Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Kitsafari

With so many new trip reports coming up, and some excellent ones to be glued to (SD and GW, Soukous, Pault and the ongoing Zim ones), I’m just wondering if I should do my TR now. Especially since I’m entering the busiest time of my work calendar which means I won’t have time to update the report promptly. But if I don't, given my propensity for procrastinating and for forgetting details, my report may not even get a kickstart!

 

So just a brief introduction to SLNP. Safaridude had an excellent intro to Zambia (which is at http://safaritalk.net/topic/11635-a-safari-all-over-zambia-september-2013/). I can’t hope to follow his brilliant account, so in my usual style, I shall just ramble on and share my thoughts as I go along.

 

The first time I had heard of SLNP was SD’s trip report. Later, I read about the North Luangwa park when I researched the Owenses’ adventures, or should I say misadventures, in the park, and once more in Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the dogs tonight, and finally reading and crying about it in Fransje van Riel’s My Life with Leopards. The last book was most appropriate; it is a leopard show in SLNP; in fact it was a Big Cat show through the trip.

 

We were drawn by the remoteness of the place which sounded historical and romantic at the same time, and by the desire to see leopards.

 

P1040870.JPG

 

Dry expansive Luangwa river

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

We were drawn by the remoteness of the place which sounded historical and romantic at the same time, and by the desire to see leopards.

 

SLNP sits in eastern Zambia and wraps around the Luangwa River, a permanent river fed by mountains to the north and joins the mighty Zembezi River at the Zambia/Zimbabwe border. The park is more than 9,000 sq km. For me, the park breaks into a section south of Mfuwe and a section north of Mfuwe. Mfuwe area is served with a tarred road that was being upgraded when we were there.

 

Taking a glance at the map will show several lodges around Mfuwe area, while the southern section thins out to a few Bushcamps. The pattern is repeated in the northern section, and that was where we went. Our itinerary was:

 

Sept 17-28

3 nights: Kaingo Camp (Shenton Safaris)

2 nights: Tafika (Remote Africa)

2 nights: Mchenja (Norman Carr Safaris)

3 nights: Mwamba bush camp (Shenton safaris)

1 night: Radisson Blu, Lusaka

 

Both Kaingo and Mchenja camps are located on the west banks of the Luangwa River. Tafika is sited in a GMA just outside the Nsefu National Park and is on the east bank of the Luangwa River. Mwamba is sited further inland on the west side of Luangwa River, next to the Mwamba River, which is totally dry during the dry season.

 

All the camps are seasonal camps. They open only for a few months, and close from November to May as the torrential rains dramatically increase the volume of water in the Luangwa River, and floods all the banks around the area. There is a green or emerald season in SLNP when boating and walking safaris are offered by Norman Carr and Robin Pope Safaris to see the fantastic migratory birdlife. Game drives will be limited to the Mfuwe area.

 

The four camps that I visited pack up in early November and staff trickles back in early May to re-build the chalets and main tents.

 

P1040731.JPG

 

Our first sunrise at Kaingo camp

 

P1040832.JPG

 

Giraffe framed by the mopane tree ( i think). this scene was repeated many times during the trip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

I am glad you will manage to fit this in around work -I look forward to reading it and enjoying your photos.

We were there last September (Robin Pope Camps) so I am sure you will bring back lots of memories!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
twaffle

That first sunrise is spectacular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

That first sunrise is spectacular.

 

that's a huge compliment coming from you. you can't see it, but i'm beaming right now. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@Kitsafari

I am glad you will manage to fit this in around work -I look forward to reading it and enjoying your photos.

We were there last September (Robin Pope Camps) so I am sure you will bring back lots of memories!

 

Thanks @@TonyQ. after returning nearly two weeks from the trip, I keep longing to be back in the thick of the safari again. writing is a little emotionally cathartic - it brings me down the memory lane and helps purge this weariness in coming back to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ld1

@@Kitsafari Really looking forward to this, we were about to go to Zambia when Mana called. SLNP and NLNP remain on the list!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marks

Having developed a recent interested in SLNP, I'm looking forward to this one.

I will savor your updates however quickly or slowly they come. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@Kitsafari Really looking forward to this, we were about to go to Zambia when Mana called. SLNP and NLNP remain on the list!

 

@Id1, coincidentally, i was keen on Mana and my husband was keen on SLNP. so I went with him. I haven't been to Mana yet, but if you go to SLNP during the dry season, you will find SLNP delivers in a lot of ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

We fly into Johannesburg to catch an SAA 2-hour flight to Lusaka, then onward for an hour flight to Mfuwe. We decide to take our bags out at Johannesburg, and re-check in for the Lusaka stretch. We arrive into Johannesburg at 6am, and thanks to a complimentary meet and greet service, we cleared immigration and got checked-in again pretty quickly.

 

The immigration queues are not that long when we arrive in J’burg at 6am+, and a quite a number of opened counters clear the lines fast. H gives me a big scare as we are about to re-enter immigration check for the Lusaka flight. His shoelaces come undone and he falls with a huge thud. Fortunately, it is more noise than serious injury, and after a couple of days of aches, he recovers to enjoy the rest of the trip.

 

A lot of travellers do a combination of Lower Zembezi or Kafue with SLNP. We concentrate our trip solely on the northern SLNP, which means we do cover similar areas at different camps but I’m glad we’ve done just the northern part. Traversing through familiar grounds brought different sceneries. There are few camps on the northern side, and far fewer vehicles per sighting. you see a lot more vehicles close to Mfuwe area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

The Proflight plane, the largest domestic plane I’ve been on a safari (okay I’ve only been on 3 -_- ), is a rather professional looking airline with a smartly dressed lady offering drinks and crisps. As it takes off from Lusaka, we fly through and over a thick layer of yellow fog. The layer stretches to the horizon and there is no letup. It’s the sand, dust and soot arising from the dry dry land and from all the bushfires that are made to clear the land for farming.



We land in Mfuwe at 5.30pm. Malcolm from Shenton picks us up in a hybrid vehicle that is covered at the front and opens like a safari vehicle at the back. We sit in the row behind Malcolm in the covered section and although we are supposed to switch to the open back rows when we enter the park, it doesn’t happen. Which is a mistake always, since you never know what can happen. Night drives are allowed in SLNP and we take about 2.5 hours to drive to Kaingo camp.



Arriving in the dark is no fun. I can’t gaze out on the beautiful landscape of Africa and breathe in the clear crisp air. In fact, I don’t breathe in clear crisp air in SLNP because it is so dry that any wind will whip up the sand on the ground. I must have consumed copious amounts of dust and sand through my nose and mouth. But who cares? I’m in Africa at last!


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

P1050173.JPG


how i miss those gorgeous sunset and sunrise of Africa


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

We enter the SLNP park and immediately I see several lights in the distance. At first, I was puzzled why homes are allowed in the park but quickly realize that it is spotlights from safari vehicles illuminating the park on their night drives. There are many, one succeeding another quickly. Half an hour into the park and bang, we come to a pile of cars.

 

We stop next to parked vehicle hogging the road. On its left is another vehicle and on his right is us and another vehicle. Behind us are a handful more and right across us is a similar row of cars. In the centrestage is a buffalo, with blood on his back. The animal is surrounded not only by vehicles, but by the Mfuwe pride. It is a large pride, currently estimated around 31 including cubs. It often splinters into groups as the combined group is too big. We cant see the entire pride.

 

lion-buffalo%2Bmfuwe.jpg

 

my camera or rather the user doesn't do good night pictures. so pse excuse me.... you can make out the buffalo on the right and 2 lions (subadult males) on the left

Edited by Kitsafari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

Is it going to be a heart thumping welcome? The lions don’t look hungry and are lying down, in no hurry to do a kill to entertain the humans. The buffalo runs a couple of metres into the park but the lions cut off his escape. Enraged and frustrated, the buffalo returns to the road and looks like he will ram into a vehicle but he stops short of the parked vehicles on the road.

 

The vehicles have blocked his limited escape roads and have given the lions an unfair advantage. The buffalo grunts at the vehicles, and we tell Malcolm to move on. We don’t want to aid the lions.

 

I hope the vehicles have to return to their camps to give the buffalo some space, but since it is only 6+, it is a hope in vain. I don't know if the lions ever brought the buffalo down. I can only hope that we didn't contribute to it if it did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

In the dark, we get a glimpse of a civet and an updated lesson on why civet is no more a civet cat but is now part of the mongoose family. we still refer to them as civet cats in Southeast Asia and they are quite famous for the civet cat coffee that cost a fortune, but may not be that appetising if you know how they are processed. Same with the genet, an Old World mammal which is related more to mongoose but I still think the genet looks more like a cat. But what do I know?

 

The civets and genets and porcupines have a great time eluding us throughout the trip. No decent photos of them and our cameras are horrifyingly useless taking night pictures. Still we persevere.

 

genetmfuwe.jpg

 

Looking like a super civet cat, i mean civet.

Edited by Kitsafari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
graceland

@@Kitsafari

 

I'm happy you have started your trip report. Everyone has told me to put SLNP on my list.

 

I also hate arriving in the dark; I feel very disoriented when doing so.

 

Love the sunsets; and looking forward to more :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@graceland, you must go. of the 3 places I've been, i think SLNP is where I most want to come back to when I've done all the others on my list! SLNP may not as dreamy or ethereal like Mana, but the game density is fabulous. there is always something happening, and if you miss an incident in one place, there is another event waiting for you around the corner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

ONe thing I forgot to mention about Proflight that will please all the photographers.

 

Proflight increased checked-in baggage allowance on the Lusaks-Mfuwe stretch earlier this year to 23 kg, a 8kg more than the paltry 15kg in other domestic flights. but that's because of the Jetstream 4100 planes they are using that can seat 29 persons. But in any case, when we are there, we do laundry frequently and the clothes are always dried, ironed and folded by the end of the day. I use only at most 4 T-shirts and long sleeve blouses and 2 pairs of trousers throughout the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

Kaingo – Eat and Enjoy

 

The most active camp

 

We arrive in Kaingo camp in time for dinner. Seems there has been a sudden change in management. Izzy the market manager and sometime camp manager had left. Chirpy and friendly Liza has been brought in for 5 weeks for the transition and on our last night, Charlie and Matt, who were managing the Mwamba camp, shifted to the Kaingo camp. Charlie’s touch is undeniable – Candles are added to the dinner on the last night.

 

Skye has come in as a new chef with a new charge to provide fancy food. But the presentation of food is fabulous and the quality is good. Shenton believes in feeding you. You wake up at 5am to the sounds of drum. A light breakfast at 5.30am by the river where you grab a muffin or a piece of cake, and then out at 6am. You return at 10.30am to a cooked breakfast (toast, muesli, fruits, yoghurt, and cooked eggs the way you want), bacon or sometimes pancakes. Then lunch at your private deck overlooking the river at 1.30pm followed by afternoon tea at 3.30pm and a 3-course dinner at 8.30pm. As I said, we are fed very well!

 

I may as well get the camp photos out of the way here. There are 6 chalets set back a little from the banks, but each has a private deck that overhangs the river and it is where you are served your lunch and enjoy the views at the same time. There's plenty of birdlife to see and we see one crocodile doing a half-hearted swipe at two Egyptian geese which gives it a real yelling after they get over the panic. Each chalet is made of stone and has a thatched roof. each season before the camp opens, each deck is rebuilt from scratch after the last one is damaged by the annual floods. In September and OCtober, expect the chalet to get real hot at night. they provide a cloth for you to wet and wrap around you to cool you down. I'm from a tropical country that has temperatures over 30 degrees, but there are a couple of nights that even I found very warm.

 

The location is delightful, overlooking the Luangwa River and almost opposite Nsefu camp. Elephants walk through the camp and the first night we have the company of a very calm bull sniffing and eat the trees around the dining hall. seems they came through every night we are there. the ververt monkeys and bushbuck are literaally at your doorstep and are less timid than I expect.They produce hot water with a hot burner, using mopane branches as fuel. one burner behind our chalet kicks off my sinus problems in the nights, which is a slight discomfort but one that I can live with.

 

here are a few pictures:

 

your own game viewing from the door

 

P1040916.JPG

 

Private decks overlooking the river

 

P1040945.JPG

 

the ensuite bathroom

 

P1040927.JPG

 

 

a lovely bedroom with a skylight where you can gaze at the moon and stars.

 

P1040926.JPG

 

 

the afternoon tea lounge

 

P1040939.JPG

 

charming Kaingo chalet

 

P1040929.JPG

Edited by Kitsafari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SafariChick

Ah, excited to see your trip report beginning! Like @@twaffle, I too love that first sunrise. That sounds like an awful lot of food at Kaingo! It's been so long since I've been on safari (1 year and 9 months but who's counting?) that I can't remember if that is typical to eat the big cooked breakfast at 10:30 then lunch at 1:30 and then tea!

 

That lion/buffalo encounter you saw when first arriving bothered me - isn't it a basic tenet that the guides should not allow their vehicles to block the escape route of an animal and not do anything that could interfere with the animals? But it doesn't sound like your vehicle was involved in the issue since you didn't stay long.

 

Nice sighting of the civet! Looking forward to more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

@@SafariChick thanks! it was a lot of food, but greedy me ate up all of it at Kaingo. the excitement of being on safari makes one very hungry. LOL.

 

i recall Patrick saying there is a limit on then number of vehicles at each sighting, but that didn't seem to apply on that first night. i think the car directly blocking the buffalo reversed about 20m but it was still on the road and in the way of the buffalo.

 

good guides will clear off, but there are always bad guides who try to please their guests who don't know any better.

Edited by Kitsafari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ZaminOz

Been looking forward to this one @@Kitsafari

My wife is also Singaporean and her first experience of Africa was Kaingo and Mwamba. She fell in love with the African bush instantly - which was a great relief for me as I was a wee bit worried about how a Singapore city girl was going to handle the rustic charm of Mwamba! So looking forward to your impressions of these camps, and South Luanwa in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ZaminOz

PS did you end up getting Patrick as your guide?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

Great start, Kit! South Luangwa is definitely on my "Must go to" list for the future, so I'm very interested in your report. camp looks great, and if the park has enthralled you even more than the. Serengeti and Bots it must have been stellar. So very much looking forward to this. I'm counting on tons of leopard sightings, right?

 

the cathartic effect of writing trip reports .... Really understand that, I feel the same way about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

PS did you end up getting Patrick as your guide?

 

YES @@ZaminOz! he's so knowledgeable and such a sweet sweet guy,

 

So very glad about.your wife it must have been your influence to get a Singaporean woman ready to embrace Africa safaris, because, trust me, I've been trying to convince my city women friends that there is absolutely no hardship on safaris. But then 9 out of 10 are only interested in shopping and luxury hotels or sightseeing buildings. :( when i tell them you can see animals wild and free, they say they can see them just as well in zoos. sigh. i don't quite know how to counter argue that.

Edited by Kitsafari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is quite old. Unless updating a photographic thread with new images, please consider starting a new discussion. Thank you.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • 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