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Atravelynn

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I don't want to spoil things. But face hacked off and a dead young-ish hyena nearby, it would make alarm bells go off big time...With animals in those states it would be very hard to find bullet holes. I'm curious based on what clues it was determined that the elephant was found by rangers and the tusks removed.

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And quite a fun adventure it was! For me, the heat was not as bad as I feared the first few days in Chitake for sure. Even as we moved into the Floodplains, where it seemed there was less of a breeze

We were guided by Doug of Doug Macdonald’s Safaris to Africa. I booked direct, shortly after my 2015 safari with him (is there any better endorsement for Doug than that??) and was awaiting--fingers

Before our arrival at the Floodplains, we encountered this guy or gal which I THINK was a Grysbok? @@Atravelynn or someone correct me if I'm wrong! They are very similar in size to a Duiker.    

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Atravelynn

I don't want to spoil things. But face hacked off and a dead young-ish hyena nearby, it would make alarm bells go off big time...With animals in those states it would be very hard to find bullet holes. I'm curious based on what clues it was determined that the elephant was found by rangers and the tusks removed. The ele and hyena were not near each other. But they were under a 2-hour walk from each other, which could be nearby by bush standards.

 

Their deaths did not appear to be in the same time frame. They hyena died very recently and each of our visits to the carcass showed marked changes, especially the proliferation of insects. The elephant carcass was much older, but I don't recall the estimated time of death for it.

 

Our (the guests') first concern was naturally poaching. I think the conclusion on the ele was that upon closeup inspection, there appeared to be more careful cutting of the tusks and facial area than quick hacking, meaning the rangers would not be as rushed as poachers. But it was only a guess based on decaying flesh. We did look for bullets in the elephant but as you predicted, did not see any evidence of bullets. We discussed what might have happened to the hyena, and lions was a thought, but nothing for certain.

 

Sadly I am aware that poaching does occur, especially in the off-season, and I also know it can be done with poison. We saw no other carcasses during our 3 nights at Chitake. Thanks for your comments. They're always insightful.

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It's good to come back to Safaritalk after a long break and find a great Mana trip report in the making. Looking for more stories and photos! (I even volunteer to see those photos of decaying carcasses)

PS. Funny thing about the glasses. So far I was in Africa twice, and twice I came back with a broken glasses. Below is how my glasses (and my face) looked at the end of my Namibia/Botswana trip in 2013. This year I was wiser and had backup pair with me.

 

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Atravelynn

@@hubertj, that photo makes you the poster child of "Adventure Had!" And I'm sure you had many in your travels. Live and learn on the glasses, right? I bring a second pair, myself. Fortunately SafariChick's lost lens was from sunglasses, and inexpensive ones at that.

 

Recollections of 2nd full day Chitake, 3nd night

74°F, 23°C at 6:10 am. While tracking some lions, we encountered an elephant in the thicket, which posed a threat if we advanced, so we halted the lion hunt.

 

Next it was "Man Your Stations" discreetly under the trees on the hill overlooking a buffalo watering spot. Then wait to see what happens. 200, then 300, then 500 buffalo came to drink is what happened. #s are approximate.

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The buffalos coming down the hill created their own “sepia.”

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The first approximately 200 buffalo took about 20 minutes to come down and drink - Chitake Springs

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Quick departure after drinking – Chitake Springs

 

So intent on the creatures, I realized I had not gotten any baobabs in my buffalo shots. With buffalo and baobabs in the same view, that was a missed opportunity.

Edited by Atravelynn
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I don't want to spoil things. But face hacked off and a dead young-ish hyena nearby, it would make alarm bells go off big time...With animals in those states it would be very hard to find bullet holes. I'm curious based on what clues it was determined that the elephant was found by rangers and the tusks removed. The ele and hyena were not near each other. But they were under a 2-hour walk from each other, which could be nearby by bush standards.

 

Their deaths did not appear to be in the same time frame. They hyena died very recently and each of our visits to the carcass showed marked changes, especially the proliferation of insects. The elephant carcass was much older, but I don't recall the estimated time of death for it.

 

Our (the guests') first concern was naturally poaching. I think the conclusion on the ele was that upon closeup inspection, there appeared to be more careful cutting of the tusks and facial area than quick hacking, meaning the rangers would not be as rushed as poachers. But it was only a guess based on decaying flesh. We did look for bullets in the elephant but as you predicted, did not see any evidence of bullets. We discussed what might have happened to the hyena, and lions was a thought, but nothing for certain.

 

Sadly I am aware that poaching does occur, especially in the off-season, and I also know it can be done with poison. We saw no other carcasses during our 3 nights at Chitake. Thanks for your comments. They're always insightful.

 

 

I thought the hyena was close to the elephant, but I was wrong. Lions will indeed kill hyenas if they have the chance.

As for the elephant...I've seen elephant carcasses with hacked of faces by poachers, and I've also seen rangers hacking out tusks. I think it would be hard to see a difference. But having said that, I'm not very experienced in it, as, luckily, I've only seen a few of either.

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Game Warden

Another one here who has suffered from broken (sun)glasses on safari...

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Atravelynn

Another one here who has suffered from broken (sun)glasses on safari...

Perhaps a support group is needed. Come to think of it, before I wore real glasses, I broke and lost several pairs of sunglasses too.

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SafariChick

Glad to hear I'm not the only one with glasses and sunglasses mishaps!

 

What I recall about the buffalo was that they came in a couple of different groups and by the end of the morning, Doug said he thought we'd seen approximately 1,000, which is the estimated population of all of Chitake Springs! It was really quite an impressive sight and also the sounds were impressive - I didn't realize such a big group of buffalo would produce such loud mooing sounds I will add a few more photos:

 

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a couple of buffalo decided to lie down in the muddy water with others drinking all around them:

 

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Atravelynn

After an hour and 20 minute wait and a successful rescue of Doug’s drowning pith, and barely visible views of a lion in thicket across the springs, here come some more buffalo! One herd entered the water from in front of us and the other from behind us to the right. Their numbers were about 800 total.

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Buffalo, baobabs in the background, and even some birds!

 

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and a warthog

 

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Our hiding spot is revealed

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Atravelynn

Buffalo viewing conditions were 92°F, 33°C.

 

Faces only another buffalo could love. Or an oxpecker.

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We were fortunate the buffalo were close enough so we could see and even photograph the oxpeckers. One member in our group with a mighty camera and a long lens (not Safarichick or me) achieved his goal of a buffalo drinking and an oxpecker on the buffalo drinking simultaneously. That same participant whipped out a Pop Tart during a pause in our buffalo photo session, and we were all offered a Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.

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Glad I'm not the only one who goes on safari with a point & shoot!

 

Pop tarts on safari?

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SafariChick

Here are a couple of short buffalo videos. The first shows all the dust they can kick up! The second demonstrates some mooing.

 

 

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SafariChick

@KathBC

 

 

Pop tarts on safari?

Why not? They were yummy! Haven't ever had them on safari before and rarely eat them at home so I appreciated the rare treat our safari-mate had brought along!

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I can relate to the treat comment. At home we never eat fruit salad out of a can, but on safari with 100+ degrees temps in the shade, it makes a great cold treat. This year we even had a real freezer in our Hilux, so get this.....we even had ICE CREAM in the bush. Now that was a real treat.

Will there be lions at Chitake Springs? Waiting to hear more....

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amybatt

Poptarts make sense from a pre-wrapped, doesn't melt, point of view. That frosting doesn't even melt in the toaster! Making note of that for the future. I've opened too many protein bars that end up being a gooey mess despite my best attempts otherwise.

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AfricanQueen

I enjoy reading this tr very much, the more as I've been to Chitake for the first time in early September (hopefully not for the last time!).

So reading about your adventures and seeing the pictures brings back memories...

We went with our own guide Sean Hinde, but then we were the only guests in camp (also with natureways) and us 3 sitting at the campfire at night gave as a true campin on our own-feeling!

I loved the sounds at night, even when one night 3 lions were roaring and fighting in the middle of the camp! My husband didn't feel so very fine then but I enjoyed it a lot.

As I was not told otherwise I had my side panel open at night and I liked to look outside and try to catch some movements in the darkness.

And it was nice to lie in bed and just watch the stars...

Thanks for sharing! I'm really looking forward to more to come...!

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Atravelynn

Thank goodness we had a videographer with us. Especially for scenes like the buffalo, it provides a perspective not possible with stills.

 

I enjoy reading this tr very much, the more as I've been to Chitake for the first time in early September (hopefully not for the last time!). You were just there? You'll have to add your report or at least your observations on this report. Or are you one of the "Two Poles" in the exciting report that is currently ongoing?

We are honored to be recognized by "The Queen." Dame SafariChick and Dame Atravelynn cannot be far behind.

 

This year we even had a real freezer in our Hilux, so get this.....we even had ICE CREAM in the bush. Now that was a real treat. That's livin'!
Will there be lions at Chitake Springs? Waiting to hear more.... One short phrase tucked into one sentence was our only real lion sighting: and barely visible views of a lion in thicket across the springs. He was as interested in the buffalo as we were. We saw distant forms of a mating pair way down the river one night. It was one of those phenomena where if you looked straight at them they were harder to see than if you looked off to the side. But we heard lions every night, beginning at 6:32 pm the first night, and tracks were abundant.

T

 

Poptarts make sense from a pre-wrapped, doesn't melt, point of view. That frosting doesn't even melt in the toaster! Making note of that for the future. I've opened too many protein bars that end up being a gooey mess despite my best attempts otherwise. I can relate!

Kellogg's needs to exploit this market niche. Safari Poptarts.

 

They were Brown sugar and Cinnamon, right @@SafariChick? I would hate to have distorted our Chitake experience by listing the wrong flavor. Somehow I think there were packages of Strawberry poptarts floating around in that backpack as well, because I recall saying, "Those are the exact two kinds my husband buys."

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@@Atravelynn and @@SafariChick I am LOVIN this report, especially the Buffalo. They are so evocative of an African Safari and yet rarely feature highly on the Safari-goer's list. When you see them at Chitake it's such a special sighting, so close and on foot (well on-bum mostly). It's quite mad when you think about it. Given we are told to steer clear of Buffalo in almost any other setting.

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SafariChick

@@Atravelynn definitely were brown sugar and cinnamon and I think there were some strawberry too. Mmmmm now I'm craving Pop-tarts!

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Atravelynn

Glad I'm not the only one who goes on safari with a point & shoot! But a high-end, super-zoom, image stabilized, bridge P&S!

 

Pop tarts on safari?

 

 

@@Atravelynn and @@SafariChick I am LOVIN this report, especially the Buffalo. They are so evocative of an African Safari and yet rarely feature highly on the Safari-goer's list. They get to be the stars in Chitake! When you see them at Chitake it's such a special sighting, so close and on foot (well on-bum mostly). Definitely on bum, so we don't startle them. It was possible to lean next to a tree, sort of to become one with the tree, for shots, but the buffalo were very aware of the figure (not SafariChick or me) next to the tree. It's quite mad when you think about it. Given we are told to steer clear of Buffalo in almost any other setting.

 

 

@@Atravelynn definitely were brown sugar and cinnamon and I think there were some strawberry too. Mmmmm now I'm craving Pop-tarts! Apologies for being responsible for the post-lunch cravings.

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Atravelynn

The last 800 buffalo from two herds took just under 90 minutes to drink and depart. Then we departed too, from our perch behind the trees on the hill, and walked back to camp. But we weren’t done with drinking herds.

 

Impalas were quenching their thirst. Impalas and one kudu.

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Kudu takes notice of us - Chitake Springs

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Ever vigilant kudu amongst the impala – Chitake Springs

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The impala just kept coming - Chitake Springs

 

Our exciting morning ended at 11:30 am. 92°F, 33°C at 3:30 pm tea. Back to the spring where the impala were drinking during the morning. The water level was down from the morning and no impala in sight. We waited in hopes that the resident wild dog pack would show. Suddenly five eles strode onto the scene.

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Elephants & Baobab – Chitake Springs

 

Lesson learned from the morning buffalo: don’t forget the baobab background. Post eles about 5:20 pm it was 85°F, 29°C. Then 82°F, 28°C at bedtime, 9:30 pm.

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Lovely ellie pics with Baobab in golden light. I'm surprised you were allowed to walk around and leave camp. I thought it's a place to just stay put?

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SafariChick

I loved that kudu with the impala - he looked like such a giant! @@KaliCA oh no, you don't stay put during daylight at Mana Pools, the whole idea is to walk! after dark, yes you stay in camp for sure though! People can walk even without a guide but we only did it with our guide, who always had a gun just in case but never had to use it or even came close. He knows so well the signals the animals give off and to approach them slowly to make sure none of them are upset with our presence. If they are giving any signs of being upset, we'd retreat, which did happen a few times with elephants. In the case of these buffalo and eles, we were up above them at a safe distance. But we still moved very slowly and in fact tried to stay completely still while they were there so as not to alarm them.

 

A few more photos of the eles:

 

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Atravelynn

Lovely ellie pics with Baobab in golden light. I'm surprised you were allowed to walk around and leave camp. I thought it's a place to just stay put?

Our walk was with Doug and Elijah. A crucial detail I omitted. We did not walk out on our own, but it is allowed by the park. With Doug as our guide, he would not allow us to walk by ourselves.

 

But you may be thinking of Chitake's reputation for delivering wildlife right to camp, as you sit along the river and watch. That also works. This trip we had to go out and find it more than last year, when there was more activity right in front of camp.

 

I see there were 6 ele. I missed 1.

Edited by Atravelynn
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wilddog

 

 

But you may be thinking of Chitake's reputation for delivering wildlife right to camp, as you sit along the river and watch. That also works. This trip we had to go out and find it more than last year, when there was more activity right in front of camp.

 

 

 

Loving your latest Mana TR @@Atravelynn

 

Last year we were of course earlier in the year at Chitake so I guess the trickle we had directly in front of camp in 2016 had disappeared by the time you go there this year?

 

This could explain the lack of activity directly in front of the camp

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