Our last stop (before returning to Elephant Havens) was an overnight visit to Pangolin Photo’s lodge in Kasane. Our plans were to participate in two safari boat adventures with Pangolin, one in the latter afternoon and the second early the next morning. In the meantime we enjoyed our overnight including dinner and breakfast with a small group of photographers and the Pangolin staff.
Our focus on both trips was to capture a few bird images, and to take images of a variety of wildlife. We happened to see several crocodiles eating a drowned cape buffalo so that became a real focus. here are a number of images taken by Karen and I.
Our third stop on the 2022 safari was Muchenje Lodge , on the west side of Chobe National Park and overlooking the Chobe River from a magnificent perch atop the ridge. The lodge is another favorite as it offers boating on the Chobe, in addition to safari drives in the park and walking safaris below the camp. The lodge is magnificent, as are the accommodations in ten individual chalets. The boating is a great windup to eight days of twice daily game drives, and offers a real opportunity to closeup views of elephants, hippos, cape buffalo and crocodiles in the river. In addition the bird life around the water and grassy islands is beautiful and quite unique.
One of our absolute favorite camps, Kwara is in the Kwando Concession located on the NE side of Moremi Reserve. Its’ sister camp is Splash, which we visited last May. The Concession is in our opinion one of the best areas in Botswana for wildlife, and we visit regularly. Kwando also is one of the few camp operators which feature both a guide/driver and a tracker in each vehicle, which enhances the likelihood of finding wildlife, spotting birds and so on.
Kwara is a new camp, built recently on the sites of an older Kwara (visited in 2013) and Little Kwara (visited 2017) Camps. There are nine guest tents, each of which overlooks a secluded lagoon. The main area includes several comfortable lounges, dining, gift shop and the usual on-the-ground campfire area used for early morning breakfasts. The area is well known for predators including lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and especially African wild dogs.
African Wild Dogs
These are an absolute favorite, often difficult to find. However on this visit we spotted them four days in a row. The first experience was after an “Indy” type drive by our guide Shine!
We had one sighting of a leopard and it was a great one. The leopard was settling into the bushes with a newly caught impala, and Shine was able to position the vehicle so we had a really good view of it beginning to eat.
Very nice sightings of a large zebra “dazzle”, as a group of these animals are called.
Nice sighting of this very young hyena alone in the family den.
We saw a lot of hippos, including some real action as some pools were a little crowded!
This one cheetah has been dominant in the Kwando Concession for eight years or so. He is called “Mr. Special” because of his tendency to climb into trees, unusual for the species. Karen and I spent a whole day with him last year at Splash.
On our recent safari trip to Botswana – our sixth – we had the privilege of spending four nights at Selinda Camp in the Linyanti region of Botswana. Selinda is a premier camp owned and operated by Great Plains Conservation, and a member of Relais and Chateaux properties. The camp is located on the banks of the Selinda Spillway at its’ juncture with the Linyanti River, and consists of the main lodge, three magnificent guest suites and a two bedroom Selinda Suite. The concession is 130,000 hectares in area, and offers excellent game viewing with most of the typical wildlife encountered in Botswana. While at Selinda, we were treated royally, fed gourmet food, rested in luxury and experienced a number of special sightings. I might note that the water levels throughout our trip were higher than we have ever seen, grasses were very tall and wildlife detection difficult at best.
Through our arrival the camp was skillfully managed by its’ two gracious and friendly managers Anica and Michael Jones. Anica is South African, Michael English; both have managed propertries in Botswana for some time. They were in the process of moving to another assignment in Great Plains, and have been replaced by Bujos and CeCe Moabi, good friends of ours from Shinde Camp. Bujos is also Bee Poloko’s (Elephant Havens) nephew. Botswana is a small world!
We saw quite a few lions at Selinda. One notable experience included seeing a male and a female lion repeatedly mating – – action was quickly accomplished several times within 45 minutes.
More interesting – and heartwarming – was the sight of lion cubs. Our guides Alex and Opie were aware that one of the local females had three cubs, and we spent considerable time trying to locate the little ones. Finally Opie found them – three small cubs and their mother, who were soon joined by the mother’s mother and her three cubs. What great fun!
One morning we were driving along, and came upon a small zebra sitting in the grass beside her mother. As we approached the two began to walk away to our left, nearing a fairly large group of impale and more zebras. Suddenly the mother and baby – and others – cam rushing past us in the opposite direction. We then spotted a cheetah pulling down an impala, slowly suffocating the prey and then dragging it onto the adjacent buses. A live kill!
Carmine Bee Eaters
We were constantly followed by carmine bee eaters who were going after insects stirred up by the safari vehicle. We all tried to capture these birds while in flight, possible because they tended to return to their original perch. But difficult indeed.