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2021 Botswana Mobile Safari


nluke19
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Hello, 

 

I'm Nate, a long-time SafariTalk reader but first-time poster. My girlfriend and I recently returned from a Botswana mobile camping holiday organized by an operator that once posted on this forum. I hope this trip report will show businesses there's value in engaging this forum because their posts enable me to learn about destinations and offerings that I otherwise may not find on my own because bigger entities tend to rank higher on internet searches. I've actually booked two safaris with operators that once posted here, although the first one has been delayed for two years running due to COVID-19. 

 

Anyway, here's the Botswana trip itinerary: 

 

1 night, Maun

4 nights, Savuti 

4 nights, Khwai

3 nights, Moremi 

 

We were lucky to see wild dogs, leopards and cubs, lions and cubs, wild cats, civets, porcupine, sable, honey badger, roan, countless birds, and many others.

 

Here are some photos of the trip. 

 

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Lion cubs preparing for their future as kings of the savannah in Savuti.

 

 

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A bull elephant strolling to a watering hole at sunset in Savuti.

 

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Our Khwai campsite had amazing views

 

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Two male leopards after brief fight over a nearby female. I wasn't able to get a photo of the fight itself, but my girlfriend captured a snarl and swipe of the paw on her cell phone. It's cropped heavily and not worth posting. After the fight, one male would move away and the other would court the female a short while later. 

 

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Khwai floodplains at sunset. A bull elephant is wallowing in the water far into the background. 

 

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Our first of three wild dog sightings. This pair were running with purpose. 

 

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Shortly after the sighting, a representative from a wild dog conservation team told us the pair were members of a pack that frequented Khwai. It came under lion attack earlier that morning, they said, and the alpha male, alpha female, and all members were killed except these two. A laceration is visible on the male. 

 

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A bull elephant drinking from the Khwai River. 

 

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A matriarch leads a breeding herd to those same waters just before sunset. 

 

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A photo of that same herd drinking. Just out of frame are two bulls. They walked up to our vehicle, surveyed us, and seemingly tried to block our view, almost like security. 

 

Our second wild dog sighting was the most eventful. My girlfriend and I were getting ready for the morning game drive before sunrise, probably 5:30 a.m., when we heard our camp chef scream "impala" repeatedly. We practically fell out of the tent trying to see what the commotion was all about, and then our guide yells "wild dog" over and over. 

 

We emerge from the tent and see the final two members of a wild dog pack fly through the campsite. The distance from the cooking area to our tent was probably just 20 feet, and they sprinted right between the two into the adjacent floodplains. Those two wild dogs and the others that had already come through were chasing a pregnant impala.

 

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I was lucky to grab a few photos of the final two wild dogs, because they were out of sight in just seconds. 

 

We jumped in the land cruiser and our guide tracked them down across the marsh and in a thicket of trees. They'd taken down the impala and were enjoying their meal. 

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An adult wild dog with the impala hindquarters.

 

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The pups getting their fill. 

 

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A sub-adult pack member eating. 

 

This trip was incredibly memorable. 

 

Edited by nluke19
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You certainly had some great sightings @nluke19and the atmosphere that you've captured in your photos is making me yearn to be back in Africa.

 

Have you considered posting an Intro in the Introductions Section?

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Great photos.  With that itinerary it is not surprising.  Sorry if I missed it, but you mentioned you found the operator on Safaritalk, but I did not see that operator's name.  Who did you use?

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I booked with @Kingfisher Safaris.

Edited by nluke19
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madaboutcheetah

@nluke19- Lovely lovely images.  Thank you for this report!!! I sooooo long to return to Botswana !! 

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Looks like an epic trip with some great sightings... And really great photos. 

Do you have any pictures of you camp setup? I quite curious about this, since I might do a mobile trip in the future. I normally self-drive, but this might change in the future. :) 

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~ @nluke19:

 

Thank you so much for posting this highly engaging mobile safari report.

 

The exceptional standard of your images is inspiring.

 

Looking over each photo is a master class in how to get it right out in the field.

 

         Tom K.

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When exactly did you visit these places?

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@nluke19

 

Incredible atmospheric and colorful photos Nate ; you managed even to let us see the wild dogs in a different way than usual ! Looking forward to see more :)

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Wonderful sightings and photos Nate, thank you very much for sharing your trip with us.

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@ice

 

I went from October 4 to 17, 2021.

 

@JayRon

 

I didn't take any photos of the tents, but @Kingfisher Safarishas a handful of videos on its YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8otuXm5NFiXXFzoPn8GPuQ/videos

 

Everyone has differing levels of acceptable accommodation, but for me it was great. The tents are larger than they may appear. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by nluke19
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20 hours ago, nluke19 said:

I booked with @Kingfisher Safaris.

Thanks much!

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What gorgeous photography, Nate -- I especially love the picture of the wild dogs splashing into the water. And what a thrilling story about the dogs running through your camp! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, and welcome to SafariTalk.

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Wonderful photo's thanks @nluke19

The tents look fine by me - what camera and lens do you use?

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@Hads 

 

I've a Nikon Z6 with a Nikon 500mm PF and Nikon D850 with a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR (the second generation). I also have an older Tamron 17-35 f/2.8-4 wide angle lens, which was used for many of the landscape shots. 

 

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Wow thanks so much for sharing. Looks like a thrilling trip! I am planning for a mobile safari in Botswana in March 2022 with Lekata--I hope I have great luck like you did although it will be a different season!

Safaritalk is so great except that my list of places to visit is getting longer and longer (unlike my savings account, which is trending in the opposite direction!)

 

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@nluke19, excellent photos! and even better sightings!  Thank you very much for sharing and welcome to ST! Did you make a PCR-test before departure? I am asking because I don't see it in itinerary. I was flying back from Bots on 12 of Oct and they ckecked the PCR. They even copied it twice for us for the case we need it in Addis. I wonder if something changed. 

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@ElenaH

 

Yes, I needed a negative PCR test to enter Botswana and return to the USA. I got the first one the day before the flight in the USA and the second one in Maun, also the day before the flight. 

 

We drove into Maun from Moremi, took the test, and then returned to Moremi for the rest of the evening. The charge was $85 USD in cash. My understanding is it's slightly cheaper to pay in Pula. The next day, we picked up the results and went to the airport. 

 

At first, I thought it might've been wiser to overnight in Maun. Had I done so, I'd have missed the third wild dog sighting. We came cross a pack at golden hour later that evening. 

 

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Edited by nluke19
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  • 4 weeks later...

How awesome to wake up with wild dogs hunting through your camp! Lovely photos, not only because of the sightings, light and colours look great.

 

Sad story though about the wild dog packed being largely destroyed by the lions. It's part of nature ofcourse, but when it concerns a threatened specie like the wild dogs, I feel more sad about it then for abundant game (sorry impala, nothing personal).

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