Sept 4-19 2019 Botswana zambia south africa



  • edited September 2019

    cathyandsteve, 8:49PM, The elephant came to eat the palm tree next to our tent. I literally could have reached out and touched him. He was aware of us but completely uninterested.

    If its ears were out and not flapping (ear flapping is a cooling technique) it was not "completely uninterested"!!! :o

    When an elephant puts its ears out like "your friend" there, it means they are wary or even annoyed. According to our guide and one internet source, "The time to be wary is when an elephant turns and faces you head on, with its ears extended and held out at its sides (normally with its head held high and trunk and tusks raised). The elephant is trying to make itself look bigger and intimidate you." We saw that a couple of times when our vehicles got too close. Ears out is sometimes combined with trumpeting- we saw that too!. Another source said, "A young elephant in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique threatens Poole’s vehicle, from which she is observing him. He spreads his ears in an exaggerated way to intimidate her. Typically in such an aggressive stance, an elephant will hold its head well above its shoulders and, with tusks lifted, direct its gaze at its adversary."

    Since your elephant hadn't raised its head, it may have only been mildly annoyed and wasn't being too aggressive.

    For example, here is a photo I took when an elephant wandered into the Khwai River Camp and noticed me:

  • edited September 2019

    I'm just saying- while they often appear docile and friendly, unlike the elephants at Mikuni, this one was wild so should have been treated with respect and caution, especially since it was so close and already exhibiting typical annoyed and aggressive body language (I'm not making this stuff up. Google "elephant body language") Obviously it wanted to eat the palm leaves more than it was concerned about your presence. But make no mistake, it WAS NOT happy that you were there! It can be dangerous to try to read its mind, instead read its body language!

    Fantastic photo though!

  • My comment was also one of concern. At the same camp there was an elephant right by our tent when we were returning after dinner one night. We walked back to the main area and a couple of the guides had us wait while they tried to get him away. At Camp Kalahari, a huge male elephant was foraging right at the bottom of the steps of a single female member of our group. There was nothing anyone could do until he decided to move away which took several hours. She was marooned in the tent all that time. We have been in several dodgy encounters with elephants on game drives. One was by a Marula tree, elephants love marula fruit, they were eating the fallen ones. So they were somewhat fermented. The elephant was clearly drunk and objected strongly to our presence and we had to hightail out of there.
    We spend probably hundreds of hours watching wildlife documentaries and are familiar with the behaviors of many animals now and Alan is correct. I’ve also read ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ this year and it’s made me really wary of them. I am sure the camp people warned us to keep away from them. At The Royal Livingstone, the same year we stayed there, a Tauck guest was very badly injured by a giraffe that they got too near to. These are wild animals.

  • edited September 2019

    As usual, I have something to say
    Luggage. Tauck asks that your bag weigh no more than 44lbs, not least because it’s in consideration of the people they employ who have to lug our bags around. I have never ever even needed to take a bag weighing more than that anywhere I have been, dressy or not and I do take tons of clothes with me.
    I can’t remember specifically about the Botswana tour because now you are confusing me, but certainly on the K and T even the one we are about to take, the duffels MUST weigh no more than 33 lbs, this if for safety on the small planes
    I can only give you my experience on five tours to Africa, hardly anybody dressed up on the tours we were on.

    Hats are up to you. They are not mandatory or a fashion statement, they are suggested to protect your skin from the harsh equatorial sun. Every morning winter or summer but especially summer, I wear a wide brimmed hat to protect myself when I take my walk, my husband always wears a hat too. . I guess that’s why we stay looking so young. 😀😀😀I’ve known people literally keel over with shock when my husband in particular tells people how old his children are.
    Liquids on the flights... I don’t remember saying anything about liquid restrictions. I have travelled to several countries where there are still no restrictions on liquids, not just in African small plane situations. The only bigger liquids we tend to take are unsurprisingly sunscreen at times, rather than several smaller containers, and I now prefer a certain hair conditioner and take a bottle a little bigger than 100 mls and anyway some places don’t provide conditioner.
    I’m sorry if I was one of the people who misled you, it was not my intention.

  • Do you want to organize my photos- still not done from May! :D Actually, I did have about 15 printed on canvas, but haven't hung them yet.

    It sounds like it was a wonderful trip and learning experience.

    I'd just like to add a few comments about clothes. It is hard to predict what others in your group will wear, but the best guidance is to know the environment and climate and choose clothes that you will be comfortable wearing and that includes social comfort. We are very casual dressers- not the country club set, so wear what we wear and others be damned. Unless yo plan future trips together, you'll likely never see your fellow travelers again. We chose a mix of earth toned safari clothes because of the dust and dirt and cooling properties of the fabric, not to look like Bwana and Jane. I was a Naval Officer for close to 30 years and often had to wear a(n uncomfortable) hat- I hate to wear hats, even ball caps- never, ever wore or will wear one of those (don't ask me how I feel about people wearing ball caps in restaurants!). But, since the grass on my roof is getting very thin and the African sun is intense, especially at the higher altitudes in the Serengeti and Mara where the air is thin and clear, I took and wore a hat. (I did so at Disney the past July too) I have fair skin, so went with the typical Tilley with wide brim because I also wanted to protect my face and neck. As you discovered, it is all about what you are comfortable wearing. Oh, and I almost NEVER wear shoes with open toes- you really don't want to see my toes! :o One more comment about safari clothes- you will likely take multiple Africa trips and maybe a Peru & Galapagos tour where safari clothes also work well,so they are not a one-time deal. We don't have real winters in NC and don't ski, so are carefully considering what clothes we will need to buy for our upcoming Yellowstone in Winter trip. We might even check out what winter clothes are available at the various thrift shops! :D

    So where to next?

  • Hey cathyandsteve - I was just checking our spam filter, and it looks like a couple of your posts had accidentally gotten flagged as spam by the system. This was the computer doing it, not anyone in the forums. I unflagged them, which is why more photos just appeared up above. If you don't want them in the thread now, please feel free to delete. :)


  • edited November 2019

    Thursday September 12, today we had breakfast then went on safari. We saw a male and female lion together, a herd of elephants with 4 babies, a mom and baby giraffe, wild dogs with puppies…so many amazing creatures. I lost my safari book and was heartbroken. I told our driver Kenny that I thought I lost it by the herd of elephants. We took a helicopter ride over the Kalahari and saw herds of hippos and elephants and giraffes. Later we took a walking safari with Kenny...who found my book and returned it to me. I cried. We had sundowners and watched a beautiful sunset. We watched a movie about the Kalahari, had dinner and went to bed.

    Friday September 13, today we had breakfast then went to Kenny’s xaxaba village. We got to meet his wife and his youngest daughter Sandra. I bought some carved animals from the vendors. Then we flew to our next camp …Camp Kalahari in the Makgadikgadi pans. We were assigned tent 10. We went for a walk with the zu/hoasi san bushman. We had sundowners then dinner.

    Saturday Sept 14, we got up at 5:30 and went to visit the meerkats. I was disappointed that none of them sat on anyone’s head. We left the meerkats and did a driving safari. We came back to camp for lunch and took a nap. About 4:00, we left to go ride the ATV’s. We had sundowners and dinner on the pans. Steve and I chose to stay and spend the night in the pans under the stars.

    Sunday sept 15, we had breakfast then flew 40 minutes to Maun. When we got to Maun we got our luggage that had been stored for us. We had to repack everything from the duffel bags back into the suitcases. I had purchased some souvenirs so we put the tripod into the back packs to save some weight. They weighed the bags and everything was ok so we went to the gate to wait for our flight. We then flew 3 hours to Cape Town South Africa. We checked into the one and only hotel. We have room 312. We were so tired, we ordered room service then went to bed.

    Monday Sept 16, we had breakfast at Rueben’s and then did a city tour. We went to the District Six museum and the city gardens. Then we drove to the Bo-Kaap neighborhood to see the brightly colored houses. Then we had lunch on the waterfront at Ginjas. We bought some souvenirs. We went to a braai at the home of Brett Nussy then returned to the one and only and went to bed.

    Tuesday sept 17, we had breakfast at Rueben’s then we boarded the bus for a trip to Cape of good hope, the most southwestern point of the African Continent. We rode a funicular to the lighthouse. We walked back down and did some shopping. We had lunch at two oceans restaurant. We went on the shark explorer boat and saw penguins, seals and whales. We came back to the one and only and had our farewell cocktail hour at Nobu then had our farewell dinner at Reubens. We retired for the evening and packed for the trip home.

    Wednesday sept 18 we had breakfast at Reubens, then went to the aquarium next door to the one and only. We also rode the Cape wheel and had a drink at Perrymans. We had lunch on the one and only patio…. fish and chips and wine. I did some shopping at the airport…but did not find what I was looking for. I wished I had purchased those things in cape town. There is an out of Africa store at the airport, but it has limited items.

    We flew 11 hours from Cape town to London with no issues. Then we flew 6 hours from London to Chicago then 1 hour from Chicago to STL. Rachel picked us up at the airport and brought us home.

    This was indeed a trip of a lifetime. We saw everything I had hoped to see. We do not travel to make new friends…we travel to experience other cultures…to learn about others and to broaden our horizons. I never expected to fall in love with the African people….to see their passion for their animals, their families, their country. This trip was made more special by our tour director Chris Mancini…who loves what he does, by our guide Kenny at eagle island….to meet his family and see his home, and to experience the knowledge of Livius at camp Kalahari. Many people made this trip special…but these three men will forever be in my heart. We had so many favorite moments, the animal encounters at the Makuni Big 5 was certainly a highlight, the meals we shared with each other….the first night at the Livingstone, the room service dinner, lunch on the waterfront at Ginja and our last lunch at the one and only patio were all very special moments, and of course seeing the animals up close in their natural environments. This trip was simply amazing.

  • edited November 2019

    We have finally finished hanging the photos from this trip. Our printer can print photos up to 13 by 19 so we had to order anything above that. We used a new place, MPIX to print the larger ones and were VERY pleased with their work. Not only were the photos packed better than any place we have ever used...the quality was amazing. Unfortunately, i can only share web sized photos here so you cannot see the quality and clarity but i will share the photos we have displayed.

  • These are the 5 photos we had printed by MPIX in 20 by 30

  • edited November 2019

    Cathysteve Nice photos. Thanks for posting.

  • Great pictures Cathy and thanks for your review. It's always terrific when Tauck travelers share their experiences to help others prepare for their adventures. I believe we will be getting off the Voyager in Auckland when you get on, Bon Voyage!

  • And Bon Voyage to you as well! We are looking forward to or will take a lot to top this trip to Africa. It truly feels like a dream.

  • We have a new travel page if you would like to see the photos

  • Awesome pictures! Africa is so incredible. Thanks for sharing.

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