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An Addendum to Optig's Awesome Safari trip report - Malilangwe, Gonarezhou


Kitsafari

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Okay I posted a little too early! That's a decent number of pics. Lovely.

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The sable continued its way to the water - at one point, he might have heard some whispering from us as he stopped and stared at our direction. He lowered his head to drink – a signal that all was cle

One morning we returned to a pan where we had seen lichenstein’s hartebeests earlier in the morning. Jephat slowed down and came to a halt as he saw a stunning male sable making its way to the waterho

A crash of four white rhinos cantered towards the pan. Seeing us, the lead rhino, dubbed by the Pamushana guides as the long horn (she had a beautiful long thin horn), came towards us to check what d

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Kitsafari

@@pault glad to keep you satisfied. :) and thanks for the support.

 

thanks to everyone for the likes too!

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Kitsafari

Big cats - there are 5 prides of lions in Malilangwe and a total of about 45 lions. we saw the Southern pride of lions with one cub but minus one adult female. the two male lions were with the pride. the pride used to be of 9 but lost some cubs recently. the pride as usual were fast asleep and although the sun was fast sinking, they showed little inclination to move.

 

 

a lion greeting

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another time we saw a coalition of 3 young male lions of about 5 years that left the Nnduna pride, and now with no permanent pride. they were horizontal,of course, and our vehicle mates were anxious for their sundowners and so off we went after the usual shot of "lions sleeping".

 

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Kitsafari

There are also an estimated 45 leopards but I didn't see any during my stay. Instead we saw cheetahs. we almost missed the first onej. In fact, we drove past her as we were focussed on a handful of buffalos at the Rojan waterhole. it was only when Difficult turned back and uttered cheetah that we realised how well camouflaged she was. the female cheetah was on a fresh kill - Jephat reckoned we missed the kill by some 10-15mins. But she obliged us by carrying on eating and Jephat mentioned that she avoided puncturing the stomach and other organs, which would have otherwise alerted other predators (like the super nose hyenas).

 

and here is the lovely female cheetah on a rather gruesome kill (impala).

 

 

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On our last morning as we headed back to Pamushana lodge to finish our packing before the transfer to Gonarezhou, we came across 2 male cheetahs. Lying down, they were almost undetectable among the tall grasses. that's why we need super eye Difficult. @@marg had asked in the other thread (@@optig's awesome safari) which cheetahs these were. These boys were part of a litter of five - which was the first litter born to the female we saw on the kill. Apparently one of the male cubs died. The two boys looked healthy and the girls are doing well too.
The boys started to move when we came close.
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yoga posies
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Kitsafari

To add to optig's list of Birds in Malilangwe -

 

 

blue waxbill

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LBR

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a pair of wahlberg eagles i think.

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i seem to see cape turtle doves and laughing doves but i may be wrong

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helmeted guineafowl

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a tawny eagle?

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a red wing starling enjoying a dip in the pool

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jephat says this was white browed scrubbed robin - i'm not sure if it is.

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grey headad shrike - a first for me

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LBR

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afrian harrier hawk

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white fronted bee eater

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Kitsafari

a little bit of this and that in Malilangwe. and then we were on our way to cross the border and fences into the Gonarezhou National Park.

 

a skink

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Daissie - hyrax. i'm still amazed at their link to elephants and manatees - they were all over the lodge. and a couple were always on my deck running up and down, chasing each other. so cool to watch them.

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african wild dogs! only managed to see them once and at a far distance. they were running off because of an elephant which suddenly popped up behind us. we made our steady but brisk retreat as well.

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Zebra crossing....

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wildebeest

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oxpeckers on a giraffe skin

 

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a handsome impala stag

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young male nyala with females

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I've only seen klipspringer once but this trip delivers loads

 

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the little horns, the big round eyes, the dainty toes

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waterbucks - the view from my room

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a genet in the tree in the night

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a flying machine

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a poor giraffe with what looks like calcium deposits on the skin or large warts

 

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a dozing roadblock

 

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Caracal

Really enjoying this awesome addendum to @@optig's awesome TR @@Kitsafari - what a wonderful variety you both saw.

 

You may have only seen wilddogs once but what a huge number - looks like a gathering for a corroboree or similar!

 

Great sighting of the klipspringer and cute dassie photo.

 

Worried by that giraffe - maybe @@egilio can enlighten us on its disease/infliction?

 

Fascinated by the lovely facial markings of the nyala - an antelope I've not seen to date.

 

Great videos too @@Kitsafari

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@@Caracal i was amazed at just how many nyala that I saw both at Pamushana,and in Gonarezhou. You are right they are truly beautiful,and have very distinctive markings. As I mentioned I had only seen a nyala once before and that was at Mana Pools National Park 5 years ago. They are so different from greater kudu.

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Kitsafari

Gonarezhou

 

Voices call to me on winds that twirl and twist the thoughts in my mind. They echo off those high cliffs of Gonarezhou . The land narrates to me of men and women who had lost or won, and of the tired spirits. Men who came and left, men who stole the land, tearing into those who tendered to the land, leaving the soils soaked with blood.

 

 

As I sat in front of my dome tent, tucked at the far end of the camp, I gazed on the dry sands of the Runde River. Looking down on me was the majestic Chilojo cliffs with its layers of pink, red, maroon, off-white sand that looked like a sumptuous tall cake. The solitude of the silence surrounded me, the breeze picking up strength, lifting the canvas covers as they flapped against the tent. Just like the elephants flapping their ears to cool at the height of the afternoon sun.

 

 

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Kitsafari

Right in front of me, a bull elephant stood silently on the dry sandy river bed behind the tall ebony tree. He sampled the leaves of a bush, his ears flapping to cool his large grey body, oblivious to my small presence.

 

 

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He gazed at the other end of the riverbed and rumbled, gently jolting my heart, but he called not for me but for another elephant at the opposite end of the riverbed. He began to walk, revealing a heavy limp as he attempted to put less weight on his left side. It became clear as he made his laborious walk on the burning sands that the bottoms of his left front and hind feet were dark, and painful. the other elephant made a steady pace towards me and as the two elephants came close to each other the other young healthy and larger elephant halted, showing curiousity at the limping giant. the smaller elephant faltered in his walk, then swerved away rather than meet head to head.

 

 

 

 

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Kitsafari

@@Caracal thank you for coming by and for such encouraging words. nyalas are fascinating though I often confuse them with bushbucks. I was surprised seeing them in the greater Gonarezhou area .

 

The giraffe's skin disease looks like the Calcinosis cutis illness that one of my dogs has right now. it was triggered by her cushing's disease, and i wonder if it was the same for the giraffe.

 

the wilddog pack had 27 (including young ones). our vehicle mates from Pamushana did a one-day excursion into Gonarezhou and said they saw a pack of over 50. now, whether they were trying to make us jealous or pulling a fast one over us, we did check out the area they said they were on the following day, and there were tracks of dogs. but Ant couldn't confirm if there were really over 50! i still feel they exaggerated to make us sweat. :wacko:

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@@Kitsafari

Beautiful cheetah - and stunning photos. Your boat trip was very productive.

Gonarezhou looks stunning!

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Atravelynn

Nice to have some more Gonarezhou. That rhino and sable together, so close and so comfortably is a magnificent rarity. The sable and kneeling hartebeest ain't bad either. Cool interaction with those rhino (so close to you all) and the less than congenial ele.

 

Hey, hey, you found a huge dog pack!

The frequent comments that Gonarezhou is not about the predators seem to be inaccurate after looking at the experience that you and optig had. And the varied birdlife! Your words are a beautifully descriptive portrayal of this beautiful place!

Edited by Atravelynn
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@@Kitsafari...loving your report, of course. We have spent a total of two weeks at Pamushana the last several years and never done the boat ride. It looks like we made a mistake. I am still trying to figure out the cheetah. One year ago September there was a pair of brothers about fifteen months old. And, a mother with a short tail and her daughter, also about fifteen months old. Did one of the brothers and the daughter find one another?

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Game Warden

@@Kitsafari Do you think the giraffe was suffering from Papilloma Virus? There's a previous ST topic about it here. The symptoms look similar.

 

Matt

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SafariChick

Continuing to enjoy this report @@Kitsafari - you got some lovely photos, especially of birds! And how lucky to see the big pack of dogs, though I know you wish it were closer and for longer. Looking forward to the continuation with Gonarezhou.

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Great report thanks @@Kitsafari

I saw a Giraffe in Kruger 2 years ago with similar skin lesions (see my trip report "Self Drive in Kruger" in the South Africa TR section).It looks terrible and very sore for the poor Giraffe.

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post-49085-0-27919600-1479736392_thumb.jpg

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I've never seen a living animal distress in more appaling distress. i can only say that I truly pity the giraffe. I once saw a baboon with a hunchback in Hwange National Park. it really made me think about nature produces freaks.

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Atravelynn

That giraffe is very disturbing and I can only hope it is not suffering severely. But how could it not?

 

You mention 45 lions and 45 leopards. Were there any cheetah estimates?

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Kitsafari

@@TonyQ it was very productive not only in terms of birdlife but mammals as well. the pod of hippos included a nursery creche and one of the male hippos dived under the boat and popped up right by our side, snorting water out as its head reared up. it sure surprised us.

 

@@Atravelynn thanks for the comments. malilangwe was great to see predators, it would make up for the lack of similar sightings in Gonarezhou.

 

 

@@marg the boat ride done early int he morning is highly recommended. you get serenaded by all the bird calls! i'm not sure if it's the same cheetahs that you mentioned - but the two males looked fairly young. I don't know if the sister met up with the brothers.

Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

@@Game Warden thank you for the interesting link. it look exactly like the warts that Dr Clay mentioned in his thread. interesting to note that his 2010 post mentioned occurences in Kruger, Tanzania and Namibia. and now it seems to have spread or could already have been there much earlier to malilangwe.

 

But i agree with his observances. this giraffe didn't look in any pain, and was just moving smoothly and unhurriedly away from the road and the vehicle. and i;'m glad he didn't just shoot the animals because they are "ugly".

 

@@Hads that giraffe in your pix looks more heavily infected and spreading to the rest of the body. even the hair on the sides of the body have fallen off. if the warts continue to spread throughout the body, i wonder if the weight would cause any adverse effect. But I notice a calf next to it, so she's still healthy to bear young.

 

here's a larger picture of the infected giraffe from my trip:

 

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Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

That giraffe is very disturbing and I can only hope it is not suffering severely. But how could it not?

 

You mention 45 lions and 45 leopards. Were there any cheetah estimates?

 

@@Atravelynn - these were the estimates that Jephat gave for Malilangwe. he didn't give estimates for the cheetahs though and I didn't think of asking too. :(

Edited by Kitsafari
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Atravelynn

 

That giraffe is very disturbing and I can only hope it is not suffering severely. But how could it not?

 

You mention 45 lions and 45 leopards. Were there any cheetah estimates?

 

@@Atravelynn - these were the estimates that Jephat gave for Malilangwe. he didn't give estimates for the cheetahs though and I didn't think of asking too. :(

 

We know there are two!

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madaboutcheetah

@@Kitsafari - do some of the animals move back and forth between the Singita concession and Gonerezhou? predators specifically?

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Kitsafari

@@madaboutcheetah there is an electric fence between the two parks but it's mainly to keep rhinos in Malilangwe and elephants out of Malilangwe. other mammals are able to cross between, so yes predators should in theory be able to cross over but i think the plains game density is less dispersed and more ready sources of water in Malilangwe.

 

 

 

 

That giraffe is very disturbing and I can only hope it is not suffering severely. But how could it not?

 

You mention 45 lions and 45 leopards. Were there any cheetah estimates?

 

@@Atravelynn - these were the estimates that Jephat gave for Malilangwe. he didn't give estimates for the cheetahs though and I didn't think of asking too. :(

 

We know there are two!

 

 

 

@@Atravelynn at least 3! (plus the one on the kill)

 

 

I googled a bit to see if there was a number on cheetahs in Malilangwe, but I couldn't find it. I did find a number of at least 29 individual cheetahs in the lowveld in the southern region of Zimbabwe, which includes Malilangwe and Gonarezhou via this linke: http://www.cheetahzimbabwe.org/zim-cheetahs

Edited by Kitsafari
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