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nth kenya,kruger and madikwe june and July 2012


COSMIC RHINO
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seeing a sugn up around the place looks like most of the reserve is in a wildernerss zone which is kicheche camp only ,perhaps the viewing is better there

 

Also Porini and another camp called Ol Pejeta if I remember right... it's the "low impact tourism area" and you were in the "higher impact tourism area" (not really called that but I can't remember the name). Many more predators in the low impact area, in my (limited) experience. You're right about the lack of tracks in that area - the road system seems designed for transport rather than game viewing, with very large blocks completely inaccessible. I guess that is a result of the farming history - those large blocks would have been the fields (but just guessing).

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COSMIC RHINO

Kicheche camp says on their site that they are the only ones in the wilderness area

 

perhaps this is not the case

 

 

Lewa was also a farm and their tracks are in a whole lot smaller blocks

 

as regards ol pejeta you would have thougt that they would have had more tracks to make ranger anti poaching patrols easier

 

 

the places other than sweetwaters in ol pejeta are really expensive

 

if I had that sort of money easily available I would have asked about the places in lewa other than safari camp

 

I wanted 7 days in kenya given what I had paid in airfares from Johannesburg

 

the animals are definately a whole lot more visable at Lewa

 

perhaps it goes back to the craig family being understanding of wildlife and having had a tourism operation there long term

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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COSMIC RHINO

when I returned to nairobi my transfer fron wilson airport was on time.

 

the giraffe centre was interesting

 

I was then taken to a branch of the African heritage craft shop in the exclusive suburb of karen

 

I loved the look of this large ebony rhino which would had converted at around $200 perhaps too expensive and I was not sure where I could fit it in at home

 

I went for something much smaller and also noticed that they had rowland ward hand engraved game crystal at good prices rhino shot glasses for $12 I wanted tumblers but they did not have them

 

they had a bank of 6 or 7 card machines, I guess if one does not work another will.

 

things got home in perfect order wrapped in butchers paper,paper straw then bubble wrap

 

then to have coffee with the boss of the company

 

after that back to the international airport

 

some people might be interested in the bookshop in the departures area they have a copy of a lovely pictorial on mt kilamanjaro which is out of print

 

the shops have card signs up, but given them a card ,they say the machine is down and ask for USD CASH

 

well Iknow that people here like tusker beer

 

at the boulvarde hotel bar they have a guinness fridge, I guess they had to order so much to get the fridge supplied free of charge ,but now there is a just bit of guinness and the rest could be easily 80% full of tusker

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COSMIC RHINO

sole cheetahs seen a few times around sweetwaters

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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Yes, they've tried the 'credit card is down' at the airport several times and the only time I thought they might be right was when all the power went off. Other times I've just said, "oh well, I don't have the spare cash so won't be buying anything". Amazing how quickly that credit card machine starts to work!

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COSMIC RHINO

I happened to have cash as I had been refunded by safari link , they charge single travellers double fare to guarantee the flight takes of , and refund later if there were 2 passengerd or more

 

if it had not been for this my cash would have been short

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COSMIC RHINO

the sweetwaters water hole also gets good numbers of plains zebras visiting

 

not that many people watched the waterhole,most rested between drives.

 

ol pejeta does not get many grevys zebras

 

lewa safari camp has a wonderfull feel , sweetwaters is just a big luxury hotel mainly concerned with money

 

it was interesting to see what some others travels with

 

well they did not ask their agent what facilities would be in the places they were staying

 

an Indian family came with battery operatred Ipod dock with their favourite Indian music, T light candles, their favourite tea bags and an small electric jug

 

well they were not camping in a tiny tent I would have thought that hot water would have been available.

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COSMIC RHINO

Lewa no lonbvgger grazes their own cattle ,however they allow limited community grazing to promote good relations along with things like health clinic, schools and aduit education

 

I was able to purchase a copy of nicole breeds Lewa history FROM OXCART TO EMAIL in the camp shop

 

ol pejeta containues to graze cattle as part of finacing their operations

 

johannesburg deals with late night arrivals very well

 

the flight arrived around midnight

 

they looked at passports and vaccination certificates without getting arrivals carss filled in

 

it took less than 5 minutes to get into a taxi at the the airport and I was soon at my hotel for only zar 100

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my energy was feeling better being more in the sun and also taking vitamin d pills , since returning my energy has been a bit down

 

Since I was unlikely to get sunburnt in winter and it was not any more revealing than swimmers at times I was dressed only in boxer shorts and hiking boots.

 

I took my small Artemis statue which links me to sacred beliefs about nature

 

I got to the airport early for the flight to Nelspruit after resting a few days in Johannesburg

 

the flight arrived a bit early the seasons in africa rep had a sign with my name and we got underway for the drive to umkumbe

 

Umkumbe lodge is made up of simple brick cabins with 3 rooms to a building , there was no problems with other guests being noisy when I was there

 

they have a small concession of 680 hectares near mala mala and sabi sabi

 

elephants are regulary seen walking over a sand river between the end of brunch and the afternoon game drive.

 

elephant heards on the main concession not that often , lions infrequent none during the 7 nights of my stay

 

general plains game good, dugga buffaloes good

 

excellent viewing of leopards including seeing them with kills

 

hunting dogs are denning on mala mala and come our way a few times ,twice during my stay including successfully fighting hyneas over a kill

 

kruger in general is not a good area for zebras

 

they do have day tours from a group called ELEPHANT HEARD afternoon drive only ,sometimes stay for a brai dinner, they are not a whole lot of day visitors and they are not disruptive.

 

my guide was Jason, andy was also around then went on leave for a while. biblical names are popular the trasckers are moses and solomon

 

at umkumbe,africa on foot and nthambo the guide is a multi tasker game drives, sometimes hikes, motor and building maintence

 

the door on my cabin was a bit sticky, a big glass sliding door , one morning it would not open, there were a problems the night before, I had been given the key

 

I did not want to miss the game drive so I took the cane chair to the window, climbed out it and balanced on the directors chair lined up underneath. the tracks of the door attract dust and leaves ,they were greased later

 

I was wondering what clapping with an open window would do, but decided to climb out

 

I have rebooked for umkumbe and have a sports referees whistle on my key ring in case there are problems again.

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on the evening after the leopard had been spotted with the kudu kill , we went back after dinner to see what might happen

 

well we saw trees and stars for about 1 1/2 hours by the morning the kill had been reduced to bones beibng eaten by hyneas , the leopard was nearby and aafe

 

there is a large terraced area overlooking the sand river

 

the atmosphere of the camp is relaxced and informal

 

the other client were ok but most of them could not get their mind of home and work taken from what they spoke about

 

well I hang my socks on a coat hanger to dry, this is not the only place where the guide warned the that hyneas will take them, nothing happened

 

delightfull to hear aninal sounds and the wind in the trees at night

 

there was talk from the guide that the luxury properties in the area get wildlife sitings by using baiting

 

other places in the area

 

kirkmans camp was sold of part of mala mala

 

lion sands was created by selling part of sabi sabi

 

mala mala is supposedly on the market , but guides at another place told me that there are reports of that from time to time

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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the food was good and simple with lots of it at umkumbe

 

on one occasion got close to a cheetah, the first seen in the area for 5 years they don't like bingg near a whole lot of leopards and hyneas

 

got close enought to see per orbital glands mark grass

 

umkumbe is a great place to be

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just thinking recently being in a african wild area induces a relaxed sense akin to that which comes during meditation , this is for all the time I am there

 

some people remarkably could not get away from it talk of work and home

 

going onto klaserie reserve the transfer arrived on time and got me to africa on foot in good time

 

the reserve began as the high veld farmers summer escape from the 1920's onwards

 

a few commercial tourism operations are recent

 

africa on foot has been upgraded with the addition of a generator with a powerpoint for charging batteries and for the use of a fan in summer.

 

the landowner was around later when I was at nthambo camp

 

he is from the family of the original owner ,charges no rent but gets a profit share with the owners of the camps

 

it looks like the whole thing originated from the reaction of some of his house visitors

 

he is at a guess in his 70's and was a lawyer working in a mining practice, mainly representing farmers against coal mining companies.

 

he had a purely correspondance legal training , job in a legal office, work with text books etc, could ask the trained lawyers in the office questions, gatherered together with other students to discuss set topics, sent in assignments and did exams ,never even saw a single academic instructor

 

he got friendly with some reps of mining equiptment manufacturers from austria, they csme out to timbavati, loved the wildlife, did not enjoy the luxury that keeps you away from experiencing nature.

 

he suggested come over and stay in my simple house, they loved it including using his bakkie to go to the seperatre long drop toilet , not much ddistance from the house but lions were on a buffalo kill in the area

 

so looks like the idea of an ordinary comfort camp could have come from here

 

Africa on foot does a walk in the morning mainly small things and a drive in the afternoon,going into night

 

they now use 2 guides, each alternating between driving and being in the trackers seat

 

good general plains game, good lion sitings but not white lions, very good viewing of buffaloes ,not so many elephants as last year

 

the guides are reain and raoul. don't really like raoul who wants to move on in a list checking mentality for everything but lions

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both places use hot water bottles in the bed at night

 

beds are turned down at night

 

the food is a whole lot better now

 

dessert and soup is served every night

 

at klaserie reserve the politics is complex, most issues can be agreed on but some are contentious

 

votes are taken at the AGM 102 landholders have 1 vote each plus a fraction which reflects each owners share of the total land area

 

an executive committee makes decision between meetings

 

africa on foot has more woodland, nthambo has more grassland together they have a 1600 ha concession with a 8500 ha traversing rights

 

some private landowners have agreed to traversing since if vehicles are around wildlife on their land, they are more likely to see them

 

most are very protective of their land

 

when I commented that someone was driving aroud with a passenger sitting on a fully wound down window and their body hanging out the body of the 4WD/SUV car ,the guides comment was that is a landowner they do what they want to.

 

the gameviewing is decidely better at nthambo camp

 

being more open animals are easier to see, the guide is more carefull and can get closer to animals

 

at both places leopards were seen

 

also at both places over a number of days a pride of lions on a giraffe kill was viewed, the smell was something awefull and got worse over time.

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wooden decking at nthambo is great , it turns out that the landowner was talking about what he wanted done when a guest heard it . he was the architect who is doing the stadium designs for the soccer world cup in rio . he drew it up on paper and gave it to them asked ,is this the design you want ,yes it was basically what they wanted ,gave it to a local group to have a bit of detail added on

 

I have said it before but this trip was amazing for how much the other visitors by their talk had their bodies in wild africa but their minds at home

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nthambo has a more elaboratre choice of game drive snacks as well as dried fruit, rusks, billtong etc, there are also apples and I think muffins, served on a small folding table ,rather fhan from the tiop of the land rover

 

nthambo operates with a guide and a tracker

 

enoch has a backround of raising cattle in the town of sabi

 

as a tracker he has worked at mala mala, londolozi,singata ,sabi sabi and makalali lodges, then was approached to work at africa on foot and nthambo to improve game viewing

 

he is saying that he is tired and may give up tracking next year ,and go back to just raising cattle

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an observation of concern is that nearly al the other visitors were unable to get away from it all and were asking about web access, email etc

 

it was really concerning to hear a visotor from chicago expressing delight about having just seen a cougar , an leadwood rhino had the front horn broken of and 1 ear damaged,but could easily be repaired with craft glue

 

As someone who lives not that far from Chicago, let me apologize on behalf of the cougar spotter.

 

As I may be asking a bit about web access too for the first time, let me present a possible explanation. It may be that people are concerned about checking in at work in hopes of maintaining their jobs (especially those 45+ who don't want to give their boss any additional excuses to downsize them) in these tough times rather than people wanting the latest gossip on paparazzi boob shots or sports scores.

 

Nice to know Lewa was a hit. Brian's Art for Animals will be interested, as he too is a big Lewa fan.

 

We'll help you post some photos--either here or on a photo site where you can include a link. Then we went to see the snake highlight.

 

" spent at least 90 minutes with a crash of 4 white rhinos

 

in a mud wallow, seeing them use multiple scratching posts. eat grass, rest under trees, urine spraying, lying down on the road and finally settle under another tree as it was getting warm." There are not many places on the web (well, at least not respectable places) where we would all be enthralled with your sightings of mud wallows and urine spraying. Spending 90 minutes is a real privilege.

 

 

 

What happened to the New Zealanders with the missing luggage and medicine?

Edited by Atravelynn
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the retired women from new zealand bougt a bag and some of the clothes on offer in johannesburg airport plus polar fleece etc at lewa safari camp shop

 

medication well they were taking care with covering up but not using malaria medication

 

medication is the no 1 thing not to pack in checked luggage, hand luggage only but they forgot that

 

despite all this they were in good mood and talking of claiming on their insurance

 

well looking at the advice with my sun safaris booking for 2013 there is a comment that some people with concerns for reception are now take satallite phones , the advice use them in your own room only never the common areras of lodges and esbcially not on game drives. satelite phones are very expensive to buy and use

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without knowing it after commenting that I had heard tghat allan root the famous retired wildlife documentary maker lives at Lewa, I was told that his daughter had one of the admin guest contact jobs at Lewa safari camp

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I agree that guests parading around the lobby and talking loudly on their satellite phones would be a drag. Once there was a guy who was shouting into his phone all through the buffet line. Don't know what the conversation was about because I couldn't understand the language.

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after a slight complication of a vehicle breakdown on the way to hoedspruit airport and no transfer being there, I went to the SAA inquiry desk and asked them to phone Tangala lodge

 

their vehicle arrived within 5 minutes of the estimated time

 

a whole lot of people photographed the animal paintaing on the departure lounge walls and talked would it be lovely tol take this chunky log furniture home --- I thought 1 ton excess baggage

 

Thornybush is a fenced reserve with animals who stay not wander , they will be expanding by a considerable area .

 

kapman reserve next door bougt some land from another lodge which they really want to have, so they are selling land to thornybush to help pay for it.

 

Tangala is a authentic safari camp est 1944 unfenced, no electricity in the rooms, give your batteries to the manager to be recharged quickly

 

after dark there are stands for a think 146 parrifin lights on the posts , plastic soft drink botles with wicks

 

the cabins are simple brick buildings with thatch roofs, tile floors parafin lighting hot water bottles

 

the camp is unfenced nyala are regular visitors, so comfortable that they give birth near the sand paths

 

there is a waterhole with reguklar visits from impalas, wharthogs, nyala ,giraffes ------- keep still if you do not want to scare the animals.

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the place has a relaxed,comfortable feel, the cabins are very large, the lounge is a good size.,there is a small swimming pool

 

you feel like part of the family

 

keep the parafin lamps on at night to generate a bit of heat

 

the food is homestyle and in good quantities

 

the toast is done on a grill over a fire with the staff scaring of yellow billed hornbils

 

getting back to nature feels better with being of the powergrid

 

the gamedrives are excellent conducted in open vehicles with guide hindrich and tracker bennet in an open vehicle and tre radio calls are on an ear piece.

 

unlike some parts of kruger , zebras are seen from time to time

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CR - just getting caught up with this report. It sounds like other than Ol Pejeta, ALL your choices worked out beautifully, which goes to show that your pre-trip questions and planning were really well done and comprehensive.

 

I see you're re-booking many of these same places for next year as well, so it really must have been good for your soul!

 

Let's see how we can get you to adding your photos to the report.

 

Have you considered adding Hluhluwe to next year's trip?

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well close and lengty viewing of a wild dog pack saved madikwe

 

the blocks are too big for easy gameviewing and they don't go of road unless it is for lions

 

viewable wildlife numbers are to a large extent dependent on water levels at the pans, the lodges ask for more punping, the parks board does it, but not consistently ,so after 2 days it is down to a low level again

 

the female guide at mosthela bush camp is not good at all,very basic explainations of animals, lets say primary school level ,she really annoyed me

 

they mention that they have leopards , and when you get there you are told that they are just about never seen due to (1) strong aggressive lions (2) the area was used for cattle ranching before,the farmers killed leopards, so they became very skilled at hiding

 

 

she could tell that I was not impressed , and the surprising thing is that she came into my cabin when I was finishing my packing on the final day and told me that she enjoyed my company and hopes that I return

 

photos ? I don't yet have a home computer ,saving up for my next trip is the priority at the moment

 

adding anything onto my 2013 trip ? unlikely on grounds of cost and how do you go about visiting hluhluwe if you can't drive a car

 

PS Sorry for more than a few typing mistakes

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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tangala has a few solar electric cells mainly used for the fridge and the stove, also for charging guests batteries.

 

thornybush is well named ,there are large areas of serious thorns , I have rebooked tangala and will be taking a pair of rubberised cotton gardening gloves, to avoid getting scratched again.

 

in the course of the drives a few small branches break and end up in the vehicle.

 

watch out for branches and be prepared to move.

 

tangala is in the middle of the reserve, vehicles from all lodges are seen around the animal siteings

 

the grassed areas are mainly in amongst thorny vegetation

 

there are a few hippos at a few dams

 

tangala was not busy all the time, I had a number of solo drives including one when the othger visitors who were only staying 2 nights told the manager the night before that they wanted to sleep in

 

the most extradionary thing I have ever heard came from an of track drive within a meter of parts of a group of elepants

 

a young male lay down for a morning rest under a bush and started to sore , then the sound changed to a whole lot of water going down a bath , then he got up.

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