Mabua Photo Trip Report





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  1. #1
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    Default Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Hi Guys,

    A brief summary and pics to follow:

    We left on Jan 6 at 6am for Mpaya 2, our home for the next 6 nights... or so we thought....

    Our plan was to drive the Kokotsha cut line and wild camp closer to the T junction side in the hope of seeing more game during the evening. By the time we were halfway downn the cut line, it was 42 degrees in the car and we all decided there was no way we were going to stop and set up camp in the heat, so we decided to push on to the gate and see if there was a camp available in the reserve, this would give us an extra day the next day, and also allow us to set up camp in the cooler part of the day.

    Before we get there, I would like to inform you all of a new second detour around a new farm fence on the cut line. This road is TERRIBLE, extremely bumpy and added on more than an hour to our average time on the cut line. I can safely say, we will NEVER drive this route again after this new detour.

    We arrived at the gate at around 5pm and asked if there was any chance Mpaya 2 was available for the night as we were booked in there for 5 nights from the next day. Our luck was in and we could get in and set up camp a night early!

    We drove the long, bumpy corrugated road to Mpaya with the sun descending and the temperature dropping... AT LAST. As we arrived at the pan and turned right at the T Junction towards the waterhole, a few hundred metres on I yelled for the driver to stop... They they were, I spotted them upon arrival before we even reached camp... A pride of 7 lion... It looked to be 2 adult females and some cubs, but more like sub adults or teenagers if you will. they seemed to be eyeing out a herd of Wildebeest, so we stopped and watched them till just after 18h30. We decided nothing was going to happen so headed to camp to setup..

    We were done setting up as the last light faded and were about to settle in for the night when it appeared.... Neil went to go move the car closer to the tent at the back of the a frame and as he started the car and the lights switched on, he saw what looks to us like a young female leopard. he called for all of us to watch. We sat at the end of the concrete slab at the A frame while the leopard walked around the vehicle paying no attention to us whatsoever and proceeded to go drink water from the tap in front of the A frame. She sat there for a good 20 minutes drinking while we sat there in awe just looking at this beautiful creature. After she had her fill, she walked off into the night with us beaming from ear to ear with high fives all around! Our best leopard sighting to date!

    She would return at around 23h00 while we were still sitting outside enjoying the fire and the unbelievable Botswana sky. We watched her drinking again for around 10 mins or so. She then walked around the A Frame and disappeared into the night behind the A frame walking into the bush away from the pan.

    At 4h30 we awoke to hear slurping and footsteps... The pride of 7 is in our camp drinking, with the cubs/teens playing around. After a few mins of drinking and behaving, their curiosity got the better of them... They came into the A Frame area and started sniffing around. They picked up one of the gas bottles from the skottel and dragged it around the concrete a bit. They then grabbed the metal dish that the braai meat was in and licked it and played with that for a while. After that they grabbed one of our towels which was hanging half way up the A frame and proceeded to play tug-o-war with it.

    Next morning, we inspected all and no damage done, not even a hole in the towel.

    It was today the torture would start! The wind picked up and was blowing absolute GALE force, not only this... We thought yesterday was hot, today reached 44 degrees in the shade. The hot wind was like having a hairdryer on you and we could not get cool. This would be the scene for the following 3 days. temperatures in excess of 40 degrees every day with non stop howling gale force wind, day and night. We had to empty out the trailer tent as sand managed to get in through the smallest holes... Our beds, clothes, pillows and everything was covered in a thick layer of sand, daily. We battled to sleep at night because of the flapping of the tent in the extreme conditions. During the day we surrendered ourselves to the vehicle, firstly to get out of the wind and secondly, to get out of the heat.

    That night, although we didn't see any animals there was a brown hyena and a large lone male lion who came to visit. I got footage of them on my camera trap which I had set up facing the tap.

    Monday was the same, hot and windy, not much game around aside from the usual wildebeest and springbok, however this morning we saw a brown hyena at the waterwheel which we always love to see and then that night the large lone male paid us a visit again. he just sauntered past us and into the bush without even considering a drink, all the while roaring sending shivers down my spine. Monday night was an absolute orchestra of Lion, which is music to our ears... went to bed smiling...

    The next morning we drove up to Mpaya 1 where there were 3 youngsters from Canada on a boys trip staying. we asked them if they saw or hear dthe lion to which they responded no. they heard them, but saw nothing. They then proceeded to tell us that the only thing they had seen at around 8am was a pack of wild dog... WHAT... WILD DOG? We have heard stories about wild dog in Mabua and seen a few pics, but we knew this was a special sighting in Mabua! I got the map out and asked them to point out where they had seen them. After being shown 3 different locations on the map, the one guy seemed to know and understand maps a bit more and told me to go with his option... Drive to Mabua 1, at Mabua 1 Turn left towards Leshoalogo and 100m down that road they were on the left under a tree, right next to the road.

    I said to the guys that it was 35 degrees at 9am in the morning, they won't have moved far and its worth a shot. we headed off in search of them.... Low and behold, exactly 300m down the Leshoalogo road from Mabua 1 we found them, Right next to the road. We spent almost 2 hours with them watching them dig in the sand to get to cooler ground below the surface and walk back and forth from one bush to the next with the rest of the pack.

    We headed back to camp for the day and relaxed before going back to visit them at 6pm, still in the same area, just moved 30m up to a bigger tree/bush. After watching them or another hour or so, we headed off to the waterhole to see a few birds and then back to camp.

    That night with the heat still excessive and another meal filled with sand from the howling wind, we decided to pack up the next day and head home. we cut our trip short by 3 days, but none the less we enjoyed our time and yet again, Mabua delivered!
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    Last edited by Donlux; 2018/01/24 at 10:55 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Some more pics:
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks for sharing. Have many fond memories of Mabua. I am not brave enough to camp there from October to April though.
    Steve
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Wow, fantastic sightings. Thanks for sharing.
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Excellent sightings and pictures, thank you!

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Awesome! Thank you.

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Wonderful sightings - even if it was hot - dog, leopard and the rest. Thanks fro sharing
    "To look is one thing, to understand what what you see, is something else"

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks for sharing, great sightings!

    We know all about that heat and hot wind, luckily for us it broke on the evening of our third day.
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  11. #9
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Wow...time to revisit Mpaya
    Thanks for sharing!
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  12. #10
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks for the feedback. Great sightings and lovely pictures.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

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  13. #11
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Great sightings Donlux. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful wild dogs pictures.

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  14. #12
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks. Great report.
    I am due there 13th Feb. Praying for good weather!!
    I am towing a Bushlapa, and I cant decide which road to take, now that the cutline road is bad??
    The Tsabong route also has its challenges.
    How bad is the sand from Tsabong.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks Donlux, some great sightings.

    A query regarding the predators drinking from what seems to be a small pool below the tap. Does it look as though someone has built this below the tap, because I cant remember this being there on my previous visits? With lions already frequently visiting the camps, I find it a bit concerning that the predator traffic into the camps will increase further - with an incident bound to occur at some stage.
    Andrew


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  16. #14
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushdreamer View Post
    Thanks. Great report.
    I am due there 13th Feb. Praying for good weather!!
    I am towing a Bushlapa, and I cant decide which road to take, now that the cutline road is bad??
    The Tsabong route also has its challenges.
    How bad is the sand from Tsabong.
    We travelled the sand road from Mabua to Tsabong during April 2016 and found the sand fairly easy to travel on - also towing the Bush Lapa. In fact, some of the members of our party stated they will never travel the cutline again since the sand road is so much better.
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  18. #15
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    WOW, you were lucky! Maybe not so much with the weather but the sightings are incredible. Thanks!

  19. #16
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by AMacAfrica View Post
    Thanks Donlux, some great sightings.

    A query regarding the predators drinking from what seems to be a small pool below the tap. Does it look as though someone has built this below the tap, because I cant remember this being there on my previous visits? With lions already frequently visiting the camps, I find it a bit concerning that the predator traffic into the camps will increase further - with an incident bound to occur at some stage.
    Exactly my thought as well!! I am due to visit there for 4 nights in May. A concern especially after the Matopi incident and I am a ground tent traveler (Oztent RV5). Surely this is not a good idea to attract animals to the campsite with water?
    Tobie Oosthuizen
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  20. #17
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks Donlux,

    great pictures and wild dogs at Mabua, what a sighting.........

    Rik

  21. #18
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks Donlux. Wonderful pics. We’ll be there mid-March... can’t wait!

  22. #19
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Wow Thanks Donlux
    Nice to see the Wild dogs back again, VERY VERY Rare to see that.
    Last seen at Khiding a few years ago.

    I have this thing about the ID of the Leopards. Is that Female L54.
    That is the closest I can get to ? If so she has had a few cubs over the years.
    If that's L54.
    Like to follow Matthew Schurch and learn from Wanda Wentzel.

    Just remember one thing (now I am suurgat number one)
    If you go to Mabua a lot, chances are at times you will NOT SEE one leopard or Lion.
    Happened in August 2017
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  23. #20
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    Default Re: Mabua Photo Trip Report

    Thanks for sharing Donlux. Sounds as if it was a pretty intense experience.
    Last edited by RodS; 2018/01/25 at 09:47 PM.

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