Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018





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    Default Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Okay...so Kubu Island should really be posted in the Botswana section of this forum but we were only there for 2 nights on our way up to Zim and since most people seem to go through Botswana to get to Hwange I thought it would be okay to post that part here?

    I'll keep this report reasonably short and concise and post a more detailed trip report on my website at a later date when I can summon some energy and enthusiasm for writing, which I really struggle with. Hopefully the photos will help paint a thousand words!

    My wife and I left Cape Town on 28 September and had 2 overnight stops on the way up to Martins Drift border post. We stayed at Travalia near 3 Sisters and Hullabaloo in Lichtenburg. Both offered decent accommodation at reasonable rates. Overnight accommodation on the SA side of the border post was at Klippan River Lodge (very nice facilities and view overlooking the Limpopo). We met up with my brother, his wife and another couple from the UK at Klippan.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    The border crossing at Martins Drift was quick and without any hassle. We filled up with diesel at Serowe before driving through to Kubu Island. This was our first visit to Kubu and I must confess to having been a bit worried about road (track?) conditions getting there. I needn't have been. At that time of year it was very dry and bar a few sandy patches and rough sections in the first few kilometers after the viewing deck at the start of the track the rest was easy going. My Disco did pick up a few more scratch marks along the sides from some narrow sections through the bush though. But I never bought it to be a pavement pimp so I see them as marks of honour!

    We arrived at Kubu latish in the afternoon and set up camp on site 7 which was flat and looked most suitable for ease of movement for me in a wheelchair. Probably not the best of views from there looking out at the pan but good enough for our 2 night stay. The temperature was mid 30's and with no breeze or wind a cold one at the end of the day was very welcome.

    It was hot again the next day and we spent most of it relaxing in camp with a drive around the island for Pippa and I later in the afternoon while the others went for a walk to explore the area. It really is a fascinating place and well worth a visit but for me our short time there was enough. Not a hell of a lot to do with no game viewing. We tried a bit of star photography that night but with no success...I'll stick to wildlife in future! My attempt at star trails was rudely interrupted after a couple of minutes when my brother shone his torch across camp to have a chat with the others gathered by the fire. The baobab came out really nicely but the blurred stars and torch effects make it look like something out of a Giles cartoon (older folk might know what I mean!).

    The track north up to Nata was quite rough and slow going but without any problems. Just a few more scratches on the Disco.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    It took us about 5 hours to get to Nata from Kubu. As said previously, the track is quite rough and slow going but sadly very little to see along the way. We filled our tanks and bought more drinking water in Nata before carrying on to our overnight stop at Panda Rest Camp outside Pandamatenga. The accommodation was rustic but comfortable and we had a decent meal at the restaurant.

    We had a very quick and easy border crossing the next morning. No hassles from the Zim officials and they were really friendly and seemed to enjoy having something to do and someone new to chat to. It was that quiet!

    We were booked into Ngweshla for our first 5 nights in Hwange. Having read reports of road conditions between Robins and Main Camps we decided to go the long way around via the A8 main road and enter Hwange at the Main Camp entrance. A longer distance but by all accounts a much shorter travelling time. The road from Pandamatenga border post to the A8 is really rough and uncomfortable, especially the first section to the Robins Camp turnoff.

    We arrived at Main Camp at 1:30pm after leaving the border post at 9:30am. After checking in we left for Ngweshla at 2:30 and got there at 4:30 with a couple of game viewing stops along the way. Nice drive and pretty good road conditions along that stretch.

    Ngweshla is fantastic. Charles is the caretaker there and really looks after the picnic site and ablutions. What a nice guy! Very helpful and insisted on helping Pippa and I offload our tent and set up camp.

    It was very hot with temperatures again in mid 30's but there is plenty of shade in the camp and we had a bit of a breeze which helped. Our sundowners were very welcome after another day on the road.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Thanks fro the report, Dave. Stunning photography, as always.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Thanks Ortelius. Less writing and more photos from now on if I can get away with it!

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    I don't think there is anyone that posts trip reports with the quality of photographs to outdo yours, thank you Dave.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    I don't think there is anyone that posts trip reports with the quality of photographs to outdo yours, thank you Dave.

    High praise indeed! Thank you Stan.

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Our 5 nights at Ngweshla were fantastic. For those that might not know, it's a public picnic spot but allows exclusive camping for parties of up to 12 people (minimum of 6 or at least payment for minimum of 6). We didn't find the day trippers who stopped off there during the day a problem and in fact quite enjoyed chatting to them. Nice to have the site to ourselves from 6:00pm to 6:00am though. The site has a fence around it but has been badly neglected...a warthog could have stepped over it behind our tent. I enjoyed going to bed wondering what visitors might have a sniff around! In fact, on our first night there an Elephant came in and pushed a tree over a few meters from my brother's car (he and his wife were in a roof-top tent). They parked away from all trees the following 4 nights!

    Without going into too much detail of our time there, we were lucky to have a couple of Lion close to the camp the whole time we were there. The females were feeding on a Buffalo kill near the Somalisa private camp (about 7kms from Ngweshla). Unfortunately too far off the track so we couldn't see them. According to Charles the 2 males have taken over the pride from Cecil (infamously killed a few years ago). I still don't understand why the males weren't feeding with the rest of the pride but on our last day there we followed their tracks back toward the females and found them next to a pan near Somalisa camp. I guess they would have re-united later that evening?

    There are plenty of Elephant around Nqweshla and we also had nice sightings of Sable and Roan Antelope amongst various other more common inhabitants. Plenty of bird life in the area as well.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    A few more photos from Ngweshla and surrounds. More of the report to follow tomorrow.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Absolutely stunning photos, Dave.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by philth View Post
    Absolutely stunning photos, Dave.
    Thank you philth.

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Very nice Dave thanks

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Dave in Rand Terms how much does it cost for 2 adults to camp at Ngweshla..my wife and I are planning a hwange trip as a 70th ..retirement combo trip to Hwange where we have never been to

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Those Hwange Lions love that little hump near the water at Ngweshla.
    I have pictures of the Lion-Cecil's brother or coalition partner Lion-Jericho on that same spot.

    Also would like to know how much per night for an exclusive site. In late 2016 it was $172.00 per night.
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Nice thread Dave, and I agree with the rest; exceptional photos! Well done!

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Betts View Post
    Dave in Rand Terms how much does it cost for 2 adults to camp at Ngweshla..my wife and I are planning a hwange trip as a 70th ..retirement combo trip to Hwange where we have never been to
    We paid $172/day for 6 pax Peter so no change from the figure stated by imgreg in his post. Suprising to see that there hasn't been an increase since 2016! When we paid the exchange rate was somewhere around R14/$.
    Last edited by Davesg; 2018/12/07 at 10:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by imgreg View Post
    Those Hwange Lions love that little hump near the water at Ngweshla.
    I have pictures of the Lion-Cecil's brother or coalition partner Lion-Jericho on that same spot.

    Also would like to know how much per night for an exclusive site. In late 2016 it was $172.00 per night.
    Nice vantage point there for the Lions imgreg!

    The price we paid was also $172/night so no change in 2018.

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Agree with the sentiments, excellent photographs... Thank you....
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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Thanx Dave for the report and the lovely pic's which have taken me back to Ngweshla, one of my favourite campsits in Hwange.

    Glad you decided to stay there for 5 days and I bet you would have liked to stay even longer.

    The previous caretakers would use a bush brush and sweep a stretch of about 2m around the outside of the "Fort Knox" fence , so that one could cut spoor in the morning.

    On one morning we found 3X lion spoor 2 males and a female on the southern boundary, when we did our inspection - and we did not hear them at all during the night.

    Glad that you weren't disturbed too much by the day visitors whom we also found to be well behaved. Did the local Anti-poaching ranger and his side kick do their daily rounds? We did find them to be a disturbance as they would walk from their bush camp (some 3kms south) to Ngweshla camp to have a shower and chat with the caretaker. Their stroll across the Ngweshla pans area would disperse the game and then again, about two hours later when they returned to their lookout position.

    Ngweshla never disappoints when it comes to game watching (without traveling too far). We have seen a lion - zebra kill (just behind the caretakers lodging), wild dogs take down a kudu cow and a lone female leopard take down a impala in 25m amongst many other interesting site.

    Talking about Cecil we also encountered him one Thursday afternoon at 15h30 at Kennedy 1 pan where he had an interaction with a cheetah and her 3 adolescent cubs. He kept trying to catch them and they would play cat and mouse (or should it be cat and cat) after about 35minutes he backed off and fell over in exhaustion in the shade of a bush on the road. With the cheetah retreating to an ant mound in the dry river bed which leads to the Hide. This all where we were the only viewers. We were informed that they took down a impala some 30 minutes after we left.

    Thanx for taking me back to those great memories.
    Last edited by TRON; 2018/12/07 at 02:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Kubu Island and Hwange trip - October 2018

    Sorry for intruding on your thread, I attach two photos of Cecil taken 20 April 2015 a few months before his killing.
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