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Jan in Botswana - March 2010


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This was my first visit to Duma Tau, though I am familiar with the area having visited

 

Savuti camp three times. I was given a private guide, Mr. T., by Lizzie, one of the

 

Managers, who I had met before. {you know, boys, there are some good things about

 

Wilderness camps!].

 

Game viewing was pretty good. On the first morning we found twelve wild dogs-six

 

adults and six young. One had a collar and we notified the researcher that we had

 

found them. We also saw many elephants, seriously chased by one, lechwe , impala,

 

and dwarf mongeese. We found the dogs again in the afternoon where we had left

 

them. Then we saw vultures on a tree deep in the bush and heard lions. It was very

 

difficult to get near to them. The three lionesses were being hassled by a young male

 

with most unusual markings, he had tiger- like stripes on his head which seemed to

 

continue down to his shoulders. He was snarling and showing his teeth , and very

 

difficult to photograph. When we decided to go he dashed out from his cover and

 

rushed straight at me, sitting in the front next to Mr. T. He swerved away just a few

 

feet before he would have joined me in my seat! Exciting!

 

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The next morning we found the wild dogs again, and also a second pack of twelve

 

which had been missing over the other side of the Savuti channel for a few months.

 

We had a call that there were two cheetah brothers in the deep grass at the Savuti

 

Camp end of the Channel. They were trying to get close to a group of ostriches, but

 

The ostriches kept well away. The lionesses from the day before had killed a

 

Wildebeast, and they and the cubs were tucking in; they all had very fat tummies.

 

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We had sundowners at the mouth of the channel. A new bridge is nearly completed.

 

It’s needed as the channel is deep now and vehicles cannot cross otherwise. We had

 

Our G.& T.’s and then saw the New Zib boat come back to the boat station.

 

That night a honeymoon couple and another couple had private dinners on their own

 

Verandahs, so several senior staff joined me for dinner in the ‘boma’. A great B.B.Q

 

and lots of laughs and plenty of drinks¬ --- well for me anyway!

 

I really enjoyed Duma Tau, another camp to return to!

 

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Bye the way--- Milky Eye is still very much around and looking majestic! He and his

 

brother parade around very much in charge, and looking sooo handsome.

 

A few more photos are in my gallery if you care to look.

 

 

Jan

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Pangolin

Jan-

 

Great start to your report! I find it especially interesting to hear about where I was only a few weeks before. They seem to have made good progress on the bridge, although we were wondering if they had positioned the west side high enough.

 

I'm guessing we saw the pack of dogs you saw first, but I don't remember a collar. I'll have to check the photos. It was on the other side of the channel, so maybe we saw the "missing" pack.

 

Those cheetah definitely look familiar.

 

Exciting time with the tiger-headed lion! Sounds like fun.

 

I obviously think there is plenty of good about a lot of WS camps, to go along with some things to be concerned about.

 

Looking forward to the next installment.

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Geoff

Thanks for the report Jan. A most unusual looking lion.

 

Can you see Zarafa camp from the Duma Tau side of the channel?

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Jan,

 

Thanks for a lovely report. You caught up with Milky Eye, again!!! What an unusual young Lion with the stripes. What were your guide's thoughts about this unusual Lion?

 

Look forward to your Little Kwara section, and to see what Spencer had up his sleeve!

 

Hari

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Jan, I am impressed; - a trip report!! with Photos!!!! :D

 

Well done and thanks for posting.

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twaffle

Jan, fantastic. What great sightings and especially that odd looking lion. It looks as if it has mange, or something similar but can't imagine why the stripes.

 

Loved the wild dogs, and glad that Wilderness Safaris gave you a private guide, if anyone deserves something for their loyalty, you do.

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Game Warden

Mr. T on seeing Milky Eye - "I pity the fool..."

 

Great start to the adventure Jan, look forard to reading more, great images of the dogs.

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Thanks for your comments, folks. I do like the area very much, and have visited frequently over the years at

 

old Zib, Savuti and now Duma Tau. The staff at D.T. were great, fabulous food, and a very attractive area.

 

 

Geoff,

 

Zarafa can't be seen from the channel, but is not far from the boat station. When I was last at Zib I was taken

 

to the spot where Zarafa was to be built. That side of the channel cannot be accessed at the moment, but the

 

new bridge is almost complete.

 

Hari,

 

I thought you'd like Milky Eye! It was so good to see him and his brother again. They really are looking good.

 

Mr. T. Didn't really have any views on why the young lion had the stripes. I've never seen a lion like him before.

 

He was very hard to see in the bushes, and very aggressive, snarling and growlling. He certainly didn't like the

 

sight of me, and I really thought he'd be on my lap in one bound!

 

Don't expect too much from L.K.

 

Dikdik,

 

Now you are being naughty! I've always confessed that I need my son's help to load photos. The brain

 

frazzles somewhat with age! But glad that you like my efforts.

 

 

Twaffle,

 

Thanks for your comments. I wish I 'd had a better view of the young lion . Truly strange.

 

 

Jan

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks for the info, Jan.

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Little Kwara - Botswana March 2010

 

Spencer met me at the plane, it was good to see him again. He was my guide at

 

Lebala 18 months ago at Hari’s recommendation. I was given tent 1 which I had

 

last time I was there two years ago. I knew that Don Topaz was there and sure

 

enough up he popped at teatime. Flatteringly I was not what he’d expected. He said

 

he was looking for a little old lady!!! We got on very well and had lots to talk

 

about.

 

The first afternoon Spencer and I saw plenty of lions, but difficult viewing in the

 

long grass. One handsome male posed at sunset---the other one was Don—joke!

 

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Next day we went out to Tsum Tsum. We looked all over the place, but no joy . We

 

eventually found two not very special male lions. On the way back to camp we saw

 

vultures landing so we followed them into the trees and found the remains of a very

 

small impala and a couple of wild dog footprints, but nothing else. In the afternoon

 

we went back to the spot and found a pair of wild dogs digging up buried meat from

 

the morning. They set off but soon lost them in thick bush. We then looked and

 

looked for a leopard, but no luck.

 

Next morning we went out cheetah hunting again and after much tracking found a

 

very shy female with two youngsters. We called in the other two vehicles, but one

 

of them got in too close and the cheetahs raced off. It makes me mad when people

 

with expensive long lens camera equipment demand to get right next to shy animals.

 

We’d spent all morning giving them space and lost out due to other people.

 

In the afternoon we searched high and low, but no luck for all our efforts. I’m lucky

 

in that I’ve seen so much over the years that I can take whatever comes along, and

 

appreciate my guide and know that he’s doing his very best. And Spencer is one of

 

the best.

 

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Before my safari Bill given e-mailed me to say that one of his friends would also be

 

at L. K. while I was there. Marilyn and her mother arrived on my last full day and we

 

spent all dinner and at the fire afterwards nattering! What fun!

 

The last morning was also quiet, but that’s how it can be. Spencer took me to the

 

plane and we shall meet again in October when he’ll guide me again for four nights

 

at Lebala.

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Game Warden

Jan, I've merged the two reports into one to keep them together, you may need to edit in the title in to the text. Mini GTG's in the bush - people will be adding you to their list of things to "tick off"...

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Jan,

 

True. Those 3 cheetahs are new to the area and were first spotted by Hobbs. The sub-adults are not too bad around one vehicle, but, the mother is pretty skittish. There would be no way that they hang about with 3 vehicles. It's not right of them to barge into the sighting - not just chasing the cats away, but, it's idiotic because it spoils all the hard work of getting them to relax, besides will take much much longer for them to relax and get into a comfort zone. That's why I say, I HATE RADIOS!!!!

 

I know you mention, pushy folks that demand to get up close - but, I think it's the guide's duty to put his foot down and say NO ..........

 

I'm sorry you missed out on the mother with cubs and the 3 Tsum Tsum boys. They are all very photogenic.

 

Who is the tracker in the pic? Don't think I've met him.

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Hari, I'm ashamed to say that I've forgotten the tracker's name. I usually write them down, and forgot to.

 

I don't like calling others in when that sort of thing happens. I think that sometimes the guide wants to please

 

the guest too much, and doesn't consider the animal. I felt like saying something, but restrained myself!

 

 

Jan

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madaboutcheetah

Agree, Jan.

 

I'm sure you'll have a great time in October at Lebala and Jack's.

 

Hari

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Jack’s Botswana March 2010

 

I flew into Jack’s with Colin of the Missionary Pilots and sat up front complete with

 

headphones. The missionaries are great pilots and are used quite often for flights to

 

and from Jack’s. On the way we flew over Baines Baobabs.. We arrived to zebras on

 

the runway, but landed easily over the topof them.

 

Super was there, just, to meet me. I was the only one in camp, so had lunch

 

with Super and Cara, a great Canadian girl who is the manager and who I had first

 

met last October. I was in my usual favourite tent 1, nearest to the Dining Tent and

 

by the swimming pool.

 

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Straight out after unpacking, and saw many, many zebras and wildebeest around the

 

camp. The migration was in full flow. We had sundowners at the edge of the Pans,

 

but it was a poor sunset with far too much cloud. Super and I had a lot of catching up

 

to do. Super Cara and I had dinner, then early to bed.

 

Next morning the zebra and wildebeest were right in front of the dining table. I had

 

never seen them so close to camp before,

 

Ralph, the owner of Jack’s is training eight new guides at the moment, so I helped out

 

by taking four of them out to the National Park. We took a picnic lunch and stayed out

 

all day. Super, of course was doing the teaching, and I was just helping out by asking

 

the kind of questions guests ask. We all had a good time. On the way back we saw a

 

dead young zebra on a pan, but when we got closer we could see that, in fact, it

 

wasn’t dead, and tried to get up as we got nearer. It had a broken leg and the vultures

 

were already closing in. I have to admit that it brought tears to my eyes because we

 

had to leave it to it’s fate.

 

In the late afternoon James, a zebra researcher came to give a talk to the trainees and

 

I listened in, it was very interesting.

 

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Next day we went looking for lions, but no luck. Then we saw may vultures landing,

 

There must have been 300+ whitebacked vultures on and around a zebra carcass

 

In the afternoon more. Searching for a large male lion, but did not find him. We

 

Sat on top of the vehicle for sundowners to escape the mozzies—it works!

 

Wonderful sunset, wonderful G.& T;s!

 

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Peter Apps, the author and animal researcher and his wife arrived the next day to talk

 

to the trainee guides I invited Helen to join Super and I while her husband was busy.

 

We got on so well that I shall be visiting them in Maun on my next trip. The next

 

Couple of days went by. One morning Peter was out with the meerkats with Ralph

 

and the guides, so Super, Helen, and I joined them and listened in.

 

Brown hyenas have been a feature at Jack’s for several years, but have been absent

 

For the last 18 months. So on Helen’s last evening we went out looking and saw two

 

brown hyenas way in the distance running away from us. This was a great cause for

 

excitement.

 

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On another another day we took lunch again into the National Park and saw twelve

 

elephants, fairly rare visitors, and beautiful gemsboks.

 

That evening we saw a brown hyena again in the distance. We went to the meerkats

 

One morning and Super took many photos of them climbing all over me..

 

.Again we went looking for the brown hyena and after a long search we saw one and

 

Then lost sight of him/her. We drove past an old aardvark hole and suddenly a brown

 

Hyena jumped out and growled and ran off!! We jumped too!! It’s good news for

 

Jack’s camp to have a den nearby again.

 

On my last full day we took all eight guides out with us, mostly birding, with me

 

asking the questions again. They are a lovely bunch of chaps, and one girl ,Kemi,

 

who certainly holds her own.

 

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On my last morning I went to the meerkats yet again. They are the sweetest little

 

Creatures. After lunch Super and Ralph drove me to the airstrip and I left for home.

 

 

Once again a few more photos are in my gallery.

 

 

 

Jan

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Jan - I'm coming late to the party here - but just wanted to chime in about Mr.T. He was amazing last year when we were at Duma Tau and really knows the cats and dogs there. He's the most senior guide there, not just in age but experience.

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VeeR,

 

Mr. T is now semi-retired, he just comes into camp occasionally. I think Lizzie thoyght that she'd put two

 

oldies together!

 

 

Jan

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Atravelynn

Great photos, Jan, especially you and the meerkats. I just can't get over that tiger striped lion. Excitement followed you throughout your trip!

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twaffle

Jan, I too would have felt pretty emotional about the zebra with the broken leg. Much better to be picked off quickly by a lion than vultures but thats the wilderness we love.

 

Great sunset and the lion on the mound is great. Don Topaz could have been a closer view, but I know some of these critters are skittish! :D

 

Very envious of your brown hyaenas and the meerkats. Ah well, perhaps I have time to do it all.

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madaboutcheetah

Jan,

 

You mention you were the only guest at Jack's. How were the occupancy levels at DT and LK during your stay?

 

Hari

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Many thanks for your report.

Striped lion. It is possible for a lion and tiger to have off spring. Called a liger (no kidding). But your lion 's features look very lion like so I doubt if any tiger blood there. But who knows? Next time get a blood sample.

regards - tom

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Jan,

 

You mention you were the only guest at Jack's. How were the occupancy levels at DT and LK during your stay?

 

Hari

 

 

 

Hari,

 

D.T. was just two couples and me. Some W.S. people came in to do some guide training on coping with

 

children on safari. They were South African with two delightful children of 5 and7 who at a signal

 

from their parents misbehaved and the guide had to deal with the situation. The children thought

 

that was great fun. Needless to say I knew the other girl with them, and arranged ,hopefully for

 

her and her husband to fly into Chitabe when I'm there in October.

 

L.K. was full, but with only five tents that's not surprising.

 

At Jack's it was only the first night when it was only me. It filled up with Americans and Canadians

 

after that. It was very lively and fun, I met some very interesting people, including old rock star

 

[ younger than me!] John Kay of Steppenwolf and his wife Jutta. The last evening for all of us was

 

the staff singers entertaining us , with me being dragged out to dance, and a couple celebrating

 

their 30th wedding anniversary also also given the treatment. I never dance at home, but

 

afterwards several people thought I'd rehearsed it! It was my 18th visit there so I almost qualify

 

as a staff member.

 

 

Jan

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Cary999,

 

I don't think that there are any tigers in Botswana! I didn't get a satisfactory answer.

 

 

Jan

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madaboutcheetah

Glad you had a wonderful time, Jan. Sounds like some real good times!!!

 

Hari

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