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SafariChick and Sangeeta's Adventures through Kafue and Liuwa Plain National Parks


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a silver lining to an otherwise troubling news of the dead male lion. at least Lady, Sepo and the cubs get all their fill of a meal. but in the long-term they still need new male lions to firstly prevent the male lion cub from mating with his own siblings and mother, and to provide more new blood for the pride to grow further. as more new female lion cubs come forth, hopefully by the time, the male lion cub becomes an adult, there will be a female with the new blood to mate with. although there will still be Sepo's same blood traits. I wonder if that is a big negative?


such tragic news on the dogs! was that the only pack of wild dogs in Liuwa?


and poignant picture of the aardvark. :( you did well to document it @@SafariChick


reading through your previous sections again- i forgot to mention how amazing those fishing weirs are. are they permanent features or do they have to build them with each season?

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Thanks for the comments everyone. Yes, the more I look at those aardvark paws, it really gets to me still. @@Atravelynn yes, hopefully there will be a new male and @@Kitsafari perhaps a new female as well. It's definitely a challenge.


I believe that was the only pack of wild dogs in Liuwa in recent times, but that there have been others in the past and maybe another pack will come in - hopefully. The fishing weirs were being built so I think they rebuild them each season. Even the camps are mostly rebuilt every year in the Kafue - the thatching for the tents at Musekese and I know at Mukambi Plains Camp - it doesn't survive the rains. I remember seeing a video of @@KafueTyrone when he worked for the Plains Camp swimming through the flooded plains to rebuild the camp! I wish I could find it - anyone know where that video is? Can't remember where I saw it, whether on ST or somewhere else!


Back to the report. I forgot to mention that in the morning we had also seen Banded mongoose, Side-striped jackal

and of course, Wildies and babies. You can still see the babies' umbilical cords attached so they are quite young.

That afternoon we drove out again to the Matamanene area - it was about an hour's drive from our campsite, but that was where we had the best chance of finding the lions. We left camp around 2:30 and arrived around 3:30. It had rained in some areas and was cloudy and cool. We saw dark thunder clouds in the distance and could see rain was falling there. We saw a black-bellied bustard and a tawny eagle but no lions.







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The next morning was our second full day in Liuwa, but our fourth game drive there. We were beginning to be worried about when or if we would ever find the lions! We decided we should go as early as we could but we didn't get ourselves out as early as we meant to. We left around 5:30 a.m. and arrived in the Matamanene area around 6:30. We started driving around the reeds in the area as that was where the self-driving guide had told us the day before he'd seen them. We did find this, which gave us some hope, but it was hard to tell if it was from that morning or the day before.




We drove around for about 15 minutes and then, far ahead near the treeline, I saw something moving. It was barely visible with my naked eye, but it looked about the right height and color. I said hopefully "Could that be a lion?" Jason quickly lifted up his binoculars and checked. "That's a lion." Finally! We headed toward the lion and as we approached could see there were a few of them walking towards trees. By the time we got close enough for photos, they were pretty hard to see in the reeds. This was a typical photo I got of one of the cubs.




We barely saw Lady Liuwa walking into the treeline followed by the cubs and Sepo. Great to see them but a little frustrating after driving an hour, finding them and seeing them for about two minutes before they disappear into the trees! We followed along the road to see if we could see where they went, without disturbing them. We found them lying under some trees but still visible (sort of). We sat with them for a few hours, while they napped, waking up occasionally, moving a little, maybe opening their eyes and looking around, but not looking like they were going anywhere. We took some photos when they allowed themselves to be even remotely photographable. Some of us (including me) were napping on and off also. It was actually quite lovely to just sit with them, with them doing their thing, just being part of their world. We were the only people there most of the time. Here are a few of the better photos I got that morning - they are not that great but this is what it was!








Pretty sure those are all Sepo - Lady has a rather visible scarring on her nose, and Lady was especially hard to see that morning.


After several hours, it was clear they were not coming out, so we left and drove around a bit more to see what else we could see. We saw of course more wildies and some zebra, including a mother and baby:






and here's a random photo of Gideon:



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I'd not want to cross Gideon for sure! Although I am sure behind that "look" is a warm and caring heart. And probably a great sense of humor :rolleyes:

Interesting car decals.


So you saw babies; always love that...and you did find lions; took a while, but hey that's safari life! Good youall could sit with them and not be rushed; and I do love the pic of Sepo between the leaves.


I am sure you will have a Lady sighting soon :)


Glad you are back reporting; I am sneaking in for peeks between Holiday company....they wouldn't get it. So keep it up; I am looking forward to it all, every detail, as usual.

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"protected by the blood of Jesus" fantastic. :)

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Edited to add: I don't know what I did again but there is some text that is blue and "clickable" - that was an accident so don't click on it, I don't know where it goes! Unintentional!


yes @@twaffle I enjoyed that sticker as well :) We took a break at camp for lunch for a couple of hours then headed back to the same spot in the afternoon. Along the way we saw some more hyenas lying around near a pool. The photos are not as good as my earlier ones, farther away. Also saw this antelope - is this an oribi?




and a male wildie looking handsome amidst the wildflowers




The male wildies are territorial here, and each one has his own little patch of land that he stays near and protects. He kind of digs out a circle of dirt and then sits in it. Often when you drive by one, he will run around to threaten you away from his territory, but this fellow stayed put on it!


We found the lions where we left them, still under those same trees! We spent the afternoon with them but they were a little more active than they'd been in the morning so I got somewhat better photos. Here are some of Sepo:






Not sure if this one is Lady or Sepo




One of the cubs:








Lady finally sitting up:




Lady actually standing up and walking!




because she had to pee - sorry, Lady, for capturing that :rolleyes:






and then she walked a couple of paces ... and lay back down!






Jon actually captured this moment on video - since they weren't doing much else all afternoon, and this is the only time we saw her stand up, I may as well post it :P


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As the afternoon wore on, the male cub, who'd been resting a little farther back, got up and came up to one of his sisters and started being playful with her. It was very sweet to watch.








and I got a video of them playing too - the cub that is more "on top" whose face you can see at the beginning is the male:


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The Lady still looks in good shape. I thought there was a mention that she was limping - has she recovered, or did I recall wrongly? so pleased you finally get to see her 'cos I know you so wanted to see her in person.


and the cubs are real cute.


i found it curious that the Lady peed while standing as I had always thought, and seen lionesses squatting to pee. perhaps she was just being lazy.....

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Yes she is still in quite good shape I'd say. She does limp a little on and off I guess, but I didn't notice it really. I hear it gets better and worse but it's never too terrible. We did hear from Gideon that she sleeps most of the time now and that Sepo does pretty much all of the hunting for them all, with the cubs starting to help now too! She's obviously slowing down and Jon and Jason thought her teeth looked yellower and duller, but that's to be expected. I just hope she can keep up with the others for as long as she is around. Yes, peeing standing up is interesting, huh? I am trying to remember whether I've seen lionesses pee before and whether it is usually a squat like female dogs - any lion experts out there care to weigh in?


By the way @@graceland Gideon does look tough in his photos - I think he likes to project the ZAWA scout image - but he's very personable and friendly in real life! He is a great storyteller too, and told us some very exciting and suspenseful stories of his experiences as a scout. Including one where he caught a poacher with a duiker who claimed he's just "found" the dead animal, then tried to run away and shot at Gideon, then tried to ditch his gun! Gideon did catch him eventually though, and he was put in jail. Only to be released before the end of his sentence by the president who just passed away. Gideon and the Bundu guys were not too sad about his passing, nor was Jason - the consensus seemed to be that he was not strong on wildlife protection and, in fact, had made some statement that people were more important than animals which gave poachers the impression he didn't care too much about what they did. Releasing poachers early was just another example of his stance on their crimes.

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Glad you got the shots of Lady...and perhaps if her legs bother her she does not want to squat. My lab has weaker rear legs and on occasion tries a half up half down squat!

Love the cubs playing together naturally!


I thought Gideon would probably be an "old soul" who saw quite a bit during his years as a Scout. Remember to tell me some stories :)


I thought, and wondered if you saw - the collars look right tight to me. I don't think I'd be able to breathe! Did anyone take note of that?


Is there any politician in Africa that truly cares more about wildlife than money??


I'm still seething over Zim and the baby elephants. Wish I had known of that when there in Sept. I would have opened my mouth and said something..to somebody. Not that they'd care but I'd get it out :angry:

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Glad you found the Lady, and really enjoying the landscapes of Liuwa. It looks very beautiful!

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Finally you found Lady Liuwa at got some great pictures. She is such a legend.


And yes it is an Oribi. :)


Really enjoying this report; thank you.

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Glad you finally found your lions! :D Though a shame they didn't give you the best display...good thing they're nice-looking enough to make good photos anyway!
The baby herbivores are also all very cute. I love the bull 'beest in the flowers also - it takes a good scene to make one of Africa's stolid herbivores look that good. :)
The aardvark feet were sad and interesting, morbidly so. A mangled bone pile has no identity. A pair of recognisable feet, sadly do.

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I am glad you got to see the lions and the cute cubs!

The landscape with all the wild flowers is very beautiful - and unusual compared to most photos we see (and take!)

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That lioness face in #129 is exquisite. Wildes in the lilies, that's Liuwa. Lady has had a long life and she deserves it!

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@@TonyQ thank you - yes looking around every day was just so beautiful there and peaceful. @@Big_Dog thanks, yes we were happy just to have found the lions and enjoyed being with them. I thought the wildie looked very beautiful with the flowers too! And the baby herbivores are so cute, I agree. @@wilddog thanks, I'm glad you are enjoying it. @@michael-ibk thank you for the kind word, it really is a lovely place. @@graceland interesting thought about if her legs bother her - that could be true. The collars do look a bit tight, I agree, but I have to assume the ZCP knows what they are doing - and I certainly didn't see that the lions seemed to be aware of them - so hopefully they don't bother them. @@Atravelynn thanks for the kind words about my photo! Glad you are following along since you are one of the major inspirations for this trip!


Sorry for the delay in continuing - the holidays are so busy but hopefully in a few days I will be able to get back to it!

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@@TonyQ thank you - yes looking around every day was just so beautiful there and peaceful. @@Big_Dog thanks, yes we were happy just to have found the lions and enjoyed being with them. I thought the wildie looked very beautiful with the flowers too! And the baby herbivores are so cute, I agree. @@wilddog thanks, I'm glad you are enjoying it. @@michael-ibk thank you for the kind word, it really is a lovely place. @@graceland interesting thought about if her legs bother her - that could be true. The collars do look a bit tight, I agree, but I have to assume the ZCP knows what they are doing - and I certainly didn't see that the lions seemed to be aware of them - so hopefully they don't bother them. @atravelyn thanks for the kind words about my photo! Glad you are following along since you are one of the major inspirations for this trip!


Sorry for the delay in continuing - the holidays are so busy but hopefully in a few days I will be able to get back to it!

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I thought, and wondered if you saw - the collars look right tight to me. I don't think I'd be able to breathe! Did anyone take note of that?



I agree they look tight, but in fact they aren't. Because of the the relative small head and relative big neck collars on cats have to be reasonably tight otherwise they just slip off. But in fact, they're not tight, you probably have noticed once how much skin there is in the neck of a kitten, the same thing applies to lions. When we fit collars on lions we always make sure we can fit at least 3 fingers (vertically, on top of each other) between the collar and neck/throat. There are some other downsides to loose collars. In cats it could mean they'll slip off, in wild dogs a loose collar won't slip off but will bounce against the sternum and is more likely to be caught by branches which you don't want either.

I noticed too that Lady drinks and pees more than the Sepo, this might have to do with her kidneys. Old cat often develop issues with their kidneys.

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@@egilio thanks for explaining how you fit the collars on the lions, that is interesting information. Also interesting your observations about Lady drinking and peeing more than Sepo and that it could have to do with her age. Your experience at Liuwa makes your input so valuable.


Continuing with the last couple days of the trip now. We moved to our last campsite, Katoyana, where we'd be for our last three nights of the trip. We were a bit worried about the move as Biggi had stayed at Katoyana the prior week and said it was more crowded than Lyangu, the site we'd been staying at these first two nights at Liuwa. He said the week before there'd been constant lines to use the facilities and that they'd run out of water for everyone to use that week! It is the most centrally located to the Matamanene area and I believe it has more actual campsites in it as well, so we were really quite concerned. We even tried to see if we could stay at our current site but were told everything was booked so we had to stick with our plan. Once we arrived, the Bundu team told us they'd decided to dig a long-drop toilet in a secluded area for just our group to use so we'd have the option to use that or the public shared ones. Sangeeta was surprised as she'd originally asked if we could do that at the campsites and been told no, but for whatever reason, the Bundu staff now said we could do it here. As it turned out, the community one didn't seem much more crowded than the lavatories at Lyangu but it was still nice to have the option and we appreciated their efforts.


My notes got rather sparse for this day and I don't really recall a lot of detail of the early part of the morning. I know we saw a beautiful jackal early in the morning:










and then ran into the lions actually out of the bushes and trees. I got a few photos but I think they must have gone into the bushes/trees fairly quickly as I seem to only have a few. Here are a few of those few:








I don't know what we did for an hour as those lion photos were taken around 6:17 to 6:20 a.m. and the next photos I find I have are of some zebra about an hour later. That hour must have been when my notes say we saw some stuff of which I have no photos, namely Mongoose a cool sighting of a Cobra raising itself up (sadly, no photo) and about 100-150 Pelicans flying. We also saw wildies in water:




a Common Daiker:


Wildies in Wildflowers again (couldn't resist taking too many of these, feel free to skip over if they become too repetetive - you can't believe how many I'm NOT posting!)
I like how the two wildies farther back are framing the one closer to me:
and a huge flock of partincales - Jason estimated there were a couple of thousand! I am not a birder but even I was impressed at the spectacle. I tried to take photos and videos but it really doesn't do the scene justice. They were in the sky all around us, so a photo just captures a small portion of what we were seeing. However, here are a few photos:
I have a video I'll upload and see if it's any good, if so I'll post it tomorrow.
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Thanks for continuing Safarichick and I do love the wildies amongst the wildflowers -and the mass of birds


Thank goodness someone gave you your OWN long drop :blink:


When you gotta go in the bush, forming a queue is that last thing you want to do with your time! There's wildlife to be found ;)


Hope you and your fam had a lovely holiday :)

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Here's a little 15-second video of the partincales flying - still doesn't show how many there were but for what it's worth, a little taste:



A couple more images from the morning drive:






We also saw a mama and baby reedbuck, but I didn't get a photo.


Back at camp, Andrew was making some amazing bread for lunch in just a pot over the fire!






By this afternoon, my notes had completely ceased! I think this was the afternoon that it was so hot that everyone was really feeling it. Anne-Marie helped me carry my cot out of my tent into the shade as it was way too hot to be in the tent, but I really felt like I had to lie down. We all just lay around during the break after lunch and tried to stay cool and move as little as possible. On the afternoon drive, I think we looked again for the lions but didn't find them, and just drove around looking for scenic photo opportunities.


We came across this little antelope, which i think was a steenbok:




It was putting its ears back to try to make itself look smaller, which I found endearing.


Some wildflowers:




a common sight, wildie lying down in his territory:




one more wildie standing with wildflowers (can't resist!)




I'll just post a few photos of wildies in the cloudy sunset to finish off the day:









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The wildbeests are romantic at heart; they look very lovely against the wildflowers!


how hot did it get that day? i can imagine how stifling it could have gotten in the tent.

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@@Kitsafari I'm no good at estimating and we didn't have a thermometer with us but the folks I was with were guessing maybe 95 F which is about 35 C - so not even THAT bad really but I don't know, it felt hotter than that to me!


We only have one full day left of the report and I have to go through my photos of that day - will try to post about that day over the weekend.

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Sunrise on our last day:




For our last full day, we had to decide whether to try to go look for something different that we hadn't seen or check out a different area. I was interested in trying to see a hyena den as although we'd seen hyenas a few time, we hadn't seen them in the numbers I'd hoped and hadn't seen them at a den. There were dens that Gideon and Jason knew about but, as mentioned previously, they could only be accessed by going off road. There was another Jason knew of that was close to the road but Gideon said it was no longer active. There was one which was somewhat off the road but might be able to be seen at a distance, but we went by that one and didn't see any activity. So this thought didn't pan out. We did find the lions out in the open and got some better photos at least of whole bodies than previously. Here are some:






One of the cubs checking out the birds flying by:














When they were gone into the reeds for the morning, which was clearly their pattern, we had to decide what to do with the rest of our day. We were interested to see lechwe if any could be found, and Gideon said they did hang around an area in the south end of the park, at this time of year. It would be a long drive but we decided to try it and even if we didn't find lechwe we'd see a different area.


When we left the lions, we passed this hammerkop, and took a photo. We had seen him a couple of times in the same spot, and figured this must be his territory.




We drove down to the southern end of the park and actually had to leave the park to get to the area where Gideon said lechwe could be found. When we exited the park, we came to a little village. It was interesting to see cattle and Jason and Gideon explained that the folks who lived here were totally self-sufficient, growing their own food, which is always impressive to me. I got a few photos of the village:








We at last reached the area where lechwe could be found but .... no lechwe! Oh well. We did see these guys:






This guy was looking around from his little perch on a rock




We started driving back north towards the camp and stopped at a beautiful pool where we saw










After spending a nice part of the morning watching the wildies and their babies enjoying the water, we made our way back to camp for lunch.

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@@SafariChick, the sunrises and sunsets; even the skies before a "set" are just lovely. There is always a beautiful look to the skies in Africa even if a day goes without loads of "finds".


But seeing the baby wildie and mum quite adorable, as are lions and zebras - always.



I bet something more comes your way :)

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