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Wild Dogger

So, another trip report of Botswana.

As I always wanted to go to Bushman Plains, as I liked the idea of a camp being operated by locals.
My travel agent tried to talk me out of that camp, but I insisted to go there (I should have listened).
So it was 3 nights there.

A mobile was always on my list, but my wife absolutely did not want to do that.
All by my own now, I started to research.
Being inspired by a trip report here about Letaka Mobile Safaris I looked into their website and found, that they were offering a 9 night Safari for photographers just at the for me perfect time of the year.
The price was reasonable, so I decided to book it.
The itinerary was:
3 nights Moremi Game Reserve
3 nights Khwai communal area
3 nights Savuti
 

Last but not least, I wanted to go back to Pangolin Photo Safaris.
I enjoyed it very much in 2018 and so I went again for 3 nights.

I knew, that Bate, formerly a guide at Kwando, was working for Letaka.
I contacted him and he told me, that he would be guiding me on that mobile safari. Good news!
 

10 days before I left, my camera broke down.
It did not work anymore at all.
I´ve send it in to Canon, but I was not sure if I would get it back in time.
I have a spare camera, but I bought the R5 just last year and wanted to use that one.
My camera dealer was only able to give me a R6, so I researched and found a company to rent me a R5 for a very reasonable price. I only paid about 300 € for the whole16 day trip.
(why buy an expensive camera at all??)

 

But let´s start with Bushmans Plains (review here).


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After arrival I was picked up by my guide and tracker (unfortunately I forgot their names) at the Vumbura airstrip, which they use now.
As it was already late, we decided just to take an easy ride to the camp.
On our drive we saw some lions sleeping (I don´t take anymore pictures of sleeping lions), a solitary Hyena and a Pied Kingfisher in beautiful light.


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In camp I was told, that I was the only guest for 2 nights and that then a group of 9 would arrive.
K, the young managing lady, was very nice. It was the first camp she was managing and I think she had problems to be respected by the staff.

Dinner was not really good, see my review.

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Dolly enjoys the wine.

 

Day 2
usual routine get up early and see what we can see.
I told K that there was almost no water coming out of the pipes in my bathroom.
She wanted to take care of it, but there was no way during my stay, that it was fixed.

 

I hoped for Wild Dogs and Sable, as the area is known for these species.

Little did I know, that the area was a hotspot for Warthogs.

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But, I can´t complain, general game was very good, especially in the open areas there were plenty of Zebra, Tsessebees and, yes, Warthogs.

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Breakfast break.
Dolly finds Baboon poo and she wants to experience the smell.

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At the end, we found a male Leopard resting on a termite mount.

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When we came back, it was burning right in front of the camp.
The fire was not very high because of the dry gras, but there was always the chance to cross the road to the camp site.
The staff was working hard to control it. They did well.


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I did not really feel unsafe, although in the afternoon I decided to take my valuables with me.

 

At lunch it was Fish Fingers time.
I really like Fish Fingers.

 

In the afternoon we found the Wild Dogs.
It was an amazing experience. Impossible to capture with the camera.
The dogs were running wild and they were chasing, guess what, yeah, Warthogs.
They cornered a warthog in a hole and tried to dig it out. After a while they realized:
no way to get the pig out.
They just wanted to leave as the stupid pig decided to leave the hole.
The carnivores chased the pig, who quickly jumped into the next hole.
You might not want to believe it, but that procedure was repeated 2 times.
In the end the Warthog was clever enough to stay safe.
It was just amazing!

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Day 3:
in the morning there still was the smell of fire.
We saw a lot of plains game, no predators.
We found the Sable, but they  were quite skittish.

 

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Southern Carmine Bee-Eater

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Lots of Tsessebees with calves.
 

The guide was more or less refusing to use any roads. He was always looking for a short cut.
My back was aching because of all that offroading.
I did not really feel well, as at home I was already suffering from some kind of stomach problems and it was getting worse.
I was really afraid, if it stayed like this, the trip would not be fun.

 

In the afternoon I was still alone in the vehicle, the other guests should arrive late.
I was still eager to get a good sight of Sable.
But instead we found another pack of Wild Dogs.
All dogs were really pale, besides one youngster (maybe a different mailman).
The other guests were coming and enjoyed the sighting with us.

 

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This male was very interested in us. It seemed to us, that they were not that used to vehicles.

We left the scene to witness a nice interaction between a Saddlebilled Stork and Wattled Cranes.

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We finished the day following some Giraffes.

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At dinner I get to know the other guests. It is a group of 8 Britains and one US lady.
They are taking a one night break from their mobile here at Bushman Plains.
(I guess, it´s not much of  a difference.)
This is a fun group.

The soup at dinner time is Sweetcorn Soup. I had it already on the first evening.
Main course is Fish and Chicken. The fish is: FISH FINGERS!
Again, I like Fish Fingers, but not every 2 days.

 

 

Last morning at Bushman Plains.


Somehow this did not go into the direction, I had expected.
I still do not feel well.
The camp is really the worse I´ve ever stayed in.
The other group is going on a nature walk, so I´m still alone in the vehicle.

The weather is not good, it starts to rain slightly.

Plains game is still abundant.

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And: we find a relaxed herd of Sable.
A good end of the first part of this trip.

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Last sighting is another young Leopard, but lying under a bush, not photogenic.

Back in camp K tells me, that my flight plans have changed.
The Moremi airstrip seems to be flooded and only helicopters can land. So I will be picked up by Heli right in front of camp.
I am happy.
The others now call me 007, because of my helicopter.
Surprisingly for lunch we get FISH FINGERS.
Although I do not have any idea what to expect from the mobile, I am more than happy to leave this camp and jump in "my helicopter".
It is a shame. This area has so much potential and the idea of this camp is great. But it is not well run.

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Edited by Wild Dogger
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Oh that is SO disappointing to hear about Bushman Plains! That is one of the camps developed by The Wild Source/Bill Given and I know he has worked hard with them and includes them on all his Botswana itineraries. I see two more scathing reviews on Trip Advisor from December. I wonder if something happened to change the management :( Earlier reviews are very different!

 

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Wild Dogger
34 minutes ago, janzin said:

Oh that is SO disappointing to hear about Bushman Plains! That is one of the camps developed by The Wild Source/Bill Given and I know he has worked hard with them and includes them on all his Botswana itineraries. I see two more scathing reviews on Trip Advisor from December. I wonder if something happened to change the management :( Earlier reviews are very different!

 

As I´ve heard there were 2 brothers running this camp with Bill Given and one of the 2 was not happy anymore and left the company. Maybe that´s the reason.

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Atravelynn

I am still surprised when the stuffed bear shows up.  And I love the accessories.  Sorry you were not feeling well, still you saw lots. Great photos of the wildlife and skies. The blond mailman wild dog is fascinating and I'd like to know what it looks like as it grows up.  Also sorry the Bushman Plains was not up to par.  Such a promising concept.

 

Looking forward to the adventures of 007, the stuffed bear and the helicopter as needed.

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I was intrigued by the title of your TR, now I understand why.

 

Sorry to hear that you weren't well and that the camp experience was disappointing. The general game viewing looks quite good and I enjoyed your story of the wild dogs hunting the warthog. Great photos, I particularly liked the shots of the giraffe and the sable group.

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Zubbie15

Sorry you had such a tough start to your trip, you still had some nice sightings. It's a shame about BP, when we were in Kenya in November we had a couple of people tell us that was their favorite camp in all of Africa when they visited. 

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Wild Dogger
13 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

I am still surprised when the stuffed bear shows up.  And I love the accessories.  Sorry you were not feeling well, still you saw lots. Great photos of the wildlife and skies. The blond mailman wild dog is fascinating and I'd like to know what it looks like as it grows up.  Also sorry the Bushman Plains was not up to par.  Such a promising concept.

 

Looking forward to the adventures of 007, the stuffed bear and the helicopter as needed.

 

This blond Wild Dog is fully grown and the bear is a sheep.

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Some terrific wild dog photos. 

Shame about Bushman Plains, there were such high hopes for it and I know Pangolin had planned to include it in their itineraries as well.

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Kitsafari

dolly has a very cute hat and i think she looks very smart in it. 

 

I didn't realise you can go off road in that area. couldn't you have insisted that the guide/driver go slow over bumps or take less short cuts if possible? i think it's a sign that the camp is in a very bad shape when all they can serve is fish fingers when you pay so much (okay mb this was cheaper than other camps, but still it's a fair sum of money) for a safari? the new manager should have explained to you the reasons but as you said, she's new. and probably clueless.

 

but what sightings! tsetsebees, those wild dogs are almost completely blond and lost their painted looks. and stunning sables. 

 

Look forward to part 2 but will probably read in a fortnight's time as i'm off tonight to Kenya!

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Wild Dogger
25 minutes ago, Kitsafari said:

dolly has a very cute hat and i think she looks very smart in it. 

 

I didn't realise you can go off road in that area. couldn't you have insisted that the guide/driver go slow over bumps or take less short cuts if possible? i think it's a sign that the camp is in a very bad shape when all they can serve is fish fingers when you pay so much (okay mb this was cheaper than other camps, but still it's a fair sum of money) for a safari? the new manager should have explained to you the reasons but as you said, she's new. and probably clueless.

 

but what sightings! tsetsebees, those wild dogs are almost completely blond and lost their painted looks. and stunning sables. 

 

Look forward to part 2 but will probably read in a fortnight's time as i'm off tonight to Kenya!


I should have complained about all this short cutting and also the food.
I am not the type of guy to complain anyway. I keep it to myself and draw the consequences for me.
And as English is not my mother´s tongue (and not their´s), I was afraid, they could misunderstand me and not go off road at all.

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Atravelynn
52 minutes ago, Wild Dogger said:


I should have complained about all this short cutting and also the food.
I am not the type of guy to complain anyway. All the more reason to express your dissatisfaction when something is amiss.  It's helpful to alert others about what they may expect.   I keep it to myself and draw the consequences for me.
And as English is not my mother´s tongue (and not their´s), I was afraid, they could misunderstand me and not go off road at all.  I can see your dilemma there.

I was reminded by @Kitsafari that the little bear is Dolly and then by your comment that it is really a sheep.  Apologies to Dolly.  Whatever mammal she may be, her style is stunning.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Wild Dogger

After a short Helicopter ride, we land on the Moremi airstrip.
The airstrip is dry, there was really no need to take a heli, but I enjoyed it.
Bate is waiting for me.
There will be one more guest, Gary, and the photo guide, Daniel Crous, who will fly in from Maun.
On the end of the airstrip a pride of lions pass the runway.
In the end, these will be the only lions I see on this trip who move.
While we are waiting, we check out where the lions are going.

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About 20 minutes later the next Helicopter arrives with Gary and Daniel on board.
I am a bit shocked of how many photo gear Gary is carrying (in the end he will almost only use one lens and one body).
Gary and Daniel know each other, it´s already their 4th trip together.
They are joking and talk about their previous trips and I feel a bit as an outsider.
No worries, this will change more or less.

Daniel introduces himself and tells a bit of what to expect and so on.
The quintessence is, that we do want to take quality pictures, no snaps.
Sounds good to me.
We quickly go to the lions, but they are now done with the day as it seems.
We drive slowly to camp.

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I really did not know, what to expect.
The campsite is nice and shady.


Bate introduces the 3 staff guys and shows me my tent.
At first, honestly, I really did not like anything at all. No, I hated it.
“Now you got 59 and start with these stupid ideas.“
I am afraid this would be the worse trip of my life.
It did not click between me and Daniel in the beginning and I don´t know, what I´ve thought a mobile camp would be like.
I could hear my wife whispering: “I told you, Thomas, this is nothing for us.“
And how she would have hated it.

 

We go out on the game drive.
Daniel asks, if I am used to photograph with the liveview monitor because this is a very good way to get a nice low angle.
I´ve never used liveview and in the beginning I refuse to do so. I can be stubborn and advice-resistant at times.
We see NOTHING and take ZERO pictures.
Oh, this is a strange photographic safari, I think.

 

Back in Camp the guys are waiting for us.
The evening is nice and honestly, the food on the mobile was one of the best I´ve ever had on Safari.
What the chef was preparing just on the open fire was amazing.

 

After dinner and a few glasses of wine it is time to sleep.
Dolly is waiting in the tent for me. She looks a bit scared.

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Next morning, I did not sleep well at all.
This is not going to go out well, I think.


After some really hot coffee and rusks we are out and about.
We come along a troup of Baboons in the forest.
They are playing. We don´t stop.

I am confused.
Okay, the light is not good, all shadow, and the pictures might not be perfect. But there were the small ones playing. Nice interaction.


At least I take a picture of a
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Woodland Kingfisher and a

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Yellow-billed Stork with a nice reflection in the water.
 

There were some male lions on a carcass in the woodlands but they are just sleeping.
We don´t take pictures.
We see the obvious Red Lechwe and take some mediocre shots.

 

The highlight of the morning drive is the coffeebreak, sounds strange, but we see an animal, which is a lifer for me: a Sitatunga!
Unfortunately it is really far away and if Bate had not pointed it out and said, that it was a Sitatunga, I would have thought it´s a pretty dark Lechwe.

 

Back in camp, I start thinking about, what the plan of this Safari might be. I come to the conclusion, that I will have to do my thing and ask to stop and take my pictures, don´t caring about the others.

I still don´t feel comfortable with the mobile but I more and more get used to it. 
At least the food is still great!

 

As my back is still aching, I decide to take a pill.
It works. From that pill on, my backpain was gone for the whole trip.
My stomach is also good, maybe I am afraid of the bushtoilet 😉

 

After a nice shower (amazing how long 25 litres of water last) and some cake and coffee we go out on the afternoon drive.

 

Daniel teaches us about the trees, which ends up to be something like the red thread of the trip.
Whenever nothing happens, there is this „whatisthistree“ game.
Gary makes his jokes about the names of some birds and I still feel a bit as the 5th wheel on the waggon.

 

We drive to Paradise Pools, one of the most beautiful places, I´ve ever seen.
I take some pictures and wonder, that none of the others take some.
My confusion gets even bigger.

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Close by comes an Elephant.
He comes very close and now everybody is shooting.

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And now the Safari gets in swing.

 

Leopard!
A young male Leopard strolls through the forests.


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I don´t here the others photograph.
Confusion.
Then I realize, that they shoot with the electronic shutter, which is silent.


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As this is Nationalpark, there are now some vehicles around.
There are a few Desert&Delta Lodges in the area.
They have a total different approach to the scene.
While Bate and Dan want to anticipate what the cat is going to do, and try to position us perfect, which works more often than not, those cars just drive right into the eye of the predator.
That´s the moment, when this kind of photographic Safari makes sense.
Although it might not be everybodys piece of meat. I do understand, that non-photographers want to get very close to watch the animal and not everybody is carrying long lenses and has the same goal with the pictures.

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Back in camp for some GT and good food.
This was a great end of the day.
I more and more get used to the idea of mobile Safari and Gary is a very nice, funny guy.

The Leopard Safari started that afternoon!

 

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That photo of Paradise Pools is gorgeous! I don't understand either why no one else was shooting it! Beautiful light, gorgeous sky!

 

Glad the safari seems to be improving for you :) A leopard always makes the day.

 

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You've managed to take some really beautiful photos despite being under the weather! That's a very handsome young leopard. And I love the wild dog shots. 

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Awesome photography throughout!  Sorry to jump in now and interrupt on Bushman Plains after you have moved past that but it is probably useful to this community if I add some current detail on the camp. I'm also sorry that you did not get the Bushman Plains experience that most have.

 

As a safari operator I don’t normally post on boards but I was informed to stop by and comment since there is confusion here with my name and company being mentioned so I want to leave a few clarifications. The Wild Source was a significant investor in the creation and long-time support of Bushman Plains, a camp that for years earned very high ratings for a special experience. Bushman Plains was a project that we believe was essential to empower local ownership which unfortunately barely exists in Botswana camps. 

 

There are delicate legal matters at hand which limit what can be shared regarding Bushman Plains. One original owner has asserted full control of the camp. There is a legal case going on contesting the ownership position and the courts move very slowly. There was also a major safari operator that had more than 50% of peak season beds reserved for 2020 and postponed to peak season 2021 but then in January 2021 they canceled all at a time when getting new business was a trickle making recovery from Covid brutal and the anticipated outstanding business level plummeted to a very challenging level from that pull out.  The Wild Source did have many of our own postponed and some newly booked travelers at Bushman Plains throughout 2022 that had very good experiences.  However, due to the unsettled legal situation, many months ago we chose not to make any new 2023 bookings at Bushman Plains.  We have obligations for travelers of The Wild Source and have been making all arrangements necessary to ensure that they have wonderful Botswana safaris.

 

I’m hopeful issues will resolve and we would love to support the restoration of Bushman Plains to its previous unique and outstanding experience level if that opportunity presented itself. We continue to believe it is vitally important to have local Batswana involved in camp ownership and that there is a big base of travelers that want authentic safari opportunities at a good value price point in Botswana’s prime game viewing areas – that is an endangered species in Botswana. We continue to look for other opportunities to do a project to support the community of people in the NG12 region, they desperately need to receive more benefit from tourism. 

 

I hope that adds some clarity and I will not further interrupt this excellent safari report. Thanks - Bill

 

 

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Thank you @BillGfor clarifying the situation. It really is a shame and I hope that the camp will eventually become as you envisioned.

 

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michael-ibk

Excellent photos as always Thomas. Gorgeous blonde Wild Dogs. And love the photo of Paradise Pools, it is such a stunning place indeed. I like Fish Fingers too, but certainly not the food I´d want on safari every day. I´m glad you started to get used (and like) the mobile safari camp set-up. I was very happy with Letaka Safaris, and you are right, the food they prepared was incredibly good.

 

Looking forward to more. :)

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Wild Dogger

Day 2 of the Mobile Safari:

I more and more get used to the mobile.
I am still not completely happy, but there is development.

 

At the beginning of the trip, Daniel pointed out how important a low angle is.
Nothing new for me. But I always took the circumstances, sitting high in the vehicle, as a given fact. But he did not.
He said, that we would leave the vehicle as often as possible.
And we often left it.
We come to these Zebras. After all, that I experienced on that trip, I did not think, we would stop for them.
But Daniel saw something, that I did not see. And he was right.
He wanted us to get out of the car for a low angle.
At first I refused, you know I can be stubborn. The Zebras were already on a higher level than the car, so I did not see the sense in leaving.
I took some pictures out of the vehicle. But then I thought, okay, why not.
The difference was immense!
I was totally convinced.
From that moment, the chemistry between us was good.


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Again we did not take a lot of pictures.

We came across another young Leopard and unfortunately I killed the sighting.
I raised my big lense so quickly that the cat was scared and chased away,
We were searching for it for more than 30 minutes but without result.
I felt bad and guilty!

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Nice homemade cake in the afternoon.

 

The „Desert and Delta“ guys say, that they had seen a Leopard feeding on a Giraffe carcass but we don´t see it.
We will go back the next morning.
At the end we take some pictures of Vervet Monkeys.

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In the last light we see the glowing ears of a Scrub Hare.
I take a security shot before I leave the car for low angle shot and in the same moment the hare hops away.

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In Camp again. Gin Tonic on the fire before dinner.
I like it!

 

Day 3: moving day:

 

During breakfast the guys break down the camp.
Amazing how fast they are working as a team. Everybody knows what to do. Thumbs up!

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We go back to the place, where the Leopard had been seen in the evening:

And there she is.

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We find her at 6:30 and leave her at 8:50.
So we did not see many animals that morning B):D

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While adult Leopards climb down the tree head first, the cubs climb down backwards.
Close to the ground, they turn around and jump.

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We follow her through the forest always anticipating what she might do next.

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She walks, rests awhile and walks again.
Good time!

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Scratching the tree, sharpening the claws.

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and up on a tree again.

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Trying to be an adult.

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Checking the world.

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Shortly before we have to leave her she finds a Python.

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Oh my, what a morning. I am totally pleased.
This was just great.

 

It is a long way to Khwai and it is getting hot.

As the bridge we wanted to cross was closed for „renovation“ we have to take a detour.

I liked to travel on the road instead of flying.
Small villages. There is so much that I´ve missed all these years.
I love this mobile safari!

 

 


 

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awesome leopard shots! I especially love the flying leap off the tree, great catch! And the high-key B&W shots too.

 

Glad the safari has improved immensely :)

 

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Beautiful shots of everything - especially the leopards and zebras. 

 

I hope I am laughing at the right places but this report is very funny. Poor old Thomas - a fish out of water. I was afraid for you and Dolly for a while, but glad you are really getting into it now.

 

The sightings are fabulous so far and well worth so many fish fingers - although I know back and stomach pains take the fun out of everything.

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Fabulous leopard photos!  Both color and black and white....thank you.

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Atravelynn
On 1/5/2023 at 2:05 PM, Wild Dogger said:

we do want to take quality pictures, no snaps.

Then Mission Accomplished!!  You made friends with your safarimates AND the bush toilet.  Got some gorgeous low angle shots despite your stubbornness, from leopard to zebra plus a wrap-around python.  Love the light through the scrub hare ear.  It was great to read, "I love this mobile safari!"

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Atravelynn
On 1/5/2023 at 5:28 PM, BillG said:

 

I hope that adds some clarity and I will not further interrupt this excellent safari report. Thanks - Bill

 

 

Hi BillG.  Thanks for your explanation and input.  I know from experience with The Wild Source that you do your best to make things right when problems arise.  Especially with everything that happened the last couple of years, there are many challenges out there.

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Wild Dogger

On our arrival in Camp everything is set up.
After delicious lunch, quick shower and then a nap.
It is really, really hot.
To sleep in the tent is impossible, although I have to admit that it was less hot inside the tent, than I expected. So I have a rest on my towel on the „verandah“.
After the nap another shower(25 l is enough for 2 showers surprisingly). The water is still warm enough after almost 3hrs.
 

Coffee, cake and of we go for the afternoon drive.
Did I mention, that it was hot?
The camp is in the Khwai community area (I hope I am right).
It´s always a drive of about 15 minutes to get to the core wildlife area.
 

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Again we don´t take many pictures.
We try our luck with a Bateleur Eagle taking off from the ground but he flies in the wrong direction.
I take a picture of him on the tree.

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There´s again not too much to see, so we play the „Whatsthistree“ game.
Most of the time I am the loser, but I don´t care. We have fun.

Again, we hear that there are Leopards around. A female with a subadult and a male is also around.
It seems, that the Leopardess is ready to mate again.
We don´t find them, but tomorrow is another day.

 

There´s a hippo in the waterhole in beautiful light and we get out of the vehicle to get some low angle shots.
Unfortunately the hippo does nothing special, no handstand, nothing, just enjoying the bath.
The Canon mirror-less R3, R5 and R6 have eye detector to focus, which works most of the time very good.
But we (Gary with R3, me and Danny shooting R5) found out that it is also a hippo ear detector.
All shots are earsharp.
The eye detector also does not work well with Leopards by the way.
It seems it gets confused by the rosetted spots. Interestingly again, it works well with Cheetah, different spots.

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As the hippo decides to do nothing, we leave it were it is and decide to come back tomorrow in the evening.
Little did we know.

 

Back in camp, Gin Tonic on the fire, excellent food and fun.
The next morning we are supposed to do a Mokoro ride on the Khwai looking out for frogs, Kingfishers and reed.

 

After another too short night we go out.
Before heading on the Mokoro we do have some time and cruise around.

 

I try to improve my skill shooting low using the live-view screen.
This must have looked quite funny at times.
Having the camera low on the floor of the vehicle and looking into the screen instead of the animal.

I struggle at times, especially in keeping the horizon straight.
Also following movement is a bit tricky as there is not much space on the floor.

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Spur-winged Goose

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Red Lechwe enjoying the sun

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Red Lechwe Fawn suckling

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Hippo on a stroll

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Saddle-billed Stork

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beautiful Red Lechwe ram posing nicely

 

 

We come to a place where there is lots of rumour with birds calling and attacking a tree.
Coming closer we see that it is not the tree they are attacking.

It´s a Black Mamba.

 

We climb out of the vehicle to get closer to the scene.

We are so brave :P:D

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After that excitement we arrive at the Mokoro “harbour”.

The polers give us some instructions and of we go.
I am alone in the canoe with “my” poler while Danny and Gary share a boat.

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BUT I HAVE DOLLY!

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The ride is nice, we do see some waterbirds and water lilies all over.

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Malachite Kingfisher

Close to where we want to have our breakfast break the poler spots an Angolan Painted Reed Frog.
Mission completed!
I don´t know, how he was able to this tiny animal.

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It was difficult to get into the right position for a nice shot as we all did not carry Macro lenses.
But I think, we managed well.

After breakfast we pole back.

 

The way back to camp is eventless, so we play “Whatsthistree”.
Needless to say, that I struggle again and again.

 

Late afternoon we go out to explore more of this area.

 

We did not do good in lions at all on this trip so far.
And we don´t here.

 

An African Fish Eagle high on a tree, in the game, I would have said it is Leadwood, because of the many small branches (and because I always said it), but please don´t trust me.

I take “close ups” and wide angle shots of the scenery.

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Red-billed Hornbill in b&w

 

We come across the hippo. Still no handstand, we want to come back later in better light, we thought.

 

Then we find the Leopardess.
Leopards were good to me so far on that trip. This was the 6th sighting of that elusive species and we are only halfway through.
We watch her strolling through the area.

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Then we receive a radio call:
the cub has caught an Impala fowl!
Quickly we head in the direction. I thought okay, the cat will already be feeding on the fowl.
As we arrive, the predator is busy trying to kill it.
The youngster struggles again and again (just like me in the tree game).
She didn't quite know how to kill the poor thing.

Hunting was one thing, killing was another.

How did mom do that again???
You could see, that she knew, she had to do something with the neck, but what exactly.
The Impala mom was calling in the distance.
At times the little cat was silently calling her mom for help, I guess.

 

Let the pictures speak. Most of them are taken low angle using live view.

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In the end the young Leopardess drags the Impala up on a tree trunk, the poor fowl still alive.

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Also on the scene was Hannes Lochner, the renowned South African Wildlife Photographer, with his wife Noa.
Danny knew him well. Lochner seems to be something like his hero.
I was especially fascinated by his vehicle. There were flash lights all over the chassis.
Hannes is an extremely focussed man, you could see his brain working, always analyzing the scene, how to get the best of it. Something that at times I also saw Danny do.

Next 2 days we arranged to call each other, if either of us would see something special.
So we were the spotters of Hannes Lochner.

Needless to say, we didn´t make it to the hippo.
I guess, it would not have done a handstand anyway.

 

And: always when we came across an Impala fawn here, Danny said: "It´s a bad idea, to be an Impala here."

 

Back in camp, Gin Tonic on the fire, excellent food and fun.
 

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Towlersonsafari

I ma really enjoying your report @Wild Dogger- weoften think baout a mobile safari and then think again1- will we like the other guests- more importantly will they like us? what about the loos? -your photos' are wonderful-the Zebra's the leopard in the tree- and the impala foal- did the leopard manage to kill it?

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