Southern Africa Bush Tails

Alison’s Safari Notebook: Mombo, Vumbura Plains, Chitabe Lediba

Here is part #2 of Alison’s epic journey to Botswana at Wilderness Safaris Mombo, Vumbura, Chitabe Lediba, and Abu camps, led by one of AAC’s favorite guides, Brooks.

My adventure started as soon as I landed, when I was met by Brooks who would be my specialist guide to the four different camps in Botswana’s Okavango Delta: Mombo, on Chiefs Island in the Moremi Reserve, Chitabe Lediba, which borders Moremi, and Vumbura Plains, and Abu Camp.

As soon as I get in the vehicle, Brooks starts tracking – listening to the calls of baboons he knows where predators are lurking, and he takes off in their direction. He’s an amazing tracker, one of the best in the bush. At Chitabe we find usually elusive wild dogs. At Vumbura Plains, we track a cheetah and found where it had taken down an impala, a rutting male oblivious to the danger of the hungry cat headed towards him. Another time he hears a kudu’s alarm calls and arrives in time to see a leopard slinking into the dusk.

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While Brooks and I were out in Botswana, we saw 4 leopard and 3 cheetah (including at Mombo). All fantastic sightings! Also at Chitabe, we saw a young leopard hunting. He was trying to catch a mongoose that fled up a smallish tree. We watched as the leopard growled and rattled the tree – but the mongoose got away and ran up the dead tree next door! Again the leopard flew up the tree in chase and in haste the mongoose fled with a desperate jump down from the end of the branch – and swiftly made off.

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One of the highlights of my Botswana safari, and a completely new experience for me, was a helicopter flip across the Gomoti River. The small helicopter seats just 4 passengers including the pilot, and flies low over the water which gave me outstanding views of hippos both feeding out of the water and also gathering in pods in safety of the water, crocodile basking out on the banks, elephants feeding in the marshes – a completely unique perspective. It felt almost like a balloon safari as I floated over the Delta.I would definitely recommend it to clients so they can get this unusual take on the wide watery Okavango Delta for themselves.

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My take on the camps:

Vumbura Plains:  Stayed in North Camp this time where Alex is doing great things as Manager.  The ambiance in the rooms is a lovely outreach to the Delta waters outside. Enjoyed the evening soup stop the first evening after a wonderful sighting of their must see – a majestic sable antelope. Huge variety of wildlife and fantastic one stop camp.

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Mombo Main Camp: Stayed in tent #5 again which was looking very safari chic. So pleased to meet up with all the familier guides in camp like Tsile, Doc, Moss, Sefo, OB and Cisco. Huge anticipation in camp of new rhino translocation.  Saw a cheetah in two separate sightings and also 2 leopard sightings of Pula and Big Eyes.  Enjoyed a new wow experience, a wonderful afternoon high-tea spread under two large Acacia trees.

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Chitabe Lediba:  Love this place for both wildlife and camp friendliness. Believe it or not, was there again to experience Monday boma night – the dancing and singing rocked as usual.  The wild dog sighting was extraordinary; as was another cheetah sighting enroute to Gomoti Camp.  My best 2 leopard sightings ever.  The photo artwork in the rooms by Dave Hamman are exquisite!

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Abu’s Camp – coming in part #3

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