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COSMIC RHINO

TUSKERS CAMP NEAR NXAI PAN , MANKWE NEAR MOREMI AND XOBEGA DELTA

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COSMIC RHINO

Given my battery  charger problems  I  checked  the  shops in ORITA   to  see if  there  was anything which could  do 4  AA batteries  at a time 

 

I  got some Chinese  made  thing sold  under their own name   which performed poorly in my  Johannesburg  hotel  room 

 

the  flights  to Manu are done  by SA Express  and the plane  was  close to full

 

I  was one of the few  who did  not have  a whole  lot of hand luggage  ,  in  some  cases  multiple  items  , this  is asking  for  an  light  plane  excess  baggage  charge  

 

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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COSMIC RHINO

The plane  arrived on time  , arrival  procedures  took a while   with  a whole  lot of people  going  through  just  a few  desks  

 

my transfer  guide  SK  was  there  to collect  me  for the  drive to  Tuskers  in an  open gameviewing  vehicle 

 

that  was  the name  on his tag  ,rather  than his long traditional  local  name  which  he assumed  guests  would  have a problem  prouncing  

 

I  was  asked  if I wanted  to get a snack  before going to camp ,  instead I  mentioned  a battery charger  wanting to be able to do  more than 2 batteries  at a time

 

don't even think  of  looking  if you  don't  know the town  ,  then followed   visits  to multiple  shops in the mall with sand   with phones, phone batteries, sim cards  etc but nothing else 

 

 

not  a AA battery  charger in sight 

 

SK  would  ask  the shopkeeper   for suggestions  , to finally  come up with  another  Energizer  2 AA charger  with a EU plug

 

a great effort  but it did  not work well with the  camp  powerboard  , even though it had   Sth  African and EU plug capacity

 

now begins  the long rough drive to camp , both the sealed  road  with    potholes  and  dirt  tracks  are bumpy  

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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COSMIC RHINO

the area  around Tuskers  camp, a former hunting concession ,   is representative  of  Nxai  pan , it is mainly  mopane bush (which is  often thick) with some camel thorn acacia  trees in a distinctly  different  zone

 

the  area  has a  very low number  of visitors   

 

It was very,very dry

 

I  have  not  been  to  Botswana  for many  years  , since 1991  on a Wilderness  basic  camping  trip  to be  exact   

 

All the  camps are  operated  by Sun  Safaris  ,offer  good  comfort,  but not  luxury 

 

The camps  have low guest  capacities  

 

All camps  had few visitors  at this time of year  

 

 

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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offshorebirder

Wow - I did not realize you visited Botswana recently @COSMIC RHINO.

 

Was it an extension of your recent Lewa / Kenya safari?   If so, wow!

 

I would be happy to help convert and post some of your Bots photos if you would like.

 

 

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COSMIC RHINO

I went to Lewa  back to  Sth Africa  then to Botswana

 

I took some good photos  ,  I plan to print some soon

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COSMIC RHINO

Despite  the search   for the battery charger  ,  I made  it to camp  in time  for the  afternoon tea  then game drive

 

the  camp has  a number  of  meru tents   placed  on platforms  complete  with bathrooms  and electric  lighting    

 

There  is a lounge  ,dining   and waterhole  

 

Hot  water  ,tea, coffee, chocolate   is available  in the dining area 

 

this attracts  a tree squirel

 

the  waterhole   is   not   that  close , it is most often  visited  by  impalas, wharthogs , giraffe ,kudu  etc  

 

most  often  no one is  there  ,regardless  it has  a wonderful  view  

 

I  was in I  think   tent  3  which had  a reasonable view  of the waterhole  from the    platform 

 

the  rains are  late, the  area  is very dry  

 

 

 

 

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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Kitsafari

good to see you doing safari in Botswana! can you remind me when you were there?

 

hope you resolved your battery issues while there.

 

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COSMIC RHINO

My trip  began  13 May   4 nights tuskers , 3 nights  mankwe  and 3 nights  xobega  island  camp  

 

I  was staying away from  Botswana   for  high    cost   and  luxury  camps  

 

I  go for  the  bush and wildlife  experience  ,   the  camp is  detail  not  fundamental  

 

as far  as I am  concerned  I  want to maximise  bush time  , not  enjoy  the  superior comforts  of a camp

 

the  battery charging  was best at  Tuskers , with  issues  elsewhere  

 

The powerboard  has Sth  African  and  EU  plug  capacity   

 

I had  asked about it in advance  , so  came with lots  of spare  batteries 

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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COSMIC RHINO

there is  one lovely baobab tree in the  area

 

to  begin  with there  were a few  UK  visitors  in camp  , later  some  French  people came

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Marks

I've been looking forward to this report. I've booked Tuskers/Mankwe/Xobega for next year, so I can't wait to hear what you thought of them.

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COSMIC RHINO

at  TUSKERS  is was  in tent 3   with a good view  of the waterhole

 

the  tents are well spaced  for privacy 

 

I  actually  got some good photos of the elegant greater  kudu without heavy bush cover    or  having them run away  quickly

 

on drives  animals  are more  likely to  found  at pans especially  the two larger ones

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
update

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COSMIC RHINO

There  were a lot of dry  waterholes  or pans which were almost dry

 

the animals  most commonly seen  were impalas ,wharthogs  etc  , and a few  birds  like hornbills  

 

SK  was a good guide   careful driver, superior knowledge of animals , birds and plants  

 

I  am not  the only  one to note that he talked  about himself as  SK  not  I  or me

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offshorebirder

@COSMIC RHINO sent me a batch of PDF scans to convert and post - I am pressed for time this evening, but here are a few elephant photos from his time at Tuskers.   I will get caught up on the rest tomorrow.

 

Elephants_drinking_waterhole-Tuskers.jpg.20f7ef99c2473ef2c3255c54d78297e6.jpg

 

Elephants_on_the_move-Tuskers.jpg.a0d77a8df1650b33edcb6c26ca103a21.jpg

 

Elephants_drinking_waterhole2-Tuskers.jpg.92035623bb3e1e75fed13c5ec445a1eb.jpg

 

Elephants_on_the_move2-Tuskers.jpg.fe656722c9a8d8d394a0570e260b8f90.jpg

 

Elephants_drinking_waterhole3-Tuskers.jpg.cf65b688d3c354a584858d5d21588bff.jpg

 

Elephants_on_the_move3-Tuskers.jpg.acc0feceb59a8d0d91b6b5b559e78190.jpg

Edited by offshorebirder

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PT123

Great shots COSMIC RHINO, it looks like the camp lived up to its name!

 

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Marks

Nice photos @COSMIC RHINO (and thanks @offshorebirder for arranging to display them)! Looks like a good place for eles.

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COSMIC RHINO

the  area  around  Tuskers  camp  was  very dry , but I  was  looking for eles  and managed  to see 2  good family groups  at waterholes away from camp  in the time I  was there

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offshorebirder

Here are some more of @COSMIC RHINO's photos - some of them are very enjoyable to view.  I will let him post captions.

 

 

Elephants_drinking_together_Tuskers.jpg.198cb4b9eb2b0ea885682c929c8ea5a5.jpg

 

Elephants_drinking_together2_Tuskers.jpg.d1d377926efb8011e15f020e65c38e9f.jpg

 

Elephants_water_ineraction_Tuskers.jpg.3439b6171ae1dc8f23e6890ac089a626.jpg

 

Greater_Kudu_Tuskers.jpg.ba1f16e747c9ff4dbae5c7a12f5a8734.jpg

 

Greater_Kudu2_Tuskers.jpg.699f15c848c12177131f885f211cf3af.jpg

 

Kudu_herd_Tuskers.jpg.57e69ed19072e369d11c7bc7b8fd27f0.jpg

 

Kudu_herd2_Tuskers.jpg.433efcea4762bc7c0aef7666a59d65c7.jpg

 

Giraffe-Oxpeckers_Tuskers.jpg.bb78651947af1ce9d7e5726a67aac35b.jpg

 

Giraffe_Tuskers.jpg.4e7d4e862bbbceb2d5afe2522f3d3f1f.jpg

 

Giraffe2_Tuskers.jpg.f536080de675c68a18bf1eca9e4163fd.jpg

 

Giraffes_Tuskers.jpg.98ab4254db7418203ef59563eaa5815c.jpg

 

Giraffes2_Tuskers.jpg.57041150701cf4d0ad22923d6ce0081b.jpg

 

Giraffes3_Tuskers.jpg.b74c3b62ff1f15cb45ec50569d0f879b.jpg

 

Giraffe_bending_Tuskers.jpg.cb97e43b6081bea0033ce59444e74773.jpg

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COSMIC RHINO

ELEPHANTS  taken at  a waterhole  when it was  starting  to get dark  but there  was  still  enough light for photos  

 

they  drank  in groups of different  sizes

 

members  came  then  went , it was wonderful 

 

the waterhole with the  elephant families,  both of  them are  a long way from camp  

 

the  one  in the post  above comes with a rough  ride  on the access  

 

at one stage  the track  is right next   to  a small waterhole  ,which may be dry

 

 

KUDU   are  a beautiful  animal  but they  are most  often  seen  in heavy  bush  or  running away

 

In  this  case  they visited  the camp waterhole  

 

these  photos  were  taken from a long distance  away  on  high zoom  standing  in front of my tent

 

my eyes  are always  directed to  the waterhole  and my camera  is handy 

 

 

I  am  delighted  by  GIRAFFES  

 

there  are not many of them  in the  mopane  area  , so  I was  taken  to an area  with  a whole  lot of  camel  thorn  acacias  

 

here  I  came across  wonderful trees  and  giraffes  

 

they look great  with   termite  mounds  

 

if giraffes  are reaching down  low to the  ground they are  there  for  low  bushes  or to lick mineral  salts amongst the earth  

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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COSMIC RHINO

Cats  are not my thing,  I  did not look for them,  so  I  don't know if they were  around

 

despite  being dry the mopane  and other  trees  still  had reasonably green  leaves   and lots  of them  

 

I  treat  my  camera  like a necklace  on game drive  , it is nearly  always  out and ready for use

 

in  camp it is  nearly  always  handy  

 

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COSMIC RHINO

the food  is good family  style stuff  , nothing elaborate  which  I  do not want anyway

 

 

DRESSING  TO  IMPRESS  

 

You can wear what you  want within reason  , but I  am there for the  wildlife and bush  and prefer to  blend in.

 

green   or   brown shirt   with  green   trousers   for me  , add hiking boots  

 

everything is  long  ,  I   don't want to get bitten  by insects or scratched by thorns

 

my  guide  SK  was impressed  this is the way  to do things  ,  specific  mention was made  of the hiking boots 

 

he was also impressed by my good knowledge of wildlife and the  bush

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TonyQ

Great photos @COSMIC RHINO (and thanks for posting them @offshorebirder

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offshorebirder

Here are some images Cosmic Rhino shared from around Mankwe Camp.

 

Baobab.jpg.698a534c84bfd16c9cd204cf09a2cede.jpg

 

CosmicRhino-Baobab.jpg.2bed2dec482607f80fe221df8527fb6e.jpg

 

MankweCamp_sunset.jpg.c83836ba77bc9d377e72ec651cea4a26.jpg

 

around_MankweCamp.jpg.6ede5e49a534c8592b5e66cb425882ad.jpg

 

MankweCamp_sunset2.jpg.2e1727adcfad57c7b4508c7a9dbcd651.jpg

 

 

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COSMIC RHINO

The baobab  tree  is closer  to  Tuskers  camp , and the  only one in the  area  

 

it is a massive  tree 

 

 

MANKWE  CAMP  is used as a  base for  day trips to  the Khwai area  of Moremi game  reserve

 

the  camp  is in a mainly  mopane  bush area   and  a long rough  drive of  at least  2 hours   from  Tuskers  

 

on  your  first  day  you  get  a local  gamedrive

 

the best chance  for seeing animals  is  at a section   of river  with  some  mud  at  least  1 hour  drive  from camp 

 

the sunset  was  great  , elephants  came down to  the water  drank  and got muddy  ,lovely   to  see  , but given  their movement  the  most   photos came  out blurred   

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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COSMIC RHINO

MANKWE  CAMP  is  relatively small   with some  well spread  out  Meru  tents

 

at  the time  I  was there   it was  being  rebuilt  ,  the  tents  still have   a  proper  matteress ,base  and sheets  bed  ,  electric  lights  powered  from  a storage  battery  and a chemical toilet  

 

camera  batteries  can be charged  through the staff

 

there  is a  block with  well maintained  showers,  hand  basins and flush toilets  

 

if  you want it there  is a  charged  laundry  service  for  upper  external clothing  only  ( ie  trousers, shirts , fleeces  etc ), it does  not cover socks  or  male  and female  underwear  

 

as  is my usual  practice  I  do my own washing  (shirt, boxers  and socks )  with  a cake  of laundry soap    and  hang it  in  a tree  branch with  a coat hanger

 

with the  wind and the  sun  things do not take  long to dry

 

there  is no laundry service  at Tuskers   

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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COSMIC RHINO

the  day trip from  Mankwe  camp to    the  Khwai  district  of Moremi game reserve  takes  a long time  to arrive, about  2 hours

 

this  has  its advantages  you  are arriving  as most  people  are starting  to finish their  gamedrives,  at least  when I  was  there  in  May  ,  the animals  were  still  reasonably  active  ,  and you  get them without  a whole  lot of other  people being around

 

the elephants  in  and around  the  river  were particulary   good  

 

the  plains zebras  , some antelopes  , hippos were   also good  

 

I even  got to see  some southern  ground hornbills  briefly  

 

it is a full  day trip  with  a packed  lunch  

 

take your  camera  ,binos  , spare  batteries  etc

 

I  am there  to see  animals  , photography  adds  to my enjoyment  

 

as  mentioned  before  my camera  is always  ready ,  I  wear it like  a necklace 

 

It  is most  unlikely  that  I  will leave  important  things behind as  I  am  always  packed  and ready to go  ,  and check things  carefully

 

well SK  my guide told me once   that  a guest  had left  the spare  batteries  back in  camp , so he  had to  drive 2  hours  to get them 

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