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Those are really good pride numbers, Kit. They used to have prides that size in the Serengeti and possibly still have a few that size in Ruaha, but not many places left that can support multiple large prides like that. Very good to hear about this lion explosion in SLNP.


Love your long river shots. Vids are great too. 4 leopards in one day - you were spoilt!

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but we see a loads of African fish eagle. I love their calls!




saddle bill stork ignoring the noisy guineafowls




guineafowl marching in dry lagoon bed at kakuli junction




a river monitor lizard which thinks it is a tree lizard




three in one giraffes






a very curious giraffe spending a few minutes stockstill watching us



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@@Kitsafari Loving the report. I especially like the Elephant pics in 97 and "Philomen lighting the way" captures the essence of the night drive fabulously

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Very much enjoying this, Kit, great sightings so far! I think the bird you asked for is a Common Sandpiper.

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my immediate response was that they looked smaller and their skin much darker. D

I think the "darker" colour is most likely their propensity for lazing around lying on black cotton soil more than anything else.


PS: nothing wrong with your night photography at all!

Edited by ZaminOz
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@@Sangeeta we were very spoilt indeed. more spotted cats to come. :)

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@@ld1 @@michael-ibk @@ZaminOz Thank you for reading along.


I had wished to see at least a small herd of the wildebeest but it was not to be.


@@ZaminOz, you haven't seen those numerous night photos that i've discarded!

Edited by Kitsafari
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Day 4


I had been thinking on day 3 that the past few days have been very reminiscent of our trips to tanzania and Okavango. nothing too alarming, nothing too melodramatic. everything going as smoothly and pleasantly as it should.



It is our last morning at Kaingo. Patrick will drive us to the crossing point directly opposite Tafika camp. it will take about 2 hours direct but we will take a 4-hour game drive. we have the vehicle all to ourselves and I make a mental note that we should have more land transfers as that usually means a complimentary private vehicle.


It starts brilliantly as we have saved the southern carmine bee-eater hide for the last morning. the hide is located wherever the nests are each year. we are rowed to the floating hide and another couple is there from Kaingo as well. the sun is not fully up. i find out that the hide-boat rocks whenever one of us moves, so i stop shifting around (sorry Leslie!) and try to sit still. the sun rises further and the light shines on the birds. It is like watching a soap opera. so much drama, so much activity, so much buzz and so much noise.
























a clip to hear the sheer noise and riot of carmine bee-eaters



Edited by Kitsafari
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Birds fight over the nests, birds enter the holes and start kicking out sand and sending the sand over the heads of the birds perched below. they fly out as an entirety and fly back to the nest as one. the colours are brilliant as pinks and blues fly past us. the entire bank is covered with the birds. The birds dig about a metre deep into the banks and the nests are very close to each other. So how no two tunnels don’t merge into one, is beyond my understanding.






we spend about an hour there and soon it is time to make our way to the tafika crossing point.




that;s the boat that brings you to the hide

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Great video, oh how I would love to see that! :)

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Patrick suddenly shouts something. we can't hear him but can hear the great excitement in his voice. he points to something on the branch and we see a cute cuddly grey creature. It is a tree hyrax. Patrick has only seen one in his 22 years of guiding and that was in the night. The nocturnal hyrax slowly moves along the branch and finds refuge in a hole. it's much bigger than a rock hyrax, and its face has two white spots over its eyes, reminding me of a red panda face. it's a cute little thing.








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Thanks @@michael-ibk. You really have to be there to experience the noise, the drama, the activities. I didn't know where to focus, you can focus at one spot and something else is happening at another spot. it was wild!


I'm trying to finish the Kaingo segment as it'll probably be another week before I can put in the next instalment. :wacko:

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we come across a Lions camp vehicle and Patrick chats with the guide-driver. they had seen a leopard further up the road but he had vanished into the bushes. we move on towards that direction while the vehicle continues in the opposite direction. as we come close to a dry lagoon bed, we see the male leopard slipping into the lagoon bed and disappearing behind the lagoon bank. Instead of following the leopard, Patrick's canny seer instinct takes us to a tree on the lagoon bank.




Sure enough, we hear a couple of soft growls from the leopard just behind the tree. He's a grumpy angry leopard. he puts up his head, looks at us, takes a minute before deciding that we will not aggravate him. he comes up, sniffs around, makes a couple of growls and grunts, looks at us to assess our intentions, and decides we will do no harm to him.














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then to our delight, he starts climbing the tree.

Just as he looks as he will settle in, we hear the wheels of a vehicle. he turns around and runs down the tree and goes behind the bank. The Lions camp vehicle has returned at the most inopportune time, and, seeing us at the tree, the driver has guessed that the leopard is back. It is speeding to the area, with the aim of going into the lagoon bed. When they see the leopard at the bottom of the tree, the car stops.

that is when we hear a series of loud angry growls and the leopard tears forward, charging towards the Lions Camp vehicle and hissing and growling as he runs. Patrick, H and I can do nothing but stare, our jaws dropping. The leopard rushes to the car growling loudly throughout, and looking as if it is going to jump in. at the last minute, the leopard veers to the right of the vehicle and runs into the bushes.

Patrick drives forward to the vehicle. the occupants are looking a bit dazed and the driver looks shocked and relieved. i ask if any of them captured the action, and one of them nodded. We are too stunned to tape it. It happened in a flash, taking us hugely by surprise. That is one serious angry frustrated grumpy leopard. and he is only 2 years old, a son of Malaika. we don't know what provoked that reaction as the cat had not growled at us that much. Patrick jokingly says the cat is annoyed by the bright blue T-shirt worn by the lady in the vehicle. He says he's never seen anything like this before. it is a talking point for the rest of the drive.

Edited by Kitsafari
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soon, we come up against the Hollywood pride again, at least part of the group, snoozing under the trees as the vultures help themselves to the puku kill.


one of the cubs lying close to the vehicle begins walking towards us. Patrick quickly starts the engine and move the car forward. In recent months, the cubs have become so habituated to the vehicles that they had gone close to cars and started playing with side mirrors and sniffed the legs and shoes of rangers/guides (the vehicles have no doors). The guides in the area had a meeting and decided to discourage such behaviour. the cubs may look cute now, but they won't be when they are fully grown and no one wants a grown lion sniffing his/her feet.










only one male was out in the open.







trying to impress us with his young teeth







well it didn't work.




back to snoozing then.

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soon, we reach the crossing point. the river is at its narrowest and some boats are anchored, marking the crossing point for a few camps. in the river is a pod of hippos or should that be a bloat of hippos. opposite the river, the tafika vehicle arrives to fetch us. we thank Patrick and wave goodbye. the crossing is uneventful and quick and we are on our way to the camp, which is only 10-15mins away.


It is a perfect morning. we see the spotted cat, which provides us with such drama, the lions, the buffalos at the lagoon, and the carmine bee-eaters. what more can one ask?




the crossing with hippos in attendance







coming down the banks



at eye level. thankfully, they were quite calm.

Edited by Kitsafari
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a few more pictures before I say goodbye to the Kaingo sector.




















all the dead mopane stumps, felled by the elephants




toilet seats















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I am really enjoying your report - your writing and your great photos. The thrill of walking, the beautiful environment - excellent.

The Carmine Bee-eater section shows them really well (Do you take videos with your camera or do you have a separate video camera? I love hearing the noise of them)


The section with the leopard running at the other car is really well done - I bet that was scary.


We didn't see any wilderbeeste when we were in SLNP - so interesting to see them here.

I look forward to your next section when you have the time.

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A 2013 Zambian Carnivore Programme report states that an average of 8-12 male lions was harvested each year in Luangwa Valley.



That's the number of male lions harvested in the hunting concessions within ZCP's research area...the total for the whole valley was a lot higher.

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@@Kitsafari another really enjoying your report. And, it is encouraging to hear that the guides got together and came up with a plan to discourage the cubs.

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@@Kitsafari I'm a little behind, only up to post 101 so far but love the ebony groves and four leopards in one day, wow!

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This has grown into a wonderfully comprehensive TR. In addition to reading about your experiences, I'm learning a lot about the Luangwa endemics.

I also never imagined how much noise the bee eaters make...

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@@Kitsafari Am really enjoying this report. It's bringing back great memories of past trips to SLNP. You've started some fascinating discussions on the parks species. I recall seeing a nice herd of Cooksons Wildebeest on a walk from Kaingo to Mumbwa. You've really got me thinking on the jackal issue. I'm going to search thru' my journals but I've a feeling I'm not going to find a jackal sighting in Luangwa.

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I continue to enjoy your report very much, @@Kitsafari ! So many exciting sightings, can not just point a single one... I really like the effect of the moving vehicle on the first photo of post # 100.

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