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Green Season in Botswana - CATS, CATS & Wild Dogs


graceland

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graceland

Back to camp, still enanmoured with my pregnant leopard.

 

Chitabe is such a friendly, guest - oriented camp.. On our bed were gifts, HANDMADE cards signed by all staff card all for our celebration. We go to the lounge area and have a great time chatting and laughing,comparing notes about our day with the other guests, all very interactive and friendly.

 

As dinner is called, one of the young men, LT asked us to step aside - oh dear what infraction had I committed?

 

He leads us to the pool area which is lit up like New Years with candles, lanterns, a beautifully outfitted dinner table for the two of us, overlooking a marsh where there is a hippo to great us. This particular night was the night the "termites" as the staff called them -came flying out with the moisuture ; apparently after a rain they swarm out, swirling around us like bats out of hell. It was very interesting to say the least....and I was not too interested in them swimming in the Champagne they produced!

 

We decide to dine in the dark..with one or two lanterns; very romantic and lovely guesture. We had our own "staff" who brought us dishes from the buffet with some extra specials thrown in. An extraordinary guesture and we were laughing and chatting with them throughout; though Greenlantern wanted to chat with some folks he had just met...oh well, later!

 

We did ask them if the friends we had made as Vehicle Mates could join us for desert. No problem, they brought them- and more champagne to the pool area where we had a lovely evening with the termites.. ^_^

 

A better idea arose; let's move to the firepit, where we stayed way along with a couple stragglers -Late! But had a great last night at Chitabe; a most special camp and I was sad to leave it. (NO pics, we don't do dinner pics; but tonight it would have been nice!)

 

Next day we were moving to Duma Tau; I was very excited to see this newly built camp - but very sad to leave such a magical experience we had at Chitabe, with Molemi in particular; Tiny - an awesome, very involved manager, and the staff - could not have a better group!

Cheers to youall if anyone is reading this!

 

We also sleep in last morning; we want to have time to re-group, refresh and relax before moving on.

 

Molemi takes us along with our new friends to the airstrip - I was a bit envious, they were going on to Little Mombo! Oh my..but Duma Tau was waiting for us and we were excited - Change Is Good.

 

To say this was" CAT" camp is an understatement - as we approach the airstrip Molemi takes a detour and goes to the OTHER end of the strip....there was a pride of lions under the tree - about five or six to wave goodbye. How did he arrange that?

 

Did I say how much I liked Chitabe :D

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Walking by "Loo with a View" - can't imagine the reaction if someone had actually been using it!   They are now just about to the deck where we are standing; so happy we came out early for afterno

Returning full of exuberance from the Sundowner Lion Encounter we are asked to proceed to the Boma. I normally do not like the fact the staff feels they need to entertain, but after this show and chat

Thank you for reading Pangolin! There was not a LARGE concentration of game as Chitabe and VP, but plenty to keep us occupied happily in the rover...No dogs though!   But so glad we got to experienc

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graceland

(I am editing as of Jan 1, and these pics need to be re-loaded ) working on game shots first....be patient thanks

 

Duma Tau is our third camp and a beauty of a spot in the Linyanti... PICs .

 

Since it is newly built and just occupied a few months ago here is a view of the new tents inside and out:

 

 

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Tent from the Water

 

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And the Lounge Area overlooking the Water/Pontoon Boating Area

 

 

 

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Greenlantern and I were in the Pontoon that night with Mocks for a sunset cruise; it was more of a windy ride, but gorgeous with the pontoon all decked out like Cleopatra's barge, plenty of champagne, nibbles and tons of laughter with Mocks. We really enjoyed taking a break from the rover and getting on the water

 

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Watching the Clouds roll in

 

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graceland

The Pontoon ride along the Linyanti Lagoon brought us close to a few ellies chomping the water's grasses -I was hoping for more as the day before a huge herd swam across right near the lounge at camp;

 

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Linyanti was stunning; between the dry, arid areas and the bountiful wet and grassy land where the ellies came to drink, along with the lions, giraffe, zebra, I can see why this is such a popular area...

 

gallery_5364_773_19949.jpg

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graceland

gallery_5364_754_2676168.jpgThe beauty of the

 

 

Linyanti was stunning; between the dry, arid areas and the bountiful wet and grassy land where the ellies came to drink, along with the lions, giraffe, zebra, I can see why this is such a popular area...

 

and this,

 

 

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In honor of Twaf and her mum....

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graceland

gallery_5364_755_12970.jpgI've

 

I thought the Linyanti/Savute area was the most beautiful I had ever seen in Africa.

For me that is quite a mouthful as I've been to some stunning locales in my travels.

 

I did not thing the game was as abundant as Chitabe and Vumbura but the locale and landscape more than made up for it

 

NOT that we missed out on game; rather we were spoiled by then....Many adventures were to be had while at Duma Tau.

 

Not to mention the abudance of birds at DT

however, they were always too fast for me.....

 

gallery_5364_773_6525.jpggallery_5364_773_5610.jpg

Edited by graceland
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Great report! I know you mentioned earler that DT may not have been as good as the other WS camps you visited, but things are always in flux. We were at DT one year ago and it was Dog central, along with the DT male (leopard) and mating lions.

 

Glad you had such a great time.

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graceland

Thank you for reading Pangolin! There was not a LARGE concentration of game as Chitabe and VP, but plenty to keep us occupied happily in the rover...No dogs though!

 

But so glad we got to experience the area - the swamps, etc as the birds were incredible and as I stated above everytime we took a turn into the channel I gasped from the beauty.

 

Actually I'd say they were just more spread out now that I look over notes; there wasn't a day without seeing some activity but I was comparing it to Chibabe and Vumbura where barely 10-15 min. would go by without cat activity (and dog)

 

There were lots of babies at DT; so I enjoyed seeing a baby warthog, myriad of impala, ellie calves....so I would not say it was devoid; we were spoiled by Chitabe and VP!

 

I'm going through the DT pics and will be posting them - hope someone is still interested;

 

Here is one of the babies and mum we loved observing:

 

gallery_5364_754_32413.jpg

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Wonderful report and pictures GL. I miss The delta. Chitabe appears to have really come through and DT looks beautiful.

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SafariChick

Oh, those lion cubs - so adorable! That was something I missed seeing on my one prior S. Africa trip, no young lion cubs - precious! Thanks for this terrific report and photos - really enjoyed and making me very excited for my trip in Feb.!

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graceland

We arrive at the airstrip after an up and down dropping off a couple we knew from Chitabe at Little Mombo. We go on to Duma Tau and we are picked up by Richard, half of the Management team, Kathryn and Richard --who have been with Wilderness for years, helped oversee the building of the new DT. They also took the opportunity to buy land in south Botswana to start their own Olive Farm and continue as "contract managers" off and on with WS. He is a tall drink of water and quite good at "behind the scenes" while Kath out front and center.

We arrive and all mangers are there to greet - Ben, Mgr. of Food and Restaurant, Dudu, Kath and one other I did not jot down, and of course Richard. My head always swims with all these names I need to remember!

We were running late because of the flight - some little things had to be done on the plane and then a 40 min ride to DT as Richard filled us in on background.

 

Naturally we sit through the rules and regs;sign away our lives - but is the view ever worth it. The new DT looks like a page out of "Restoration Hardware" design catalog here in states. All neutrals, with seagrass, leather and old Africa style but brand "new and shiny " accessories,, deep chairs and long sofas....ah to just stretch out and enjoy the view of the channel....but we rush to the tent to throw our stuff in; change quickly and find the shower has flooded the floor. The brand new wood floor.

 

Dudu has accompanied us to our tent and says she will send someone - but we are off for afternoon game drive and running late so we tell her just come and take care of it while we are gone. I was worried about the safety of so much standing water..but know enough to step around it - unless it is dark. I also thought there was going to be a LOT of wear and tear on these brand new furnishings...neutrals? in the bush? with dust and sand and water and many guests? Housekeeping will have their hands full. But it is BEAUTIFUL.

I immediately re-arrange the room as usual to give me a straight shot to the loo in the middle of the night - removing breakables such as ceramic vases and such.

But it is a lovely tent with fabulous views!

 

We race up to "tea" as we want to meet our guide and chat a bit before getting in the rover. It feels a bit strange; people are not really interacting - groups seem to be forming at different tables. Euros here; Aussies there, Oosas here and there; after the warmth and friendliness of Chitabe, we feel like the first day of school somewhere new. :unsure:

 

But there is game to view and views to dream about. We are on the 3rd camp and excited to go!

 

"Name" is introduced as our guide, a handsome man; big grin with dreadlocks hidden under a scarf. I notice there are a few other guides with the same look.

Knowing myself as I do, I will ask later!

 

With 4 other Americans we saw sitting together at tea we climb into the rover. Leaving DT I am quite taken by the Linyanti - the views & scenery are incredible; I love the outdoors and have had a landscape interest at times, so I revel in the "greening of the brown", the sun sparkling on the water - and of course, Ellies everywhere. I remembered our first trip to Botswana - Chobe - and we were quite taken with the Ellies in the water.

 

I could not wait to see them again. I had seen so many cats on this trip thus far, and wild dogs so the ellies were an interesting change for me, as there were babies - always babies, everywhere.......and the birds!

 

A few sightings from our first afternoon drive:

 

 

 

 

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and from the Other side - hippo hanging out

 

with a friend

 

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I do love a beautiful giraffe.....

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Everytime we drove by the channel, my mouth dropped as this is what we saw daily:

The beauty of the families of ellies took me away; I never wanted to leave them gallery_5364_773_60098.jpg

 

 

 

Visually, this was my favorite locale; the ellies in the water, the birds, the lions denning near the water..One could not really ask for more,

 

 

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As I had noted earlier it was a stunning locale; I could just look at the water, the grasses, trees, and feel like I was in another world. Add to that the elephants, giraffes, birds, waterbock, kudu - a definite page out of essential national geographic.

 

We stop for communal sundowners - one other rover and Name with the 6 of us. It is glorious and we are reveling in the beauty. All of a sudden Name starts quietly but firmly saying "GET IN THE ROVER; GET IN; GET IN NOW...we are wondering what the hell is going on; all of us are chatting, with tumblers in hand..

we jump in the car and our breath is taken away , as all of a sudden, out of NOWHERE, what appears walking towards us.

 

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Walking towards the 2 Rovers; as the day begins to darken and we are all giddy with the sight - SO HUGE, so CLOSE, and we follow as the sun is setting; we are all fumbling for cameras, and think....tomorrow, we wil find him again. What is he up to?

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SafariChick

Wow, how exciting! This is very vivid, I feel like I'm there! Interested to hear how things unfolded there, did people interact more together as your stay went on? That was quite a close call with that lion! And I wonder what kind of bird is that with the blue wings, just above the lion photo? It's beautiful! I hope the floor ended up surviving the shower flood!

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twaffle

Graceland, just catching up so thank you so much for the lovely tribute photos, my mother would have loved those.

 

The blue winged bird is a Lilac Breasted Roller, Safarichick.

 

I can't believe the sightings and experiences you had, just incredible. No wonder you were in love with the place.

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Phew - a lion walking right up during sundowners. Doesn't get any closer nor as exciting than that!!

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graceland

Thanks all; stay tuned we are just getting started - VP was chock full; and Twaffle you are so right --we could not get enough - maybe one or two vehicles a day (What, you say?) CLOSE to everything (except birds - I haven't been able to capture enough birds...too fast for me!) and each day something new.

 

Though DT did provide, VP went out if its' way to leave us with lasting memories!

 

John, the Lion joining us for Sundowners will never be forgotten - and so quick by the time we got the lens out it was getting dark but I am waiting for a mate to send us hers -

 

I can't illustrate it here properly but he was so close and such a regal being - this was" his land" and he was taking it no matter what. Awesome. I thought I was watching "Arnold as in "I'LL BE BACK" actor; being the egomaniac he is, striding in during one of his action moves, and the action stops dead...just to watch him strut.

 

We followed him as long as we could but unfortunately had to go to DT. Heading back out on the hunt early to hopefully find him in the next few days!

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graceland

Found a shot in the dark - remember we are NOT photogs, but have learned quite a bit from our guides us as they are all pretty good at photography. I guess surrounded by so much beauty and the wild, it is quite a great obsession to have! (sorry that is a flash to the left- everyone was whipping their out their p&s - I wish I had mine that night)

 

In the dark, he walks in front of our rover:

 

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"Name" says he is new and wants to take over this territory...Hmm. sneaking in the dark...smart boy I guess.

 

You just had to be there....it was thrilling to watch, esp throwing everything including us into the rover in seconds!

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twaffle

What a handsome boy he is.

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graceland

Returning full of exuberance from the Sundowner Lion Encounter we are asked to proceed to the Boma. I normally do not like the fact the staff feels they need to entertain, but after this show and chatting the next morning with them, I realized it is their weekly "release" from the day-to-day routine that we never see. Can't imagine day in and out it is practically the same for 3 months at a time -and 22 days off.

 

The Boma at DT was still under construction, but with imagination, lots of candles and lanterns, great hordoruves passed by waiters,with a circle of chairs drawn up. There is some real talent at DT; singing, dancing and a story to match. It was pretty entertaining and they involve the guests so no one was snoozing in their chairs, waiting for dinner. Met some nice folks, including a family of Americans who live in Switzerland. The owner of their company, a chemical company,rented out WS camps that week and the previous week for 180 of his employees - a very generous gesture. The execs were taken by helicopter to Vumbura Plains for a meeting. Funny what you find out about folks when you are in the bush. We had met several of them the first week in Maun when we all landed via Air Bots.

 

Perhaps because it is new,we did not think the dining room was conducive to interacting and meeting new people. But we were tired yet happy and ready for a new day.

I had talked to Ben at dinner about our private vehicle which was to show up the next day; apparently a birding couple had the camp's only one and with the equipment they were carrying I can understand the necessity. They turned out to be very interesting and we learned quite a bit about birds (including many calls)

and fortunately we were in a prime spot to "spot" them. I wasn't that good to photograph them but loved seeing the nests of carmine bee eaters which we kept calling "Beefeaters" - mainly because we shared sundowners with the birds the next day.

 

But I am getting ahead of myself. However, they were beautiful and I can see how people love to get into the birding. I do prefer cats though.

 

And the next am up and early we are out to find them! The Linyanti/Savute area was jam packed full of elephants - and babies. All kinds of babies - and again I have to state, November was excellent for us - turning lush and new growth everywhere. I was in heaven. Who cares if there is some rain. That just makes it all the more fun.

 

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The water was a real draw - there was stil quite a bit of dryness and dust.

 

as you can see from this little one following momma -

 

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That morning we happened to have a bit of a problem and Name is trying his best to take care of it (while we have tea)

 

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But more help was called in -

 

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Guides are very supportive of one another......

 

On to a spectacular morning; we come upon a pride of lions lazing under the most amazing spot. High rent district. How Name and the others knew - it was so well hidden and just a "peek" of a color while we were riding along the water...

 

This was our first view of what was hiding in the den near the channel

 

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As we drove closer - we saw an entire pride - and were able to position the rover pretty close without disturbing anyone; napping lions and

as we peered closer:

 

a paw....

 

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Behind the ole guy and his paw -gallery_5364_773_15278.jpg

 

I had no idea they were so good at yoga....

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graceland

In this holiday season celebrating mother and child; here are a few we observed that magical morning in the Linyanti:

 

Playing with Mum's tail -

 

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and her head

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Some Bonding

 

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And My All Time Favorite (what I would give for a photoshop lesson!)

 

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And a Typical Mom after a Trying Day

 

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Edited by graceland
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SafariChick

LOVE those lion pix in the past couple of posts - precious babies and love the big lion resting his head on the tree trunk!

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Love this shot, haven't visited the area, but the picture tells the beauty of the area

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graceland

Thanks all - Bushfire, I was pleasantly surprised at the BEAUTY of Linyanti. I don't believe I've ever seen such contrasts in Africa as I did in Botswana but I've only been to three countries...I'm sure there is way more (as Uganda's beauty I saw in TR)

One day, sigh...

 

Anyhow since the TWO presents are wrapped and under the tree, I thought I'd insert a few more mother and child photos for those who like me find it warm and comforting, especially when there are no children at our house. Feel free not to look or enjoy if you want

 

 

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So the cubs realize it is time to go exploring

 

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And finds some sub adult relatives to mess with

 

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twaffle

How could anyone not enjoy the sight of those cubs. Lovely.

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graceland

And some Dysfunctional Family Members at Holiday

 

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We've obviously spent most of the morning with this pride but it was so fun and a first for me; I've never seen so many together, from Adults down to a couple of cubs and the way they all interact just tugged at my heart....a real family

and one who sleeps through anything -

 

Of course, Lion King

 

gallery_5364_773_12203.jpg

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graceland

One more - can't help it; I love these guys...so one more

 

just because it is my report....

 

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He' s telling us to get lost...times up!

Edited by graceland
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