Today's guest post is shared by Kane, who guided the Kelly Party on a Zambia and Botswana safari. The trip was full of surprises and captivating sightings!
I met the Kelly party at Selinda airstrip on the morning of 20th May, they were coming from Victoria Falls. The guests displayed excitement and readiness for high adventure in their safari outfits. From here, we started on our game drive. About ten minutes from the airstrip, I stopped the vehicle and asked everyone to come out of the vehicle. I explained to the guests how we must meet officially before our safari through a connection with our ancestors, as we pray they lead us throughout our journey and ensure great moments at all times. We gathered grass in our hands and called our forefathers and mothers asking for good fortune on their land. Our prayers were richly answered throughout the journey.
SELINDA EXPLORERS CAMP was our first camp. We invented a system called B2GO (Breakfast To Go), which allows us to take our breakfast with us and eat in the bush. We kept this system for the entire safari as it gave us time to get to the action rather than wasting time in camp. At Explorers, there were a number of highlights:
- We tracked a pride of 17 lioness with cubs. We found them feeding on a kill which we later discovered was a warthog. The magic here was finding the lions feeding at a close range and being able to leave without them noticing our presence.
- The second highlight was our walk through a big herd of elephants.
- On a game drive we tracked down a pack of eight wild dogs and followed them until one dog lead us all, along with the rest of the pack, to an Impala kill he made.
- Canoeing past a herd of elephants crossing the channel was special.
- The Explorers team went the extra mile to organise many surprises including a bush brunch and bush dinner. The camp itself has a special magic, you will always walk away happy!
We crossed over to ZARAFA CAMP for two nights after Selinda Explorers Camp. It was more than what the guests expected, especially the accommodations... the rooms were huge! A few highlights included:
- Seeing a 3 metre crocodile on the banks trying to take away an Impala carcass killed by wild dogs, which ended up been stole by hyenas. This was a very unusual and special sighting. It was even more atmospheric as it was at dusk providing a moody setting.
- Boat lunch amongst a herd of elephants.
- 2 hour walk at Zarafa was great; we saw a huge herd of elephants crossing the Savuti Channel and lots of general game- it almost felt like a game drive.
Our last camp was CHITABE LEDIBA. We went to Chitabe focusing on tracking down leopards, and if possible, cheetah. We were just extremely happy soaking up the atmosphere of being in the bush. As a guide who has been to almost all the camps in Botswana and every concession, I will say Chitabe concession tops in quantities of game. We saw almost every animal except rhino. I still praise Selinda reserve for quality of sightings/unusual behaviour, while Chitabe is more about the quantities of species you can see at a time. Highlights as follows:
- Quantities of animals seen on drives were big and the area/concession was beautiful. Driving along Gomoti River was unbelievable.
- We managed to accomplish our mission! We had four total leopards sightings: two sightings of different leopards and one leopard twice.
- My antelope stress call attracted an attracting pack of ten wild dogs and leopard.
In conclusion, thanks to the connection we had with the ancestors and nature, the entire trip records of sightings included; 35 lions, three leopards, one cheetah, 25 wild dogs (three different packs), eight hyenas and thousands of elephants and buffalos. A wide range of general game were also seen in large numbers eg. zebras, kudu, wildebeest, giraffes and many others including lovely birds in beautiful landscapes.
The safari ended with tears when we said goodbye at Maun Airport. Until next time!