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Alexander33

@Ritsgaai

@Hads

 

Thanks for your kind words and for following along. 

 

@Hads

 

To echo Michael’s response on whether a mobile safari would be good for kids, I think it might prove difficult for younger children (at least for more than a few days) just because the set-up is pretty basic. Twelve and up, with the right kid, though, probably would be doable.  Of course, I’m basing this opinion on what I was like as a kid, and not from personal experience, so take it for what it’s worth!

 

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It was in March 2014 that we were on a splendid safari with the excellent Kwando camps. When back home we immediately started to think about a return trip since we had enjoyed it so much. But somehow

We met back up with Lesanne at 5:00 PM for a sunset visit to the Falls, first stopping at a spot she knew where we could access the still-calm waters of the Zambezi, just a short distance above the wa

After my last post, I had to pause for a work obligation, so I thought I had teed up things perfectly there at the end for @michael-ibk to pick up and run with it, but he didn’t take the bait!  Oy!

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I was not asked and I don't want ot highjack this thread...but my daughter went on her first mobile camping safari when she was 11 and that's the one she enjoyed most. I'm pretty sure (younger) kids will love the sense of adventure when being out in the bush. Also, when they are younger, they care less about proper toilets or showers, at least my kid did. 

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Towlersonsafari

Greatly enjoying  this report 

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Kitsafari

beautiful lighting and brilliant photos from all of you (the road photo is hard not to notice!). 

 

We saw some young elephants in Khwai who looked pretty mauled (missing tails and half a trunk) and wondered if they came over from Savuti to stay safe from the lions. 

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Zim Girl

A really great start to what I am sure will be another epic multi-voiced trip report.

Stunning photos from Vic Falls @Alexander33.  The leopard photo at the beginning is wonderful @michael-ibk and already a lovely selection of landscapes and sunsets.

Can't wait for more.

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Seniortraveller

This is the sort of trip report that results in withdrawal symptoms, when it ends. So take as much time as you want, with the rest of this wonderful report!

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xelas
On 6/3/2019 at 8:39 PM, michael-ibk said:

They were filled with rice, rice had gotten wet, rice rotted - not the nicest smell indeed. :ph34r:

It would never happened in Namibia :D.

 

Oh boy, only Day 1 and we are treated to a number of photos I would be happy with after 2 weeks of travel! Great job from you all.

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Alexander33
23 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

We saw some young elephants in Khwai who looked pretty mauled (missing tails and half a trunk) and wondered if they came over from Savuti to stay safe from the lions. 

 

@Kitsafari

 

Yikes!  I don't know, but all the elephants we saw in Savuti looked quite healthy and robust.  Of course, if I recall correctly, they also were all fairly stout bulls -- no family groups.

 

 

@michael-ibk

 

I'm so glad you all had the mindset to take some video. That really helps to relive the memories.  I tell myself on every trip that we need to take more video, and then we never end up doing it.  Thank you.

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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Alexander33
On 6/4/2019 at 2:23 PM, michael-ibk said:

 

Soon after departing camp we found another surprise - a Honey Badger! Unfortunately it was just a bit too far away, and mostly hidden by the grass, and since the light had not yet come I did not even try to get a photo.

 

 

Actually, I did try to get a picture of the honey badger – or perhaps I should refer to it as a “picture.”

 

456427834_HoneyBadget.jpg.b18bcb07401d49957328ca2f8bfa4a55.jpg

 

 

Not very good, and it only made me think about the photo that might have been (an ever-expanding list – blissful torture). 

 

But I couldn’t complain, because this was my first time ever to see a honey badger, and I was pretty excited.  I’d longed to see one, especially after watching an old Nat Geo special of them fighting off lions and generally being their badass selves (scientific term).

 

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Alexander33
On 6/4/2019 at 2:23 PM, michael-ibk said:

 

Savuti is a very good area for Mongoose, we had a number of really nice sightings with Dwarf Mongoose which are not particularly shy here. Much smaller than its cousins, as I understand it´s Africa´s smallest carnivorous mammal. Their diet consists of insects (mainly beetle larvae, termites, grasshoppers and crickets), spiders, scorpions, small lizards, snakes, small birds, and rodents, and is supplemented very occasionally with berries.

 

 

Indeed.  I love the little Dwarf Mongoose, but they don’t stay still for long, and their diminutive size can make them a challenge if you’re wanting good looks.

 

1336478994_DwarfMongooseII.jpg.3d49459ef969e434c14488d277488969.jpg

 

 

1556703665_DwarfMongooseIII.jpg.ce4578de934aef311fdfb98f3e17255a.jpg

 

 

However, this sentry posed nicely for a few seconds.

 

499990824_DwarfMongooseIPSD.jpg.3c0dfeefb1a49d531af899876d1f0800.jpg

 

 

I had expected to see Yellow Mongoose in the Kalahari, but not here.  The photos that Michael has already posted are as good as they got in Savuti, so I won’t even try.

 

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Alexander33

I had hoped that our young male leopard might make a reappearance, but he didn’t.  This nice leopard tortoise tried to make up for our loss.

 

1046877083_LeopardTortoise.JBIPSD.jpg.b10f7a7a51c941d64f9596de0955175a.jpg

 

 

911026467_LeopardTortoiseJBII.jpg.35d47ddc55c7854113e427a718ad15a3.jpg

 

 

While J. was going for abstracts, I was trying to get wide-angle shots showing the environment, with mixed success.

 

1080852139_LeopardTortoiseIPSD.jpg.03e6d2d10cc0e3c7bd7bcdefaee4339d.jpg

 

 

Me, trying to be “creative.”

 

750586803_LeopardTortoisePeter.jpg.0c3ed8e30dc69ca4370ca458fd0aef15.jpg

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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Alexander33
On 6/3/2019 at 10:23 PM, Alexander33 said:

 

A hard-to-find Denham’s Bustard came by to inspect.

 

581475157_DenhamsBustardIPSD.jpg.801bd34dbc86fe5c8583d8e0662c3948.jpg

 

 

However, although we had no way of knowing it at the time, it was his larger relative, the Kori Bustard, which would end up playing a key role in one of our most memorable experiences on the safari.....

 

 

 

After my last post, I had to pause for a work obligation, so I thought I had teed up things perfectly there at the end for @michael-ibk to pick up and run with it, but he didn’t take the bait!  Oy!

 

Michael really should be the one to describe this, so I’ll just introduce it and then let him pick up the slack.

 

On our first morning, we had come across a few carmine bee-eaters.  They were not in their full breeding plumage, so they weren’t as brilliant as I’ve seen them in the photos from Zambia in October, for example.  But I had never seen them in person, so I spent quite a bit of time taking photos of a few individuals.

 

740511073_CarmineBee-eaterV.jpg.6bff857604d5c10e72540797a7b2327e.jpg

 

 

The next morning, we found ourselves driving in a very open, grassy area, and there were a few carmine bee-eaters flying near the vehicle.  We stopped to photograph them, but when we did, they stopped as well, alighting on the nearest available perches.

 

875221689_CarmineBee-eaterIVPSD.jpg.f123523b0ed05266dec6fe921ecadbc2.jpg

 

 

We started back up, and, suddenly, they were back, flying alongside the vehicle again.  We’d stop; they’d stop and land.  We’d start; they’d take flight alongside the vehicle again.  Stop. Start. Stop. Start. It was quite aggravating, because we wanted to get photos of them in flight, but we couldn’t stop the vehicle in order to do it. If we did, they’d immediately discontinue the show and find somewhere to land. 

 

Then it occurred to us what was going on.  As the vehicle traveled down the narrow dirt road through the grasses, it was stirring up insects, and as it did, the carmine bee-eaters were promptly getting into the action to dispatch of the insects as quickly as we disturbed them.

 

Matambo eventually got us on a pace where we could travel slowly enough to try to get photos of the bee-eaters in flight.  This required quite a balancing act by Matamabo.  If he slowed down too much, the insects didn’t get roused enough and the bee-eaters settled down.  If he sped up too much, the bee-eaters were in insect heaven, but we were in photography hell.  Taking bird in flight (BIF) shots is hard enough; from a moving vehicle, it’s even harder.

 

I didn’t really have the ideal rig for this.  My Nikon 200-500 lens is a bit heavy and the autofocus can be sluggish.  I managed a few with the 70-200 f/2.8, which is faster, but also quite short for bird photography. 

 

199794229_CarmineBee-eaterIIPSD.jpg.8f08c5a54e17ca6f8a71131e2df4abbb.jpg

 

 

799832490_CarmineBee-eaterIIIPSD.jpg.1f8ee14129ac12f32c8e21fc9fd70cb2.jpg

 

 

758310631_CarmineBee-eaterIPSD.jpg.408cf296b41a65beef603ed28ffaddda.jpg

 

 

I mentioned earlier that when we slowed down or stopped, the carmine bee-eaters would alight on the nearest perch they could find. 

 

Sometimes, there was a small tree or object nearby where they could land.

 

1266004910_CarmineBee-eaterVI.jpg.f04052142230226cf512912130a6709c.jpg

 

 

250790355_CarmineBee-eaterVPSD.jpg.b22d536bdd68b337419f21196c18f020.jpg

 

 

But in this open, grassy plain, there were very few trees or shrubs sufficient for this.  And so, the clever, opportunistic bee-eaters had to get creative.  What better place to perch for a short rest than…..

 

1151589483_KoriBustardandBee-eatersIIIPSD.jpg.54d5f2cff2014157af0f14b6036084fc.jpg

 

 

…..on the back of a Kori bustard!?!

 

This was a spectacle that we had never seen before.

 

1776761831_KoriBustardandBee-eatersIPSD.jpg.2c9b41575712effa47ea1277a72faf53.jpg

 

 

Okay, I’m stopping there, and will now defer to Michael to explain in his own time the situation in greater detail and also show us some of his carmine bee-eater BIF shots.  If I didn’t have the right equipment for this (or, let’s be honest, the hand-eye coordination), he did, and he proved to be a master of the art.

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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You're selling yourself short @Alexander33 your BIF shots are brilliant for mine!

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Kitsafari

@Alexander33you did extremely well with the BIFs (birds in flight)!

Always great to see honey badger.

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Atravelynn

Carmine bee eaters are gorgeous.  But carmine bee eaters on the back of a khori bustard are incredible.  I bet that was a new one for Doug.

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Atdahl

Wow, @michael-ibk and @Alexander33 what a spectacular report so far.   I am really enjoying the fantastic photos and entertaining writing.  We have found that trips with other Safaritalk members are just more fun and it seems like you have had that same experience.  

 

I think a mobile safari is a bit to "roughing it" for us but it sure is fun to read about.  I am looking forward to more.

 

Alan

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gatoratlarge

Love the kori bustard taxi ---they're such prehistoric birds!  The great shots and stories continue!

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SafariChick

@Alexander33 I think the BIF shots are fantastic! How creative those carmines are, landing on the Kori bustard! And did it mind? I guess that's something we shall have to wait to see. I also loved the lions and eles and mongoose from all of you (and did I already mention the leopard) And I agree it's nice to have video, really makes you feel that you're there.  Michael, I love the steenbok ears too - really want to reach out and touch the fuzzy insides! Enjoying this report so much! Look forward to what @michael-ibk has to say next!

Edited by SafariChick
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Marks

@michael-ibk I agree with your impala sentiment; it's nice to see them featured.

 

@Alexander33 I'd be thrilled with that honey badger pic! Looks like it captures the fleeting nature of the encounter.

 

Charming behavior from the bee-eater. Quite a unique set of photos.

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Hello

Have had the most enjoyable time catching up on this wonderful experience you guys have had.

Love the narrative and of course the pic's.

Kori Bustard and the Bee Eaters photo is priceless :D

Am learning so much -thank you .

Cheers Colbol

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michael-ibk
On 6/5/2019 at 7:27 AM, Kitsafari said:

brilliant photos from all of you (the road photo is hard not to notice!). 

 

Indeed Kit, of course most landscape photos (and some others) are by @AndMic.

 

17 hours ago, Alexander33 said:

I'm so glad you all had the mindset to take some video. That really helps to relive the memories.  I tell myself on every trip that we need to take more video, and then we never end up doing it.

 

And same here, all his work, so credit where credit is due. I always forget to do that as well.

 

16 hours ago, Alexander33 said:

Okay, I’m stopping there, and will now defer to Michael to explain in his own time the situation in greater detail and also show us some of his carmine bee-eater BIF shots. 

 

No greater detail needed, you already did a perfect job of describing all of it.

 

1838013167_409_TR_Botswana_1706_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.1e3c444591df333d4025e2cbed01cb2e.JPG

 

I can just add that this was definitely one of the trip report highlights for. Not because it made for some satifying photos - hey, it you take a couple of hundred BIFs, at least four of five of them should kind of work. Pretty much all I´m showing here. B)

 

1152753268_326_TR_Botswana_1394_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.81fb00329e93a4ef91d9d1ca899d03d4.JPG

 

But more than about photography this was safari magic to me. The stuff why I ´m addicted to wildlife trips.

 

I do it all too rarely, but I did it when we were flowing through the Carmines. I just put my camera down and watched them fly all around us, red streaks of colour buzzing around and chirping, us truly becoming part of their lives, they fully accpeting us and even taking advantage of us. I love moments like that on safari just as much as the big spectacular sightings. And actually, they are among my most poignant trip memories. Cascades of butterflies flying up when our car crossed in the Kalahari in 2014. Quietly sitting at a waterhole in the middle of Mana Pools in the middle of nowhere, far away from the river, all by ourselves, just watching the coming and going of all creatures great and small. Crouching in a gulley and creeping up to an unsuspecting herd of Roan in Kafue. Being in the middle of a colony of Carmines (yes, them again) by the banks of the Zambezi and just soaking in the ambience. These "little" moments are psychic happy places for me and whenever I close my eyes and relive these memories I cannot help but smile. (Yes, doing it right now.) And now I have a new one. :)

 

427794928_325_TR_Botswana_1393_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.db61e33b815dfdbe72e2cc7236df8aa9.JPG

 

142700109_414_TR_Botswana_1722_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.88e56397588f7b68409f5cd42794af6e.JPG

 

And even better than a memory I now have a video too - again, @AndMic had the good sense to try to capture a bit of that magic:

 

 

Some more Carmines, cannot stop now I´ve talked myself into how joyful all of this was:

 

1329919016_408_TR_Botswana_1698_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.c5749734257898fcc5078dcbe7f1afa2.JPG

 

2002141752_407_TR_Botswana_1692_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.80535ba05134806478def7e74f731357.JPG

 

324_TR_IMG_5953.JPG.d5a49d8ebf79ef88af017608274ac9c2.JPG

 

553390232_316_TR_Botswana_1343_Savuti_LittleBee-Eater_(Zwergspint).JPG.f45b62396bb370f8f479c1e6e339069e.JPG

 

Some non-Carmine Little Bee-Eater goodness thrown in just for the sake of diversity.

 

317_TR_IMG_5885.JPG.84438e31169e95c323eac8007f32370f.JPG

 

1296632706_318_TR_Botswana_1350_Savuti_Lilac-BreastedRoller_(Gabelracke).JPG.0500124acbb31e9c1155ce8074de474d.JPG

 

This Roller also took advantage of us stirring up the insects.

 

406_TR_Botswana_1684_Savuti.JPG.7bf0bcb1eeeef18dd5dab7e20ed3dc57.JPG

 

And this young one was even cleverer and just picked them up from the car´s bonnet. Just like the Bee-Eaters it would only do that while we were moving.

 

405_TR_Botswana_1683_Savuti.JPG.c49237fa38fa4fa6ed062e586e439316.JPG

 

When it was flying around it was just too close for my lens.

 

1601842296_330_TR_Botswana_1407_Savuti_KoriBustard_(Riesentrappe).JPG.026bc8c4d2438ef9f585fb0fb1f6e1a5.JPG

 

The Kori-Bee-Eater symbiosis was of course incredibly fascinating. We saw this in the distance on our first evening and thought how odd, could barely believe our eyes. But considered it a weird behavioural fluke. But we´d find out that it´s a pretty common thing for them to do. For exactly the reasons Peter already stated. The Robert´s birding app states that Carmines infrequently perch on backs of larger mammals. According to the Kori Bustard Carmines are "commonly perching" on it but only in Savuti - there´s apparently only one other report from Southern Africa at Pafuri, Limpopo Province. Interestingly enough Safaridude had a photo of a Northern Carmine Bee-Eater perching on an Arabian Bustard in his recent Ethiopia report. Which is apparently also well-known behaviour from that species, I found a few photos mentioning this is simply their way of ensuring an easy meal, since the large birds that they perch upon (which include the Arabian Bustard and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill) tend to flush insects while patrolling through the open savanna grasslands. Just like our car, the same principle. I do hope the Koris get just a bit of that enjoyment out of it we did. B)

 

1591425211_331_TR_Botswana_1409_Savuti_KoriBustard_(Riesentrappe).JPG.3dabd0ca8058502b513e6932e3153136.JPG

 

1488540137_332_TR_Botswana_1412_Savuti_KoriBustard_(Riesentrappe).JPG.42f30e82dac5e1137f6bb7d889bba3ef.JPG

 

2 hours ago, SafariChick said:

How creative those carmines are, landing on the Kori bustard! And did it mind?

 

Not at all, they are apparently very used to it.

 

One last Carmine to conclude this Bee-Eater Bonanza!

 

2058558144_416_TR_Botswana_1730_Savuti_SouthernCarmineBee-Eater_(Scharlachspint).JPG.d81186cdde03f5ef722f368c020e6095.JPG

 

And many thanks ladies and gentlemen for your kind comments, glad you enjoy our report! :)

Edited by michael-ibk
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gatoratlarge

That's a wrap!  Great, clear photos---the whiskers on the chin of the roller even!  And thanks @AndMic for capturing video---sometimes it's better to see the fluid action of what's happening rather than freezing one moment in time...Trip Reports are my favorite part of SafariTalk! :D and yes I have to remind myself not to experience the best parts of a safari looking through a lens but to put it aside and soak it in with my own eyes, ears... can't wait to join y'all in Gabon very soon!!!

 

I do love such clear photos of birds in flight as the wing beats are so rapid in real life....flying seems such a miracle and it's beautiful when it is captured this way.  My camera is not sophisticated enough to capture it...so thanks! :D

 

 

Edited by gatoratlarge
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pedro maia

@Alexander33, @michael-ibk, the Carmine Bee-eaters episode is realy a highligth of the TR so far, the pictures you both took are outstanding and the Kori Bustard piggyback is incredible.

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Alexander33
5 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

 

But more than about photography this was safari magic to me. The stuff why I ´m addicted to wildlife trips.

 

I do it all too rarely, but I did it when we were flowing through the Carmines. I just put my camera down and watched them fly all around us, red streaks of colour buzzing around and chirping, us truly becoming part of their lives, they fully accpeting us and even taking advantage of us. I love moments like that on safari just as much as the big spectacular sightings. And actually, they are among my most poignant trip memories. Cascades of butterflies flying up when our car crossed in the Kalahari in 2014. Quietly sitting at a waterhole in the middle of Mana Pools in the middle of nowhere, far away from the river, all by ourselves, just watching the coming and going of all creatures great and small. Crouching in a gulley and creeping up to an unsuspecting herd of Roan in Kafue. Being in the middle of a colony of Carmines (yes, them again) by the banks of the Zambezi and just soaking in the ambience. These "little" moments are psychic happy places for me and whenever I close my eyes and relive these memories I cannot help but smile. (Yes, doing it right now.) And now I have a new one. :)

 

 

Beautifully stated. Amen.

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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