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Atravelynn
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@@Atravelynn I didn't even remember that but now that you mention it, I do! Funny. Well I Love Lucy is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and my daughter portrayed her in 3rd grade for her Famous American project, so she had to come up some time in one of my trip reports too and I thought you and I are good candidates for Lucy and Ethel.

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Fortunately there would be more dog action in our remaining 24 hours in Mana Pools. But, next up was Boswell again. It was 10:45 am and already 104°F, 40°C. The heat and our position out in the direct sun require the Camera hint to appear once more. Unprotected from the direct rays, my camera again refused to continuous shoot. Single shots worked fine. I found that protecting the camera body from direct, prolonged sunlight restored all functions.

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Boswell at work shaking trees and ripping off choice branches.

 

Boswell also did his handstands. Maybe @@SafariChick has handstand photos.

 

Here’s a safari lesson reinforcement: Never wrap it up until you have to. After our successful morning with the dogs and a Boswell show, Doug asked if we would like to stay longer or head back. I think we all became polite, not wanting to keep the others out in the 104°F, 40°C heat and everyone said it was ok to head back. But Doug suggested we stay a little longer and he was right.

 

A female elephant and her calf arrived and Boswell was accepting of their presence and of ours. Doug had us positioned in a wood pile, first "asking permission" of the elephants by quietly talking to them to let them know we were there. These intelligent beasts know the sound of Doug’s voice, his appearance, and smell, and were reassured based on their many previous encounters with Doug and clients.

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Happy family scene

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Tusks of Boswell

 

 

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Edited by Atravelynn
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Glad to see you are getting to know Boswell and you found the dogs this time.

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offshorebirder

Wow! What a precious experience Boswell and the female elephant granted you!

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@@offshorebirder you're right, this was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip! I remember it a little differently from @@Atravelynn in that I recall we watched Boswell alone for some time but the female and calf were nearby so we saw them too. Then they came up to join Boswell and at first, Boswell didn't want to share the stuff he had just pulled down but then he relented. Doug said this cow and calf had been hanging out with Boswell a lot recently, which was interesting. Then I recall they started to wander off and that was when Doug asked did we want to leave or follow them a bit just to see what they were getting up to. And when we decided to follow, that's when they went to wallow in some mud and it was really special. That baby had the best time! I have a bunch of photos and some video too - will try to get to posting as soon as I can, maybe tonight.

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@@Kitsafari...we will be in Singapore for two days early January. Would you like to bring you some pop tarts?

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@Atravelynn@SafariChick...great trip report. It is as if we are all just sitting around listening to your conversations and at times having a nice chuckle.

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@@offshorebirder you're right, this was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip! Me too, a very intimate encounter. I remember it a little differently from @@Atravelynn in that I recall we watched Boswell alone for some time but the female and calf were nearby so we saw them too. Then they came up to join Boswell and at first, Boswell didn't want to share the stuff he had just pulled down but then he relented. Doug said this cow and calf had been hanging out with Boswell a lot recently, which was interesting. Then I recall they started to wander off and that was when Doug asked did we want to leave or follow them You are right; it was at this point that the choice was posed to us. Good thing we pressed on the the 104 F. a bit just to see what they were getting up to. And when we decided to follow, that's when they went to wallow in some mud and it was really special. That baby had the best time! I have a bunch of photos and some video too - will try to get to posting as soon as I can, maybe tonight.

 

Plenty of chuckles @@marg!

We did find lots of dogs this time @@wilddog, but we were working for it!

Edited by Atravelynn
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Who's Ken? I am missing a lot when I stay away too long from ST.... :wacko:

 

wow @@SafariChick you captured those impalas mid-air as they fled from the dogs. Just the experience to see the dogs on the ground would make the trip worthwhile. I notice there was another group of guests behind the bunch of sitting dogs. I also heard (not sure if it was another TR or just a comment in passing in one of the threads here) that Mana Pools is getting very crowded. How crowded was it when you guys were there? Did you share all your sightings with other groups and did it affect the quality of viewings?

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@@Kitsafari you know Barbie, as in the Barbie doll? Well Ken is Barbie's boyfriend ;) NOT a real person! Thanks for the comments about the photos of the impalas fleeing from the dogs. Yes, it was very exciting to come upon the dogs right in mid-chase! But they already had gotten some other prey we think, or if they got an impala right around that time, it happened out of our sight. I wouldn't say it felt "very crowded" at all. I would say that at some of the dog sightings, yes there were multiple other groups. At that first sighting, there were several other groups - maybe it was around 20-25 people all together? What woud you say @@Atravelynn? But it didn't impede the viewing at all to me. No one was in anyone's way and everyone was quietly enjoying the sighting, there was plenty of room to spread out and see just fine and be close to the dogs. Also at the first sighting of Boswell there were several other people. I don't think there were many if any at the second sighting of Boswell, the one we're in the midst of writing about.

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There will be no more mention of Barbie's boyfriend, Ken, in this report to minimize confusion. I would agree that 20-25 people were around the dogs that morning, all acting responsibly--both the people and the dogs. I would say that was the # of people for all of our daylight dog sightings, all behaving well. There was another couple at the mating lions as I recall. That is about it.

 

After a morning of dogs and Boswell and cow and calf, back at Mucheni #4 it was very productive as well.

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Mucheni #4

 

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Mucheni #4

 

There were two instances on this trip where I saw nursing elephant calves. The first was during our breakfast stop on the canoe safari where a cow and calf nursed next to our canoes that had been pulled ashore, maybe 25 meters from us. The second was at Mucheni #4 also within 20 meters. What a privilege that the elephants are so comfortable around the human visitors.

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Mucheni #4

 

The wildlife activity around camp today, combined with our previous three nights reinforced to me what Natureways Guide Craig had said: If you stay at camp instead of doing the activities eventually you’ll see everything Mana Pools has to offer.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Here are some of my photos and videos of Boswell, the cow and calf while they were in eating mode.

 

Boswell shaking a tree, which he did quite a few times during this viewing session:

 

 

Boswell doing two different handstands:

 

 

I love this one as it shows Boswell with a good-sized leafy branch he had pulled down eating happily, and then the cow and calf coming into the picture. When he first sees them coming he picks up his branch and moves it away as though he doesn't want to share (though you will hear Doug urging him to share!) but it is not much of an effort; the calf continues towards the branch and then Boswell lets the calf and cow share. You can see the vast size difference between Boswell and the calf and even between Boswell and the cow, but Boswell is very gentle with the calf, and the calf and cow seem completely at ease around him.

 

 

Boswell with calf peering out from under his belly

 

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And some of the mudbathing photos: This was such an intimate and sweet experience, and I just felt very privileged to be able to witness it.

 

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Boswell walked ahead and the cow came in to join the calf

 

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"Mom, I just need to lie down in this nice, cool mud for a minute!"

 

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But Mom seemed to be urging the youngster to move on, and it reluctantly got up and followed her

 

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Despite it being very cold with 6 inches of snow on the ground and another 3-4 inches projected, these videos put me right back in the heat of Mana Pools.

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At some point while searching for dogs on foot in the forest, we found cooperative guinea fowl on the orangey leaves.

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Doug encouraged us to get a blue and orange shot if possible and drove around looking for obliging guinea fowl.

 

Great minds think alike and dress alike. Here are SafariChick and me wearing the same Tilley hat (calling @ld1), the same Tag Safari Shirt in the same color, the same Nikon Monarch binos on a binocular harness, and similar capri pants.

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"Dress alikes with elephants"

 

SafariChick becoming separated from her belongings had become a funny theme of the trip. As we readied ourselves for our final afternoon outing in the floodplains, I was sitting in the vehicle and overheard SafariChick trying to find her hat.

 

“Oh no,” I thought, “It just couldn’t be lost. Did it blow away? She had her hat this morning. Where in the world could it have gone?”

 

Before hopping out of the vehicle to help with the search, I did a quick check of my own belongings: binos, camera, water, hat in hand…hat on head. Uh-oh, I had taken her hat. I was a Tilley thief. Immediately I confessed and pleaded guilty to the crime of “unable to distinguish between two identical hats.”

 

Court dismissed, we set out to cover the 11 kms between us and where we had left the dogs this morning near Vundu. It was 3:50 pm and 102°F, 39°C.

 

There was a shallow pool near where the wild dogs were resting that Doug believed would be irresistible when their nap was done. He positioned us across from the pool and we waited. About 5:30 pm the dog show began. It lasted 15 minutes and 1 million photos.

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Here come the pups - Nyakasanga pack, found near Vundu

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5 of the 9 pups of the Nyakasanga pack

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patiently waiting a turn

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The mud and reflection all adds to the mottled-ness of the whole scene

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The dog show ended abruptly when the dogs departed, along with the last light.

 

Around 6:00 pm it was 90°F, 32°C.

 

We continued to keep an eye out for the dogs as we slowly drove back and we could catch some glimpses of a few of them running in the thicket. At one point Doug had us get out of the vehicle and follow the fragmented pack on foot. Our glimpses of the pack members as they sprinted past were brief but it was very exciting to be on ground level with a fast-moving pack on the hunt at night.

 

One sighting that really resonated with us was a mother baboon in the crotch of a tree, about 10 meters off the ground, completely still and clutching her baby in fright. Though she was safe from the pack at that height, she remained terrorized.

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Dog in the dark

 

88°F, 31°C at 9:20 pm.

Edited by Atravelynn
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So happy for you two, and a tad jealous as well. Such a treat to see this pack, with pups, and playing in the mud, and reflecting, and following them on foot..... Just all the wows in one sighting!

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That story of my "losing" my hat did fit so well with the theme of this trip! We sure were stylish, huh? :P Here are a couple of photos from that afternoon at camp when the elephants visited us.

 

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I finally got my selfie with an elephant

 

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and here is one contribution of a Guinea Fowl

 

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When we found the dogs in the afternoon still sleeping, we had to choose whether to positions ourselves near them so we could see the dogs when they woke up and watch the greeting ritual we presumed they would partake in, or whether to position ourselves by the water where Doug thought they would go to drink. It was a tough choice for some of us, but Doug really felt it would be better to be by the water as the greeting ritual would likely be short compared to the time they'd spend at the water. And he was right. We could hear the greeting ritual from our spot by the water, but it lasted for perhaps a minute before the pups' heads started to appear. I think the photos I took that afternoon are on a different memory card that I haven't had a chance to take photos from yet (@@Atravelynn was kind enough to lend me her alternate camera which could zoom in farther than my still non-full-zooming one and I felt like we were a bit far to get crisp photos with the amount mine could zoom in) but I do have some short videos from this afternoon. The first three are of the pups approaching tentatively and drinking and then some of the adults joining:

 

 

 

 

and here is another of when we first saw the dogs going off to hunt through the woods as we were driving away from the sighting. It was 6:07 p.m. by this time, so getting pretty dark ... and @@marg and @@KaliCA yes it was really exciting to get out and follow them on foot! That poor mama and baby baboon cowering in the tree was quite a sight - we really felt for them but they were lucky this time!

Edited by SafariChick
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"and here is another of when we first saw the dogs going off to hunt through the woods as we were driving away from the sighting. It was 6:07 p.m. by this time, so getting pretty dark ." For all the videos the dogs remain at the water that I could see. It's exciting seeing so many of them so animated in the videos, @@SafariChick.

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Tut tut @@Atravelynn surely three Tilley's are enough for any girl ?. I love the photo of you and @@SafariChick in your Safari uniforms. All that Khaki makes me giddy for my trip next year ??

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I finally got my selfie with an elephant

 

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Great elephant photobomb!

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Tut tut @@Atravelynn surely three Tilley's are enough for any girl . I love the photo of you and @@SafariChick in your Safari uniforms. All that Khaki makes me giddy for my trip next year

But who's counting!?

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@@Atravelynn Oh now I see what you mean, I guess I neglected to actually put in the link for that last video! Ok here it is, of the dogs beginning their hunt in the woods at after 6:00 p.m.

 

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Fantastic sightings you had on the floodplains. The dogs are great,. It must have been great to see such a big pack with pups.

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