• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Botswana Wildlife Safari Explore 31 Oct 2008 (1 Viewer)

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
Hi folks, This trip report might take some time so I will post one day at a time.

November 1st 2008

Arrived in Maun after an overnight flight connecting in Johannesburgh. First birds were a Cape wagtail, grey headed sparrow and Pied Crow in Jo'burgh. Arriving at the Sedia Hotel, Maun, it took a while to sort our rooms out- the hotel having misjudged the number of single travellers in our group. I was given a chalet but told that another lady would be joining me. She never materialised. The pool looked a bit worse for wear (green and horrible) so contented myself with getting to know my travelling companions and doing a bit of birding around the lodge. I travelled with three other couples and three other guys. Our land operation was run by Wilderness Dawning, our guide's name was Solomon.

Birding around the lodge produced red-billed buffalo weaver, Blue waxbill, red-billed firefinch, village weaver, Southern masked and lesser masked weavers, Grey Lourie (Go-away bird), Marico and white bellied sunbirds, Meve's starling, Burchell's starling, Greater-blue eared starling, red-billed francolin, red-billed quela, Swamp Boubou, Grey-backed cameroptera, African paradise flycatcher, magpie shrike, Hartlaub's babbler, Arrow-marked babbler, African red-eyed bulbul, Yellow-billed hornbill, Lilac-breasted roller, red-eyed, cape turtle and laughing doves. Blacksmith plover, african open bill stork, white backed duck, south african shelduck and our first african jacanas down by the Thamalakane river. First bird of prey was a yellow billed kite.
 

Attachments

  • 3034633429_8857ae7e4c.jpg
    3034633429_8857ae7e4c.jpg
    177.9 KB · Views: 124
  • 3035474176_12c7b97be9.jpg
    3035474176_12c7b97be9.jpg
    154 KB · Views: 116
  • 3035476304_d068f334e3.jpg
    3035476304_d068f334e3.jpg
    156.7 KB · Views: 118
  • 3034643253_506c26ea86.jpg
    3034643253_506c26ea86.jpg
    142.3 KB · Views: 102
  • 3034644635_8b776c96d2.jpg
    3034644635_8b776c96d2.jpg
    122.5 KB · Views: 128

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
Some more photos from Maun:

Anyone know what the one on the right is?
 

Attachments

  • 3034718465_7c5c7056cd.jpg
    3034718465_7c5c7056cd.jpg
    172.1 KB · Views: 119
  • 3035552908_6c75dbe80e.jpg
    3035552908_6c75dbe80e.jpg
    93.1 KB · Views: 100
  • 3034721207_8f21b23995.jpg
    3034721207_8f21b23995.jpg
    99.8 KB · Views: 114
  • 3034726033_e1acff952a.jpg
    3034726033_e1acff952a.jpg
    117.8 KB · Views: 125
  • 3035564880_7e627fde7a.jpg
    3035564880_7e627fde7a.jpg
    111 KB · Views: 132

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
Day 2- 2nd November to 4th November - Okavango Panhandle

After leaving the Sedia first thing, we had a long drive along good straight roads to Shakawe, passing a few ostriches en route, where we boarded the houseboat for three nights on the Okavango panhandle.

In hindsight, most people agreed that it would have been preferable to have structured the tour in reverse order, finishing on the houseboat. People were raring to get stuck in to the safari experience and the time on the houseboat was too laid back for some (including me). I personally would have appreciated this winding down time and more comfort after the camping experience.

Whilst on the subject of the houseboat, the experience itself was very pleasant. The crew were friendly and the food was probably the best we had on the trip. the 3rd November was spent travelling to Tsodilo Hills where you can view San bushman rock art which dates back thousands of years.

However, overall I felt that the activities did not quite live up to expectations and I think Explore's itinerary needs reviewing in that respect. I was expecting some of the time to be spent exploring the narrower channels and waterways from the houseboat launch as stipulated in our itinerary. I had in my mind something akin to the mokoro trips, but using the launch with abundant birdlife to view. However, we had only one river safari trip which effectively only took us along the widest part of the panhandle. Whilst this did include viewing the carmine bee-eater colony and other bird and animal life, which was fantastic, the overall experience fell short of my expectations. When I enquired about an additional launch trip, this was not something that Mike (the owner) was prepared to provide, even though there seemed to be ample opportunities to do shorter river safaris when taxiing back to the houseboat (after the Tsodilo hills trip for instance). There was a lot of down time on the houseboat. We couldn't walk far when the boat was moored as Mike was concerned about our safety- but he did not offer any of his crew to give us a guided walk until the last night and that only lasted about 20 minutes. On this walk the guide said it was a great place to see sitatunga at first light, but this was our last night and we were out early to drive to Livingstone so there was no opportunity to look for it. Had we moored there the previous night, we could have had the chance to see sitatunga. Whilst myself and another birdwatcher had come prepared with telescopes so were able to birdwatch from the houseboat, there was little on offer for anyone else. One member of the group asked to do some fishing (which was advertised on the itinerary), but this was only provided under duress as this houseboat doesn't yet have a licence- so effectively if he had been caught Mike would have faced a fine.

That said, we saw some good birds and Hippo, crocodile, water monitor and a green water snake. Bird highlights were, African fish eagles (a pair close to the boat every day), Jacana, Black Crake, African skimmers, Pied and Malachite kingfishers, long toed, african wattled and white crowned lapwings, redshank, ruff, caspian plover, Common and green sandpipers, Greenshank, Black-winged stilt, water thick-knee, colleared pratincole, white breasted and reed cormorants, african darter, purple, goliath, grey, rufous-bellied and green-backed, squacco and black crowned night herons, hammerkop, sacred ibis, white faced duck, red-billed teal, African Hawk eagle, swallow tailled, little green, white fronted and carmine bee eaters, African marsh harrier, African green pigeon, emerald spotted dove, African palm swift, red-faced mousebird, African Hoopoe, African grey and red-billed hornbills, black-collared barbet, bearded woodpecker, wire-tailed, pearl breasted and red-breasted swallows, sand martin and brown throated martins Black faced and southern pied babblers, and dark capped bulbul, yellow breasted apalis, luapula cisticola, tawney flanked prinia, Grey0headed bush shrike, white browed sparrow weaver, spectacled weaver, and fan tailed and white winged widowbirds (non-breediing).

At dinner time we saw some interesting bugs!
 

Attachments

  • 3035578812_b7c396f13c.jpg
    3035578812_b7c396f13c.jpg
    93.5 KB · Views: 102
  • 3035606466_790046d0d3.jpg
    3035606466_790046d0d3.jpg
    146.7 KB · Views: 106
  • 3035685212_29d4614150.jpg
    3035685212_29d4614150.jpg
    80.5 KB · Views: 104
  • 3035690600_0c075445ce.jpg
    3035690600_0c075445ce.jpg
    103.1 KB · Views: 117
  • 3035699176_4defab8f8b.jpg
    3035699176_4defab8f8b.jpg
    200.6 KB · Views: 116

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
more pics

So a few more pics from the panhandle..
 

Attachments

  • 3035702616_f66319f154.jpg
    3035702616_f66319f154.jpg
    230.6 KB · Views: 135
  • 3034870717_9deb9c0109.jpg
    3034870717_9deb9c0109.jpg
    92.9 KB · Views: 106
  • 3034979839_ef825bdf05.jpg
    3034979839_ef825bdf05.jpg
    194.9 KB · Views: 105
  • 3034993051_886bc95665.jpg
    3034993051_886bc95665.jpg
    225.2 KB · Views: 126
  • 3035949810_5da1612b92.jpg
    3035949810_5da1612b92.jpg
    138.4 KB · Views: 124

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
Hell yes! And the adventure continues. Some more pics from our time on the panhandle. The first is a typical view of the panhandle.
 

Attachments

  • 3034754573_861f369e98.jpg
    3034754573_861f369e98.jpg
    70.1 KB · Views: 104
  • 3035820168_5b11ddaa25.jpg
    3035820168_5b11ddaa25.jpg
    262.5 KB · Views: 109
  • 3035839116_38d9669bed.jpg
    3035839116_38d9669bed.jpg
    115 KB · Views: 114
  • 3034998767_6c6352a163.jpg
    3034998767_6c6352a163.jpg
    147 KB · Views: 100
  • 3035007891_015277ea23.jpg
    3035007891_015277ea23.jpg
    213 KB · Views: 103

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
November 5th To Livingstone

On our way to livingstione we crossed over into Namibia and travelled along the Caprivi strip, where we spotted our first Impala and a lone elephant, as well as some more ostrich. We stayed at the Zambezi Waterfront Hotel home to Safari Par Excellence's on site adventure centre where you have the opportunity to book a range of optional activities. After sorting out a flood in my room, I went to enquire about what was on offer. Unfortunately my original plans to hire "bob the birder" fell through when I was unable to get through to him on the phone number I had so I and few others opted for a river safari and helicopter flip in the morning, with a group visit to see the falls in the afternoon. The River safari cost $72 and the Heli flip $110. Entry into vic falls was a further 10$. Be warned if you attempt to walk on the other side of the falls to the marked trails- zambian "guides" will pick you up and try and show you the way. Of course they expect payment but don't tell you until the end. He asked me for $10. I settled with him at $2. Another larger group was asked for $30 but gave their guide $10.

I can highly reccommend the heli flip as the view from Zambia of the falls is very lack lustre at this time of year.

The river safari was pleasant enough but way overpriced for what it was. Compare this to $35 for a similar trip along the Chobe riverfront- I'll come onto that later.

Anyway, Special birds around the waterfront that I saw were Trumpetor Hornbill, Collared Palm thrush, Heuglin's robin, and Crested Barbet. Sadly I dipped on Schlaow's turaco and finfoot. Watch out for the vervet monkeys- they are bold and I got chased by a mother with a youngster. :eek!: There are also chacma baboons.

The service was pretty dire at the buffet that night but our guide did a good job of getting a discount off our bill.
 

Attachments

  • 3035957672_4778d57853.jpg
    3035957672_4778d57853.jpg
    151.4 KB · Views: 107
  • 3035124873_a13c6b02ee.jpg
    3035124873_a13c6b02ee.jpg
    196.2 KB · Views: 98
  • 3035152795_17986657a9.jpg
    3035152795_17986657a9.jpg
    230.7 KB · Views: 103
  • 3035993914_31db2fd43f.jpg
    3035993914_31db2fd43f.jpg
    121.9 KB · Views: 111
  • 3035170389_dda0017418.jpg
    3035170389_dda0017418.jpg
    173.9 KB · Views: 94

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
A few more shots from Livingstone

Some shots of the special birds and view of the falls.
 

Attachments

  • 3035296601_e203e49f9c.jpg
    3035296601_e203e49f9c.jpg
    76.9 KB · Views: 118
  • 3037753434_0124b09108.jpg
    3037753434_0124b09108.jpg
    179.5 KB · Views: 106
  • 3037755668_3c489c3790.jpg
    3037755668_3c489c3790.jpg
    161.2 KB · Views: 133
  • 3037761976_21ca25ec6c.jpg
    3037761976_21ca25ec6c.jpg
    159.7 KB · Views: 101
  • 3037784896_c7f61f8565.jpg
    3037784896_c7f61f8565.jpg
    182.8 KB · Views: 121

pandachris

Well-known member
Love the Collared Palm Thrush pic. This was one of the birds we missed out on in Livingstone and despite me having a conversation with one in the Kruger, we didn't see them there either :(

Looking forward to reading about your Chobe trip. We thought it was wonderful. But 'SafPar' ... grr ... don't get me started.
 
Last edited:

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
7th Nov 2008 - Livingstone to Serondella via Kazungula/Kasane

Today we left Livingstone and headed to Kazungula and back into Botswana via the ferry over the Zambezi. African fish eagles and a huge flock of open-billed storks could be seen on the crossing as well as more hippo and crocodiles. When we reached the town of Kasane we heard that our other vehicle carrying the camp staff and our accommodations had had a problem and needed to be fixed. We spent a bit of time just stocking up for our first night and getting a few postcards off before we continued on our way to Serondella along the Chobe riverfront.
 

Attachments

  • 3037799932_fd71a29394.jpg
    3037799932_fd71a29394.jpg
    82.6 KB · Views: 122
  • 3037816448_928b7cbdc8.jpg
    3037816448_928b7cbdc8.jpg
    39.4 KB · Views: 122
  • 3036981213_263e62900b.jpg
    3036981213_263e62900b.jpg
    44.9 KB · Views: 119
  • 3036982171_c16cc594cf.jpg
    3036982171_c16cc594cf.jpg
    224.1 KB · Views: 130
  • 3037819832_008979fcac.jpg
    3037819832_008979fcac.jpg
    189.6 KB · Views: 135

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
We stopped briefly along the riverfront to give the camp staff time to set up and then after lunch we had our first proper game drive. We saw a range of game, particularly the hundreds of elephant for which the park is justifiably famous. Other game on view were Southern Giraffe, Hippo, waterbuck, Kudu, impala (pregnant), Red Leschwe, Burchell’s zebra, warthog, Cape buffalo, and smaller animals such as bush squirrel, banded mongoose and chacma baboon. As the light was failing another group informed us that a lone lioness had been spotted and we went to investigate. We found her walking around. At one point we drove round to wait for her to emerge from some scrub and were parked side on. She walked straight up to our vehicle and literally everyone felt as if she were staring right at them, including me! I’m sure she was working out which side of us to pass on but it was quite a moment!

Birdlife along the riverfront area was also very diverse and we saw, African fish eagle, Tawny and Steppe eagles, Kori Bustard, African spoonbill, Giant kingfisher, Steppe Buzzard, red backed, Souza’s and lesser grey shrikes and Marabou storks.

All the camp sites we stayed at were termed “operator exclusive” sites. They were therefore not the public camp sites where the ablution blocks are and as such the toilet/shower facilities were basic, consisting of a dug out pit with a portable toilet seat and bucket showers. This was as I expected, but not what some others in the group had in mind! They were however, out in the bush with no other groups around us- giving a truly wilderness experience.

That evening was Brian’s 62nd birthday and the camp staff decided to play a little prank on him by presenting him with a birthday cake. According to Mary, another of the group, the frosting tasted really nice, but after struggling to cut the cake, the camp staff came clean and admitted that the cake was actually a piece of frosted elephant dung! They then produced a much more edible cake and we all had a jolly good laugh!
 

Attachments

  • 3036986245_47e93002e1.jpg
    3036986245_47e93002e1.jpg
    191.4 KB · Views: 100
  • 3037836546_271cd134fc.jpg
    3037836546_271cd134fc.jpg
    179.8 KB · Views: 102
  • 3037001543_56a3e425a3.jpg
    3037001543_56a3e425a3.jpg
    110.5 KB · Views: 102
  • 3036989087_5c5ae48bb9.jpg
    3036989087_5c5ae48bb9.jpg
    195.2 KB · Views: 90
  • 3047800816_63b10a0555.jpg
    3047800816_63b10a0555.jpg
    215.6 KB · Views: 94
Last edited:

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
8th November 2008 – Serondella full day

We had an early morning game drive where we continued to see all the mammals mentioned above plus chobe bushbuck, dwarf mongoose, another lioness, and a family of black backed jackals with young pups. Slender mongoose, Southern giraffe and red Leschwe were also seen but the most exciting sighting of the morning was when we came across a couple of Kudu staring intently into some thick brush. They gave some loud alarm calls indicating that a predator might be around. We were all scanning the bushes for any movement when Jim shouted “leopard!” After a few tense moments I managed to pick up on the cat obtaining a very brief and obscured view. Wow! My first leopard sighting!:t:
 

Attachments

  • 3037002517_9a88fedb35.jpg
    3037002517_9a88fedb35.jpg
    183.2 KB · Views: 111
  • 3037003685_0964ddb756.jpg
    3037003685_0964ddb756.jpg
    119 KB · Views: 92
  • 3037007565_8db341b19c.jpg
    3037007565_8db341b19c.jpg
    243.8 KB · Views: 103
  • 3037033121_5510314b39.jpg
    3037033121_5510314b39.jpg
    187 KB · Views: 104
  • 3037033895_b99e3d5577.jpg
    3037033895_b99e3d5577.jpg
    226.3 KB · Views: 135

joannec

Well-known member
Nice report K and nice habitat pictures. :t: The African fish eagle looks similar to our white tailed eagle.

Joanne
 

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
Thanks Joanne. Yes they are quite similar!

Returning to the camp for lunch, we then headed back into Kasane to stock up on food (camp staff) and alcohol/water (the guests) for the rest of the trip. In the afternoon we all took the option of a boat trip along the Chobe riverfront at an additional cost of $35. To be fair, this was a bit of a no option option as no other game viewing was offered for that afternoon- as such basically a stealth fee which I think should have been included in the cost of the tour.
That said it was lovely to be on the river cruising amongst the hippos and birds. Over the course of the day the new birds we saw included Double banded sandgrouse, Whalberg’s eagle, Goliath Heron, Grey heron, Black headed heron, Great white pelican, red and yellow-billed oxpeckers, Senegal and coppery tailed coucals, Black chested snake eagle, White winged and whiskered terns, cinnamon breasted bunting, Hooded and white backed vultures, Kittlitz plover, grey headed and lesser black backed gulls, giant kingfishers (a pair offering great views) black hooded oriole, ruff and yellow wagtail as well as closer views of African skimmers including a juvenile bird. A new mammal sighted from the boat was a lone Puku. We also passed a very dead and very smelly elephant- which had not yet attracted attention from any of the lions in the area, although a variety of vultures and marabou storks were in attendance. Finally our boat guide said he had something special to show us. This turned out to be a lone lioness sitting on the bank of the river. With that last sighting in the bag we headed back to camp.
 

Attachments

  • 3037064587_f3997a6fe4.jpg
    3037064587_f3997a6fe4.jpg
    182 KB · Views: 108
  • 3037065219_4738b2e5cd.jpg
    3037065219_4738b2e5cd.jpg
    179.8 KB · Views: 103
  • 3037067295_8a142b7461.jpg
    3037067295_8a142b7461.jpg
    143.6 KB · Views: 106
  • 3037905384_cdd2d64bee.jpg
    3037905384_cdd2d64bee.jpg
    200.9 KB · Views: 103
  • 3037906346_f34df8424d.jpg
    3037906346_f34df8424d.jpg
    198 KB · Views: 105

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
A few more from the boat trip
 

Attachments

  • 3037875890_cf7938099d.jpg
    3037875890_cf7938099d.jpg
    189.4 KB · Views: 101
  • 3037875024_9c3e1738f9.jpg
    3037875024_9c3e1738f9.jpg
    105.7 KB · Views: 99
  • 3037872638_ffc1455087.jpg
    3037872638_ffc1455087.jpg
    251 KB · Views: 92
  • 3037042983_475a5f45ce.jpg
    3037042983_475a5f45ce.jpg
    94.5 KB · Views: 108
  • 3037047711_86e5cd379c.jpg
    3037047711_86e5cd379c.jpg
    200.6 KB · Views: 143

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
9th November – Serondella to Savuti Channel

My hopes to go check on the dead elephant were dashed when we just transited out of the park in the opposite direction along the riverfront and on towards our second camp at Savuti Channel. On the way we added some more nice birds including White stork, Crowned plover, Temmink’s Courser, Red-crested Korhaan, Crested francolin, Kori Bustard, Violet backed starling, and non-breeding long tailed paradise whydah. We also added new animals in the shape of leopard tortoise (sadly his shell was in a state having been run over), steenbok and bush duiker. We also saw hyena tracks.


Upon arrival at our new campsite the heavens opened and we had quite a downpour and a lot of wind- part of the camp blew away- thankfully my tent stayed put! However, the weather improved sufficiently that we risked a game drive which was unsurprisingly a bit of a damp squib. That was until I spotted a second leopard, sitting up under a bush! We got better views of this one but in such poor light and at such a distance no photographs could be taken. The cat quickly stood up, turned and was off into the thicket. We also saw black backed Jackal and a hippo- which was unusual for this dry area- perhaps the recent rain had fooled it. We also saw a couple of new birds- spotted dikkop and the impressive giant eagle owl (Verreaux's).
 

Attachments

  • 3037907910_1a40af8c78.jpg
    3037907910_1a40af8c78.jpg
    249.6 KB · Views: 111
  • 3037909358_9c26e611c7.jpg
    3037909358_9c26e611c7.jpg
    135.7 KB · Views: 103
  • 3037912304_e638406c13.jpg
    3037912304_e638406c13.jpg
    181.5 KB · Views: 103
  • 3037913562_d7864621c6.jpg
    3037913562_d7864621c6.jpg
    79 KB · Views: 96
  • 3047914851_49e6198f9e.jpg
    3047914851_49e6198f9e.jpg
    192 KB · Views: 130

kittykat23uk

Well-known member
10th November Savuti Channel (Chobe) to Kwai (Moremi)

We only had one night at Savuti Channel and then headed off down to Kwai in Moremi Game Reserve. So most of the morning was spent transiting- without stopping for much game viewing.

The Kwai area is very beautiful- especially along the Kwai river before you enter the game reserve itself. We stopped there for a tea break enjoying the sunshine and the view. New birds in this area included, Saddle-billed stork, Woolly necked stork, Spur winged goose, Martial eagle, Brown snake eagle, Secretary bird, wattled crane, black and slaty egrets and rufous bellied heron and, en route a pair of greater painted snipe! At camp we had an African barred owlet in a tree. New mammals were an African wild cat which I spotted and a yellow mongoose. Sadly no big cats were seen that day.

Clearly Moremi had received more rain than Chobe before we arrived and, the upside of the rain was there were some fantastic thunderstorms and by the time we got to Moremi all the animals had given birth so there were baby impala, Tseebee, warthog and wildebeest running around plus the park was a lot greener and more beautiful than Chobe.
 

Attachments

  • 3037917360_cf6a2bfc86.jpg
    3037917360_cf6a2bfc86.jpg
    136.6 KB · Views: 95
  • 3037918202_7726e6782d.jpg
    3037918202_7726e6782d.jpg
    180.3 KB · Views: 112
  • 3037126753_8efe7e4c44.jpg
    3037126753_8efe7e4c44.jpg
    207.4 KB · Views: 111
  • 3037965244_abfd36ed0f.jpg
    3037965244_abfd36ed0f.jpg
    236 KB · Views: 99
  • 3037131781_e081434374.jpg
    3037131781_e081434374.jpg
    257.3 KB · Views: 93
Warning! This thread is more than 14 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top