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Thanks @@Sangeeta for an excellent report on a place that is "off-the-map" though shouldn't be. More soon please.

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Many thanks, @@SafariChick, @@TonyQ, @@Marks, @@marg, @PeterConnan and @@Safaridude.


I am a little bit rushed with work stuff this week but shall get back to this as soon as I can. In the meantime... @@marg - didn't I read somewhere that you had been to Pamushana not that long ago? Hmmm, since I don't recall seeing a full report, perhaps we could get you to post some thoughts and images here in the interim :P


@PeterConnan - I had read about Zimanga some time ago when someone posted about it here. Didn't realize that it was an old hunting reserve, though. Very interesting and I hope they do well.

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@@egilio - Egil, in Mana it seems to be a relatively common practice to walk to the den site. We ourselves did that - the first time tracking down a den after a long morning of following dogs returning from a hunt and tracking their poo and their calls. Our guide was, of course, highly attentive to the dog's behavior and reaction and we did not return to any of the sites once we knew they did not want us there but I was under the impression that this was okay to do, provided we behaved respectfully. I don't think self-drivers are able to do this type of thing because it means walking deep into the mopane, but guided guests may still have this option. I don't think anyone advocates this (careless language on my part - sorry) but in places like Mana, with very limited driving tracks, people do a lot of activities on foot that they would usually not do elsewhere.


Thanks for the explanation @@Sangeeta ! I think unregulated access to dens shouldn't be allowed. They should be treated the same as bird nests for example. If dens are in private properties where access can be regulated, then it's not necessarily a problem. I know Mana Pools is little visited, and there are some of the best guides in Africa working there, who each on their own have are very ethical (which is expressed in what you describe) but it's a tricky situation. What if one guide finds a den and the dogs reaction is not good so he doesn't go back, then another guide finds the den and get the same response (if the dogs haven't already moved). But maybe in Mana Pools all the guides communicate well and avoid those situations.


Personally I've visited a number of dens and seen how easy the dogs can be disturbed (some dogs moved their den immediately after encountering lions about 1 km from the den) but I also know it can be done without disturbind the dogs and what a wonderful wildlife experience it always is!

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@@Sangeeta..guilty! I do not want to take over your trip report and considered starting a new one, but at your invitation I will write a few? words. I will leave the photos for you.


We spent one week at Pamushana at the end of August last year. It was the first time that we had had accommodations that were not canvas. The buildings are stone replicating Old Zimbabwe. Our wake up was a phone call. Dinner was not at a set time nor was the dining communal..only if you wished to sit with someone else. The vehicles have two rows. We had one day that was very hot and I went out to go into the plunge pool. Up to the knees only...it was much too cold. Another first were the dassies (rock hyrax) in camp.


The area is vast and the landscape varied...from the Chiredzi River to sandstone cliffs, rocky areas, mopane, forest of umbrella acacia, grass lands and from many huge baobabs to our desert opuntias.


On our first game drive we had three firsts..klipspringer, nyala and white rhino. Other firsts later were Lichtenstein Hartebeest, grysbok and African duiker. There are also sable, eland, kudu, blue wildebeest, bushbuck,waterbuck and impala. On two outings we saw black rhino but once it was too dark and the other time they were too far in the thickets to get photos. We had many, many white rhino sightings.


There is an incredible number of eagles of many varieties. Each morning there were two fish eagles in the trees below the lodge saying "good morning" to us.


We saw only one breeding herd of elephants and they were at the far end of the lake and seen only with the telescope on our deck. We used the scope often. The males are huge with lovely long tusks.


The only feline predators that we saw were lions. There are leopards and cheetah in the area but we had no luck finding them. One evening at sundowner time our friend walked across a grassy area to go to the loo under a large tree. After she returned her husband had the binoculars out and heading to the loo area was a large male lion. After that we had sundowners in the vehicle.


We spent one full morning watching a female hyena moving her two cubs to another den. She picked up one just like a mother cat. At one point she let it down and it ran back to the old den. She went back to get it an this time was successful. The other young one followed. When they finally got far enough away, she let go of the one that she was carrying and the three of them ran. We found the new den and there was another female there with her young cub. The youngsters, about three months old, were quite curious and cute.


Dogs! We had several sightings. Late one afternoon after trying to find them, first at an old den site, then a water hole, then another hole we spotted them coming toward us. There were 7 adults and 10 puppies. We stopped. The adults took off leaving the puppies, 3 to 4 months old, with us. We puppy sat and it was wonderful. They, too, were very curious..sniffing the tires and also playing. When several calls came, they took off running in that direction. We were unable to find them. Another morning we found them following buffalo. We would loose them and then find them again resting. We had to work hard to find the animals. Thanks goodness for the scouts as they alerted the guides when the dogs came back into the area.


We will return to Pamushana next year in early September. We will be joined again by the couple from Italy that we met four years ago in Mana Pools who were with us at Pamushana this trip. I can hardly wait to go back to Africa. And, also to read the rest of Sangeeta's meander.

Edited by marg
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An engrossing report - Thank you. I have only seen African wild dogs twice. Once in Linyanti, Botswana and once at Thanda Game reserve KwaZulu-Natal. Both sitings were rather brief. I was struck by their beauty and rather pungent scent ! Long may the species survive. Once again - Thanks.





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@@marg wow, I can't believe the dogs left you to "puppy-sit" - how lucky!

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Loving @@Sangeeta 's meandering; but thank you also @@marg for a "mini' report --which sounded amazing. We tried to get 2 n at Pamushana at the end of our upcoming Zim trip, but it seems with only four rooms they are constantly booked....oh well...saved a few bucks for the new boat is how I am looiking at it :D and if any ST'rs want to come bird watch on the Ches Bay, come on!


Will just enjoy everyone's reports on Zim, as I have been for the past 6 months.


Sangeeta, bring it on, I am on the last few weeks before leaving!! Yee-Hah! :)

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Thanks for the additional info. A truly special trip this was.

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Thanks so very much, @@marg, for sharing your trip here. I was really hoping you would pitch in with your thoughts. Not only does it add a whole other perspective and but also a whole other set of sightings, which can be so helpful in establishing the 'commonly' seen animals. We had no luck with the Lichtenstein's hartebeest and only one lone sighting of 3 sables.





Heading off into the mopane...


But we saw lots and lots of Cape buffalo - including several big herds of 200-300 animals at a time. Here are some of them crossing a track...




When I look back on Malilangwe and Pamushana now that some weeks have elapsed since our visit, two things really stand out for me - their rhino and their utterly gorgeous setting...




We were not as lucky with the dogs as Marg or even the other guests who were there at the same time as us. The Malilangwe pack had moved dens two days prior and no one had managed to locate their new den site yet, though Japhet suspected they were deep in the hilly areas of the reserve. We were not lucky with lion or cheetah cubs, though the other guests were. We did, however, see both cheetah and leopard, though neither sighting was amenable to photos.


The leopard sighting was funny. We were driving down the hill from the lodge one morning when Japhet said, 'Did you see the leopard?' No, we hadn't. So he reversed the car slowly and there to the right, just a few feet away from the road was a leopard crouching above an opening in the rock face, looking intently down into it. As soon as she heard our car, she scurried away - too quickly for a photo, alas. Japhet told us that it was a warthog burrow she had been stalking. The next morning, we came down that same path at pretty much the same time with our fingers crossed for a repeat sighting. Unfortunately there was no leopard waiting for us. We stopped nonetheless, hoping she would appear. A few minutes later, we saw something small and white next to the opening. The next minute, more of the white and very soon, this face was peering out at us.



Priceless :D The warthog shot out of the burrow like a cannonball. I wonder if he knew what a lucky warthog he had been yesterday because that leopard had known his burrow-exit timing to the last minute!


There is a coalition of two cheetah brothers in their prime at Malilangwe and we saw them hunting and stalking impala at the airstrip but by then it was getting dark and we felt that spotlighting either side would advantage the other, so we left them in peace. Like Marg, we also saw very nice eland herds (including nursing youngsters), wildes, zebra and all the usual suspects. Our first time too with the common duiker and the Sharpe's grysbok.







Tracking plains game on foot. Japhet was very pleased with the distance we achieved with these zebra and impala - we followed them for close to 10-15 minutes before they saw us.

The standout sightings for me at Malilangwe were rhino - both black and white. We tracked rhino on foot on several occasions, coming very close to this white rhino family....





...and wisely staying away from this black and her calf who were lurking in the thicket. She would have loved to horn us if we had dared to emerge from the car!







Many of us have read books about that old Africa when rhino were almost considered vermin. I remember reading about and being unable to comprehend that incident in The Africa House where Gore-Browne shot blindly into the bush and hit a rhino by sheer chance at the location where he eventually built Shiwa N'gandu in Zambia. With the rhino under siege, these kinds of stories have become even harder to imagine. Well, at Malilangwe, it feels a little bit like those old Africa days when the rhino were plentiful. We saw 22 different individuals in our 3 days there. Malilangwe is able to do this because of:




This electric fence...

Along with 24-hour rhino scouts, anti-poaching teams and a superb informant network built on the goodwill generated by the work they do and the livelihood they provide to the local community (which includes feeding 20,000 kids every day). There was a time when I was a purist about fences and barriers - no more. Now I am simply thankful for anything that will keep the poachers at bay.





Evening at a water hole


This male was very funny.



In a bid to impress the ladies nearby, he decided he need to the repel the invaders (us) and at first he kicked up all sorts of dust!


Then, he literally drew a line in the sand with his horn, separating his side of the territory from ours! Can you see that faint line in the foreground?






He then proceeded to sharpen his horn by rubbing it on the ground and strutting up and down along his self-proclaimed border.

Looking at us every now and then to make sure we knew our place!



After a few minutes of good and proper horn sharpening, he got cocky and decided to expand his country by spraying along his line... and nonchalantly crossing the border...




Whereupon, he tripped over a rock and lost his footing! This so unnerved him that he beat a hasty retreat to 'his' side of the line!


He then pretended that he never knew us at all :D

Bird life was tremendous, and agree with Marg that this is raptor heaven.





Singita Pamushana is located in the 100,000 hectare Malilangwe Game Reserve, the brainchild of Paul Tudor Jones, an American hedge fund billionaire whose idea it was to restore the ecological biodiversity of this part of the Lowveld. The Reserve itself is managed by the Malilangwe Trust - a non-profit org that is a major source of livelihood as well as a major source of aid for the local population. PTJ has been a real boon to conservation efforts in Africa - his other project is a huge tract of former hunting land adjacent to the Ikorongo GCA and the Serengeti NP that has, over the years, become a model for community-based wildlife conservation. Singita is the sole concessionaire on PTJ's Tanzanian Grumeti Reserves as well.


This is obviously a completely different conservation model compared to the SVC, but in many ways, both projects share the same ultimate goal. The lodge itself is spectacular. You enter the main area through a dark stone entryway and are met with the blinding blue of the infinity pool merging into the dam below and the bright Shangaan colors used in the decorations throughout.


I must confess that I am not a fan of lodges as a rule but this was breathtakingly beautiful. Food & wine were superb, served at different locations each evening, and culminated with a bush dinner under a lantern-lit baobab tree and a bush loo whose pathway was lit with lanterns as well!





The colors of Pamushana

These are not the reasons I went to Pamushana, but they made a nice change for me nonetheless as I'd never stayed at any place remotely like this before this in Africa. But for all the trappings and luxe, it must be reiterated that their wildlife is seriously good and their conservation work is admirable. With this quality of wildlife, the boat rides, the walking, the cave paintings etc, Malilangwe is a good stand-alone destination and with its excellent roads and infrastructure (AC, wifi, US phone number), it is also an all-year destination, though obviously much less wild and more predictable than Gonarezhou next door.


Though Malilangwe can be irreverent too...




A little jackal over-pooping rhino dung on his evening constitutional! :D

Edited by Sangeeta
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I like your photo displays. Tiles of Zimbabwe.


Rhino as vermin. Days long gone. Hopefully the vigilant guards and good community relations will provide a good environment at Pamushana.


This trip has a nice variety.

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Fascinating reading about a ace that is new to me. I really like your photos.

It is good to see so many rhino - and the behaviour of the male in particular.

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The sable are so beautiful - glad you got to see them - I loved seeing them in Botswana. I also love how you laid out the photos of the buffalo crossing. How wonderful to see so many rhino - very heartwarming. I agree that if the fencing is needed to protect them, that's the price of our modern reality and so be it. Funny story about the leopard. Pamushana looks amazing between your and @@marg 's reports - definitely have to get there some day! Looking forward to more.

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@@Sangeeta... interesting about the Cape Buffalo. Our only sighting was a small group the morning that the dogs were following them. And, we did not see any fences. I am figure out where they are.

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We ran across the fencing as we were following the buffalo, @@marg. It spanned the river too - which surprised me because I'm not sure how exactly electric fences work when submerged in water! We then crossed the river into the area on the south-west side of the reserve where there are some very nice mopane forests and apparently where Kim Wolhuter did a lot of his cheetah filming, but other than some eles, giraffe and kudu, we did not see much else there.

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I was looking forward to your report on Pamushana and not at all disappointed. The amt. of rhinos, just glorious!

Great Buffalo sightings, birds, and a cute, relieved warthog!


"Wow" on the look of Pamushana. I'd enjoy a couple nights just looking at all the textures, colors, and decor. And, of course they did produce for you.

Think I've missed my opportunity and I'm sure they continue to be solidly booked!


The fence was a surprise, but if it helps in any way- probably necessary and thought out by the team.

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@@Sangeeta....I have written a note and put it in the file for next year. I will find out about the fence. The morning that we watched the hyena move from one den to the other we were with Kim.

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When we were planning this trip, I tried to put Pamushana as our last stop, reasoning that it would be nice to do the whole spa and luxury bit after some days and nights at a simple bush camp with rustic facilities. But the dates did not pan out and Gonarezhou Bushcamps ended up as our last stop anyway. Looking back at this sequence, I am so thankful that it all worked out the way it did.


We came to Gonarezhou after having already spent quality time with wild dog puppies at SVC, as well as super sightings of lion, cheetah, leopard, sable, buffalo and esp rhino at Pamushana. So there was no pressure whatsoever to see or do anything very specific in Gonarezhou and we were happy to have the days unfold as they would... As it turned out, the Gonerezhou National Park, Ant's guiding, our collective lucky 'karma' and GBC's superb team delivered to such an extent that we would have been hard-pressed to top the experience anywhere else, but we could not have known that in advance.


I would recommend that most people tack on Pamushana at the beginning of their trip so that they are not disappointed by the absence of cat sightings in GNP and so that they can really enjoy what the park has to offer - remoteness, seclusion and wildlife 'encounters'. We heard lion calls almost every night and lots of tracks - but no sightings. We saw fresh leopard prints often but did not see any. Ant and Nina saw a cheetah fleetingly on a walk, but I did not. However, none of this mattered eventually.


We arrived into GBC at sunset and it did not take long for the cliffs to mesmerize...






I will not repeat all the excellent info and background that WildDog have provided about the park and Ant's camp set-up as a whole. Please do read their reports - along with their great stories, they have included the history of the park and its flora and fauna. I'd like to focus this report on the experiences and sightings we had. First of all, I was amazed by the sheer quantities of wildlife we saw in the park - especially as compared to the number of visitors that come here. I really can't think of many places (other than really out of the way parks like Zakouma) that are so easily accessible (by car) and so sparsely visited. Big herds of impala, big herds of kudu, buffalo, good numbers of wildebeest, nyala, warthog, and of course, huge numbers of elephants wherever the eye can see. This was such a change from what I had read that I was genuinely astonished by the scale of the revival that the park has clearly undergone over the past 3-4 years.


The dry Runde river with its thin channels of water in the dry season attracts wildlife throughout the day and every single day we saw large groups of eles - both bulls and breeding herds, come down to the river to drink, bathe and play. They are a constant background presence here and such a beautiful addition to an already beautiful scene of the striated sandstone cliffs and the massive sand river bed below.




We were supposed to head out at 6:30 am the next morning, but just as we were getting dressed we heard Ant shout "Wild dogs on a kill, wild dogs on a kill..." Of course, we dropped everything and rushed half-dressed towards the mess tent. After clambering over some branches, we looked at where Ant was pointing and sure enough, far in the distance, some specks on the river bed. The bins revealed the tell-tale round ears rapidly consuming a kill a few hundred yards away from us.




Do you see the specks?


Ant thought that they had crossed over from the far bank of the river towards our bank and he suggested that we should jump into the vehicle and see where the dogs would head next. We had counted 14 adults and so it was likely that they would need to hunt some more.




It was a cold and shivery morning and we were without our jackets or fleeces but everyone jumped into the car and off we raced, radio calls flying between us and the camp staff in case the dogs came into camp. We stopped now and then to listen for their calls. Scott, (Ant's Sancho Panza and an all-over excellent sport and expert guide-in-the-making) had a hunch that the dogs were in the thickets to the left, so we parked the car and set off on foot.

There were dog tracks whichever way we looked, impala scattering in panic here and there and even this...




Finally, Ant picked one set of tracks and we set off stealthily towards the river, getting closer and closer to the embankment until Ant motioned silently for us to stop and listen. We could clearly hear crunching noises coming up towards us from the bottom of the embankment. As quietly as we could, we tiptoed one after the other down a steep hippo trail and peered over - and yesss, there though the leaves, we could see 3 dogs. They were not more than 6-10 feet directly below us, eating the last of their second or third kill - they had made this kill in the time that had elapsed since we saw them in the river bed. After some minutes of crunching and munching (still not having heard or spotted us), they walked over and lapped up some water, and then three sets of limbs went splash, splash, splash through the water and just like that they were gone. They had left behind an impala carcass still warm to the touch and steaming in the cold morning air.







Sadly not many photos of this encounter as it happened. But I am writing this as I lived it in the hope that when I read it later, I can still capture that sense of delight we experienced. What a first morning and not even 9 am yet! I had unpacked my carved dogs the evening before to show to them to Ant and Scott and we had decided to leave them on the dining table as our lucky mascots. They certainly proved to be that :)



Although Gonarezhou has a very good dog population, they usually den in inaccessible areas and while we were hoping to strike it lucky, we also knew that without any telemetry equipment and without Rosemary telling us of their whereabouts, chances of encountering them here were slim. So this was a real piece of luck and we came back to camp thrilled and satisfied by what we had already seen. But the day was not over yet...




After grabbing a cup of coffee, Ant suggested that we have breakfast at one of the inland pans by 10:30 or so in the hope of catching up with the eles who often visit these pans in the late morning at this time of the year rather than go all the way down to the river for a drink. The pan itself is located off the main track - one of the last sizeable inland pans that still had some water. We saw many cracked and crusty dry pans en route and I am curious to know  this pan with or without water by the time he got there.









The pan was empty when we first got there but within minutes the first elephants had arrived. I have not been to Hwange or Kanga Pan in Mana or even Etosha so I am not sure if this is the usual sort of 'waterhole' based game viewing that occurs elsewhere, but it was a spectacular morning. We saw a parade of bull eles, both young and old, coming down to pan in ones and twos. The older guys seemed to accept our presence quite easily and this settled the younger ones who were a little edgier. I cannot begin to describe how much fun this was. The shrub mopane surrounding the pan (and elsewhere in the park) looks like an enormous vineyard, and everytime we looked, there was yet another ele kicking up dust and walking down one of the vineyard rows from the left, from the right and even from behind us!






The steady stream of wildlife was not restricted to eles alone. We saw warthogs make an appearance. And kudu. A zebra family. As well as two magnificent nyala bulls.




All manner of birds, including a fish eagle that was skillful enough to catch its catfish from the rapidly dwindling pool of water below. The elephants were bullies, though, and all the other animals came, waited and then left because they did not dare approach the pan while the eles were there. After the adrenalin-filled dog encounter, this felt like such a restful and serene rest-of-the-morning where we seemingly had the pan, the park and this incredible wildlife parade all to ourselves.







That evening, Ant invited us to come along on what he billed as nice, restful walk in the bush. Within minutes, Nina and he saw a cheetah, for goodness sakes! Making its way into the thicker brush :oThe alluvial floodplains of the Runde river reminded me a bit of Mana - here also the same sausage trees, leadwood, giant figs and cathedral mopane that you see along the Zambezi - but many, many more baobabs than in the north.








What a first day at Gonarezhou National Park, and what a view to close out the day...




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I can totally feel the excitement of that wild dog encounter through your description - great stuff

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You saved the warthog! but then poor leopard went hungry, or perhaps he got a meal somewhere else.


the wooden doggies were lucky charms - wonderful sighting of the wild dogs. seems Gonarezhou delivered in spates.


the rhino made me laugh. :) lightened my tired soul from this week's work.

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I feel as joyful as the ellies as they gleefully run to the pan, bask in a mudbath and drinking the water with a final cooling off. Great vids!


And to start off with the dogs in front of the tents-amazing!


I'm sure there is more excitement to come; can't wait!

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Loving this journey with you Sangeeta, you bring these areas to life for me.

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Terrific videos of the eles and zebra coming in to join - love watching them enjoy themselves and wallow. And beautiful sunset photo. Your report really makes me want to be there!

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Thank you, @@marg, @@Kitsafari, @@graceland,  @@twaffle and Safarichick for your lovely comments and thank you to everyone else too for coming along with me :) You guys are so supportive! - welcome back and I can't wait to read your take on it.

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Your average old morning in Gonarezhou...

Another morning, Another Day Gone to the Dogs!

The next morning was also supposed to be a 6:30 departure, but once more, closer to 6am we heard Ant shout 'Wild dogs in camp...wild dogs in campl!' Once again, Nina and & I rushed haphazardly to the mess tent and sure enough, the doggies were out and about in full force again...





As we headed off in the vehicle, it was mayhem and confusion everywhere. We could see a tail here, a muzzle there, impala whizzing past and radio comms from camp that there were dogs near the mess tent - no, no, they were near the kitchen tent now - no, no, they are heading towards the road now - we stopped on the road to take stock of the situation and then this little cameo moment happened that I shall always remember. An impala bounding frantically across the road not more than 10 feet in front of the vehicle, followed in hot pursuit by a dog who also bounded equally dramatically across. But something clicked in his head telling him that he had spectators and in mid-leap he turned his head to look straight at us, and sailed across the road in slow motion, almost landing in a bush and certainly losing the impala in the bargain :D




We were barely a few hundred feet from camp, so we parked off the side and got out again. This time, Ant making dog calls and the dogs responding to him with their own calls. A growl here, a rustle there - the place was thick with dogs! It is an amazing feeling to be in amongst the dogs on foot as they rush around and sow panic in their prey.



We then got a radio call from Scott (who had stayed behind with Niki) that some of the dogs had made a kill right next to the kitchen tent, but that they were backing away because as they looked uncomfortable with so much human presence. We decided to head to camp via the river bed to see if we could intercept any dogs as they moved back across the river. On our way back, we saw an impala ewe crouched low and still in the sand, next to a shallow channel of water. Only her slightly twitching ears showing that she was alive. 'She's a lucky one,' said Ant. If they stay stock-still like this with no silhouette showing, then apparently they are often able to avoid detection by the dogs.

By the time we reached camp, the dogs had abandoned their kitchen tent kill and moved on. The almost intact impala had been chased into a thicket with no escape. The carcass had barely been touched (not disemboweled much, so why was it dead?). I was astonished to see how easily the dogs had abandoned it but it's something they apparently do - better to lose a kill than a pack member if they don't feel safe in their surroundings.

Ant then decided that this was too good a meal to leave lying around for the local hyenas (and too close to the kitchen tent anyway), so into the thicket went poor Scott and returned dragging the dead impala out. The plan was to hang it on some tree a little further away from the camp and hope that it would attract a leopard or two. 

No sooner than everyone had retired to the mess tent to discuss the morning's excitement, but what do we see next? Another three dogs trotting along the river bed??! Oh no, the poor impala was still there too! But the threesome were on the other side of the thin channel and trotted right past the impala. Whew! The impala evasion technique had just been demonstrated in front of our eyes. These dogs have perfected the art of flushing their prey from the floodplains to the sandy river where they have a tremendous advantage during the chase so it's best for the prey to stay still and hope for the best.

We now had our bins pinned on the impala - what would/could she do next? As we were discussing her options, the silhouettes of yet another three dogs came over the horizon... and worse, these guys were on her side of the channel! Ant and Scott predicted that this was going to be it. I was silently urging her to stay put and perhaps a miracle would happen again, but the dogs were headed directly at her though not aware of her presence yet. Her nerves finally shattered. She jumped up, panicked, and ran blindly across the channel of water. But she must have taken no more than 3-4 steps in the sand when the first dog was upon her. The other two were there an instant later and it was all over. I couldn't watch anymore after the other 2 dogs caught up and only looked again after Ant & Scott said it was safe to look. They timed the hunt - from first contact to impala down to impala eaten.

Some photos of the aftermath












It's hard to remain dispassionate when you see a whole story evolve like this. I know that even Ant & Scott felt for that poor thing though they rightly reminded me that the kill fed not only the dogs, but a large number of vultures, some jackals and at least 2 crocs. When I looked at the scene again, one of the dogs was jumping up and down, trying to look over the rise to see if any croc from the deeper pools on the far side was headed this way. It was really funny to see him do his pogo stick act, but these dogs are very wary of crocs and very careful about where they cross the river. Efficient hunters and eaters that they are, they were done within a few minutes and headed on their way, almost as if nothing had happened at all. In fact, if we had come upon this scene even 5 minutes later, except for the tell tale vultures, it would have been hard to say that so much had happened here just a few minutes ago.

Whew! This was altogether too much excitement for Niki and Nina who decided they were going to remain in camp for the remainder the day with Scott and follow the big croc-small croc saga that was even now unfolding before our eyes. But Ant and I decided to head out back towards the ele pan and check out the action there. As we were driving along, radio comms from camp about lion calls in the vicinity! Really? Lion as well?? We turned off the engine and tracked the call, but eventually the lion went completely silent on us, so we continued on towards the pan.

Saying Hello to two Giants and the Great Lungfish Expedition

I've already used up my quota of words for the day, so I will let these videos do the talking... Suffice it to say that the next hour ranks up there with my best safari moments to date.




The quiet pan, a gentle breeze rustling, the huge old bull contentedly scratching himself against the tree, Ant speaking gently to him and the eles soft rumbles rippling through my chest as I stood on the seat and soaked in the memories as they were being made :) Please excuse the shaky videos and crazy zooms. I have now been very sternly informed by my daughter that next time she'll take a tripod and disable my zoom mechanism altogether! But I am sort of hooked to the whole video thing now.

Ant was hoping against hope that he would see a lungfish in the drying pan today. He had wanted to check out the pan yesterday for lungfish but there were too many eles around. Today it was mostly quiet and so off he went bravely into the murky pool, determined to catch a lungfish ot two! True confessions: I videoed this expedition thinking what a funny story this could become if he slipped just once :P But after much panning and grabbing hold of catfish instead of lungfish, the intrepid explorer decided he needed to come back with Scott and a net in tow! Which he did, but no luck later either.





Thank you, Nina, for taking the time to put this together for me.

We then packed up but en route back, Ant saw the biggest old bull he knows in the park. Scott had told me about their fantastic encounter with this same ele so we were both excited to see him happily browsing on the trees. He had not been seen for a month so Ant thought we should go up to him and say hello... He is the one with the big tusks on the last section of the ele video clips above.





We walked with him and alongside him for a while. I love the way that Ant approaches these animals - he let the old bull know we were there and then positioned us behind a log where we waited. It was now the bull's choice to either approach us or walk away from us - we would not importune him in any way. It was our great privilege (and another abiding memory) that he came straight towards us and was so comfortable that he did not even break his stride - gently walking along a few feet from us to the next grove of trees where we left him to his own devices.

Where have the 'belligerent' Gonarezhou elephants gone, I wonder? Time and again, we interacted with eles, each time letting them chose the terms of the interaction. And time and again, they chose to stay with us. We did happen across a self-driver one morning who was speeding down the track. When we stopped, he told us that they had been chased by a 'belligerent' bull not far away so we should be careful. But when we got there, all we found was an agitated youngster who had probably been scared out of his mind when a car had almost hurtled into him. Ant spoke gently to that youngster too and he calmed down immediately. With the horrible history this park has had with poaching and culling and hunting, I was amazed at the relationships he has built with some of the older bulls who surely have a memory of the bad days. But animals are more forgiving than humans, I think. Even with their wildness and their history, they recognize Ant's voice and smell as belonging to a safe person. I honestly think we have us another Elephant Whisperer in the making...


Another beautiful evening...


Followed by another beautiful sunset - GNP - Day 2.

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I am loving these videos; I guess I have to learn this technique SOON..@@Sangeeta --what an amazing day for you and Ant in the park. So much action with the dogs and the wonderful ellie.


I as well could not have watched, without tears and regret--the impala scenario. I am still not used to many kills.....I usually cover my eyes til its over. This park. GNP, you are in is amazing; no wonder you love it; so wild! Kind of wish I had added it myself.... Maybe another time. With Pamushana of course.




What kind of camera did you use for vids....I think that will be what I want to do with my new Canon 50 p*s camera; a present; have no idea what to do, another "Oh dear, what to do.. :blink:


At least I can laugh at myself, and enjoy what you are bringing to ST.....so enjoyable!


Moving stuff tomorrow and sorry to be out of touch for a while, I am so enjoying your trip! :D

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