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wilddog

A Return to Northern Kafue

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deano

A great report so far; as much as I like to see the animals it is also good to get a taste of the various camps @@wilddog so thank you for those pics as well. Love the light in the eyes of those lions but Ms Buttercup would be the star in any light. You can almost tell what she thinks of you in that last one!

 

Looking forward to more from Zambia and parts of it on my wish list ....

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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AfricIan

Likewise - happy memories for us as well. Good to see the cheetah pair from our trip as still doing well - I was "castigated" by @@madaboutcheetah for my minimalist coverage of them in my TR so it's nice to see your more extensive set of photos!

 

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"New Musekese" does look really good, I wonder what we're doing next year :unsure:

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ZaminOz

Great pics and report @@wilddog

 

Re the explanation for the dark patches on the flanks of Hartebeest, I have never heard that nostril parasite explanation before?

I was always under the impression, and told, that the patches on their sides were caused by rubbing the glands located below their eyes (that secrete a dark secretion) on their flanks?

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KafueTyrone

To clarify on the Hartebeest saga! My explanation/suggestion (which was a personal view/thought provoker!) was that of the impact of botfly larvae in the nasal cavity of the hartebeest, the causatory irritation and production of nasal mucus or 'snot'. When Hartebeest feed in burnt areas (as they very much tend to in the Kafue) their lips collect the ash and dust from the bush, in mixture with the 'snot'. The irritation of the nasal 'parasite' causes the animal to rub its flanks to try and dislodge the intruders (in the same way horses scratch their flanks) and this may be why we see the black patches on the flanks.... I try to justify this idea by observations, that in the rainy season the Hartebeest lack these patches, as there is no longer dry ash/dust but rather lush grass, etc.

Now! I am also very aware of the pre-orbital gland story (studied by Dowsett, 1966), and I am very happy to accept this as 'the reason', I just like to give other ideas and make our guests think outside the box and question what we think we know as fact...

Edited by KafueTyrone

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wilddog

Thanks for chipping in@@KafueTyrone.

 

I thought for a moment that my aged brain had muddled things up entirely. And apologies if I have mentioned your hypothesis without your agreeement.

 

Considering @@ZaminOz point (and the Dowsett theory) ..................... could the hartebeest really reach that distance with a gland under the eye and fairly close to the horn? Although looking at my images I can see a sooty stain under the gland.......

 

All very interesting.

 

We just need a research project to prove/disprove the theory.

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CaroleE

@@wilddog

 

Great trip report so far! Very productive drives at the Plains Camp. Lovely boat trips at Kaingu; fab bird sightings! So glad you saw the cheetah. Lions were fantastic and Buttercup. But also great to see so much plains game. The monitor lizard story made me laugh a lot...we have all been there and done that at some point :-)

 

I nearly got to Kafue last year and this report has made a visit there even more necessary! Looking forward to hearing about Musekese.

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wilddog

Thanks @@CaroleE next section of Musekese will be up in the next couple of days. Glad you have enjoyed it so far.

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marg

@@wilddog...I check every day to check for the next post. So, it is good to know that it will be arriving very soon.

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wilddog

Sorry about the delay @@marg. Life sometimes gets a bit hectic but I promise another section tomorrow and hopefully report fully completed by the end of the week. Thanks for reading so far

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mapumbo

Nice report. I have been enjoying your descriptions of your trip. We have friends going to Kafue in the future so I have copied this to them. It will be their first trip to Africa

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wilddog

That afternoon we went for a leisurely boat trip.

 

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The highlight for me was watching a herd of elephants crossing the river and enjoying some intermittent playtime in the water. Lovely to watch and the sun was about to enhance the pictures, with the wet areas catching the light beautifully.

 

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wilddog

The following morning we set off on a drive to explore the area. We stopped off to walk to a tree where Tyrone had seen a Giant Eagle Owl recently. We got out of the vehicle to investigate and as we walked around we saw two Giant Eagle Owls, confirming Tyrone's thoughts that it might be a mating pair.

 

We continued our drive to the far end of the lagoon where we could see a group of lions. Two were in the open enjoying the early morning sun but the others were resting in the shade under some bushes and working out what was what was difficult. However, it was worth noting the red patch which can be seen under the bush; this was apparently the stump of back leg which had been damaged, probably by a snare.

 

While we were watching this group Tyrone mentioned that another lioness had recently been caught in a snare on her leg but her whereabouts were unknown at the moment.

 

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Typically with lions they were not doing much so we carried on with our drive.

 

 

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This kudu would NOT play ball and in typical kudu style hid her head for next few minutes as we got closer so this is the best I got!

 

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Grasshopper_Club

@wilddog

 

Great trip report, go on! The Kafue and Musekese in particular are my absolute favourite places in Zambia! I must own a picture taken of that herd of Lichtenstein's hartebeests more or less on the same spot somewhere south of Musekese. :)

 

I was again very impressed from the diversity of antelopes you can see there, during my 11nts stay last year in the Kafue, I was able to watch 15 different antelope species.

 

Awesome to see these Elephants crossing the Kafue river. How lucky you have been to be part of that occasion! I have been there twice and always hoped to see them crossing when on the boat, but never lucky enough. Maybe this year.. :D

 

I hope I can start my own TR from my last years visit there soon.

 

Cheers

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pault

All the stuff that other people liked, I liked too! .... there, that saved some time.

 

Very good @wilddog I enjoyed catching up. Camp looks lovely again and blissfully few signs of people anywhere.

 

The picture of the dining area is worthy of a caption competition.... like

 

"Last time Buttercup visitied she only took the butter."

 

 

@@Grasshopper_Club I hope you start your trip report soon too.,

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optig

@@wilddog Of course I heard the most fabulous things about Musekese in terms of guiding,wide range of activities, and bird and wildlife sightings,however, i'm still surprised by just how beautiful the scenery is in it's area. It's not only in a lovely area but it's quite varied as far as scenery goes.I can see that the camp is quite comfortable and is quite bushy.

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wilddog

During our travels that morning we had seen the vehicle belonging to the Zambian Carnivore Programme, which had just arrived in Kafue. They were parked up under a tree, resting after their long journey from Luangwa.

 

At tea time, Tyrone advised us the ZCP were hoping to find the newly snared lioness to dart, treat her and collar her. If we were interested we could go and watch, if and when she was located. I jumped at the chance. I had been present at the collaring of a leopard In SA some years ago and it had been an amazing experience. My travelling companions were also keen.

 

All we had to do was hope the lioness was found during our stay!

 

At the beginning of our afternoon drive we returned to the lions at the dambo where we were in luck as they decided it was time for a drink.This gave us a chance to see the lioness we had seen that morning the damaged leg more clearly as she moved towards a water hole where her sister was drinking.

 

You can clearly see the lower half of her back leg is missing

 

Apologies for the quality of the video

 

https://youtu.be/Ar54lGGwKu4

 

We then set off in the direction of the old camp and the boat landing area.

 

It was still fairly quiet but we did see a zebra who was trailing a snare wire. Tyrone said the concession had been clear of snaring for some time but it seemed that now poachers were coming back so they would have to set up and anti snare/poaching patrol in the coming days

 

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As the light began to fade we were somewhere near the old camp at the edge of an open area with quite lengthy thick grass, Tony spotted the lioness. There she was amongst the long grass, with two other lions nearby, a female and a young male.

 

We watched for a few minutes and could see she was licking and pulling at something on her leg so Tyrone immediately radioed through to the ZCP to tell them where she was. We waited there for ZCP to drive to the spot whilst keeping an eye on the lions in case they moved off.

 

Some of the images that follow in this post are mine but many are from Tony McKeith; thanks Tony.

 

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Once the Zambain Carnivore Team arrived we were asked to remain where we were while they flushed the lioness out of the long grass and separated her from the other lions. Eventually they isolated her on the far side of the clearing and as we watched through our binos, with the dark descendingf, we could just see the Vet pointing the dart gun out of the vehicle as he fired the dart at the lioness.

 

From this point on, one of the ZCP team sat on the roof of the vehicle using a powerful torch to watch the other two lions who had retreated into the bush, but were not planning to leave their sister completely.

Once the ZCP were satisfied she had been fully sedated we drove over and parked our vehicle at 90 degree angle to the ZCP vehicle making a bit of barrier to the wilderness and those other lions. Finally we got out of the vehicle to watch.

 

By now it was fully dark.

 

Her right front paw was quite swollen and it took some considerable time and effort for the team to remove the snare.

 

During the procedure the lioness although 'out of it' tried to pull her paw away; the pain must have been intense so in the end they added a bit more sedation to keep her calm. It must be extremely difficult to calculate the weight of a lioness accurately enough to be sure of the dose.

 

Throughout the procedure Tony and Tyrone were helping monitor the lioness breathing rate and Alex (who normally nurses Homo Sapiens) monitored the lioness temperature and whenever necessary the lioness was doused with water to help cool her down

 

Here are a series of photographs of the procedure; again a few are mine also some from Tony McKeith of Busanga Safaris.

 

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Massive thanks to thanks to Caz Sanguinetti and Dr. Kambwiri Banda of Zambian Carnivore Programme http://www.zambiacarnivores.org/ for letting us join them and of course to @@KafueTyrone for organising it.

 

 

This was a very special evening.

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Game Warden

@@KafueTyrone @@wilddog what an experience to be involved with this operation and great work to all involved. If possible could a new topic be started about the snaring problems in Kafue and how, as Safaritalk members, we could possibly help through donations to the Zambian Carnivore Programme?

 

Thanks, Matt.

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wilddog

Thanks @@Game Warden great idea. Hopefully Tyrone will respond soon. He is in Lusaka I believe so should be able to pick this up.

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wilddog

@@pault I think Buttercup only visits the mobile camp area rather than main camp but I think your caption/notice idea is a good one. Perhaps Tyrone and Phil can do this at the mobile camp. Glad you are enjoying the TR and have a chance to read the latest section

 

@@Grasshopper_Club It Kafue is fantastic and as you say so quiet , human wise, and many antelope species. I do hope you will find the time to write your own Kafue report soon. These areas need our support and tourism dollars.

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douglaswise

I have been thoroughly enjoying your Kafue experiences.

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pault

@@wilddog What a wonderful experience. Quite a bit more exciting than the usual night drive.

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Julian

Only read this report today, some great photos and excellent trip report Wilddog.

Hoping to go to Zambia this July ( not booked yet) and planning to have four days ( maybe five ) in northen Kafue, followed by eight days in South Luwange.

So this report is really helpful as we are considering Musekese as one of the possible camps.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the report.

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optig

@@Julian I've already booked a whole week at Musekese in 2018, as well as 4 nights in Mukambi Plains. Where are you planning to stay in South Luangawa National Park? I'll be going there as well for the fourth time.

 

 

 

2

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marg

@@Julian...I think that you had better get busy. These small camps get filled.

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Caracal

"A special evening" indeed @@wilddog - a night to remember.

 

Sounds like poachers are infiltrating quite a way into that area of the park when you've seen 2 lionesses and a zebra affected by snares.

 

Hopefully the lioness that was treated recovers quickly and the situation generally can be effectively and quickly addressed.

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