Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?





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  1. #1
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    Default Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Hi Guys

    We have just returned from a Botswana trip during which we stayed 4 nights at Mpaya 1 in Mabua. We had a good few days in Mabua until the last night when the following happened:

    It was our last night on 29 December. It was a full moon and cloudless night which meant you could see relatively clearly at night without any flashlights. At about 23:00 that night we were woken up by the sound of vehicles nearing our campsite. My first thought was - were they campers who got lost and were looking for their camping spot or park officials picking up the trash (in the middle of the night?)?

    The vehicles then stopped about 30/40 meters away near the long drop and shower area (for those who have stayed at Mpaya 1). Their vehicles were idling and you could here a number of people loudly and excitedly talking in a non-English/Afrikaans dialect (I presume a local dialect) to each other (my guess would be about 8-10 people).

    After about 2 minutes the one vehicle started to drive down towards our trailer and car, which were a bit hidden from them behind a large(ish) tree and some scrub at the lower part of the campsite (if you look at the A-frame from in front, we camped on the left). When their headlights picked up our trailer they immediately stopped for a short while (about 30 sec) and then reversed back. They then started to drive towards the Mpaya 2 campsite (a South African couple was staying there for the night) and I could make out two vehicles. One was a bakkie with a large spotlight on the back of the vehicle and it was towing a smallish trailer with hunting rails. The other car was some type of SUV (maybe a Prado, but not sure). As they left, I tried to continuously listed to their vehicles' engine noises to try and monitor their location, but what was very weird was that we started to pick up the noise of a generator from a distant position roughly from the direction of the watering hole (maybe slightly to the left thereof-when standing in front of the A-frame and looking at the frame), which made it difficult to locate the sound of the vehicles.

    After a number of minutes (probably about 10min - don't know exactly), we started to hear the vehicle approaching again from Mpaya 2's site. They then went past our campsite and continued along the road along the pan (I think) (I could not see the spotlight ), but it was again difficult to locate due to the noise of the generator. After a few minutes we could only hear the generator and no more vehicles. The generator however continued on until we fell asleep, but that was only after about 3ish I think. We did not hear the generator when we woke up.

    With it only being my wife and me, it was quite a hair raising experience.

    The next morning we chatted to the couple who stayed at Mpaya 2. They were also scared that night. Apparently the vehicles drove past their site and towards the one "corner of the pan" where there was a herd of wildebeest. They stopped there for a while and then headed back past them towards our campsite. They were also baffled about the generator noise that night (no one was staying at Mpaya reserve either). From our 4 nights, this was the only night we heard the generator.

    When replaying everything again through our minds, it seems that this may well be a case of local poaching?? Full moon, trailer with hunting rails, spotlight on the back, generator running, middle of the night....

    We decided not to report it to the people at the gate when we left, as we were not sure if they might be involved in some way, but will send an email explaining the events.

    What do you guys think...?
    Last edited by Danie Pienaar; 2021/01/11 at 05:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Not a nice experience at all!

    I think I would have reported it at the gate. We were at Chitake a few years ago and heard gun shots, and did not do anything about it. The follow-up rangers were very upset when they came past the next day, that we had not immediately reported it, to give them a better chance of catching the culprits.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    You are very likely correct in assuming local poaching.

    I guess it was not the gate staffers, they would have known the occupancy of the camp sites and not reacted surprised when they saw your presence.
    The generator might have been a water pump from the scout camp across the pan, ( from Mpaya 1 over the water hole on the pan's edge in a straight line about 500 meter up the hill)

    I guess they were there to pump water.
    What they do is to put limited amount of diesel into the pump's tank and let it run dry whilst filling the tanks at the water tower, so they don't have to return to switch it off.

    There are also showers at the scout camp and more often lions in the shade of the water tower.

    I doubt the mission was legit as there is no reason to drive to the camp sites at night.

    So, opportunistic poaching under the guise of doing some operational errands, the timing however is entirely suspect.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Another possibility is anti-poaching wildlife / intelligence personel. They have been known to drive around at night and Mabuasehube has been the focus of attention recently with reports of lion cubs being taken



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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Driving to the pan and generator sound... Could they not have been pumping water? Whoever it was.

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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyrag View Post
    Another possibility is anti-poaching wildlife / intelligence personel. They have been known to drive around at night and Mabuasehube has been the focus of attention recently with reports of lion cubs being taken
    Id be more inclined to believe this. If you are poaching you are not driving around at night, lights on and making a noise. You are doing the opposite.

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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyrag View Post
    Another possibility is anti-poaching wildlife / intelligence personel. They have been known to drive around at night and Mabuasehube has been the focus of attention recently with reports of lion cubs being taken
    I hope this was the case.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyrag View Post
    Another possibility is anti-poaching wildlife / intelligence personel. They have been known to drive around at night and Mabuasehube has been the focus of attention recently with reports of lion cubs being taken
    They would not behave like that. Very unlikely.

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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    I think Kalahari Safari and Andyrag have valid points. DWNP and anti-poaching unit of BDF do drive around at anytime of the day or night. Water is pumped at the scout camp where they also release captured game from other areas.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Morning. On another note, I have a booking at Mabua in June and have never been there before.
    I will be approaching from the north, having slept over at Ghanzi. What is the recommended route from the north.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Kang, Hukuntsi, Mabua.

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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Just a bit OT, can one enter Mabua via Twee Rivieren and exit again there even with the borders closed? I would think it's inaccessible to us in SA for the foreseeable future?
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kortgat View Post
    Just a bit OT, can one enter Mabua via Twee Rivieren and exit again there even with the borders closed? I would think it's inaccessible to us in SA for the foreseeable future?
    Yes.

    If you can provide the necessary proof of testing that they require at borderposts.

    We were there 10 days ago and that was the requirement.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanMaree View Post
    Yes.

    If you can provide the necessary proof of testing that they require at borderposts.

    We were there 10 days ago and that was the requirement.
    Thank you Johan. How do you achieve that though? Thought the PCR test must be no older than 72 hours to return to SA, so how would you obtain such when camping in Mabua?

    Apologies, happy to start a new thread or PM if this is polluting the original thread.
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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    There was a thread on Trip Advisor re this. One person used Diagnofirm, they paid the technician to fly into their area and take the samples. But Diagnofirm seems to have opened many spots in Botswana. Hope this helps, you can contact them. Cherie
    Last edited by cccole; 2021/01/31 at 07:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Troubling Experience in Mabua - Possible Poaching..?

    You need the test to enter the park, not exit!

    Read the last post on this thread, it gives a clear answer.

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...e-still-closed
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