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wilddog

Personal anecdotes - your most memorable experiences in the bush

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wilddog

This morning, when Matias cox posted something about bush trackers and hunting I was reminded of a trip to Kafue some years ago. (You can find the very interesting article Matias posted here )

 

I visited Konkamoya Lodge in Southern Kafue for a whole week. This was in the days prior to the current ownership.

 

It was a fantastic week . I was the only guest and as I was staying a whole week it did challenge the owners to do some more varied things. .eg sleeping on the roof of an old building in the middle of the bush, lost of bush walks, one where we nearly walked into a pride of lions but the memory I want to bring up here was the walk with a local tracker ( previously a poacher).

 

We were tracking lion on foot. We followed the lion for long time as it meandered on, quite possibly trying to avoid us. The tracker kept pointing out the tracks to us and at one point pointed to a rock which carried a very small 4mm? leaf which was bent over on itself; the lion had trodden on it. Amazing.

 

Eventually we recrossed our own tracks and the 3 of us stood in a small clearing, while I imagine the tracker was making a plan......................

 

Suddenly there was a low rumble very, very close to us and our heads snapped up and we looked at each other with a touch of fear. We were almost frozen to the spot.

 

About 30 - 60 seconds later there was another rumble! .... it was my stomach, I was ready for breakfast.  We all burst out laughing with relief.

 

Did we find the lion? No But a fabulous and very memorable morning.

 

 

 

 

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wilddog

Anybody else with a good personal story please add here. 

 

Funny or scary or simply impressive

 

Edited by wilddog

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zimreef

Not quite the Serengeti, but I was rockpooling at Tsitsikamma National Park in South Africa with our 3 children. We were intent on examining the hermit crabs, starfish, chitons, sponges, coralline algae, and gobies, and chatting to each other about them for a fair while. Suddenly my son said Shhhhh... when we looked up, there was a family of 5 otters on their hind legs regarding us intently. After a few seconds of watching each other with interest, they got bored and moved off, making their way through the rock pools and along the coast. We tried to follow them for a bit but they were moving too quickly for us to keep up across the rocks so we watched them eventually go out of sight. An amazing and completely unexpected, but unforgettable encounter.

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wilddog

What a magical moment @zimreef

 

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Matias Cox

Last year I was practicing sport fishing at Ecolodge da Barra and the fishing guide took us (my fishing partner and myself) to an inland lake that was only recently discovered (by drone). We left the boat on the river Juruena and walked through the Amazon forest for about 15 to 20 minutes, with the fishing tackle occupying both hands, the guide in front, my friend following and I Lastly. When an unusual movement began in the treetops, soon we all stopped and then began to fall branches and other objects unidentifiable, it was a group of monkeys approaching and throwing objectsl, in that I stand static, looking up amazed at the opportunity of being the target of these objects -  one of them come towards me, aggressively looked me closely and threw a log of almost a meter,  the stump passed blowing through my head, after that attack they were climbing to upper branches and quickly dispersed; only then I lowered my head and looked at my friend Chico, he was looking at the camera preparing to take photographs of a scene that no longer existed. I asked him: did you see that, Chico? I saw p ... none, I knocked everything down to get the machine and lost everything, what happened, huh? kkkkkkkkk. According to the Guide was a group of barrrigudo monkey (Lagothrix cana), had a robust body, velvety gray skin, had never seen one before, I already saw monkeys Aranha and Bugio.


A magical moment lost because photography was more important than experiencing the opportunity of the scene.  there are moments that we must first realize if the scene will allow a record. It was me and the guide commenting on the monkey's courageous attitudes, and he remarked that he had never seen anything like it. On this path we also saw a trail of a bunch of wild pigs (here are called "queixadas").  If you happen to come across a group of them, do not move for nothing, stay still!

 

When we got to the new lake and started fishing, we were soon bothered by bees, first one, two, and for a few moments counted about 20 to go round all. When the first ones appeared, at first my friend Chico killed one of them and I told him that he would not do it again, a swarm here and we're screwed. I took two stings and went accompanied by some of them for quite some time. It was a day full of emotion and tension. Not to mention an aluminum boat down a bluff on the way and up with him on the way back.


A memorable day, lots of laughs and a great of fishing. We were in the area of Juruena National Park, a beautiful place and very fishy ... all fish caught is returned alive to the river. 

 

On the way to the Ecolodge, we flew in a chartered plane with eight fishermen and two crewmen, the runway was soaked, from above it looked like a river full of channels, the pilot and co-pilot deciding whether to land or not, adrenaline, some praying, some hiding their heads, and others as I laughed. The pilot was competent and went down well, without skidding. A relief.


It's my time to see nature at its best. Together with a group of friends, we do a fishery each year somewhere in the Amazon region. You do not usually have as many emotions as you did last year. In November there is more, will be the ninth experience in the Amazon.

 

A yellow tucunare from the New Lake with the one who writes to you.

 

IMG_4458.JPG.c13cf007a97fde5a5fa84b6b6b20f812.JPG

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wilddog

Such a good point @Matias Cox the really special memories are etched in our brains, not only the visuals, but the emotional response too. 

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mvecht

Many years ago I was at Kwando Lagoon.

I had a private vehicle and just after leaving camp going north the tracker found fresh Lion tracks.

We followed for a while in the vehicle and then the guide, Steve K, and tracker left the vehicle to follow the tracks on foot.

I was following them in the vehicle and kept fairly close as none of them were armed. The Lions kept their distance and after an  hour we had to give up.

Minutes after the guide and tracer were back in the vehicle we found the Lions resting under a tree. They were skittish so we had to keep more distance than normal. The sighting itself was not that great as light was bad and one Lion was collared. The interesting thing had been the tracking itself which took place in very difficult terrain.

We radioed in another vehicle which was a slightly different colour than ours. As soon as the other vehicle arrived we left. Back in camp the guide from the other vehicle told us that as soon as we left the Lions started to relax. Obviously the Lions did not like being followed by people on foot and were able to associate them with a specific vehicle!

Edited by mvecht

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mvecht

Another unusual tracking experience took place during the same trip.

I was now at Kwando Lebala. Same guide different tracker. We had just left Lebala when we met an uncoming truck. They had spotted the famous Cheetah brothers way north in the Lagoon area. They could not explain exactly where the Cheetahs were so we drove 30 -40km backtracking the tracks of the truck:D

Our tracker then found signs of the Cheetah and again guide and tracker went on foot we me driving behind. I managed to spot the Cheetahs resting on the mound and guide and tracker jumped into the vehicle and had me drive to the mound teaching me how to best approach Cheetah without scaring them. After 10 minutes the Cheetah got up and started hunteing a male Ostrich without succes.

 

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Hunting Dog

Can't remember if it was Lagoon or Lebala, but we (or rather our guide and tracker) had been trying to track the dogs for a while.  The guide and tracker had eventually left us in the truck, parked on a track with bush at either side, so they could go forward and follow footprints in more detail.  As they came back and approached from the front of the truck again,  shrugging and signalling that they hadn't found the dogs, I was in the back row of the car and trying to signal that the dogs were now behind directly behind the truck in clear view, having arrived there with a  small antelope that they were now happily devouring...

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kittykat23uk

India, Bandhavgarh,  2007 one of the few safaris I've had with @BigBaldIan 

 

21st November

 

Another early start as it was our last day in the park. Sadly no tigers were seen in the morning. However, we stopped off to look at a cave where there were roosting Pipistrelle and Indian Horseshoe Bats. A Shikra flew over and whilst stopped at a Waterhole we were treated to the sight of Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher – a stunning little bird. We also added Oriental Honey Buzzard, Jungle Owlet and White bellied Drongo to the list.

 

As we left the park we got word that a tiger had killed a cow in the village. We were soon tearing off around the village looking for the culprit. We stopped at one of the lodges and the guides hastily ushered us out of the vehicle and told us to follow them.

 

Without thinking about it we did and were soon standing around waiting expectantly whilst some of the Indians were scrambling up onto buildings and a mahout attempted to flush the potentially aggravated 500lb stripy killing machine into the open. At which point Mike, a friend we were travelling with, asks, “Are we safe here?”

 

Ian looked at me, I,  holding my camera in front of me in hopeful expectation of a nice close up shot (!) , peered up at Ian... 

 

He slowly shakes his head, realising our potential predicament..

 

 

A moment slowly dawns,  which Ian would later refer to as the “Wile E Coyote” moment (i.e. those moments in the Roadrunner cartoons when Coyote holds up the board with the words “Dear God, what am I doing?!” written on them).

 

At that moment, Mike informed us that he was going back to the gypsy and with a "come on we're leaving" Ian, followed by a reluctant I, sensibly decided to follow mike after grabbing our guide and driver down off the buildings....

 

 

 

 

 

.........As for the tiger, who knows where it went!

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BigBaldIan

Imagine if you will a courtyard with thick vegetation and we were stood in the only choke point 300 style where a pissed off carnivore would be travelling at speed.

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Matias Cox
12 hours ago, wilddog said:

Such a good point @Matias Cox the really special memories are etched in our brains, not only the visuals, but the emotional response too. 

 

Thank you.

Special moments make us want more, nature gives us wonderful sensations.

Edited by Matias Cox

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wilddog

Sounds as though @BigBaldIan was right @kittykat23uk :oWe sometimes get so carried away with the excitement................................

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Peter Connan

I have mentioned this on the forum before, but in 2017 we took a trip through Namibia. We stayed a night at Blutkuppe, which is in the Dorob National Park. Specifically I was there to take some photos of Kokerbome at night.

 

Because I wanted to make a star-trial, this is a protracted process lasting a few hours, in which there should really be no light close to the camera.

I started the process just before dark.

 

Koker1ODP.jpg.b506c60c4f5d624088f43ec21cd2d4d9.jpg

 

The tree I chose was quite far from the road (maybe 300m) and off-road driving is prohibited, so I was walking between the car and the camera, or sitting close to the camera in darkness.

 

As these things go, my mind started rambling, hearing sounds and inventing ghosts...

 

Tuisvrede.jpg.992d45cc99d8c96c8cf3d6407e1f1154.jpg 

Now keep in mind that although the area is pretty arid, it is a national park, and leopards adapt pretty well to arid environments.

Suddenly, I heard a sound behind me that wasn't in my mind. As in, right behind me. Bugger the photos, out comes the torch. Turned out to be a Cape Fox. It was about 3m away, and seemed in no way afraid of me, looking at me inquisitively for around half a minute before he trotted off about his business.

 

KokerbooTrail.jpg.fe24002137f1c5ecba570deb0711f70c.jpg

Edited by Peter Connan

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wilddog

... And I bet the hairs stood up in the back of your neck! 

The image you managed to capture, despite the threat to your life, is spectacular

 

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Peter Connan

Thank you very much @wilddog

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micmic

Once in northern Serengeti we were blocked by a huge herd of buffalo. 2 people and a guide in a self-drive car. And while we were looking at the buffalo to our right, we suddenly noticed a huge male elephant approaching us from the left. It was too late to move. The elephant came close and rested his trunk on the car's mirror for a while. He was very calm all the time so there was not any sense of fear, but the sense of awe was mesmerizing.

 

Another time, in a private campsite in Serengeti, we were sitting next to the fire and listening to lion roars. It was a very dark night, no moon at all. And suddenly we hear a very loud roar, from a distance that I estimated was 30-50m at most. You know that if the lion was in attack mode you wouldn't have heard it, but still... We put out the fire and went into the tent at no time :D

 

During a walk in Kruger, we were crossing a small pond with a very experienced guide. There was no animal in sight but suddenly a hippo sprung out of the water with a lot of noise and ran away from us. This happened 2m away from us. We didn't even have time to get scared :D

 

Outside of Moremi, I spotted a honey badger and decided to follow it on foot. After a while I saw it digging somewhere. I was 5m away and watching it when it spotted me. It started growling and hissing while looking intensely at me. I backed off very slowly and fortunately I didn't get to experience the notorious honey badger fierceness first hand.

 

Of course there was also the time when a gorilla mocked charged us in Rwanda. It was a relatively small female, but still... you can't forget the feeling.

 

Moremi again, a whole pride of lions passing through the campsite (3rd bridge, IIRC) late at night, with everyone asleep. I just happened to wake up and take a look out of the tent windows. And there they were, 10m away from me. Next morning I found their footprints right next to the car.

 

We've also been scared by elephants, buffalo etc. in Hwange, Kruger, Chobe while on foot. But it's different when you're alone in a private campsite. You start thinking really intensely what may be hiding behind those bushes. I once took a walk around a private campsite in Tarangire. It was a wooded area with a lot of vegetation for things to hide in. I couldn't go more than 50m away from the camp, I kept thinking I might surprise a lioness with cubs or a lone buffalo :D

 

Edited by micmic

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wilddog

A frisson of fear adds to our experience and (hopefully) the huge sense of relief afterwards is pleasurable . 

 

I remember the first time I saw a large male lion (20 years ago) lying 15 feet from the mini van in which I travelled then. Amazed. A bit more blasé now and no more minivans. 

 

Love these anecdotes. Thanks @micmic

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ForWildlife

@micmic I think I would have increased the fire with a lion so close! And why would you cross a pond and not go around it if the pond is small? Or were you actually going around it?

 

Three stories from myself spring to mind. Once I had to walk through a huge herd of buffal around dusk to get back to camp before complete darkness in Moremi, while lions started calling nearby. Once we had an elephant smash the back of our car while we were having a picnic under a tree nearby. Once I had a male lion following me for a while and then charging and I only just got away from that.

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wilddog

@ForWildlife that last would not entail a 'frisson' of fear but the extreme end of fear I guess :o

 

 

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micmic
12 minutes ago, ForWildlife said:

@micmic I think I would have increased the fire with a lion so close! And why would you cross a pond and not go around it if the pond is small? Or were you actually going around it?

 

I don't know, I've heard conflicting stories about whether fire repels or attracts wild animals. Some say they are afraid of it, others say they are curious to see what this glow is. I think I've read guys with huge bush experience not agreeing on this one.

 

As for the pond, I don't exactly remember the morphology of the terrain. It might have been a pond right next to the Olifants river or something like that. We were stepping on stones to cross, and we were led by a very experienced armed guide (thousands of walks in Kruger alone). We weren't doing any route planning ourselves.

 

Now I also remembered that time I was chasing baboons for about 1km... They had grabbed a bag with tasty food items and I wanted them back no matter what. I managed to recover half of them but at some point I realised that I was 1km away from the camp, running through lion country... oops! Time to go back!

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ForWildlife
3 hours ago, micmic said:

As for the pond, I don't exactly remember the morphology of the terrain. It might have been a pond right next to the Olifants river or something like that. We were stepping on stones to cross, and we were led by a very experienced armed guide (thousands of walks in Kruger alone). We weren't doing any route planning ourselves.

 

 

That makes sense, stepping on stones to get across. Just out of curiosity, why did you mention that your experienced guide was armed?

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micmic
3 minutes ago, ForWildlife said:

 

That makes sense, stepping on stones to get across. Just out of curiosity, why did you mention that your experienced guide was armed?

 

Just to show that he was an "official" guide. Because in some places (eg Okavango), you are often assigned to guides who are just locals who have grown up there but have no official training and are not allowed to carry arms.

 

BTW, that guide told us that in all of his several thousand walks in the Kruger he only had to use his rifle once, to kill a charging elephant.

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ForWildlife

But you can't walk in Kruger without an official guide can you? And in Kruger each guide, on a walk, will carry a rifle.

You make the comparison with the Okavango, but also in Luangwa guides don't carry rifles. The scout, an on each safari walk there is a scout, carries the rifle. This probably makes the guides a little more careful when approaching animals, as they can't trust their rifle and handling skills, but have to trust the rifle and handling skills of someone else.

 

To say that guides in the Okavango are 'just' locals discredits a lot of guides in the delta btw, but I presume you didn't intend it that way. There are indeed camps where the guides aren't of stellar standards and do meet the description you give, but the guides of many other camps in the delta would not meet that description and they are properly trained, whether they are local or not.

 

And 'only' once is still once too often, especially when it's not a warning shot but a kill shot.

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micmic
11 hours ago, ForWildlife said:

To say that guides in the Okavango are 'just' locals discredits a lot of guides in the delta btw, but I presume you didn't intend it that way. There are indeed camps where the guides aren't of stellar standards and do meet the description you give, but the guides of many other camps in the delta would not meet that description and they are properly trained, whether they are local or not.

 

I didn't say that, I just said that many times in Okavango you may be assigned to guides who are "just" locals, with no formal training. Of course, not all Okavango guides are "just" locals; lots of them have full credentials. And even being "just" locals, is not derogatory at all. I'd take more hours of experience over formal training any time, even if the guide was 'just' a local. In fact, I don't think that formal training and lots of adult experience can ever fully replace having grown up in the bush. 

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