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Kavinga vs. Chitake. Mana Pools in action!


ElenaH

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Kavinga, October 2022

 

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We spent 5 nights in Kavinga Safari camp on 2022 and explored from there Chitake Springs. Kavinga doesn't make any game drives in Chitake Springs! They say, they have their own concession and they don't know if guests want to pay a park fee to visit Chitake. However, if you pay $650 ppn I assume, you can pay additional 20 ;)

 

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We came to Kavinga as self-driver and made tours to Chitake as well as game drives with Kavinga.

So, what is better? Let's find it out.

But to compare to Chitake Springs you need to jump to the other part of my report on "Self Drive" sectionMana Pools as a photographic destination. (Trips 2022 and 2023)

 

So, here are some of Kavinga highlights:

 

 

A few words or better to say pictures about Kavinga . There are 7 tents which are located on the hill. A permanent wind makes the temperature comfortable even in very hot days. 

 

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The tents are good, the food is good and plenty, the swimming pool provides a great refreshing and the hide is a main attraction!

 

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Due to the big and comfortable waterhole a lot of animals coming for a drink. I think, it is never empty. 

 

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Baboons often just watching the others:

 

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Ladies asking each other about life and how the kids are.

 

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I tried to take some photos after sunset just using a light source of waterhole. But my Z9 sucked. I didn't achieve to get the focus in the darkness with Z9. So, all following photos are made with D850. This camera didn't have any problem to get the ellies in the focus.

 

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Elephants are very slow animals so, you can reduce your shutter speed and take photos from bean bag.

 

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Unfortunately, the DoF is too shallow and some of the elephants are not sharp. But anyway, it's worth to try to make such pictures!

Certainly I wanted to see a leopard but they came when we were having a dinner or sleeping. Once we woke up because of noise; wild dogs caught impala but lions took it over. So, I was not quick enough to get my camera and could only take some pictures of lions.

I am on my terrace and lion is looking at me.

 

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We saw this pride also during our game drives.

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Lion Cubs

 

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The concession is not very big or at least I cannot say that we drove far away during our game drives.

You can see a pack of wild dogs if you are lucky. They browse the territory between Chitake and Kavinga. You will see definitely lions and leopards. The leopards got the names to distinguish them from each other.

 

Here is one of the leopardess:

 

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We saw her I think two or three times during the evening drives. She always came to drink to the same place.

 

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The most interesting were of course, the lion cubs! We were actually very lucky to see them and to be able to spend quite a lot of time with them.

 

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With mama. Mama is happy, isn't she?

 

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Sometimes she needs to educate the kids. 

 

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But it looks like the kid is not very impressed. I would be!!  :wub:

 

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There was also a bigger cub and a sub-adult in the family:

 

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The adults love to play, too!

 

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Papa is protecting the food:

 

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There are some birds who are interested in a dead buffalo:

 

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The elephants also love to play:

 

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Atravelynn

Night shots are exceptional--all the eles and the leopard with her reflection!  Kavinga and Chitake, both strong contenders.  YOU are the winner.

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All excellent photos, love the night photos and the lion cubs.

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14 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Night shots are exceptional--all the eles and the leopard with her reflection!  Kavinga and Chitake, both strong contenders.  YOU are the winner.

Thank you, @Atravelynn!

 

8 hours ago, Julian said:

All excellent photos, love the night photos and the lion cubs.

 THank you, @Julian!

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Conclusion

 

as @Atravelynnalready said Kavinga and Chitake, both strong contenders!

In Chitake you will be very close to nature. I remember one night new guests were coming to campsite number 2 which is considered as the best one! It is difficult to book this campsite but the guests obviously booked it with manapools.com. On the website you can see that they book very good sites. And this night there was so much noise: lions were roaring, elephants screaming, hyenas laughing and all they were incredibly loud so that my Zimbabwean friends said: "We wonder what these new guests will think about it? They have got to a hell."  

In Chitake you can witness a kill or perhaps even more than one. 

On the turn to Chitake Spring not far away from the main road is a baobab. Wild dogs are used to rest there.

There are some mobile tour operators like for example, Nature Ways, that have Chitake Springs in their Safari offers.

 

In Kavinga you can spent your time in the hide and you will definitely see a leopard and lions. If you are lucky you will see wild dogs and some kills as well. Unfortunately, Kavinga doesn't provide game drives in Chitake.

 

There are also two other camps near Chitake Springs: Mharariver camp and Kamakara (Nyamawani) camp. We visited both of them and I described the camps here: Mhara and Kamakara

I liked Kamakara becasue they have a big pan with pumped water where buffalo are coming and the action between lions and buffalos can take place. The rooms are also better than in Kavinga IMO and very nice guides. The rates also were substantially better than in Kavinga. 

 

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The End

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Africalover

@ElenaHThank you for the most comprehensive and detailed TR of Mana pools.

I met you and your husband on our way to Chitake last year. Our whole trip to Mana was fantastic - canoing 4 days and walking from our shoreline camp.Surrounded by wild dogs alone and much more. We ended up with 3 fantastic day’s in Chitake. Buffaloes tumbling down each day. Lions attacking buffaloes, mock charged 2 times by a female lion, leopard drinking next to campsite 2 and elephants walking close by our campsite towards the spring.

I will be back.

Thanks for sharing 

Michael.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Africalover said:

Our whole trip to Mana was fantastic - canoing 4 days and walking from our shoreline camp.Surrounded by wild dogs alone and much more. We ended up with 3 fantastic day’s in Chitake. Buffaloes tumbling down each day. Lions attacking buffaloes, mock charged 2 times by a female lion, leopard drinking next to campsite 2 and elephants walking close by our campsite towards the spring.

sounds great!! and where is a trip report? ;)

What time were you at Chitake? Which dates?

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Peter Connan

Another beautiful and informative report Elena, thank you.

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On 3/19/2024 at 9:35 AM, Peter Connan said:

Another beautiful and informative report Elena, thank you.

Thank you, Peter! Very appreciated!

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Your photography @ElenaHis nothing short of spectacular.

Thanks for the detailed and wonderful trip report.

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3 hours ago, Hads said:

our photography @ElenaHis nothing short of spectacular.

Thanks for the detailed and wonderful trip report.

Thank you very much!

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