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wilddog

Gorongosa, Matusadona and Mana Pools 2011

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wilddog

 

Wilddog, could you not have worn your more colourful outfit in this picture :)

 

 

 

I think if I had warn THAT hat we would have seen no animals at all!:lol:

Edited by wilddog

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Kavey

Magic!

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Bugs

Lovely.

 

I wonder if we will ever get around to Mana, it looks fantastic.

 

Honey badgers - great sighting.

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wilddog

Lovely.

 

I wonder if we will ever get around to Mana, it looks fantastic.

 

 

Hope you will too, it is pretty special place. Shame you couldn't make it on your recent trip to Zim.

 

I will be finishing off the report with Chitake springs chapter in next few days.

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samburumags

Fascinating report, great photos - MORE please

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Jochen

I really enjoyed that video, comments and all! ;)

 

 

* puts Zim back on his list *

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pault

Oh!!! :blink: (I am goggled-eyed) What a day that was... what an amazing day. I could hope one time in my life to have a day half as exciting as that! You managed very well to sound ever-so-slightly nonchalant about it.

 

And you even got some decent shots too. I can't play your video yet (error). I think my computer may be too excited. I will, though.

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Safaridude

Really enjoying the drama. Thank you.

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Shreyas

Totally enjoying it! Thanks for getting to the Mana Pools chapter...much awaited. Now can't wait to see the installment on Chitake Springs - one from my bucket list!

 

TFS

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wilddog

Mana- Part 2 – Chitake Springs

 

Chitake Springs camp site was set up at the bottom of a sloping bank at the edge of the river bed. At this time of the year there is no surface water running into the river, but the spring water emerges up stream of the camp and then submerges again, downstream. This draws the animals to the site as it is the only source of water in the vicinity.

 

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On the first afternoon there were impala and elephants just downstream and by sitting in the camp chairs at the edge of the river bed we could watch them in comfort.

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On this afternoon a small group of elephants, with one youngster, were drinking from holes they had dug in the dry river bed. They seemed unsettled, not by us but something else. One of the adult females kept flapping her ears and waving her trunk and eventually, trumpeting at something. Finally we could see that there was a lion lying behind a fallen tree trunk at the edge of the river. The lion thought better of remaining where he was and walked up the river bank. Later, when the elephants gone he returned for a drink.

That evening, as we eat our excellent evening meal and later, as we went to bed, the night was filled with sounds of lions roaring in all directions, elephants trumpeting and hyena whoop, whooping in the distance. We were in the thick of it. We awoke to uproar. It sounded like lions fighting. Once it was light, the lions quietened down and we set off down stream in the river bed to see what we could find. In no time we found one of the lions, a young male, walking in front of us.

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We followed him slowly and watched as he climbed the left hand bank and disappeared. We continued to follow and climbed the bank a little distant from his exit route. Making a loop we circuited the area and emerged a little later back on the river bank where we found him sitting across the gully from us.

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We sat and watched him for some time and he ignored us completely, spending his time calling very quietly and plaintively, presumably for the rest of the pride. He sounded very lonely and we wondered if he had been pushed out. After about 5 minutes he got up went down the bank, crossed the river and disappeared in to the bush. Once he had departed we were joined by baboons who descended from the trees and sat about 10 feet away quietly feeding.

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On return to camp for lunch, the other group told us they had come across 4 lions, upstream of the camp, so we made a plan for the afternoon walk. During lunch we heard sounds of buffalo; we all jumped up leaving our lunch on the table and moved down to the river edge. The buffalo were coming. We settled down to wait and sure enough a herd of probably 500 made an appearance. We sat as quietly as possible and they came to drink the spring water.

 

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Once some of them had quenched their thirst they wanted to continue up stream but aware of your presence they did a bit of a detour up the opposite bank and then remerged a bit further up.

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That afternoon went up stream to find the buffalo again. We found their tracks and could see that they had gone into thick bush. We than crossed the river and found 4 lions were resting on the cliff top, 3 visible in the first image.

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The following morning we again walked up through the river bed and the bush. The main herd were no longer there but we came across some single bulls dotted around and kept well clear. It is at this time that I am so grateful for the eyes of an expert, a lone bull is very quiet, and despite its size is easily hidden behind a bush. In addition we found very fresh lion tracks which we followed for some distance. Initially there was one set of tracks but later this lion had been joined by another/. The tracks led into thick bush, so we turned back. We rested for a while at the spot where the lions had been the previous day and watched the world go by and then headed back down the river bed for lunch.

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During our walk we had been collecting feathers etc for ourGreat Chitake Springs Safari Hat competition.

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The other guides in camp, who were asked to judge the competition, tactfully awarded all competitors for their efforts.

 

On our last night in camp we could hear elephants and buffalo in the vicinity and when we went to bed they were just behind our tents. When we awoke in the morning, we were told that about an hour after we had all retired, the lions had passed behind the shower (which wsa next to my tent) causing alarm amongst the staff and I had slept right through it!!!

 

The next morning we had to make an early start for the drive back to Harare and our flight back to the UK. But, as a bonus at the end of the trip, when we crossed the river near the park gates we saw this cheetah, admittedly at long distance but never the less it was there.

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This was a fantastic trip; Zimbabwe has so much to offer and Chitake springs well......... truly wild. I will be back.

 

Edited by wilddog

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Sangeeta

Thank you for posting that, Wilddog, loved it. Can't wait to get there in person now.

 

 

Edited by wilddog

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africapurohit

Great trip report - I am so jealous of your honey badger photo, an animal I've seen a few times but never managed to photograph or film. MP looks awesome.

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tumba

I would be interested to hear what your guides had to say about that cheetah sighting. The impression I have been given is that they are present at mana but are very very seldom seen, I have had their tracks pointed out to me by guys who spend a lot of time there but they have either never seen them or seen them once in a lifetime of mana trips. I presume this is to do with the large numbers of other large predators and the terrain & vegetation, which I imagine is not really suited to their hunting technique's. Congrats on a great trip mana always delivers.

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wilddog

I would be interested to hear what your guides had to say about that cheetah sighting. The impression I have been given is that they are present at mana but are very very seldom seen, I have had their tracks pointed out to me by guys who spend a lot of time there but they have either never seen them or seen them once in a lifetime of mana trips. I presume this is to do with the large numbers of other large predators and the terrain & vegetation, which I imagine is not really suited to their hunting technique's. Congrats on a great trip mana always delivers.

 

I did not specifically discuss cheetah in Mana as it was not really an expectation. As you say the area does not suggest it is highly suitable but they are there. This sighting was well away from the main tourist/predator hotspots ( wise cheetah!) and there is is no doubt that we, and our guide, were both surprised and delighted.

Edited by wilddog

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Atravelynn

Lions and wild dogs on foot! The low angle of your shots is striking.

 

Cheetah, wow!

Edited by Atravelynn

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madaboutcheetah

Just seen this report ....... looks a fabulous trip!!! I do hope to get to Zim one day .....

 

Regards

Hari

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Raelond

Loved your trip report, especially Mana Pools and Matusadona as I'm going there next August.

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wilddog

Loved your trip report, especially Mana Pools and Matusadona as I'm going there next August.

 

.

Thank you.

 

Paulo has also been there recently and has put up a summary of his trip already. He seems to have had some fabulous experiences both at Mana and Matusadona.I am actually going back to Mana for a few days in October but to Vundu Camp this time. Will add this to my report on my return.

 

I am sure you will have a great time.There are several other ST members heading that way next year, so we should hear some more interesting stories from Zimbabwe.

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