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Botswana Dec 2011- Duma Tau, Tubu Tree & Kwara


stokeygirl

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stokeygirl

Ez is indeed Ezekial. The manager I spoke to most was Moses, but I think he was newish. He said he had been at Kerr Downey, and had only just arrived at Kwara. I think he'd been at one other Kwando camp- I think Tau Pan. There was also Hilda, and a couple of younger ladies whose names I didn't catch.

 

In general I found the management at Kwando to be a bit more in the background than at the Wilderness camps. At Kwando, the guides seemed to take a bigger role in hosting.

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The other vehicles gave up but MT persevered, speculating that this was where the mother had hidden the kill, so he jostled the vehicle into the bush. Sure enough we found them both settled under the

The next day I joined another guide, EZ, a French lady and newly arrived honeymooners from Australia for a drive, whilst the rest of my vehicle did a mekoro and short walk before their 10:30 flight.

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Super LEEDS

Contrary to other reports: absolutely spectacular, Stokeygirl! The missus really loves small cubs and pups which has rubbed off on me so appreciated the jackal puppy.

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stokeygirl

Yeah, there are still some lion cubs to come.....

 

Need to sort through the leopard photos first, then only one more afternoon drive to report..........

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madaboutcheetah

Ez is indeed Ezekial. The manager I spoke to most was Moses, but I think he was newish. He said he had been at Kerr Downey, and had only just arrived at Kwara. I think he'd been at one other Kwando camp- I think Tau Pan. There was also Hilda, and a couple of younger ladies whose names I didn't catch.

 

In general I found the management at Kwando to be a bit more in the background than at the Wilderness camps. At Kwando, the guides seemed to take a bigger role in hosting.

 

 

Thanks ...... Great to know that EZ is back! Moses was at Lagoon in August on relief - yeah, very very NEW. Hilda has been around for oh sooooooo many years! far too many to count!!!! She was a receptionist a long time ago - was manager at Tau Pan and then i suppose moved back to Kwara.

 

Oh yeah ..... that's oh so true with the hosting!!!

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Safaridude

I was told the Uris were being reconditioned and sent to Lebala and Lagoon. From my experience last year in Lagoon, I think the tough Uris are still needed to cope with all the off roading required to keep up with the dogs hunting. The Cruisers definitely gave a more comfortable ride than the Land Rovers used by Wilderness. However, they were longer which made it a struggle even in the second row to hear the guide.

 

Great stuff Stokeygirl.

 

Regarding Uris vs. Cruisers... I actually quite like the Uris. They have grown on me. The trouble with the new Landcruisers at Kwara is that they are petrol engines, not diesel... so they lack a bit of power. We got stuck in the sand once -- we had to dig out with a shovel.

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stokeygirl

I didn't mind the Uris either, but in the rainy season having the option to put the roof on in the new vehicles is a bonus, especially as their rain ponchos are a bit ineffective. After the day we got really drenched, they put the roof on our vehicle. WHich I was pleased about because, as I mentioned, I had so many clothes wet or in the laundry that if I'd got any more clothes wet, I was in danger of having to do game drives in pyjamas!

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madaboutcheetah

In a torrential down pour, you can't stop the rain from entering from the sides, no?

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stokeygirl

No you can't, but it is an improvement and if the rain isn't too heavy you can stay relatively dry, whereas with no roof even light rain will get you soaked if it's persistent.

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  • 2 weeks later...
stokeygirl

OK, I haven't quite finished yet! Here's for the final push.

 

So we went back in search of the leopard. When we got there, Mopane was patiently waiting for us. As I feared, the leopard, a large male, was under a bush with foliage hanging down so we couldn’t get a clear view. However, patience is the name of the game, Soon, he yawned several times, and the guides at Tubu had told me that when a leopard (or any cat) starts yawning, it is often preparing to get up and start walking. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes, he did exactly that. We then enjoyed the most spectacular sighting as we followed him for well over an hour as he wandered around, periodically marking his territory and occasionally stopping to rest. He walked out in the sunlight, back into the shade, through the grass.

 

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stokeygirl

Once he seemed to have settled down under a bush, this time with a much clearer view, but we stayed and chatted and got drinks from the cooler box. At this stage I really should have got the monopod out as my photos were not as sharp as I'd have liked.

 

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Then some more yawning and stretching and he was back on the move.

 

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This time into the long grass.

 

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We followed, as now it was our turn to keep sight of him until Mopane and Tom could return from the airstrip with the guests they had picked up. Just as they arrived, he stopped in the thick grass and seemed to be chewing. All we could catch sight of was a few feathers, and we found he had made a snack of a nightjar. We then left the other vehicle to enjoy the sighting alone, and drove back to camp for a late brunch. We heard on the radio that the Australian family were returning from Tsum Tsum where they had managed to see the three cheetah brothers, and they were also planning to check out the leopard.

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stokeygirl

TJ told us that the plan for the afternoon would be for the German couple to join the Australians on a boat/fishing trip, while TJ would take me to Four Rivers to try to find the lioness and cubs. Jacob had been there that morning and found their fresh tracks, but he didn’t have time to track them as his guests had a flight to catch. Still, they were clearly in the area. The German lady was asking me a lot of questions and I could tell she was considering skipping the boat trip to join me. I warned that we might drive all the way and find nothing, but by this stage I think I was getting somewhat of a reputation for good luck, having seen the cheetah and cubs on my first drive, the three brothers at Tsum Tsum, and now this leopard. My luck had to run out sometime, though, I warned. There had been a brief shower during our leopard sighting, although this could have been localised and it may not have rained at Four Rivers. Much would depend on whether the afternoon would bring rain to obliterate the tracks that Jacob had found in the morning.

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stokeygirl

By tea, amazingly there had been no rain. There had been ominous rolls of thunder, distant at first then drawing closer, but then fading again. Obviously the storms had just passed us by. As we set off for Four Rivers it was dry but once underway it did start spitting. The German couple had decided to join me rather than go fishing. We drove straight to Four Rivers, driving at quite a pace to try to get there before the rain ruined any tracks. Tom radioed to say that he too was heading that way and was behind us. Three vehicles should make the search easier. As we approached the Four Rivers area, TJ heard that Jacob had taken another toad and had got there ahead of us, and he directed us to go to the old airstrip area where he was already following the tracks, or was he following the lions? We couldn’t quite make it out, but TJ thought he said he was following the lions.

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stokeygirl

We soon arrived and spotted Jacob’s vehicle and sure enough, there they were, running around in front of him. Two lionesses and two cubs. The lionesses were mother and a daughter from her first litter of cubs, and the two male cubs were her second litter. They were not part of either the Shinde pride or the Kwara pride, but the father of the cubs was probably one of the Magnificent Seven.

 

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stokeygirl

It was a lovely sighting but the very overcast weather and light rain made it a bit of a challenge to get any really nice photos.

 

They jumped down from the tree and walked off.

 

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One of the cubs decided to climb another tree alone, perching on top and then struggling to get down.

 

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His less brave sibling waited at the bottom.

 

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The lionesses then walked through to an open area where they seemed to be eyeing up a group of potential prey- zebra, impala, warthog and wildebeest were all potentially on the menu. They left the cubs on a hillock and started to stalk along the edge of a patch of long grass. We all retired to a distance so as not to disturb the hunt. At this stage, the third vehicle joined us and we sat and watched. The cubs got bored waiting, and ambled over to join their mum and older sister. Then a reedbuck started alarm whistling. TJ thought it unlikely the lions would make a move before dark so we retired further away to have a G&T. The rain was still light but getting heavier so we decided to leave. The other vehicles followed shortly. On the way back we found yet another of the Magnificent Seven walking on the road.

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stokeygirl

The next morning I had a 10:25 flight, and after 12 nights on safari I decided to skip a morning activity. I had a 12:25 flight to Jo’burg, then 6 hours in the airport before my overnight flight back to London and I decided I would rather travel freshly showered and rested rather than go straight from a game drive. I heard lions calling first thing in the morning and I was very tempted to get up and go out, but my bags needed packing so I resisted the temptation.

 

That's all folks!

 

Next stop for me will be the Masai Mara on 3rd Feb. Then back to Botswana in April, this time to Duba, Selinda and Tau Pan.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks, Stokeygirl ..... lovely report!!!

 

The male Leopard in your pic- in Feb 2011, we actually started tracking him from Little Kwara camp - his spoor was all over camp from the night! It did take 2 hours, but, Hobbs and Spencer along with our trackers found him!!! Amidst the tracking, we ate a couple of extra muffins as we were in camp with the tracking for close to 30 minutes.

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Alex The Lion

Great trip report, just had the chance to read through it all.

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  • 2 weeks later...
twaffle

Love the photos of the leopard … sensational.

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I've just done the pre-school version of trip report reading - photos only - and I see dogs, dogs, dogs, leopard, leopard, cheetah, leopard, cheetah, lions, leopard, leopard. I'm looking forward to adult version and reading the words too, as soon as I have time, but this looks like an excellent trip - although from the colours and light, it was a quite wet and cloudy one.

 

Don't we get to see the doggies in the first post in more than thumbnail size? Not all of us have read yet so it is not a waste of your time.

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  • 3 years later...
Tom Kellie

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~ @@stokeygirl

 

This particular leopard image stood out to me.

The head resting on the ground, the left front leg beside, a mildly langorous expression.

Who hasn't felt this way at times?

Sometimes it's exhausting to be a leopard.

Your trip report is a joy, your leopard images nothing less than thrilling.

Yet your tuckered out leopard shot is special for me, perhaps because I identify with what's depicted.

Many thanks for posting such a wealth of images!

Tom K.

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