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Kitsafari

I'm counting on tons of leopard sightings, right?

 

 

 

@@michael-ibk - oh yes. if you count swishing tails as well. :blink:

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Treepol

@@Kitsafari civet, genet and porcupine have mostly eluded me too.

 

Those private decks look so inviting, how wonderful to have time to spend overlooking the river from such a delightful outlook.

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Kitsafari

@@Treepol we looked forward to lunch every day. not only is the food good, they provide a cooler with all the drinks you want or need, and there are two very comfortable chairs with footrests,and we have lunch with a view to die for, just watching the animals that come to the waters.

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Kitsafari

I'm going to put a quick instalment in before the week begins and we are off to Bali hopefully to see some birdlife.

 

To our glee, it’s Patrick who is guiding us, although I’m not so sure if Patrick has the pleasure of guiding us. Patrick has more than 22 years in the industry. He knows the area like the back of his hand. He was there when Derek Shenton started up the Kaingo camp, rising from the ranks to become one of the top and much-sought after guides. He’s a lovely man, speaks very well, knows exactly where to find the cats, and we love hearing his stories and lessons spoken in almost clipped British accent when he guides the English tourists.
The schedule at Shenton (both at Kaingo and Mwamba) is full of activities - early morning drives or walking safaris 6am-10am. A visit to a hide at 12pm and then evening game drives from 4pm to 8pm. Shenton has four hides – a hippo hide which is best seen at evening because of the lighting effects; a mobile hide, which moves from waterhole to waterhole; a southern carmine bee-eater hide and the Mwamba hide. The bee-eater hide has to be visited in the dawn. That’s when the birds are at their peak. You can visit hides any time during the day as well. It is one of the key reasons why we choose Shenton and most of the hides live up to our expectations and more!
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the floating carmine bee-eater hide. The floating hide moves each year to where the bee-eaters nest. you are rowed to the hide. that's Meyam going to the hide to fetch Patrick
We discover that we are newbies among the guests. Maryanne is a real veteran at safaris, her husband (Derek’s father) used to be a game warden at the Kafue National Park. Sadly I don’t have enough time to chat with her on Kafue. Another couple from Australia has been on safaris countless of times since 1965 when they bundled their young kids into a small car and travel around Africa.
A UK couple is also old hands at safaris and has been all over Africa. Our vehicle mates, also from the UK, are on their 8th or 9th safari. Unfortunately, we don’t have the right chemistry with our vehicle mates maybe because I blab too much and show my ignorance. The lady is always right and very strident in her “rightness”. Thankfully our last drive to Tafika is on our own which we thoroughly enjoy. But it is a joy to chat with the other guests and listen to where they've been and their thoughts on the various places.
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Coffee break in the morning. The vehicles are all open, great for all round viewing but make sure you lather yourself with sun tan lotion and wear your hat

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Kitsafari
(are the fonts too small? they look rather small to me?)


First day out, and the sun is shining. But a shadow falls as we drive out to see an ageing lioness all on her own. She looks exhausted, weak and lonely. SHe's in her last legs, too thin and tired to get her own food, and the pukus that are about 100m from her know it. They are on alert, but they stoop to graze, knowing that they can outrun her.


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giraffe and elderly lioness. we saw her twice in a day, but she was gone the next day and we never saw her again



Patrick says she's not a good-looking old cat. I look upon her and see me in her shoes in a few years time. will that be said of me when I reach her stage? I feel for her. When prey animals become old and weak or ill and weak, the predators make quick work of them and their deaths are sad but fast. What about the top predators like the lions? all the lioness can do is wait for death to slowly take her. it's a lingering slow painful lonely death.


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waiting....



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but she still has that lion's proud glint in her eye.




That sad thought is soon erased by youth. AS we drive on in the golden dawn, a very young puku dances in joy amid her mother and family. She is celebrating the dawn of another day, surviving the dark shadows of the night. It brings balance back to our hearts.


Life and death. ebb and flow. it's a theme that looms large during our trip.



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and a video of the prancing young puku




Oops that didn't work. I can't recall how to put in a video from youtube - can anyone guide me pse? oh it seems to have worked...i think.

Edited by Kitsafari

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Marks

Your lodgings look great, and the idea of a floating hide is pretty cool. However, I LOVE that puku video.

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michael-ibk

+1. A happy baby puku, really a lovely sighting, and what a contrast to the fading lioness.

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Thursday's Child

Lovely video of the young puku - all that energy & exuberance!

 

.

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Kitsafari

@@Marks Thanks Mark.

 

arggh i have just realised on playing back that the audio is on full blast. so sorry that you have to hear all that. i'll have to learn to edit to remove the audio from the video next.

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Kitsafari

Lovely video of the young puku - all that energy & exuberance!

 

.

@@Thursday's Child. Exuberance is the perfect word for it!

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twaffle

Lovely video, how enchanting.

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africawild

Enjoying very much your report , Kaingo is one of my favorite places ever and Patrick one of the best , if not the best , guide we have ever had . I still remember how he could mimic all the animals, amazing and fun!!

 

Paco

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Sangeeta

Coming a bit late to this, Kit, but what a wonderful start and glad I will get caught up before you get back from Bali!

Your itinerary looks very close to one that I had planned for myself but never managed, so I am very eager to see how it all panned out for you.

 

The light in all your photographs so far is simply lovely. That giraffe photo right at the beginning is very like Mana in its cathedral mopane background - and if there had been giraffe in Mana, that is exactly how they would look! I found the same feel in many of Paco's images too. I love the long scenic shots too.

 

The buffalo story is disturbing. The ageing lioness was hard to see as well, but the baby puku was a lovely counterpoint to all the sadness. I hope you have a bunch of other vids to share - that baby is adorable. I have recently developed a great fondness for Africa's great seasonal sand rivers and the Luangwa, its high banks and floodplains look stunning. Would love to see more river pics too if you can rustle up some more. Look foward to the next installment when you're back - do hurry :)

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Treepol

@@Kitsafari great thoughts and rationalisation on the end of the old lioness's days.

 

I will do well to remember your wise words.

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Safaridude

Patrick is wonderful. Sorry to hear Izzy is leaving (?)

 

A great start. Your itinerary is interesting… so concentrated as to discover every square inch of that part of Luangwa.

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SafariChick

I just love the baby puku also - so adorable! Looking forward to more!

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Atravelynn

Those private decks look so inviting, how wonderful to have time to spend overlooking the river from such a delightful outlook.

My thoughts exactly.

 

The baby puku stills and especially the video are really adorable.

 

Let's hope the old lioness had a full life with her pride. Unlike the lioness, our older years can be enhanced with orthotics, eyeglasses, hip replacements, etc. So I don't think you'll ever feel like she looks.

 

Great hide info: "Shenton has four hides – a hippo hide which is best seen at evening because of the lighting effects; a mobile hide, which moves from waterhole to waterhole; a southern carmine bee-eater hide and the Mwamba hide. The bee-eater hide has to be visited in the dawn. That’s when the birds are at their peak. You can visit hides any time during the day as well. It is one of the key reasons why we choose Shenton and most of the hides live up to our expectations and more!"

 

It's great you've found a place you are so enchanted with. I love the ebb and flow theme, so appropriate.

 

Wonderful looking itinerary!

Edited by Atravelynn

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TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

The baby Puku is such a contrast to the old lion - you do so well putting them together. Very thought provoking

(You may see from my picture that I really liked Puku when we visited SLNP last year!)

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Kitsafari

sorry for the absence. here's the next instalment although a few of the excellent reports are keeping me away from this thread as well! LOL

 

 

Kaingo:
Day 2
Game density is very high in SLNP at this time of the year. Wherever you turn, there will always be puku, impala, waterbuck or giraffes. Elephants are everywhere, although the largest groups we see are 6-8 each. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species in South Luangwa National Park, but the wide variety of birds can be admired mainlyin the emerald season. Jackals are gone, the last was seen in the 1980s. No one seems to know why.
It's the first time that I see puku and bushbucks, and a delight to see them. their furry coats contrast nicely with the smooth glossy coats of the impalas. Surprisingly, the pukuks and bushbucks are less shy than impalas. while impalas always flee at any sounds, the pukus and bushbucks are more curious and stick around to check you out. they stay close to the vehicle unlike the impalas.
Two bushbucks hang around the chalets at kaingo, as do vervet monkeys.
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Bushbuck entertains us in front of our chalet
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They don't seem to scuttle off despite little noises we make in the chalet
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a vervet monkey on a tree outside our chalet
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a view of Luangwa river from our deck

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Kitsafari
Landscape is so varied that you will never be bored by it. you can weave through bare bushveld, mopane woods, beautiful ebony groves, desolate mopane stumps, desperately growing mopane bushes and scattered among them the iconic baobab trees, leadwood, tamarind and the marula trees.


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Kitsafari
We drive through Guineafowl Plains and it is clear why it is called that. Numerous flocks of helmeted guineafowls complain, nag, hassle, whine and scream in noisy conversations as they skip and run around the plains. They provide constant entertainment in the evening when we have sundowners by the Luangwa River banks. They fly in batches onto the banks, take a sip from the river, then fall into single files as they march along the river. I never found out where they land to roost in the trees.


Some villages keep guineafowls for meat. the fowls have to be boiled for a long time because the meat is tough (according to Lloyd the guide at Tafika). the guineafowls in the villages have white faces instead of blue faces, apparently because the soil in the villages lack certain minerals.


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Patrick sees 2 juvenile batelurs and the young ones are quite patient with us as the vehicle stops underneath the birds. The light isn't the best so the pictures are not that great.




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juveagle2.jpg


juveagle1.jpg


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Kitsafari
We come across a vehicle around some thickets trying to pin down an elusive (what else can they be?!) leopard. It is a male leopard and very nervous and shy. I get glimpses of his face and his tail as he darts from a tall termite mound to a thick bush. the area is too thick for any of the vehicles to drive through. after trying for half an hour, Patrick decides for another leopard that another Kaingo guide calls in.


Off we go, and it's another bush. A Kaingo vehicle is there and the occupants gesture that the leopard is hiding in it. As we circle the bush, the leopard runs from one end to another. finally the other vehicle decides to leave. as we hang around, deciding what to do next, the leopard dashes out across the plains. we follow, and discover it is a male leopard cub.


The nervous cub must have been waiting for mummy to return when it is spotted in the bush. Now he runs into a gully, reappears on the opposite side of a dry stream and vanishes once again into a bigger bush. The wily cub has chosen a strategically smart place. The bush in on a little island flanked by the dry stream, impossible for any vehicle to follow as the banks are too steep.


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leopardcub%2B1.jpg

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Kitsafari

along the drive, Patrick asks can you hear that? of course we can't. his sharp ears pick up a baboon barking away and he drives to that direction. we find the baboon sentinel up on the tree gazing ahead of it, barking quite incessantly. patrick outs the leopard which is hiding at the bush's edge. When it realises we can see him, he melts into the bush. patrick drives into the bushes, but he has disappeared into the thin air. I can't believe how a big cat like this can vanish with five pairs of eyes looking out for him.

 

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leopard%2Bin%2Bgrass.jpg

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Kitsafari
We take a morning coffee break by the luangwa river. There is a large herd of common water bucks of about a dozen or slightly more. I've not seen such a big herd before in Tanzania and Okavango and I've always found water bucks such elegant antelopes.


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Morning coffee break


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Sausage tree flower


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waterbuck panicked by something I don't see or hear


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Puku admiring the hippos, as do we


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Luangwa river, a most popular spot for all wildlife. note how high the banks are - during the rainy season, the waters will rise above the banks




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greeting another elephant


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Ellie saying Hi back

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TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

I am glad you are back! It is great to see the South Luwangwa landscapes. When we were there the Puku were bold, but the Bushbuck were shy!

 

That young leopard is beautiful, and it is always enjoyable to see elephants.

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