Jump to content

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


Recommended Posts

You certainly enjoyed a marvellous leopard safari and have great photos of these frequently elusive cats. I've enjoyed all of the photos, however that photo of the cub and male lion is very evocative and the crowned cranes gives a different perspective of these gracious birds.


I've not been to Zambia yet, however your TR has inspired me to add SLNP and RPS to my (long) wishlist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

That would help!

It is expensive. The first safaris we went on were overland trucks and we loved them. We have also been on small group participatory mobile camping and that was brilliant - so there are really good cheaper options. For this trip there were particular places we wanted to go....

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I think it depends what you want to do with the photos - I know we have excellent photographers on this site who publish and exhibit their work and I am sure that the higher quality is probably needed.

I have really enjoyed looking at your photos in your trip report. I have taken photos to see at home and to bring back memories + this is the first time I have shared them. so I think the equipment is good enough for this.



Thanks for the comment - I really like the one of the male lion with cub also - it was great to watch them together. I think one of the problems ( :) ) of reading trip reports is that they do make the wishlist longer - I have certainly seen a few places I would like to go having read the current batch of reports.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry for the delay - work does sometimes get in the way!


Following our exciting leopard observations, we continued to a night drive

Amongst the sightings was


Scops Owl ("the smallest owl in the region)

We also saw Verraux's Eagle Owl (no decent photo)


When we got back to Nsefu, there was one more special sighting


Nsefu Toilet Frog (great caution needed with the seat)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Lovely owl there! I personally don't think photo need to be perfect for trip reports, it's more about taking the reader on a journey to share the experience of being there, than it is providing award winning shots! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next day, after breakfast, we began the walking/bush camp section of the trip. One of the reasons for coming to Zambia was to do some walking. We had done small amounts on other safari's and really enjoyed it, so for this trip we were doing 2 nights Bush Camping, and 2 1/2 days walking.

We walked from Nsefu, heading along the river bank. You only carry your binoculars, camera and some water. We were accompanied by Kanga (our guide), Baron (our armed guard) and Sebastian (who carried the equipment to make tea and provide cake in the tea break, and also was good at spotting birds, and carried the identification book to show us what we had spotted).




Generally bush camping has a maximum of 4 clients; we were lucky as we were the only two. Typically you walk from 6.30 to 10 -10.30ish when it starts to get hot. (There is a break for tea and cake halfway). In the afternoon, you walk from around 4.30 -6.00 (when it begins to get dark). The walking is fairly easy going, fairly flat. If you go walking at home, we think you would have no problem – it is not a route march.


Sausage Tree flowers



As we are walking along, Kanga explains about the environment, looks at lots of dung (as you would expect) and you begin to pay much more attention to small things as you move slowly along.



There are large numbers of hippo in South Luangwa. As their behaviour is explained - looking at dominance and submissive behaviour - they become much more interesting animals - we really enjoyed watching them.


Kanga thought that there were Lions in the area.


We saw fresh tracks and followed them, but didn't meet any lions.

However, we did come across a large herd of buffalo



As we were watching these, a group of elephant decided to walk through the passing buffalo and towards us.


Kanga moved us to a termite mound, partially behind a tree (I have left that in the photo to remind me of the feeling)


They continued to walk towards us and then followed a track to the left of us



You do get a different perspective when on foot compared to being in the vehicle. Elephant seem much bigger!



Link to comment
Share on other sites


We had some wonderful elephant encounters in mana. I agree they seem a lot bigger when out on foot. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After a few hours of walking (with tea break) we came around some bushes, and a camp was waiting for us. It seemed miraculous that all of this had appeared.



Our tent, with washbasins and chairs outside.


The tent had mesh sides, which allowed the breeze through -it was great at night being able to see all around the tent


Bucket shower - book the hot water and the shower is then ready

The camp crew thoughtfully position their tents so you feel it is just you in the bush. We loved it - it was comfortable but we felt much more that we were in the animals home than when in a more built environment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The afternoon walk is shorter as you need to be back before it is dark!


Hippo watch us walk by


Showing us who is boss


Fish Eagle


As we headed back to camp, great caution was shown when near hippo on land - careful watching of their behaviour, mood, direction of movement etc.

As we carried on walking into a thicket, we saw a leopard jump down from a tree and run off into the undergrowth (No time even for a quick photo - we only became aware of it as it came down from the tree - still a bit of adrenaline!)


Later that evening, we relaxed with a beer and then started to begin to clean up.

MrsQ was in the shower. Kanga called in a stage whisper that there was a leopard just on the edge of the camp in a very shallow gulley. I rushed over -He was shining his torch at it. We called my wife out of the shower to see – (she wasn't sure at first if we were telling her to stay in the shower or come out!)

She stood watching wrapped in a towel!. Other staff came with torches (and Baron brought his gun) and we saw that there were three leopards (Mother and 2 young). They were about 20 yards away. The watched us for a bit + we watched them. They then strolled off unconcerned. It was hard to believe what had just happened - we were buzzing. Kanga confirmed that it was the first time one of his guests had watched leopards while wrapped in a towel

(No camera I’m afraid -it was in the tent - but the experience was wonderful).


Another beer was called for, and the excellent food tasted even better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


@@TonyQ people generally state that walking is not good for photographing big game - you dispel that statement with some fantastic buffalo and elephant shots!


I know you found a frog in the toilet, but if had said that you found another leopard in the toilet, I would have believed you :D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next morning we headed along the river bank


Male Puku alongside the "hippo highway" - hippo follow the same route to the river, leaving a clear channel


Puku interrupt sizing each other up to watch us walk past

Walking gives you a very different perspective on the wildlife when you are on their level. You travel past antelope much more slowly. You pay more attention to the detail, and you identify much more with the prey species than you do in a vehicle. It is much clearer how vulnerable they are as indeed you are.



Elephant with baby - they saw us clearly walking by - they watched but were not concerned

A little later we came past a thicket, and there were elephant in it eating the bushes - we surprised them and they were not best pleased - we had to retreat behind a termite mound and wait while Kanga and Baron watched and assessed the situation and worked out a route where we could safely leave them alone. I didn't risk taking photos in this situation. (These elephant were even bigger ;) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites



We notice the smell of the outdoors when still cool and fresh – as it warms up and becomes baking hot and it all smells completely different. There is also the change of light – grasses honey coloured early and late – harsh bleached in the middle of the day.



Bleached buffalo skull


Mature male giraffe - much darker than others we saw


Only one horn

The male giraffe had a really strong ammonia smell - very noticeable when breeze was in the right direction



Monitor lizard - very easy to miss (at least for me)

We arrived at our new camp, this was close to the river with a good view of the neighbours



Hippo on the sand in front of the river

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow - just finished going through this and there are leopards on every page, everywhere :o You need to rename this TR, @@TonyQ


What a fabulous safari so far and how on earth are you going to top this?


We also saw a leopard jump out of a tree while walking in Mana, but did not have a follow-up with three more a few hours later! Superb photos, really. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This just keeps getting better and better. What a fantastic safari, images and experiences!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thank you

MrsQ reminded me that this is a "Safari" website and not a "photography" website (although it obviously has great photographers showing great photos!)

So I have tried to use photos that show the experience, even though some don't stand up as photos themselves (some however are only just good enough to remind us of an experience). Night drive photos were always a bit hit and miss


The game viewing on the walking safari was better than we expected. You do not see as much (numbers of sightings) as in a vehicle, but you really value all of it with all senses going.


Our view of the leopard jumping from the tree was hurried, but it was within a fairly short distance of the camp (perhaps half hour walk for us), so I would think there is a good chance it was the adult that came to the camp. Were the 3 leopards the same as we saw with Braston - honestly I don't know (I am sure if he had been there he would have known). Although my sense of Geography is poor, I know that when we are at Nsefu, they took account of the fact that we were going on the walking trip and didn't drive in the areas we would be walking in - but I don't know if the leopards would go that far and I don't have photos to compare.



Thank you - Mana Pools sounds very appealing (I know lots of Safaritalkers are going this year)


Thank you

Edited by TonyQ
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Our leopard on foot sighting (which I spotted!! :D) Even surprised our guide, Doug. There were baboons in the same tree so he couldn't believe that a leopard would have been sharing a tree with them! Of course we also didn't get a picture. I do find that a surprise leopard sighting, such as, this is somehow more memorable than one where you drive up to it an sit by its feet. It was Mana's farewell gift to me, along with the Long Pool Pack who were milling around the airstrip when I went to get my flight. :D


We had an earlier surprise leopard sighting at Letaba in Kruger. We were sitting on a bench having lunch overlooking the river, and I noticed that a little group of impala were really jumpy all looking in the same direction. Then all of a sudden a leopard leaped out of cover and darted at them, disappearing into the reeds as the impala scattered in all directions. I wonder if it made a kill? It didn't reappear. We asked people who were milling around if they saw the event too, but most had been oblivious to the action!! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what great pictures of all the leopards! u can be an ambassador for the Cat. it may be a safari forum, but a picture sometimes conveys the story better than words can. thanks for taking a pix of the mobile tent - gotta show my hubby to see if we can consider that one day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The tent was really comfortable - good mattress on the floor, quite spacious

We really liked the style and would try to do more of that style in the future. The camping is certainly not roughing it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like to do RPS's 5 day mobile trail at some point. Especially as a solo traveller it works out reasonably priced as you just join the fixed date departures (6 per group).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a recent walking convert...you are so on target; walking changes the way you think about safari....the smells, the anticipation and the excitement.

So much game in SNLP ~ I had thought of returning to Ruaha but may need to divert thorugh Zambia. Much more game on foot than I've seen!


The tents look quite nice; does someone come in the morning and help an oldster get up off the floor? :D That would take most of my morning! Did you get up in the dark? I found that the hardest; to find my "stuff" for the day with just the light of a torch. But very rewarding with the sun was rising on the walk.

Curious to know how the day started, if you have the time....thx!


Enjoying the pics very much; I think they are all good!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


We thought about doing the 5 day trip, but wondered if it would be too much for us - but having done this, I don't think it would be

When we were at Tena Tena, we met people who had just finished it and they had really enjoyed it. We also met a couple who had done it twice before (in successive years) - which I think is a positive endorsement. People do speak very highly of it

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The tent was comfortable

You do get up in thedark - though there is a small lamp as well as the torch. I think the key is arranging everything carefully in the previous evening

We got a call at 5.30 - though we were already awake (getting up early is not a difficulty on safari) - breakfast ready at 5.45 (tea/coffee/porridge/cereal/toast) - leave at 6.15 ish -it is not fully light, the sun is coming up - but it is light enough to be safe.

Your bag has to be packed as this is taken along to the next camp


Thanks for the kind comment on the pictures!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The tent was comfortable

You do get up in thedark - though there is a small lamp as well as the torch. I think the key is arranging everything carefully in the previous evening

We got a call at 5.30 - though we were already awake (getting up early is not a difficulty on safari) - breakfast ready at 5.45 (tea/coffee/porridge/cereal/toast) - leave at 6.15 ish -it is not fully light, the sun is coming up - but it is light enough to be safe.

Your bag has to be packed as this is taken along to the next camp


Thanks for the kind comment on the pictures



Yes I thought I had it all arranged the night before on my recent adventure. Must have been that SA wine!!


We were always awake but something about dragging yourself out at 5:15 or so...until that glorious sunrise appears. We moved camp 3x on our 7nighter, and I did have it all ready...just could not find what I pulled out to wear!! I was scampering all over that tent wondering who dragged my clothes out in the middle of the night! Turns out I was trying to be orderly and hung them up instead of placing on the floor (my normal approach) Thats what I get for thinking I was smart. :P

Edited by graceland
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love that hippo channel photo. What a great trip report and what a great trip. Perfect fly camping and walking experience. We're there with you every step of the way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The final morning of walking - we head towards Tena Tena


Walking is through beautiful countryside - it is very peaceful and relaxing



We walk alongside a lagoon



Not all is as peaceful as it seemed


Egyptian Geese

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy