Jump to content

Green Season Safari at Little Kwara


Alex The Lion

Recommended Posts

Alex The Lion

On my return to Botswana, there was one camp that was certainly going to be on my list. Little Kwara is one of the gems of the Delta. Small and intimate, rustic and a camp that has excellent guiding. As usual, Hobbs would be guiding me for the 10 days I would be there, so I knew that if the animals were there, they would be found.

 

I flew SAA, worried about potential BA strikes. That was fine, as was the connection to Maun.

 

There is still no doubt in my mind, that Kwando offer safaris where you can conduct serious game viewing. The flexibility of the camp is second to none with game viewing to match.

 

This report will be mainly game focused, as I do not have time for rooms or food. Both of which would more than satisify at Kwando.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 58
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Alex The Lion

    28

  • cary999

    7

  • twaffle

    5

  • Jan

    3

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

Alex The Lion

Day 1

 

I arrived in Maun exhausted, I had been working flat out up to when my taxi took me to the airport, still I enjoyed the flight over the Delta and relaxing in camp for the afternoon. Hobbs and I decided to have a slow drive to begin with, just to get back into the swing of things and test my camera out.

 

We had a quick tea, where I met Rickmck, then headed out for around 16.00.

 

Some highlights from the day;

 

Another Delta scene on my flight in;

 

The water levels were quite low and the seasonal pans not as full I have seen them in the last few years.

 

4408596387_05eafaab54_o.jpg

 

I had heard a Woodland Kingfisher calling around camp, so set out to find one. On one of the palm fringed Islands, Hobbs quickly found this shot for me

 

4408596533_b32251e3f9_o.jpg

 

Wanting to test out my camera, we then spent alot of your afternoon getting some Bird in flights shots, nothing to write home about, Zebra and the discoloured impala.

 

The light was a little flat, though I tried to make the most of it;

 

4409363038_3e618eb86f_o.jpg

 

4408596759_09563fc6aa_o.jpg

 

4409362726_724934e0f4_o.jpg

 

4409362858_9aed65519a_o.jpg

 

I don't really do night drives, so was back in camp early enjoying a beer.

 

Spoke to Rickmck over dinner, where an age old question came up. If elephants have three sets of teeth in their lifetime, why do we not find them on the ground?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 2

 

I was back on my usual safari schedule today. Awake by 4.15am and out in the vehicle by 5am. Hobbs and I had decided on headong down towards Tsum Tsum, looking for the cats. It would turn out to be a very productive, but incredibly long day.

 

On the first Mbala at Tsum Tsum, Hobbs suddenly floored the vehicle and we were heading across the plain. His eagle eyes had spotted two porcupines being chases by a jackal. It was still quite dark, so getting a good shot was not easily, especially at the speed these things move.

 

More of a record shot than anything else;

 

4409601442_be2a34338d_o.jpg

 

Heading on to last Mbala, we passed the abundant plains game that scatter the area. We soon came across two of the seven males that dominate the Northern and Western side of the Kwara concession. Sleeping right next to the road, the dawn was just breaking and they were already full bellied.

 

After a couple of minutes, Hobbs and I decided to carry on, I have seen enough lions being ten toes up.

 

4408835031_b28082f187_o.jpg

 

No more than 1km round a small palm island, we found a family of 6 cheetah intent on hunting. The mother was moving purposefully, with her five sub adult cubs in the background. I would end up following them for the entire day, having lunch driven down to me.

 

We first made contact at 6.45am and the kill was made at 3.45pm. We were the only vehicle there, as the others had returned for lunch. This area is a good 1 hour straight driving from the camp. We bummed out for the kill, with the area being on the fringes of a small wooded area along a channel. It was not the best area to photograph, and the chase I missed on my camera completely. (too busy watching it!)

 

The light was mixed, with some storms pushing through in the afternoon. One highlight that I did not get a good photo of was when the the cheetah's moved through the Mopane and came across a Bat Eared Fox den. They surrounded it for a while, with lots of hissing, but were soon on their way.

 

In the long grasses just after sunrise;

 

4408835637_63b0b868a2_o.jpg

 

A family on the move

 

4408867093_5dd685eeea_o.jpg

 

4408836225_6bfb97e16e_o.jpg

 

4409603358_38335abbeb_o.jpg

 

4409603014_f529d9a917_o.jpg

 

4408835475_af3d70598f_o.jpg

 

As the morning wore on, the lighting conditions, alhough overcast, did become a little harsh

 

4408836621_e3b2a32f35_o.jpg

 

In the afternoon, a heavy storm pushed through the Tsum Tsum area, the dark clouds remained, making photography quite a challenge.

 

4409603664_9e21b3878b_o.jpg

 

Following a failed hunt, three large Baboons began chasing the family away from the troop.

 

4394955824_7c5238f85a_o.jpg

 

They continued on, managing to kill an impala inbetween a Zebra herd. Here are a couple of record shots from the kill;

 

4408836907_212e3fe35f_o.jpg

 

4408926067_6f666f4a06_o.jpg

 

4408837117_69ab247e71_o.jpg

 

We watched them feed and had a slow drive back to camp, getting in around 5.30-6.

 

On the way back back we passed every Kwando heading for the kill!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 3

 

Today was a slight anti-climax after yesterdays kill.. We were called to a dog sighting in the morning, though they were fast asleep in the thickets. It was a pack of six dogs, with the alpha female collared. We then headed on to find a female lion with a sub adult male feeding on a baboon. They were also hiding in the thickets, so it was a frustrating morning in terms of photography.

 

The grass was also taller on this side of the concession, making general game viewing a little more difficult.

 

(I just enjoy being in the bush, so don't mind what happens, but I tend to categorize sightins in terms of photographic quality)

 

Female lion hiding in the thickets

 

4408926209_b0f43f07db_o.jpg

 

In the afternoon, we went to track down the dogs. They had moved to a small pan deep in the Mopane on the splash side of the concession. We stayed with them for an hour, before something spooked them and they scattered in different directions. Trying to track through the mopane was tough. We located one dog, though quickly lost him as he was driven away by a breeding herd of elephants.

 

A few shots of the dogs

 

4409692476_f7b562bcd1_o.jpg

 

4408926681_0e57c3dd4b_o.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 4

 

Set out early again, leaving around 5.15 am, which is roughly 45 minutes before sunrise. We headed down to Tsum Tsum for the morning drive, knowing there was a good chance of bumping into some predators.

 

On the last Mbala, we found a single hyena in just as the sun was creeping over the horizon;

 

4409000939_eae781a40d_o.jpg

 

Being quite skittish, he quickly moved off, heading for a morning of rest into the mopane woodlands.

 

THe plains of Tsum Tsum are also full of birds of prey. As a summer migrant, Yellow billed kites are always on the hunt.

 

4409001057_47ceaebb8c_o.jpg

 

Lechwe on in the Okavango Marsh at Tsum Tsum

 

4409000777_40ef3d21ba_o.jpg

 

Once I had finished doing some birding, we bumped into three lions. Two were sleeping, having killed a young zebra, and a single male was still quite active. The grass was quite long and the light a little harsh. Whilst a very good sighting, it was just a little photographically difficult to get anything good.

 

Tssesebe aware of their stalker.

 

4409001205_0cd832b5d4_o.jpg

 

On our way back to camp, we bumped into three lionesses resting under on a small Island. It was the middle of the day so we left them to it as our car needed a couple of repairs. They would move off in the afternoon into the long reed grasses, making it impossible to find them.

 

We did find the mother and sub adult again, though headed on down to where the males were.

 

The single male moved off into the thick mopane, after sent marking, and the two well fed boys simply slept into the night.

 

4409768178_06411da359_o.jpg

 

We also had a good coucal sighting;

 

4409768360_bac263d083_o.jpg

 

On the way for Sundowners, we stopped near a pair of black backed jackals, who were quite relaxed with us on foot. Laying down on my stomach, I managed to get these two images. The first is not quite sharp unfortunately, though the second is quite acceptable.

 

4409001731_05e6602877_o.jpg

 

4409768606_a3479f3748_o.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 5

 

Another all day drive, that turned out to action packed once again...........

 

Leaving early, we were at the end of the last Mbala when six dogs decided to run into of us. It was the same pack we had lost in the mopane a few day before.

 

These dogs were highly mobile and looking to hunt. We followed them for around 20kms before losing them in the thickets. Whilst it was a fantastic sighting, the grass was tall making it difficult to get certain images.

 

Collared Alpha Female

 

4409853422_c4d23b9309_o.jpg

 

On the Move

 

4409086941_65693fe61b_o.jpg

 

Dogs are difficult enough to photograph at the best of times, in some areas, the grass was a little too tall

 

4409853566_2ae9066c50_o.jpg

 

After losing the dogs, we decided to head down to Tsum Tsum, in order to find the three cheetah brothers. Sure enough, we found them within 15 minutes of getting there. On such open plains, the game is pretty easy to spot. Finding them at midday, I nervously sat for six hours before they started hunting in the long reeds. We gave them quite a lot of space, meaning my photos were not great.

 

Once they had failed, we zipped in for a couple of shots.

 

4394012545_fe4b6526c8_o.jpg

 

4409943465_57b1b7a482_o.jpg

 

A couple of quick edits; I was quite lucky as the Boys were slightly elevated on a termite mound in the marsh.

 

4410924396_75db6442ec_o.jpg

 

4410710500_899b8366ea_o.jpg

 

4410710086_6c2f860dc0_o.jpg

 

4409943065_c67ee1ce77_o.jpg

 

4410709954_a7000289f8_o.jpg

 

4409942783_9891e0398b_o.jpg

 

Scent Marking After dark

 

4410710238_7bd7fd148d_o.jpg

 

The three brothers then moved off into the Mopane and we started back to camp. We heard lions calling no more than 1km away, and we quickly found three brothers calling into the night.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 6

 

A very quite morning, some good birding, but nothing spectacular. General game was quiet, not seeing a predator was a shock to the system!

 

We set out in the afternoon under a small rain shower, though quickly things picked up and the skies cleared.

 

Our first sighting was a large male from the coalition of seven. He was mobile and giving a number of contact calls, though did not receive any response. The light was really flat in the this drizzle.

 

4410764426_8c55694154_o.jpg

 

The rain eased off and on the next plain, we came across our family of six. They were hunting so we got some quick shots and then let them stalk an impala herd from a fair distance.

 

Watching their prey

 

4410764546_94fc7773d9_o.jpg

 

The start of the stalk

 

4410764736_9e2a6de7d5_o.jpg

 

4410764644_43268feda7_o.jpg

 

4409998721_3b8d11e383_o.jpg

 

Stalking through the grass

 

4409998805_f7b8a1d1bd_o.jpg

 

Returning after a failed hunt

 

4410765028_d34cf89f46_o.jpg

 

Young cub, this was taken 20 minutes after sunset! (Shows the high ISO of the 1D mark IV)

 

4410765140_a5e22ef972_o.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 7

 

We had left the Cheetah family sleeping one of the open plains at Tsum Tsum. Though as we were leaving, lions were calling either side. Hobbs and I left early to see if we could catch up with them.

 

Just before we had arrived, three lions had chased the cheetah, forcing them to scatter and flea. We found the lions sleeping under a bush and left them to it. Deciding to track the cheetah family. We did catch up with them, though they had crossed into the Shinde concession, putting them off limits.

 

Having spent most of the day tracking, photographic opportunties were a little thin on the ground.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 8

 

I need to rush out the door, so will make this one quite brief. A good day, with good plains game and lion sightings in the afternoon. I put my camera down in the afternoon and just enjoyed the sightings.

 

4410146373_9c6234300d_o.jpg

 

4410146381_eef01ec5fe_o.jpg

 

4410146369_5de422337b_o.jpg

 

4410146377_3b5d75ffac_o.jpg

 

4410146371_0a198067f5_o.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 9

 

General game was good, but after some of the action that I had seen over the last 9 days, made the day feel a little quiet. In the morning, we had good birding - especially the waders. For my final afternoon, we headed on down to last Mbala to spend the afternoon with the Cheetah brothers.

 

We found them sleeping, but they did give me a couple of poses. It was a relaxing and incredible end to another Kwando safari. As we watched these cheetah, plains game and elephant moved across the wide open plains of Tsum Tsum.

 

4410879456_5ff341311d_o.jpg

 

4410879458_37ef68b7a7_o.jpg

 

4410879460_5a6b66b235_o.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion

Day 10

 

A massive storm blew through on my final night, so I decided not to head out in the torrential rain. It did give me time to pack, as I had barely been in my room over the duration of my stay.

 

Overall, it was a fantastic trip and we saw alot of game. There was always plains game and elephants hanging about, as well as all the predators. My photos may not reflect this, as I am quite selective in what I shot and also spend a lot time with following one particular animal on certain days.

 

The only negative was the grass was a little to high in places for photography, though I knew that was a risk before booking.

 

Thanks, Kwando. Another great trip.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Geoff

B) You've got some great record shots there Russell. Particularly like the porcupines and the cheetah family.

 

If elephants have three sets of teeth in their lifetime, why do we not find them on the ground?

 

Three sets of teeth? I thought they had six sets of teeth in their lifetime.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion
B) You've got some great record shots there Russell. Particularly like the porcupines and the cheetah family.

 

If elephants have three sets of teeth in their lifetime, why do we not find them on the ground?

 

Three sets of teeth? I thought they had six sets of teeth in their lifetime.

 

Thanks Geoff, you are right on the six sets.

 

It is what happens when you don't visit the bush for 18 months!

 

Any idea where they go, however?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Game Warden

Great work so far Russell. Lighting, framing, DOF etc etc. Love the jackal shots, the hyena, and the cheetahs especially.

 

Matt

Link to post
Share on other sites
Geoff
Thanks Geoff, you are right on the six sets.

 

It is what happens when you don't visit the bush for 18 months!

 

Any idea where they go, however?

 

No idea really but I think that their teeth are slowly worn away and do not literally drop out like a human's milk tooth. Hence you do not see them lying around (except for the tusks of course). As a tooth wears away completely the next one pushes up into place.

 

Once their sixth set are worn out there is nothing to replace them so if the elephant is lucky enough to live that long it then has the lingering death of starvation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice report & photos, Russell. Good to meet you at LK. Wish I could have stayed on those cheetah with you but, alas, a plane would be waiting...

 

Maybe ellie teeth get swallowed and digested when the new ones push up from below...???

Link to post
Share on other sites
twaffle

Russell, really enjoying reading about your time at LK, fantastic sightings and I love the colours of the Delta. The greens, stormy skies, the richness of the country gives a different feel to it all and I've determined that if I ever get to Botswana, this is the time of year for me.

 

Your second zebra photo amuses me and it is a really nice selection overall that you are sharing with us. I do think you were lucky to have such a large cheetah family to follow, not only in numbers but physical size. Made for a unique cheetah image. Look forward to more, only I'll have to remember to scroll back into the posts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Russell, you've really whetted my appetite! I should be at L.K. on Wednesday, but only for three nights. I shall have

 

Spencer as my guide, so hope to make the most of my time there.

 

Bye the way, the post of days 7-10 did not come through on my laptop. Is it just me?

 

 

 

Jan

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops! in my excitement I got the date wrong. I shall be at L.K. 13-15 March. I just love the photos, don't expect the

 

same from me, but I'll do my best.

 

 

Jan

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion
Oops! in my excitement I got the date wrong. I shall be at L.K. 13-15 March. I just love the photos, don't expect the

 

same from me, but I'll do my best.

 

 

Jan

 

Thanks , Jan.

 

No need to worry, it is not your laptop. I have just entered blank days that I am filling in as I go along. Allows the story to flow uninterupted!

 

You must be counting the days now!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion
Russell, really enjoying reading about your time at LK, fantastic sightings and I love the colours of the Delta. The greens, stormy skies, the richness of the country gives a different feel to it all and I've determined that if I ever get to Botswana, this is the time of year for me.

 

Your second zebra photo amuses me and it is a really nice selection overall that you are sharing with us. I do think you were lucky to have such a large cheetah family to follow, not only in numbers but physical size. Made for a unique cheetah image. Look forward to more, only I'll have to remember to scroll back into the posts.

 

Thanks Twaffle....there is still more to come :P

 

This time of year is hit and miss though. The longer grasses can really make photography difficult. If it were the dry season, I would have easily come back with double the number of images.

 

I would consider early December for most, as the grasses are still short.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion
Great work so far Russell. Lighting, framing, DOF etc etc. Love the jackal shots, the hyena, and the cheetahs especially.

 

Matt

 

Thanks GW, I must admit, it took me until Savute to really be back in the swing of camera etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Bye the way, the post of days 7-10 did not come through on my laptop. Is it just me?

 

Thanks, Russell, I thought it must be something like that. Just day 10 to come. I'm throwing things into my bag already,

 

you know the feeling.

 

 

Jan

Link to post
Share on other sites
twaffle

Russell, I think that the advantage you have from a trip like this, though, is that you have a lot of photographic experience and have an extensive portfolio already. Therefore, you are in a perfect position to get a selection of images which may be smaller in number but will have a quite different feel. In the long run, it can only add to your already wonderful collection.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex The Lion
Thanks, Russell, I thought it must be something like that. Just day 10 to come. I'm throwing things into my bag already,

 

you know the feeling.

 

 

Jan

 

Sounds good. Please pass on my regards to all.

 

They know I am probably heading back in few months.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy