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Christmas and New Year in Kwando


Guest sniktawk

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Guest sniktawk

Firstly another blatant plug for Khama Rhino Sanctuary, this time we stayed overnight there on our way up to and down from Maun. It is very conveniently placed being roughly 6 hours from Maun on reasonable tar roads. The accommodation is pretty basic but certainly good enough for us, there are 4 bedded and 2 bedded chalets all with Brais, Toilets and Showers, there is also electric in the rooms. There are also campsites and A-frame tents. Cost for 1 night including entrance to the park was roughly Pula 500 (around $66!)

 

We stayed overnight at Sedia Hotel in Maun (an apt name) but once again only Pula 500 including breakfast, it is around 10 minutes from the airport.

 

An early morning flight on Christmas Eve saw us arriving at the NEW Lebala airstrip at around 09.00; there we were met by Hector and Simon who were to be with us for our 5 night stay. It was evident from the start that it was very wet and very green; our first game drive was very quiet, with little plains game and few birds.

There is water everywhere!

In the afternoon we were joined by Wendy Langley and ventured out on our first Christmas Eve game drive. Unbelievably it proved to be a first for another reason, as neither Wendy nor I took any photos!

 

Christmas Day turned out a little better with some plains game and a Leopard hiding in very thick undergrowth tucking into a Warthog, the highlight of the evening drive was breaking down at the Leopard sighting, the Leopard had moved from one bush to another but only to go and fetch his warthog for diner. At least we kept our record of seeing at least one Leopard on each of our visits (seven) to Lebala.

 

With the exception of the tracking of a Black Manned Lion of which we had fleeting glimpses the next three days were quite quiet, other than a few good bird sightings and a rather nice sighting of sub-adult jackals.

 

On the accommodation front the new tents are a lot posher than before and give the impression of being more spacious in spite of being on the same deck. Being surrounded by shade netting is nicer but I imagine it will be a little cold in the winter months.

 

The other major change is the “campfire” area which is no longer thatched; this is a great improvement as you get a better view.

 

On to Lagoon, and hopefully better things, here we were in the good hands of Charles and James. On the way we found some Hyenas eating a dead hippo in the water.

 

Unsurprisingly they found Wild Dog on our first drive and we followed them hunting, unluckily it was a Steenbok which was no more than a snack for the “puppies”. Of the following 7 game drives 6 featured Wild Dogs hunting and killing on the other one we had to put up with the new three Male Cheetah coalition. A magical 4 days that more than made up for the quiet times at Lebala.

 

My images can be found at the following links

 

Lagoon Cheetahs

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/p705407319

 

Lagoon Wild Dog

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/p987379877

 

Kwando Birds

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/p734728170

 

Kwando Others

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/p908921079

 

Khama Rhino Sanctuary

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/p891049131

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madaboutcheetah

Sounds like a great Christmas, Ken. That new male Lion - he skittish? Any pics?

 

From your pics, the pups certainly have grown up in the past 4 months and are looking healthy. Always good news!!!

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madaboutcheetah

That's good news - yes, hope he stays. Remember Milky Eye was extremely skittish and irate when he made his first few appearances in front of vehicles. It probably took a bit over a year for him to finally relax.

 

Which in effect means no return of the Selinda pride. Atleast, as of now. Yup, you are correct about the water levels - I was amazed with the levels at the height of the dry season. I can only imagine what it is now! Also, imagine the Selinda? It is probably a flood zone.

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twaffle

Really enjoyed your photos Sniktawk, thanks. How difficult would it be to caption the birds with species, I would love to know what they all were.

I thought you captured the playful nature of the wild dogs beautifully, often the photos we see posted just have them eating or resting (which I suppose is natural), so it was nice to see them playing in the water.

One last question about the rhino sanctuary … how large is it? Do you drive around it much like a game reserve or is it much smaller than that. You can't really tell from the photos.

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madaboutcheetah

Ken,

 

By Lebala being slow - do you just mean the Southern drive to Twin pools? What about just a bit north - by the big baobab tree/nari pan/ etc etc., that area was really pumping during the dry months. Atleast you had Simon tracking for you - he's one of the better ones and he'll find anything should he sniff out any tracks. I can only assume there wasn't much to be tracking.......

 

As I mentioned to you after my trip, the Elephant viewing was poor in comparison due to the high water levels.

 

PS: Ken, I've heard reports of a big male crossing back and forth Lagoon to Caprivi Strip in Namibia and that he was pretty edgy and lot of times, they would just see his tracks. Who knows - maybe, it is him?

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One last question about the rhino sanctuary … how large is it? Do you drive around it much like a game reserve or is it much smaller than that. You can't really tell from the photos.
A view from above...

 

gallery_3403_93_99507.jpg

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Atravelynn

Outstanding job on the cheetah. I could really see their claws. The dogs seemed to enjoy the water immensely. You provided my first sighting of Fulvous ducks and of hyenas on a dead hippo. Looks like it was a great trip. Your two different experences at nearby camps has a lesson for me: it's worth visiting them both, even though some of their viewing territories overlap. Thanks for the comments and beautiful pics.

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twaffle
I need my neighbour to identify some of the birds but will update what I can today.

 

 

Thanks for that. Mainly due to your glowing reports I bought a copy of Arthur Morris' Art of Bird Photography for my husband for Christmas. He is now out in our dam, in his wetsuit with his floating camera device seeking out water birds. Needless to say, I think I have the better (funnier) photos!! :rolleyes:

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Atravelynn
I bought a copy of Arthur Morris' Art of Bird Photography for my husband for Christmas. He is now out in our dam, in his wetsuit with his floating camera device seeking out water birds. Needless to say, I think I have the better (funnier) photos!! :P

 

Post 'em! We could all use a laugh.

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  • 1 month later...
madaboutcheetah

Ken,

 

I had the urge to see the pics of the new cheetah coalition again, and you have a good name for them "The boys from Lagoon" ..........

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  • 2 months later...
madaboutcheetah

Ken,

 

I remembered this thread - having spoken to Spencer last month about the animals at lagoon/lebala - I thought I would make an update here... hope you don't mind the addition in this thread -

 

Apparently, that "Black Maned" male Lion is pretty relaxed these days - and from the description (both yours and Spencer's) he's probably the closest to a "Typical specimen" in quite a while......... I don't think Milky Eye will fit the description, anyways. They have the other 2 Male Lions too (successors to Milky Eye - but, they are useless too IMO)

 

The 3 cheetah boys are apparently well relaxed and photogenic thesedays. Alwyn had seen them while at Lagoon a couple of days prior to coming down to Nxai Pan camp. Yet- IMHO the best specimen coalition thesedays are the boys at Tsum Tsum (Kwara).

 

I'm not sure I can give you a fair assessment of the dog packs right now. The Southern pack have had many sub-packs in recent times, that I possibly can't keep track of them any more. I think the Lagoon dogs are 12 at the moment.

 

Hari

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Guest sniktawk

Hari,

 

Thanks for that, the best news is the possibility of a real Lion in the area at last.

We will be back there at the beginning of July, we are also going to Little Kwara and hope to see half of what you saw.

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madaboutcheetah

and I'm sure you'll spend a lot of quality time at the dog den, being July..... and certainly the makings of a great trip!

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  • 3 months later...

Snitawk, That was a lovely video. I'm off to make myself a G.and T.. I should have made it before watching, but

 

I'll have it now and imagine thatI'm in Botswana!

 

 

 

Cheers

 

Jan

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Game Warden

That video deserves its own thread in Safaritalk TV, so not to get lost - and for more people to see it. Quality for Youtube standards seems fine Snik.

 

With your permission I'll use that for the reformatted front page.

 

Matt

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madaboutcheetah

WOW!!! That's all I can say ......

 

Thanks so much, Ken for the video and pass on my congratulations to Helena for the videography!!!

 

Cheers,

Hari

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twaffle
Hari,

 

Thanks for that, the best news is the possibility of a real Lion in the area at last.

We will be back there at the beginning of July, we are also going to Little Kwara and hope to see half of what you saw.

 

Maybe that comment came back to haunt you? :rolleyes:

 

BUT, the video is wonderful to watch, I especially liked the final sequence. Did they go onto hunt? Thanks for going to the effort to post it.

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Sniktawk, don't you know that you can drink G&T at any time of the day and in any weather? Woe betide the

 

guide who forgets the gin or tonic or ice and lemon [ though lime is my preference] at sundowners.

 

I am an English lady, after all!

 

 

Jan

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