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D65 Seth Resnick -The Best of Africa – Africa Spectacular 2012- May 6-21

August 26th, 2011 |  by No comments

NAMIBIA- dunes of Sossesviei   KULALA DESERT-Skeleton Coast   BOTSWANA- Mombo- Vumbra Plains

Full frame with 70-200-Lions in Vumbra Plains

 SCHEDULE FOR SETH RESNICK’S AFRICA SPECTACULAR 2012

On May 4th, Arrive in Johannesburg and spend two nights in Johannesburg at Hotel.  On May 5th, Private Group Tour of Soweto/Townships with Robin Binckes (Culture!)
On May 6th, depart for Namibia and visit the Dunes of Sossesvlei staying at Kulala Desert Lodge for 3 Nights

On May 9th, depart Kulala Desert to Skeleton Coast for 3 Nights
On May 12th, leave Namibia for a direct flight to Botswana, and connect to Kings Pool for 3 Nights
On May 15th, depart Kings Pool to Vumbura Plains for 3 Nights

Elephants in Vumbra Plains

Accommodations in Vumbra Plains

Accommodations in Vumbra Plains

Leopards in Vumbra Plains

Leopards in Vumbra Plains

Reed frogs

Reed frogs

On May 18th, return to Johannesburg for those not doing the Mombo Extension
Mombo Extension Starting May 18th – 21st 

For those going on the Mombo Extension, transfer from Vumbura to Mombo (15min Flight) for 3 Nights 

Rhinos is Mombo

Rhinos is Mombo

Lions in Mombo

Lions in Mombo

Mombo

Mombo

On May 21st, after an incredible safari trip return to Johannesburg for your flights to USA.

ALL the CAMPS we are traveling to are OWNED and/or OPERATED by WILDERNESS SAFARIS
Little Kulala is the Premiere Camp, and Kulala Desert Lodge is the Classic/Wilderness Adventures Camp.
The choices was made because personally, we like the location of Kulala Desert Lodge better.
Kulala Deser Lodge is in the pro-namib, a slightly more lush terrain with a greater species diversity.  Closer to the mountains, the scenery in mind is “better”.   Grasses bring caressed by a gentle breeze or under a full moon is spectacular.
With the camp bring higher on the hill, the commanding views of the valley below are great and the access to the dune gates is closer than that of Little Kulala.
While Skeleton Coast Camp is considered to be a classic camp,  Serra Cafema the Premiere Camp has been closed down because of a flood!   Regardless, we still would have chosen Skeleton Coast Camp because the highlight and specialty of traveling to this area, is that it is probably the most remote place one can visit in all of Africa.  The activities at this camp will be daily, meaning we will leave in the morning and only come back in the afternoon packing meals for the day.
So considering we will only be “sleeping” there, Wilderness Safaris has built the camp more on the basis of location and remoteness, than luxury.   Laundry is actually not done at Skeleton Coast…as water is very very limited.  All the other camps will have laundry….so surviving for 3 days has never been an issue for any of our travelers.
Just some personal thoughts…
The itinerary first and foremost has been customized to take you to the BEST wildlife areas at this time of the year, while also keeping in mind the accommodation, and overall cost.  Mixing Classic/Premiere gives the travel a real sense of wilderness, and a true Africa experience.  We are going from Classic and building up the trip to Premiere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 This trip is truly going to be like no other. Private planes and vehicles and guides and going to the best of the best of Africa.
The cost will be $19,480 and $5,380 for the additional time in Mombo.                                                                                                 
This is truly a once in a lifetime Africa trip and will be limited to 12 people and we will have 3 guides.
To read about our last trip to Africa 
For additional info Africa 2012

 

To signup for this trip contact:

Brennan | Journeys Unforgettable <brennan@journeysunforgettable.com>

 

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Botswana Part 10- breakfast with elephants, rhinos, lions

February 11th, 2011 |  by No comments

DAY 12

We get up and in our camp there is not only a spectacular sunrise but elephants join us and are literally inches away from where we are having coffee.

Major gigage on this sunrise

The yellows in the African sky are awesome

Don't turn around but we have company for breakfast

Seth... you might actually want to turn around now...

No need to bring a long lens. I never thought I would photograph elephants with a 14mm

The sun isn't even up yet and I already need to download files

One more frame before I download. Wow and it isn't even 6:30 AM yet..

We eventually get into our vehicles and head out. For some reason there are ferocious flies in the area and even with the worlds strongest bug spray they are landing on us constantly. We have to put on ponchos or towels over our head to keep the flies away.

I invent a new fashion for keeping flies away

The fad catches on and soon everyone is wearing the new look, but no one shows it as well as Michelle

We find some lions, and zebras but the sun is blazing and we decide that we will head in early and edit images. Just before we get ready for our afternoon adventure a thunderstorm of biblical proportions lets loose. The lightning is hitting the ground in the camp and everyone can feel the vibration from the lightning. We make sure that our rooms are not on fire and wait for the rain to subside. It doesn’t subside so we work on pictures until dinner.

I repeat that I am not a birder, but I do photograph the famous Lilac-Breasted Roller

Ok I forget this guys name but I think it is called a Bateleur Eagle

Smile your on candid camera

Hey that is the front door to my tent. Do you guys want to move?

I guess that answer is NO

DAY 13

I got up at 3AM to edit pictures and we head out into the brush around sunrise. We have an intense deep yellow sunrise. We find a pride of lions in deep grass and pull into the grass. We are photographing the lions on the right side of the vehicle and I glance to the left and realize that we have almost run over a lion in the deep grass who is now about 2 feet from the vehicle and no one saw him. I go to photograph him but my 300 mm has a minimum focus distance of 12 feet and he is too close to focus on. I get a bit of a chill on my spine and end up photographing the lion with a 70mm.

I apologize Mrs. Lion. We really did not see you in the grass and now you are really really really close

We get special permission to go out with a guide named Poster who has been working with the introduction of rhinos into Botswana. Over 300 rhinos were killed by poachers last year and 30 just this month. Most are killed in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The horn of the rhino can fetch up to one million dollars. The poaching is highly sophisticated and controlled by organized crime which sell the horn as a ground powder in China where it is a highly prized aphrodisiac. Unlike many of its African counterparts, Botswana takes poaching very seriously. There is anti poaching patrol and the president has assigned military to assist as well. If you are caught poaching the penalty is 17 years in prison and a large fine and that is only if you make it back alive. The president of Botswana has given the military shoot to kill orders for poaching.

Bug spray is useless and we devise our own system of towels wrap around our heads held in place with a baseball cap. It actually worked.  We soon find our rhinos and they are truly amazing animals. We spend about an hour with them photographing the rhinos and joking about a bird named an ox pecker that has a symbiotic relationship with the rhino. Michelle, Jeff and I are cracking up as we realize we are waiting for the birds. Have we been converted into bird watchers? All of a sudden the rhinos move behind a bush and we maneuver the vehicle to go around the other side of the bush to face the rhinos head on. We again burst into laughter because we can’t find the rhinos. How in earth can we miss three 4 ton animals that simply went around a bush.

Poster and the Botswana Rhino Project

The rhinos are amazing and massive

really massive

Anti Poaching Unit has shoot to kill orders if you are a poacher...

Botswana is one of the few countries really trying to protect the rhinos from extinction

Rhino horns sell for over $1,000,000 each in china

In the afternoon we hook up with Russell who is the cousin of Steve. Steve and Brennan run Journey’s Unforgettable which is the company that set up this amazing trip and Russell is one of the owners of Wilderness Safari. They own and run the camps that we have been at. Russell is a fabulous guy and very interested in learning about Lightroom and went out with Jeff on previous safaris in Africa. We meet him at camp and we all hit it off. We immediately head out into the bush with Russell.We come across a bizarre encounter. We find a group of female lions and what we think is a male lion. The male lion turns out to be either a female with a mane or a male without a critical part. They actually do not know if it is a he or a she and will likely do DNA testing at some point.

It is a transexual lion

She and she are coming closer

Oh NO. There is that running little move right towards us

Really right towards us. Like two feet away

The cubs are so cute

Mom cuddles with cub

Mom tells other female to back off!

We want to take one home:)

As you can see, more major gigage on lions

Comical and cute

Way to cute

Ok already. I could show you 100 more lion images like this but time to move on...

Russell is an avid birder and even has an iphone app that he helped develop to identify all the birds in Africa. Michelle, Jeff and I are really getting scared that we are getting infected with bird watching. We can even call out the names of a few birds and the really scary part is that we admit that we may like it…..

LAST PART TOMORROW

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Part 8 – Botswana- frogs, lions, elephants, baboons and the booby beetle..

February 9th, 2011 |  by No comments

DAY 10

Michele and Jeff load the daily artillery

Michelle spots a male lion in a field and we approach. We are within feet and make direct eye contact as he roars and lets us know that he is boss but that he is also OK with us being this close. You are excited but also have a cold chill on the spine being this close to the king of beasts.

Now that is being close to a lion

And this is a little too close, but at least this time he is looking at Michelle and not at me

We then come across a few elephants and head to an area where guides will take us out on makoro. We are in the delta for just minutes and see beautiful reed frogs.

Makoro's are a great way to see the Reed Frogs

Reed Frogs are totally cool

And their shadows are even better....

Lots of other cool bugs

We spend about an hour on the mokoro boats and then continue on in the 4×4’s. It is very sunny and hot today and we are hoping to get elephants in the water. We get them drinking and splashing in the mud but they are a bit skittish and move away as we approach.

Splish splash

Now we are talking. What a way to cool down

Move over I want more room

Great texture and great design

more design....

and more...

Mom cooling off her baby

In the afternoon we find a family of baboons with young that are only days old. We photograph the youngsters riding on the backs and hanging on the bellies of the moms and playing around.

Two ways to hitch a ride

a baboon colony

The young were very curious

After the baboons we head to the water but on the way Michelle lets out a scream. Jeff and I look and apparently a large bug has gone down the top of her shirt. Once she is OK we all laugh and call the large bug a boobie beetle. Joking on this trip has been continuous and when the laughing starts I typically turn on the video on the 5D and craft very humorous sidebars. One of the funniest sidebars in Vumbra Plains is a family that is staying here which is sort of the opitomy of tourists on safari. The dad walks around with a book on animals and the whole family is asked questions Jeopardy style. No one has heard about safari clothes and one of the daughters has a red flashdance outfit on hanging off her shoulder with a white skirt and a large tramp stamp on her back. She is clearly not the brightest clock on the block and I hear her ask if there are sharks in the water. We are in the middle of Botswana in fresh water so I am rather amused but really get a laugh when the dad suddenly asks a shark question and asks the family if sharks lay eggs or are live bearers. After the father explains that they have an egg case, the brilliant tramp says, “so they must be mammals”…. Wow!!!!!.  We hope with a little luck maybe the leopard will eat her. She is not the only amusement in the family because they also have another “daughter” who is about to be married and the son in law to be is on the trip as well. She is rather manly and has a very deep voice and has a tendency to scratch her back with both hands in a bizarre way. We wonder if she is a transvestite.

On the way back to camp an insane African sunset

The sunset just keeps getting better

And right when you think it just can't get any better, it does..

I say goodnight and so does the fruit bat above my doorway

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Part 6- Vumbra Plains- Cross Botswana Expressway and Elephants galore

February 7th, 2011 |  by Comments off

DAY 8

On Sunday for our last day in Savuti we wake up at 3 and pack and head out into the bush.

Another amazing sunrise

We encounter the cheetah from the day before lounging on the runway at sunrise.

Cheetah on runway ready for takeoff

I believe this runway is currently being used

After spending about an hour we head into the bush and come across some elephants that we evidently disturbed. A large male showed his dominance. In plain English he charged us and Michelle let out scream. We wondered if the seat was dry?

A little too close

20110123_Savuti_0035

We drove past the elephants and on this dirt or rather barely dirt road we came across our first sign in all of Botswana. The sign read “Transit Route”. We looked at each other and laughed. Lazi explains that it really is a transit route for trucks and vehicles headed towards Maun. We appropriately nicknamed the road the Trans Botswana Highway.

A hornbill alongside the Trans Botswana Highway

The sign says it all.....

About 200 feet down the road a tree was blocking the superhighway and we had to head into the grasslands and swamp to get around it. We got back on the road and went to the airstrip where we met the puddle jumper to take us to our next destination Vumbra Plains.

When I was growing up as a kid I went to camp and it was genuinely rustic. I assumed that most of the camps in Africa would remind me of summer camp, log cabins and minimum comforts. Vumbura Plains is no regular camp. Vumbura Plains south is beyond luxury. My room was about 1600 square feet. Each tented room has a large, very comfortable bedroom, a sunken lounge, a “sala” and ensuite facilities with a shower, bath, a flush toilet and an outdoor shower under the stars. Each room also has its own plunge pool where you can watch elephants from in the flooded plain in front. The main dining, lounge and pub area are also raised off the ground and are tucked beneath a canopy of cool, shady, indigenous trees with a wonderful vista across the flood plains.  There are 7 bedded camps linked by raised boardwalks and each has its own dining, lounge and bar area although all 14 beds or parts thereof can be utilized for larger parties. All 7 of the luxury tented rooms are raised off the ground on wooden platforms with walkways connecting them to the main living areas. Access into this area is only by aircraft and then by vehicle to camp. The camp is situated to the north of Mombo, in a private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta. The Vumbura Reserve offers both land and water activities in a park that has a wonderful variety of habitats and a great diversity of wildlife. The reserve offers an enormous traversing area of close on 130,000 acres. The main activity at Vumbura Plains is game viewing in diverse and scenic countryside. Open 4×4 Range Rovers and walks enable game viewing in the savannah and woodland areas. While the camp is luxurious it also has a spectacular staff that was not at all pretentious. The staff was totally accommodating with a smile for every single request.

As I check into my room I look at the plunge pool and there is a beautiful painted reed frog on the side of my pool. I waste no time grabbing the macro and shooting and then we meet our driver Ollie and head out into the bush. It is about 5:30 PM by the time we head out and we encounter wildebeest, warthogs and elephants and catch a really pretty sunset. We have a fantastic dinner and then I shoot some star trails at night, do a little editing and then pass out.

Nothing like a little tent in Africa

We had to really rough it in Vumbra Plains

More to come…..

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Part 5 Lions, bee eaters and a yellow sunset

February 6th, 2011 |  by Comments off

We arrive back at camp hot, tired and dirty carrying hundreds of pounds of camera gear. The manager is at my room telling me that they are waiting for us for dinner. We tell the manager that we are going to shower and put down our gear and to bring us dinner in one hour. He says it is ready now and it will be cold in an hour. I tell him that he can reheat it if necessary but we are eating in an hour not now….We actually had a fantastic dinner on the veranda of my cabin drinking wine and editing images.

DAY 7

On Saturday we sleep in until 5 AM and head out into the rain for what started as a boring morning with no wildlife. The sun broke and we drank a few beers around 9 AM and saw a rock python and then we noticed or rather Lazi noticed lion prints. We followed the prints down a dirt road and into the brush where we found two large male lions together. Lazi thought that they were new brothers who had entered the area and might not know a vehicle. We joked about a 50/50 chance of getting eaten but decided to approach. Another amazing lion encounter and we were all of 8 feet away.

Fantastic optical illusion. These are lion prints that are indented but visually appear to be protruding from the sand. The image below is at a different angle and produces a different effect

Lion prints mean lions are near

Lions are definitely near

They are so cute you can tickle them

After the lions we had a tough time finding other wildlife and just to put it in perspective we are on a range that has one hundred and twenty five thousand elephants and we could not find even one. We head back to camp and have lunch and prepare to again go out in the afternoon. I didn’t mention it before but on most days we are up at 4 and in the bush until about 1 PM. We go back to camp for a small siesta and then we go out again around 3 PM and return to camp around 9 PM. The animals are the most active early in the morning and late in the day. Most folks used the siesta for a real nap but I found myself editing and keywording and writing down my thoughts every day during siesta.

In the afternoon we head out and while the day is spectacular we find only a few giraffes and zebras and a couple of hippos.

20110122_Savuti_0040 – Computer

We are definitely not a birding `crowd but we found ourselves laughing hysterically photographing a bird called a carmine bee eater. Lazi has an accent and I really thought the bird was called a “common wife beater,” Well that really started the jokes.. Anyhow these very colorful red and blue birds fly alongside of the 4×4 as they go near the water and eat insects kicked up by the dirt of the 4×4. They fly super fast but about a foot from the vehicle. They dart like a bat and it is tougher than hell  to get them in the viewfinder. We are all laughing when we find that we are photographing birds…

Carmine Bee Eater darting around our vehicle looking for bugs.YUM

There goes another bee eater

20110122_Savuti_0068 – Computer

We get back to camp on the way we come across another pack of nearly extinct wild dogs some giraffes, zebras and an amazing yellow sunset.

giraffes on the way back to camp

A young zebra and mom out for a sunset stroll

The beginning of another spectacular yellow sunset

I have never seen natural yellow in a sunset. It is an effect of south of the equator and atmospheric dust

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