Jump to content
Pangolin

A Pangolin in Africa

Recommended Posts

Pangolin

Wrapping up our stay at Little Vumbura.....

 

A very cool spot - a many-spined climbing perch on the road making its way to a new waterhole. Imagine the ecstacy of the fisheries biologists in the group :P

 

gallery_5746_283_13421.jpg

We mitigated for the potential dangers of the road by moving it to nearby water.

 

We spent some time one day at a lovely and very productive open plain. Various species paraded by over a short period.

 

gallery_5746_283_107312.jpg

gallery_5746_283_90266.jpg

gallery_5746_283_83782.jpg

 

We saw sable again later

 

gallery_5746_283_553331.jpg

 

A pride of lions had set up for the day only about a km from the open plain full of food. Then, the next day, they were in the middle of the plain (a day late for a tasty meal of baby giraffe).

 

gallery_5746_283_121840.jpg

gallery_5746_283_176090.jpg

gallery_5746_283_124664.jpg

 

We also saw a coalition of three males during our stay....

 

gallery_5746_283_76723.jpg

gallery_5746_283_118372.jpg

 

Handsome fellows, but did pretty much what lions tend to do in the middle of the day...

 

gallery_5746_283_241644.jpg

(although based on our later sightings at Duba Plains I had to take that back).

 

Time to leave Little Vumbura and head for Savuti.

 

A LV sunrise

gallery_5746_283_115695.jpg

 

Sunset by land

gallery_5746_283_147464.jpg

 

And by boat

gallery_5746_283_130458.jpg

 

And a final look down at the Vumbura Plains as we depart on our 30 minute flight to Savuti

gallery_5746_283_114988.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

February 25th.

 

30 minutes after leaving LV we were flying over the Savuti Channel

 

gallery_5746_281_17366.jpg

 

The location of the camp is stunning now that it overlooks the flowing channel (hope to include a photo or two later).

 

First order of business - a game drive. LV had been great for general game, interesting sightings, and lions. Our first game drive at Savuti quickly changed the tone to predators, predators, and more predators. We opted to go look for the Duma Tau male leopard which had last been seen earlier that morning. We had vague directions to the previous location, and after searching for a while and coming close to giving up....there he was!

 

gallery_5746_281_173074.jpg

 

We found him just as he jumped up into a tree where he had stashed his recent kill. It was not an ideal situation for the photographers, but a great sighting nonetheless.

 

gallery_5746_281_195898.jpg

 

So why did he jump back into the tree just when we arrived on the scene?

gallery_5746_281_132409.jpg

gallery_5746_281_42513.jpg

 

A total of 5 hyenas decided it was time to pester him and see what they could get out of the deal.

 

We stayed for quite a while, but most of the views we got were pretty much like this:

gallery_5746_281_259641.jpg

 

Still, and impressive start to our stay at Savuti. Reports over the next few days indicated that (1) the impala remained "resting", (2) the hyenas continued to mill about, and (3) the leopard was rarely seen. So...we timed our visit just about right.

 

The next morning we had our incredible sighting of the female leopard with the cub I previously reported. We therefore had seen dad, mom, and one of the kids. We get to see mom one more time - coming soon.

 

After our visit with mom the next morning, the call came in that dogs were in the vicinity. We dropped plans for our morning tea and rushed off to see what we could see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

The dogs were about 15 minutes away, so off we went. We broke through the mopane and onto the floodplain of the channel, and there they were:

gallery_5746_281_42683.jpg

 

On the opposite bank!

 

It was actually fun watching from our bank as a couple of other vehicles tried to keep up with them on the other side. To make a long story short, we finally decided to cross over and join the fun. We said hello to a nearby hippo as we made our way across, with water not quite coming over the bonnet.

 

gallery_5746_281_115802.jpg

gallery_5746_281_160116.jpg

 

The pack numbered about 11, I believe, and they settled in for their mid-day rest. We watched them for quite a while, then headed back to camp for our mid-day break (running quite late, as was usual).

 

We crossed back across the channel, then had our daily encounter with the carmine bee eaters. They were great fun, and we decided for the "drive fast so they are very active and take a bazillion pictures in the hope that one turns out" option.

gallery_5746_281_142320.jpg

gallery_5746_281_92156.jpg

 

Our afternoon drive got rained out, but we were quite happy with our morning results so that was okay. The next morning we saw the female leopard again (in a little more of a photo friendly situation), then in the afternoon, our first cheetahs of the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

February 27th. Day three at Savuti - another day, more things with spots.

 

During our morning game drive we checked out the spot where we had previously seen the female leopard with the cub but she was not around. Grant then showed us where he had seen her mating with the Duma Tau male in November, less than a km away. We continued driving for just a little while, and there she was, in a tree

 

gallery_5746_281_191648.jpg

 

We soon learned that she had her eye on some young kudu

 

gallery_5746_281_119175.jpg

 

gallery_5746_281_273649.jpg

 

She managed to make her presence known though, and the kudu ran off into the mopane. We last saw her in pursuit, but could not follow very far.

 

gallery_5746_281_69837.jpg

 

We had our usual fun with the carmine bee eaters

 

gallery_5746_281_136389.jpg

gallery_5746_281_65844.jpg

 

and got a woodland kingfisher to sit still for a little while

 

gallery_5746_281_129411.jpg

 

In the afternoon we set out after a different set of spots, but there is always something interesting on the way

 

gallery_5746_281_28652.jpg

 

We eventually did find those spots

 

gallery_5746_281_3511.jpg

gallery_5746_281_93256.jpg

 

These are the successors to the "blood brothers". It was obvious they were not going to hunt for a little while though

 

gallery_5746_281_89460.jpg

 

They ambled out onto the airstrip, then took the rest of the day off

 

gallery_5746_281_103514.jpg

gallery_5746_281_114147.jpg

 

We left them for a while, and when we came back they were still relaxing, so we settled in nearby and watched the sunset over the airstrip

 

gallery_5746_281_114858.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

February 28th - our final morning at Savuti.

 

A final Savuti sunrise

gallery_5746_281_149867.jpg

 

No spots on our final game drive. We did have a fun sighting of a few lions, one of which was a young fellow with a thing for a termite mound

gallery_5746_281_10100.jpg

 

Must get a better view!

gallery_5746_281_210506.jpg

 

That's better..

gallery_5746_281_48894.jpg

 

But it sure is slippery up here...

gallery_5746_281_116682.jpg

 

Time to leave Savuti. One last look at the view from our tent

gallery_5746_281_69522.jpg

 

Friends seeing us off at the airstrip

gallery_5746_281_84257.jpg

 

A final look at the channel as we depart

gallery_5746_281_179750.jpg

 

And, about 80 minutes later, our first look at the new site of Kalahari Plains Camp in the CKGR. A beautiful spot overlooking a large pan. The camp is visible near the trees

gallery_5746_281_194440.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
madaboutcheetah

Pangolin,

 

Thanks for the report. Enjoyed the Savuti section. I saw those two cheetahs in October 2008 at Lebala.

 

Last I read on the WS site, there was a mention that Milky Eye moved further away. Any news on this front?

 

 

Lookforward to your Kalahari installment.

 

Regards

Hari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rickmck

Nice "spots," those leopard & cheetah pics...

 

No spots on our final game drive...

 

 

 

gallery_5746_281_210506.jpg

 

Ah, but that young lion does have spots...!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin
Last I read on the WS site, there was a mention that Milky Eye moved further away. Any news on this front?

Hari-

 

Grant told me that Milky Eye often finds his way past Kings Pool, and may have had some run-ins with the "Border Boys". Pushing further east, but comes back occaisionally.

 

The young male seen here is Milky Eye's, from the lioness by herself that must keep away from the other lionesses in the area.

 

Duba Plains has its own version of a milky eye, as we will eventually see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin
Ah, but that young lion does have spots...!

Yes, you got me on that one ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
madaboutcheetah
Last I read on the WS site, there was a mention that Milky Eye moved further away. Any news on this front?

Hari-

 

Grant told me that Milky Eye often finds his way past Kings Pool, and may have had some run-ins with the "Border Boys". Pushing further east, but comes back occaisionally.

 

The young male seen here is Milky Eye's, from the lioness by herself that must keep away from the other lionesses in the area.

 

Duba Plains has its own version of a milky eye, as we will eventually see.

 

Thanks, Pangolin. Any idea about the 5 young males that are approx 3 years old now? Any sign of them?

 

You refering to the Lioness from Duba?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin
Thanks, Pangolin. Any idea about the 5 young males that are approx 3 years old now? Any sign of them?

 

You refering to the Lioness from Duba?

We did not see, and heard little about the 5 young males. I'm not sure where they were, but we were so busy with leopards that we didn't go looking.

 

Yes, the old lioness at Duba. The Duba pride has splintered into groups of 6 and 3 with that "silver eye" being part of the 3. Even that relationship is a bit iffy, because she does not take well to the other lioness's cubs. The Skimmer male splits his time between the two groups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

So.....on to Kalahari Plains in the CKGR. The camp (as seen from the air in previous post), is in a great location about an 80-90 minute drive east of Deception Valley. The area receives very little self-drive business because of the remoteness and lack of camping facilities. There was, however, some evidence of poaching, which will hopefully be reduced now that the camp is there.

 

Accomodations are comfy, yet simple (plus you can sleep on the roof if you want)

gallery_5746_287_203450.jpg

 

With a nice view out over the pan

gallery_5746_287_94384.jpg

 

Which was full of life when we were there

gallery_5746_287_220503.jpg

gallery_5746_287_68443.jpg

gallery_5746_287_91778.jpg

 

Lots and lots of raptors

gallery_5746_287_211601.jpg

 

And all my favorite little predators

gallery_5746_287_227012.jpg

gallery_5746_287_31681.jpg

gallery_5746_287_26178.jpg

 

Also lots of Korhans and Bustards

gallery_5746_287_145403.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

We did one full-day trip to the Deception Valley area. The plan was to leave camp very early so we could get to the valley while predators and prey were still active.

 

Blast our luck! We were immediately delayed by an unfortunate sighting ;)

 

gallery_5746_287_119520.jpg

gallery_5746_287_133434.jpg

gallery_5746_287_48925.jpg

gallery_5746_287_196570.jpg

 

We had actually seen these three fellows every day, but they hadn't been doing much. With no off-roading allowed, we couldn't get close.

 

A last look at the cheetahs and the occupant of a tree they confirmed to be in their territory

gallery_5746_287_107777.jpg

gallery_5746_287_196126.jpg

 

Finally, on our way again....Oh no, a Kalahari traffic jam

gallery_5746_287_113928.jpg

 

Deception Valley and the surrounding area at last

gallery_5746_287_129091.jpg

 

We got there late. We saw some lions but not really a good photo op. We missed Hari. We did see a herd of 40 (yes 40) giraffe (no way to get them all in one photo)

gallery_5746_287_179772.jpg

gallery_5746_287_59909.jpg

 

I think Hari saw some of the same ones.

 

Hari may also have seen this little creature

gallery_5746_287_131435.jpg

 

Had to get a picture of the Owen's campsite

gallery_5746_287_184791.jpg

 

And a beautiful Kalahari sunset

gallery_5746_287_50773.jpg

 

The next morning was our final one at Kalahari Plains. Mrs. Pangolin decided to take the morning off and stay around camp. We both thought that was a good time to have a little rest, because we thought the odds of seeing anything new were pretty slim. So...she sent me out with the spare camera body and one lens, and......we of course saw something new. A leopard!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
madaboutcheetah

Pangolin,

 

Our giraffe sighting was all the way out by the Letiahau waterhole - approx 40 plus KMS from the Deception valley.

 

We may have the seen the same Meerkat for sure.

 

Actually, not sure what you mean - as there's certianly more campsites available (HATAB AND KORI) than say other areas of Botswana like Savute or Moremi. You are definitely correct, that not too many people get to the CKGR and get to experience it. That's a good thing as it's still a pristine wilderness.

 

Thanks again for the report, a trip down memory lane for me. Particularly the pic of the Owens camp site - which was approx 2 to 5mins from our camp site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin
Pangolin,

 

Our giraffe sighting was all the way out by the Letiahau waterhole - approx 40 plus KMS from the Deception valley.

 

We may have the seen the same Meerkat for sure.

 

Actually, not sure what you mean - as there's certianly more campsites available (HATAB AND KORI) than say other areas of Botswana like Savute or Moremi. You are definitely correct, that not too many people get to the CKGR and get to experience it. That's a good thing as it's still a pristine wilderness.

 

Thanks again for the report, a trip down memory lane for me. Particularly the pic of the Owens camp site - which was approx 2 to 5mins from our camp site.

Hari-

 

Our giraffe sightings were also out near Letiahau (I've just combined the whole thing into "Deception Valley and vicinity"). We saw them near where the "Deception Valley Loop" sign is. Pretty near Letiahau.

 

There are no campsites near Kalahari Plains. The nearest would probably be the Deception campsites near the Owens site. We stopped there for our midday break - Campsite #1 (we actually ran into one of the managers of Savuti Camp there, and our guide from Chitabe in 2004). So, anybody wanting to visit the KP area would need to do a longish day trip (the reverse of what we did). Probably didn't happen too much previously because the area was not known well, and there wasn't much in the way of roads.

 

I definitely want to go back and do some camping like you did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pault

Thanks for the postings. I am finding this really interesting, especially the aerial shots and the part about CKGR. You had some really good sightings there - and indeed everywhere. Honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, meerkats, cheethas and leopards - everything you'd hope for. The cabin/tents look very "utilitarian",which is not a crtiticism for me - just surprises for some reason.

 

And is that an electric fence? If so another surprise (for an ignorant person when it comes to Botswana) especially since the new Kwando camp at Nxai Pan also has one. Fashion or regulation?

 

What was the drive time like from there to Deception Valley (including cheetah stop if you like)? 2 hours?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
madaboutcheetah

You are correct - there weren't any roads previously leading to the KP area. Simply because that road leads to the new KP camp and there wasn't one before. Yes, no camp site there. But, the road leading to the KP area is all woodland for roughly 30kms until you hit the pan itself (from Deception valley). Good news that the pan is productive with cheetah and other plains game as your report indicates. You certainly wouldn't want a camp site near the KP Pan would you? Just as the KORI camp site near Tau Pan is closed down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin
Thanks for the postings. I am finding this really interesting, especially the aerial shots and the part about CKGR. You had some really good sightings there - and indeed everywhere. Honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, meerkats, cheethas and leopards - everything you'd hope for. The cabin/tents look very "utilitarian",which is not a crtiticism for me - just surprises for some reason.

 

And is that an electric fence? If so another surprise (for an ignorant person when it comes to Botswana) especially since the new Kwando camp at Nxai Pan also has one. Fashion or regulation?

 

What was the drive time like from there to Deception Valley (including cheetah stop if you like)? 2 hours?

Pault-

 

No, that is not an electric fence. It is just a couple of strands to help ensure you don't fall off your small porch. The camp itself is not fenced.

 

The tent is indeed pretty practical. Basically a square, with most of the inside taken up by the bed. With of course a separate little area for the shower and toilet. You can also sleep upstairs in the open air if you like. Very nice under the desert sky (except that the moon was full when we were there - it kept waking me up).

 

Drive time including the cheetah delay was about 2 hours. You could do it more directly in about 80 minutes (virtually no stops). That's about how long it took us to get back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin
You are correct - there weren't any roads previously leading to the KP area. Simply because that road leads to the new KP camp and there wasn't one before. Yes, no camp site there. But, the road leading to the KP area is all woodland for roughly 30kms until you hit the pan itself (from Deception valley). Good news that the pan is productive with cheetah and other plains game as your report indicates. You certainly wouldn't want a camp site near the KP Pan would you? Just as the KORI camp site near Tau Pan is closed down.

Hari-

 

Yes - there are no pans to speak of between the valley and KP - or between the new airstrip and KP (about a 20 minute drive). We saw some ostrich, a honey badger (they are everywhere around KP), a few oryx, and some nice birds between KP and the valley, but that is about it. The leopard we saw (I'll get to that soon) was in that woodland-type habitat though.

 

The KP area probably would have been a good place to camp during the rainy season back when nobody knew about it.......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pault

Thanks for the responses Pangolin! I am glad to hear electric fences are not considered necessary, and also that the area is well populated with honey badgers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

Wrapping up Kalahari Plains, Mrs. Pangolin stayed and took pictures around camp on our final morning

gallery_5746_287_222128.jpg

 

While I went out on the morning game drive with the old camera body and one lens. Turned out to be a bit of an unfortunate decision.

gallery_5746_287_103310.jpg

gallery_5746_287_189714.jpg

 

Oh well, still a nice sighting.

 

With one last look down at the CKGR, it's off to Duba Plains to finish off our safari

gallery_5746_287_132120.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

Duba Plains....

gallery_5746_288_222238.jpg

 

So...just how wet was it?

gallery_5746_288_66692.jpg

gallery_5746_288_27117.jpg

gallery_5746_288_33555.jpg

 

Every day (twice a day usually), it was a 30-45 minute slog each way to and from the prime viewing areas of the plains. But the beauty of the area and the sheer abundance of life on the plains made it all worth it

gallery_5746_288_5614.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

I'll "cut to the chase" at Duba.

 

Find the buffalo

gallery_5746_288_163737.jpg

 

Someone else finds the buffalo

gallery_5746_288_198855.jpg

 

We all have friends nearby

gallery_5746_288_150547.jpg

 

The buffalo start their daily move

gallery_5746_288_162038.jpg

 

The lionesses get together and think about it for a minute

gallery_5746_288_1490.jpg

 

And decide to follow

gallery_5746_288_134184.jpg

 

Looks like someone is not paying enough attention

gallery_5746_288_184721.jpg

 

Target acquired!

gallery_5746_288_121457.jpg

gallery_5746_288_35609.jpg

 

One less buffalo in the herd

gallery_5746_288_99982.jpg

gallery_5746_288_123084.jpg

 

After a bit of the meal, it's time to go get the kids

gallery_5746_288_48490.jpg

gallery_5746_288_18895.jpg

 

And give them their turn

gallery_5746_288_104358.jpg

gallery_5746_288_199202.jpg

 

How does one get so messy?

gallery_5746_288_138692.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pangolin

And finally, we continued to locate the herd over the next two days

gallery_5746_288_3295.jpg

 

As did a different pride, along with the Skimmer male, who splits his time among the two prides

gallery_5746_288_113274.jpg

 

He is one good lookin' dude!

gallery_5746_288_50842.jpg

 

He and the pride were active and did some buffalo hunting, but never closed the deal

gallery_5746_288_191639.jpg

gallery_5746_288_101119.jpg

 

The final safari image was a peaceful scene of the Skimmer male surveying the plains and keeping an eye on the herd.

gallery_5746_288_79836.jpg

 

 

What a great safari! A leopard carrying a very young cub from one hiding place to another. Multiple other leopard and cheetah sightings. Dogs. A lion kill. My first time to the CKGR. A great group and a great guide.

 

For a report from the guide's perspective, along with a few photos, check out Grant's website

http://www.grantatkinson.com/gallery/8105674_ZGSMp

 

He also has a number of entries on his blog for Africa Geographic that are based on our safari

http://www.africageographic.com/blogs/?cat=3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
twaffle

Amazing action with the lions and I love that Skimmer male, you're right … he's very good looking. I love the lions and water photos that come out of the Delta, and that almost submerged 4x4 would have given me a thrill.

 

So what's next on the Pangolin safari horizon?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is quite old. Unless updating a photographic thread with new images, please consider starting a new discussion. Thank you.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • 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