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Jack's Camp, Meno a Kwena, then home!


Jan

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Jack's Camp, 28 October 2010.

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Jack's Camp,   28 October 2010.   I flew into Jack's airstrip- Super was late to meet me as usual! We drove to the camp for lunch and I met the two new hostesses, Astrid and Simone. I was

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Jack's Camp,

 

28 October 2010.

 

I flew into Jack's airstrip- Super was late to meet me as usual! We drove to the camp for lunch and I met the

two new hostesses, Astrid and Simone. I was given tent 1 , my favourite, and soon settled in. later in the afternoon we drove around familiar places and of course the first night sundowners was on the edge of the pans.It was good to be back, it always is! Next morning we went to join my favourite meerkats, and spent a long time with them. We usually spent each early morning with the meerkats, and then went looking for whatever we could find.

 

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Most evenings we joined the brown hyenas. there were two dens, one with a pair of young cubs. this was the time for G&T's! One evening there was a tremendous storm, butfortunately it missed camp so we didn't get too wet. One day we took a packed lunch and drove into the National Park and eventually caught up with hundreds of zebras. We were also looking for my friend James, the zebra researcher, but heard that he was in Maun, so we made a date for later in the week.

 

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Saturday 30 October.

 

It was my birthday, and that morning the few guests who were there left, so i had the camp to myself. In the evening, sitting at the bar end of the dining tent I heard singing. In came my favourite waiter, Ditsa, carrying a chocolate star birthday cake designed by Super, and all the backroom boys and girls, singing beautifully. Anyone who has been to camps in Botswana knows that the singing is always wonderful. Along with Oliver , the manager, and Astrid and Simone we all danced and sang until we almost dropped! It was such a fun night!

 

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And so the days went on, driving here and there and just enjoying everything. On my last morning Super and I drove to Meno a Kwena, which has become my wind down spot at the end of the safari. Two days later we drove into Maun and met James for a lemonade and a chat. He's doing a good job as a zebra researcher following the herds.

 

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Then we drove out to my friend, Helen's lovely riverside house for a while before I had to catch the plane for my journey home.

 

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Great meerkat photos. You must be there so often that they recognize you! In 2006 I had one of them crawl onto my foot, but that was about it.

 

Beautiful brown hyena photos. They are still on my "have not yet seen" list, although I've been to San Camp and Kalahari Plains Camp. Oh well, another reason to go back.

 

Glad you had a fun birthday!

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Sangeeta

I was waiting for these! What wonderful meerkat pictures, Jan - Pangolin is right, I think they know you by now. The shots look like they're saying hello to a very old friend. These are a clincher for me - heading there in 2012. Perhaps if I took a letter of introduction from you, they'd climb on me as well :angry:

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I love the brown hyena pics. Much better than we got on the camera traps on my trip to Namibia :angry: . The pups really look gorgeous.

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twaffle

Jan these photos are fantastic. Those meerkats look like the belong to you and you look so happy. I've never seen brown hyaenas and these photos are as nice as any I've seen. The views from Meno A Kwena are wonderful and it looks so peaceful. Those zebra going down to the river is really nice. Thanks for sharing. Wish I could have been at your birthday party … what fun.

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Game Warden

Great photos Jan, another magical trip!

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ZaminOz

Jan, Thanks for sharing your fantastic photos and memories.

Z

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What a great trip! I enjoyed all of it and it is beautifully "illustrated" with amazing sights. I thought your photographs were too poor to be of any interest or something..... must be another "Jan". The meerkats really are something, as is your birthday celebration. What a way to spend it. Brown Hyena and a Wildcat (mee-ow ... we only look tame, you know?) and those leopards at Chitabe. Great stuff.

 

I am looking forward to my trip to Botswana more than ever now. I'd send a link to this to my Mum (remember you gave me a bit of advice on her trip over at Fodors?) but I haven't got Jack's or any other of their camps on the itinerary and it would only annoy her - especially if somewhere else doesn't liive up to expectation. No way am I ever showing this to my wife. :angry:

 

The Boteti River really has a lot of water. I don't know anything about it really, but although I knew it was flowing I didn't expect that much water! Looks very beautiful like that... we're resting up at Meno-a-Kwena between the two halves of our mobile trip so it's nice to have something to see.

 

Wasn't that area badly affected by the fires, or were they after you left? I lost my sense of time recently.

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Thankyou for all your kind comments.

 

Pangolin, Jack's is the place to see brown hyenas, but they had been missing for 18 months. When I was there in March

 

we just found them coming back into the area. It certainly was good to find them still there when I arrived at the end of

 

last month. My photo of cubs verified the fact that there were two cubs, up until then it was thought that there was

 

just one. The shots were not very good because we stayed well back, and the light was fading.

 

 

 

jan

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Sangeeta and Twaffle,

 

The meerkats do well at Jack's. The edge of the pans is the ideal place for them.

 

Twaffle,

 

Meno a Kwena is a great place to stay at the end of a safari, very relaxing. You can go out into the national park,

 

or just laze about the camp and watch the animals coming down to the river to drink, or in the case of the elephants,

 

play in the river. This time we just stayed in camp. Super said that it was the first day this year that he had not got

 

into his car! I thought that he deserved a rest.

 

 

Jan

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Pault, I'll have to contact your wife!! I'm glad you'll be going to Meno a Kwena, it's just the place for a break between

 

mobiles. There is a cliff top pool that' wonderful for lounging in and watching the animals coming down to the river, and

 

drinks are at hand! funky tents and good food all add up to a great little camp.

 

The fires were over before I arrived, but my friend, James, the zebra researcher, sent me google links with before and

 

after images.

 

So it was you I was advising on Fodors! I don't comment these days since I found ST, but do look to see what Hari is

 

getting up to !!!

 

 

 

Jan

 

 

I'll be doing a new gallery with more of my latest trip shortly.

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Looovely report and so lovely to see the pics!

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Atravelynn

The meerkat photos are amazing. You have your Christmas card photo, if you send them. They all posed so nicely for you! Very fortunate with the brown hyenas too! Two dens is great. I hope they produce many. I noted they had been missing for 18 months, certainly not guaranteed.

 

I'll check out Meno a Kwena later.

 

Happy Birthday!

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Atravelynn

I was trying to think who you reminded me of Jan, based on your photo. I took another look and it just hit me--a woman I worked with many years ago. I had to laugh because that woman never would have posed for a photo with meerkats all over her.

 

In booking your flights to Jack's, is there ever any problem of booking just one seat but being asked to pay for two? When I went (to San) there was talk of a solo posing a problem. I ended up paying for one. I've heard of the one seat potentially costing double from others. Since you go to this area a lot, please let us know your experience.

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Jan, I love the Meerkat photos, and happy birthday. Thanks fro sharing.

 

We visited a mate the other day with a pet meerkat. Naughty little thing - had a habit of sticking its nose right up your nostril.

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In booking your flights to Jack's, is there ever any problem of booking just one seat but being asked to pay for two? When I went (to San) there was talk of a solo posing a problem. I ended up paying for one. I've heard of the one seat potentially costing double from others. Since you go to this area a lot, please let us know your experience.

 

Unless your answer is "no, I never have to pay for two"... in which case please respond once my Mum (who is paying for two on one flight as far as I know).

 

 

Seriously, yes it would be interesting to know. The web sites cewrtainly raise the expecttion that you would have to pay for two if you were a single on those flights to the really remote (from other) camps like Jack's or Deception Valley Lodge or Grasslands.

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Looks like a great camp and the hyena pups are truly fantastic! :P

 

One thing I wonder about though; I always thought that "no contact with fauna" is like the most absolute rule in the bush. Are these meerkats an exception? Or are they bred in captivity or something?

 

I think I'm missing something... :lol:

 

Thx,

 

J.

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Atravelynn

On the flights to Kalahari, I went a few years back and used an (Jochen, avert your eyes! :lol: ) agent that looked out very well for me. That may be how I paid for just one, but the agent mentioned that it was a battle to get the pricing to match how many seats I was taking.

 

Looking forward to Meno a Kwena.

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the[/i] most absolute rule in the bush. Are these meerkats an exception? Or are they bred in captivity or something?

 

I think I'm missing something... :lol:

 

Thx,

 

J.

 

 

Jochen,

 

I agree with you about the no contact rule. The meerkats dig or use old burrows, and use them to sleep at night. They

 

come out in the early morning and scan the skies for eagles, their main enemy. They always choose the highest available

 

spot, which may well be you if you are sitting or lying close by. The absolute rule is 'no touching', just let the meerkat

 

climb over your body as it wishes. They run and play around you, chattering among themselves. When they start to

 

move off you can follow and watch them digging for scorpions etc.

 

The low lying ground around the salt pans is their ideal habitat. Walking with the meerkats is fascinating, watching

 

their behaviour and wonderful interaction. There is always a 'sentry' on duty watching the skies and surrounding area

 

for enemies. So, the meerkats and the brown hyenas are a great draw as far as I'm concerned, and over the years

 

Jack's has always been included in my Botswana itinerary.

 

 

Jan

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On the flights to Kalahari, I went a few years back and used an (Jochen, avert your eyes! :P ) agent that looked out very well for me. That may be how I paid for just one, but the agent mentioned that it was a battle to get the pricing to match how many seats I was taking.

 

Looking forward to Meno a Kwena.

 

???

 

Lynn I think you confuse me with Johan. He's on a mission against TA's lol. Not me.

 

I only have a problem if they do not let me book directly. :lol:

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Hi Jan,

 

OK so these are real wild animals. :lol:

 

Well... please (!) don't take this personally but I think this totally wrong then.

 

I can easily see why that lodge and it's rangers "take advantage" of the flat terrain to offer the meerkats a lookout point in the form of a human being. I guess it will bring in some customers who hope to get the same experience. And customers mean money.

But I think there's at least two serious risks by doing this:

1) the meerkats get too used to humans. And not all humans may have the same good intentions as a tourist.

2) the "lookout point" may (unknowingly) transmit diseases to the meerkats (influenza etc)

 

I am actually surprised that this is allowed.

 

( Sorry, just expressing an opinion *blush* )

 

Ciao,

 

J.

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Atravelynn

Jochen, it may not be the first time I made that error. Sorry about that! So avert or not as you see fit.

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madaboutcheetah

Hi Jan,

 

Awesome report and sounds like a Great Birthday party - no surprises as you were home at Jack's.

 

I've seen some older pics of yours either here or on FB of Meno A Kwena. Looks a really cool camp and the rooms and their aesthetics are really very different from all the standard fare. COOL.

 

Snowing in London?

 

Hari

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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