FUN-photos: Amazing Africa

August 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

  • We started in Durban, South Africa for 4 days with high hopes of catching the Sardine Run…the Greatest Shoal on Earth…but no such luck as they were 5+ hours south…and a whole day at sea.
  • Then flew to Tanzania for animal viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater. And from there a bush plan to the Northern Serengeti for two days to experience The Great Migration up close and personal.
  • Hit the jackpot! Tens of thousands roaming and running as far as the eye could see…and totally epic seeing majestic Mara River crossings!

 

FUN-Travel: Northern Serengeti, Tanzania – Great Migration – Day 2

July 30, 2019 by · Comments Off on FUN-Travel: Northern Serengeti, Tanzania – Great Migration – Day 2 

  • Repeat Yesterday…with added morning safari looking for other animals…

…see family of 14 elephants with 2 babies…pair of lions…and the usual suspects.

Then we hit the jackpot!

  • Crossing #7 has 3 different lines of wildebeests…

…all jumping in at the same time…and lasts over 45 minutes!

  • Sadly they don’t all make it…croc gets weak baby swimmer…

…adult breaks leg…swept downstream in fast moving current.

  • Happy Hour…spectacular sunset around campfire!

FUN-factIncredibly Insane! Throngs of 1000’s of Wildebeest’s amass on the banks of the river and wait until one courageous wildebeest makes the first move—the first jump. Then they pour into the rivers like ants, leaping, bleating, calling—a crescendo of adrenaline and instinct.

One interesting study likened the wildebeest crossings to a type of ‘swarm intelligence’. From the outside, the crossings seem to be frenzied and uncalculated—almost like mass suicide—but the animals are, in fact, systematically exploring and overcoming the obstacle as one single unit—or swarm.

FUN-Travel: Northern Serengeti, Tanzania – Great Migration

July 29, 2019 by · Comments Off on FUN-Travel: Northern Serengeti, Tanzania – Great Migration 

0’dark:30 wake up – depart 6 am for 2 hr drive to airstrip…

…bush plane seats 12…depart 8:20 with 1 stop…arrive Kogatende 9:50.

…within 20 minutes on drive to Mara Kati Kati Camp

…witness wildebeest’s making 1st crossing at #4 entry point on Mara River…

…lasting 20 minutes!

  • Have lunch…then afternoon safari…in search of more crossings…

…see zebra, giraffe, elands, gazelles, impalas, crocs & hippos.

FUN-factThe Great Migration has been listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. This is the stage on which the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth’ plays out, as more than two million wildebeest along with gazelle and zebra stragglers charge towards better grazing areas – making it the most unique safari experience in Africa.

More FF – Safari guides have no GPS, maps or signs…drive for hours… and manage to get you back to camp!

FUN-travel: Botswana – Mobile Safari – Part 2

October 27, 2010 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Botswana – Mobile Safari – Part 2 

The ABC’s of Africa

A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration
AA = Awesome Adventure
BB = Big Bummer
OO = Outrageously Overpriced
RBB = Really Big Bummer
TA = Totally Awesome
TAA = Totally Awesome Adventure
VG = Very Good

Day 23 – Saturday, September 25 – Savuti to Moremi, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Elephant Crossing

  • 1st drive 6:30 spot pride of 4 big male lions – next stop 2 females, one with 2 cubs well camouflaged in dry, yellow/brown 18” gras
  • 64 miles to Moremi, single lane road like mild roller coaster ride w/lots of dips then very rocky & bumpy, takes 5 hours
  • B – major wild fire on both sides as far as you can see for 25 miles
  • A – front row seats to 11:30 Elephant Show @ Water Hole – 25, all males, playing & having mud baths
  • A – drive through village – see mud huts being built using aluminum cans to hold it together instead of bricks
  • A – camp right on rivers edge & great lunch
  • 2nd drive very sparse animal viewings – more trees & marshes & grassy plains
  • C – in camp entertainment – after dinner concert featuring Marimba Frog band accompanied by Croaking Frog band w/bats chiming in – lead vocals by Harry the Hippo (quite loud snort/groan/bellow) – lasts until wee hours – wake up 2:30 to find wild dog sitting right outside front (turns out it was a dog from the village)

Lucy & Lidia

FF (FUN Facts) – always guaranteed to see lots of impalas

Day 24 – Sunday, September 26 – Moremi Game Reserve Khwai region, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Willy the Wildebeest

  • 1st drive 6:30 see the usual suspects & warthogs plus first ever red lechwe
  • A – brunch of cheese omelets, sausages & homemade bread
  • 2nd drive very sparse animal sightings again
  • A – Frank has back up Bird Safari planned – see all kinds
  • A – lots of dragon flies – one completely transparent w/exception of one black, velvety square on outer tip of each wing
  • C – in camp entertainment – same as last night except apparently Harry has gig at Hippo’s Pool Bar

FF – termite mounds abound – look like miniature volcano sand castles, some over 8’ high

Day 25 – Monday, September 27 – Moremi to Okavango Delta, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Bulls Will Be Bulls

  • 1st drive see mongoose, 2 honey badgers, black-backed jackal
  • 2nd drive see herd of 12 wildebeests, group of 10 mongoose, giraffe 15’ from road crosses in front of us

    Bob the Black-backed Jackal

  • A – see 2nd kill – hammerkop bird has frog – too big to eat so must tenderize it up by repeatedly shaking it, biting it & smashing on ground
  • C – in camp entertainment – after dinner concert featuring Marimba Frog band accompanied by Cicada Band

FF – lots of people driving themselves & camping in park – totally crazy, there are no street signs & they ask Frank for directions

Day 26 – Tuesday, September 28 – Okavango Delta, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

  • A – Frank hears leopards calling 6 am – Anton heard hyenas walking through camp just after we went to bed (glad my hearing is not that good)
  • 1st drive 6:30 to Mboma Island for 9:00 mokoro boat ride deep in delta – leopard & lion tracks but none to see
  • B – see sparse animals again w/exception of lots more giraffes
  • A – mokoro = dugout canoe poled by local – quite, gentle ride
  • B – not much to see other than lots of tall & short grasses, reeds, bamboo, water fig trees, ferns, & water lilies all competing for the same spot
  • A – ride back to camp see velvet monkeys @ water hole being attacked by pair of blacksmith plover birds – protecting new chick venturing out for first time – arrive back to camp @ 2:30
  • A – 2nd drive see 1st ever both bat eared fox & steenbok
  • C – in camp entertainment – same as last night

Sam the Sable Antelope

Day 27 – Wednesday, September 29 – Okavango Delta to Namibia – very cool, windy 60’s to hot 90’s

Nellie the Nesting Croc

  • A – on way see more elephants, sable antelope, giraffes, impalas, velvet monkeys
  • A – takes 3 hours & 34 minutes, not 5 hours
  • A – plane departs 3:40 pm so have lots of time to eat & shop & check email
  • B – wifi is horribly slow and spotty
  • A – have great lunch & cappuccino
  • TA – can’t wait to have AC, full hot water shower, ice cold anything to drink!
  • B – 3:45 and haven’t boarded yet – flight disappears from departure screen – there are only 2 gates, one for domestic, one for international
  • BB – sit & wait, sit & wait, sit & wait – finally board 5:30 (never updated by airline personnel) 19 seater, double prop
  • RBB – plane is going to Vic Falls first (entirely opposite direction) – don’t arrive until 8:30 (3 hours late) – get to hotel 9:30

Botswana Recap:Best time for Chobe is the dry season months of August, September, and October. A mobile safari is a great way to see the terrain and experience Africa. The pluses are you don’t have to fly in a 6 seater plane and you keep your luggage with you.

River Crossing

On the small planes you are only allowed a total of 22 lbs, so you have to pay to store your luggage and carry a small soft bag that

Botswana Baby

sits on your lap. Chris’s camera equipment weighs more than 40 lbs. Driving instead of flying allows for a real sense of how big & remote Africa is. We are glad we had the experience but wouldn’t do it again. I would say now, that 3 days in a private camp in Kruger and 3 days in Chobe with both land & boat would be a TAA. We give Botswana double thumbs up for the number of different animals & the vast amounts of then! The food was very good and we had lots of fresh vegetables & fruit. Every dinner started with soup, main course always had a starch, meat, vegetable, salad, and finished with a dessert. Brunch was only served the 2 times we were not moving camp. Those days a picnic lunch was provide with multiple items to choose from that included meat, cheese, homemade bread, chips, cookies, etc. All drinks, beer & wine were included. This is what to expect from a 5 star mobile safari. At the Simbavati lodge we stayed at in Kruger breakfast was served at 10, lunch at 3 & dinner at 8. Only tea & coffee were included and we paid for all other beverages. Food was fresh and good there too. This was a 4 star lodge experience.

Anton, Joe, Me & Frank

FUN-travel: Botswana – Mobile Safari – Part 1

October 23, 2010 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Botswana – Mobile Safari – Part 1 

The ABC’s of Africa

A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration
AA = Awesome Adventure
BB = Big Bummer
OO = Outrageously Overpriced
RBB = Really Big Bummer
TA = Totally Awesome
VG = Very Good

Day 20 – Wednesday, September 22 – Victoria Falls to Botswana – hazy, hot 90’s

Gigi the Giraffe

  • A – 5:40 am wakeup call by birds
  • A – really excited about going for 7 day private mobile safari in Botswana
  • B – 9:30 pickup means 10:00 Zimbabwe time – van ride takes 1 hr to border, change to 11 seater (1 up front w/driver & 3 rows, seating 3 each, all tiered higher for viewing) 4×4 open Land Cruiser w/canvas canopy top with Frank our guide, driver, tracker – than half an hour to town of Kasane
  • A – stop @ Bio Diversity Center – see snakes, birds, mongoose – all caught or being cared for to rerelease
  • AA – 12:45 Chobe River Wild Animal Park Boat Ride – front row seats for 1:45 Hippo Show – then on to 2:45 Elephant Herd Crossing River Show (absolutely amazing how they know exactly where to cross at shallowest point) – see multiple herds of impalas, kudus, hippos, elephants, water buffalo, all 60 to 100 each herd – see 1st kill, Saddle Billed Stork swoops up a fish – see so many different birds – favorite is lilac crested roller
  • A – 3:45 drive to camp – see 1st ever Sable Antelope & Puku & the usual suspects (those we have already seen) arrive back to camp 6:30
  • A – Chobe National Park – have tent w/2 iron beds, sheets, blankets, pillows, towels – toilet & shower in attached tent – front covered entry w/2 camp chairs & 2 camp sinks (they heat our water & fill them) – truly an adventure w/no electricity or running water & quite comfortable – told “must keep tent zipped so no creepy crawlies can get in” – Joe & Anton cook, set up & break down camp – amazingly fast for 4 tents, dining area & kitchen (wood fire w/grate)

Our Tent

FYI – Simbavati Lodge in Kruger was a luxury tented camp with front wood deck w/chairs & double wooden carved front doors, 6 window flaps that Velcro shut, 3 on each side, 2 oversized twin beds pushed together, AC & heat, door to bath with tub & 2 sinks (this room had 3 stucco walls) 2nd door leading to outdoor shower w/double heads, only 3 walls & no roof, wide open to view animals roaming by – told “must keep doors locked so no baboons can get in”

Lily the Lilac Crested Roller

  • TAA – Chobe is Kruger on steroids!

FF (FUN Facts) – TAA = Totally Awesome Adventure

Day 21 – Thursday, September 23 – Chobe National Park, Botswana – low cool 60’s to hot 90’s

  • 1st drive 6:30 to 10:30 am – 3 lions, zebras (3 herds over 100 each) plus lots more of the usual suspects – unbelievably huge amounts of animals over vast area
  • A – have fabulous brunch, then head back to river
  • 2nd drive is another 1:00 pm water safari @ Chobe River Wild Animal Park – on way see elephant herd huddled tightly in circle @ base of tree to keep cool, backed in – see baby only 1 week old nursing & well guarded
  • AA – go farther down river – see nesting crocodile (they regulate their body temperature by keeping their mouth open) 2:30 front row seats to the Bird Show – 60 vultures voraciously attacking & eating a dead cow (surmise it died giving birth as there is a baby carcass as well) see 3 types of vultures – more elephant herds crossing river – lots of water buffalo, hippos, giraffes
  • More AA – drive back to camp, see 2 lions & 1 leopard
  • TAA – have in camp entertainment – IMAX, 3D & surround sound – only 1 channel – Animal Planet
  • A – full moon

Sunrise

FF – elephants nurse for 4 years until next one is born – tusks start growing at 2 years which makes nursing a bit tricky

Day 22 – Friday, September 24 – Savuti National Park, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Larry the Lappet-Faced Vulture

  • A – see morning march of the guinea fowl – over 100 heading to water in single file
  • A – 1st drive 6:40 am – start off & stop so Frank can call office – 150 yards ahead, at 12:00 position, spot 2 male lions crossing road – tell Frank and head out in pursuit – in 100 yards, at 3:00, spot 2 females 15 yards from road – then to our surprise find one more at 9:00, 5 yards – YIKES (trackers are constantly visually sweeping from left to right & back again, looking from ground to tree line spotting animals, snakes & birds – on top of that they are listening & sensing)
  • BB – all roads are uneven & range from rough, rocky, hard packed to deep rutted soft sand & red powdery dirt – foolishly assumed road to Savuti was smooth & paved – takes 5 hours to go 85 miles – 4 WD a must, can’t believe how many self drive cars/trucks have been stuck
  • A – stop for lunch under big tree, spread table cloth on hood, great food of salads, cheese & cold cuts
  • A – get to camp, attempt to nap & realize tent is multi-functional – sleep by night & sauna by day
  • A – finally figure out how to work AC – soak towel in water, drape inside shirt around neck & down front
  • 2nd drive 4 to 6:30 – Savuti – vast open grasslands & Acacia trees w/some hills – animals quite sparse – see first ever Tsessbe – then cross river where new bridge will be when it gets built – have to drive across rocky river bed – last guy got stuck, had to be towed out – see wildebeests & ostrich & the usual suspects (those we have already seen)

Zoey the Zebra

  • Temp range – Dawn – cool, windy, dusty – Mid Morn – warm, windy, dusty – Noon – hot, windy, dusty

FF – sunrise & sunset is a huge orange ball creating a striking contrast to the monotone gray/brown barren trees awaiting their spring leaves