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MalaMala - It's all about the wildlife

A recap of October 2015



Getting to know the Gowrie males - A story by ranger Greg Baldwin

While I was expecting to see the morose bodies of two lionesses lying next to the carcass, I wasn’t surprised to see a male lion next to the carcass. Grabbing my binoculars I was stunned to be met by another four male lions fighting… Read more



Wild Dog extravaganza! - A story from our guest Douglas Croft



Watching puppies play never gets old! Many growing mouths to feed means that the adults in the pack need to hunt pretty much non-stop and our afternoon game drive was suddenly interrupted by a call... Read more


Kikilezi Female vs Bateleur - A story from ranger James Moodie

We all looped around to the other side of the thicket to see what had grabbed her attention and noticed a juvenile Bateleur in the grass. Without hesitation she ran at the eagle and pounced... Read more


VIDEO: Hyena vs leopard over a kill, who do you think won?



BLOG STORY: Interaction!

What the Treehouse male was unaware of at this stage, was that he was not the only big cat in the area on this overcast winters morning. The Marthly pride of lions were laying beneath a large brown ivory tree, 300 meters directly south of Main Camp, sound asleep. It was unbeknownst to him that he was beelining straight for seven lions... Read more


BLOG STORY: A day with the Marthly pride


As we approached we could see six lions lying down in the river with their collective gaze staring north towards a herd of kudus some three two hundred meters away. The seventh lion, the tailless lioness, had started flanking the kudu but the game was up when a series of barks from the kudus sounded the alarm... Read more

Gorongosa National Park 6 Hour TV Series, Mozambique

6-hour TV Series begins airing on PBS Sept 22nd



Over the past two years, a team of filmmakers has been documenting the restoration effort in Gorongosa Park for a 6-hour series that provides an unprecedented, in-depth look at the inspiring work of saving this park.


This landmark series is called "Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise" and begins airing on PBS, the largest television network in the United States. Airdates are:

Tues Sept 22nd, 8pm ET

Tues Sept 29th, 8pm ET

Tues Oct 6th, 8pm ET


In October, it will begin airing internationally on the National Geographic Channel.



The series is hosted by Bob Poole, an award-winning cameraman who has spent his decades-long career filming wildlife all over the world, with a special emphasis on Africa, where he grew up.


Starting Sept 22nd, viewers in the United States can follow Bob as he joins the scientists and conservationists who are working to restore the park, including lion researchers Paola Bouley, Celina Dias and Domingas Aleixo, Park Vet Rui Branco, Park Warden Mateus Mutemba, elephant researcher Joyce Poole (Bob's sister) and the renowned biologist Edward O. Wilson, who serves as a scientific advisor to the park.



"My childhood in the wilds of Africa inspired my career, but Gorongosa is special for me; this time I will be in front of the camera as well as behind it, capturing the incredible biodiversity and herculean conservation efforts taking place," says Poole. "The two years I spent filming the parks transformation fulfills a life-long dream of mine. I was able to combine my passion for animal conservation with my love of documentary filmmaking."


"Our deep dive into the return of GORONGOSA PARK is important because of how crucial its conservation effort is to the ecosystem of Africa - and to the world," said Bill Gardner, VP, Programming and Development, PBS. "It's also an epic adventure and an inspiring story of how dedicated people, working together, can make a difference in rehabilitating ecosystems thought to be lost."


Episodes 1 & 2 (Tues Sept 22nd, 8pm ET)


Episodes 1 & 2, "Lion Mystery" and "Elephant Whisperer"

In the premiere episodes, Bob Poole joins Gorongosa scientist Paola Bouley as she tries to solve a baffling mystery: why isn't Gorongosa's lion population growing as fast as people think it should? Poole films five cheeky lion cubs on their journey to adulthood. Then, he and his sister Joyce, a renowned elephant expert, face charging elephants to gain insights into their behavior.

September 22, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET, USA



Episodes 3 & 4 (Tues Sept 29th, 8pm ET)

Episodes 3 & 4, "New Blood" and "Hidden Worlds"

In these next two hours, Bob Poole and the lion team find one of the cubs with a grave wound and race to save her. A massive relocation mission is launched to bring back zebra and eland, Africa's largest antelope. Then, Poole and a team of scientists estimate that the park may hold Africa's largest crocodile population. Rappelling into deep gorges, they discover forests full of new species and unexplored caves.

September 29, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET, USA



Episodes 5 & 6 (Tues Oct 6th, 8pm ET)

Episodes 5 & 6,"Battle Lines" and "Roaring Back"

In the final episodes, Joyce Poole makes a breakthrough with the elephants in Gorongosa, while Bob spends a night investigating a group of crop-raiding elephants. A new lion arrives, sparking conflict in Gorongosa's lion kingdom. Bob explores Gorongosa in the wet season, and films one of the largest nesting colonies of waterbirds in Africa.

October 6, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET, USA



Thank You!



The restoration of this beloved park would not be possible without you, our steadfast supporters. All of you who visited Gorongosa, those who have donated to the project, and those who have spread the word about the importance of the Park can feel proud that all our efforts are being acknowledged, and that Gorongosa National Park is going from strength to strength. Many thanks!


A special thanks is due to the Gorongosa Business Club (GBC) whose long term commitment is making our mission possible.


- Anadarko



- Clinicare


- Embassy of Portugal - Portuguese Cooperation

- Fernando Couto Foundation

- Entreposto Group

- InterRent

- Rizwan Adatia Foundation

- Kudumba

- Socimpex

- Soico/STV

- Southern Refineries

- Standard Bank

- Tecnel Service

- Transcrane

- Tovisi

The Gorongosa Family is growing stronger day by day, and we are grateful for the vision and generosity shown by Zoo Boise, Coimbra University, Boise State University, Princeton University, HHMI, Irish Aid, USAID and the Government of Mozambique among our many partners.


We would also like to thank our partners Girassol Hotels (Visabeira Group) for creating a world-class safari destination and making our guests in Chitengo feel welcome.


Enjoy the series!

Six Countries Special with Wilderness Safaris

Unbeatable prices at 29 Wilderness Safaris camps and a diverse range of experiences to mix and match. 3 Botswana camps added (Little Mombo, Chitabe and Chitabe Lediba). Click on the following program to enjoy our specials from November through March.

12-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing (Classic Camps Nov-Mar).  



Kwando Camps in Botswana

Kwara Concession


It’s hard not to get tied up in the events that surround the animals that we see every day. It’s human nature to ‘reflect’ our emotions and interpretations of behaviour onto the animals. Some days, it just feels like you are in the middle of a soap opera. Take the afternoon where the mother cheetah was found with only one of her three cubs. She spent the late afternoon calling and calling, for her other cubs to join... but there was no response. Even as darkness fell, as the cars moved off, she could still be heard calling. So, talk that night at the dinner table was concern – guides, guests, managers, all wondering what had happened to her other cubs? Would they find each other? Had they been attacked and killed by another predator? Will the single cub disappear as well, or stay on with the mother.



The next day, everyone was looking for the cheetah, to continue the story. And although it doesn’t happen often in the bush, there was a happy ending. When mother cheetah was found, all three cubs were with her, looking no worse for wear! Relief all round for the guests and staff alike… until the next episode of “Days of our Lives”.


In actual fact, the cheetah mother appears to be doing well at teaching her offspring good hunting techniques, and the four of them are regularly pulling down impala and other game. It’s possible that during an attempted hunt in the middle of the day, they got separated.


Other than that stressful time, we had other days of good sightings of the cheetah family, including where we watched them all attempt (unsuccessfully) to hunt. The same day, we came upon a male cheetah, and he stalked and killed a baby reedbuck right in front of us.


The pride of seven lions with three young was seen several times at the beginning of the month, looking for something to hunt. They had no luck whilst we were watching… a little later, a male and female lioness took a chance to try and hunt some warthogs, which they did manage to catch.


Male lions – the epitome of strength, bravery, fierceness. We came across four big males – the Marsh boys, calling and sounding off, roaring for dominance of their territory. Talking to other cars out, some distance away, they had located the four new males known as the Zulu boys, also roaring and sounding off, vying for dominance of this area. The two ‘teams’ slowly moved towards each other, calls getting louder and stronger. Everyone pictured the battle that was about to ensue – 8 fully grown male lions, evenly matched… what a scene! Until they reached about 1km away from each other, and both “sides” carefully turned round and walked in the opposite direction….


On the 20th August we came across the four Zulu boys, who had killed a 6-7 year old elephant. They had scars that were not there the day prior, and one of the four was limping badly, so we suspect they had finally had the fight with the Marsh boys that they put off earlier in the month… They rested up next to the elephant carcass for four days, before moving off – but not before striking dead a hyena who got too close to their meal…


A leopard was found dining on a baboon – but was very shy, so we moved off so that he could settle down properly. A few days later, we saw what was possibly the same shy male, mating with a female.


An interesting sighting of five wild dogs that were seen feeding on an impala. What was interesting about them was that they were not from a pack that we recognised! Perhaps we have a new group trying to edge their way into the old territory of the big pack…. Thirteen of the big pack of dogs were seen in the several times, on one occasion, they hunted and caught a big warthog… finishing all the meat in a matter of minutes. The pack were seen regularly through the month, and we also saw one pack of six dogs having an aggressive interaction with the big pack, before they ran away and crossed the channel by the boat station.


A slightly smaller kill was made by a honey badger – some frantic digging paid off, with a yummy rat to eat.



The whole Lagoon pride – four adult females and four sub adults cubs were around and about at the start of the month. We also came across a solitary male. The following week, near John pan, we came across three lionesses, with two cubs about 2 months old. During the month, we saw both prides hunting and killing buffalos – the large herds that have built up over the last months are providing a good food resource for the cats.


Two very well fed male lions were located between Lagoon camp and the immigration post, resting next to the river. The animals were very lazy, dragging their full belly. A beautiful caracal was also located along the same road and a hyena was edging along the tree line.


A female leopard was found to the west of the airstrip, and then the next day resting up on a termite mound. A male leopard new to the area has been seen twice now, appearing quite relaxed. We are hoping this gentleman stays around! We have also had several sightings of the female leopard that we saw last month with two cubs. Unfortunately she appears to have lost one of the cubs, and has only been seen with the remaining female cub.


Fourteen member of the pack of 17 wild dogs paid us a visit on the morning of the 4th August, but then sped back to Lebala area for the afternoon! Also, a new grouping of dogs – 4 males and 1 female – that we don’t recognise were seen hunting. We came across them when we were watching a lovely relaxed group of sable – suddenly the five dogs came dashing out of the bush nearby, trying to drive the huge antelope away. The sable did not budge, and stood their ground, with the dogs eventually giving up and walking away.


A little later in the month, with the big pack having abandoned the den at Lebala, the pack of 17 and 8 puppies spent some time around Lagoon. Whilst up there, they also bumped into a pack of 13 that they found in the area, and there were some clashes!


An unusual sighting of a pelican this month! Also lots of sightings of a big herd (about 35) of sable, as well as a herds of around 25 roan.



Lots of lions in the area, including a female with three small cubs, a pride of five lionesses, and three different males. Unfortunately one of the small cubs was lost mid way through the month, and lioness was seen with only two for the rest of the month.


For July, the wild dogs did well with their 8 puppies. Early on in August, they decided that their puppies were old enough to leave the den, and begin to move with the pack. Although the puppies are still little, and can’t run the distance and speed that the adults can, the pack will move them from spot to spot, with a caretaker, and do their hunts from there. Around the 14th of the month, they moved into an area where the large buffalo herds hang out, and lions are commonly seen. It’s unlikely that would choose to stay in that area for very long.


By the end of the month, the puppies were growing up nicely, and all eight of them were trying to keep up with the 17 adults as much as possible.


One of the leopardesses that we haven’t seen for a while has moved back into the area again. She looks in good condition, and she had caught a jackal when we found her.


In order to differentiate between animals, regularly seen individuals are often given names. So then it comes down to the challenge of what to name them? Typically, if there is a pack or a pride, you try and have names with the group that are associated (eg members of a well-known football team, chiefs or kings and queens, even varieties of wines!) For solitary individuals, such as territorial male lions, it’s less necessary to have a name that is associated with a group, and one can select a more individual name, perhaps from a characteristic or story about that individual. Guests at Lebala were slightly alarmed to hear one very large male lion being referred to as “Drop the Pilot”. Sounding rather like an incident of lion training gone horribly wrong, an inquiry was made… Was a pilot perhaps taken to the wrong end of the airstrip and left there to meet this lion? Apparently not. This lion has a very tall mane, one side of which stands straight up, then flops down over his eye. This particular hairstyle is currently very popular with the ladies of Botswana, and is called “Drop the Pilot” (for some completely unknown reason….). And this is how the lion acquired the name…


Drop the Pilot and his buddy, Sebastian (not sure about that one either…), were seen often through the month, but were not involved in a great buffalo hunt which occurred on the 26th. Four lionesses, with two 2 month old cubs safely stashed away, spent the day hovering around a herd of buffalo – over 1000 of them. By late afternoon, the herd was very antsy, and the lionesses tried to fragment them. Initially facing five big male buffalos, the males turned and ran. One lioness pulled away from the three, and began harassing a mother and calf. She grabbed the calf and pulled it down, with the mother buffalo continuing to try and attack her. Realising that she was in jeopardy from the attacking buffalo, the lioness grabbed the calf in her mouth, lifted all four of its feet in the air, and ran off.


Soon after that, the lionesses regrouped and spooked the herd enough that it again fragmented, this time pulling down a larger sub-adult buffalo that had no chance of defending itself from the combined attack. The next day, having feasted on the buffalo during the night, they were found together with their cubs, resting up from the busy night.

Tau Pan

Now the camp is open again after a few weeks closed for standard maintenance, its time for everyone – and every animal – to get used to the way of life here. The temperature – although absolute freezing at the beginning of the month - soared to 34 degrees by the middle of August. Spring, if it was there, lasted about two days. The winds have started to pick up too, throwing dust into the sky, and creating that hazy look that we have to contend with for several months until the rain arrives.


The lions, naturally, could not care less whether we come or go. As far as they are concerned, Tau Pan (and often the camp itself) is their home. To welcome everyone back, two females set up just to the north of the camp with five cubs, feeding on an oryx. Two males sauntered in and out, grabbing a bit to eat, and the moving off to the waterhole.


The following week, the pride had caught another oryx, and all were sleeping and relaxing near by. The five cubs were hiding in the grass. One of the male lions was also seen mating with one of the pride females…. Another generation of cubs on the way?


Also adjusting to movement of humans back in the area, a male cheetah caught a young kudu on the edges of Tau Pan camp. Since kudus are often in the camp because of the thicker vegetation that is by and large, less browsed, it seems the cheetah has adapted his hunting skills accordingly!


An interesting thing this month is that it seems that the acacias and other flowering trees may bloom early. The Kalahari received a much higher than normal rainfall in April (certainly more than Maun or the Delta received at the same time) so there is still some moisture deep in the ground in some areas. It should be an interesting few months!


One of the guides, who had just spent a few weeks in our sister camp, Nxai Pan, commented on how different the behaviour of black backed jackals was in that area… Here in Tau Pan, the jackal spend their days hunting for their own food, and if there is a predator that has made a kill, waiting for a chance to dive in and grab a mouthful. In Nxai Pan, the guide noticed that every time there was a cheetah, there was a jackal a short distance away. “Jackals follow the cheetah for the whole day, asking for food!”. Perhaps Tau Pan jackals have a stronger sense of independence.


Odd sighting – tracks of elephants along the western firebreak, heading north. Interestingly, not far outside the CKGR, a herd of elephants was seen crossing the main road at Rakops! We also saw tracks of wild dogs, heading to the Passarge water hole. And the elusive brown hyena returns to the camp for more regular sightings!


A honey badger was having a rough day, being followed by a couple of goshawks. Eventually with a mouse in sight for the honey badger’s meal, the goshawks moved in in an attempt to flush the mouse out of the way and into their grasp… Lucky for the honey badger, he was quick enough to catch it!

Hwange's Lion


We are all saddened to hear about the death of Cecil, a regal 13-year-old lion who lived in Hwange National Park in northern Zimbabwe and who was part of a large conservation-minded study of lions in the area.


This is a very unfortunate situation and underscores the importance of the great work being done in the safari industry to promote responsible tourism to these remote and protected areas.


Safari camps and lodges and companies like ourselves have already made a significant impact on reducing poaching and increasing protected game reserve lands. Traveling to Zimbabwe and visiting Hwange National Park and Mana Pools is an immeasurable step to helping.



Visiting Africa along with making donations to reputable wildlife organizations such as African Wildlife Foundation is the best way to help protect and preserve Africa’s treasures.


As of August 2015, The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority has ceased all lion, leopard, and elephant hunts around Hwange.


We encourage you to continue to support eco-tourism to Hwange and travel on a photographic safari to the other parks of Zimbabwe where the tourism community is working diligently on the ground to conserve the wildlife. 

Chiawa and Old Mondoro Camp News from Zambia!

Dear Friends,


First things first - Conde Nast Traveler has just acknowledged Chiawa Camp as one of Africa's Top Twenty Safari Camps & Lodges, and one of only two from Zambia that made the esteemed list.



I am breaking with tradition...and sharing some recent photos from a client....."A much-travelled Morag was back at Old Mondoro & Chiawa for the 7th time in 10 years, claiming the camps are a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts, thus her stay of 9 nights at Old Mondoro and 6 nights at Chiawa in 2015, which proved to be stunningly productive.

Grant Cumings




- On the 1st full game drive had a rare sighting of a big rock python who initially disappeared into a hole in a tree just allowing for a small photo of its mid-section. The tree squirrels and small birds had given away its presence.





- As though that were not enough, that same evening 3 leopards (a mother with a son and daughter of about 2 years) killed a big female impala in the darkness.



- Continuing the daily dose of awesome sightings, the next day prodiced 2 well-known big male lions (“Greedy” & “Snare”) on a male waterbuck kill. These 2 lions were first seen by Morag in 2010 and, though no longer pretty faces, were magnificent powerful beasts.



- 3 days later, 4 new male lions (estimated to be around 3 ½ years old) surprised everyone by strolling through open area just beyond the camp sitenje after breakfast. Much delight at more lions in the area even if they were trying to maintain a low profile!



- The very same day another rare occurrence – one of the big bull elephants decided to select his lunch (in precisely the same area where we earlier saw the lions) from a topmost branch and obliged everyone by standing on his hind legs to reach.



- Although there were countless other wonderful sightings including small mammals and birds ranging from Martial eagle to a Malachite kingfisher, the next major events were at Chiawa Camp.




- a night drive produced a pride of 8 lions feasting very noisily on a buffalo. There were there, still eating, arguing and playing the following morning. They were led by an aggressive and very dominant female, but at least 4 of their number were full of boisterous play.




Once again, there were beautiful and impressive sightings but a fantastic scenario played out on the last full day.



- A big crocodile was spotted lurking near a tree, well away from the nearest water hole. Moving around in the vehicle to get shots of him produced a male leopard descending from the tree (and his well-camouflaged impala kill) and running away in thick bush.



- Just as the vehicle was moving off a female leopard strolled into the scene, climbed up the tree, and started to feed off the impala! Many photos were taken, despite the searing midday heat!



- A return was made to the tree in the late afternoon, and the now-sated leopardess stood up and made soft calls into the bush. She climbed down and was met by two tiny cubs, who she moved, before she climbed back up the tree.



- Finally the 2 cubs managed to struggle up the tree (after a few attempts) to join her.



What a fantastic way to end a trip, and what a fantastic trip as well!"



Saving the World, One Black Rhino at a Time

Wilderness Safaris has just completed the largest ever translocation of black rhino to Botswana. So happy Independence to the rhino that will now be roaming freely and safely through the Okavango under the watchful eye of the Botswana Defence Force.





This has been a partnership with the Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa governments, Botswana Defence Force, donors, partners many unsung people with one goal - to help these black rhinos back to a place where we know they will be safe and breed! 


If you take one sound bite away with you this weekend, take this:


* This is the largest ever cross-border relocation of black rhino! ...the single most important conservation action that we've collectively been involved in the history of Wilderness Safaris

For a personal account of the latest translocations, please read Map's blog:

​5 Incredible African Honeymoon Hideaways

Say “I Do” to the most romantic spots in the world on an African honeymoon. Whether you want to start married life surrounded by wildlife on an epic safari, or gazing at the most unique landscapes on the planet, or experiencing once-in-a-lifetime adventure, we have the inside scoop on honeymoons that are anything but ordinary.     


1. Angama Mara, Kenya -- High above a game reserve where some of the most memorable scenes from "Out of Africa" were filmed, is the newest and most dramatic safari lodge in Kenya, Angama Mara. The camps name is Swahili for ‘suspended in mid air,” and couples will feel like they’re literally walking on air at this intimate tented camp with luxury comforts such as deep soaking tubs with views over the Great Rift Valley, on one of the most scenic locations on the entire continent. A short ride away from this serene perch is Governor’s Balloon Safaris, a flight of a lifetime that soars high above the Mara, then comes back to earth with a champagne picnic for two. This is Mark Nolting's most recent honeymoon choice.




2. Linkwasha Camp, Zimbabwe – The newest and most comtemporary tented lodge in Zimbabwe is Alison Nolting’s top pick for honeymooners for its modern design, excellent service, and incredible wildlife. Overlooking a pan that is a magnet for game across all seasons, the fresh, open and airy design of Linkwasha Camp is complemented by an eclectic mix of  interiors that combine modern décor with the original spirit and essence of safari. The camp focuses on luxury in its eight spacious en-suite tents that look out over the waterhole. The main area includes several romantic spots for a tête-à-tête, including multi-level decks, a pool area, and a cozy winter lounge and library.




3. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda – For unparalleled adventure, says senior consultant Kyle Witten, few things compare with a gorilla trek; following a path through the thick forest for an encounter few people on earth have experienced. Witten recommends balancing the rugged gorilla trek with the cozy pampering of Sabyinyo, situated on the edge of the Parc National des Volcans in North Western Rwanda, 7,000 ft above sea level with views of the volcanoes that rise to almost 15,000 feet. The lodge offers all the creature comforts of a luxury honeymoon on the gorilla trail with service so attentive, they’ll hand you a walking stick as you head out the door, then greet you at the end of the day with dinner delivered to your room complete with a roaring fire and bottle of your favorite spirit.




4. Zarafa Camp, Botswana – This intimate, ultra-luxurious safari camp is located on a palm island on the edge of the wildlife-filled Selinda Game Reserve and was created by two of the biggest names in African conservation, Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Just four tents are on the property, making it seem like couples have the entire Relais and Chateaux hideaway to themselves. Even better, the plush tents feature beds with open views over the plains, fireplaces, and private plunge pools. And right in the back yard is a gateway to seeing elephant, wild dog, cats and more!



5. Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls  – A romantic spot just a 10-minute walk from the thundering Victoria Falls, the hotel has a colonial elegance with graceful architecture, spacious terraces, colorful gardens, and a swimming pool and tennis courts. You may enjoy dinner in the elegant Livingstone dining room or the Jungle Junction restaurant that offers a unique cultural dancing and ethnic eating experience. AAC clients Debbie and Ken Lee say Victoria Falls is, "More beautiful than Niagara Falls. We highly recommend the helicopter ride, tour with Esther, and staying at the Victoria Falls Hotel!".  This Grande Dame is a once in a lifetime (bucket list) destination. 




Chobe Game Lodge, the flagship lodge of Desert and Delta Safari in Botswana, has achieved what everyone thought impossible – a full team of 14 female guides -- the only all-female safari team in Africa. 



In 2005, there were only two female guides in the 12 member team at Chobe, and less than 10 female guides in the entire country of Botswana. Today, the 14 strong women-guide team, aptly named the "Chobe Angels," run the show under the wise watchful eye of Chobe’s in-house Environmentalist, with constant training being the priority.


When the Chobe Game Lodge management team recognized there was an inequality with the lack of female guides, they worked out a two-fold strategy: to recruit the top female guides in the country and to work with the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute, asking them to refer female trainees to Chobe Game Lodge for field training. This highly successful program enabled them to recruit young energetic female guides from the region while providing all of the practical training at Chobe Game Lodge to the trainees. This acquired field knowledge at Chobe combined with the theory they received in the classrooms of the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute, is the foundation for a successful guiding career for the women guides.



What is it that female guides do different from male guides? It quickly became apparent that the women were far more sensitive to what the guests were looking for in their Chobe experience. And they were better drivers of the vehicles as well, holding down maintenance costs and reserving fuel consumption; thus, creating less carbon emissions.


Seventy percent of the guides were trained at Chobe Game Lodge. Twice a year they conduct an intensive refresher course in conjunction with leaders in the field of guide training. This keeps passion at the forefront and introduces new theory.



The Angels have proven their metal by taking part in the Chobe Explorations inter camp Luxury Mobile Safaris in 2011, starting at Chobe Game Lodge and heading through the country and into the Okavango Delta, staying at each of the Desert and Delta Safaris lodges. A wonderful experience superbly driven and guided by the ladies. In 2013, the Chobe Angels guided the Chobe Exploration mobile safaris exclusively.



​Alison’s Safari Notebook: Elephants at Abu Camp, Okavango Delta

Part #3 of Notebook from Botswana. Here is Alison's insider look at this unique Wilderness Safaris camp:


Meeting the elephants at Abu Camp was one of the most incredible wildlife encounters I’ve had in the bush. Although I’ve ridden elephants many years ago at Amalinda Camp near Matobo Hills, nothing prepared me for the complete immersion of walking with elephants in their natural habitat deep in the bush of Botswana.




Two of the elephants had guests on their back including Cathy the matriach of the herd. When you ride an elephant, your view is of the bush and elephant ears, but walking at ground level is very exciting and an even more intimate experience, since I could truly see details like their long eyelashes and their large feet right up close. I had the most fun – a huge smile across my face for the entire 45-minute walk. Being beside and behind Shirheni, Gikka, Kitimetse, Lerato, Naya and Paseka does transform your perception of elephants.




And then we took to the water the next morning! This is when it’s important to know your safari seasons; since I arrived in May, the late autumn (spring back at home), the Okavango Delta water levels were happily nice and high. We were able to go on a mokoro boat  excursion while the elephants were in the water moving gallons of water in their wakes. All of my time spent with the elephants at Abu was total joy and bliss, but the mokoro trip was an even a bigger highlight; it was so pretty on the water and a really special way to see the ellies with early morning mist rising off the crystal clear water.





During the remainder of the day the elephants have freedom to roam in the 450,000 acre (180,000 hectare) private concession. A few of the youngsters born in the herd have been successfully released back into the wild.


As at all the Wilderness Safaris camps I’ve visited, the staff was exceptional: Wellington is a wise old elephant handler who takes care of the elephants in their boma. He was tending to Naledi while I was there, the youngest in the herd who had a health issue. Charles, a Wilderness Manager, was with me as well during the elephant introductions. And of course, Brooks, a personal favorite guide of Mark and mine, and one of our AAC recommended Wilderness Safaris guides.


Another highlight of Abu: some of the best food I’ve ever had on safari. And if you know me, you know I’m a foodie and trained at Cordon Bleu, so that’s especially high praise.  Jaimie Rose and Aaron do a fabulous job as Managers of running the camp.


Nearby, I was able to visit Seba, a Wilderness Classic Camp also in the Okavango Delta, which was a hidden gem. I’m looking forward to recommending it to clients in the future.


Here are more of my 2015 Botswana adventures:


And my 2015 visit to Linkwasha Camp in Zimbabwe:

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