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How Doug came to know what Australian for "lion" is....Zimbabwe 2016


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@@JulieM really enjoying the photos and stories so far - glad you had good buffalo sightings at Chitake!

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The next day we were picked up at 8am for our transfer to Davison's Camp in Hwange National Park. Many seem to fly in, but we drove/were driven which I enjoyed. It's interesting to see the scenery a

It seems we weren't finished with buffaloes for the day. We were heading back towards camp, along the cliff line, when another herd decided to come in for a drink.     Notice the tree to the lef

So what to say about Doug that hasn't already been said? He is a consummate professional:     Full Definition of consummate 1: complete in every detail : perfect 2: extremely skilled and

Fabulous pic of the gorge Julie - outstanding! Buffalos as well. Great descriptions too.


Australian for lion is funny, if a bit "shaggy dog". Haha I'll bet.


This is excellent. In fact you should have called this Bill and Jule's Most Excellent Adventure. Corny and a highly unsophisticated cultural reference, but very much to the point. Brilliant.

Edited by pault
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@@pault Ha! That WOULD have been a good title for their report! But perhaps they can use it for their next one - the epic 4-month road trip! That will surely be a most excellent adventure. @@JulieM very soon we will get to writing up a report so stay tuned!

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Love your report and pictures. Julie you must be a planner like I am, as I have already been in touch with Doug for September, 2018. Our friends who were going to join us are backing out, so I am hoping Doug can put together something with other people in order to keep the price reasonable. Your Aussie dollar is bad like our Canadian dollar which makes this kind of trip tough. Been to Brisbane and loved it, especially the Koala sanctuary.

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I am eager to see what all went on before our trip. Nice boat for the Zambezi. Marvelous Vic Falls shots. Thumbs up and smiles for the heli viewing I see. We missed out on all that and the Zambezi Sparkler.


Your framing is very attractive for the photos. I know how you feel about, "what more could I add." But it helps to show the excellent consistency of the guide--trip after trip with positive results. Also it's nice to have different reports for specific times of year. Plus, as you note, it's just plain fun to read about somewhere you're going or have just been. I'm looking forward to some fun with your report!

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So cute indeed for the lion cub and how nice to get lions with eles.


What would your safarimates rather do than see eles taking a mud bath? The individuals in the mud along with the wider shots that show the sheer numbers of eles coming to water are great contrasts?


Your day back at camp had to be as rewarding as the drive with all the waterhole activity. The sunset shot of eles is such classic Hwange! Roan, sable nice going!


The lions, 3 shots with one leaning next to a tree, were seen when you got back in the vehicle, I assume.


Lovely aerial departure shots from Hwange.

Edited by Atravelynn
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I have just read the dictionary (excellent word choice) and now it is off to Chitake. I admit I shared your confession #1 on my first visit too.


“we were very lucky when 15minutes later, and all of a sudden, the dust was flying, and the buffalo were here!” No fair, 15 minutes! Great buffalo shots the cut through the dust. And then the herd returned. Fabulous fight scene with the buffalo.


You did the baobabs proud, Princess!


Doug told us about your lion encounter. That had to be heart stopping!


Great report and much more to come!

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Apologies for the delay in the story - I've swanned off to New Zealand for a long weekend....:)

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I liked your pointing out the tree in the walking and the buffalo shot for landmarks. It shows how fast Chitake can change and how those initial concerns of inactivity and bleakness in Confession #1 were unfounded. I truly believe I saw the same baboon doing just about the same thing as the one just above Confession #4. Of course baboons look a lot alike.




Looking forward to more when you return from New Zealand.

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Sorry @@Hads - here comes the next instalment!!


So after saying a sad farewell to Chitake Springs, we hopped in the Landrover and headed to the floodplains area. By mid-morning we were there, and what was the first sighting - the dogs! So excited. They were sleeping under a tree quite some distance from the road, and I was thinking that they were too far away for me to get decent photos, when Doug reminded me that we could hop out of the vehicle and walk closer to them. Sooo cool! I love this place!! We approached carefully and were able to get a lot closer. I had thought that they would be down for the day, but luckily they hopped up.






I'm not sure what had happened to this one.




And I'm not sure what the pack were looking at, but this is my all time favourite photo of wild dogs (that I've taken!).





But it isn't all about the big things...




We headed to camp in time for lunch. What a great spot! The tents are bigger here, with flush toilets (sooo flash!!) and there's a view over the Zambezi into Zambia.








After lunch and a siesta, it was time to head out again and try for another sighting of the wild dogs. We initially found them down by the river having a drink.




They moved into an open area and had a rest in the beautiful golden sunset.








We had been sitting on a log watching them, along with quite a few other vehicles and people on foot, but then Doug suggested I sidle up as close as I could by boot-scooting along the ground. It was incredible being that close to them! There were other photographers, with much bigger faster lenses than me, but I was the closest, 'cos I had the best guide!! This too, is one of my favourite photos - I'm in my happy place!




After about 45 minutes, the pack decided it was time to go and hunt. I love the waking up rituals and the yips and yaps that they communicate with.






They headed away and we all followed them but it was getting late and so we had to head back to camp before closing time. It was a great introduction to the floodplains!

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15 minutes for buffalo and dogs upon arrival. Again, NO fair. I agree on that favorite shot. Others are great too. Dogs are not an easy subject, in part because (when you are lucky) there are a lot of moving dogs each with their own moving parts. You and the dogs is a good shot too, a very happy place on many levels.

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I want to be in that happy place too.

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@@JulieM I am so pleased you got a great sighting of dogs in Mana. It's such a great place to see them as they seem so relaxed In Mana. Awesome report!

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I agree with @@Atravelynn - so lucky to find the dogs so quickly! And you got some great shots - I love your favorite shot you've taken of dogs, and also the one of the three of them together - and you sitting near them. I agree, Doug is the best!

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Thanks for the encouragement everyone!


The next morning we headed out in the truck initially. We hadn't seen any hyenas yet, so this guy in the nice dawn sun was lovely to see.




We parked the vehicle and headed off into the bush on foot. First we found Yoga Elephant:




And then we found this sole lioness. She was far enough away for me to feel comfortable, but close enough to feel her steely gaze!






After spending some time observing her, she headed back into the bush and we headed back to the car. We spend the rest of the morning driving around the park, and watching elephants eating at this tree that they had pushed over, and then later crossing the Zambezi in front of camp.
















The smoke haze from Zambia is pretty thick, as you can see. It will be interesting to come back one day and see what it looks like without the smoke.


After lunch and siesta time, we walked out of camp along the Zambezi. What a wonderful way to spend time on safari. It is a lovely area and there is wildlife wherever you look.









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You're right about the smoke being heavy at times, but that also gave a rich cast to some of the photos.

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Amongst magical moments and happy places, this day would prove to be my favourite of the whole trip.


We headed out, planning to be away from camp all day. We were headed for the area where the Chikwenya Lodge is - we were meant to be staying there but it is undergoing renovations and is shut.


Our first sighting was a lioness (bad light, no good photos) and then we came across this magnificent male lion. We parked approx 10metres from him, and then Doug said "Hey Julie, get out of the car and you'll get a great shot from the ground". Thinking I was possibly mad, but trusting Doug entirely, I slid out of the passenger door (which was on the other side of the car from where the lion was) and tried to remain a piece of the car. Of course Leo noticed me, and looked my way. I probably took about 10 shots before he seemed to be starting to take even more notice of me, flicked his tail and I was off - back into the car. I absolutely love this shot, and I suspect it will end up on my wall at home.




My adrenaline levels settled on the drive up the river.


Doug had predicted where he thought the dogs were - and sure enough, out on these plains, in the lovely morning sun, the dogs were playing. We got out of the vehicle and watched as they ran around, the puppies chasing birds and each other, until the alpha female decided it was time to move. At one stage they walked past where we were sitting, only about 5 metres away from me, and when I moved to adjust my position I must have given one a fright and it barked at me! They then changed direction and headed under some bushes for their sleep.














After they had settled in, we headed off to see the carmine bee-eaters. I had a lovely hour or so trying to photograph these beautiful birds, while Doug and hubby relaxed by the tree.












After exhausting my patience with bird photography, we headed off and drove through this beautiful forested area. I couldn't help trying to be a bit creative.








We set up for lunch under a big tree, next to the Zambezi. About 500metres away, a safari operator was setting up a campsite I think for some people on a canoe safari. Other than them, though, we were alone and it really felt like we were in the middle of an African paradise. After lunch, Doug set out some swags for us to have a read and then a sleep. Another happy place for Julie!!




An elephant family came to visit us during our siesta.






It was a magic afternoon.


Heading home we came across this hippo in a mud pool. He didn't look very well.




The late afternoon light on the river was gorgeous.




More elephants, and then we found the wild dogs again. Who can resist back-lit wild dogs?










Apparently this elephant wasn't that keen on them!




She chased them away, but I don't think they were too concerned.




Back to camp in the dark, it was a truly superb day.

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I like what you did with the trees and orange fallen leaves. Magnificent male lion. Outstanding carmine bee eater. I know that bee eater spot! Did you see 2 different packs of dogs or the same pack more than once. You're a dog magnet!

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Amazing @@JulieM. The second photo in post #62 looks like the dog is full of ticks.

And that Male lion stare - puts goose bumps on goose bumps........

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@@JulieM That Chikwenya pack are pretty special and so relaxed around humans.

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I like what you did with the trees and orange fallen leaves. Magnificent male lion. Outstanding carmine bee eater. I know that bee eater spot! Did you see 2 different packs of dogs or the same pack more than once. You're a dog magnet!



Thanks Lynn. It was the same pack each time. Doug seemed to know where they would be the next day, based on where they had been the night before - he was always right!

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We were yet to see Boswell. He had been sighted heading across to Zambia, so we weren't sure whether we would get to see him at all. But we spotted this male elephant "doing a Boswell", going up on his hind legs to get branches and pods. We named him Murray.




He was quite a magnificent beast, and following him on foot through the forest in the early morning light was very special.






Again and again he would go up and although he had a good amount of hang time (better than Boswell apparently), he didn't get as much down as Boswell does.






While following him around, Doug had been quietly talking to him, in a very reassuring voice. At one stage Murray decided to come over and have a look at us. I was sitting on the ground, with Doug and hubby behind me, as this massive beast got closer and closer and closer. His ears were out and his eyes were wide, but he wasn't charging, nor did he seem distressed. Still, it was daunting. "Remain calm", advised Doug!! No worries....




Recovery from this adrenaline burst took another few minutes. Let's do a spot of bird photography while we recover!




Heading back to the vehicle we again came across some eles. "Hop out of the vehicle" Doug said again. I swear he was trying to get rid of me......(just joking!).




I love this one of Doug.




Our morning's adventures hadn't ended. "The Spice Girls" were apparently in the area - a group of lionesses with cubs. Stretch and his guests had just came out from walking in to the thicket where they were, so we too headed off. Behind us came a group without a guide, who were straggling along in pairs and as individuals, armed only with a machete. Suddenly there's an almighty roar, and this lioness let it be known that we were all close enough thank you! Fortunately for us, her main target was this other group. It was at this point, however, that I decided I was quite happy being a woman - as I firmly put my husband between myself and the lioness! Men are the protectors aren't they? And we have the babies! Fair's fair! I thought about hiding behind Doug, but he had the gun and I didn't want to get in the way of him using it should he need to!




We sidled away, to her much more chill sister.




My adrenals had sure had a workout, so I was pleased to head back to the car and camp!


The afternoon started with a brief sighting of a leopard. Our only leopard of the trip so I was happy. She was quite young and well hidden in the bushes, but a sighting it was all the same!




We headed back up to the carmines. We had left some logs artfully placed near their colony, hoping to get a lovely shot of them all in a row on this log. Turns out carmines are pretty, but not very cooperative!! They didn't use our logs at all.






We decided to head back to where the sick looking hippo had been the day before, to see if he was still there. He wasn't, but as we were looking at the mud pool, Doug says - lions! Up on a ridge was this large pride of lionesses and cubs!






As it was late afternoon by now, one by one they headed down the ridge towards us, and more and more lions appeared! I think there were 9 altogether.










They fanned out, each looking in a slightly different direction, and we knew a hunt was on, but alas, we had to head back to camp before dark! Rats!


On the way home we came across this large buffalo herd.






Another top day on safari.

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