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Atravelynn

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Atravelynn

Lots of great stuff in here guys. @@Atravelynn I'm glad you have taken my baobab spotting to an even higher level! I've torn contacts on 2 trips but my worst misadventure was forgetting my glasses in the vehicle on the way to the airport. You can't wear contacts for 43 hours so I basically traveled blind for most of the trip home. Better on the way home than throughout the safari.

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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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SafariChick

@@Atravelynn nice summary of the day! Ha ha, I'd forgotten that I suggested The Disgruntled Warthog would be a good name for a bar, but yes, that was me. And then I said as a plural it could also be a good band name: The Disgruntled Warthogs.

 

@@pault no sunstroke or pot for me either but we all thought those buffalo jokes were hilarious! Maybe you "had to be there"! Yes, the camera thing was extremely frustrating. But I still really enjoyed the trip and got some photos that I was happy with. They might be different photos than I would have had if it had zoomed in but oh well, that's life. Sometimes it encouraged me to just put the camera down and enjoy the moment also, which is a really good thing!

 

Some more photos from the morning:

This was the first elephant we saw that was really stretching for those albida pods. Doug let us get out of the car to get closer to take some photos.

 

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As Lynn mentioned, we were trying to track some lions. This came about because when we saw a few cars parked, we approached the folks we saw on foot nearby and heard from them that THEY'D heard there were lions, but hadn't found them. Doug decided to park the car and have us try to track the lions. We went on what felt to me like a rather long walk - I think this felt like the hottest day in which we'd been walking so far. We stopped often for Doug to look at tracks. We saw small herds of eles includiing this group of three:

 

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Hyena, one of the few we saw on the trip, and antelope in the background:

 

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Lynn kind of downplayed it I thought but when we saw a group of about four eles walking towards us and quickening their pace, Doug quickly turned and said follow me. We walked at a brisk pace for probably about 10 minutes, with Doug making some 90-degree turns and looking back over his shoulder periodically. Those eles kept following us no matter which way we turned. They were NOT happy with our presence and it was a little nerve-wracking to me frankly - but luckily they did not seem to gain on us, just kept following at a steady pace. Finally we 'lost' them - phew!

As Lynn said, we never did find those lions that morning, but later in the morning we found those hippos with their surfing partners:

 

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I recall that Lynn said to me "You need to get photos of the surfing of all of us" or something to that effect. What she MEANT was that I, more than all the rest of us, really needed to get a shot of that because Mr. SafariChick is an avid surfer but what I THOUGHT she meant was that we needed to get photos of ALL OF US surfing on the hippos. I thought that could be a bit tricky.

 

Later in the morning, we drove by a sweet scene. A baby ele was taking a nap in the shade (this was at 10:52 a.m. according to my camera so it was already quite hot) while the rest of the herd stood watch to make sure it was protected:

 

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About 40 minutes later, we encountered this ele that came quite close to the vehicle while browsing on some trees.

 

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A short time later, we were back in camp for lunch and we were met with this lovely scene of elephants out on one of the several islands that dotted the river between us and Zambia on the other side.

 

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Kitsafari

finally found some time to read this on a proper PC to enjoy good photos on a proper screen than the tiny ipad or android mobile.

 

and I'm only page 2 : the dust kicked up by the buffaloes really added so much atmosphere tothe entire sighting.

 

now I don't know what a pop tart is - and I can pretty guess what ablutions No #1, No#2 are but what is No#7?? if that's not too delicate to enquire..

 

oh I love those day beds on the riverbeds! how cool is that!

 

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

 

to answer @@Game Warden - me on my very first safari. we were at dunia camp in tanzania, it was after dinner, as I unzipped and stuck my head into the tent, my reading glasses fell from the top of my head onto the floor and my first step was to crush it. i did have a exra disposable pair with me but it wasn't the same. after that, a second pair of reading glasses is always packed in the bag.

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Kitsafari

Doug Cheetah on a mound.

 

surfing herons were cool, probably hoping to take a hippo ride to the other side of the lake.

 

that stretching elephant against the ethereal Mana light is just gorgeous! great shots from both of the Honeys!

 

and those beautiful trees - in the warthog posts and the leaping impala - just lovely!

 

@@Atravelynn - gorgeous sunset photos

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@atravelynne particularly love those photos of the goliath herons standing on top of the hippo. That elephant has such impressive tusks. Don't we all love Mana Pools.

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@@Kitsafari I had a similiar experience on my first safari-I lost my only pair of reading glasses. It was on my first safari that I made the mistake of driving in Africa,something that I simply don't have the nerves for as I'm simply unable to take the stress. I was panicking because I simply can't read without them and as you know I'm a voracious reader.I learned from then on to take a spare pair of reading glasses.

 

On safari last year in Botswana,and Zambia my very expensive and almost unbreakable pair of Maui Jim sunglasses did break because I tried to fit them in a poach compartment which was just too small. Fortunately,I always take another pair of Maui Jim sunglasses with me on safari. Well we all learn.

 

Then on our last safari I lost one pair of reading glasses, but of course I had another pair. It broke,but fortunately that gentleman Scott

Pelly was able to fix it adequately. From now on I'll always carry no less than three pairs of glasses. Now I keep everything that I need for safari ready ,so I don't need to worry about anything missing. Everytime that I go on safari I learn what i need to take and what I can eliminate to save weight.

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Atravelynn

Great story! One of many. Thanks to Doug!

 

 

finally found some time to read this on a proper PC to enjoy good photos on a proper screen than the tiny ipad or android mobile. I do find the choice of device makes a difference in viewing/reading pleasure.

 

and I'm only page 2 : the dust kicked up by the buffaloes really added so much atmosphere tothe entire sighting.

 

now I don't know what a pop tart is - and I can pretty guess what ablutions No #1, No#2 are but what is No#7?? if that's not too delicate to enquire.. I think you just use your imagination. More than envisioning #7, I am wondering about #3-#6. It was just Elijah being funny. Perhaps one of his other sayings, "Different day, same sh|+" might give a clue. He was quite amusing and quick witted, with very sharp eyes.

 

oh I love those day beds on the riverbeds! how cool is that! Cool, pleasantly cool!

 

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

 

to answer @@Game Warden - me on my very first safari. we were at dunia camp in tanzania, it was after dinner, as I unzipped and stuck my head into the tent, my reading glasses fell from the top of my head onto the floor and my first step was to crush it. i did have a exra disposable pair with me but it wasn't the same. after that, a second pair of reading glasses is always packed in the bag. That's why our luggage gets heavy--all these extra things.

I had forgotten about my "suggestion" for a group shot atop the hippo, @@SafariChick. Funny how a missing word here or there makes a difference. I'm sure Doug has gotten requests nearly as strange as that would have been.

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Atravelynn

 

Fortunately,I always take another pair of Maui Jim sunglasses with me on safari. Well we all learn. I'll be on the lookout for some dashing photos of you with these glasses in your reports!

 

Then on our last safari I lost one pair of reading glasses, but of course I had another pair. It broke,but fortunately that gentleman Scott

Pelly was able to fix it adequately. From now on I'll always carry no less than three pairs of glasses. Good plan. Apply that same philosophy to other necessaries like toothbrush and toothpaste and the weight really adds up!

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SafariChick

@@Kitsafari don't know what a Pop Tart is? Oh no! You must try them some time when you can come accross them. They can be kind of addictive though if you like that kind of thing. You can toast them in the toaster or just eat them right out of the package!

 

Brown sugar and cinnamon: https://www.poptarts.com/en_US/flavors/bakery/brown-sugar-cinnamon.html and Strawberry: https://www.poptarts.com/en_US/flavors/fruit/strawberry.html are some of the best!!

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Kitsafari

@@SafariChick i opened the link and they do look yummy (but oh no palm oil!...)

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SafariChick

@@Kitsafari oh no - that figures - it's so hard to avoid :( Well I don't buy them at home, so it was a once in a while treat. There are possibly more organic versions of them at places like Whole Foods that sells organic and better versions of most everything too.

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Atravelynn

You ladies @@SafariChick and @@Kitsafari just inspired me to go the the Kellogg's home page, choose contact us, and request that they swap out palm oil or at least use a responsible plantation. I added a no palm oil ad campaign could be a boon for sales. Click, click, and done.

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Atravelynn

We had been jogging around the floodplains, evading the territorial elephants in about 98°F, 37°C temperatures, because that is what it was at lunch; it was 101°F, 38°C by 1:30 pm. I had not paused to check the thermometer during the hot (literal) pursuit.

 

My tripod was not lugged around for nothing! Just before lunch, I had an opportunity to use it, specifically around 11:45 am.

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Very similar to @SafariChick’s tripod-less shot. At camp, across from Mucheni #4.

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At camp, across from Mucheni #4.

 

Compare the harshness of these next photos taken after lunch around 2:30-3:30 pm to the above at 11:45 am.

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The trunk goes up after I had put the tripod away, of course.

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Doug offered to take a picture of me. At camp, across from Mucheni #4.

 

This animal activity across come from camp was not an everyday occurrence, so we jumped at the opportunity. There was also some animal activity in camp.

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My smile looks a bit tentative.

 

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Elijah said, “When the elephant is close, look at the eyes. If the eyes are blinking, then all is ok.

But if he stops blinking and looks at you with one eye, that eye and tusk will come after you.”

 

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Taken from my tent at Mucheni #4

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SafariChick

@@Atravelynn fun photo of the ele behind you! This must have been the day that I napped after lunch and missed the eles walking right through camp - I was so frustrated! But we did have a great afternoon in store!

 

After lunch, one in our party decided to go out on a canoe trip with one of the Natureways guides hoping to take photos of eles from the water, while the rest of us went out with Doug in the vehicle to see what we could find. We had only gone about 5 minutes from camp when two in our party, including Atravelynn, shouted "leopard!!" we had to back up a bit as we'd driven right past a female leopard lying calmly just off the side of the road! We were able to sit watching her for a while without any other vehicles approaching.

 

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after maybe fifteen minutes, another vehicle started to drive up behind us and she decided three was a crowd (two vehicles and her, that is) and ran off. But we felt very lucky since seeing a leopard in Mana Pools is certainly not guaranteed!

 

So on we drove, encountering a few more creatures

 

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And then, up ahead, we saw a number of people out walking. What were they looking at? It was the famous Boswell! Time for us to get out of the car too and go get a closer look at the big fellow!

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SafariChick

Boswell was with a friend, or rather one might say a hanger-on as Doug said sometimes a younger male would hang out with him in hopes of getting to partake in some of the pods he shakes down.

Doug surveyed the scene:

 

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and then guided us to getting close and following at a safe distance as Boswell moved from tree to tree. He is a big beautiful guy with gorgeous tusks.

 

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We spent about half an hour with Boswell and it was just mesmerizing. We got to see him do his trademark back legs handstand many times. Here are a couple of photos:

 

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We moved from spot to spot as Boswell did and finally Doug saw another group of people approaching and thought we should take our leave and let them move in. As we started walking back to the car, I reached up on top of my head and realized that my spare sunglasses, the ones that were NOT broken and that I'd been wearing ever since we first arrived and the other pair had broken ... were gone! I apparently dropped them somewhere along the way as we moved around following Boswell. Doug was trying to find them but I kept saying let's not worry about it, really, they are cheap and scratched anyway. But he didn't want to send me home with cataracts he said,as he knew my other pair was not functioning. It was getting towards dark by now though and he kept trying to look as we walked towards the car but we never did find them. As we headed back to camp, we had a discussion about what kinds of things could be done to try to make my original pair of sunglasses functional. @@Atravelynn offered that she had duct tape so we decided to try that first - but in the morning!

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It must be so awesome to be able to follow an ellie on foot, and more so Boswell, the star of Mana. So cool. Too bad about your sunglasses. I can see that when you walk from dark to light in the forest, you would be putting them on and off a lot. So what's the moral of the story? Bring two pairs, put them on a lanyard?

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SafariChick

@@KaliCA yes, definitely - that was something I said to myself during this trip is that I MUST get a lanyard or what do they call them, Croakies!!

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I enjoy your trip report a lot, great reading. I envy you seeing those massive buffalo herds in Chitake, seeing them on the move is one of the better experiences you can have in the bush, with all the dust and noise they make.

 

It's great you saw Boswell doing his thing. When we were in Mana we were not that lucky (we were said that he has not been seen for a while, because he ventured somewhere in more remote parts of the park).

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Atravelynn

I enjoy your trip report a lot, great reading. I envy you seeing those massive buffalo herds in Chitake, seeing them on the move is one of the better experiences you can have in the bush, with all the dust and noise they make.

 

It's great you saw Boswell doing his thing. When we were in Mana we were not that lucky (we were said that he has not been seen for a while, because he ventured somewhere in more remote parts of the park).

You may have missed Boswell and buffalo dust clouds on your trip, but Mana Pools delivered for you big time!

 

It must be so awesome to be able to follow an ellie on foot, and more so Boswell, the star of Mana. So cool. Too bad about your sunglasses. I can see that when you walk from dark to light in the forest, you would be putting them on and off a lot. So what's the moral of the story? Bring two pairs, put them on a lanyard?

The sunglasses were the only casualty, fortunately.

 

With one in the canoe*, that left three of us for the afternoon outing.

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At 101°F, 38°C, no wonder the leopard was seeking shade. In the peeking shot, the eye really had an aqua tint, I did not add Photoshop-type colored contacts to the leopard.

 

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Mana Pools offers one of the most scenic backdrops for the mighty kudu

 

At lunch we had been discussing cultural differences with an Australian family who was in camp. The kids had never tried the peanut butter, which was always on the table, and they were completely freaked that one might add jelly or jam for a PBJ sandwich. I shared with them my distaste for the hideous (to me) Vegemite or Marmite. That led to the the different ways of saying “food to go,” or “takeout” or takeaway,” depending on where we were from. However we may have said it, here was Boswell doing it, with a branch wedged between trunk and tusk.

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Boswell with “takeout,” the term I usually use. He liked to meander around with treats tucked away for later.

 

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Boswell, doing both his signature handstanding and also shaking the tree for seed pods. Not a “one trick pony,” this guy!

 

Camera hint and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (60s-90s popular late night US TV show) throwback reference. Our title Hot Times in Mana Pools… might prompt the Johnny Carson Show-style question, “How hot was it?” I think it was sidekick Ed McMahon who usually posed that question in loud dramatic fashion. The answer: “It was so hot that my camera refused to continuous shoot.”

 

The first instance of no continuous shooting was our first Boswell sighting. Good thing his hang time was sufficient because my camera would not click-click-click. It just clicked. I initially attributed the slowness to my big 32 GB memory card. But trial and error with different memory cards and different conditions over the next couple of days proved that it was the direct, relentless sun beating down on the camera body. (Sony SX50). There were times when we were in direct sunlight, no shade in sight, at 100°F+++, 38°C+++ for 15-45 minutes. No other camera functions were impaired that I could tell. What helped solve the problem was shading the camera underneath my bum bag/fanny pack around my waist, yet another plus for this unstylish but useful accessory.

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Here’s a nice view of the fanny pack that saved my continuous shoot mode

and of the clothing that seemed to function the best. The capris were short

enough for good airflow but long enough to protect the legs from the hot sun.

Of course I used sunscreen on my legs when I wore shorter pants.

Doug’s gaiters were always part of the uniform. And that's Boswell in the background.

 

If the Johnny Carson reference and fanny pack fetish were not sufficient to reveal my "era," more specifics are coming up.

 

* For those not interested in a several night canoe safari like the ones I have done, this several hour canoe outing is a nice option. The flexibility offered by Natureways also allows you to see what the ele activity around the river looks like so you can chose what day you want to canoe and try to get shots of eles in the water/along the shore. I believe Doug said the pro (Elijah in this case) sits in the back and up to two guests can sit in the middle and front. The guests paddle as much or as little as they wish. The camp had two canoes that can go out together and a guide is not needed in each canoe, just one guide to lead. The downside is that you miss a regularly scheduled activity. The canoeing is not a midday downtime activity, it is a morning or afternoon activity.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Having finally finished my report, I can focus more on enjoying yours. Similar in many ways to ours, but unique as well - as every safari should be!

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Atravelynn

Having finally finished my report, I can focus more on enjoying yours. Similar in many ways to ours, but unique as well - as every safari should be!

 

Doesn't Doug say, "The same but different."?

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Atravelynn

Our sundowner location was stunning and responsible for the first part of the 2-part Yin and Yang Quote of the Trip. SafariChick immediately described the spot as “Eden-like and idyllic.” I guess that would be the more yangish part of the quote.

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Doug excels at picking sundowner spots! 95°F, 35°C at 6 pm

 

A little climbing around through some trees and down a bank was necessary for the proper angle on sunset, according to Doug.

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Sunset photo clinic by Doug

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Atravelynn

I feel a haiku coming on and I am powerless to stop it! (My 2015 Mana Pools trip report was all in haiku.)

 

Floodplain elephants

Dappled in filtered sunlight

Stretch high for seed pods

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Picturesque archways

Framing by nature’s own hand

Beautiful backdrop

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Yields to the shoreline

Blues and greens of Zambezi

Idyllic setting.

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SafariChick

@@Atravelynn you got some beautiful sunset photos! And your haiku is a nice contribution to the report! Here are my hippo and sunset contribution from that evening:

 

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