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Caracal

A Brief Return To Kafue And Livingstone

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Caracal

Thursday 8 September 2016

 

We set off with Steve and Raston to the Chilenje Pool. Steve is hoping we might see both wild dogs and lion that were seen in the area the previous afternoon.

Well it wasn’t long before we came across a few sable – here’s one

 

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and then hartebeest and zebra

 

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A black shouldered kite and long crested eagle were both in bad light but here’s that eagle

 

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We then have numerous kudu sightings and they seem to be taking centre stage on this drive

 

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More hartebeest, warthogs and some squirrels are followed by this pair of reedbuck that seem to be outside of their favoured grassy territory.

 

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Whilst having coffee by the pool Steve tells us that there are catfish, tilapia and bream in the pool and that both otters (clawless and spotted-necked) visit pools in the area – now they would be a cool sighting. On leaving the pool we pause to watch these zebra

 

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then after seeing more kudus, oribi, warthog we see more reedbucks

 

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another or the same longcrested eagle plus this Secretary Bird striding in its distinctive questioning manner

 

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Yellow billed kites are flying above as we head back. They arrived a couple of weeks earlier.

 

We didn’t see lion or wild dog but that’s the way of things in the wild. It had been a relaxing and enjoyable drive and not an extended one as we had organised to visit Nanzhila that day as well.

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Caracal

After breakfast we head to Nanzhila with David and Raston passing the ZAWA Kalenji post and also the mysterious Hornbill Lodge before leaving the park and entering the Nkala GMA.

 

Hornbill Lodge is nicely situated on the Nanzhila River and always appears well maintained by the permanent staff but it never seems to have any life looking like a place waiting for something to happen or someone to appear. Apparently it’s owned by a wealthy Spaniard and is basically a lodge for the family and friends.

 

After entering the GMA it’s still quite a distance to Nanzhila and then the site of the old mission with the church, school and medical centre is quite a few kilometres further on.

 

When we arrive at the school there are quite a lot of children outside but no teachers who have gone to a workshop.

 

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We look around and are concerned at what we see. Two years ago there was a new building going up so everything should be much improved. Instead things have gone backwards and how! We’re told part of the new roof came off in a storm months before and has never been repaired. I’m no builder but it’s apparent that everything’s been jerry-built and to make matters worse the first graders are having classes in a tent where an extra classroom was to have been built. I can’t imagine what things will be like when the thunderstorms and rainy season start.

 

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We gave pens, biros, pencils exercise books etc to the two school captains and these were locked away in our presence. I took a few more photos

 

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then we left feeling depressed about the situation.

 

We had a brief chat with Dr Munyati at the nearby medical clinic who told us the main health issues are diarrhoea, malaria, Aids and TB. Given it’s remoteness I was pleased to learn that getting further medical supplies when needed was managed OK.

 

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We stopped at the church as I wanted to see the site of the mission and I asked a man by the front if I could enter the church. Roy seemed delighted at our presence and interest and led us in.

 

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Looking at the drums I couldn’t help thinking that this humble building probably swells with wonderful rhythm, singing and clapping during services.

 

 

Roy noticed me looking at the memorial on the other side of the pulpit and insisted on lifting it up for me to see it properly. His manner and voice indicated to me that this epitaph is a very precious possession and symbol to Roy and the church.

 

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I hope you don't mind me branching off into a bit of history:-

 

The local tribe Ila were also known as the Mashukulumbwe. They were a feared warlike tribe in the 1800’s – in 1885 Dr Holub and his wife were forced to flee for their lives and in 1888 none other than Frederick Selous did the same. However in 1888 Henry Buckenham and Arthur Baldwin (both Primitive Methodist missionaries) decided their mission was to convert the Ila/Mashukulumbwe. After trekking across the Kalahari they reached the banks of the Zambezi in September 1890. However they were stuck there at Kazungula for 3 years as Paramount Chief Lewanika of Barotseland refused to allow them to proceed to Mashukulumbweland. Eventually in May 1893 they were allowed to continue and that year they opened the Nkala Mission near Ngoma and then Nanzhila in 1895. Nkala Mission closed in 1904.

 

Walking out of the church I stood and looked at the foundations of the mission building and I tried to imagine what life was like at Nanzhila in the early 1900’s

 

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I have to admire the early missionaries and their wives for their courage and tenacity as explorers, and their resourcefulness as builders, doctors, nurses, teachers etc.

 

As we returned through Nanzhila I pondered at the long distances children have to walk to school - numerous kilometres.

 

On the drive back we see oribi, waterbuck, reedbuck, zebras, warthogs, baboons, vervet, squirrel, impala, and these kudu.

 

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There were also elephant near the carpark to greet us.

 

I was told over dinner that an elephant had been right beside our chalet most of the afternoon but none were stopping our retiring tonight!

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Caracal

Friday 9 September 2016

 

This was our last day at Nanzhila and realising I hadn’t seen Roan I asked for the Mafuta Loop as our morning drive. We are joined by a South African couple who have been living and working in Mazabuka for 8 years. They are keen birders which adds a nice perspective and we set off with David and Bob

 

We soon come across waterbuck, reedbuck and oribi with birds including maribou, whitebacked vulture, saddlebilled stork, forktailed drongo and lilacbreasted roller. I was captivated watching a pair of coqui francolin admiring their creamy buff colouring and beautiful patterns. Eben and Sandie are delighted to see a Sooty Chat which is a Lifer for them. We also saw this bustard but I haven’t noted its name so I hope someone can tell me from this rather poor photo

 

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David with his sharp eyes spots a large grey mongoose (Ichneumon) and I see the last half of it disappearing under a bush. This reedbuck was close by and more co-operative.

 

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And then some roan

 

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Followed by hartebeest

 

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And a 25 strong bachelor sable herd

 

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with this proud specimen

 

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More roan

 

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Further on there was another sable with 2 blue wildebeest, a lone eland, pair of sidestriped jackal, baboons, and I can’t resist posting more oribi. Oribi seem quite common in Kafue but that in no way lessens their delicate beauty.

 

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More birds seen were brown snake eagle, fish eagle, Dickinsons kestrel, rackettailed roller.

 

Shortly before camp we were welcomed back by local waterbuck.

 

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At breakfast the elephants returned to their pool in front of dining

 

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We enjoyed a long quiet spell in the afternoon and then set off for the afternoon game drive with Steve, David and Bob and Micah and Jane a couple staying at the campsite.

 

Waterbuck, reedbuck and zebra were followed by John’s favourite wildebeest

 

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This kudu

 

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A side-striped jackal in the fading light

 

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Sundowners by Chilenje Pool

 

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The night drive back was excellent with marsh mongoose, African Wild Cat, Steenbok, Civet and Elephant Shrew.

An excellent dinner under the stars with Steve and Cindy completed a lovely day and another great stay at Nanzhila.

 

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KaingU Lodge

Great stuff Clive.

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pault

Lots and lots of sable! And an Elephant Shrew on a night drive - how did you manage to spot that? The place looks to be in good health game-wise.

 

You'd think someone would do something about the roof in the GMA school but things do generally seem to come slowly in rural Africa I guess. No wonder some appreciated the missionaries so much. Some of the older kids certainly know how to pose for photos.

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Geoff

Excellent Sable sightings and a good variety of antelope species as well as a supporting cast of other critters.

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Atravelynn

Excellent stuff on Kafue. How odd and a bit troubling about the lioness and her two kids on their own.

On to page 2

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Atravelynn

 

oops my error

 

Edited by Atravelynn

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Atravelynn

 

 

 

"More river shots (apologies if I’m posting too many) "

 

Absolute not too many. It gives us the lay of the land. I am particularly interested as Kafue is an upcoming destination next year! #34 shows the river in especially nice light!

 

 

"Whilst having sundowners JohnD told us how he got his name.

 

Apparently John’s father and Kenneth Kaunda were best mates at school and Kaunda was in Livingstone when John was born. His father and Kaunda visited the hospital a few hours after John’s birth and John’s father wanted John to be named after Kaunda. John’s mother would have none of that and decided to name him John Deere after the tractor on their farm at Choma. This has over the years been shortened to JohnD."

 

Very funny, even though I was supported my whole childhood by wages my dad earned from competitor JI Case, now Case IH, I can appreciate this name! Men do develop a bond with their tractors.

 

The hyrax latrine is fascinating too!

 

 

I will want to eat at least one meal with those large seed pods as a spoon. Thanks for the heads up.

 

The sable for sundowners is indeed magical!

 

And the sable just keep coming! You were smart to ask about seeing roan. You got both of those majestic antelope on your trip. Plus the bushpigs!

 

"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." That says it all!

 

Your experience at the school is a sobering reality check. I'm sure your contributions were greatly appreciated and well used.

Edited by Atravelynn

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Caracal

Thanks:- @@KaingU Lodge - still thinking about you guys and our time there.

 

@@pault - Elephant Shrew sighting entirely due to good night spotting by the combo of David, Steve and Bob. Have seen them on night drives before in South Luangwa. Am still mulling over the school roof.

- astute observation about the kids' photos one subject in particular appeared somewhat savvy!

 

@@Geoff - Kafue is great for diversity of antelope species though as I type I'm realising I only saw one lone eland this time.

 

@@Atravelynn - so you're heading to Kafue next year. Great I'll look forward to a return through your TR and may I please order a photo of you using a Pod Mahogany feeding spoon!

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Caracal

Saturday 10 September 2016

 

On the morning of our departure this bull elephant appropriately strides towards the Kasha River – a nice farewell image to retain in the memory.

 

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Steve and Cindy Smith

 

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After breakfast we say our thanks and farewells to Cindy, David, Collins etc.

We then leave with Steve driving us to the Dundumwezi Gate at the southernmost corner of the park. We don’t make directly for the park to start with as Steve detours a while in the hope of seeing the lions or wilddogs. Not to be but I had no expectations. Any sighting would have been a bonus. And the real bonus is that when you do have a sighting of them or cheetah or leopard as I have in the past then you have such sighting all to yourself and they are in their truly wild state. We reached the Gate shortly after 11.00am and it was there that we said farewell to Steve and thanked him for another great Nanzhila experience before transferring for the drive to Livingstone.

 

This safari to Kafue had been brief but there is so much that we enjoyed and so much that I still fondly recall whether it be people or places wildlife or landscapes.

 

At the Gate we were introduced to our driver Alex Phiri. There’s a lot to be said for road transfers as they can give you impressions of the way of life for local African communities which on the way to Kalomo is mainly subsistence farming.

 

The road ahead

 

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This unusual passenger looks totally relaxed and comfortable

 

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A more traditional form of transport

 

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Herding

 

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Local collection point for maize

 

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Entering Kalomo and some street scenes

 

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This lengthy sign starts A Roof without……

 

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I sort of get what’s intended but for me it doesn’t quite jell

 

At Kalomo we join the main Lusaka to Livingstone Highway a fast modern road in excellent condition. Alex asks if we can stop at this wayside stall to buy some favourite local fruit for his daughter.

 

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We enter the main street of Livingstone

 

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Next will be Waterberry Lodge about 30 minutes drive from Livingstone upstream on the banks of the Zambezi.

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optig

When I was in Lusaka last year I was pleasantly surprised by how rapidly it was developing,there were strip malls which looked like they had been transplanted from Southern California or Florida. The international airport was in the process off undergoing a long overdue renovation and expansion. I also felt that Livingstone was a far nicer town than Victoria Falls. It was clean,efficient and friendly.

 

However, I then realized that this was merely a facade. The Zambian people were living in thatched huts,and still using carts and donkeys.

Edited by optig

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Atravelynn

@@Atravelynn - so you're heading to Kafue next year. Great I'll look forward to a return through your TR and may I please order a photo of you using a Pod Mahogany feeding spoon!

Anything for the Diplomat for the Day!

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Caracal

When I was in Lusaka last year I was pleasantly surprised by how rapidly it was developing,there were strip malls which looked like they had been transplanted from Southern California or Florida. The international airport was in the process off undergoing a long overdue renovation and expansion. I also felt that Livingstone was a far nicer town than Victoria Falls. It was clean,efficient and friendly.

 

However, I then realized that this was merely a facade. The Zambian people were living in thatched huts,and still using carts and donkeys.

 

 

 

@@optig - I'm not sure what you're meaning by facade in relation to Zambia and I think I'm missing the point but I would have thought there are many African countries in a similar situation where their people in remoter rural areas still live in thatched huts and use carts.

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Caracal

 

@@Atravelynn - so you're heading to Kafue next year. Great I'll look forward to a return through your TR and may I please order a photo of you using a Pod Mahogany feeding spoon!

Anything for the Diplomat for the Day!

 

 

Why what a pleasant surprise @Atravelynn - Thank you. I had no idea that my Diplomatic Privileges extended to Safaritalk!

Edited by Caracal

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Botswanadreams

@optic

Have you ever been north of Maralal or Marsabit. That's Kenya too - Donkeys and Camels for transport, traditional huts everywhere.

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Botswanadreams

Thanks Caracal for your nice report. Kafue is always worth to be discovered. We have KaingU and the Kafue River in this section in very good memories. It's a little paradise.

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the Kafue segment and looking forward to Waterberry Lodge. Waterberries are what the fruit bats come for during the migration.

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Kitsafari

@@Caracal just in two posts #52 and 53 you have lots and lots of my favourite antelopes - sable, kudus and roans.

 

that's such a lovely memoriam for the missionary - nearly two centuries later and he's still remembered. what a legacy to leave behind. and your thoughtful points on how committed those missionaries were are worth reflecting over. those school kids are just as committed even if the physical school has lost its roof.

Edited by Kitsafari

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Caracal

@@Botswanadreams, @@Atravelynn, @@Kitsafari - Thanks for your supportive comments.

 

 

Saturday 10 September 2016 cont.

 

When we arrived at Waterberry we received a warm welcome and were escorted to our room – or rather our accommodation. We were rather taken aback – we walked into a lounge area with twin beds

 

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and were then shown the bathroom

 

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beyond which was a spacious double bedroom

 

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then back and upstairs to another double room

 

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Outside was a raised decking area looking down over the grassy slope to the Zambezi.

 

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When I emailed Tessa at Waterberry asking if she had accommodation available for the one night and requesting a particular room if available, Tessa replied along the lines that "You know one night at Waterberry is not really enough Clive!" unfortunately the room I requested wasn’t available but she could give us this alternate accommodation. Now firstly I heartily agree with Tessa that one night at Waterberry is not enough but I’d worked a complicated flight schedule to Europe and back using frequent flyer points so I couldn’t easily alter the flights.

 

I happily accepted the room she was offering without really appreciating all that was being offered for us two. We were spoilt!

 

After settling in we were delighted to meet Tessa and have a chat over drinks and a late lunch on the terrace overlooking the Zambezi (let me tell you all meals at Waterberry are excellent). Great to put a face to someone I’ve got to know thru’ email correspondence over a few years. Tessa resides in England so it was fortunate to catch up with her on one of her regular visits.

 

Later in the afternoon we went on a sunset cruise. The guide was Crispin and also on the cruise were a Belgian couple, two adventurous English girls who’d been self driving through Namibia and two American Ladies on their very first safari.

 

The wind had got up a bit so the river was fairly choppy

 

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We saw hippos and crocs of course, a terrapin, pied kingfisher, water dikkop, chacma baboons, giraffe and a great sunset.

 

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I couldn’t help chuckling to myself when the lady from New York exclaimed to her companion “That’s a living thing – it went up and down” referring to a hippo thought to have been a rock, then they started laughing and we all did.

 

After the cruise we had a great dinner followed by drinks around the fire before retiring.

 

Sunday 11 September 2016

 

Great to start the day with an early morning cuppa looking out at the glasslike Zambezi.

We then go for a walk around the little nature trail in the grounds.

 

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Hear hippos and a Zimbabwean hyena and various bird calls the most prominent of of which are the rather wailing braying calls of the Trumpeter Hornbills in the trees above.

 

Then breakfast and ready to leave by 10.00am with our driver Frank.

 

I’d organised with Tessa for us to call in at Maramba Market on the way to the airport.

In 2014 we called at the market and I handed out prints of photos of stallholders that I’d taken in 2011. That was a great success and we received smiles and handshakes all around.

 

Now I wanted to hand over prints of the following photos I’d taken in 2014

 

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Being a Sunday morning the market was fairly quiet and a lot of stalls unmanned but Mavis was at the Sunrise Restaurant and happily took the prints as she knew or was related to everyone bar the musician.

 

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This guy is delighted to receive a photo of him and others back in 2014

 

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He wants another taken

 

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This is Frank our driver

 

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We the set off to another section of this huge market where I recalled seeing the singer but it seems from Frank’s enquiries of stallholders he’s not a regular and more a wandering minstrel.

 

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We gave his photos to the following stallholders who will give them to the singer if he returns.

 

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I took these photos of Edward and Clifford at their bicycle repairs

 

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and then it was time to leave the market and head to the airport.

 

Whilst waiting at the airport I thought how much I’d experienced in such a short safari and what a variety.

 

I’m very optimistic about the future of Kafue. The wildlife has definitely been increasing if my observations are anything to go by with evidence of large buffalo herds, sighting of a large elephant herd and some large antelope herds all auguring well for the park. I noticed that down towards the Musa River the sides of the spinal road were starting to be invaded by encroaching scrub and bush and I trust that there will be ongoing road maintenance from the authorities as this recently reopened road is vital for the park’s future.

 

Hopefully time and health will allow me to return to Africa and in the meantime I have more wonderful memories to add to those of earlier safaris

 

 

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Edited by Caracal

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marg

@@Caracal...you have given us photos of some great slices of life that are not usually included in our trip reports. Thank you!

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ZaminOz

@@Caracal thanks for a wonderful (and very nostalgic for me) trip report!

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KaingU Lodge

@@Caracal

Thanks for a great report and taking the time to do it all and we look forward to the next one!

 

I am really glad that you are seeing the positive changes in the Kafue.

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michael-ibk

Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed this report a lot!

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panamaleo

Loved your report; brought back many memories of our shared 2014 trip to the Kafue. I remember the "Gasoline Can Guitarist," and have a photo of him too!

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