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Botswana Travel Trade Expo 2015 and Kwando Camp Safari – Lynne Glasgow


02 Dec – Kasane – BTTE Opening Ceremony and business sessions

The opening ceremony was held at Sebona Nature and Recreational Park, and attended by the Botswana Minister for Tourism, who happens to be the Botswana Presidents brother. He gave an excellent speech, explaining the Botswana Governments position on Zero tolerance to poaching (shoot to kill!) and the complete ban on hunting. (This ban includes the Bushmen, who have all been re-settled into villages, and get government assistance for living costs). 

 

The business sessions for the rest of the day consisted of four 1 hour seminars on different areas of the country: The Okavango Delta; Chobe National Park, Linyanti & Savuiti; Central Kgalagadi & Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans and the Tuli Block. Each session had speakers on the area, followed by questions and answers. Sessions ended at 3:30pm. I signed up for the Chobe River boat cruise, which was pleasant, with my fellow Africa Adventure colleague Frank to share the traditional sundowner.

 


 

03 Dec – Kasane – BTTE Business sessions

The sessions consisted of ‘round robin’ meetings with various suppliers, lodge operators and ground handlers. Sessions ended at 3:30pm, and I joined the Desert & Delta groups on their sundowner cruise – second time lucky – it stayed dry. Dinner and overnight at Chobe Game Lodge. The new rooms at Chobe Game Lodge are looking very good.

 

Kwando Camps Safari

 

04 Dec Kwando Lagoon

This morning I bid farewell to Kasane, and joined my travelling companions on a four night post BTTE safari with Kwando, led by our Reservations Consultant, Mox Dintwa, who is a delightful 31 year old, with a Business degree from Botswana University. All Kwando Camps operate game activities with a guide and a tracker. Camps are managed by Botswana staff. Six guests per vehicle, with the middle seat empty.

 

Kwando Safaris charter all of their flights with Moremi Air. They have a new fleet of two Cessna 206 and three 8 seater Airvans, and operate them usually with the back 2 seats out. They have great safety features, including crumple-zones, so no luggage can be stored under the seats. There is plenty of space at the back for hand-luggage.

 

 

 

We flew from Kasane to Kwando Lagoon Camp, which is very close to the Namibian border, north of the Selinda Reserve. The flight took approx 50 minutes, and took just 15 minutes to get to camp, where I shared the family tent with one of the group.

 

 

 

 

As the name suggests, the Camp is located on a lagoon, with a big hippo poulation!

 

 

Our afternoon game drive was not hugely productive from an animal perspective, as the morning rain storm had scattered the larger herds. We did however start our birding education.

 

 

We did see some great wildebeest, and giraffe with young, along with many, many hippos!

 

05 Dec Kwando Kwara

Up at 5am for coffee and a light breakfast (porridge, corn flakes, muffins, tea and coffee) before heading off on a game drive, ending at the airstrip. Our guides (Hobbs and PJ) worked hard to find us an impressive sighting to remember the area by, and found us a beautiful leopard!

 

 

 

Our journey continued with a 30 minute flight to the Kwara Concession, and Little Kwara Camp. This was by far my favorite location and camp. There was a lovely vibe in the camp, the staff were all terrific and the location is fabulous. Boating is offered from both Kwara and Little Kwara. Kwara Camp is going to be completely renovated in 2016.

 

Our afternoon activity included a boat trip (possibly the last boat trip until the water levels start to rise) to the heronry, where huge amounts of birds managed to perch and nest on the thinnest of branches!

 

 

 

On the way back to Camp, we had a close encounter with giraffe, elephant, and a mating pair of lion, watched over by the brother…. Ready to step in if required!

 

  

 

06 Dec Kwando Nxai Pan

 

The early morning at Kwara brought a strange front passing through, with a very dramatic sky.

 

 

On the game drive to the airstrip, we saw some very interesting birds:

 

 

  


And also some babies:

 

  

 

We had the inevitable flat tire en route to the airstrip, just as we were following a cheetah, stalking prey:

 

  


Our plane was waiting to whisk us off to Nxai Pan, within the greater Makgadikgadi National Park. It was still very dry, with just a few sprinkles of rain so far, and the Pan was arid. It is hard to believe life can be sustained in such conditions, but large herds of springbok were seen. Seven zebra stayed behind at the end of the prvious years rains, and are eagerly awaiting the return of the herds, as soon as the rains begin and the pans fill up again. 

 

A film crew is busy making a documentary of the lion pride and how they adapt to the conditions. We saw their vehicle and large camera lens focused on the lioness and her two cubs, as we set off in the early morning to visit Baines Baobabs, a good two hour drive from camp. The film crew were in exactly the same spot, six hours later, on our return!

 


Baines Baobabs sit overlooking Kudiakam Pan

 

We saw a small pack of wild dog on the main road, just after leaving the Nxai Pan Gate. Desperate for shade, they squabbled over the coolest spot, scratching at the sandy surface to find cooler earth beneath.

 

 

Some elephant found their way to the waterhole outside camp, to share the late afternoon sundowners.

 

 

All too soon, it was time to head back to Maun, and the reality of home. Until the next time!



Lynne and Elena's Adventure to Kenya


October 2013
After a couple of nights spent in Nairobi and inspecting some properties, we both agreed that the new Hemmingway’s is definitely a fantastic addition to Nairobi’s accommodations. We spent a wonderful overnight at Giraffe Manor (every bit as beautiful as one would imagine) and then we were off on safari!

Feeding the Giraffe in Nairobi Feeding the Giraffe in Nairobi
Feeding the Giraffe in Nairobi

On arrival in Laikipia we were whisked off to Solio for two nights.  We had fantastic wild life viewing at Solio where the rhinos were the true stars – both black and white!  We spend a full day in the Aberdares which opened up another whole experience – the green hills and valleys, streams and waterfalls provided gorgeous scenery, as well as some interesting wildlife!

Green hills and valleys, streams and waterfalls at Aberdares Maasai Outfit
Lion hiding in the bush
Crowned Crane Black rhinos

From Laikipia we went off to Samburu and our next lodge Sasaab.  Sasaab is a stunning property – a mix of Arabian nights meets African Bush and set the side of a hill overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River.  Hot and dry with some very interesting additions to our wildlife viewing – Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk (who amazingly never drink water) and lots of elephants.

African Bush in Ewaso Nyiro River
Riding a Camel African ostrich
gerenuk

Last but certainly not least we flew to the Maasai Mara.  Here we were fortunate enough to spend two nights at Sala’s Camp.  We hit the game viewing jackpot on the way from the airstrip to camp.  Our guide spotted mating leopards!

Leopard in Sala's Camp Lynne and Elena's Adventure to Kenya
Group of Cheetah Wildebeest on a beautiful sunset background

Sala’s is small and intimate and tucked away in a secluded area with views of the Sand River looking towards the Serengeti ( Tanzania ).  Great game viewing but the lions roaring all night was definitely a favorite experience!  We then spent a night at Rekero Camp on the banks of the Talek River and a night at Naboisho Camp in the Naboisho Conservancy – both tented camps with excellent locations and game viewing.

We were very sad to come home but brought back with us great memories, fantastic game viewing and incredible experiences to share with our colleagues and our safariers!


Lynne and Elena's at Naboisho Camp

- by: Elena Theodosiou and Lynne Glasgow


Legends of Zimbabwe


This was my first vacation to Zimbabwe since 1997, so I was very excited to be travelling with my husband and two very good friends, none of whom had been on a real safari adventure before. We had begun the planning p rocess just after Joanie and Bill married last October, and this was to be their honeymoon! None of us knew at that time that it would also be a celebration of Bill beating cancer (our departure was just days after his final radiation and chemo treatment), so I had some trepidation that my love of Africa would not live up to their expectations. Africa did not let me down!

Finally, the departure day arrived, and we were off!


Bill and Joanie Richardson George and Lynne Glasgow

Bill and Joanie Richardson  / George and Lynne Glasgow


After a long and ti ring flight to Johannesburg and an overnight to recover, we set off to Victoria Falls, where we met our pilot and flew in a small charter aircraft to our first camp, Davison's Camp in Hwnage National Park. We were greeted at the airstrip by our guide, Dixo n with our safari vehicle, and moments later encountered the first of what would be very many herds of elephant!


Davison's Camp in Hwnage National Park many herds of elephant


Hwange does have lots of other animals, and over the next two days we saw many!


Couple Giraffe in Davison's Camp in Hwnage National Park Zebra in Hwnage National Park Lioness


The accommodations at Davison's Camp came as a very pleasant surprise to my travelling companions. No matter how much I had reassured them that they would love staying in a '˜tent' they really did not believe how comfortable it would be until we arrived!


Lounge area at Davison's Camp Twin Tent (no Wi-Fi!) Davison's Camp A visitor to the fire -pit! an elephant

Lounge area Twin Tent (no Wi-Fi!) A visitor to the fire -pit!

All too soon we were beading back to the airstrip to board our charter flight to Mana Pools National Park, which is right on the edge of the Zambezi River. When we arrived, we were whisked off by open safari vehicle to Vundu Camp by our fabulous guide, Nick Murray.

Nick Murray at Mana Pools National Park First glimpse of the Zambezi River. Lunch at Vundu Camp
Nick Murray / First glimpse of the river / Lunch at Vundu Camp

We had time to enjoy a sumptuous lunch and unpack, and then it was off on our first adventure to find '˜Handstand' a huge Bull elephant that has learned to balance on his back legs to reach the higher, succulent branches of his favorite trees!

Nicks best friends.. Mudzi! beautiful elephant

The fun continued, as we walked across this open floodplain and came across one of Nicks best friends.. Mudzi!

Over many years, Nick has gained the trust of this beautiful elephant, to the extent that Mudzi now expects some special '˜treats' and is not too happy if none are provided! We spent several minutes gathering acacia pods and juicy branches to share with Mudzi.

Guide Nick with Mudzi the elephant

The next morning, Nick walked us to a pride of lion, very happily snoozing under shady trees and on a termite mound. They had just spent 2 days gorging on a young elephant, and all that was left was a pile of thick hide and a rib -cage. Thankfully they were SO full they had no interest in us!

two Lions gorging on a young elephant

The whole walking experience certainly got the adrenalin flowing, so we decided that we would take a relaxing afternoon canoe ride on the river, after lunch.

canoe ride on the river

We enjoyed the afternoon so much (including the '˜rush' of a pod of hippos charging into the water just as we went past!) that we decided to spend the whole of the next day canoeing, and took a picnic lunch along with us. This proved to be one of my best days in Africa, ever!

The scenery was stunning, the sky a perfect blue, and the hippos and elephant did not disappoint in providing some exciting moments!


canoe ride while watching  the hippos and elephant canoe ride while watching the elephant
Lunch- prepared by Dany  Mudzi decided to join us!  Mudzi decided to join us!
Lunch- prepared by Dany ………………….. And Mudzi decided to join us!

Once more, we returned to camp and enjoyed a wonderful dinner, before heading back to our tents for sleep in our cozy bed, listening to the night sounds and the river flowing gently by.

 Vundu Camp   Vundu Camp
 Vundu Camp  Vundu Camp Pool

But our fun was not over. We headed back to Victoria Falls to spend our final two nights at Elephant Camp, just a 10 minute ride from the center of Victoria Falls town. Jonathan, the camp manager, welcomed us into a little bit of paradise! Each room has: a lovely sitting area beautiful bedroom and a plunge pool!

Dinner that evening was the best meal of the whole trip. The food ove rall was terrific, but the attention to detail at Elephant Camp was five star.

Esther' best guide at the Falls! Lynne at the Devil' Cataract
Esther' best guide at the Falls! /       Lynne at the Devil' Cataract

The whole reason to go to Victoria Falls is of course to SEE the falls, so the next day we had a guided walking tour with resident guide, Esther. Esther has looked after and guided our clients for many years, and is now a grandmother, but each day (sometimes twice!) she strides out along the path edging the Falls, and shares her knowledge. She is indeed a treasure of Zimbabwe, and we are proud to have her as part of our exten ded family.

It is awesome seeing the Falls on foot, but to get a real perspective of the size, the best way is from the air, so we all jumped on board the helicopter for a 13 minute ride over the Falls and the surrounding area. WOW!!!

Victoria falls view from above. Victoria falls view from above.

The Falls are subsiding as the water level drops. From the air, you see the gorges, carved out over the millennia. Our adventure was over, but will remain in our hearts forever.

Africa is already calling us back..
Next time.. Cape Town!


Africa is already calling us back.. Next time.. Cape Town

- by: Lynne Glasgow


Lynne Glasgow in Okavango Delta, Botswana


TRANS-OKAVANGO, BOTSWANA TRIP REPORT
May 2011

After an early breakfast at the Johannesburg Intercontinental (the ideal hotel for overnight, when arriving in the late afternoon and leaving again early the next day) we boarded the Air Botswana flight to Maun. This is always an interesting flight, as everyone on board is setting off on an adventure! On arrival, we were met by our Wilderness Air pilot and flew south to Kalahari Plains camp. After a quick freshen up, it was time for our fir st game drive! We were not disappointed, as there were lots of oryx and springbok, and I saw my first honeybadger in daylight! Dinner was scrumptious; tomato soup, rump steak, potato augratin and cauliflower; all hot and tasty and accompanied by good South African wine.

Oryx at  Kalahari Plains amazing honeybadger

Next morning was a 5.30 wake up for coffee and light breakfast before driving to Deception Valley for a day of game viewing. A wonderful picnic lunch brought out from camp and set up for us. In the late afternoon we returned to c amp for a cultural walk with one of the Bushmen. We learned how to made fire, snare a rabbit, make a bow arrows and how to communicate using the Bush Telephone! After dinner we had a great lecture from the senior camp guide about how the Kalahari formed and the river system that feeds the Delta. Kalahari Plains is a great camp, in a very unique ecosystem, and well worth the journey to visit and stay for a few days.

 Lion closeup

We were up before sunrise in order to set off on our scheduled charter flight to Chitabe for a site inspection of Chitabe and Chitabe Lediba Camps. Our next node of transport was a helicopter which whisked us to Banoka Camp. This new camp in the Kwai Concession area is a great example of reducing the carbon footprint, as the camp generates much of its own power from solar panels, has a super water filtration system and operates a rigorous re-cycling program - all behind the scenes, but available for viewing by interested guests. After a bush lunch at the edge of a lagoon, our helicopter took us off to the Tsodilo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 4,500 rock paintings over a 6 square mile area.

helicopter which whisked us to Banoka Camp a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 4,500 rock paintings over a 6 square mile area

Our overnight stop was at the newly refurbish ed Vumbura Plains North Camp. Wow! This is a Premier Camp with all the bells and whistles - it took me 10 minutes just to find all of the light switches in my gorgeous room.

Next morning we were up and on the move by 5.30. Our helicopter ride over the Delta gave a good perspective of the water inundation. This is the third year of what looks to be part of a 25 year cycle of great water flow into the Delta, and many of the camps are reorganizing their game viewing to accommodate more water activities.

aerial view of water in delta  motorized boat game viewing

The next part of our adventure would be by motorized boat, expertly guided by Lawrence, who has grown up in the Delta and whose knowledge of the channels, the birdlife and animal behaviors was incredible. The full day boat trip included a stop on an island for lunch and swim. In the afternoon there was fi shing from boat, without much luck! We had a quick stop at Jacana Camp for quick site inspection. This camp has 10 beds including a family tent which is a double with inter -connecting twin which makes it I deal for families. We arrived at Xigera Camp just after sunset and had a very interesting lecture from Map Ives, Wilderness Safaris' Environmental Officer in Botswana.

beautiful sunset from Xigera Camp Xigera Camp

Today we took our boat at sunrise and headed to Chiefs Island, landing at Mombo Camp . We were ready for some game viewing on dry land and Mombo Camp did not disappoint! Our game drive was only jut over an hour, but we managed to see two prides of lion, many giraffe, letchwe and zebra. Mombo Camp was full but the staff still managed to serve us an exquisite lunch before sending us off on our way to our final camp. This time, we experienced the Okavango at its pristine wildness. A fly camp had been set up with individual dome tents , a full bush kitchen and mess tent. Drinks around the fire, time to reflect on a wonderful visit to the Okavango Delta and a great sleep ! I am already looking forward to my next visit to this beautiful, diverse and ever changing land.

Mombo Camp and letchwe with zebra
elephant at okavango delta

- by: Lynne Glasgow


Lynne Glasgow - Tanzania 2008 - Report


Although I have had the opportunity to visit southern Africa on many occasions over the past 18 years, somehow I had never traveled to Tanzania, so it was with great excitement that I set off on the long journey from Fort Lauderdale to Arusha.

I had a comfortable sleep at Arusha Coffee Lodge and set off with my drive/guide, Seif, the next morning to Tarangire National Park. Seif was a fabulous guide. His knowledge of animal behavior opened my eyes to see beyond t he obvious, and he often re -positioned our vehicle for better photo shots. As we drove out of Arusha Seif explained the different tribes and their lifestyles, the cultivation and farming and how the development of tourism was having a beneficial impact on the local communities. The scenery was stunning, and we saw lots of elephant on the way to Tarangire Treetops - 20 tree rooms (1mile from end to end) each with views over the park. Wooden spiral stairs and hatch lead onto a platform access to your room. We took a sundowner drive to a hill with great views and enjoyed a display of Maasai dancing, followed by a night drive back to camp.

Elephant on the way to Tarangire Treetop Maasai dancing Tarangire Treetops - 20 tree room

The next day we stopped at Eunoto for lunch after an interesting journey through many Ma asai villages. We continued on to Lake Manyara National Park, where I was very lucky to see the famous tree-climbing lions on the way to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge which is located at the far end of the park. The lake is filled with lots of flamingoes and throughout the park the re is a lot of good game viewing - elephant, baboon, monkeys, hippo, lion.

Lion on the tree Camp in the bush Flamingos

From Lake Manyara we continued to the Ngorongoro Crater stopping at Mto Wa Mbu Village on the way. I popped in to see Gibb's Farm - lovely!

The drive up to the crater rim takes about 30 minutes from the entrance gate, and then the view below is stunning! I stayed at Crater Lodge - Wow! Chandeliers, butlers, views! The rooms are huge, with sitting area and fireplace, king -bed, huge bathroom with claw -foot bath and separate shower. Dinner was beautifully presented, and very tasty!

Lynne Glasgow - Tanzania 2008 Lynne Glasgow - Tanzania 2008 Lynne Glasgow - Tanzania 2008

In the morning we headed down into the Crater for some great game viewing!

After lunch, our journey continued into the Serengeti, and a drive down '˜lion alley' which lived up to its name. The next four days were spent visiting several lodges in the Serengeti, and seeing some fabulous animals as well! My night at the AAC shared semi permanent Camp on the edge of the Orangi River was a delightful experience, especially sharing game viewing stories with the other guests and guides.

Tented camp Huge Hippo on mud Male lion in the field

One of my favorite camps was Migration Camp - 20 tented rooms are all luxurious. There is a super sundowner deck, nice pool and inside or outside dining, weather depending. Best meal of the trip!

Safari vehicle Migration Camp Lynne Glasgow - Tanzania 2008

Tanzania was everything I expected and much more. The people are so friendly, accommodating and very happy! Although some roads are quite torturous, overall they were better than I expected. The tarred road from Lake Manyara to Ngorongor o is terrific and road improvements are being continuously made.

All the tented camps were great, and the general standard of food was very good, with the highlight being dinner at Migration Camp. Every visitor I met and chatted with (some first time others many time visitors) had only positive comments to make about the level of service, accommodation and game viewing.

- by: Lynne Glasgow


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