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Botswana April 2018 - to see what all the fuss is about


deano
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Hello friends,

 

Again I find myself apologizing for being away from the forum for a while and not finding the time to read and comment on the amazing content on here. I am truly sorry. 

 

But in my opinion there is only one thing worse than not reading and commenting and that is going on a trip of my own and not posing a report at all and so I must find the time to get this one done.

 

Additionally, I realize that some of you might think that my time away from the forum has clouded my geography but fear not, I definitely need to be in the Botswana section and not the Zambia section where I was typically found and I even managed to add some of those fancy tag things as well.

 

So, by way of a prelude to the Botswana report and to reacquaint myself with how to post pictures from my albums here are a couple of pictures from the first few days of the trip where we flew from Grand Cayman to the UK for a 4 night stay.

 

More to come if I get this right.

 

The view from the yacht club where we enjoyed a nice meal after we had checked in. I must really love Africa to leave this behind to go on vacation

 

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BA to LHR - 11 1/2 hours including a stop of about 1 hour or so in the Bahamas on the way.

 

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Kind regards

 

deano.

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Looked like that worked so onto the prelude proper:

 

We needed to be in the UK for my mum and dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary and so we flew to London with BA rather than the Cayman to USA to Joburg route that is a bit quicker. We stayed close to the area where my family now live which is still in West Yorkshire with family being spread across the region with most in Wakefield and some in Leeds which is where my wife and I are actually from. We stayed in a place just outside of Wakefield called Waterton Park Hotel which is a lovely old building with a seperate modern add on sited on an island in the middle of a large lake surrounded by woodland and farmland. Only a few miles from Wakefield and Leeds but with a remote feeling and we loved it. We had stayed there in the past many, many years ago as it is a popular wedding venue (my sister got married there for example) and it was definitely as good as we remembered. If you get the time to check out their website you will see that the original owner is credited with setting up the world's first (yes - the world's) nature reserve and the birdlife was easy to spot  particularly the water birds like ducks, geese and swans - but I was absolutely frozen due to the snow and rain that settled in for the stay. All my safari gear on and I was still cold!

 

A few pics of our base (I picked the best morning to take these.....the only day we saw the sun)

 

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And to demonstrate that this was indeed a high end establishment I present to you "Pie of the week" (which was fantastic) and the Yorkshire Post. I thank you.

 

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Kind regards

 

deano.

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More prelude.

 

We squeezed a lot into 4 nights in the UK with one of the highlights being my mum and dad's party which for us ended at 2AM with us eating left over sausage rolls and drinking a very expensive Irish Whiskey that we had shipped over for the occasion - good times; (it wasn't Jamesons but that does feature in the main report...as you might expect) Another highlight was a drive up to Ambleside on Lake Windermere in the Lake District with the in-laws who as it happens celebrated their own 50th Wedding Anniversary last year. 

 

I spent a lot of time in the lakes as a young man and have special memories of the place and it was good to return albeit for just half a day.

 

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After the day out to Windermere we spent the last night with our families playing games and generally enjoying ourselves before our drive to Heathrow for the flight to SA. It was an overnight flight but with a very early morning arrival and so we had a full day to kill in Joburg. Rather than just bum around the hotel we had booked a half day trip to a place about 45 minutes away called The Cradle of Human Kind; and it was well worth it. We again got some bad weather with some rain but most of the attraction is either underground in caves or at the separate visitors centre so the rain didn't bother us too much. We were both a bit tired from the 5-6  days of traveling but it was very educational and I can definitely recommend it and also the company we use for airport transfers and trips such as this; if anyone needs their info just PM me please.

 

First we did the caves where a lot of bones and such have been found

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We were given those plastic ponchos to keep the rain off. I had a problem wearing an orange hard hat (I wear white in my job here and orange is reserved for equipment operators although I did have my iPhone so that technically does count as equipment).

 

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A bit of scrambling in some places but nothing too serious

 

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This guy discovered a fossilized skull of what became known as Mrs Ples.

 

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And in the same area they found the bones of a foot that became known as little foot. It is not known exactly how these bones got into the caves but it is suggested that little foot "fell-in" and died there. Little foot was likely an early human or at least one of our early ancestors and would likely have been pottering about on top of the caves looking for food in the form of nuts or berries. Maybe even in the area that I pointed my camera and those of you that are familiar with my vivid imagination will know that when I took this last picture I was wondering if little foot had perhaps walked somewhere close to the path that I now followed (minus the pre cast paving slabs of course). We will never know.....

 

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Prelude over. Botswana to follow.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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Botswana:

 

And so to Botswana; Anyone that might have read my last trip report (Zambia in June 2017) might remember that we had a celebration of our own planned for 2018 - actually two celebrations. First, it was mrs. deano's 20th and 30th birthdays on the same day (work it out!) and second it is actually our own 25th Wedding Anniversary later in the year. We don't like to travel during the Caribbean Hurricane Season and since we couldn't wait until later in the year to go on vacation we rolled with events up into one trip and decided on Botswana in April...to see what all the fuss is about. 

 

We used Safaritalk as a reference and then bounced a few ideas off of our travel guy and eventually settled on 3 different camps with Wilderness Safaris. They have their own air service and we reckoned that they would be better at providing transfers aimed at maximizing game viewing. That plus the fact that they had camps in different areas settled it for us and we picked 3 nights at Kalahari Plains Camp, 4 nights at Vumbura Plains in the Delta itself and then 3 nights at DumaTau further North in the Linyanti region. A mixture of dry, then wet/dry, then wet regions spread over 10 nights.

 

Day 1 Kalahari Plains Camp:

 

After a final night in Joburg which we spent at the Intercontinental because of their fabulous breakfasts and also because it is about as close to the airport terminal as you can get we wandered over for our SAA Express flight to Maun. It was comforting to travel down to the section of the airport that we used in the past for the flights to Zambia but it was definitely time to try somewhere new and as I said, why not Botswana.....to see what all the fuss is about?

 

SA8300 to Maun now boarding.

 

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We had opted to visit the "dry" Kalahari area first and after a short and pleasant flight to Maun we found ourselves waiting in a small and packed departure lounge for the Wilderness Air flight to KHP.  Wilderness were very good with plenty of helpful staff on hand to take care of bags and show you the way and then another chap introduced himself as Paul and it turned out that he would be our guide at KHP for our stay. We had a brief chat about where we had visited before and what were our expectations for this trip and we were soon landing at the Kalahari airstrip and off to camp. Joining us were fellow arrivals Eva and Rainer - a South African and a German (couple) who would be our vehicle mates for the next few days.

 

The Kalahari was very green with fairly tall grass and a few thickets dotted about the place and not a true desert but we had arrived at the end of a good spell of rain in the area. It was very scenic and although there is a no off roading policy (and no night drives) we were easily able to spot distant animals although a really big lens would be needed for serious photography. I had to make do with binoculars and my 80-400mm zoom on a full frame but to be honest we had not wanted to visit this area for spectacular game viewing. We wanted to see the Kalahari itself and of course yours truly had just finished reading the most excellent book - Cry of the Kalahari.

 

Our first sightings were of Oryx and Kori bustard and we would see these almost constantly throughout our 3 night stay. Both were new(ish) animals to us so we were very happy to watch them and learn a few new facts.large._DSC9653.jpg.5a2462e6fc8992b340fddd8fd34f0824.jpg

 

On arrival at camp we were met by smiling staff and dancing bushmen.

 

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We didn't need long to drop off our bags and get ready for our first game drive. Eva and Rainer were tired from traveling all day and so our fist game drive was a private affair and so with only an hour or so before sunset Paul drove us out onto the area in front of camp known as Big Pan.  We saw Kori bustards a lot and their size made you look twice and they were frequently mistaken for antelope (and lions, cheetahs and even honey badgers on one occasion!). Big birds!

 

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Our pad for the next 3 nights

 

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We saw a lot of these PCGs as well.

 

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Paul found a large herd of Springbok and stopped to set up for sundowners. It was amazing that these animals didn't even flinch and wandered around as we enjoyed our first game drive of a 10 night trip. Setting sun, wide open landscapes, a herd of springbok, a cool breeze and Jamesons (actually my drinks order had not been taken yet so it was Jack Daniels but with ice it was equally as good as the real thing!). Have I mentioned that I love Africa?

 

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One of the main reasons for the Kalahari and this camp in particular was the chance to sleep out on the deck above our room. The staff make up beds and set up lanterns and you can sleep under the stars. We were warned about dew forming around 11PM (it did and was quite wet) and mosquitos from early morning and they indeed started exactly as advertised at around 2AM and the constant buzzing in my ear was eventually too much and so at 3AM we headed back down into the comfort of the room and a mosquito net. It was still great while it lasted and I have never ever seen that many stars. We saw shooting stars and just before I nodded off I heard two jackals. We were a long way from Deception Valley but I wondered...are you perhaps related to a jackal called Captain?

 

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Day 2 to follow tomorrow.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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Lovely start @deano - look forward to the rest of the report....... Duma Tau in particular! 

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@deano what a languid start to your Botswana safari. I liked the photos of the Lake District - where was the litle grey stone town? Wherever, it looked to be jumping with visitors!

 

Look forward to seeing more of your CKGR photos when you have time.

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Great start!

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9 hours ago, deano said:

The view from the yacht club where we enjoyed a nice meal

 

Safaritalk GTG at your place methinks...

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Hello @deano we wondered about the cradle of mankind place-you would recommend it? also we -well i-have always wondered about those sleeping out under the stars experiences-what if you need to "use the facilities"?

looking forward to your report

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thank you @madaboutcheetah - you will have to suffer through the rest of Kalahari Plains and then Vumbura but I don't think you'll be too "mad" as we had some nice sightings that you in particular would have enjoyed (was that too easy?).

 

@Treepol what could be more languid than an amble in Ambleside? A pretty little place and busy with tourists even on a wet April day. It gets a bit too busy for me in the british summer (yes - that one afternoon in the year where the sun shines...or at least the rain stops!) but otherwise it is a great place to visit and many of the less well known lakes and mountains are not nearly as busy. More CKGR to follow including a day trip to the deception Valley area.

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thank you @Peter Connan and @Game Warden  - I would love a GTG here in Cayman. Plenty of wildlife (above and below the sea) and many pretty places away from the tourist strip which is still pretty in itself (its a white sand beach with crystal clear water after all). We also do our own version of sundowners - swap out biltong for conch fritters or deep fried calamari and maybe for you sir your G&T swapped for something with a pink umbrella in it... come on down!

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@Towlersonsafari - welcome on board and great to have you. Definitely recommend the Cradle. I would imagine that with good weather it would be even better as the visitors centre had a couple of places to eat but it was a bit cold for us plus we ended the trip about 4PM and wanted to be back at the hotel to enjoy a nice meal so didn't have time to hang around. I actually enjoyed the drive there as the company we use has one particular "guide" that is studying every province in SA so is extremely knowledgeable on the drive up and back again. The caves are well worth the visit on their own and the guides very informative and the footpath areas that you use are a great habitat for birds (but as I have stated it was a bit cold for us and I had left my DSLR back at the hotel). A short drive away is the visitor centre. It is a big place and at first glance does not seem to hold too many exhibits but that is far from the case and we both really enjoyed it. Its a good half day tour including 45 mins each way in a vehicle. 

 

The KHP sleepouts are easy as you basically sleep directly above your room on the roof. We have done a few now in different areas and this was very easy in terms of night time trips to the loo - didn't even need a torch as the lanterns illuminated the stairs down to the room and I stayed on the porch and could see  a few feet around the entrance even in the pitch black. The night sky in Africa is amazing but for me it is the sounds that make it.....oh and I might have taken a glass of a certain beverage up there with me.

 

It is when the facilities are remote and detached that you need to be more careful. We have another (civilized) sleep out at the end of the trip and that was a bit more 'exciting' in terms of getting to the loo but still very tame in my opinion. 

 

However, we slept out in the Karoo once and the loo was about 50M from the tent and I got about 10M in the dark before I decided that the bush next to the tent was fine for my needs! We left the next day and lions walked through camp.....right next to a dry river bed where our toilet was! That would have been fun.

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Day 2 Kalahari Plains Camp:

 

Early starts at KHP with a 5AM alarm and then a wait until it got light enough to safely walk down to the lodge. The camp is unfenced and it should never be taken for granted that animals are not in the area. I don't need much time in the mornings and half an hour is more than enough to get dressed and perhaps set my GoPro in time-lapse mode to catch the dawn which is what I did today . 

 

Breakfast was great - omelette for me - with the usual offerings of coffee, tea, toast, fruit and cereals and fresh baked goods and I shoved some or all of that into my mouth as well. Paul informed us that Rainer and Eva were having a lie in so it was just us again and we headed out a bit further to explore the landscape. As stated earlier, we hadn't come to the Kalahari expecting spectacular animal sightings but I was impressed by the large numbers of oryx and springbok and there were plenty of tracks for hyena and cheetah and also those of a large giraffe plus we did see a variety of mammals such as jackals, springbok and hartebeest -  We followed the giraffe tracks for a while but never found the owner but the time was used with Paul explaining the ecology of the area to us and also looking at a good variety of birdlife. Sadly most were beyond the reach of my lens but my notes confirm that we saw ostrich, greater kestrel, juv PCG, rufous naped lark, namaqua doves, scaly feathered finch, fork-tailed drongo, Northern black korhaan (aka the helicopter bird) and of course kori bustards - the latter being found everywhere and in large numbers.

 

Early morning (facing West) with my GoPro in the bottom LH probably capturing the change of light from dark to day

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Early morning ostrich

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Early morning rufous naked lark - these guys provided the background music for the morning gave drives and in fact a lot of the rest of the day

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Resting oryx

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Moving off as we approached (we were quite a way off though)

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Giving us a good look. Very impressive and strong looking animals.

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Likely a breeding pair.

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Scaly feathered finch with two more in the background trying to get warm

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The cape turtle doves were also in good voice...with a new version since this is after all - "..Botswana, Botswana, Botswana..."

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Northern black korhaans also in good numbers. The sounds they make are very odd but unmistakable.

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Steenbok making an appearance

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Secretary bird although quite a way off. We saw a lot of these birds as well.

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This particular  rufous naped lark really put on a show for us and allowed us to watch from very close. Lovely melody and in better light than the earlier fellow.

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A hartebeest among the oryx

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It was late morning before we stopped somewhere for coffee and a leg stretch and we took in the peace and quiet of our surroundings which was indeed very peaceful and very quiet. Botswana and in particular the Kalahari was starting to show me what all the fuss was about.

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Close up of the grass in a (failed) attempted artistic moment.

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After the drink stop we drove slowly back to camp for brunch which consisted of salads and main course three dishes served buffet style (one vegetarian) and a chef cooking bacon and eggs to order. I had a bit of everything as it would be rude not to.

 

Part 2 of Day 2 to follow.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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Day 2 Kalahari Plains Camp (continued):

 

I much prefer lodges that do a brunch rather than an early big breakfast and then a lunch a couple of hours later. I know that eating all of the food is not obligatory but I also think that with a brunch you get a longer morning drive and that you then have more time to yourself through the day and that allows a bit more down time. My idea of down time is walking the entire camp to check out the place and then setting up on an observation deck with a cold drink and binoculars with camera near by just in case. I will sometimes succumb to a nap but that was not the case today. Nothing really amazing happened other than the amazing view of Big Pan and the amazing landscape with it but it was enough to keep me awake. A landscape photographer would have a ball here.large._DSC9810.jpg.84524f5a25ede587f712c3dcc91c48ac.jpg

 

After a pleasant couple of hours doing my thing we met for afternoon tea at 4PM and enjoyed the selection of hot and cold drinks and an amazing cake (I forget the name but I had two slices). Eva and Rainer joined us for their first drive so we covered much of Big Pan in front of camp again but this gave us a chance to check for animal tracks and to photograph anything that took our fancy. 

 

Such as our room ( @Towlersonsafari - those two white mats you see on the upper balcony were made up into beds - very safe)

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Oryx again - hard not to take a photograph of them as they are not something I see a lot on my travels to Africa.

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Distant jackal - photo included to give anyone wishing to visit this amazing place the sense of a typical photographic scenario (i.e. a long lens is a necessity if you are serious).

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Paul took us to the plains where we had encountered all those springbok last night for our sundowner but they were not in the area and so we headed to a water hole for drinks. Paul advised us that the next water hole to this was through Deception Valley and that we would visit it tomorrow. The water hole we were at now was not very big at all and Deception Valley was a 90 minute drive in a safari vehicle. Tough animals that inhabit the Kalahari.

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A dove joined us at the water hole

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And promptly had his own sundowner...I preferred my Jamesons thank you.

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Some guineafowl kept us entertained before we headed back to camp for dinner.

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This pic taken a bit later than sunset.

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The sandy path to our room

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Most of the guests around the fire pit while we waited for dinner.

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Our second day was now at a close and was fairly quiet in terms of high profile sightings but very enjoyable in terms of spectacular scenery and actually a nice change. I was really enjoying the landscape (and the company of our guide and new friends) and of course those stunning night skies. When I return to the Kalahari it will be with a better understanding of astrophotography and at least one more night just to focus on that.

 

I have thrown together some of the iPhone/dslr/GoPro footage for days 1 and 2 and the video is attached below. As is usual with these offerings they are mainly aimed at friends and family to show them what we get up to on these trips and also serve as something to remind me of what I got up which is great on those days that I need an Africa fix.

 

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

 

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Central Kalahari Game Reserve...a big favourite with me and such a special place. 

Thank you.

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You are welcome @Ritsgaai - working on the next installment now; a full day to Deception Valley and beyond.

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Day 3 Kalahari Plains Camp  - day trip to Deception Valley:

 

For reasons still not clear to me the entire camp had an early night last night and despite the fact that I had set up my camera to do a time-lapse during dinner and also that manager Wax had stoked the fire I felt obliged to let the staff have an early night. In bed for 9.30PM and not even a school night! Anyhow, it was okay as I knew that we were headed West the next day for a full day trip through Deception Valley and beyond.

 

First picture of the day was sunrise as we headed out quite early and quite excited - at least I was because we were going to the area where the Owens had based themselves and written their book Cry of the Kalahari. 

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Paul had warned us that it was a long drive and that we would need to get some good miles in and so we headed off and didn't stop for much along the way until we got just past the "exit" from Deception  Valley on what is called The Owens Road - the road they cut to get to and from their camp. Great to actually see my first real reference from their book. We then saw a very real honey badger but sadly no pics as he scurried down a hole not 3 ft from the from of the vehicle.

 

After a good hour or so were starting to notice changes in the vegetation and some small ridges and valleys in the landscape populated by sand dunes and Paul informed us that we were close now to Deception Vallay and Deception Pan.

 

As we stopped to take in the views we saw some giraffe on the horizon and we watched them for a while (and took a bit of video). Paul wanted to try Deception Pan first and just as we dropped down onto the central road that runs through the CKGR he spotted tracks for a big male lion. We took the opportunity to "stretch our legs" and then headed down to the Pan. The area was a magnet for oryx and we were just watching a large herd when we heard a jackal alarm which we followed up on. No luck with the alarm but we did encounter another vehicle and we stopped to chat and were asked if we had seen the Tau (Lion?) - No we hadn't but we had seen his tracks. We were told that the lion was laid up under a tree only a few feet from the road and close to the area where his tracks were on the Central Road where it meets the road from KHP....right where we had been and where we had stopped to "stretch our legs".

 

We turned around and looked under every tree. We didn't see a lion but we did find some bat eared foxes - a first for us. A bit far off and a bit shy but worth a photo.large._DSC9909.jpg.f91b83df25ce8ba8b8cabf5c9c5693d0.jpg

 

We looked again for the lion but couldn't find him and as time was passing we decided to move on. Heading more West now to the next waterhole from KHP and the game was definitely loving the area. Large herds of oryx, springbok and ostrich with the odd wildebeest, jackal and entertain Kalahari ground squirrel thrown in.

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Kori bustard were found in good numbers in the West as well and I tried to photograph one in flight.

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Getting hot now and the sun high already and we still needed to get to the water hole so after a tea stop we headed further West in what to me looked like classic cheetah country. I asked Paul to stop several times so that we could check the raised dark objects in the shade of distant trees but when you are looking for cheetah then everything looks like cheetah doesn't it? Lots of cheetah stumps and cheetah mounds but sadly no actual cheetah.

 

We eventually reached this much talked about waterhole that we had driven several hours to get to and it was not quite what I was expecting.

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Still, any water is good and a clear magnet for animals although it was quiet for our visit today. We headed to the other side of the small grove of trees and set up for our lunch which was a salad type picnic and very nice considering that it must have been packed many hours before. Plenty to go around and while I was eating I noticed that my garden chair leg sat in the paw print of a large male lion and I love that sort of stuff. Only in Africa.

 

After lunch we turned back east and for Deception Pan for one last look for that lion - maybe even the owner of that paw print. I managed to pick out a spotted eagle owl along the way although the angle was not good for a photo but I took one anyway (just before he flew off).

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Not five minutes later and It seems that my "eye" was now well and truly "in" as the next thing that caught my attention was a dark round shape resting under the shade of a tree not far from the road. Cheetah! Two brothers just laid there watching distant springbok.large._DSC0020.JPG.bbf48e956afa3a64d0e1572dd41d814f.JPG

 

This was a nice sighting and so I took a few photos although I seem to have the order mixed up but I don't think it matters.

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After a few minutes they actually looked like they might get active and they starting yawning, stretching and scent marking.

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Since we were in the middle of nowhere, we had them all to ourselves and spent a good amount of time with them. If it had been up to just Paul and me we would definitely have stayed with them until as late as we could (like 4 more hours!!!) as it looked like they would be hunting soon but we had others to think about and we needed to get back to KPC before it was dark (park rules and all that).

 

So we had one last drive down to the Deception Pan area and would you believe we found our male lion laid up under a tree right next to the road. We had passed that tree at least 4 times that morning and he can't have been there (five of us would have missed him each time) so we speculated that he was there for a while when the other vehicle saw him and then moved off and then returned in time for us to catch him).

 

He didn't do much...but he's a male lion and it was hot and he looked quite full.large._DSC0132.jpg.4a671afc465b8da5dbffe86d978406d9.jpg

 

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It was going to be a long drive back to camp and  I was pleasantly surprised when Paul pointed out the actual site of the Owens camp as we headed back home to KHP. Unbelievable and I never for one minute expected to see it. It looked very green and quite cool and not at all like how it is described in the book but I was acutely aware that I was here in April after some good rain and the Owens were here for the worst of the dry seasons when I imagine it would look and feel a lot different. Still thrilling to see it in any season and even better to head back to KPC on the actual Owens Road. An epic day out and at least one very happy camper.

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After about 45 minutes I started to see familiar landscapes and the area approaching Big Pan close to camp. It was late afternoon by now and we knew that Paul was wiped out from the day's driving and although he offered his services for a short drive we had the chance to go on a Bush Walk with the resident Bush Men (and Women...must be PC) if we were back in good time. There was still plenty going on though and we watched distant secretary birds for a while as I wanted to photograph one in flight but sadly no luck.

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We also watched a young PCG who posed very nicely for us.large._DSC0171.jpg.1b56aee5fb15fbfd931438f24326410e.jpg

 

It was about 4PM when we finally got back to KPC and the bush walk was just about to start we decided to skip it rather than make the other guests have to wait for us - besides, we were fried and in need of a good shower after being out in the african sun all day. We both had quite the farmers tan. I was able to sneak a few pictures of the Bush folk as they prepared for their walk though.

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It was our last night at KHP and it was actually nice to have an evening to just relax and after grabbing a few drinks from the bar we indulged in a long hot shower and then relaxed on the deck and took in the sights, smells and sounds of the bush (and since its been a while I think I need to mention that I do love Africa!). We met at 7.30 ish for pre-dinner drinks by the fire but when we headed up to the dining area to eat mrs. deano and I were diverted to the upstairs star deck where the staff at Kalahari Plains Camp had prepared our own surprise Silver Wedding Anniversary dinner. It was absolutely beautiful in every way and we were left pretty much alone except for the odd visit to see if we needed anything. We didn't. They had prepared everything including a meal of chicken and pork in individual serving dishes with breads, salads, sauces etc. and our own desserts brought up later...and also a large selection of drinks including a bottle of champagne (and Jamesons). A fantastic last night under the stars of the Kalahari and one we will never forget.

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Note the farmers tan in the image above - do not adjust your screens - that is the actual color of my face!

 

We had a bit of champagne left and plenty of wine so we asked our vehicle mates Eva and Rainer if they wanted to join us for a night cap and they did. Good people, good company, good conversation and hopefully good karma for the rest of the trip.

 

Our last morning in the Kalahari tomorrow but a transfer to another area.

 

Before that though - my usual video offering.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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I'm not quite caught up yet, but what I've read so far is fantastic. Loved your first video; very well put together, and I liked the way you allowed the birds' noises to be heard over the music.

 

I'm surprised to read that you accepted a substitute for Jameson's not once, but twice! :)

 

As an aside, that lamb, potato, and onion pie sounds incredibly good right now.

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@deanoDeception Valley turned it on for you, wow. What a fabulous cheetah sighting - we missed them, but not for lack of trying by our guide.

 

I thought the Valley was an especially beautiful area and this is shown in your photos. I particularly like the springbok with ostrich and the kori photos, as well as the photo of the majestic Kalahari lion.

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Really excited to read about and to watch the other faces of Botswana in April! Green it was, and still is, this year. 

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Welcome back @deano.

Loving your report and humour - well done mate.

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Fascinating report and beautiful photos

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Just catching up on this fine TR @deano.   Thanks so much for sharing. 

 

Like you, Deception Valley is on my bucket list thanks to Mark and Delia Owens and their book.    It was cool to see the location of the camp in your photo. 

 

I am also glad to see that KP has San Bushman walks (and they are not dressed in safari khakis).  When I visit Botswana, I hope to get in as much Bushman time as I can.

 

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Thank you @marg

 

And thank you also @Marks - but please don't tell anyone that I sipped something other than "the J" (especially not champagne) as it will ruin whatever 'street cred' that I have left!; @Treepol the cheetah would be easy to miss. For me, they are one of the most difficult animals to find when they laying up in shade;  @xelas it was quite green in all of the 3 places we visited which made for long grass and dense bush but that did not stop the excellent game viewing; Good to be back @Hads and @TonyQ you should know by now that I view these reports as a continuation of the trip and I enjoy putting them together but it is always nice to know that others enjoy them also.

 

Thank you all again.

 

Looking back on Deception Valley @offshorebirder I wish I had tried harder to get a proper picture (I think that one was taken on the move as it were). Their book had me in awe a few times and anyone who has also visited the Valley will know what an awesome place it actually is. Well worth the trek out there...and the sunburn!

 

We thought long and hard about walking on our last morning and in the end we decided to miss out on a bush walk in favour of another drive but as you will see from the next installment we had an excellent sighting on our last Kalahari morning.........

Kind regards

 

deano.

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