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TonyQ

Zambia – South Luangwe August 2013 – Great to be back on safari!

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TonyQ

Later went back to the area we had seen the young leopard on the previous day. We were very near to a herd of buffalo - we heard a call, and in the distance

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The adult female leopard

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Then two buffalo charged forward, a young leopard appeared and fled into the bushes

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We then heard more calls from the mother and drove a short distance to see what she was doing

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She's behind a bush

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She decides to go down into the gulley

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and runs across the sand in the direction of the buffalo

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And climbs up the bank in front of the herd of buffalo

Edited by TonyQ

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TonyQ

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The young male is visible on the other side of bushes

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And goes rushing over to greet his mother

It was wonderful to watch the enthusiastic greeting as both seemed really pleased to see each other and the youngster was safe from the buffalo

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And to complete the family, the young female came running across to join them

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The three of them wondered off together.

Braston really knew these leopards – the mother (about 7 years old) he has known since she was a cub; her older daughter who lived fairly locally and still occasionally was seen in the territory, and the two cubs (about 7 months old). He worked out what direction they were going in, and decided to follow them..

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TonyQ

The buffalo were on the other side of us (in the sun!) watching what was going on

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We tried to follow the leopard to see where they would go

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It was wonderful to watch all of this unfold, and to see the relationship between the family of leopards. Altogether this sequence took about 45 minutes. We were on our own for about 40 minutes - Braston had radioed another vehicle who eventually joined us for the last 5 minutes.

 

We think we have been so lucky to see such a variety of leopard sightings - putting this report together really emphasises this to me!

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Game Warden

It really looks to have been an action packed safari...

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TonyQ

 

Thank you - it wouldn't surprise me if Nsefu was the best place for seeing them - it is an ideal environment -

Edited by TonyQ

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stokeygirl

I'd forgotten how cute puku are.

 

I've lost count of how many leopards you saw. My parents went to South Luangwa a couple of years ago and reckoned they averaged one per game drive.

 

I'm going to Tena Tena and Tafika in June, so should have the Nsefu sector covered. I'm also going to Puku Ridge that is in the area you crossed to with the pontoon from Nkwali. So I'll be in all the same areas, just different camps.

 

Did you do much walking?

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AKR1

Your leopard sightings/encounters are just incredible. My favorite picture is the one with the leopard at the edge of the gully watched over by a herd of buffaloes. This is normally seen in the context of buffalo/lions. I have never seen a shot or scene of buffaloes and a leopard. Great stuff.

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TonyQ

@AKR1

thank you. I think the youngster learned that he probably shouldn't go near a herd of buffalo! - luckily he had his mum to look after him.

 

@@stokeygirl

We had not seen Puku before this trip - they are really beautiful animals (and they don't run away, which helps photos)

If you are going to Tena Tena and Tafika I think you will overlap with these area, so hopefully you will be lucky

 

Re: walking - up to this point in the report we did no walking, but coming up in the next section we are Bush Camping and walking for two and a half days. Hopefully that will give a flavour of it. (As a clue - we loved it)

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FlyTraveler

@@PCNW

@@ZaminOz

@@AKR1

Thank you for the kind comments.

 

@stokeygirl - Thank you - as you can see, we were really impressed by South Luangwa. It has a lot to offer. I am glad to hear you are going again -it will be interesting to see what it is like in June - I am sure you will enjoy it

 

@@FlyTraveler - thanks for the positive comments. I don't have experience of staying in those camps. I think it would be a bit busier, but people have positive experiences. When we were researching, Flatdogs had a lot of positive reviews, and I enjoyed reading the trip report from @mtow - "Lower Zambesi/South Luangwa/Livingstone - August 2013" which included staying at Flatdogs. Some great photos. You might ask him a question through his report

Thanks for the reply TonyQ, the new pictures that you posted are awsome!

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twaffle

Brilliant leopard sightings, but also great overall sightings. Loving the report and photos.

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Shreyas

Incredible sightings, my favourite is the Leopard in the tree with sparkling eyes!

Enjoying it a lot! TFS

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ZaminOz

@@TonyQ

Mate, are you sure your name isn't National Geographic?

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kittykat23uk

Amazing sightings! Would you mind sharing how much the trip cost and how long you went for? :)

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TonyQ

@twaffle

Thank you

@@Shreyas

thank you - I am really pleased with the pictures of the leopard with sparkling eyes - he was a beautiful animal to watch

@@ZaminOz

Very sure! - thank you

@@kittykat23uk

I am happy to share that -I will dig out the information and post it later

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graceland

Wonderful! :)

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FlyTraveler

@@TonyQ I will repeat myself, but really enjoyed the photos and the writing! What kind of photo equipment did you use (body/bodies and lens/es)?

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africapurohit

@@TonyQ it's great that you've joined Safaritalk. When you plan your next itinerary here, we can just copy it and follow you around on your next trip :D - what amazing fortune!

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egilio

@TonyQ: Great safari! Braston has a sixth sense for finding cats. Although, if they walk up to you at breakfast it's not really needed I guess :D.

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TonyQ

Amazing sightings! Would you mind sharing how much the trip cost and how long you went for? :)

 

@@kittykat23uk

 

Expensive -I have checked!

I am giving it without international flights, as this will vary for people (but including internal flights and all transfers) £4060 per person with 2 people traveling.

We stayed 10 nights in South Luangwa - everything included except tips - (Nkwali 2, Nsefu 3, Bush Camp 2, Tena Tena 3) and 1 night at Pioneer Camp in Lusaka (for an early flight).

 

Does that give enough information? Come back if not

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stokeygirl

I don't think that's too bad really, not for peak season, and given it includes the flights to/from Mfuwe.

 

Incidentally, RPS don't charge single supplements at any time of year so that price would be the same for a single traveller.

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TonyQ

@@FlyTraveler

Thank you - it is always nice to get encouragement!

 

Re: equipment - 99% were taken on Canon 550D and Canon 70-300 F/4.5-5.6 IS USM

A small number were taken on my old camera - Canon 350D with 18-55 kit lens. I took this to avoid changing lenses in the dusty conditions, but used it very little.

 

I got the 550D and 70-300 about a year ago. The IS (image stabilisation) was really helpful in low light which is common at the beginning and end of the day.

As an example, some of the Leopard in Tree photos from Nkwali (with bright eyes) were taken at 1/80 to 1/125 at 300mm - which would be very difficult to handhold without the IS. I am sure it is not up to the standard of Canon's L (expensive) lenses, but I am pleased with it for my purposes. You will see few bird photos because for many of those, you could do with a bit more reach (but costs a lot more!)

 

I hope that is useful

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TonyQ

@@graceland

thank you for encouragement

 

@@egilio

Braston was great - experienced and knowledgeable - (perhaps he invited the lions to breakfast? :) ) - by the way I have just glanced at your website - it looks really interesting + I have added it to my favourites to go back and look properly. Do you know Braston?

 

@@africapurohit

You are right that there is always a large element of fortune to be added to any planning. Our reading suggested SL gave a good chance to see leopard, but we didn't expect such good quality and varied sightings - or the sheer number. We do enjoy seeing the other wildlife and particularly enjoyed seeing Puku, and watching elephant.

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kittykat23uk

Thanks for the info @@TonyQ

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Double Dare

Loving this trip report too. Now I just need to win the lottery!

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FlyTraveler

@@FlyTraveler

Thank you - it is always nice to get encouragement!

 

Re: equipment - 99% were taken on Canon 550D and Canon 70-300 F/4.5-5.6 IS USM

A small number were taken on my old camera - Canon 350D with 18-55 kit lens. I took this to avoid changing lenses in the dusty conditions, but used it very little.

 

I got the 550D and 70-300 about a year ago. The IS (image stabilisation) was really helpful in low light which is common at the beginning and end of the day.

As an example, some of the Leopard in Tree photos from Nkwali (with bright eyes) were taken at 1/80 to 1/125 at 300mm - which would be very difficult to handhold without the IS. I am sure it is not up to the standard of Canon's L (expensive) lenses, but I am pleased with it for my purposes. You will see few bird photos because for many of those, you could do with a bit more reach (but costs a lot more!)

 

I hope that is useful

Amirations TonyQ! This was really useful, I should be working on improving my photo techniques rather than upgrading equipment and use the money on safari instead :) :) I used the Nikon equivalent of your lens 70-300 f:4.5-5.6 VR (the cheapest option). Image stabilization does help, indeed. This Canon body does a fabulous job, especially considering the cost...

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