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Mobile camping in Botswana

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safarigirl.se

Hello everyone!

 

I have enjoyed reading your trip reports for a long time and now it´s time for me to get in the game! I have traveled to Africa on safari three times in the last three years, as you all know you can't stop once you fallen asleep to the sounds of roaring lions! ;)

 

I went on my first safari 2016 to Tanzania and it was a dream that had been with me for a long time. I learned to read by flipping hundreds of times trough the books "wonders of nature" and I bought my first safari shirt when I was in highschool, so you can definitely say i was ready to go! As soon as we reached the savannah I immediately fell in love, harder than I could ever imagine... I have now done 3 safaris to Africa- Tanzania, Botswana and Uganda and all three of the countries are unique in their own way of course, but one things is the same. Standing close to a live, free animal like a gorilla, elephant or lion makes you cherish this planet even more. But it also scares me to know that most of these animals are on deathrow, many of these iconic species will be extinct in the next ten years, due to poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking. 

 

I have all my life put both work and money in trying to protect wildlife in different ways. It started when I got my first salary as fifteen year old teenager and adopted a tiger at WWF, this support expanded over the years as my salary got higher. I also helped out as a emergency home for cats, at home here in Sweden. But now I work on my spare time as a volunteer for the worlds greatest fundraiser Wildhood Foundation. We may not big the biggest one but we make great difference, and to me that makes all the difference :wub:

 

I also think it´s important to use my power as a consumer and that conservation can be supported through traveling, echo tourism I think is one way to do it. This trip report is from Botswana and as our wise guide Katembo told me - Botwanas new diamonds is the animals" and if they are protected they will remain and shine forever! 

 

Enough about me but now you know why i love going on safari :) I may not be as experienced as many of you guys but i definitaly share your passion!  

So back to the trip report! :)

My fiancé Christian and I went to Botswana in May 2017, we traveled with andBeyond on their small group journey - Botswana Mobile Camping Expedition. The itinerary included Chobe, Savute and the Okavango delta, jey!! This trip I think is quite affordable to many other options in Botswana, but oh so nice! Camping in lovely places just the six of us and the crew, to me it was perfect!

 

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Now let's see if I get it right!

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safarigirl.se

DAY ONE - Mesmerizing Botswana and Chobe National Park

 

May 9, 2017, We rushed through Heathrow to get to the gate, we were delayed from Stockholm, Sweden and if we would missed the plane to Johannesburg we would also miss the connection from Johannesburg to Kasane in Botswana! You can´t imagine the relief when we when we finally dropped down in our seats on the Virgin Atlantic plane - heading towards Botwana.

 

We landed early in Johannesburg and after a doubtful breakfast with pizza we flew on to Botswana. At the airport we were picked up by a driver from andBeyond.  He drove us to our meeting place where we met our guide Katembo and our travel companions for the week. There were two couples - Mandy and Rob from England and Therese and Pirmin from Switzerland, super friendly people and it felt straight away that we would have a great time together. 

 

Our first encounter with  Botswana was on a boat trip on the Chobe River. We saw a family of hippos, mom and two kids of different ages. We stoped close to an old and weak elephant. He graced the soft fine grass in the river, but we saw that he was weak, one ear was completely paralyzed, and we saw how the backbones stacked like sharp hills over the back. It's always sad to see sick animals that slowly thaws away. . but it is nature's course and at the end he will feed others in need, its just the circle of life <3

 

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Old Ellie, grazing in the soft seaweed

 

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A younger bon vivant Ellie bye the shore

 

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Along the river we saw loads of crocodiles that sunbathed on the seashore, isn't it amazing that these Crocodiles have travled all the way from the Nile once upon a time ..

 

Although the boat trip was absolutely magical, it didn´t compare to how we felt seeing our camp for the first time. The camp was simply awsome! Our accommodation was so-called tented camps where you live in luxurious tents. The tent consists of 3 parts, the first part is the bedroom, where we had a double bed, clothes hanger and two bedside tables. In the middle there is the bathroom with a bucketshower that is heated with warm water but also a washbasin. In the next part which is adjacent to the bathroom is the toilet, here is a porcelain toilet with water flush. The location of the tents was absolutely magical, we were really out in the wilderness. No fencing, no walled walls, just a cloth between us and nature.

 

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Nice settings

 

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Ultra comfortable bed

 

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What more do you need?

 

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The best team at our camp in Chobe 

 

One that we installed in our tent, we went out on our first game drive in the park. The areas around the river were absolutely magical, the water, lots of new smells and fabulously beautiful views. So nice to get out and see the surroundings!

 

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Some pretty Impalas in the sunset

 

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And then... one, two, three Hyenas on the hunt! 

 

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Hello you! 

 

Back at the camp, we we met by lots of lanterns placed all over the camp, a big campfire and a fantastic three course dinner beside the fire. But now the biggest question is - wonder what visitors we will have in the camp tonight? :ph34r:

Edited by safarigirl.se

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safarigirl.se

DAY TWO - WHO NEED´S SLEEP ON SAFARI? 

 

May 10, 2017- First night in our tent - super cozy and comfortable bed but I just could not sleep. I simply could not stop thinking about what happened outside the blanket - is anyone there? and who in that case? There was so much noise and smells to take in! I loved it :).. but why sleep when our on safari, right? 

 

So did we have a visitor this night? - Oh yes, we saw both Leopard and Hyena trace in the sand so no wonder I could not sleep, haha!

After wake up at 06.00 we ate a simpler breakfast and gave us our first game drive. First animal we saw was a beautiful Impala male, he really glowed in the sunlight, so beautiful!

 

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Beautiful Impala male! 

 

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Long night Mr. Jackal? ;)

 

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At the riverside we saw an African Fish-eagle who had just caught a prey .. but not a fish that one could believe, it was another bird and the bird who fought for his life. The little bird, however, did not have a chance and the eagle quickly flew away with the bird in it´s claws.

 

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This lovely Puku antelope, is unique in Botswana to the area around Chobe River, a real beauty that seems to be the kindest in the world. One of my favorite antelopes!

 

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Pretty Puku by the river!

 

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Reedbuck, also showing off.. 

 

Along the river we came close to huge herd of Buffalo, Katembo told us its approximately 400 Buffalos in this head! I love watching the Buffaloes, they are always starring straight into your eyes and you really feel that they know how powerful they are. But as long as everything is calm, they go on with their everyday life... 

 

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The angry game starts now!

 

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You are just the cutest! 

 

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...okey you to! 

 

We went back to camp for lunch and we had 1-2 hours of spare time. So magically to have a shower and get rid of the morning's dust, outdoor shower is something very special too - pity it does not work on the balcony at home ;) 

 

One thing that is really important to me is that we were very flexible with meal times, we weren´t rushed back from the Buffalo sighting to have lunch, we simply could chose our own pace, perfect! 

 

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On our afternoon drive we met a bunch of super lovely giraffes. The giraffe was Therese's favorite animal so we stayed for a long time and watched how they moved and ate from trees. I like to zoom in with my binoculars on the details of the animals even though we are so close that binoculars are not needed. But that's when do you get to see all the details and facial features. I love the giraffes long and beautiful eyelashes and all their crazy wrinkles around the mouth, even the young looks like little uncles.

 

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We stopped for a while to watch some Mungos. They were mocking around in large flocks in search for insects on the ground. 

 

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The Mungos are so entertaining and funny :)

 

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But look out Mungos, someone in on the hunt.. 

 

A nice finally to the day was when we encountered a  elephant family, in the sunset the elephants looks almost graphic gray which is a such a beautiful contrast to all the greenery.

 

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You can never have to many Ellies!

 

When the sun went down, we returned home and we were so surprised that we had a little bottle of bubbly in our tent, a nice suprice before dinner :) During the dinner we heard several lions roaring, and later in the night we also heard the cries of a buffalo that probably lost the fight with the lions .. We decided to get up early the next day and try to track the lion. Pretty nice campfire story!

 

Good night! 

Edited by safarigirl.se

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offshorebirder

Nice trip report @safarigirl.se.   In addition to several other nice photos, the one of the curious Cape Buffalo calf is charming!

 

I was interested to see the safari vehicle photos - it looks like the pop-top East African style.    How did you like it?

 

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Marks

Great report! Very nice capture of the fish eagle with its catch. I'd love to see any other campsite photos if you have them.

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xelas

Nice start, @safarigirl.se! We need as many enthusiastic persons on here and out there ! Lovely photos but what got my attention was the comfy bed; none such thing on my "mobile camping safari" :D!

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safarigirl.se

@offshorebirder Thank you so much! :) I know, the calf is so lovely! :wub:  yes you are right in Chobe and Savute we had the pop-top Totoyta Landcruiser, and then we switch to a open vehicle in the delta. I like both of them, it´s nice to be able to stand up in the pop-top, even if I love african car massage ;) and you can easily rotate 360 when standing, thats nice. We were six people so it was a bit crowded, we rotated seats every game drive so everyone got the best seats at some time, and of course, when at a sightings we took turns to get the best angel or view so it´s wasn't a problem. But I think it´s a better view from every seat in the open safari vehicle.

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safarigirl.se

@Marks Thank you :) really cool to see the fish eagle take of with its pray! I will absolutely add some more campsite pictures. Later in the report when we get to the Okavango Delta you will be amazed, or at least I was!  The campsite and the surroundings was to died for!

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safarigirl.se

@xelas I was just as surprised as you about the bed! Better than at home, haha, even the pillows!

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safarigirl.se

I made a video of our days in Chobe, mostly to be able to show family and friends what it is all about. But why not post it here as well?  Love it when you guys posts videos. It´s not a great production ^_^ but I think it´s nice to se the soundings in action.

 

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In this video you get to see some of the highlights of our two first days in Botswana and Chobe National Park.

 

 

Edited by safarigirl.se

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TonyQ

An excellent start, great photos and very engaging writing. Your enthusiasm shines through.

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safarigirl.se

DAY THREE - Elephant paradise in Savute national park

 

May 11, 2017. All night we heard the lions roar so you can understand the excitement in the morning when we set out after a super quick breakfast. We waved goodbye to the wonderful team at Chobe Camp, we had such wonderful experiences here in Chobe and the whole team was really lovely, wished they had followed us to on the rest of the trip as well!

 

Although we searched everywhere, we didn´t found any lions or a carcass, they probably killed the Buffalo well into the bush, and since it´s a national park we couldn't go off road. It had of course been exciting to see the pride knocked to the ground after a hunt and big meal. But the tension that builds up is almost as exciting! 

 

On the way out of Chobe we suddenly saw two very interesting creatures on the road - Wild dogs, WOW!! Wild dogs has been on my bucket list for a long time! Katembo told us that these two, a male and a female were the only survivors of a pack of eight, the pack had been killed by lions earlier this year. Hopefully the two of them can recover, but thats a really sad story. We saw them in quite a distance and you could tell they were looking for food, they rushed back and forth on the road. And just as suddenly as they appeared, they disappeared in the forest. We waited and waited to hear any signs of a hunt but not a sound, the Impalas was super calm and the Wild dogs had probably gone another way :( 

 

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Why didn't you stay for a while? 

 

Every day we took a break around 10 o'clock for some coffee and cake. Katembo served it on a little picnic table with a checkered tablecloth and we enjoyed the coffee and homemade muffins. Unbelievable that they can bake so good pastry with the simple wood-fired. 

 

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Theresa and I was desperately craving Charlies tasty muffins!

 

Chobe should be famous for its thousands of elephants, but for some reason we missed them all or they had moved to Savute, we experienced not only one but two totally magical encounters with the elephant in Savute National park. The first encounter was at a waterhole in the middle of the day, here we did not see just one family but we counted on over 60 elephants. It was as if they telepathically communicated with each other, we saw how a new family started approaching the waterhole and suddenly the family who stood in the water turned around and left so that the new group could have a drink. Everything went very smooth, no conflicts, everyone got to share the water. What if people were more like elephants <3

 

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Something that I think is so charming is how the elephants' hind legs look, it looks as if they wear sweatpants, always ready for a slumber party :) We were the only ones at this sighting all the time, so peaceful and quite. 

 

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What's that in the background? Is it a ogres or a elephant baby? :D

 

After one-two hours with the elephants, we decides to leave them alone,  and we went to our new camp in Savute. We were so wonderfully welcomed by the guys! They had arranged a foot bath outside our tent, perfect place to read after lunch. I also got some company from a little dwarf mungo looking for food in a dead tree trunk in front of my feet.

 

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Here are some more pictures of the Savuti campsite

 

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Lunchspot in the shade

 

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After a little rest, we returned to the park and encountered one of the most beautiful antelopes the Kudu. The males have such majestic twisted horns and so nice face drawing. This was a first for me, so nice to expand the antelope family. 

 

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"Peek-a-boo"

 

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We also saw a giraffe practicing advanced yoga ;) 

 

When the sun began to go down we passed a water hole where we once again experienced the magic of the elephants. This time it was a large family with many totally adorable babies, when you see the pictures you will understand what I mean!

 

We sat in the car with the sun going down behind us and in front of us all these elephants peacefully and quietly drinking and bathing. Or .. not all so peaceful, one little guy had not yet gained control of it´s trunk. We were laughing ourselves to death over this little guy that repeatedly dove head before into the water and drank with its mouth not his trunk :) just adorable. ...and once again, we were totally alone. 

It was getting quite dark and our camera was not the best option for low light so the photos are a bit blurry.. 

 

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So little and so BIG.. <3

 

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Totally amazed by the lovely encounters with the elephants we went back "home" for a dinner. The food was really good during the whole trip, I'm a vegetarian and sometimes it was a bit dull, but everything taste better infront of a campfire :) 

 

Days like this have created memories that will forever be close to my heart. This day when we saw the elephants in their natural environment, together with their families, free and amazing just being elephants. I can not imagine a world without free wild animals, if that day comes it´s probably the end of mankind, not humanity on earth but humanity in human hearts. We must do everyhing we can to stop that from happening! 

 

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Edited by safarigirl.se

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LarsS

Great trip report so far! Good writing, great pictures and a nice video :) Looking forward to the rest of your trip. You'll be posting the other videos here as well I hope? Great that you got to see the wild dogs :)

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mopsy

Fantastic start so far @safarigirl.se thanks for sharing. I am starting to get interested in a Bots mobile safari so your timing is great!

 

Wild Dogs so soon is a brilliant way to start. Looking forward to more.

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anocn4

@safarigirl.se I can feel your enthusiasm and love for the animals from your writing. I felt sentimental reading your description of the old elephant but like you said I guess it's the cycle of life....but on a happier note, you saw wild dogs almost at the beginning of the trip :D

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Marks

Wonderful eles and kudu. I like the bit in the video where two giraffe appear to shyly step backwards behind the bushes.

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pault

Good stuff @safarigirl.se   

 

 

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safarigirl.se

Movie time! Mostly elephants in the water <3 We could have stayed there all day! 

In this video we left for Savute National Park and experienced the most amazing moments with big heards of Elephant. We stopped counting at 60! There were different families coming to the waterhole to drink and they took turn in drinking, playing and spraying in the water! We saw many cute little babies not knowing how to use their trunks :) adorable!

 

Elephant paradise

https://youtu.be/B0I71oMlN5c

Edited by safarigirl.se

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safarigirl.se

Wow thank you all for the kind response @LarsS @mopsy @anocn4 @Marks @pault :wub: you are all so inspiring!

 

@LarsS their will be more videos, i just not that great at editing them, but practice makes perfect, right? :P

 

@mopsy I loved Botswana, its so far top one our three safaris, the landscapes, people, diversity, loooots of animals, expecially Ellies and cats. we also enjoyed  the mobile camping set-up so go for it :)

 

@anocn4 I always have a hard time not to get sentimental haha, both in sadness but also by all the beauty surrounding you! It´s nice memories to go back to when you find yourself not remembering how the sun looks like in February. 

 

@Marks I agree they look really funny :) They where actually "fighting" but one of them was not to keen to get in the game so instead it became a slow version of "follow-the-leader"

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LarsS
43 minutes ago, safarigirl.se said:

their will be more videos, i just not that great at editing them, but practice makes perfect, right? :P

 

That's the spirit! My biggest regret is having footage without publishing it. So many safarivideos are still on my harddrive -_- I try to follow the advice a colleague recently said in a project: "Finished is better than perfect."

 

Really liked the ellies video. Easily could watch that all day. Especially funny how they crossed the road running towards the water.

Edited by LarsS

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deano

A truly fantastic first trip report @safarigirl.se and thank you for sharing.

 

Loved your videos and in particular that you included the singing at the end which sounds wonderful on a video but I am sure it was even better in the flesh sat by the fire looking up at the sky and smelling the smoke (do they burn mopane there as well?). 

 

Got my fingers crossed for your wild dog pair - going to be tough for them but any chance is better than no chance.

 

Great sighting of the ellies in the water and always fun when they start drinking and splashing and more so with little ones.

 

You saw puku (we saw lechwe on our trip a little further South and West) - I was asking our guides if there was a part of the world where puku and lechwe can both be found and they had suggested parts of Chobe. Did you get to see any lechwe? Now that would be a good photo eh - puku and lechwe side by side!

 

Will be following the rest.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

 

 

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Game Warden

@LarsS Start a new topic and upload them all there :) Safaritalk has a new software feature to upload your vids directly into the post, at least I think? Is that how you did yours in post #18 @safarigirl.se?

 

Matt

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LarsS
40 minutes ago, Game Warden said:

@LarsS Start a new topic and upload them all there :) Safaritalk has a new software feature to upload your vids directly into the post, at least I think? Is that how you did yours in post #18 @safarigirl.se?

 

Matt

Will do, will do. Tried to vlog my SA trip in march, but think I need another approach. Currently have been very busy with work and family/friends in spare time. Next week I'll leave to Bots and will try a vlog again. When I come home, I'm planning for some serious editting. :)

I was wondering how @safarigirl.se posted the videos as it weren't embedded YouTube links. Might be new functionality indeed.

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pomkiwi

@safarigirl.se Thank-you for posting the report and lovely images. Just adding Botswana to my list of places I must go!

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KaingU Lodge
20 hours ago, deano said:

A truly fantastic first trip report @safarigirl.se and thank you for sharing.

 

Loved your videos and in particular that you included the singing at the end which sounds wonderful on a video but I am sure it was even better in the flesh sat by the fire looking up at the sky and smelling the smoke (do they burn mopane there as well?). 

 

Got my fingers crossed for your wild dog pair - going to be tough for them but any chance is better than no chance.

 

Great sighting of the ellies in the water and always fun when they start drinking and splashing and more so with little ones.

 

You saw puku (we saw lechwe on our trip a little further South and West) - I was asking our guides if there was a part of the world where puku and lechwe can both be found and they had suggested parts of Chobe. Did you get to see any lechwe? Now that would be a good photo eh - puku and lechwe side by side!

 

Will be following the rest.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

 

 

 

Busanga plains in Kafue NP.  There are always Lechwe and Puku together up there.  

 

 

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