Sunday, December 09, 2007

Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana - World Class

Whatever your motivation - see the 'big 5', travel the Okavango Delta, bird watching, seeing the heart of Africa, going on safari or just a family trip - Moremi Game Reserve deserves serious consideration. It is one of the best game reserves for variety of habitats, undisturbed viewing of game and closeness to travel facilities.

To do more research go to Google search and look for botswana, moremi_game_reserve, wildlife. I also have a couple of websites with Moremi Game Reserve information, photos, video and sound. Afro Trek Safaris, Botswana and botswana wildlife will give you good backgroud perspectives, Put yourself in the picture, get yourself on safari.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Shylock Captures Lion In Moremi Game Reserve

Guests from Windhoek had two very special days with Shylock Raborokgwe. On day 1 they went on a mokoro trip in the Okavango Delta and ended the day with a game flight. On day 2 Shylock took his guests on a day trip mobile safari in Moremi Game Reserve. They saw plenty of game - elephants, kudu, impala, hippo....

The highlight of the trip was a lion sighting. No only did the safari guests get some great photos, but there was enough time for Shylock to get a couple of photos of his own. Tautona is the name given the dominant male lion in a pride or area. I think that is what we are looking at in the picture. If I had been there, I would have been listening for the lion roar. For us, Shylock is the 'Tautona Safari Guide. '

Regardless, these guests had two days they will never forget. What a way to spend a weekend or two spare days in your busy schedule. Give it some thought - see the Okavango Delta by air, water and safari vehicle.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fish Eagle - Take Away Dinner

Done in split seconds! Here we have the Fish Eagle - high priest of the Okavango River, getting his lunch. At this time of year, September-October, the water is so clear and it is hard to see a missed catch.

Notice the way it corrects its flight pattern after catching the fish. Then it goes back to a favourite tree or nest and has lunch. Fish Eagles can fly away with fish up to 4 pounds. If it can't fly, it will drag the fish along the surface of the river until it reaches the far shore. I have yet to see that happen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Maun Safari - Game Flight Or Game Drive

Game Flight or Game Drive?

Let’s assume you have just arrived in Maun, Botswana and you have to plan your activity for the next day. If you have to choose between either doing a game flight or going on a day game drive to Moremi Game Reserve, what should you consider?

The game flight only takes about an hour. It leaves you plenty of time during the next day to rest, shop or catch up on some writing or reading. Mainly the participants seem to remember seeing herds of elephant or cape buffalo. Flying in a small Piper Cub is fun and if you are like me, you see the ground as a real life map.

On the other hand, a game drive starts early in the morning and is a full day activity. The potential to get close to lions, leopards, elephant, giraffe, hippo, wildebeest and a bounty of bird life are reasonably high. The packed lunch and chance for a short midday rest never disappoint.

If getting close to nature in a world renowned game reserve is your idea of fun, then the game drive is for you. If you need a rest and prefer a unique aerial perspective of the Delta, then go for the game flight.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve

The Kalahari Desert covers most of Botswana, about 80% of the country is Kalahari savannah, grasslands and dry sandveld. There is no surface water, only a few perennial springs, poor soils and precious little rain or metsi. The Kalahari Desert is better described as an arid savanna wilderness scantily covered with sweet grasses and patches of camelthorn, blackthorn and other aciacas. However, a rich diversity of wildlife is sustained by this desert wilderness area.

The aboriginal inhabitants of Botswana are the San or Bushmen, who made the Kalahari their home for more than 30,000 years ago. The San have a rich cultural heritage and now reside in different parts of the country but the majority of them still reside in the Kalahari region.

The Kalahari Desert is better described as an arid savanna wilderness scantily covered with sweet grasses and patches of camelthorn, blackthorn and other aciacas. However, a rich diversity of wildlife is sustained by this desert wilderness area.

The animals dwelling here are superbly adapted to these extremely dry conditions, amongst which are gemsbok, blue wildebeest , springbok , eland , red hartebeest , lion , leopard , hyena and wild dog. Many of these animals survive on water extracted from dew covered plants and deep rooted succulents.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, set aside as a protected area, ranks among the worlds wildest and most remote game reserve. The area is largely flat, with shallow valleys, vast pans and remote hills. Pipers Pan , Tau Pan and Deception Valley are to be found in this area.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pelicans Cover Maun Skies

Pelicans In Formation Over Maun

Late afternoon the banks of the Thamalakane River can be covered with hundreds of Pelicans coming together for a night of rest. During the days you can now often look up and see squadrons of Pelicans circling over Maun. On good days, with plenty of wind, they are up in the sky playing with the thermals - dipping and diving, regrouping and doing the process over and over again.

With the new flood about to arrive in Maun, it can only be hoped they will stay with us for a while longer. It remind's me again of the old ditty Kelly would recite when we were on safari together:

"A funny old bird is the pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week,
And I don't know how in the world he manages to do it!"
On days like this, it makes you wonder - should the Pelican be the National Bird of Botswana. For another perspective of the Pelicans in Maun - click here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lioneses Attack Cape Buffalo

Life In The Wilderness

For those of you interested in seeing a video of Lionesses attacking a Cape Buffalo, visit TOPIX - Botswana. Take in a couple of minutes of what you can see when you are on mobile safari - life in the wild. These are often the stories that are discussed around the campfire, after dinner.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Plan Your Safari

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Safari Safely In Botswana

Botswana Safari Safety

The open safari vehicle does provide a surprising degree of protection. You will be amazed at how close you can get to a lion. Your safari guide will try to get the best setting for your photos and videos. You only leave the vehicle with your guides’ permission.

Predators like lion and hyena are always a concern. Too many accidents happen because the big animals are territorial or protecting their young. Hippos are the most dangerous. They can change from grazing to charge mode surprisingly quickly. Cape Buffalo can be very skittish and mean spirited.Listen to you guides’ guidance. Also, listen to his stories around the campfire at night. The information can save your life.

Whether you are staying at a
lodge in the Okavango Delta or on mobile safari with Afro Trek Safari, safety is always concern number 1. Everyone has to realize that when you are on safari in the game reserves, you really are inside the zoo.

The pre-trip briefing, by your professional guide, is extremely important. It is your responsibility to understand and closely follow the safety guidelines. Make sure your fellow travellers understand the guidelines. Make sure your safari of a liftime is memorable for all the right reasons.Your guide wants to get you as close to the big game as possible, in a safe manner. 99.9% of safaris run smoothly. Make sure you are not that 1 in a 1000.

Campfire Safety Perspectives:

After a day on safari exploring for big game and a great dinner in the bush, it is not unusual to sit up for awhile around the campfire. Often, the guides and guests share some great stories. Often the stories are about near accidents or narrow escapes. The themes often come back to safety. Some stories may be fanciful - many are not.

1. Bending over the side of a boat to free a fishing line as a crocodile jumps from a nearby bank and passes just over the startled person…

2. Escape by jumping over a log to get away from a charging hippo…

3. When a lion attacks, keep staring the lion straight in the eyes – it will stop. Your heart may also stop, but that is another story.

4. A guest video taping his own death, walking toward a buffalo herd…5. Last but not least – hyenas. Often they are around camps at night. Their yup – yup sound is distinctive and yup, they can be very dangerous. Follow you guides advice about staying inside your zipped-up tent.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Moremi Gami Reserve - 1st Amongst Equals

Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi is often described as the most beautiful of all wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, covering almost a third of the entire Okavango Delta. It is a diverse habitat where the desert and delta meet - an area made up of floodplains, pans, lagoons, channels, woodlands and forests.

In 1963, the wife of the late Batawana Chief, Moremi the Third, developed the Moremi Game Reserve in his honour. It it was the first wildlife reserve to be set aside in southern Africa voluntarily, by an African community on their own land. In 1970, the Chief's royal hunting grounds, Chief's Island was added with a further area to the northeast in 1991.

The Reserve is a haven to wide variety of wildlife and many water dependant animals. Birdlife is prolific and also varied, ranging from water birds to shy forest dwellers. Elephants are numerous, particularly in the dry season, as well as a range of other wildlife species from buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal and the full range of antelope, large and small including the Red Lechwe.

Moremi Game Reserve is best visited in the dry season, game viewing is at its peak from June to October, when the pans have dried up. The winter months of May to August can be very cold at night and early mornings, but pleasantly warm during the day. From October until the rains break in late November or early December, the weather can be very hot, with temperatures regularly topping 40 Celsius (105 Far.) in the day.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Maun Safari - Safari Lion Kill

Afternoon Safari Drive Story

The following story was developed over a three week period at my Maun - Gateway to the Okavango Delta Wetlands site. Imagine a variation of it being told around the campfire as you return to camp.

"Look - over there - in the tall grass - 2 female lions! And behind them - on the malapo - a herd of sable. Let's just see what happens... if we are patient enough, perhaps a kill. Look - Quelas, by the thousands - flying in tight formation, like they are all one big body. Amazing how they can dip and dive - they have all disappeared into that tree.

This could be it, one of the lions is moving into the mopane trees - it is circling around toward the sable herd... Perhaps we should move the vehicle more out onto the malapo to see what's happening - not far enough we disturb the dozen or so sable slowly grazing toward the woods. Soon the sable will enter into the woodland themselve. My God - look!

The lion is charging out of the woods, straight into the herd of sable. The sable are in panic - turning and trying to scatter - they are coming straight at us. On of the sable clips the back corner of our vehicle as it flees past us back out onto the malapo. Confusion reigns are the lionese continues to charge. She has picked out her prey, a pregnant sable.

With lightning speed she closes down her prey and leaps onto her shoulders. The weight of the lion and the resistance given by her back legs stop the fleeing sable just 5 metres from our vehicle. The second lionese is now sprightly making her way to the scene of the evolving kill. In quick order the sable is now flipped on her side. She awaits her fate with a stoic dignity.

The first lionese continues her grip on the sables should/neck until she is dead - it seems to take forever - perhaps 5 or 6 minutes. The other lionese starts at the other end and work toward the inards. Dinner is served. Who would have guessed it would arrive so suddenly. It is time to start making our way towards camp and think about our own supper. Perhaps we should come back in the morning and have a final look around. How about passing by the river on the way home - elephants may be having an end of day swim and drink?

My, my, we are lucky today - a herd of about 30 elephants coming down, just as we arrive.Ah, one of life's little pleasures - to see an elephant, after a long dry walk, makes it's run for freaf, clean river water. The gait seems to have a spring, the head and nose start to bob up and down more than usual - you can almost see it grinning as it runs staright into the water. Only the baby elephants seem to have some difficulties - trying to figure out what to do with their long noses as they try and run towards the river.

After watching them play in the water for 20 minutes - pushing there mates under water and spraying each other with water, it is getting late and time to go. We enjoy an emence African sun set and twilight. We arrive back in camp. A glowing campfire and a round of refreshing drinks are waiting for us. Now we can really talk about the safari."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Okavango Delta Flooding

Okavango Delta - Wetlands Getting Wetter

Travellers from around the world are following, with growing interest, the strong floods pouring into the Okavango Delta. A post in the Maun, Botswana Blog about the flow rates at Mohembo is creating worldwide interest. Click on the above link to follow the developing story.

What has started as a strong annual flood with flow rates of over 400 cubic metres per second, has spike over 200 cubes in just 10 days. Kasane is experiencing wide ranging flooding as we speak and it is very possible a similiar situation is developing in the Okavango Delta. A new flow rate chart will be out after April 10th.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Baines Baobabs - Exotic and Strange

Baines Baobabs - Out of this World

Any visit to Nxai Pan is not complete without a detour to see Baines Baobabs and the pans that surround them. We saw gemsbok, elephant and the old secretary bird on the way in. It really is quite a shock to see this errie landscape out in the middle of nowhere. They look much as they did when they were painted by Baines many years ago.

Baines Baobabs is a great place to have lunch, walk around and marvel at the unique setting - marvel at the size of the baobabs and try and figure out why people carve their initials into trees. There is a camp site nearby that, I think, would be worth trying in or around a full moon - you know, add to that errie feeling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dancing With Elephants - Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan - Bull Elephant Hangout

Nxai Pan is worth visiting 12 months a year. Located about 180 km. or three hours from Maun, the safari expedition can be done in one day, however it is best done overnight. The camps are in very good shape. Expect to hear lions and maybe be visited by elephants. Actually, we were visited by an elephant around 3 in the morning. It was sniffing around our vehicles and tents - quite a sniff, quit a sniffer! The camp site has running water and the elephant was looking for a way to liberate it - an old elephant activity.

Animals are busiest during the rainy season. By mid March the last water hole is being fed by underground pipes. The females and their young have left the bulls behind, so they can stand around the water hole and brag about last season. Springbok are plentiful, with a sprinkling of black back jackel, impala and gemsbok. The secretary bird seems to show up frequently, always on it's own.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Safari in Savute


Savute, lying in the west of Chobe National Park about 50km north of Mababe Gate, attracts dense concentrations of game during the wet season, which normally starts in late November.

The shallow Savute Channel, connecting the river to the north with the Mababe Depression, which was once a great lake, seems devoid of life. So to, Savute Marsh, situated at the junction of the Savute Channel and the Mababe Depression, dry for most of the year and best described as a treeless flatland.

Until, however, the rains break, then the game arrives, in their thousands, taking advantage of the new rich grasses. Wildebeast, giraffe, tsesebe, and huge herds of zebra, together with elephants and buffalo making up the variety of animals to be seen.

This massive influx of game also attracts predators, in the form of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyenas. Savute is world famous for the carnivores, especially the lion prides that are resident here. Savute is also well known for the bull elephants that roam through this area.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Afro Trek Safaris To Chobe

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park is divided into four main focal points. The Chobe Riverfront with floodplains and teak forests; Savute Marsh in the South West; the Linyanti Swamps in the North West and the hot, dry hinterland in between.

The Chobe National Park covers 10,000 sq. km., which is about 4,000 sq. metres and one of the major features is the elephant population. The Chobe elephant comprise part of what is probably the largest surviving continuous elephant population, which covers most of northern Botswana plus northwestern Zimbabwe and is estimated to be well over 100,000 strong. The Chobe elephants are migratory making seasonal movements of up to 200 km. from the Chobe and Linyanti river systems, where they concentrate in the dry seasons.

Game viewing is at its best during the dry months of May through to September, when the majority of natural pans have dried up and the game concentrates around the permanent water sources. Most wildlife activity occurs along the banks of the Chobe River. Hippos bathe, crocodiles sun themselves and wildebeest, zebra and buffalo gambol freely.

The buffalo herds are invariably accompanied by attendant lions, which can result in, the much sought after viewing of a lion kill. Sadly, such a sight in Chobe these days may have to be shared with many other tourists in game viewing vehicles (most of these vehicles now fitted with radios for communication with each other), gridlock could be experienced. However, maybe the awe of the spectacle outweighs any distraction from other game viewing vehicles in the immediate vicinity, some may not agree.

Many baboons and the elusive Chobe bushbuck can be spotted along the riverbank. Not to be missed by party animals is the afternoon boat9or booze) cruises available from most of the riverside lodges in Kasane. The Chobe riverfront offers beautiful scenery and stunning, dramatic sunsets.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Time to Safari in Botswana

The Best of Times - Botswana

Each period of the year offers different highlights, though May through to October / November are the months offering the best general wildlife viewing opportunities. The drier months result in better game viewing as the animals are forced to visit the fewer remaining water holes and pans in order to drink each day.

The predators merely have to wait at these water sources, being fewer in the drier months and therefore more crowded, for the animals to approach and commence drinking. For the wildlife enthusiast with limited time to spend, the period June to November is the wisest choice of times to go on safari in the Okavango Delta or Moremi Game Reserve.

In May, the flood waters from Angola are still making their slow and deliberate progress through the Okavango Delta. The rains have now ended, the nights are significantly cooler with temperatures averaging around 15 Celsius (60 Far) and day temperatures peaking at just over 30 Celsius (90 Far).

Breeding herds of elephant increase in density as they visit the perennial rivers of the Okavango, Chobe and Kwando. The seasonal pans begin to dry up. The lush greens, so evident in the wet season, begin to fade quickly into the duller dry season colours, allowing the predators to take full advantage of the fact that their coats now blend in with their surroundings again. The migrating birds commence their annual flights to winter feeding and breeding grounds in distant lands.

In June, temperatures reach their lowest, night temperatures towards the months end can drop to below zero (32 Far) but day temperatures still hit around 30Celsius (75 Far ) . Dry and dusty conditions now dominate with pans and water holes now resulting in the animals drinking at permanent water sources, closely followed by the predators

However, the wet months of December through to March offer other spectacular highlights which should not be overlooked. Obviously the vegetation at this time of year is rich with lush green growth evident everywhere.

Many of the antelope family have young ones during this period to take advantage of these nutritious grasses for grazing. This again offers predators rich pickings - these very young antelopes being easy prey for lion, cheetah, leopard or wild dog. For the birding enthusiasts the wet months can be a delight with many males of the various species displaying their full breeding plumage.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Afro Trek Safety Briefing #2

Safari Briefing – Safety 2

The open safari vehicle does provide a surprising degree of protection. You will be amazed at how close you can get to a lion. Your safari guide will try to get the best setting for your photos and videos. You only leave the vehicle with your guides’ permission.

Predators like lion and hyena are always a concern. Too many accidents happen because the big animals are territorial or protecting their young. Hippos are the most dangerous. They can change from grazing to charge mode surprisingly quickly. Cape Buffalo can be very skittish and mean spirited.

Listen to you guides’ guidance. Also, listen to his stories around the campfire at night. The information can save your life.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Afro Trek Safari Goes International

BlogBurst has just accepted Afro Trek Safari into their syndication. Wonderful news to start the New Year. More people from around the world will share the wonders of the Okavango Delta and destination areas like Moremi Game Reserve and the Tsodilo Hills. BlogBurst is described below, in their own words:

"BlogBurst is a syndication service that places your blog content on top-tier online destinations. You get visibility, audience reach and increased traffic, while publishers get a wide range of new coverage to broaden their reach and increase page views."

BlogBurst clients to date include the following international clients: Reuters, USA Today, Gannet, SF Gate, The Washington Post and Discovery.