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Namibia Botswana & Zambia Oct/Nov 2011: Trip report and many photos


Canadian Robin

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Canadian Robin

Below is the link to a trip report from a 6-week self-drive that my DH and I completed through Namibia, Botswana and Zambia in October/November 2011.

 

The trip included visits to Edo's Camp near Ghanzi, Royal Tree Lodge in Maun, Moremi (Third Bridge), Khwai Community campsite, Chobe (Savuti, Ihaha), Waterberry Lodge in Livingstone, Mvuu Lodge (Elly) campsite and Old Mondoro Bush Camp near/in Lower Zambezi National Park, and Track and Trail campsite and Kaingo Camp in South Luangwa National Park. It was an amazing trip!

 

There are many photos included with the report - you may enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

 

This is a work in progress. I have not yet completed the day to day journal. In the meantime, enjoy the list of highlights (it is lengthy!), which features some of our favourite photos. CR

 

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Super LEEDS

Hi CR

 

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing. Am just starting the report now :)

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Super LEEDS

Already loving it and I'm only up to the bit about the honey badger actually eating honey!

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Bushfire

Thanks for sharing !

Had a wonderfull time reading it, much better than any Tv-show this evening :-)

 

greetz,

 

R

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pault

Honey badger actually eating honey - looking forward to this one already.

 

Six weeks! Lucky CR and DH!!!

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Canadian Robin

I am afraid you still have rather a long way to go Super LEEDS. :D

 

pault - the honey badger was one of our favourite sightings - the first time we had seen one actually eating honey. And yes, 6 weeks was wonderful - we took our time, spending 3 or 4 nights at most stops - vital, we find, when we are self-driving, camping and doing everything for ourselves. We find we tire quickly if we try to cover too much territory in too short a time - and rushing around takes much of the pleasure out of the journey for us. Of course, stops at places like Old Mondoro help as well ;) - we loved that camp!

 

Glad you enjoyed it Bushfire!

CR

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And yes, 6 weeks was wonderful - we took our time, spending 3 or 4 nights at most stops - vital, we find, when we are self-driving, camping and doing everything for ourselves. We find we tire quickly if we try to cover too much territory in too short a time - and rushing around takes much of the pleasure out of the journey for us. Of course, stops at places like Old Mondoro help as well ;) - we loved that camp!

CR

 

CR, I agree with "taking the time" to enjoy the journey - which also results in excellent sightings!

Am on Page 6, loving the photography, especially the add-on/s of your 4x4 and camp pictures. Gives a very nice perspective of your journey.

Old Mondoro looks like quite a promising location. What's better than viewing a wild elephant right from your bed :)

Thanks for sharing, will continue reading when I get a chance!

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cheetah80

What a wonderful trip report, not too often you see reports about self-drives here! It brought back so many cherished memories of a similar trip we did a couple of years back (Moremi + Chobe + Vic Falls), and it is filling me with excitement about our next self-drive in Zambia! Although I have to admit that I am a bit apprehensive now after reading how you described the highways in Zambia!

 

It feels like I am taking the journey with you, I love the detailed observations and the pictures you included of each place you stayed and your camping routines. I am also insanely jealous of the many wonderful sightings that you had - so many leopards its unbelievable! I was also very amused by the elephant and toy cobra story! And also a honey badger sighting in daylight - what a winner! Up till now I only read until Savuti and can't wait for the evening to come so that I can continue reading about your trip.

 

Thank you so much for sharing this, it is not only great to re-live memories and get tips for our future visits, but it is extremely entertaining armchair travelling. It also depicts how much you love these wild places and animals - your enjoyment of the experiences shines through on every page. Definitely one of the best self-drive trip reports I have come across! Respect! :)

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Super LEEDS

Working fine here egilio.

 

Just finished! Thanks again - lovely pics.

Edited by Super LEEDS
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Thank you for another great TR! Brought back many pleasant memories of previous Namibia/Botswana self-drives, and it is always interesting to see what has changed and what never changes. As cheetah80 pointed out, self-drive TRs here on ST are fairly rare, and I think your TRs have demonstrated how much different the safari experience can be when you don't have a local guide/driver as a buffer between you and reality.

 

And I am particularly interested in your Zambia experiences and observations--unfortunately, my plans for a very similar journey in almost the exact time frame had to be put on hold--since I still hope to make the trip some day and will surely reread this TR while planning it. Your day-to-day journal is priceless for anyone considering a similar journey.

 

A great read, and I'm eagerly waiting for the concluding pages. You're not going to leave us stranded on the banks of the Zambezi are you? Well, there are worse fates... :)

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Canadian Robin

Shreyas - I would highly recommend a visit to Old Mondoro - it was our favourite tented camp of the trip and arguably, our favourite camp ever - just outstanding in every way. Ironically, at the time of booking, it was our second choice - we had a reservation at Sausage Tree Camp but were given the boot when a large group took over the whole camp - first time (and hopefully the last!) that has ever happened to us. In the end, it (being turfed by STC) was a blessing.

 

The elephants at Old Mondoro were great - we were lucky that tent #3 was located under a winterthorn acacia, which attracted the elephants. If you go, specify that tent - as long as you don't mind very close encounters with ellies. The other tents did not enjoy quite the close-up encounters that we did - although the couple in tent #1 frequently had to be driven to and from their tent because hippos liked to graze next to it.

 

 

cheetah80 - Happy to learn that the TR brought back fond memories. Thank you for your very kind words. I am happy you enjoyed the detail - there is much of it! :D I wish Robert had managed to take a photo of the elephant with the trunk encircling the cobra - we were both so paralyzed with fear that Robert had stopped taking photos. We were very lucky with the honey badger - a classic case of being in the right place at the right time! We do seem to be very fortunate with our sightings - likely because we are always out (in the morning) as early as allowed, and we drive very slowly.

 

The driving in Zambia was very stressful - such dangerous highways - the worst we have endured in all of the African countries we have visited. Actually, the highways themselves aren't bad - although there are sections with potholes that could swallow a vehicle. It is the large trucks that are so dangerous - poorly maintained, incredibly overloaded, being driven at break-neck speeds, and always encroaching on the other lane because they are too wide to fit in their own. It was terrifying to meet an oncoming truck on either a hill or corner. I still haven't decided if I would be willing to self-drive in Zambia in the future. Shame, because I would love to go back!

 

 

AKChui - I promise to get back to the day to day journal ASAP. At the moment, I have a houseful of Canadian guests, and I am expecting a second group next week. The difficulty in coming to SA from Canada for a year is that family and friends realize that it is a great opportunity for them to visit SA. While we are delighted to have them because, among many other benefits, it gives us an excuse to drop everything and hit the road, it does mean that I am not able to spend much time on the computer. May should be a slightly quieter month than April, which is going to be crazy, so I will get back to it then (if not before). I must get the TR finished before July, when we will head to Kenya and Tanzania for another self-drive. Meanwhile, enjoy your stay on the banks of the Zambezi! ;)

 

My apologies - I have just discovered your note/PM - I will respond shortly. It has been a while since I was on this forum, and I had forgotten that other users could send me messages.

Robin

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  • 2 weeks later...
white stork

Thank you for your report - I will be travelling to many of the same locations later tis year and your advice was most useful

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This report provided me with three nights worth of bedtime reading. Very much enjoyed it. Thanks. Patsy

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Great report, Robin. You are to be congratulated on the details and especially the stunning pictures. What camera and lenses are you using? Also, I assume the report is not finished? Thanks.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks so much for the link to the report, Robin .......... Looks a fantastic trip!!! Will have to re-read it over the weekend .........

 

One of my fav pics is the one of the giraffe on the flood plains, with a BG of buffalo walking single file ...... awesome!!!!

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Canadian Robin

white stork - Happy the report was helpful. Are you self-driving?

 

Patsy - I am impressed that you managed to get through it in 3 nights! :blink: Glad you enjoyed it!

 

AKR1 - I must give full credit to my DH, who takes most of the photos. We have two cameras - a Nikon D80 with a 18-70mm and a Nikon D90 with a 70-300mm. The report is a work in progress - I keep getting interrupted by Canadian visitors who come to stay - we are Canadians living in CT for a year, so many family and friends are coming to visit. I am off tomorrow to Kgalagadi NP (one of my favourite parks!) with our latest group, so it will be a couple of weeks before I get back to it.

 

madaboutcheetah - Happy you enjoyed the photos - my DH managed to capture some lovely shots on this trip. We were lucky with our timing - in the right place at the right time on several occasions!

Robin

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white stork

Robin - I am self driving. And strangely enough I am going with Safari Drive. Small world.

 

I start in Maun and have 10 days in Bots through to Kasane, staying at many of the same places you went to. I have been to Ihaha before as used to do some self drive day tribe around Chobe when I lived in Livingstone but have never stayed there - your warnings on the nocturnal activity there is noted.

I then head to Livingstone to visit some old friends.

 

I hope we are half as lucky as you were with the sightings. Thanks again for the fabulous report.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Canadian Robin

Have a wonderful trip, white stork. I am envious - I would go back to Botswana in a minute if it were possible. I'll look forward to your report and photos. Robin

Very small world!

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africapurohit

Amazing trip report so far (and I'm only on page 4!!) - brilliant honey badger photo and I loved the elephant/rubber cobra story.

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Canadian Robin

africapurohit - the cobra and elephant encounter was a favourite - it is pity that my DH didn't get a photo of the ellie with its trunk around the cobra, but we were both paralyzed when the massive ellie was that close. It made a great story for our son, who gave us the cobra to keep the baboons and monkeys at bay. The sighting of the honey badger was a matter of great timing and good luck - we had seen honey badgers before, but never one actually eating honey!

 

Happy you are enjoying it!

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Atravelynn

Your self-drive reports are a wealth of knowledge. Where to next for you?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Uh_oh busted

I spend ALL day yesterday reading your report (with breaks to get some chores done) sitting on our screened porch with the fans blowing to stay cool. With all the birdsong in our yard, I almost felt like I was right along with you. It was wonderful.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Robin hope you are OK? as there has been no messages from you or trip reports from Tanzania. best wishes Pen

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... Not to mention you don't seem to have finished this trip report!

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