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A Brief Return To Kafue And Livingstone


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@@Caracal what a charming place! those pukus are so delightful - a real reminder of my zambia safari in SLNP.

looking forward to more delights from Kafue!

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I have already decided to spend a whole week in Kafue in 2018. I know that I'll love it,especially after returning from a mind blowing time in Gonorezahou. My week at Pamushana was amazing,but the week I spent with Ant Kaschula,and his assistant raised my experience of going on safari to another level.

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Thanks @@Hads - I'm very much a point and shoot photographer - the Kafue at KaingU is very complementary to the likes of me!


Thanks @@Kitsafari - I'm with you on liking puku. They're in Kafue down to the southern area around the lake but strangely they're not to be found further south in Nanzhila though habitat seems suitable. However I'm to see plenty of sable again down there.


@@optig - 2018 now that's planning ahead. If you can try and make it more than one week. I reckon Kafue will just keep improving - will look out for your trip to Gonorezahou - a place that I've been thinking about.

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If you do decide to visit Gonorezahou,please get Ant Kaschula to guide you. He normally guides groups of 4 to 6 people. He's not only one of the best guides in Africa;he's one of the most brilliant people that I've ever met. I loved Pamushana Camp,but felt that Gonarezahou offers on the purest,and wildest safari destination in all of Africa. It only receives about 2,000 visitors a year,and 90% of them are white Zimbabweans and South Africans who drive there in their 4x4s,and then camp there. In all of my 10 safaris with the exception of North Luangwa National Park in Zambia-I've never been in a more natural National Park. Personally,I feel that it offers an even better wilderness experience than North Luangwa because one go on long game drives,as well as walk. North Luangawa National Park only offers drives to where you'll be starting your walk or they will pick you up.

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No such thing as too many photos of the Kafue River! Keep 'em coming!

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Monday 5 September 2016

Around 1.00am I hear a loud splash in the river outside making me wonder if a Pel’s Fishing Owl is around. It’s a bit of a backwater outside our chalet and there are plenty riverbank trees so suitable habitat and a nice thought.

Before 5.00am hear loud alarm calls that I can’t identify. JohnD tells me on arriving with the hot water flask that it’s vervet monkeys. I’d discounted them as it was still dark but apparently they have a reasonable amount of night vision (quite a lot better than humans). Whilst having tea in our chalet hear hyena whooping and later told that in Kafue hyenas not often seen as mainly nocturnal. Wonder why that is – but then as far as I recall the only hyenas I saw in South Luangwa years back were at night.

After breakfast cross over to park and head down spinal road towards the Pools Loop. See yellow baboons high in a tree and then stop near the hide to watch the early morning influx of large flocks of Meyer’s Parrots. This photo in bad light not good but gives an impression of the numbers in just one tree.





The place was resounding with their raucous chattering, screeching and squawking.

Driving on it was fairly quiet but we see kudu in various groupings, common duiker, oribi, impala, puku and Lichtensteins hartebeest. Birds included whitebacked vulture by nest, gymnogyne and a totally unafraid and curious rednecked francolin who checked us thoroughly.



















We then saw a large gathering of vultures – Whitebacked, Hooded and Lappetfaced in nearby trees.










We head off to investigate expecting to locate a kill but despite an intensive search find no cause for the gathering and there are no telltale smells/scents on the air.

We then start heading back seeing more baboons, warthog and impala



Back at camp we have lunch, relax and then around 4.30pm head set off on an afternoon with JohnD and Martin ZAWA scout to Mpamba Rock.


Along the way the following trees are pointed out

Sausage Tree – Kigelia Africana – flowers eaten by kudu & bushbuck –fruit now discovered and being used as a treatment for skin cancer

Monkeybread Tree –Philostigma thonnongii – favoured by many animals and roots used as cure for coughs

Poached Egg Tree – Mukwa – now protected as used so much in the past for railway sleepers, mine props etc

Euphorbia – which is poisonous to all animals except porcupine, tortoise and rhino





Pod Mahogany – Afzelia quanzensis – the pods contain brightblack and orange seeds wich are used for ornaments. Young boys collect suitably sized pods to put in pocket and act as spoons. JohnD explains if say 15 boys playing together and mother of one calls porridge she wouldn’t have 15 spoons so the pods do the job




Along the walk we saw hyrax, a bushbuck, some puku grazing




and waterbuck




We then climbed the rock and at the top were met by Boyd for sundowners







Whilst having G&T gazing for 360 degrees over miombo woodland stretching to the horizon.





Later on we have a superb dinner under the stars down by the rapids with Lynda, Gil, Julia, Steve Smith from Nanzhila , Anthony a photographer and JohnD. A perfect way to end the day.





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We had a chance to visit Livingstone, Nanzhila and KaingU and it was amazing. Kafue is well worth a trip - the amazing landscape surrounding KaingU and we had some impressive sightings down south vic Nanzhila. During a walk surrounding the Nanzhila camp we did see a Pel's Owl as well and it was a treat. My favorite moment was when a herd of Ellies joined us for lunch and stayed for two hours. Unforgettable


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Glad you're joining in singing the praises of Kafue and KaingU and Nanzhila @@Annie.


When were you there? We had elephants join us for dinner at Nanzhila creating problems getting to our chalet for the night!


Seeing Pel's Owl would have been a treat - I've seen a couple but that's a while back in South Luangwa.


I always love the sable and roan down at Nanzhila and better sort some photos out for Nanzhila next.

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Tuesday 6 September 2016


Head off to Nanzhila today so have a lie in before enjoying breakfast with Steve Smith.

Then head back to chalet where I take these photos from our deck.







Then after farewells to our excellent guide JohnD and staff and a fond farewell to Lynda we are boated across the river to the car park and with Steve driving we head south to Nanzhila.

On the drive down the spinal road we pass some dramatic scenery with some dark brooding granite hills such as Kaindaballa rising above the miombo woodlands. One can well imagine why such places had a special significance for the Ila people.

Along the way to the southern edge of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi we see slender mongoose, puku, impala, baboons, plenty of kudus, a good sable herd and a number of warthogs including a very close shave with one family that burst out of grass just in front of our vehicle.

We paused for a pleasant lunch break on the short grass plains by the lake watching some impala, puku, warthogs and kudus – the latter promptly returning to their more favoured bush habitat.


The drive from the lake down through Ngoma , the Ngoma teak forest and on to the Kalenje Post was fairly quiet but from the Post to Nanzhila the wildlife picked up with a variety of antelopes, elephants, zebra, warthogs, vervets and birds.


At Nanzhila we are delighted to meet Cindy Smith and we meet a Swiss couple on their honeymoon and a German couple who 6 years ago drove from Swakopmund, Namibia to Livingstone. They were back to go from Livingstone to Dar completing west to east crossing – this time with a driver/guide.

It was good to see water in Nangwande Pool in front of the lounge/dining area as on our last visit in 2014 the pool had completely dried out.






We head to our chalet












Later it was great to meet up with David Chirwa again who was to take us on the afternoon game drive with Raston to the Mafuta Loop.


We head off past the camp site and soon come across a pair of wattled cranes and a saddlebilled stork




Then waterbuck and this oribi










Reedbuck and this lone sable bull that was on the track ahead but quickly turned around rushing for the bush




We passed fish eagles, maribou, waterbuck, impala




then this oribi






And then shortly before sunset this herd of 25 sable






We stopped to watch them whilst having sundowners






Eventually they headed off into the sunset.




For me it was magic having a G&T with a sable sunset.


David Chirwa and Raston







The night drive back was pretty quiet except for spring hares and a mysterious sighting which could possibly have been a melanistic genet. David heard the distant roar of a lion which I missed as I was focussed on the persistent calling of a nearby Scops Owl.


We had a great dinner and then over drinks I discovered that the German couple’s guide was Paul Barnes the owner of Pioneer Camp at Lusaka which is being run by his girlfriend while he is taking on the role of guiding safaris. We had some interesting discussion on various places I was interested in such as Blue Lagoon NP, Shiwa Ngandu before it was time to hit the sack.

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Great Sable sighting - really enjoying the Antelope diversity.

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Thanks @@michael-ibk - Nanzhila's always good for sable sightings and there seemed to be more than ever this year.

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Wednesday 7 September 2016


Enjoy an early morning cuppa chatting to Cindy and then we head off on our game drive to Chilenje Pool.

Fairly soon after leaving camp we come across hartebeest and I comment to David that they are much closer to camp than they were on previous visits. See some distant zebra then waterbuck




And then David spots movement and a serval in the grass – or rather the distinctive ears





I found it fascinating to observe the camouflage in the grass





Then gained a few clearer views










Next a brief but special sighting of an animal I have only seen once before – a family of bushpigs 2 adults and 3 piglets. They were on a patch of fairly open ground quite a way ahead when David spotted them but ran across the track and into bush. I managed one photo of sorts – blurry I know




A cropped copy




It quickly turned around and belted back where it had come from – the others had all charged on the other way. My only previous sighting of bushpigs was at Nanzhila back in 2011 when, despite David’s patient directions, I took ages to see them but in my defence they were a long way off!




A reedbuck was followed by a bachelor herd of 16 sable that was quite spread around














Saddle-billed stork






Ground hornbill off the ground




and on





A pleasant coffee stop at the Chilenje Pool seeing kudus in the distance and a pair of swiftly flying black-cheeked lovebirds was followed by the drive back during which we saw a side-striped jackal, some warthogs and then this sighting of a black-shouldered kite.










We’d watched it for quite a while and it stayed pretty still flying off with kill when the engine started. It looks very similar to our Australian Black-Shouldered Kite. I’m not sure of the difference. It's victim looked quite large for the size of the bird.





These zebras completed a great morning’s drive





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I wonder what the kite has? I have a photo with exactly the same prey, but with the head in the claws can't tell what it is. A mouse I suppose, but it seems bigger than the mice I've seen in ine African bush.


We might be able to add another animal to our lists if we can work it out!


Really idyllic on the river and some very nice sightings so far at your new digs.

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I wonder what the kite has? I have a photo with exactly the same prey, but with the head in the claws can't tell what it is. A mouse I suppose, but it seems bigger than the mice I've seen in ine African bush.


We might be able to add another animal to our lists if we can work it out!


It might be a brown rat?

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I wonder what the kite has? I have a photo with exactly the same prey, but with the head in the claws can't tell what it is. A mouse I suppose, but it seems bigger than the mice I've seen in ine African bush.


We might be able to add another animal to our lists if we can work it out!


It might be a brown rat?


Another vote for brown rat


@@Caracal so nice to see the Sable..... and the Serval.

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what a splendid hat trick @@Caracal. serval bushbig and Sable!

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I wonder what the kite has? I have a photo with exactly the same prey, but with the head in the claws can't tell what it is. A mouse I suppose, but it seems bigger than the mice I've seen in ine African bush.


We might be able to add another animal to our lists if we can work it out!

It might be a brown rat?

Another vote for brown rat


@@Caracal so nice to see the Sable..... and the Serval.

whip-tailed bush squirrel would look better on my list of sightings, but brown rat it is.

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wow 16 sable males! that's an incredible sighting. and a serval. well I hope I get the same luck as you when I finally get to Kafue. :)

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I wonder what the kite has? I have a photo with exactly the same prey, but with the head in the claws can't tell what it is. A mouse I suppose, but it seems bigger than the mice I've seen in ine African bush.


We might be able to add another animal to our lists if we can work it out!

It might be a brown rat?

Another vote for brown rat


@@Caracal so nice to see the Sable..... and the Serval.

whip-tailed bush squirrel would look better on my list of sightings, but brown rat it is.



@@pault when I got back to my chalet I looked up my Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals and got lost in a myriad of rat species. Brown rat wasn't in my calculations and actually isn't listed as such.


Unfortunately though everything I liked the look of such as Dega Rat or African Unstriped Grass Rat seemed to be in Ethiopa, Burundi or such like so rather reluctantly I'll join you in accepting the brown rat verdict of @@Bush dog and @wildog.


Pity about our respective species lists!

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@@Kitsafari - have you any plans re Kafue? - this year I seemed to see sable in all areas at Nanzhila not just in their favoured spots - I find them majestic antelopes.

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Back at camp we have a late breakfast/brunch and then head to our chalet for a lazy afternoon. I'm writing up my journal when John quietly calls elephants - and there ahead are nine bull elephants heading for a drink at Nangwande Pool after which they quietly melt away into the bush, I assume on their way to the Kasha River.





















A while later I sit outside our chalet - part gazing, part reading and then part watching the waterbuck and impala that have moved into the scene. I count 20 waterbuck and 36 impala but there could be more.










There have always been waterbuck in the Pool area but I don't recall seeing impala around camp before. In fact I don't recall seeing that many impala anywhere in Nanzhila before. I'm definitely getting the impression that wildlife is increasing all over.

On the afternoon game drive with David and Raston to Mubi Pool things were relatively quiet but we see kudu, warthog, hartebeest, chacma baboon and then these four relaxed and handsome sable







further on a Senegal Coucal sits in an obliging position





then these zebra capture the afternoon light






On the way to Mubi we also see a couple of lone sable bulls including this one that dashed off at the sound/sight or thought of us.






That evening we had an excellent dinner which was accompanied by the crashing, thrashing, munching and farting of the nine bull elephants that had returned to have their evening meal in the company of humans.
Interesting to watch the elephant pull up a trunkload of long grass then thrash it swishing it from side to side, then somehow stripping off the leaves and side shoots so that it was left with just the long thick grass stems which it would proceed to eat.

After dinner we were sitting around the fire with drinks and the elephants were right in front.






The Swiss couple headed to their chalet whilst it was safe to do so but John and I dallied too long and one elephant had moved around from the front of the dining area into the chalet area.

Not being able to go to our chalet we had another drink and enjoyed talking some more with Steve and Cindy.


However the elephant continued to stay put and looked like staying and in the end Steve came up with the idea that we could sneak out to the car park and drive around the back on an old track that came around the bush behind the chalets to the side of our chalet which was the farthest of the three chalets. We did this and we could safely get into our chalet.

It was great to be lying in bed hearing elephants out the front in the water and hearing them moving around in the bush out the back - I went to sleep surrounded by elephants thinking This Is Africa.

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Oh my friend @@Caracal,


How wonderful to read the report of your return, once again, to Kafue. So many reminders of our 2014 trip together to Kaingu, Nanzhila and Waterberry, and I love the photos of people we met, and those fabulous Sable. NO, not too many shots of the beautiful watery surrounds of Kaingu; if you recall, I had tears when I first saw that camp! I look forward to the rest of your TR.


You have a keen eye and reportage style. In addition, your understanding of local culture marks all your reports with sensitivity and knowledge.

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Those sables, what can I say! Stunning.

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@@panamaleo - you were much in our thoughts throughout this safari and honourably mentioned in dinner and campfire conversations. Glad you're enjoying following this TR and capturing some reminders along the way.



@@twaffle - thanks and I'm hoping sable will help to push Kafue up that list of yours! There are more to come.




@@pault - and we were glad to be in Chalet 3! We learned the next day that the elephant that had taken a shine to Chalet 1 stayed right beside it for quite a while with rumbling farts wafting elephantine breezes and aromas through the chalet!

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