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Flashback to August 2011 - Botswana safari


madaboutcheetah

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madaboutcheetah

http://500px.com/madaboutcheetah/photos

 

Apologies in the delay with this trip report which has been so long overdue. Was swamped with a mountain of work Sept/Oct last year and was behind on the photo editing. Having read all the beautiful new reports, I guess I owe the safaritalk community a report regardless of the delay.

 

This report is going to be brief as I will talk from memories and the time lag. Trip was entirely Lagoon and Lebala camps in NG 14(Kwando concession).

 

As usual, many Thanks to my friends and guides ......... Spencer and Moeti (Mr.Moe)

 

Lebala camp - had good general game last winter. South of camp always has the plains game - Kudu, lechwe, Elephant herds coming down to graze on those plains and to have a drink, some birding but nothing exceptional. Pity Twin Pools holds more and more water by the Selinda boundary. All of those lovely termite mounds are under water! From the sundowner tree (Strangler fig tree) you just see water everywhere!!!

 

Predators seen ........... Magician the big male Leopard was found one morning and he was active and stalking from a termite mound (pics on that 500px website link) ........ a female Leopard with cub right behind the camp workshop for a few days there. They were one day feeding on a reedbuck (grasses tall and high) ....... they were definitely show stoppers as they were right around camp.

 

Finally a big Lion Pride in the area after my last good sighting of Lions was early 2008. This pride mostly in Selinda came down on a couple of days. Found them on boundary road once and little closer to Lebala on another day. With active young cubs back then ........ they were always playful. Pride males weren't around. From memory, guests came from Duma Tau and found them all the way there ..........

 

This was a bad luck cheetah trip - a complete opposite of August 2010 the previous year. The famous "boys of Lagoon" were playing hide and seek with me ...... were off hunting in their old territory inside the woodlands (back when the blood brothers held forte the main route from Lagoon thru Lebala thru Selinda thru Duma Tau) ....... a lot of their territory in the woodlands does not even have a road network to try and find their spoor to start tracking ........ Fortunately, we found them on our final two days when they popped out. Despite their laziness, they did scent mark and climb termite mounds and logs in brilliant golden light on both days ....... still, fortunate to have seen them. It really was a wild goose chase ........... just goes to say that nature is unpredictable and you take what you find!!! Oh well .....

 

Lagoon camp - Great big herds of Elephants and Buffalo all over the Lagoon area. Small groups of Eland almost everyday. Some sporadic Roan and Sable (nothing fantastic). Good plains game particularly around that Zebra pan - the usual Zebra/Wildebeest herds. Birding - nothing exceptional. Highlight being a Gymnogene.

 

Obviously, with Lagoon the highlight in the winter is always going to be the wild dogs and their den. This year - 2011 their den was far far away from camp deep inside the mopane veldt. However, there was very good view of the den and the area around it where the puppies would come out.

 

A lot of time at Lagoon was spent on trying to find the cheetah brothers - we did not even manage to find tracks .......... the only other predators around were the dogs so we made best use of the situation.

 

Highlight besides the den and puppies ........ one morning, a really bad stench got us off road (approx 500meters) and we found a dead Elephant and the dogs feeding on it. Pics again on 500px ............ Dogs gave up after an hour and found themselves an impala about 400m from the carcass. Even the vultures left after a brief stay - they did not feed on the carcass. There were no Hyena or other predators interested in the carcass. Two days later, the stench got so bad from the rotten carcass that we only took a look from a distance to see if anyone was feeding on it. Hardly any spoor around!

 

Another day, we were following the dogs back to the den after a hunt - they stopped en route at another pan at a different Elephant carcass. This one was long gone - very old carcass. They didn't feed ........

 

My first time to the refurbished Lagoon - spectacular camp. Nothing too designer! but, much different from the old camp!!!

 

URIs still remain at both Lagoon and Lebala .......

 

Overall, a good trip - but, not quite as eventful as previous trips due to the fact that the cheetah were hiding...... I made up for this at the Masai Mara in Feb this year ...... cheetahs everywhere!!!!

 

Will await Kwando 2012 eagerly ..........

 

Cheers,

Hari

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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madaboutcheetah

Thank you! finally - sounds like a great trip and you atleast got to see the cheetahs -they cant be hunting a tssessebe and 2 impalas for you all the time ;)

 

Thanks - agree, they popped up last two days to make just that same point! We had completely given up on them - we were tracking Lions near Lebala, when Balli called us on the radio to say they came down from upper Kwando and they were on their way South .......... it was another goose chase where we had to drive far north!

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Safaridude

Yeah, 2011 was a strange year in northern Bots. I was there after you Hari -- in September and we actually saw the flood coming in (!) still on the floodplains at Lebala... and the game was dispersed. Looking forward to living vicariously through you later this year...

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks Safaridude - I'm guessing you saw much the same animals as above?

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Sangeeta

Thanks for doing this, Hari. Nicely written.

 

What is the topography like in this general area? I mean, do some concessions seem to have more flooded areas compared to other concessions, or are they all pretty much in the same boat, do you know?

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madaboutcheetah

The floods in the kwando concession is the direct result of the over flow from the kwando river, sangeeta. Different from the seasonal flooding in the Okavango areas.

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Safaridude

Yes, Hari, pretty much the same roster of animals.

 

Lagoon - I saw 2 leopards, the Lagoon pack with pups, a nice sable and a shy roan, a group of shy eland

 

Lebala - no cats or dogs, a shy sable herd, a nice herd of roan

 

The cheetah boys were hiding. We were extremely unlucky with lions (at Lebala, the 1,000 + herd of buffalos were just crossing back into Lebala from Selinda as we were leaving Lebala -- and, predictably, the lions appeared at Lebala right after we left) (at Lagoon, there were lions around the second day we were there, but we went to the wild dog den so we missed the lions)

 

Elephants were there of course but not as thick as usual due to wide dispersal.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks, Safaridude

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Sangeeta

Thanks, Hari.

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  • 1 month later...
Atravelynn

Your experience goes to show how unpredictable cheetahs (or any animal) can be. Here today, vanish tomorrow. Leopard and cub is not bad, though. Rather than a report, you could just do live feeds from Kwando, you are there so much.

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Sangeeta
Rather than a report, you could just do live feeds from Kwando, you are there so much.

 

:lol: :lol:

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twaffle

Thanks Hari, I always enjoy the Botswana reports knowing that I may never visit there.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks, Twaffle .....

 

Just came back from a Tiger safari 3 days worth at Tadoba. Amazing!!!!

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penolva

Whats this?? another Tiger safari? Guess you got to see one this time. Do post pics. Pen

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