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deano

Zipping around Botswana (April 2019)

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deano

I am late again with a trip report. I am sorry for that and also sorry for being off the forum for a while. Work got in the way.

 

But it has actually worked-out as being a blessing in disguise since we were supposed to be heading off to Zambia and SA about now but, like others I am sure, that trip has been cancelled. So this trip report will allow me to re-live last year's trip to Botswana and share it with Safaritalk of course. 

 

I'll insert a pic now.....because it has been a while and I need to figure out how to do it all over again.

 

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If you read my last trip report (also Botswana) you might remember that I had stated that we were supposed to be heading to Zambia in June of 2019 so you might wonder why we ended up back in Botswana in April 2019? Well it was work again - I had a project with a completion date of June and decided that I would rather get my Africa trip over and done before that so we settled on Botswana again but this time with And Beyond and one of their Mobile Camping Expeditions as they call them. Basically a copy of a trip by @safarigirl.se in April 2018 and then four nights in a traditional camp  - a new(ish) one by Wilderness Safaris called Qorokwe.

 

Our trip was slightly different to @safarigirl.se- fly to Kasane and then two nights in Chobe, two nights Savute, two nights Moremi and then two nights Nxai Pan before a switch to Wilderness Safaris (back in Moremi) at Qorokwe Camp.

 

Okay - I'll hit submit now and see if this still works!

 

Hope all is well with my friends at Safaritalk.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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offshorebirder

Good to hear from you @deano =  I am looking forward to following along with your trip report.

 

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deano

Looks like it still works.

 

PSA - In order for me to get the full trip effect (and not the hallucinogenic kind) I will be including lots of often superfluous information regarding everything and anything such as the journey there, the people we met (who were fantastic), the camps, the travel between camps, the food, the drink (yes please) and the usual stuff and nonsense that I like to include in my trip reports. Oh and some animals and that type of thing. I might also mention - more than once -  that I love Africa and that I like Jamesons Irish Whiskey.

 

No apology for any of that......just skip over it and look at the pictures and videos. Whatever you like. We're all friends here.

 

Journey there:

 

Mrs. Deano at George Town Yacht Club - aka The Departure Lounge aka Gate Ten (a nice bar and restaurant next door to the our Airport). I am not sure what she ordered but she had another  before our flight to London Heathrow and then a short day room stay at Sofitel in T5 before the journey proper started with the flight to Johannesburg.

 

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The start - I would imagine that  if I got back into scuba diving that I could save lots of time and money but as much I love scuba diving....it's just not Africa is it.?

 

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18 hours later (12 flying then 6 hanging about) and we are airside at Heathrow and this is what they call a measure of Whiskey. I personally call it a smidgen and I think that even that is being generous.

 

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Heathrow can look quite nice when you are in a good mood brought on by the prospect of a trip to Africa and enhanced maybe very slightly by that smidgen I had earlier...

 

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I had forgotten to mention that another reason for a trip in April was that I would be celebrating my 50th birthday at the end of that month and what better place to be than Africa.

 

Well, we actually flew home on the day of my birthday but that is weeks away at this point in the trip which starts tomorrow with the actual Africa bit.

 

Until then.......

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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deano

Thank you @offshorebirder. Good to hear from you too and great to see you on-board so early. Look out for a slightly bizarre eagle sighting very early in the trip (not photographed on day one) and then another slightly bizarre eagle sighting (on day two and photographed).

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mtanenbaum

I'm looking forward to hearing all the details! I have this same trip on one of my bucket lists....

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deano

Bucket lists plural @mtanenbaum? That is a fantastic idea and probably just as well since there are so many places to go in Africa alone. Thank you for reading. I promise some animals in this installment.

 

The flights were uneventful but comfortable and all on time and we soon arrived in Johannesburg and headed straight for the Intercontinental Hotel which has become our preferred overnight stop on the way out. Ostrich fillet followed by Malva pudding ended the day washed down with a whiskey of course.

 

Next day was the real start for me and after a great breakfast we headed back into the airport for the flight to Kasane - a first for us.

 

The last part of the flight was along the Chobe and it was magnificent. I had my iPhone camera ready but I simply got so enthralled with the view that I forgot to hit record for the last bit but take my word for it please - it was amazing with elephants and boats at every turn in the river.

 

Apologies for going off at a tangent here but I have to include this next bit just to see what you all think; you know when you arrive for the first time at a lodge for your safari trip and hopefully in time for the first afternoon drive and then you say hello to all the other guests and try and figure out which vehicle you will be on and what the folks will be like? We all do it don't we? Well imagine that feeling but multiplied a bit as we were about to embark on an 8 day adventure with 3-4 guests in 4 camps each with 3 tents each (Savute had a few more) and all in 1 vehicle! Pretty important to get a  good group eh?

 

Well we well and truly lucked out. We have always been fortunate to meet great, like minded folks and our first piece of luck was when we were greeted by the big beaming smile of a face I recognized - EZ from and Beyond  - and if you visit their web site he is the face of the Botswana Mobile Camping Expeditions on their video. Wonderful chap.

 

He collected our bags and advised that the other guests were waiting for us in the vehicle. We had arrived a little late and they had all over-nighted in the area and had been awaiting our arrival and most likely thinking who was going to make up the remainder of the gaggle.  First up was a young chap traveling solo who as it turns out worked for and Beyond in their marketing department but was a former guide at and Beyond Ngala. His bush knowledge and good nature would prove a great addition to EZ who was our guide for the trip. Next we had a couple from Boston who were on their first safari. Talk about throwing yourself in at the deep end. These two turned out to be great people and great company. This was going to be great trip. I just knew it.

 

Within a few minutes of arrival we were headed to the Chobe River and soon got out of the vehicle and jumped onto a small boat. It was just amazing to be back in Africa and the boat cruise with a spot of lunch and a few cold drinks was very welcome.

 

The first pic I took was of the vehicle (in post #1) - in the original I had a nice purple tint as I had forgotten to change settings. Luckily I shot in RAW so it was an easy fix (actually I shoot Jpeg with RAW back up in case I screw up the settings......which I did a lot on this trip!)

 

Pied - a male; this is a massive crop on my 80-400 but I don't care.

 

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Distant impala of course. I' ll photograph anything to get used to my camera again. A bit over exposed looking at again year after processing.

 

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I told you I will photograph anything to get my eye in. The gear on this boat a few feet from ours would easily pay for about 3 trips for Mr and Mrs Deano and that is with business class both ways!

 

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We were tucking in to cold drinks  - cider for me since Robert (or is is Al?)  - one half of Mel and Al from Boston  - had pulled one thinking it was beer when EZ noticed a boat further down the river with all eyes pointed at the shore. Together with Andrew - our fellow guest but and Beyond ex guide - they turned their binoculars in that direction and Andrew saw what they were looking at.

 

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Leopard! A young male that EZ had told us to look out for. I am not kidding that this was less than 10 minutes into the boat trip and less than half an hour since we got off the plane. Have I mentioned that I love Africa? The young leopard got mobile and we were in prime position with a couple of other small boats with shallow draft and therefore able to get very close to shore. You will see how close from the video at the end of this post.

 

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He actually took us slightly back the way we had just come but who cares when viewing a leopard wandering along the Chove in the middle of the day? 

 

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I think this is shutter activation No. 10 or so measured from the start of the trip. The boat had a drop down door at the bow (the pointy end) and Andrew and I were able to lay down and get eye level with this leopard. He headed straight towards us and at one point Andrew whispered to me to "...keep very still and don't make a sound..." He was very close to us.

 

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So, for @offshorebirder - see this fish eagle? He was one of a pair and they both watched the leopard and then dive bombed him. I am not talking about a pretend bomb but a full on talons out attack and then a swift exit back into their tree. I had certainly never seen anything like that (with the exception of two eagles dive bombing a goliath heron once) but when Andrew and EZ compared notes and when neither of them could believe their eyes then you know that was a rare and slightly bizarre sighting. Maybe they saw the leopard as a threat to their patch of Chobe or maybe they had food on the ground or maybe they had young around the place. Who knows. I wish I had got it on camera though.

 

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The young leopard didn't seem to mind and he settled in under this bush for a while. The thick shade made him hard to see and our friends on that other boat with the fire extinguisher lenses (yes - I was jealous) tried but missed him. He did pop out to stalk a water monitor at one point but it was a clumsy half hearted effort.

 

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Birdlife was prolific to say the least. I can just about manage the large slow moving subjects such as this darter.

 

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Moving leopard taken from a moving boat.....what do you expect for sharpness?

 

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Barbed wire is from the BDF Camp at the boat entry point

 

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You're gonna need a bigger boat!

 

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He wandered back towards our entry point - next door to the BDF base there for those of you that know the area so we left him for others to have a look at and continued our cruise.

 

Elsewhere, buffs and elephants were munching on green grass and Chobe was impressing us.

 

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A breeding herd wandered into view

 

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Chobe buffalo had seen it all before I'm sure

 

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This fellow had a nasty wound on his behind

 

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The elephants put on a bit of a performance for us and it was great to witness from the comfort of a boat with a gentle breeze keeping us cool. Chobe magic.

 

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We had to leave the elephants and head back up river to the vehicle and make the short drive to Chobe Expedition Camp; our home for the next 2 nights. We bumped into the leopard again on the way back not far from where we last saw him.

 

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A nice male kudu - can't remember if this was from the boat or back on the vehicle.

 

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This was from the vehicle.

 

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My notes are a bit vague but I recall seeing this from the vehicle as we slowly headed to camp and EZ asked us if we wanted to get out on foot and take a look from a good vantage point. Did we ever. The light was harsh and against us but I fiddled about a bit and got some images I am happy to show. Imagine seeing this from one of those little boats?

 

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We watched these white fronted bee eaters enjoy their early evening dust bath and then had a brief game drive to look, unsuccessfully, for Leo before finally reaching camp. What a day.

 

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We arrived in camp just before Sunset to the sound of the staff singing and cooking. We were given a welcome drink and a greeting and then a safety briefing before being shown to our dome tents with en-suite dome tent toilets and open air bucket showers in an enclosed private central area. Paradise and very welcome after a day of travel and excitement. The staff heated some water for us over the fire and we had a nice hot shower and then enjoyed a meal of pork chops cooked over the same fire. Proper camping.....well with a flushing toilet and a comfy bed! We all needed an early night and were turned in by 9PM and speaking for myself I could not wait to see what the next day would bring!

 

For those of you that are familiar with my trip reports I always put a summary video at the end of each day. It is mainly iPhone stuff with some GoPro and a small amount of DSLR so not BBC quality but it is enough to give you the general idea. I purchased some local Botswana music to pull it all together.

 

 

Until next time. Sleep well and dream of Africa.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

 

 

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Hads

Welcome back @deano - what a ripping start with the leopard, would of been awesome to get some photo's of the fish eagle dive bombing him.

Can't wait for the next installments.

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Biko

I am enjoying this trip report very much @deano looking forward to the rest of your trip. 

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offshorebirder

Wow @deano - what a fantastic start to your safari!    

 

That Leopard was a real treat, especially with Fish Eagles harassing it.    And what tame Kudus they have in Chobe!

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Athene

@deano I am enjoying your trip report a lot - especially your summary videos with the local music, which I know from your previous trip reports. They really cheer me up :).

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Peter Connan

A fascinating sighting on the very first outing? Wow!

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deano

Thank you @Hads - it is good to be back. And @Biko, @offshorebirder and @Peter Connan yes we're off to a  good start and it continued from there. Got to love Botswana although three cameras with 400mm lenses (all zooms) and not one of us got the fish eagle interaction!

 

Thank you @Athene - I think I enjoy doing the videos as much as the trip report. I put these together last year pretty soon after the trip mainly to send to our fellow guests - Mel, Al and Andrew. I found the music on-line and managed to find enough to suit the first part of the trip from one group and then a switch to a second artist for the last 4 nights.

 

Day Two coming next.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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deano

Day Two Chobe:

 

Our first night under canvas back in Africa and despite being tired I managed to pick out lions and hyenas calling all night as well as some very noisy owls and a rowdy buffalo. All sounds seem that much more amplified when you're in a tent I think.

 

Quite warm in the night and very warm at 5.30AM when the staff called to wake us and deliver hot water to get washed with. Between those guys zipping open the flap in the central area between our sleeping tent and toilet tent (it housed the bucket shower and some bowls and towels and stuff and acted like a dressing area - more than adequate) and us guests all getting up in the night to use the facilities, there was a lot of zipping and unzipping. Add in my camera bag zips and the title for this trip report presented itself on the first night. Lots of zipping!

 

Morning at and Beyond Chobe Expedition Camp. Three sets of guest tents off to the back and then a dining tent where meals were served.

 

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After a camp fire breakfast of toast, eggs, cereal and fruit we climbed into the vehicle for our first morning game drive. The vehicle was roomy and different to the usual truck in that it had a pop up roof which allowed us to stand up and get good views at sightings. We also stood up when we were driving for long periods just to stretch out a bit. I'll miss that vehicle on future safaris....oh and it had a well stocked fridge!

 

Jackal on the way out.

 

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We stayed more in-land from the river for the first part of the drive as EZ had heard about some lions in the area, probably the lions I heard in the night. It didn't take us long to find them and it was two males who were described as trouble making intruders who were looking to muscle their way in. They looked like they enjoyed more than one scrap judging by the scars.

 

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A few other vehicles in the sighting but Chobe is a National Park and we expected that.

 

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Anyone familiar with the area might recognize this sign post where Zoolander was lounging

 

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Is he winking me  'cos I called him Zoolander?

 

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It was already getting warm and we figured that these guys would get flat soon so we left them and EZ took us down to the river. That place is spectacular and one of those spots where you could jut sit and know that , eventually, you will see something amazing.

 

We followed the river East and could see a 'herd'.....of game drive vehicles and private SUVs. Must be something happening? Sure enough, the resident pride of lions had taken down a lechwe and were feeding out in the open,. There were a lot of vehicles - maybe 20 - but I have to say it was all very well managed and to be expected in the NP parts of this trip. 

 

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Goliath heron in the background

 

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We sat here for a good while as we could see a large herd of buffalo feeding close by and they were getting closer. We got some great interaction as the buffalo chased off the lions and then more interaction between pride members when they resumed feeding. I don't like to use cliches but it really was BBC or National Geographic stuff and my iPhone skills didn't do it justice in the video. 

 

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After about half an hour, EZ took us to a great spot for a drink and some fresh baked buns and which also passed some time and allowed vehicles to leave the sighting. We had to go back that way and when we returned it was much quieter and we continued with a great sighting.

 

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More lion photos

 

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One lioness dragged the bulk of the lechwe under a shady bush to feed in peace. Think the cubs were annoying her. 

 

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The cubs were left with the legs and less meaty bits

 

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This tawny eagle dropped in for some scraps

 

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And a lone vulture arrived on the scene

 

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The two adult females were tucking in to the real feast just off behind our vehicle

 

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I think this cub tried to bite off a bit more than it could chew...

 

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Another tawny had also landed and this caused a bit of a scene with the other tawny and the vulture. I just happened to be pointing my camera at them and not the lions when this happened...

 

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I am guessing that the second tawny was a female judging by the lighter color and slightly smaller size

 

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Well, that and the fact that they did this. Talk about multi-tasking. Fights a vulture for scraps and then finds time for a bit of coupling. Impressive.

 

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Our cub had dragged his share of the kill into the road near our vehicle. There were drag marks across the two track and we laughed to think of the next vehicle that came along and tried to find out what had happened here today.

 

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Not bad for our first morning in Chobe but we did have to inform Al and Mel  - who were shell-shocked by all the action so far - that this was a really good day and that there would be times when it would be quiet.

 

Rest of Day 2 to follow.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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offshorebirder

What a morning @deano!    The Tawny Eagle kicking the White-backed Vulture's butt was amazing to see - much less photograph.  Way to be ready - really nice action shot of the talons ablaze.   Apparently the male's "victory" impressed the female Tawny Eagle.

 

Good lion action too - male posed nicely and you had some intimate moments when the pride was feeding on the Lechwe.  

 

 

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Hads

Wow Deano, this report just gets better.

Multi Tasking Tawny Eagles.......... :) 

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Zim Girl

Great shots of the interaction between Tawny eagle and vulture, enjoying the report.

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mtanenbaum

Thanks for a great report--I especially loved your video--I think you should send it to And Beyond and the Botswana Tourist Board for their social media (LOL)...

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deano

Thank you @offshorebirder, @Hads & @Zim Girl (and hello to you). I doubt I will see anything like that tawny/vulture interaction again.

 

@mtanenbaum I doubt that either would  post my efforts - some great stuff on both of their websites and the and Beyond ones are what made me book this trip in the first place. Thanks for the kind words though....another video to follow.

 

Day Two Chobe (afternoon drive):

 

I grabbed a cold bucket shower back at camp - the staff would have heated water for us but normally they have the hot water ready for evening times. It was quite refreshing and perked me up enough to last through lunch (chicken salad and then cheese and grapes) before I needed a nap. The cold water was also good to splash on your face after a warm nap. 

 

As was to be expected after such a busy morning, the afternoon was quiet. We went in search of lions but no luck although we did catch a glimpse of a honey badger and then spent some time by the river with baboons and a giraffe before returning to camp for dinner.

 

Plenty of bird life around as well and what is a trip report without an LBR?

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One day I will get a decent sighting of one of these things and hopefully get a photo as well......

 

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We think this fish eagle had a meal but it was a long way off and the light was fading  

 

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After the action of yesterday and this morning it was nice to get back to camp and relax a bit. We had already had good times with EZ, Andrew, Mel and Al and the conversation flowed freely...as did the Jamesons. Mel and Al now officially Jameson's fans. Andrew probably still on his best behavior as he was technically representing and Beyond but it was good to have him as his knowledge of the bush filled in some gaps for Mel and Al who, after all, were on their first Africa Experience. Good times.

 

Dinner was chicken with rice and then a banana which I recall being cooked on the fire and absolutely delicious. 

 

A relatively early night again but we would get into the swing of things pretty soon. Off to Savute tomorrow.

 

Here is another video installment for anyone who likes these things - I know that some do and some don't.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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deano

Day Three overland Chobe to Savute:

 

One of the reasons we booked this particular trip was to make it different to our 2018 Botswana trip. On that one, we had stayed at lodges and used small aircraft to get around. This Mobile Expedition had less flying and more driving - particularly the first three camps and I was looking forward to the scenic drive today which would take us along the Chobe then out of the park and into true Botswana and then back in to Savute.

 

So, after a good sleep (10PM early night) we had a solid cooked breakfast to fill us up for the long drive. This is where having good trip mates was necessary as we were all together for a good few hours but we kept up the laughs and I think we all enjoyed the long, hot, dusty and sometimes bumpy trip.

 

We passed a huge herd of buffalo on the way and stopped to photograph them and their oxpecker companions

 

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We would often see glimpses of Namibia which shares a border in the Chobe river. These fisherman were from a small village nestled in that tree line in the distance. 

 

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I bet they wish they were as successful as this chap (again  - way past the range of my 80-400mm zoom hence the slightly blurry crop)

 

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At least they caught something to eat or sell

 

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Much quieter this far West in Chobe and we saw hardly a vehicle all the way to the exit. Wildlife was pretty scarce but it was very hot and as we know most animals will settle down in the shade from mid morning. The scenery was spectacular though with panoramic views of the Chobe on one side and then a mixture of bush on the other. I enjoyed that journey a lot.

 

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I didn't photograph much else until we got to Savute although I did video the Botswana villages along the way and the lunch stop at a small craft shop in the middle of the drive. Mrs. deano and Mel had to buy something of course and the small woven basket we picked up sits in out living room now. It was a quarter of the price we would have paid in town or at the airport.

 

The landscape in Savute was very different to Chobe with a big open Marsh area (dry when we got there) and lots of small hills and with generally less thick bush. EZ pointed out this small impala under the shade of a tree. Possible a late one this season.

 

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After about an hour or so of being in Savute we arrived at our camp for the next two nights - Savute under Canvas. Bigger tents and a slightly different set up but the same warm welcome and camp site feel. We had a light lunch and then a nap but it was very warm today so not much sleep and I had a cold bucket shower to refresh me when I woke up which did the trick.

 

Shortly after our arrival a lovely (and lively) Spanish family arrived and they proved to be more great company for us all but in particular Al who had worked in Spain and was fluent. We all headed out fo the afternoon drive and EZ took us to the Marsh area and it was not long before we stumbled across these two residents.

 

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Two cheetah brothers with fat bellies.

 

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Al in a good spot for his pictures

 

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And Andrew up top with me where I took most of mine. This open top viewing was a really nice change and we all  chopped and changed so that we all got different images from different angles. Plus, it meant that all five of us always had a view irrespective of which side of the vehicle the sighting was on.

 

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It was not likely that these guys would hunt tonight (I mean the cheetahs.....not Andrew and Al!) so EZ took us off to explore the Marsh and we enjoyed a nice sunset before finding the famous Savute Marsh pride  - the famous elephant killers. They were just getting up for the night under a nearly full moon. Lots of other animals to photograph too.

 

Savute giraffe

 

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Sunset wildebeest

 

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Savute sunset

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Marsh pride waking up

 

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Pretty dark by now hence ISO 6400 with lots of noise

 

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Back to camp for a lovely meal of lamb curry and then lively conversation washed down with the large part of a bottle of Jamesons. Almost everyone joined in and it made for a rowdy night. I do enjoy camp fire conversation and this was a good one. More good times in Africa.

 

Today's video ends with the nightly welcome back to camp sung by the and Beyond staff. I had recordings from Chobe but they were a bit muffled and I am a bit miffed that I couldn't include any in the first two videos but at least I can include them in each video from now on. 

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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deano

Day four Savute AM Drive:

 

A cooler night so a bit more sleep although this was disturbed by noisy lions around 4AM. The obvious plan then was to try and find them this morning. But first, breakfast.

 

Savute under canvas

 

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We were not long out of camp when we stopped to watch this big boy having a drink.

 

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And then within a few minutes of leaving him to look for the lions we found this young male leopard wandering up the road.

 

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He wandered off up a hill but EZ caught a glimpse of him and we got a nice view of him as he started to climb down the other side, stopping to pose on a small rock to survey his surroundings

 

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He crossed the road again and Andrew speculated that he was heading for a drink so EZ took us to a nearby watering hole

 

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He was only a young chap but his behavior suggested that he was trying to find a territory of his own with scent marking and a loud rasping saw that happened yards from our vehicle....that I missed on video but it was amazing to witness. He did indeed go for a drink and we got some nice views as the resident plovers sounded their alarms.

 

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He then ambled over to a particular spot that EZ reckoned was a very recent scent mark from the dominant male leopard in the area. Our young boy proceeded to sniff it, taste it and then moved off but not before peering in through  the open vehicle window.

 

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He had no chance of hunting as the whole area had seen him or at least heard the alarm calls. This male impala for one had definitely seen him.

 

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Pleased with our leopard sighting, EZ suggested that we head to the Marsh to see if we could find the lions. There were a lot of other animals in the area - like these sparring giraffes - but no sign of any lions so we were taken to a nice shady spot for a drink and to meet up with the Spanish family as we had all got on so well that would be nice to have a coffee in the the bush together.

 

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I styled this one in B&W high key and I quite like it

 

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I think it is mandatory to photograph every LBR you see

 

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Our drink stop

 

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Notice our pop top truck at right versus the regular 6 seater at left

 

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These two hornbills put on quite a show of dancing and such and allowed us to get quite close while enjoying coffee

 

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Not quite sure what he was doing here. Maybe some aerobics?

 

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After the drink stop there was time for one more lap around the Marsh and we did find the lions but they were already doing their best impression of a "carpet hidden by tall grass" (sleeping) although the lioness did pop her head just long enough for a quick photo

 

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Then we headed back to camp where I enjoyed a cold shower (my choice) before lunch.

 

A little bit of Savute luxury to wash away the morning.

 

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After lunch we had a tour of the bush kitchen  - always amazing to see what these guy produce with such limited equipment. Food was very good the whole trip.

 

PM to follow.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

 

 

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deano

Day four continued Savute PM drive:

 

Very warm during my nap so I jumped under the bucket shower and had a refreshing (aka chilly) shower before the drive. We all noted how we had done the sane thing and how the water - heated over a fire of moping wood - had taken on that familiar moping smell and found its way onto all of us. I miss that smell. 

 

As usual, we met for tea and cake before heading out - this time to look for leopards.

 

No leopards but three sleeping male lions. They had been kicked out of the Marsh pride and were likely the guys making all the noise last night. We watched them for a while but EZ had told us that they would not be active for another hour or so and took us of for a sundowner into a baobab forest not far away.

 

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This twin baobab was not part of the forest but we stopped to look at it and EZ told us of the damage caused by elephants. The seems to be a recent thing in this region unless anyone else has seen or heard of it?

 

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Baobab forest

 

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More elephant damage

 

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A nice place for a beer

 

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EZ 

 

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And some skinny dude arguing with no-one in particular. I do that a lot!

 

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We headed back to the lions just before sunset and sure enough they were starting to wake up. We knew they would get mobile just before dark but we were really hoping for a roar. Sadly, they did not oblige but we did get some nice interaction and some nice posing (not this first one....hardly his best side!).

 

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i think you have just got to photograph at least one lion yawn per trip and this one was shot at ISO 4000 1/500 on my Nikon D750

 

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And an iPhone 8 panorama. I do like the colors in this. A bit like a water colour?

 

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And this is on an iPhone 6 and when zoomed in a bit too much at the capture (not post) it produces a nice water colour effect also

 

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The video has some of the interaction between the males as these guy wandered off into the Savute bush to do their thing while we wandered back to camp to do ours....which was eating, drinking and babbling with out new Spanish friends. They were a prominent family of opticians and if I remember correctly by the end of the night all staff and guests had been invited to Barcelona for a free eye exam and corrective surgery! Good times.

 

Video as usual to complete the day before our switch to Moremi tomorrow.

 

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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michael-ibk

Really enjoying this report, some great sightings already. We did a very similar trip last February, very nice to see these familiar places. Looking forward to more!

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deano

Thank you @michael-ibk - hope all is well. I popped in to read your trip report and found out that we did indeed do similar trips just two months apart.  I also found out that we travelled the same roads and that I need to make time to read your report in full....which will likely be this weekend.

 

Day five overland Savute to Moremi:

 

After another rowdy night, we awoke to cooler temps and lions roaring. We had a long road journey today and so we started with a massive cooked breakfast and then said our goodbyes to our new Spanish friends before being loudly waved off and sung to by the entire staff from camp.  A very nice goodbye if you ask me.

 

Before our long drive we took another trip around the Marsh and spent some time with this elephant bull having a breakfast slurp before finding the two dominant make lions in the Marsh pride. The were fast asleep and probably tired from all that roaring this morning.

 

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Savute Marsh panorama

 

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Our journey today would take us West out of Savute through the Mababe Depression where we saw some game  - mainly giraffes and tsessbe but it was the scenery that was most striking. Very flat and open and also very hot as we travelled to Moremi. We had two nights there and then two nights back East at Nxai Pan where we were hoping to catch the end of large zebra migration. EZ had told us that he could see from how dry it was in Mababe that it was unlikely that the zebra had gone to Nxai (he turned out to be right of course).

 

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EZ stopped at the side of the river Kwai and we had a leg stretch and a coffee before continuing on to the Northern part of Moremi and the Khwai concession where we stopped again shortly after entering the park. We were joined by elephants as we enjoyed our wraps and salads and a refreshing cold drink (no pics but I got it on video).

 

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The scenery here was different again with green as far as the eye could see and lots of water ways for the animals to drink from. This looked like a good place to be.

 

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We got off to a great start as Andrew spotted a lioness crossing the river from his vantage point out the pop top roof.

 

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We had been in the vehicle for a while now and we were all eager to get to our next camp but EZ had told us that the camps have to move every few days and that we were a little early so we had to kill a bit of time by having a mini game drive. It was the hottest part of the day but we had a nice time watching this herd of zebras with some of the smaller ones enjoying a dust bath.

 

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We reached camp mid afternoon - on the edge of a flood plain and in the shade of a nice patch of trees. These cranes formed the first welcome party.

 

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And then a male lechwe joined them. Our camp was just in the tree-line at left.

 

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We had a very short wait when we got to camp to allow the staff to put the final touches to the newly erected tents so we amused ourselves with alcohol and some bar games - do any of you know how to flip beer mats? We didn't have any so we used straw coasters. Good times.

 

We guessed that EZ must have been tired after the long drive so we suggested a very short sundowner drive this afternoon and then an earlier start tomorrow and we headed off to a  place called Sunset Dam but we were delayed on the way as we ran into this lovely young lady shortly after leaving camp.

 

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She was on the move and we were able to follow her for a while; just us and one other vehicle in the sighting and it was a nice sighting as she moved through the bush sniffing and scenting. At one point we had her, a barn owl and a squirrel all within feet of each other. Magic.

 

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We did eventually make it to Sunset Dam but the sun had (set) so we took a few pics and watched some bull elephants in the near darkness (again no pics but it is on the video) before heading back to camp.

 

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We had missed our sundowner drink but were happy enough as we could drink back at camp so we didn't mind at all when we stumbled across the leopard again...at least we think it was the same one. Andrew and I spent the longest time comparing photos on our LCD screens to check spot patterns and such but we were pretty sure.

 

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With the lights off it was surprisingly bright under a full moon and amazing to just sit and listen and take it all in. A leopard on the prowl in the bush at night. Have I mentioned that I love Africa?

 

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Moremi moon.

 

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Another good day on safari and back at camp we had a shower and settled around the fire for another good night.

 

Video to complete the day.

 

Kind regards

 

deano.

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AfricIan
9 hours ago, deano said:

do any of you know how to flip beer mats? We didn't have any so we used straw coasters

 

The beer mats competition was to see how many you could flip at one time before you sprayed the pile over the whole bar/table :D.  I'm not sure how well that would work with the much thicker straw coaster.

 

Thoroughly enjoying the journey

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Soukous
1 hour ago, AfricIan said:

 

The beer mats competition was to see how many you could flip at one time before you sprayed the pile over the whole bar/table :D.  I'm not sure how well that would work with the much thicker straw coaster.

 

Thoroughly enjoying the journey

 

I remember evenings spent doing that. I was even once quite good at it. Another skill that now lies idle. :(

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