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My second longest safari ever: Botswana,Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia


optig

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I recently went on my second longest safari which included brief stays in Johannesburg at both the end and the beginning of my trip.I wish to thank @Sangeeta and the team of Chalo Africa for arranging a fantastic safari.They all did a superb job and needless to say I am planning to take more safaris with @Chalo Africa.  I visited Botswana for the fourth time, Zimbabwe for the fifth,Zambia for the fourth and Malawi for the first.  I went to Little Vumbura in the Okavango Delta, Selinda Explorer's Camp in the concession, and Sango Lodge in the Moremi wildlife area. 

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madaboutcheetah

Sounds fantastic @optig - what were the highlights in Selinda?  

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Kitsafari

Sounds really epic @optig . looking forward to your highlights and photos!

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@Kitsafari @madaboutcheetahI have shared some of the photos I took and will send more of them.I have always dreamt of staying at Little Vumburu because of it's fabulous location on an island in the Okavango Delta.  I stayed there for four nights,. I loved that one has to arrive at the camp by powerboat and take the boat to go on game drives. It offers an outstanding combination of game drives  as well as the full range of aquatic activities which the Okavango Delta is famous for. The tents were beautifully furnished and and  I saw plenty of puku from my balcony. I wasn't interested in going on the mokoro trip which i had to done before but I do have to say that i felt  marvelous exhilaration to simply taking the trip on a powerboat through the Delta. I also have to say that I had great sighting of lions,leopards and elephants. I have long dreamt of seeing a Pel's fishing owl and wasn't to be disappointed.

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Kitsafari

A pel's fishing owl! Now you are teasing us.

 was it puku you saw or a lechwe at little vumbura?

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ForWildlife

Didn't you find the powerboats noisy? Or didn't that bother you? I love the tranquility of mokoros.

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@Kitsafari I often confuse red lechwe with puku. Of course it was red lechwe  which I saw in abundance at Little Vumbura.Of course it was later on in South Luangwa National Park where I saw enormous numbers of puku. Yes, I really did see a pel's fishing owl during the daytime quietly sitting in a tree as well as another one later on during this safari on a night drive in South Luangwa. 

 

@Forwildlife No I did;t think that the powerboats were overly noisy. i simply enjoyed the vastness of the Okavango Delta and the feeling that I had it all to myself.Of course I have been on mokoros in the Okavango Delta on earlier visits,but the novelty value is no longer there.

 

@madaboutcheetah As you know the big draw to Selinda Explorer's Camp is supposed to be the wild dogs running through the camp. Well as we all know all too this can never be guarantee what you'll see. The dogs were hiding but still I just loved the camp. I had great sightings of both sable and red lechwe. Ofcourse I loved the style of Selinda Explorer's and the intimacy of it because there are only four tents. Here are some photos from Little Vumbura Camp.

 

 

 

 

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Edited by optig
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madaboutcheetah

@optig - who was your guide in selinda? 

 

I'm keen to visit Duba explorer at their new location. 

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@madaboutcheetahI can't clearly remember who my guide was since I was guided by the two resident guides. The camp was brilliantly managed by a South African couple Michelle and Gerard. Here are some more photos from Little Vumbura. I took these on the last day I stayed there. 

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4 minutes ago, optig said:

@madaboutcheetahI can't clearly remember who my guide was since I was guided by the two resident guides. The camp was brilliantly managed by a South African couple Michelle and Gerard. Here are some more photos from Little Vumbura. I took these on the last day I stayed there. 

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We all marvel at the beauty of saddle billed storks no matter how often we see them.

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I loved the design and style of Selinda Explorer's Camp. It's was truly elegant and wild. I also throughly enjoyed eating with my fellow guests as well as Michelle and Gerard the charming South African management team. I couldn't go on a boat safari because it was too dry,however, I did go on a walk which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

 

I know that the big attraction of Selinda Explorer's Camp is supposed to be that the resident pack of wild dogs sometimes runs through the camp. Unfortunately I was to be disappointed because they weren't around. Well ,as we all know isn't it always a case of luck? I wasn't disappointed because I had so many other terrific sightings of other animals and birds and saw wild dogs later in places where I didn't expect them. I can't complain about the lions,elephants,giraffes,buffalo and zebras.

 

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Edited by optig
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I was even fortunate enough to see cheetahs.

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SafariChick

I love the photo of the little lion cub in post # 9 @optig !

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madaboutcheetah

@optig - would love to see more pictures of those cheetah from Selinda.  You have some close ups? 

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@madaboutcheetah unfortunately I have no more photos of cheetahs. After staying for four nights at Selinda Explorer's Camp,I then went to Sango Camp which I felt is an excellent alternative to Wilderness,Great Plains and Beyond Camps and others which are more expensive. The only real disadvantage to Sango in comparison to these other lodges is that some sightings were more crowded. In other words there was perhaps 4 or 5 vehicles at a sighting of a leopard, wild dogs or a huge bull elephant but then again it wasn't anything like the crowds experienced in the Serengeti, Kruger or Samburu. 

 

I have to say that the location of the lodge overlooking the Khwai was simply fabulous. I won't claim that it's the best which I've ever experienced but it was just superb. I simply loved seeing all of the elephants from my tent. The tents were so comfortable and functional. The food was fresh, delicious and served in copious quantities. I was constantly hearing the elephants at all hours of the day and night so the bush vibe was just excellent.

 

After not seeing them at either Little Vumbura or Selinda Explorer's Camp ,I was delighted to see wild dogs at Sango Lodge. I also saw plenty of other wildlife. 

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madaboutcheetah

No worries @optig - you've had a fabulous trip and your enthusiasm is obvious ..... 

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@madaboutcheetah as enthusiastic as I may be, I am one person who doesn't mind missing an occasional game drive or walk when I'm either overly tired or stressed out. I feel much better going on game drives or walks when I'm the right mood. I have to say that the more safaris I go on, the more I enjoy it and of course the more I discover new facets to it and develop new interests. 

 

Here are some more photos from my safari.To be specific this was at Sango Safari Camp.I can't stress enough that I feel that Sango is a great lodge in its own right. I also have to say that the staff was just wonderful. 

 

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Edited by optig
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Kitsafari

enjoying your memories through your photos and words, @optig

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I then went to Victoria Falls where I spent two nights at the Victoria Falls Hotel. I simply relaxed and had a wonderful time speaking to the staff. I couldn't believe the feeling of optimism in the air. There was such a dramatic difference since my first visit in 2007 when Victoria Falls was a ghost town and there were hordes of unemployed people who thanked me and said god bless me for simply being in their country.  On my other two visits things were somewhat improved but I know that it was simply a facade for the rest of the country. 

 

I have to say that Victoria Falls was full of tourists. There were plenty of new restaurants and construction was going on everywhere. The old train was running which had been occupied by baboons in 2007 was running again.

 

I am looking forward to visiting Victoria Falls again for the simple reason I would just love going bird watching there. I am sure that I'd see so many new species of birds which I always delight in. 

 

I then went to Hwange National Park for 8 days. I stayed for four nights at Little Makalolo, and 4 at Camp Hwange both of which were just fabulous. I feel that the two of them make a fantastic combination because they are in both in totally different areas of the park. Little Makalolo is a giant concession which it shares with Linkwasha, and Davison's. I have to say that Little Makalolo was terrific camp in every way. My guiding by Charles was just superb. The wilderness vibe was excellent. I heard elephants trumpeting at night. I saw sable and elephants from camp. The birding was excellent. 

 

Of course the wildlife was just superb. I couldn't complain at all. I also appreciated the glorious sunsets over the waterhole.Here are some photos from Hwange  National Park.

 

 

 

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TonyQ

Brilliant seeing a Serval - and lots of other great sightings.

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wilddog

Agree, The serval is a real bonus :)

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Would you recommend Chalo Africa for Kenya (or anywhere in Africa)?  Have you used them before? Since you've been on several safaris, what differentiates them from other agents you've used? Your trip looks awesome. Botswana is next

Nancy

 

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@njs I have worked with many British, American, South African as well as Kenyan travel agencies and I have to say that Chalo Africa for many reasons is the best of all. It's thanks only to @Sangeeta that I was able to visit Gonorezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, Zakouma National Park in Chad, the Surma Mursi tribes in Ethiopia and my ultimate safari experience which was flying over Gambella National Park in Ethiopia. I was also able to visit the Ali Dege game reserve and Bale Mountain National Park.  I have to say that my visit to the Surma and Mursi tribes, flying over Gambella National Park my week in Zakouma National Park and Gonorezhou are close to being the most memorable safari experiences which I have ever had. It was also simply astonishing to see the Ethiopian wolf, Mountain Nyala, Menelik's bushbuck, Bale monkey and mole rat. 

 

@Sangeeta has the most interesting ideas for going on safari. She is also very honest and will tell you that if you receive a better quote that you should take it. 

She provides outstanding back up service in case you have a problem through her sisters and the rest of her staff in India. She will admit frankly and openly when she hasn't been to or doesn't know a destination well. 

 

I should let you know that I am going on not less than 4 safaris next year. I will be going on my second trip to Uganda as well as  Gabon which I am booking through Chalo Africa. I will also be going to the Central African Republic and making a trip to Tsavo East National Park to see the two new lodges which the Daphne Sheldrick Wildife Foundation has now opened. I have now been on no less than 17 safaris and if I added up all the time I have spent on safari it would add up to one year or close to it. I have also lived for over five and half years in Nairobi,Kenya.

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I then went to Camp Hwange, as I had stated earlier ,which deservedly has the reputation of not only being one of the finest lodges in Zimbabwe, but all of Africa. I had a wonderful time in every way,shape and form. Camp Hwange is a remarkably scenic part of the Park which is quite different from Wilderness's concession.  

Not only were walking safaris and game drives available but night drives as well which were surprisingly productive. It was simply awesome to watch stalking lions on foot. On a night drive  I saw genets, a serval and African wild cats. Here are some  more photos from  Camp Hwange.

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After Hwange National Park I went to Livingstone where I stayed at the Zambezi Waterfront Hotel which frankly I would urge all of you to avoid. The service was simply pathetic. They couldn't even deliver coffee to my room in the morning before my departure. I slept there overnight and then flew to Mfuwe Lodge. It's a great place for spending a night or returning from another camp,but it simply doesn't have the bush "vibe" of other camps in South Luangwa. It's simply too much like a hotel.However, I sincerely enjoyed the staff and the night drive. I then went to Bilimungwe Bush Camp because I hadn't stayed in this part of the park before. I also stayed at two other Bush Camp Company properties: Chamilandu and Kuyenda.This was already my fourth trip to Luangwa National Park and I wasn't to be disappointed. I enjoyed it as much as ever. I stayed for one night at Mfuwe Lodge and four nights at all the other camps. I throughly enjoyed all of them, but I didn't feel that Kuyenda was quite as good as Bilingumwe and Chamilandu. The reasons for this  is neither the legendary Phil Berry and his wife Babette were there and so much depends on the their being there, furthermore elephants can't walk through camp due to the fencing. Suzyo was an excellent guide.

 

I was so fortunate to see wild dogs for the first time in South Luangawa National Park. I have never seen such beautiful and strikingly marked wild dogs before. Of course I saw so much more in South Luangwa but the wild dogs were arguably the best sighting of my whole trip.

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