at the end of the runway.

 

post-48823-0-86995300-1471820066_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-65975700-1471820065_thumb.jpg

 

This was the only time we saw the wild dogs, however, something which was only a partial disappointment to me: I would have loved to see more of them, of course, but I was a little worried about my mom on a wild dog chase -- having done those a couple of times at Dulini the year before, I think it might have been a bit much for her. On the whole, therefore, I was OK with how things worked out: we got to see them, but without mom having to bounce around all over the place. If there is a next time (as I very much hope there will be), I'd love to see them again though ...

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 79
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • hannahcat

    39

  • Atravelynn

    9

  • optig

    6

  • Neeners815

    5

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

This is a continuation of the trip report started in the South Africa forum. To sum up: my mom and I traveled to South Africa and stayed at Dulini Lodge, where I had stayed once before. After a quick

Our final sighting for that morning's game drive was the show-stopper: a gorgeous older female leopard, about eleven or twelve years old. She looked a little thin to me, but otherwise in good health,

This is probably my one less-than-squeal moment, and I feel a little silly writing about it. Maybe my problem is that I'm like a little duckling, and I have imprinted on a certain set of trackers/rang

Posted Images

Personally I will take every "squeal" you give. I have found that I don't "squeal" much any more, though love every minute I am there. I miss the "squeal" affect though so welcome it! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

Don´t worry, I totally agree about the "squeal"-factor of the Delta, and aren´t those first flights in the tiny planes super-exciting? Starting off with Wild Dogs, what a cool introduction. Squeeeeee! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Squeal away @@Hannah cat I am 100% for people telling teh story in their own way. Great!

 

But I have to wonder if it is deliberate that you are arriving nowhere more specific that "the Okavango Delta"?

 

Beautiful looking dogs. Are they youngsters, or is it just the perspective that makes their heads look large?

Link to post
Share on other sites

@@hannahcat I'll never forget flying over the Okavango Delta in July of 2011.It was an absolutely awesome experience,it was simply so green, luscious and beautiful. One had to appreciate its sheer vastness and emptiness. I also just love your wild dog photos. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your trip reports.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Towlersonsafari

Hello @@hannahcat if you stop squealing then probably time to find something else to do! we still get very excited at lizards on the walls or on getting into the jeep-although my sequel when entering a 5 seater aircraft is one of barely suppressed fear!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great LBR Photo, Looking forward to more installments.

Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

Thank you so much for the comments! They are very encouraging!

 

@@pault, oh my goodness, you're right! I completely forgot to say where we were. Sorry about that -- I think I got swept away in the memories. Back to earth again: we spent two nights at Little Vumbura, and then four nights at Chitabe. My apologies again -- those days loom so large in my imagination, it's hard to believe there were just six of them. Anyway, at this point in the trip report, we've just arrived at Little Vum.

 

@@michael-ibk and @@Towlersonsafari, our tiniest plane was on the transfer between camps. I was so glad we were running late -- there was no time to be terrified! On the ride itself, though, I barely breathed for the first 10 minutes, sure I would bring down the plane.

 

@@pault and @@optig, thanks for the comments about the wild dog pics. I don't think they were pups -- in fact, every lodge we stayed at made a point of saying that they hoped the dogs would be denning on their property soon, but they hadn't yet done so. Perhaps he was a youngster though?

 

@@Hads and @Imonmm, thanks so much for your kind words! @@Hads, a complement on photography is a complement indeed, coming from you!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Towlersonsafari

@@hannahcat I had to sit next to the pilot in a five seater once-i m scared of crashing, and spent the entire hour staring intently at the dials that I did not understand in case they suddenly started going anti-clockwise very fast! Then suddenly the pilot reached across and slid a slidy thing ( technical term) very quickly once or twice-i panicked and could not stop myself asking if everything as all right-in what I like to think was a calm manly interested voice but may have been a squeak detectable only to bats. Jnae does not mind flying but does get airsick quite easily so never looks out the window-we are a terrible pair to be on a plane with! I console myself with the mantra that if a small plane stops, it will glide gently to earth.whilst if a bigger plane gets into trouble i will be able to jump at the last minute thus ensuring i only fall from a few feet and not 30,000.

Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

@Towleronsafari -- that's a good tip, to think about how much closer to ground you are if you have to jump! :) I'm getting ahead of myself here, but in the landing on the way to Chitabe, I was sitting up in the co-pilot's seat, and my mom was sitting behind me (there were only four seats on the plane). I was certain that if I turned even a little, to take a picture for instance, the plane would topple out of the sky.

 

At any rate, we were coming in for a landing, and a kudu suddenly walked out on the landing strip. I could see the pilot calculating "I can probably miss the kudu if I go in like this but if I hit him ..." So, he pulled up and circled around. As you might imagine, it was incredibly noisy in the plane, so there was no way of telling my mom what had happened (she had no view straight ahead, only out to the side). So, I overcame my fear of moving, and twisted around the the seat to try to pantomime the kudu walking onto the runway, but that we were perfectly fine and we would try to land again. Clearly, I did a terrible job, since I apparently convinced my mom that we had been coming in for a crash landing, and had only pulled out at the last second, and now we would try to land again with the same pilot.

 

Lesson learned: play more charades as a family, you never know when you'll need to sign something to each other. :P

Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

And since I was so deficient in saying up front that we were going to Little Vumbura, here are some pictures of the drive to get there from the landing strip: through increasingly flooded paths to start, and then finally via a motor boat to its own little island.

 

post-48823-0-89539200-1472167184_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-73653800-1472167182_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-53360500-1472167179_thumb.jpg

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Towlersonsafari

 

 

, I overcame my fear of moving, and twisted around the the seat to try to pantomime the kudu walking onto the runway, but that we were perfectly fine and we would try to land again.

Using only the medium of modern dance @@hannahcat? I laughed out loud trying to picture the confusion felt by your mother at your splendid mime!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Neeners815

Following this one closely! Love the pics and the story so far - thank you. I'm getting ready for my first trip and one of our locations is Little Vumbura, so I really appreciate the pics.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

Squeal away! Just don't wake the wild dogs. Maybe kudu and plane crash do mean the same thing in sign language.

 

Do add some more when you are able, @@hannahcat.

Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

This is probably my one less-than-squeal moment, and I feel a little silly writing about it. Maybe my problem is that I'm like a little duckling, and I have imprinted on a certain set of trackers/rangers, and now, in only my second safari, it's already hard to get me to change my ways. I hope that's not the case, but you can judge for yourself.

 

Almost the minute we started being guided at LV, I felt things weren't quite right. There were a few factors that contributed to this feeling:

 

1. Our guide didn't seem as careful of my mom as I would wish in terms of her physical well-being (not offering to help her off and on the truck, etc.), and didn't seem as able to help her see the wildlife. At Dulini, Martin had actually complemented Mom on her keen eyesight. To be frank, I am pretty sure my mom does not have very good eyesight at all, but she's a smart lady, so if you explain that, if you follow this branch to where it meets this other branch, etc., she can follow the directions and see whatever everyone else is seeing. Frankly, at Dulini, my mom seemed younger than her years; at LV she seemed older, and often needed to ask repeatedly where things were.

 

2. Our guide seemed competent, and like he knew the animals pretty well, etc., but not like he had a passion for what he was doing. We once asked him what got him into the business, and he said that he had grown up in the bush, and he knew about it, and then all his friends started doing it, so he decided to do it too. That felt like a very honest explanation of his approach; it wasn't bad, exactly, but it just meant that, for instance, if we were "in line" to see a leopard, we might just stop and wait in the bush for our turn to come around, rather than drive around and see the other neat (if "lesser") animals about.

 

3. This is the most nitpicky one, but on the way to the lodge the first time, our guide emphasized to us that even though we were staying in the cheaper lodge (the more expensive ones being Vumbura Plains North and South), and the rooms weren't as big and the food wouldn't be as nice, it was OK, because the animals didn't know what we were paying and everyone saw the same ones. I think it was meant nicely (?), but when you're paying the rates you pay for shoulder season Botswana (around $900/night per person), you kinda don't want to hear about how cheap you're being, or at least I don't.

 

Anyway, as soon as we got to LV, I asked for the manager, and after a little kerfluffle, the manager came out and we had a chat. I asked for a different guide, but it was clear that that would be hard to do, as they only had two guides on staff at the moment. Anyway, long story short, we were only staying two nights, and were convinced to stay with our guide, and again, I do feel silly saying anything since, as you'll see, we had wonderful sightings and other people might feel quite differently towards him. (In fact, my mom probably feels more charitably towards him than I do.) I've decided not to mention his name since the internet lives forever, and who knows? I left all of this information in comments at the lodge and maybe he's worked it all out already. Still, if you're interested in knowing and are planning a trip there, PM me and I'll let you know his name.

 

At any rate, I do hope it's not the duckling problem -- we got on much better with our guide at Chitabe, so I feel hopeful about it.

 

On our first evening drive with our LV guide, it was clear that his manager had had a word with him, and he was clearly trying to impress. We did not see any predators that evening, but we did spend some wonderful time with this elephant family who were eating the dirt, apparently to gain valuable minerals from it.

 

 

post-48823-0-71402500-1472961385_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-36361300-1472961387_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-82594900-1472961390_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-31306200-1472961392_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-27136400-1472961443_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-73235200-1472961444_thumb.jpg

 

This was a kind of funny bit, when the baby elephant pretended to be affectionate, but really just wanted to get back in the hole again, and his mom kept having to push him back out. He was exactly like a kid who wants five more minutes at the playground.

 

post-48823-0-26258300-1472961448_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-99588300-1472961449_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-81620400-1472961395_thumb.jpg

 

We left the elephants and drove to a clearing nearby to have sundowners. There, too, we were visited by an elephant -- this time a solitary male walking a good distance from us.

 

post-48823-0-44517400-1472961617_thumb.jpg

Edited by hannahcat
Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

Thanks for the encouragement @@Atravelynn! And yes, I'll try to keep it down for the sake of the dogs. :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

Lovely eles. Funny how that hole held such an appeal for the little guy. Kind of like kids in a sandbox.

 

We click with some guides more than others. Also, who knows what's going on in the guide's life or politics/opportunities at work that may affect their personality? It's good you noted all this in the evaluation. Feedback may allow your guide to learn and improve. When you switch from guide to guide at different camps, such differences are also more notable. If you had just been with this one LV guide, you might have just settled into his way of approaching things. Although you'd have guides from previous trips to compare with. In talking with an East African safari provider one time, they said, "We never like to change guides with a client or change vehicles, because it gives them a reason to compare and complain." Easier to keep the same arrangement throughout the whole trip in East Africa than with fly-ins in Southern Africa.

 

It seems your mother was not so bothered by the guide's' behavior. That's what really counts. Then things picked up at Chitabe.

 

I was in a group of 3 once--a wonderful couple and me--where the guide just did not take well to me. It was obvious he had a much greater affection for the couple than for me. All 3 of us were about the same age and from the same country and all very enthused about being there (there was not Africa). We had a great trip with lots of fabulous wildlife. Sometimes it is just personality. I have been told more than once, "You remind me of my ex-wife." Oh dear.

Link to post
Share on other sites
hannahcat

@@Atravelynn, what an awkward comment! That is very true, though, that it can just be personality differences, or even just the smallest quirks of a person that rub you the wrong way.

 

I will say this: on our second night at LV, we went on the mokoro ride, and I suddenly realized that, even though I had been having a good time on the trip, I had also been secretly tense: tense that my mom might not enjoy herself, tense that the transfers might not work out, tense that mom's cold might get get worse (she was fine, by the way), tense that the anniversary date might not work out the way I hoped it would, tense that my husband might not be OK back home, and on and on. And then suddenly, when I got on that boat, all of that just kind of drifted away, and I realized everything was working out just fine, and that it was time to start really enjoying the safari. So, to be fair to the guide, if someone shows up who clearly thinks they're enjoying themselves but is really just a ball of anxiety about how things are going, that person probably isn't the most fun person to guide either. Maybe I got on better with the guide at Chitabe because, by the time we got there, I was different.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

I have heard other people say the mekoro had the same effect on them. I felt like I could have taken a little nap right in my mekoro seat but I didn't want to lose my balance and fall out. Interesting self-observation on the different you at LV and at Chitabe.

 

Hope all continues on a high and relaxed note!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

wild dogs on your arrival!! squeeeeel away. how lucky can you get in Vumbura. and so soundly asleep too. the wild dogs - and the flooded roads! - remind me of my arrival in vumbura as well - nice thoughts of course.

 

maybe your guide was told previously by other guests that Vumbura plains looked so glamorous than LV, and he had to make an apologetic but clumsy defence of LV. But you know, I would have preferred LV to VP because the vast room at VP was just too large for me (LV was fully booked), the guest count would have been smaller and it would have been easier to socialise with fewer guests and get to know each other better.

 

But I feel like you do - you click with some guides and you don't with others. my hubby and I had another couple shared the vehicle on one of our trips and our guide was clearly more at ease with the other couple. but we shrugged our shoulders and just enjoyed the bush. that's what we are there for, ultimately. but good on you for speaking to the manager about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @@Kitsafari! I'm glad to know others have had similar experiences -- and that the best thing to do is probably just to enjoy the bush. :D And my next post will be about LV and how gorgeous it really is -- clearly, I haven't stayed at VP, but LV did really knock my socks off, and part of that is, I think, being small and intimate and having that warm feeling. So, a mix of experiences, as with all things.

 

And yes, weren't those dogs AMAZING! Just could not have been more perfect. :wub:

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, as I pre-announced in the response to @@Kitsafari, I did want to take a moment to say just how gorgeous LV really is. I didn't get great pictures of the camp, but I did try for a couple at sunrise on our first morning there, and I hope they give you a sense of what it's like to wake up on an island in the middle of the delta, knowing the resident elephants are probably nearby, and excitedly collecting your things for the short boat ride to the game drive vehicles. What a way to start the day!

 

post-48823-0-81583400-1473540075_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-67173000-1473540073_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-79061300-1473540078_thumb.jpg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the first animals we saw were these red lechwe. They had been a "target animal" of mine until someone explained to me that they're the impala of Botswana -- I'd be seeing them all over. No matter, they're still lovely to me. The sun hit them just right that morning, turning them golden -- it was just a gorgeous moment.

 

post-48823-0-53575900-1473540335_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-04097200-1473540346_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-98527600-1473540349_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

We also saw this rather cheeky-looking brown-hooded kingfisher:

 

post-48823-0-75285300-1473540493_thumb.jpg

 

And this saddle-billed stork:

 

post-48823-0-25901200-1473540510_thumb.jpg

 

And then spent some time in a field with a very large breeding herd of elephants. It was particularly lovely to me because the environment was so completely different, and much more unobstructed, than the one in South Africa -- it was wonderful seeing the ellies making their stately way through the long blonde grasses.

 

Actually, I think we first saw this lone male:

 

post-48823-0-37195700-1473540678_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-79015300-1473540683_thumb.jpg

 

And then this small group of three (the baby is hidden in there between the two adults):

 

post-48823-0-05580300-1473540687_thumb.jpg

 

And then I think we saw the long parade:

 

post-48823-0-02699000-1473540704_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-97772600-1473540707_thumb.jpg

 

post-48823-0-74214200-1473540714_thumb.jpg

 

I was a little worried about this little one -- he got distracted and was lagging behind! Presumably, however, one of his aunties noticed at some point and came to find him:

 

post-48823-0-55639300-1473540727_thumb.jpg

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Neeners815

Lovely, lovely pics. And thanks so much for the camp shots, too!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy