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We spend a lot of time around the Marabou Pan waterhole and watch ellies come to drink, warthogs and a few raptors. Curiously, we never see any other herbivores at the waterhole. Very strange. The giraffe, wildebeest, and hartebeest that remain in Savuti, are usually camped out under the big shade trees by early morning.





This is the deep sand track from Camp to Marabou Pan, the main track to Mababe as well.



The dry Savuti Channel


Edited by KaliCA
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In camp, the ellies are so desperate for water that they break the water points in some sites and there was no water in the ablutions for a day. Early one morning, I hear an ellie digging around the cement block on our campsite, just inches away from our heads in the roof tent, but luckily it did not break any pipes. Nice night ellie sighting, though.

Our second diesel tank is down to less than half so we fill it up with the 20 liters of Diesel we had brought along from Maun in a jerry can, just for that reason.

Tip: It pays to be prepared, not only with water and food, but with diesel as well, as there is no gas or diesel available between Maun and Kasane. So if you are doing a lot of game driving like we do, best to have a full jerry can of diesel along with you on this route. We actually went against Peter's advice with this, as he was saying that none of his clients ever ran out of diesel on this route. Well, we would have been the first ones!


​Thanks to DH's excellent foresight, we have enough diesel to make it to Kasane


​Ellie in camp





sadly, this could be the symbol for Savuti this dry season: a dust-filled wasteland



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Early morning giraffe










Tomorrow, we will sat good-bye to Savuti, drive to Kasane, and take a boat tour on the Chobe River. Till then, Cheers!



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Beautiful shadows against the sunset, @@KaliCA ! Another image we will try to duplicate on our next trip!

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Last photo of Post #52 is magnificent!

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On our last morning in Savuti, we just have to drive south again to see if we can visit with the Marsh Pride one last time. They are a quite close to the road this time and there is some walking around movement, including some walking by the huge males, and a feeble hunting set-up by some females. Sadly, we need to abandon them because we have a long drive ahead of us to Kasane. At 10:30, we leave Savuti, driving north towards the Goha Gate. The 28 km drive is uneventful, the road is a gentle rise and dip across low dunes and almost no deep sand. Lovely.

At Goha gate, we check out then drive 7 km west towards Linyanti.

Tip: This is how you avoid the deep sand after Goha gate: drive WEST for 7km to a junction, then turn right and head NORTH, thus avoiding the deep sand north of Goha. The ladies at the gate will show you on the map.

This is a great, easy-to-drive road, mostly packed sand, up and down some large red dunes. DH is able to drive in third gear, yay! After almost two hours, we reach the tar road and the sign reads 95 km to Kasane. We have made it and are back in civilization, in the village of Katchikau.

Tip: This is a very lonely stretch of the trip with no facilities or landmarks around. Be prepared with enough water and food to stay put for at least three days in case your car breaks down.




​Typical track between Savuti and the tar road


​Tar road! We have made it back from the bush


Edited by KaliCA
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After lunch by the side of the road, we pass Ngoma junction then check back into Chobe NP, which we have just left. In Kasane, our goal is the Thebe River Lodge where we check into a room with AC. So nice to have a cool room after suffering through the heat for many days now. In addition, the AC in our car is not cooling right, so we have to find a place to add more coolant.

Thebe River Lodge is quite disappointing. There is no river view from the restaurant, as I was assuming.


Tip: This can be counted as snag # 7, as I should have been more diligent in checking out the facility from home. Check out your accommodations thoroughly. It will help avoid disappointment.


The whole set-up is a messy hodge-podge of buildings, apparently done without any thoughtful planning, and it's close to the prison! The service is horribly slow at dinner, in fact, we were sent back to our room and told to come back after an hour, because they were busy serving a group! The food was not worth the wait and we both had stomach aches from the greasy schnitzel and chips. Wi-Fi did not work at the restaurant and barely worked at reception. Breakfast was no better.



After 10 AM the next morning, we are able to move to our campsite, also at Thebe River Lodge, which has a Lapa and power. There is some obstructed view of the river. In fact, the only good view of the river is from campsite 1 and 2, but both were occupied.


Tip: Looking back now, I'm sorry we did not try and camp at Chobe Safari Lodge like last time. It was not great, but better than this. And it has river views and the boat dock is at the lodge.



Campsite at Thebe river Lodge. Shade is a must have in October.

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We go shopping at the Spar, but they are out of two staples, water in 5 liter bottles and tomatoes. So we go next door to Choppies and they have everything we need for the next few days at Ihaha.

At 3 pm, we board a safari truck and get transported to a dock in town where we board a big double-decker boat together with probably 50 other people. We had a good experience last time on such a boat and do not mind the crowd. There is a ranger who describes the wildlife we are spotting on the river.

Compared to 2012, the tour is not as exciting as we did not see any swimming ellies. There is, however, a huge herd of buffalo on Siddudu island as well as an angry hippo, and some huge crocs. I enjoy seeing a teenage Puku antelope run and chase a teenage waterbuck, just for the fun of it. Have never seen a Puku before, or inter-species play time. Ellies were in groups of 4-8, not in groups of 40 or more this time. It is a pleasant enough tour, but there sure are a lot of other boats out and about. After dry Savuti, being on the river is easy on our eyes to see water and greenery again.

Back in camp, there are a lot of over landers around us with noisy staff and it's not very pleasant to have to listen to human noises while trying to sleep.






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You did your own Savage Kingdom production. The cub nose to nose with dad is adorable. The sunset silhouettes are gorgeous, and even the ele wasteland shot has character.


One more reason for a midday shower if possible--it's not as cold and you don't have to have wet hair in cold air. This is from someone who hates to be cold.


Some menacing looking croc views!

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You did your own Savage Kingdom production. The cub nose to nose with dad is adorable. The sunset silhouettes are gorgeous, and even the ele wasteland shot has character.


One more reason for a midday shower if possible--it's not as cold and you don't have to have wet hair in cold air. This is from someone who hates to be cold.


Some menacing looking croc views!


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Thanks,atraveLynn, you always have such creative ways of looking at things.


you are right, when I need to wash hair, it has to be done during the day to let it dry before bedtime. I'm traveling with a small foldable hair dryer that came in handy at KPT rest camps where there is electricity in bathrooms. Doesn't work for Bots as there is no electricity in camps.


Yeah, those crocs are dangerous. Heard how a tourist who was fishing was attacked and killed by such a monster in Kasane.

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Really like that Croc pic, very cool angle.

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The next morning is a little wasted as we are led on a wild goose chase to find a place that would diagnose the AC problem. It involves wrong directions, driving to Kazungula, back to Kasane, and back to Kazungula again. Finally, we find Lawrence who is able to fill the coolant for 100 Pula. Cheap! Then we have to buy a new compressor as the one Peter gave us died at the Nxai Pan gate. ($80, expensive!)

By the time we check into Chobe NP at Siddudu Gate, it's already 11 o'clock. We spend the next hours game driving along the Chobe riverfront. We observe many breeding herds of ellies, with an abundance of tiny babies, going to drink or taking a mud or dust bath. Great fun to watch.

A few kilometers south of Ihaha camp we encounter cars stopped by the river. Can it be? Yes! What wonderful timing, just then a pride of lions is walking from under the bushes towards the river to drink. There are 5 strong females, two sub-adult males with sprouting blond manes, and three cubs, about 5 months old. This is the Ihaha pride, well, we give them this name, because this group does not have a name and we would see them many more times during our stay at this camp.

This is the most affectionate group of lions we have ever observed. The cubs are play-fighting and wrestling each other while the blond sub-adult looks on and then gets "attacked" by the three trouble-makers who are clearly practicing their hunting skills.

"Uncle" as I call him, clearly babysitter-in-chief, would then swat at them and roll around with them. It is adorable to see. There is lots of head rubbing between the females, cubs, and uncles showing such a great display of affection among all the members of this pride that is pure elation to watch.

At dusk, the females move along the channel towards some grazing zebra and the young males follow. Now, this is bad timing as we have to rush to Ihaha camp to check in before 7 PM. We reluctantly leave and check into site 6 at almost dark with a beautiful red sky reflecting in the river below. We have been wondering if the campsites would be along water, and they are.


Tip: Try and get a site with a shade tree or two and avoid number 1 and 10 as those are first and last and the preferred campsites of past robberies.


We follow the camp attendant's advice and drive to the ablutions, rather than walk in the dark. He comes by to warn us that the lions are 500 meters away from site 1.

At night I wake up from the army patrol car that checks the area for anything untoward. Later, I hear the pitter-patter of little feet and it's a herd of Impala moving through our campsite. Magic, impala in the moon light.







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Hi ST readers, I have had some technical issues and could not post any pics.

We are also driving a moving truck from CA to FL and wifi will be spotty along the road.

Please check in again soon as I'm bent to complete this TR. There are more pics from Ihaha and then we spent 10 days in Etosha and saw lion every day.

Hope to be back very soon, cheers till then

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I for one will be waiting.


Really enjoying this report.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We spend a lot of time around the Marabou Pan waterhole and watch ellies come to drink, warthogs and a few raptors. Curiously, we never see any other herbivores at the waterhole. Very strange. The giraffe, wildebeest, and hartebeest that remain in Savuti, are usually camped out under the big shade trees by early morning.


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This is the deep sand track from Camp to Marabou Pan, the main track to Mababe as well.





The dry Savuti Channel

So sad to see the channel dry and to hear that the elephants are suffering. Great night sky shots again. Practice is making perfect. Pen

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Necking giraffe, looks painful






A first: Puku antelopes




So many ellie babies

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The most affectionate and playful pride we have ever seen: Ihaha pride









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Thanks to all who are still reading and "liking" my TR. we ahve settled somewhat in our new home in Florida and I really want to complete this TR. Etosha is still to come...

The next two days we spend game driving south and north all along the riverfront and there is always something to observe in this extremely game rich area. We see more Puku antelopes, and have lunch on Puku Flats, how appropriate! For the first time ever, we see giraffe necking, that is twisting and contorting their necks and hitting each other on the back and under the belly. It looks beautiful and painful at the same time and it goes on and on. The fighters are two young males and there is a female close by so we wonder, is this a fight for dominance?

We also encounter many ellie herds, many with tiny babies and some quite tame that let us come exceptionally close without getting nervous. A huge herd of the noble Sable antelope is another highlight.

One night, a huge honey badger visits camp, foraging around the garbage can. Then a lion is roaring close by. This is followed by a breeding herd of ellies at dawn and a troop of baboons that comes off from roosting (nesting?)on the tree next to us. We open the flaps of the roof tent and watch our own private circus show unfold.

The next morning we drive east in search of "our" pride and find them easily as they are lying out in the open, a bit further away from the road, though. After a while, the lion parade begins and one by one, they walk towards us and plop down inside the space of a bush. Just beautiful. We mark the spot so we can visit them again in the evening. We drive west and find a lioness sitting on a ridge with a tiny cub sleeping next to her in the shade. This is a first, because we have heard of lionesses separating themselves from the pride to give birth, only rejoining when the cub is about three months old.

Later in the morning, all the herbivores are out. We find plenty of giraffe, some in towers of 25, which is the most we have ever seen in one group. DH is happy to finally meet a sizable herd of buffalo and gets trigger-happy. We also talk to German filmmakers who ask us if we have come across a herd of 400 or more ellies! Sorry, not lately, but we have seen some lions. They have seen enough lions and are not interested in them anymore. They tell us about losing an expensive video camera in the bush. Against all odds, they found it one day about 4 months later. When checking the exposures, they found that a lion had activated the camera and it had recorded how the lion played with it. Later, it also showed elephant trunks upside down because they had gotten hold of the camera as well. Quite a story.

Driving west, we see a tower of giraffe, all staring intently into the same direction. That can only mean one thing: predators. Sure enough there are more lions. It's a different pride and we observe a big cub, another "uncle" and four females for a while. Then we decide to go find "our" pride because the cubs are more fun to watch than grown-ups. Oh what a sweet dilemma to have to choose between seeing lions with half-grown cubs and lions with small cubs.

We find them easily as seven adults are scattered along the canal but the cubs and blond "uncle" are sitting right by the road. We are the only car there and have them all to ourselves.

Soon, some zebras are making their way to the water and a female and a young male lion are crouching and sneaking closer, but that is all the "hunting" we can observe. The rest of the pride then follows and disappears into a ditch. It's past sunset anyway and time to go back to camp.

As we drive into our spot, it is occupied by a troop of baboons doing baboon business like grooming each other and having sex. They leave only reluctantly and climb both trees to bed down for the night. We are careful not to open the roof tent under the tree for obvious reasons.

Between baboon babies crying, grown-ups chattering, and hyena whooping, we have a rather animated night sleep.

In the morning, the baboons climb off the trees before dawn and a big male is atop the garbage cage rattling it loudly.

We have made it safely through our third night at Ihaha. I have been sleeping and walking to the bathroom with a whistle and a pocket knife around my neck because I was afraid of Namibian robbers coming across the river. There have been quite a few incidents where campers got robbed on both ends of camp. As an added precaution, we hid most of our valuables, and left out some bills to "donate" should a robbery occur.

Tip: At Ihaha, get a site towards the middle, numbers 3-8, so as to minimize the risk. Also, talk to other campers as to what to do in an emergency.

The attendant has been good at coming by and making sure all is well. I have heard the army patrol only once, but he assured me they have patrolled every night. Also, he advised to use the car alarm button in case of emergency. So at this spot, even though it's amazing, I have been more afraid of the two-legged animals, rather than the four-legged creatures. DH has no such worry and teases me about the knife around my neck.

Edited by KaliCA
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Ugly babies in a cute way












What are y'all lookin at?




Aha! More lions.

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Uncle looking for shade in front of our car




Sunset at Ihaha campsite



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Today's goal is Riverdance lodge by Divundu, Namibia, a long drive ahead. But of course, we just have to check on our lions one last time. Right at the edge of camp we first encounter a huge buffalo herd, busy chewing the cud, resting, and staring at us. Then, not 500 meters down the road, we see our lions and no other cars! The pride of 10 is spread out along the road, some napping and others sitting erect watching the buffalo approach.

For almost two hours, DH and I have those lovely creatures to ourselves in the golden morning light. We marvel at just how close we are to our lions and them not minding us at all.

At one point the three cubs head off for shade under a bush. The two "uncles" and some females keep alert looking at the buffalo. We are hoping for a hunt, but nothing materializes. They all look to have eaten as their bloated bellies testify.

One by one, we watch the last lion parade of the Ihaha pride as they disappear one by one under the same bush.

We decide to drive a little further east to see if we can find the second pride from yesterday. We see two game drivers in the distance driving along slowly. In his infinite wisdom, DH says he would gladly trade a lion sighting for a leopard sighting. So we drive closer and...... tata, it is indeed a leopard slinking through the bushes. We are elated at this sweet surprise. Most leopard sightings are fleetingly short, but this one is quite long and intimate. The nervous, but handsome female is walking through the bushes, many times crouched low, then decides to climb a tree. We can see her through the new foliage, but just barely. Then we change positions and watch her leap off the tree and lie down under it. After a few more minutes, she comes walking straight towards us and goes digging and smelling something by the foot of another tree. Then there is more walking in the golden sunshine. What a beauty.

A leopard and 10 lions before breakfast! Wow, we love Ihaha. After a quick breakfast under the Baobab tree, we are off heading west along the river towards Ngoma Gate. On the way, we stop for kudu, zebra, pelicans, a sable male, and giraffe, as well as a Goliath Heron and two fish Eagles.

I always say how Botswana is so blessed with sand. And just as a reminder, the track from the river to the gate is the deepest sand we have encountered yet on this trip. At the gate we check out, re-inflate the tires back to normal, and drive to the border only a kilometer away.

Check-out of Botswana is fast and easy, no lines, and check into Namibia just as fast and easy. And yes, we have to fill in the same arrival/departure form again!

Tip: Grab a few of those forms at the airport if you are crossing borders and have them filled in ahead of time. We found it saves some time and digging around for pens and other info.

It's a long and boring drive along the B 8 which is straight as an arrow, and we drive through to Riverdance Lodge, arriving just before dark. (We have visited the Kwando area before).

We are shown to the best campsite of our trip: riverfront, braai area, private ablution /kitchen hut, and a grassy area where we can park our car. Just wonderful and all taken care of beautifully.

We chat with some young Self-drivers who are on their way to Ihaha and then go to sleep to the sound of grunting hippos.

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Edited by KaliCA
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A quick visit to Mahango NP: spotted sable there each of our three visits




A baobab with green leaves, a first for us.




Riverdance Lodge camping is tops!









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