Tailormade African Safaris by the Safari Legends
Explorations Private Guide Ollie Porote spent some quality time on a summertime safari in the Kalahari and Okavango Delta…
I met my guests at Maun Airport and we flew to Kalahari Plains Camp. After freshening up we met back in the main area for high tea before heading out on our first game drive. The area is incredibly lush and green from all the rain and the springbok and oryx looked relaxed. Some of the herds are running with their young now too. Lightning added drama to the overcast skies.
The first morning I decided to go to Deception Valley. It was a mild, cloudy day with no rain and, being cool, it turned into a most productive outing. As we reached the valley I turned south and after half an hour I realised a herd of oryx was looking intently in one direction. I picked up my binos to check out the area and saw two cheetahs lying down.
The second morning I went to search for the lions which had been calling the whole night. As I knew the direction, it took us only half an hour to locate the pride. It was fascinating to see them in action, calling to each other, with the adult females growling at the young ones who were playing around. There were three adult lionesses with six cubs and two black-maned Kalahari males.
Later, the Bushman family demonstrated their culture; we walked with them for an hour as they explained their past way of life. They showed us how to set a trap to catch a steenbok and a guinea fowl, and to make fire through friction. My guests had great fun with this family. There was also a chance for them to learn about the daily running of the camp through a back-of-house tour at Kalahari Plains. Langton happily led the tour, explaining the work of the solar boys (inventors) and how to avoid pollution at the work place.
Then we flew from Kalahari via Maun to Chitabe Lediba Camp in the Okavango. This was my guests’ second trip to Botswana – their first being ten years ago to Duba Plains and Kwetsani They sure love Africa.
The rains have filled the pans with water, meaning the elephants are now distributed all over the area and were few and far between. The area was very productive for other wildlife however; the day we arrived we saw a pride of lions starting their night’s activity, grooming each other and growling at the cubs. All the while they were watching a nearby herd of zebra with great interest.
The following day we went off to look for African wild dogs in the north of the concession. We watched them running and playing in the pan – what a fantastic show. The next day we were fortunate to spot a leopard after tracking the whole morning – eventually I found it in the afternoon. We spent at least half an hour following it as it scent-marked its territory.
Vumbura Plain North Camp, also in the Okavango, was our last stop. On arrival the pilot pointed out a pair of lions lying about twenty metres from the runway. Here it rained every morning of our stay and the vegetation was quite overgrown, making it a challenge to find wildlife.
The lions are doing well however, and the general wildlife was very productive. The rain water has made it impossible to access some places; however, we managed some amazing water activities – both mokoro and motor boat – and took the opportunity to do some birding. We were rewarded with special sightings of Allen’s gallinules and African purple swamphens.
This was a great safari rounded off with an impressive sighting of a dung beetle rolling its ball along while its female sat on it. We watched until the male buried the ball in the ground.
Written and Photographed by Ollie Porote, Explorations Guide Wilderness Safaris