Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake





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  1. #1
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    Default Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Hi Guys,

    We are going to Chitake 1 next year August and would like to find an experienced guide who would be willing to take us on guided walks etc.

    Can anyone recommend anyone and please give us some contact details?

    Thanks in Advance,

    Don
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Try to google Dick and Sally Pitman or 4X4 Zim and ask them for assistance.

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Thanks Tron, will give them a try. I also heard of a guy by the name of Andy Smith who is also apparently quite good.
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    We used Doug Macdonald http://www.dougmacsafaris.com/ a few years ago for 3 nights in Chitake. Absolutely first class guide, very professional and good fun. Ground operations were done by Natureways, and they were also excellent, so you could contact them if Doug's not available.

    Bear in mind that the professional Zim guides are not licensed to guide from the public sites i.e., Chitake 1 & 2, so you have to go to the not inconsiderable expense of hiring out Chitake 3 and an operation from there. As far as I'm aware, there's no official way to get around this.

    It might also be worthwhile contacting Dave or Tess at Mwinilunga who operate a semi-permanent camp on the floodplains. AFAIK, Dave isn't a professional guide so may be able to make a plan.

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    [QUOTE=Itchy Feet;3375569]We used Doug Macdonald http://www.dougmacsafaris.com/ a few years ago for 3 nights in Chitake. Absolutely first class guide, very professional and good fun. Ground operations were done by Natureways, and they were also excellent, so you could contact them if Doug's not available.

    Bear in mind that the professional Zim guides are not licensed to guide from the public sites i.e., Chitake 1 & 2, so you have to go to the not inconsiderable expense of hiring out Chitake 3 and an operation from there. As far as I'm aware, there's no official way to get around this.

    It might also be worthwhile contacting Dave or Tess at Mwinilunga who operate a semi

    It would be great to get an idea of costs. This option will only work for a relatively big crowd. I have read a few articles in which Doug is paid huge respect. To book out the operator camp you will have to get tour operator to do so. Check historic threads for other options (over the last year or so) which I recall spoke of cheaper options.

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Zim Guides have campsites along the river they can reserve. Be prepared for sticker shock on guides like Doug Mac. There are other guides that are less costly and very good.

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Quote Originally Posted by TRON;3375669
    [I
    It would be great to get an idea of costs. This option will only work for a relatively big crowd. I have read a few articles in which Doug is paid huge respect. To book out the operator camp you will have to get tour operator to do so. Check historic threads for other options (over the last year or so) which I recall spoke of cheaper options.[/I]
    We ended up paying $3000 for 3 nights for 8 of us, i.e., $125 pppn This was originally booked through Craig at Sunpath who unfortunately had a cardiac event of some kind and passed over the business to Doug with the Natureways set up already in place. I think that we were incredibly lucky to get Doug for that price (just have a look at the Congo trip on his website!), so maybe it wasn't the most constructive post from me - though the OP did ask for a quality guide! The cost included the camp costs, though we provided the food and booze, but I think that we had to pay conservation fees on top.

    We certainly wouldn't have had the fantastic experience at Chitake without Doug but it's not an amount I'm happy to pay every time we visit, so for our 2017 visit we're just calling in to Chitake 2 (all we could get) for the night of the 9th August, followed by Mucheni - so may bump into Don somewhere.

    Cheers John

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Thanx John, great feedback. I have read and heard a lot about Doug and he does seem to be a top-notch guide
    Last edited by TRON; 2016/10/20 at 05:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    What number at Mucheni.
    Resident Leopard cruises around at around 8pm or so.

    Imagine if that OOM 8) at Goliath Camp could take people to Chitake


    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy Feet View Post
    We ended up paying $3000 for 3 nights for 8 of us, i.e., $125 pppn This was originally booked through Craig at Sunpath who unfortunately had a cardiac event of some kind and passed over the business to Doug with the Natureways set up already in place. I think that we were incredibly lucky to get Doug for that price (just have a look at the Congo trip on his website!), so maybe it wasn't the most constructive post from me - though the OP did ask for a quality guide! The cost included the camp costs, though we provided the food and booze, but I think that we had to pay conservation fees on top.

    We certainly wouldn't have had the fantastic experience at Chitake without Doug but it's not an amount I'm happy to pay every time we visit, so for our 2017 visit we're just calling in to Chitake 2 (all we could get) for the night of the 9th August, followed by Mucheni - so may bump into Don somewhere.

    Cheers John
    Last edited by imgreg; 2016/10/22 at 08:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Whoops, error on my part -we're at Nyamepi 3, not Mucheni. Still had a fun leopard sighting there, could see her just outside the mesh on our tent.....

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    Talking Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Thanks for all the help Guys,

    I got this response as per below FYI from Doug Mc Donald:

    Thank you for your email and I am sure you will enjoy Chitake it can be an amazing experience. I would also reccommend being with a guide there but unfortunately we are not allowed to guide public campsite bookings like this, I can only legally guide safaris booked through registered safari operators of Mana.
    If you would like a guide you have two options the first is booking through a safari operator, which I can do for you and that will give you a licensed professional guide. Or you could arrange through National Parks for one of their game scouts to accompany you during your time there.

    We are really looking forward to our trip...

    3 nights at Chitake 1 and 2 nights at Mucheni 3... Look forward to meeting the resident leopard at 8pm...
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    I would just organise a National Parks game scout. I went on a walk with one and they are very knowledgeable about the bush and animals. Walking with him he showed us every thing we wanted to see as he knew where all the animals where in the area and took time to explained about the trees and bush and environment.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Quote Originally Posted by ngweshla View Post
    I would just organise a National Parks game scout. I went on a walk with one and they are very knowledgeable about the bush and animals. Walking with him he showed us every thing we wanted to see as he knew where all the animals where in the area and took time to explained about the trees and bush and environment.

    When camping at Chitake it becomes a bit more complicated as you have to fetch and return the scout to Nyamepi. Though he does bring his own tent and bedding. Costs perhaps some can help- I recall 20 per hour?

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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Thanks guys, I think we will just go with a scout from Nyamepi. I have emails Christina at Zimparks to query the costs involved over a week ago with still no response...

    Not sure if their lines are down or perhaps just VERY slow... Will follow up again next week. Andrew seemed to recall $50 per person per day.
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Look at Zimparks tarrifs here http://zimparks.org/images/pdf/appTarrifs.pdf

    Seems to me that your request falls under section "6.3 Hire of Authority Employees for Guided Tours". Which is US$ 10.00/client/hour, minimum US$ 30.00/guide/hour. That was what we had paid for guided walking tour in Nyamepi area. Not sure if they apply some different rate for guiding in Chitake area though.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    So if one does two X 2hours walks in a day then that will be $120 or R1800 for the day for 3 people minimum. R600/person plus transport costs associated to collect and drop off the guide.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    6.3 Hire of Authority Employees for Guided Tours.
    A maximum of 6 people and a minimum of 3 people are required for a guided tour to take place.Charges for hire of services of Authority employees for guided tours per hour or part thereof shall be asfollows;
    Resident – US$5, 00/client/hour
    Non Resident – US$10, 00/client/hour


    6.4.1Guided Tours with Less Than 3 People
    Charges for hire of services of Authority employees for guided tours with less than 3 people per hour orpart thereof shall be as follows;


    Resident – US$15, 00/hourNon Resident – US$30/hour

    speak to the game scouts and they are most accommodating and flexible and you can always make a plan.



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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Being allowed to go on extended unsupervised game walks is a privilege unique to Mana Pools. Recently there was a thread about a group visiting Chitake that went on such walks and I was on the brink of posting a comment that their reported numerous close encounters with lions was flirting with danger. I then noted that they were trained game guides but I think they must have been unarmed.

    Nonetheless the Chitake lion pride are not trusted by those with extensive local knowledge and I was personally warned by a senior member of the local conservation group WESA. Kelvin does not trust this pride as he feels that they have become semi-habituated and lost their natural fear of humans. Nevertheless we did some walks around Chitake contrary to this advice and I must say that I felt most uncomfortable when we encountered this lion pride. They did not give way to us at all as most lions would.

    These walks around Chitake Springs in Mana are wonderful but I personally will hire an armed scout from Nyamepi before I do this again. This would not be so much for him to act as a guide, but because he is armed and could fire warning shots if any encounters hotted up too much.

    I am not so sure about the rest of Mana and lion behavior there and in any case one can do extended game drives and there are open areas where walks appear safer. I wonder if those with more local experience would care to comment?
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Thanks for all the help and advice guys.

    Stan - My sentiments are as per yours... I am happy just to walk with an armed game scout more for security rather than for his knowledge of bush and wildlife. Although with that said I have also had feed back that a lot of them are rather knowledgable and do offer more than just a safety official with a gun.

    Regardless of this, I am rather nervous about the infamous Chitake pride as almost every review I've read or heard, everyone warns against them... I am looking forward to meeting them... With an armed scout by my side

    I'm looking forward to hopefully hearing from a few more experience Mana go'ers with regards to your (Stan's) request on comments on the Lion's in other areas of the Park such as Mucheni etc...
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Quality Experienced Guides for Chitake

    Don have a look at this post. http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...t=#post3387694

    I have quoted some pertinent Chitake stories. These are not too scare anyone off but rather to ensure that the option to walk in Mana Pools remains in place. There have been moves from some quarters to remove this privilege, but these have been squashed for now.
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