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Seniortraveller

@@optig and @ kit safari, I am sitting with a big smile on my face as I read this report. I can imagine myself there with you, and it really has rekindled a strong desire to return to GBC.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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this is shaping up to be a picture TR, so I'll go with the flow.... first game drive for which I had excitedly clambered into the vehicle driven ably by Jephat, helped by tracker Difficult/Fortune/Pro

wildebeest on high ground     a crumbled baobab       a group of giraffes took turns at a waterhole to quench their thirst. i grabbed the opportunity to practise getting that S-shaped water

I have to mention that most people who see wild dogs for the first time on safari fall in love with them,however,as my guide in Gonarezhou pointed out except when they've witnessed a kill. I remember

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ZaminOz

#8 is a Giant Kingfisher (female). The male has the brown chest & white underbelly.

 

... sorry... someone already identified that for you... moving on, nothing to see here :)

Edited by ZaminOz
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ZaminOz

@@optig

 

In post #50 you have:

 

1. glossy starlings

2. tawny eagle (I think?)

3. carmine bee-eater

4. swallow tailed bee-eater(?) or little bee-eater(?) - but I think the former.

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#46

Looks like Spurwinged Geese, Cattle Egret and Black-winged Stilt

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@@ZaminOz I think that your'e correct it is a swallow tailed bee eater. As always I value your knowledge and kindness

 

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I saw so many nyala and greater kudu in Gonorezhou. There were also many impalas,duikers,steenboks as well as Sharpe's grysbok. I also was privileged to see a herd of over 60 eland run in front of us. I also saw sable and wildebeest. It doesn't matter how many times that I've already been on safari my heart still races whenever I see impalas or kudu leap. The same excitement remains.

Edited by optig
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post-47384-0-92373300-1478776276_thumb.jpgpost-47384-0-63831200-1478776344_thumb.jpgpost-47384-0-49087400-1478776406_thumb.jpg

 

I'm never tired of watching baboons on safari. It doesn't matter if they're on the ground or in trees. I have also been astonished by their ability to climb the sheer vertical face of cliffs. They are a tremendous source of pleasure to me.

Edited by optig
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I'm going to end this trip report with some personal photos of myself,Kit,and my incredible guide Ant Kaschula. Yes, he really is without a question one of the finest guides in Zimbabwe, but anywhere else in Africa. He has been written up in Conde Nast, Vanity Fair, and there is a whole chapter devoted to him in Legendary Safari Guides by Susie Cazenove. I'll defiantly be using him as my guide in the future. I would love to visit Chad,Ethiopia,the D.R.C and Rwanda with him.

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madaboutcheetah

@@optig and @@Kitsafari - more pictures of the cliffs please? It looks absolutely stunning!!!! Yes, on my list!

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I have little doubt that in the future Gonarezhou will attract more tourists. Obviously,it will never be another Kruger,Etosha,Serengeti or the Masai Mara but that's for the better. It's a great park in it's own right and is it stands is an outstanding place for it's scenery, levels of guiding, bird watching, elephant interaction,and wilderness "vibe". There are plenty of antelope especially nyala,and greater kudu. There are certainly plenty of buffalo. The baobab trees are just majestic.

 

I won't claim that Gonarezhou is an excellent place for predator sighting. Yes,one sees footprints of lions,leopards,hyenas, and wild dogs but one doesn't see them very often. Of course I never forget waking up to the sounds of the baboons one morning because they had been chased up the tree by a leopard. I do know that very well that once the elephant population recovers after decades of either poaching or overhunting the antelope,and zebra populations do as well. Then of course the predator populations will also grow. I've seen this happen in the Namyunyak Conservancy when I stayed at Sarara Camp. It has undoubtedly happened in other places,and I know that it's gradually happening in Gonarezhou National park.

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The legendary Lewis"Stretch Ferriera of Goliath Camp in Mana Pools predicted to me in 2013 that Gonarezhou would be the next "big thing" in wildlife tourism in Zimbabwe.Obviously many of us have either stayed with Stretch,met him personally or at least seen him chasing off at the elephants in a various videos on youtube. So his opinion carries some weight. This obviously hasn't happened,and as I mentioned earlier Gonarezhou receives very few tourists. There is Pamushana in the Malingamwe Private Reserve outside of the park,and there is of course Chilo Gorge which is also outside the park. There isn't a single fixed camp there. I do feel that one will open and Ant and his wife will be the owners. Scott would be the perfect manager, and guide.

 

I feel that after "Old Bob" goes, and there is a real successor to him that things will gradually improve in Zimbabwe, No,I don't think that by any stretch of the imagination that things will just fall into place we've heard that said about so many countries in Africa,and it's never been true. It will take Zimbabwe at least two decades to recover,but it will happen.Investment will flow into the country and certainly members of the Zimbabwean diaspora scattered all over the world will return and bring their skills,and capita with them. I have seen something very positive happen in Zimbabwe that Zimbabweans regardless of the fact that they are white,black,Shona,Matabele, Shangaan, Betswana or Chichele now seem themselves as Zimbawean and realize that they are in it together.

 

Please consider that Zimbabwe justifiably in my opinion has been cut off for all new credit by the I.M.F.,and World Bank. Just think, what an an effect would it have if Zimbabwe again had access to this much needed credit? Even the Chinese are furious with the current government because it has delayed so many infrastructure products.

 

I also believe that technology will help Zimbabwe recoup so much of the damage that has been caused to it's economy. I'm amazed not by how little,but by how much of Zimbabwe's infrastucture,and wildlife is still left not by how little. I'll write more later on this theme.

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madaboutcheetah

@@optig - I don't think I'm brave enough to safari with "Stretch" - the adrenaline rush is left to others .... but, I would love to visit Gonerezhou at some point for the sheer beauty of it.

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@@madaboutcheetah I just loved Gonarezhou,and by no means for the stunning beauty of the Chilojo Cliffs,The pans and baobab trees were just spectacular. I had arguably the best interaction that I've ever had with elephants. The elephant population is growing fast in Gonarezhou,and there are lots of big tuskers. The birding is superb as well. We also saw plenty of antelope including sable. As I said the wilderness "vibe" and feeling of isolation makes it a truly special place. it was wonderful being accompanied by @@Kitsafari. As I mentioned before Ant Kaschula is an incredibly talented guide. Scott Pelly is a fine assistant.

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Kitsafari

I feel that my rambling and meandering and long-winded voice will just bog down this TR and clutter optig's to-the-point commentary. @@optig has provided an excellent overview of our safari but i don't want to hijack it, so I thought to supplement this TR, I should start a new thread on details of some highlights of our safari.

 

so those who don't mind being overwhelmed by unimportant details and unwanted info can head to this link :

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/16882-an-addendum-to-optigs-awesome-safari-trip-report-malilangwe-gonarezhou/

 

thanks @@optig for stirring everyone's interest in a seriously remote and wild region in Africa! and thanks for kick-starting this TR!

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michael-ibk

Thanks for sharing, both of you - Gonarezhou really looks fantastic, need to get there soon.

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@@optig

Thank you - a great report from a beautiful place. Lovely photos + good to see the you all at the end!

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Caracal

@@optig - thanks for this fascinating report enhanced by your lovely photos and your thoughts and opinions for both the park and the country's future.

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Ant Kaschula

 

my 2 cents: 4 is the same bird as 5, eastern chanting goshawk. Peregrine or African harrier-hawk don't have a white rump or white tipped tail feathers, or a darker patches in only in the hand of the underwing. Peregrine wings are narrower, African harrier hawk adults have a black band extending over the whole outer edge of the underwing, and juveniles are brown.

Also, it looks like the bush in photo 4 and 5 is the exact same bush! Might be the same bird using that bush regularly as a perch.

It's not a pale or dark chanting goshawk as it has a yellow cere and orange legs. Pale and dark ch have red cere and red legs.

I agree with the rest.

@@optig @@Kitsafari

 

 

I think the birds are as follows

1 Looks like an European Roller

2,3 White bellied Go Away bird

4 Not sure but does not look like a Peregrine

5 Eastern Chanting Goshawk

6 Helmeted Guineafowl

7 Yellow necked Spurfowl

8 Female Giant Kingfisher

 

The bird identifications seem plausible however white-bellied go-away birds do not occur in Zimbabwe (we only have the grey go-away) and nor do yellow-necked spurfowl occur here. I can only assume that there has been a muddle up with photos here from another trip...

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Atravelynn

Re post #4. It looks like you cut and paste wild dogs all over the photo. They are everywhere! Re post #5. If you are appalling, then 90% of us on this forum are appalling. And proud of it!

 

Beautiful sun on the mother rhino and calf.

 

That shaking guinea fowl has me humming KC and the Sunshine band. Shake shake shake...shake shake shake..

 

"Africa's greatest delights are simply the sunsets and I wasn't to be disappointed at Pamushana." You added the rhino and flocks of birds too for extra punch.

 

Next stop Gonerz.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Atravelynn

Gonarezhou looks beautiful and I bet Stretch is right that it will be attracting more people soon. Thanks for sharing your impressions and the scenery and wildlife of this impressive destination! That initial shot of the cliffs is arresting and iconic.

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