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SafariChick

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

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marg

@@SafariChick...what a nice treat to have photos of animals with wildflowers!

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SafariChick

We had hoped there might be some chance of finding a cheetah when we went down south as we remembered Finn from ZCP having told us there was one that had been seen with a cub down south, but Jason thought it would just have to be luck if we found it as he said it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. And indeed we didn't have the luck to see it that morning. So in the afternoon, we were not sure we needed to go look for anything in particular, just wanted to go out and see what we saw. So first we stopped by the Matamanene area just to see if by some chance the lions were defying their usual pattern and might be out and about during the afternoon before it was almost dark. Nope. But we did run into a vehicle with some familiar faces in it for some of our group - it was a group that contained members from Norman Carr Safaris and members of the press doing a sort of PR trip about NCS new ventures in the park and also in the vehicle was none other than Robin Pope himself! So he and Jason had some time catching up and Jon knew him as well from prior trips so everyone chatted for a while. When Robin came back to us, he told us that he'd just learned that Finn was out and about nearby following a cheetah and it would be ok for us to go have a look. So we went over to where Robin had directed us which was just around the corner, and suddenly we saw the cheetah across an open space from where we were:

 

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We then saw Finn and drove over to chat with him, being careful not to startle the cheetah. He was following her on his motorcycle, which is a common way the researchers get around in the park. We'd seen Graham out on one another day.

 

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Finn told us this was the female who'd recently lost all the cubs. As we watched her, she started to come out of the trees and go across the field.

 

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As she started to get to the other side of the open area, we saw that she was scent-marking all over the place, which Finn said was a good sign in that she was seeking to mate again.

 

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She walked into the trees there and Finn followed, we also followed but had to go around the trees in our vehicle. When we met them on the other side, Finn said she'd made an attempt on a Guinea Fowl but didn't catch it. After watching her a little while longer, she went off where we couldn't see her any more and Finn went to follow her on his motorcycle while we went off to find a sunset. We had brought chairs with us from camp as we wanted to find a pretty place to sit and have a last sundowner on this last evening of our trip.

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Atravelynn

I hope you did not drop Salticrax crumbs in your self-contained room at Hollywood II!

 

Glad the lilies were in bloom. They add such an interesting touch to the wildes, or to any of the creatures. Gorgeous sunsets.

 

A scent marking cheetah is an upbeat way to end the day or even the trip. What a privilege to see Lady Liuwa at this stage in her life!

Edited by Atravelynn

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graceland

Well that was a welcome sight, the cheetah...and to follow along How cool for Finn to get around on a motorcycle. I guess the cheetahs are accustomed to the noise. i try to avoid cities full of them, but I guess the bush is an :wacko: exception!

 

Great reporting SC...looking forward to your last hours! And seeing Lady Liuwa - fantastic sightings.

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SafariChick

@@graceland I know what you mean about how some motorcycles can be quite noisy, but I don't think these kind of motorcycles were any more noisy than safari vehicles, and maybe less so. They were not the Harley-Davidson kind that make the loud vroom vroom sounds! I think they are lighter on the ground than the big trucks and definitely get better gas mileage so they are good for the researchers in those ways. Interesting discussion we had with Jason by the way. We talked with him about the newer e-vehicles that don't make almost any sound and I was saying I bet the animals would appreciate the quiet of those. He said actually he thinks it confuses the animals because they are used to vehicles being these big noisy things and when they see the big thing pull up with no sound it might freak them out. However, even if the animals are accustomed to the sound, that doesn't mean they are happy with it. Back in the Kafue before we got to Liuwa, Jason said when you pull up to a group of elephants and there's all the noise from the vehicle, they want to make sure their family are all ok but they can't hear each others stomach rumbles over the noise of the vehicle. He said notice what happens if you turn the vehicle off - they will all stand completely still for about 20-30 seconds and that is because they are listening to the rumblings of all the others, hearing that everyone is ok, and then they will start to move again. We tried it as an experiment when we pulled up to some elephants, and sure enough that was exactly what happened. So interesting.

 

@@Atravelynn we tried not to drop any Salticrax in or out of our self-contained rooms! yes the setting at Liuwa is really just so gorgeous, even when we weren't seeing a ton of new animals, just being there and driving around in that beauty and peace was really worth it. We were really so glad to get to see Lady at this point in her life, and quite a few times too. And the cheetah was a really nice icing on the cake. We were so sad for her having lost all her cubs, but glad to see she seemed ok and was getting back to the business of being a cheetah and looking to mate again. This is nature and life goes on.

 

We found a nice spot to set up our chairs, have a drink and watch the sun set. We got out cameras and put on the self-timer and decided to try to take a shot of all of us:

 

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From left to right, it's Jon, me, Anne-Marie, Jason, Biggi, Sangeeta and Gideon

 

Then we just sat and chatted and enjoyed looking at the sky and listening to the birds until it was nearly dark

 

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and then we hustled back into the vehicle to get back to camp before dark as required.

Edited by SafariChick

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SafariChick

Our last night in camp was eventful in that at about midnight or 12:30 I was awakened by a slight feeling of moisture sprinkling my face. As I woke up a little more I heard it: it was pouring rain! This was really the first time it had rained at night while we were in our tents and I was not sure how they would hold up. It turned out that once the rain flaps were closed, they held up great. And Biggi, Andrew and Greg were great, they were out of their beds as soon as I was awake and running around to each of ours closing the flaps. We kept the tent "windows" open most of the time to get air flow so now they were covered and I felt a bit strange and claustrophobic but glad to be dry also. Except of course then I really had to go to the bathroom now that I'd been woken up! So once they were done I ran out and went behind the tent, getting rather soaked, then ran back in and dried off as best I could and went back to sleep.

 

We'd agreed before going to bed that for our last morning, we wanted to get up early and go look for the lions one last time. We didn't have time to do a full game drive but we at least had time to do that, then come back and have breakfast and pack up. Anne-Marie had decided not to come though as she thought it'd be a long travel day ahead and wanted to sleep in a bit and then just pack up in a leisurely manner. That may have been a wise decision! We all got up and went out in the soggy conditions (it was still raining a bit if I remember correctly). When we got in the vehicle and Biggi started to drive, a huge gushing of water came soaking down on us inside the vehicle! This vehicle was a modified Toyota Landcruiser and the roof system needs some work in the waterproofing system! So we all jumped out and Biggi and the guys ran around getting towels and extra ponchos and trying to mop everything up as best they could, but it was still a soggy mess and the edges were still dripping inside, and most of the seats were still very damp. We set off anyway, but we were not very comfortable to say the least! It was a fitting end to the trip though, having been a trip of various ups and downs! Of course we did not find the lions on this little venture, they were I'm sure snugly ensconced under some trees or bushes where we could not see them. So we bid them our adieu, having been glad to see them as much as we did. We went back and packed up, and headed back to Kalabo.

 

The ferry ride back at Kalabo was a much quicker one in that no one was waiting on our side and we didn't have to do any paperwork. The poor drunk guy was there and even drunker than before. He literally was having a hard time staying on his feet but he was trying. But there was clearly a fellow actually in charge of the ferry this time and he was trying simultaneously to get the ferry across smoothly while exhorting the drunk fellow to just stay sitting down on it and not try to stand as he kept weaving and falling all over.

 

We took a charter plane back to Lusaka, which was uneventful, and then had several hours layover. Sangeeta wasn't feeling 100% and decided to stay with our things at the airport while Anne-Marie, Jon and I went to a market to try to buy some souvenirs. We shared a taxi with Jason, who lives in the Lusaka area and could get a ride home from the mall, and then the three of us did a little shopping.

 

The mall and supermarket here seemed less quirky than in Mongu. Here are a few photos from the market and mall:

 

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After we finished our shopping, we took the taxi back to the airport and had a surprisingly good Indian dinner in the airport, then we all had to go check in and got screened for Ebola! That surprised me. The screening consisted of taking my temperature with a little thermometer that they just held up near my forehead (what will they think of next?) and asking me to answer three questions printed on a laminated sheet which were things like Have you been near anyone with ebola? Have you been in these countries ... etc. Then we all sort of hurriedly said our farewells and it was off to our respective planes and back home.

 

In looking back at the trip, it was definitely a different kind of trip than I'd taken before to Africa. Some of that was a good thing. I was glad to get to see more of the 'real' Africa in between safari destinations, it was very interesting and enlightening. And I learned I can get by with a lot less luxury than I thought! And I am very grateful to have gotten to see Lady Liuwa and the cubs. I feel that things are on the cusp of changing there and not sure what it will be like even a year from now. And that is just a beautiful park that I feel is very special and am truly glad I got to go there. Kafue too was really special and I would like to go back and explore more of it, and try to go a little earlier in the season as I think we were a bit unlucky with some of our sightings because we came after the rains had just started. But we had a great time at Musekese and would love to stay there again.

 

Thank you for sticking with this report as it's been going on for a long time - I appreciate everyone's comments and input!

 

THE END!

Edited by SafariChick

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marg

@@SafariChick...loved it!

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KathBC

Wow! Just finished reading your report - thanks so much for taking the time to post it.

 

Bought the FZ200 just before my trip to Namibia last May & like you didn't get to know it much before leaving, kept it on automatic the whole time cause all the other bells & whistles scare me! But your photos got better as the trip progressed.

 

Loved all the non game drive photos of people & places along the way as it really gives you a sense of your surroundings.

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michael-ibk

Thanks, @@SafariChick , thoroughly enjoyed visiting Liuwa through your TR. Great you found your needle in the haystack! :)

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graceland

A great report including some of the not so great moments. Seeing real Africa should be on everyone's lists; the good, bad and well - maybe not ugly, but disfigured!

I want to go back and read it again in one fell swoop to capture every days' adventures. You have so many stories to share with your girls

 

Love all the shots of the villages, people, travel, landscapes and of course the reason you attempted this mission, Lady Liuwa. Perfect!

 

...And just think, the next one will seem like total lux :rolleyes: Hoping the cheetah are abound as well as new babies, and - well,just everything we can find - you definitely won't have long travel days in between!

 

I know you are getting excited to turn around and go again!

 

ME TOO :D

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Galago

Good to read your report SafariChick. It brought back lots of memories.

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Atravelynn

Not many safaris end at the mall. You may be setting a trend. And you may be sending more people to these very special parks!

 

That's funny you had rain at the end. We had the deluge our last night. It's nice to see the effects of the rains, in small doses.

 

Nice group shot!

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Seniortraveller

Have really enjoyed reading this very different trip report. The memories of your adventures, will no doubt remain with you all for longer than those of a more sedate trip! Thanks for sharing and for including photos that gave a wonderful overall picture of your experiences.

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SafariChick

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone!

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Marks

Of the recent few posts, the last photo in post #147 is my favorite. Such light and color.

Enjoyed Lady Liuwa and this whole TR, thank you for sharing!

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TonyQ

@@SafariChick

Thank you for a really interesting and enjoyable report. It is interesting to see different parks and environments and the trip sounds like a real adventure.

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Kitsafari

so great to see Lady Liuwa through your photos. even if anything happens there, and I don't get a chance to see her, I'm very glad you did. :) and a cheetah to round up your trip! Nice.

 

thank you for a most enjoyable ride to Kafue and Liuwa. since I couldn't be there physically, the next best thing was being there through your eyes, your pix and your report! and what a thrilling adventure it has been.

 

That shopping mall looks familiar - is it the arcades shopping mall? we stayed at radisson blu on the way out from SLNP, and we walked to the mall in the night but everything was closed.

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Sangeeta

@@SafariChick - I am so sorry I was completely absent during your entire retelling of this trip! And I can't believe that it has taken me as long as this to even read the TR in its entirety. You have an incredible eye for detail and I can hardly believe you remember all these things - I am like a sieve in comparison. But I really was transported back in time while reading this report this evening - with the good and the not-so-good moments all coming back to life.

 

Your photos get better with every new report, btw, and that camera was def a very good choice. The low-status/high status hyena photo is a standout, as are the jackal shots - you captured his strutting about really well.

 

There are some general thoughts I would like to contribute about this safari as well. The first one will be called 'In Defense of the Bug Suit'?

Edited by Sangeeta

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SafariChick

:) just seeing you writing in here makes me smile - we did have such a good time together! I only remember so much because I was taking notes all the time in my iphone - otherwise, my memory is horrible. Seriously, ask my husband - I can't even remember if we saw a certain movie a year later or, if I do, what the plot was!

 

@@Sangeeta knowing how passionately you feel about the Bug Suit, I look forward to your sharing that thought!

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SafariChick

@@Kitsafari Kit, sorry I never replied to that question - yes, I believe it was the Arcades mall - but I didn't write that down, so see @@Sangeeta I don't remember everything perfectly unless I do! @@TonyQ and @@Marks thanks for the nice comments. Marks, I am rather partial to that photo you mentioned also :)

Edited by SafariChick

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pault

Since you are in Kenya at the moment, there isn't much point doing this but I really liked the Liuwa part.

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SafariChick

Thanks, @@pault - I'm back now. Glad you enjoyed it.

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