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Alex The Lion

Botswana Mobile Safari with Alwyn Myburgh

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Alex The Lion

After a few years (6.5 to be precise, 7 for Botswana) absence, I finally got back to Africa. I am going to try and cobble together a trip report of sorts. Due to work and family comittments, it may take me a month or two.

 

Background:

 

Around July time, I was speaking with Alwyn for a quick catch up. After the call, I mused with the wife that perhaps I could book a safari for 2019. To my surprise, she turned around and said, "go".

 

A quick call to Alwyn and I squeezed in 8 nights starting September 26th, which ended up with 3 nights at Xini Lagoon and 5 nights at Khwai.

 

Anyway, it was pumping, though having picked up a camera for the first time since 2012, quite challenging. It is easy to forget how much easier photography is on the plains of East Africa!

 

Here is a first image fo whet the appetite.

 

Wild Dogs Hunting at Khwai.

 

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Edited by Alex The Lion

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offshorebirder

Looking forward to this report @Alex The Lion!

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Alex The Lion

Day 1

 

After sleeping all the way from London, it was a short hop to Maun.

 

We spent an hour in town so that I could pick bits up. I was traveling light and was also busy with work up to the point of leaving for the airport, so not particularly well prepared. It was a quick trip to Spa for toiletries, flip flops etc. Alwyn had sent the game drive vehicle to set up camp, and we drove to Moremi in the closed cab support Hilux. This was more comfortable for the drive in.

 

As we reached Xini lagoon, the floodplains were drying out quickly. We found the Xini pride, tons and Lechwe and a bull elephant.

 

Although the light was fading, I decided to get my camera out of the bag for a few record shots. Less than 5 days before, I did not even own an SLR camera or telephoto lenses. Prior to traveling, I sorted myself a 5D Mark III and the updated version of the Canon 100-400mm.

 

I have quickly edited some of the images, apologies as they are a bit rough in places, I did not take too much time with masking, sharpening etc.

 

 

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Edited by Alex The Lion

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Alex The Lion

Day 2 (Part 1)

 

We were out of camp by 5.30am, looking for the Xini Pride, though they had moved into the thickets.

 

The plan was to head South towards Blackpools, which at this time of year draws game all day from the drier parts to the South.

 

We came across a Wild Dog kill, possibly from early that morning or the night before. Based on their tracks and the vultures, they were long gone. A Yellow-Billed Kite did pose nicely for us.

 

 

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We also found a small breeding herd feeding along the way:

 

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On reaching Blackpools, there was a procession game coming to the remaining water. It reminded me slightly of Hwange in the dry season, including a lone Hippo.

 

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Edited by Alex The Lion

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Alex The Lion

We then moved onto to another area of the Okavango Delta, which I will not name. In Day 2, Part 2, I spend 8 hours trying to obtain the perfect white egret shot. Any editing tips to de-clutter the background would be most appreciated.

 

_S2B2023.jpg

Edited by Alex The Lion

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Game Warden

Take me on your next trip and I'll do my best to provide hints and tips on the ground... ;) 

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Alex The Lion
10 minutes ago, Game Warden said:

Take me on your next trip and I'll do my best to provide hints and tips on the ground... ;) 

@Game Warden You will be waiting another 5 years for that to happen. I have already been read the return safari riot act.

Edited by Alex The Lion

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madaboutcheetah

@Alex The Lion - Great start!!! 

 

I have to get in touch with Alwyn to pencil in a trip to the Savute Marsh at some point ...... 

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Ratdcoops

@Alex The Lion your photos are beautiful.

I am on a similar time frame to you 3 years. I think I can squeeze one out for my fiftieth.

As for the clutter, I wish I could include some of that into my images. 

 

 

Edited by Ratdcoops

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Game Warden

@Ratdcoops Please start a new topic with the same questions so as not to hijack @Alex The Lion's trip report.

 

Thanks, Matt.

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Ratdcoops

@Game Warden I have edited my previous post to get rid of my question, will do as you requested. 

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kilopascal
11 hours ago, madaboutcheetah said:

@Alex The Lion - Great start!!! 

 

I have to get in touch with Alwyn to pencil in a trip to the Savute Marsh at some point ...... 

Me too!  Love the photos and can’t wait to read more 

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Alex The Lion
4 hours ago, Ratdcoops said:

@Alex The Lion your photos are beautiful.

I am on a similar time frame to you 3 years. I think I can squeeze one out for my fiftieth.

As for the clutter, I wish I could include some of that into my images. 

 

 

 

@Ratdcoops Before marriage and children, I would have two trips per year to Africa, including a 12 weeks mega trip in 2007, so a massive lifestyle change for me.

 

I did you your other post, feel free to contact me about post processing, and maybe I could start you in the right direction. It takes longer to master than the actual photography in my opinion.

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Alex The Lion
14 hours ago, madaboutcheetah said:

@Alex The Lion - Great start!!! 

 

I have to get in touch with Alwyn to pencil in a trip to the Savute Marsh at some point ...... 

 

I think you would be disappointed with Savute, it is not pumping like it was in 2013/14, when the waters were in.

 

I'll give my 2 cents on Khwai latter on, as it was certainly busier than when I was there in 2010.

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Alex The Lion

Day 2 Part 2:

 

We found three rhino sitting on a small island. These are part of the 100 that have been transferred under the Rhino programme that has run since 2016. There was a female and calf with a male, who was not particularly welcome at times. I have tried to quickly edit some images, so apologies again for any colour issues etc, have been a little flat out at work.

 

Personally, this sighting was a highlight of the safari, I have never seen Rhino in Botswana. Yes, they have been de-horned and have GPS and Telemetry trackers on their legs, however, that also tells its own story.

 

After having lunch with them under a tree, we then followed down to a drying channel and followed them along it for around 8 hours, as they drank, wallowed and ate. Images are some form of chronological sequence. I still have a few more of all three to edit.

 

I know that many photographers do not like the haze of August/September, however 

 

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Edited by Alex The Lion

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CDL111

Good to see that the rhino programme seems to be working. Only had the pleasure of seeing them in Kenya.

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Game Warden

@Alex The Lion You might not have been to Africa for an age, likewise not taken wildlife photos, but you've not lost the knack...

 

Will have to take you round Portugal one day to hone your photographic, (and drinking) skills.

 

Matt

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Alex The Lion

Thanks @Game Warden

 

I still made some basic errors, like forgetting background obstacles etc. There are two differences to my last safaris.

 

The quality of the 100-00 meant I was comfortable not renting a 500 prime. This allowed for easier composition.

 

Secondly, I used a 5d mark iii, so with 25mp, I was fine to get everything in the frame then crop post processing.

 

Wish I had time for Portugal!

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Marks

@Alex The Lion These are some really remarkable photos. I'm sorry that you aren't able to go on safari more often, because the results (in the form of more photos) would be a treat for us! I particularly like the hippo exploding from the mud and the incredible texture of the elephant's skin in the first ele shot. I hope you'll be able to continue this thread.

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Alex The Lion
On 1/7/2019 at 12:54 AM, Marks said:

@Alex The Lion These are some really remarkable photos. I'm sorry that you aren't able to go on safari more often, because the results (in the form of more photos) would be a treat for us! I particularly like the hippo exploding from the mud and the incredible texture of the elephant's skin in the first ele shot. I hope you'll be able to continue this thread.

 

Thanks @Marks

 

This evening was first since October that I have sat down to look at some of the images. I will get there, just give me some time!

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Alex The Lion

I doubt I will succeed trying to do this chronologically, so will just start editing images that interest me.

 

Following the day with the Rhinos, our final day in Moremi was quiet. We searched for Dogs at Bodamatau (good birding) and drive around Mboma Island, though weren't that successful. Next was 5 nights in Khwai.

 

I enjoyed Khwai, though the number of lodges/vehicles has increased since my previous visit in 2010. I did pay for both Chobe NP and Moremi fees too, which meant we drive both sides of the river. As you head east into the Chobe section of the Khwai River, there are few vehicles around. The same if crossing and driving around North Gate on the Moremi side.

 

If you ever visit Botswana with Alwyn, he will enjoy re-telling our elephant encounter, and also the idiot he guides that plays this in the vehicle each time they use the bridge at North Gate.

 

 

Image 1:

 

A bush fire was spreading in from the Mababe side, which we had seen the previous day from Moremi. Alwyn and I decided to drive into the fire (as you do). We thought it could drive some of the lesser seen species from the woodlands towards the river.

 

We came across a fallen, and burning Camelthorn Acacia that provided an interesting perspective of the scorched area.

 

2099882942_Chobefire(web).jpg.3db3ef4cee98224c87696cf98e3cc3b3.jpg

Edited by Alex The Lion

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Alex The Lion

Image 2

 

We spent a whole day with one of the wild dog packs that frequent the area.

 

_S2B4701-1.jpg

Edited by Alex The Lion

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offshorebirder

I am late rejoining this TR @Alex The Lion.    I echo what others have said about your excellent photography.

 

I noticed that in a couple of your excellent Rhino photos, that one of them is wearing "GPS Bling".   Very stylish.

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penolva

Sorry I seem to have missed who Alwyn is and which company he/she runs for mobile camping? Would appreciate the info. Pen

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Alex The Lion
On 8/11/2019 at 12:18 PM, penolva said:

Sorry I seem to have missed who Alwyn is and which company he/she runs for mobile camping? Would appreciate the info. Pen

 

@penolva He has just setup a new company, and is now trading through https://www.originsbotswana.com

 

He has a business partner working in Maun, who handles bookings etc.

 

I been friends and guided by Alwyn for years. This last safari was booked through a quick few Whatsapp messages :rolleyes:

Edited by Alex The Lion

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