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Zimbabwe: Chapter Two


marg

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the second part of our trip.....we fly from Joburg to Buffalo Range arriving mid afternoon. Fortune, our guide is there to meet us. Visas. Then drive to Pamushana in the Malilangwe Reserve. We were here two years ago, Fortune was our guide and we were with friends. We are all together again. It's cloudy. Two years ago the predators were no leopard, no cheetah, lazy lions and active dogs. This trip is different!

 

first a few photos of camp

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we are in the same villa

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we go for a short game drive later that afternoon. The camp has new vehicles with a separate chair for the scout (new as well) that is perched to the left on the hood. And, he does a great job! It is cloudy and cool. And, quiet. There are not many animals visible. Just a large elephant...

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and a lone hyena, later to be renamed a gangster

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Several very large and old baobabs have died and fallen over. But that's about all for our first half day.

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another day that starts out cloudy and cold. The weather forecast is 68 (20C) and rain. This is hard to believe! We did go on a drive and even found the dogs. There are twenty four, twelve adults and twelve youngsters. It is now raining. There is no roof on the vehicle and we have put on the ponchos. The dogs had killed a male impala but it was nearly impossible to see anything as they were behind bushes. And, we are getting soaked. Back to camp to dry out. It was so hot in Zambia that I wrote in my journal, for the second trip in a row, NOT to bring long sleeve tee shirts. Thank goodness I do not do as I write as I did bring one and ended up wearing it five days in a row. We were unprepared for this weather. The good news is that our villa has a fireplace and they brought us plenty of wood. We even tried to do an afternoon drive,, but we came back early. It is red wine weather.

 

The next morning we find the dogs again but got back early as it started to rain again. The roof had been put on the vehicle. Late afternoon we did find, thanks to the vultures, a lioness that had taken down a waterbuck. So, we had something to watch for a while. She was extremely skittish. Fortune continued to say raise your arms slowly to take a photo. Once I was too fast as she just glared at me.

 

The best sighting and photo of the two days...dassies in camp

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hold on as it gets better!

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fictionauthor

@@marg that is a super dassie photo with the baby!

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michael-ibk

Really lovely dassie shot! Surprised to hear about the low temperature, at what altitude is Malilangwe?

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@@fictionauthor...thanks! It is interesting as when we were there two years ago, there were no babies. This time quite a few of them.

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@@michael-ibk..the elevation is a little higher, but I think that there was just a front of bad weather going through. It was cool and cloudy in Joburg and our entire flight was above or in the clouds. Thanks!

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another day....we are on our way to hopefully find the dogs. But, first we see a Big Black Browser walking up the road. This is a nice way to start the day. We do find the dogs and they have made a kill. The pack was all together and they were still hunting...the only active animals in this weather and it is not too hot to hunt.

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The puppies (not so small anymore) have fun in a puddle and the adults watch the perimeter.

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Even at the water holes we have no sightings, of anything.

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less than fifteen minutes later Fortune says "cheetah call". "No, it's a bird" I'm wrong. A cheetah comes walking along right in front of us.

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and there is another one in a tree

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then there are two in the tree

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back on the ground and a lone hyena is off in the distance. They are fifteen month old brothers.

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The baobabs are filled with vultures..no warm thermals for them in this weather. It has started to rain again, but we have had a great morning.

 

 

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a few cloudy day photos...

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and a female nyala with youngster

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Game Warden

@@marg Super sightings of the dogs and cheetah. I bet you were pleased with those. And the rock hyraxes posing for you :) I'd never seen one in the flesh until Anton pointed them out at the Emakoko.

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sometimes when we go to Africa, we take possibly too many photos of one thing, Lilac-Breasted Rollers, sunsets, etc. I am afraid that I have over done it with wild dogs. The next morning we do find them again, one on a kill and then with the pack. We as a group decided that we would no longer go searching for them.

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It's another relatively quiet day.

 

We have sundowners at Nduna twice. This is where they had sleep outs in the past and near to the small camp that is closed. The setting is beautiful and it is a great place to sit and to wait to see what comes to drink.

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and the sun is out!

 

 

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@@Game Warden...thanks again. Any chance that you can fix my misspelling of nyala?

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a new day and SUNSHINE! Right away our scout sitting in that upfront chair spots two cheetah. They are a mother and fifteen month old daughter. And, they are both scanning the landscape and resting.

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then hyena are spotted in the distance coming toward the cheetah

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The female hyena has a deep scar around her neck. She had been caught in a snare, was darted and it was removed. She looks very mean and threatening. The other two are youngsters. Gangsters of the future.

 

Fortune told us that the hyenas would kill them. I was prepared to burst into tears if that were to happen. We followed them for over two and one-half hours. The last sighting of a cheetah, the daughter, was this one. The good news is that they got away!

 

 

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Atravelynn

Nothing cuter than a baby dassie.

 

Pamushana produced!

 

Love the cheetah.

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fictionauthor

Very exciting, @@marg -- the hyenas vs the cheetahs. Glad they got away.

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@@Atravelynn..you never know do you? Our game experiences at Pamushana were just fabulous and so much better than just two years ago even the weather was not great at first. We go to one place expecting to see one thing and we see something else. It is always different. Wait until the last day...the best is yet to come. Thanks again!

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madaboutcheetah

@@marg - thanks for this report. Great that you had plenty of good sightings of both Cheetah and dogs. I've not been to Zim yet - is it right to assume that the landscapes in Pamushana is very Kruger like? Atleast that's the impression I get from your photos.

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You can never take too many wild dog pictures. Lovely light for the cheetah mother and daughter images.

 

 

 

Fortune told us that the hyenas would kill them. I was prepared to burst into tears if that were to happen. We followed them for over two and one-half hours. The last sighting of a cheetah, the daughter, was this one. The good news is that they got away!

 

I'm surprised by Fortune's comment. Surely the hyena were just following the cheetah hoping to steal any easy meal when the cheetah made a kill.

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@@madaboutcheetah...I have not been to Kruger so unable to compare. The landscape is varied...savannah, acacia forests, woodlands, rock outcroppings. Thanks!

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@@Geoff...no. These hyena will hunt as well as scavenge. They would kill the cheetah to eliminate competition. They are an aggressive group....more to come of them later.

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it's finally warm enough to use the outdoor shower! We leave mid afternoon to go over to Hippo Valley on the other side of the Chiredzi River. There is a lot of smoke in the air as the sugar cane fields are being burned. First sighting...a breeding pair of African Crowned Eagles. It is too bad that they are tucked back in the tree and in the shade.

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an Egyptian Goose with goslings

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and lions...The first ones that we see are a male with a full stomach, sleeping and an older female. Then we find his brother. This where we are intruders in their bedroom.

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After mating several times the female walked over to the brother and approached him, but the male that had been mating with her stayed very close and mated with her again.

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it's beautiful evening

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