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Geoff

South Luangwa Sept' 2016

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Geoff
54 minutes ago, gayengarry said:

Thanks Geoff for your great report!  We are looking at spending 10-14 days in SLNP & LZ  Sept 2018 & so far have shortlisted our many camps to either:

  • Robin Pope with 3 nights Nkwali, 2 nights Tena Tena, 2 nights Nsefu, 3 nights Lion Camp, 4 nights Chongwe River camp 
  • Shenton Safaris with 5 nights Kaingo Camp, 5 nights Mwamba Camp, 4 nights Baines River Camp 

Would love to hear any advice you may have, especially after you have been to Nsefu

 

Cheers,

G&G

 

 

Hi @gayengarry thanks for following along.

 

From looking at your SLNP shortlist the 7 nights at the 3 Robin Pope camps should provide a 10% discount to costs so that is a good idea. Nkwali is in the very busy Mfuwe area near the park's main entrance. I'd probably only stay 2 nights there before moving on and add an extra night to either Tena Tena or Nsefu. Or if you would prefer a more secluded and remote camp consider replacing Nkwali with Luangwa River camp which is located in the northern part of the Mfuwe area. Lion Camp is in the same area as Kaingo & Mwamba so game viewing would be similar to staying at those two camps. You could also consider replacing Lion Camp and staying the 10 nights at Robin Pope camps to get a 25% discount if your budget is tight.

 

Whilst i'd stay 5 nights at Kaingo & Mwamba in a heartbeat if this is your 1st trip to SLNP you might wish to explore further afield. I'd also stay at Mwamba first then go to Kaingo. Kaingo provides that extra comfort which is a good thing after staying at 'rough and ready' Mwamba.

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Geoff

@gayengarry I also note that you have looked at Wild Dogger's Lion Camp review. The camp is currently being completely rebuilt so you can pretty much ignore the pictures of the rooms. 

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gayengarry
25 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

Hi @gayengarry thanks for following along.

 

From looking at your SLNP shortlist the 7 nights at the 3 Robin Pope camps should provide a 10% discount to costs so that is a good idea. Nkwali is in the very busy Mfuwe area near the park's main entrance. I'd probably only stay 2 nights there before moving on and add an extra night to either Tena Tena or Nsefu. Or if you would prefer a more secluded and remote camp consider replacing Nkwali with Luangwa River camp which is located in the northern part of the Mfuwe area. Lion Camp is in the same area as Kaingo & Mwamba so game viewing would be similar to staying at those two camps. You could also consider replacing Lion Camp and staying the 10 nights at Robin Pope camps to get a 25% discount if your budget is tight.

 

Whilst i'd stay 5 nights at Kaingo & Mwamba in a heartbeat if this is your 1st trip to SLNP you might wish to explore further afield. I'd also stay at Mwamba first then go to Kaingo. Kaingo provides that extra comfort which is a good thing after staying at 'rough and ready' Mwamba.

Excellent advice re Nkwali, thanks!   Yes, as we are trying to stretch our budget we decided on RP for 7 nights for the 10% discount & looked at 10 nights but it was only 15% not 25%? ....also decided we should see a few different areas.  Chongwe River camp had a 'stay 4 pay 3' deal.  We also looked at Norman Carr bush camps but as Garry is a keen photographer he did not like the idea of breakfast before leaving on game-drives as that would mean missing the early morning light ...way more interested in photos than food :) 

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janzin

@gayengarry that's exactly the reason we dismissed the Norman Carr camps! What a crazy thing, breakfast before safari--it would make me so frustrated!

 

Anyway, not to digress...love the bird photos and yes that Carmine shot with the shadow/reflection is amazing....and very unique! Lillian's Lovebird would be a lifer for us...

 

 

Edited by janzin

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Game Warden

@gayengarry Please start a fresh trip planning topic in this subforum for your own upcoming Zambia Safari.

 

Thanks, Matt

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Geoff

The Mwamba Pride had accepted their new protectors and with the exception of the 2 one year old male cubs were doing well.

 

A consorting pair strolls away from the pride group for a romantic interlude.

Mwamba-lions_G8A0531-2.thumb.jpg.81d1a0c5c5eaf3c8502c3955da1eff0b.jpg

During the early hours of one morning they had brought down a buffalo and many were voraciously feeding when we arrived.

Mwamba-Lions_G8A9969.thumb.jpg.3ce5c18db1c060b87c12a9a7077ba67f.jpg

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Take Away (Take Out) shoulder blade.

Mwamba-Lions_G8A0145-2.thumb.jpg.519fb6be67d599dd6a38b7f0a9296eab.jpg

Two of the cubs tucking in.

Mwamba-Lions_G8A0263.thumb.jpg.86a004d3e4c146bbd5bb2e98fec6bb45.jpg

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I'm so full I'll just fall asleep next to this pile of stomach contents...

Mwamba-Lion-cub_G8A0025.thumb.jpg.a4c5f6aa756c9092231ebfad5f3e36c8.jpg

 

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Geoff

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Pride with their pride males across the river in the Nsefu sector were trying to keep away from the Numbu males and had temporarily fragmented into smaller groups. Even so, things weren't all bad as some had stumbled across a buffalo that had recently succumbed to being stuck in the mud.

 

Yum!!, buffalo and mud sandwich.

Mwamba-Lion-Hollywood-mud_G8A8726-2.thumb.jpg.2f7e07125f492a83e6ae741d88914cbf.jpg

Mwamba-Lion-Hollywood-mud_G8A8738-2.thumb.jpg.17bd5b0af0c6cc1800b8515ee4aed473.jpg

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Mwamba-Lion-Hollywood-mud_G8A8657.thumb.jpg.85bc153a423bc217fcf945dcc01b9afa.jpg

Mwamba-LIon-Hollywood-mud_G8A8673.thumb.jpg.522eb6934ce0a9f26ad5e8592a288b67.jpg

Mwamba-Lion-Hollywood-mud_G8A8708-2.thumb.jpg.248b9fe9a0460f4c3fda72022a0e45b2.jpg

 

Oh dear, what a mess...

I never did find out how they cleaned themselves up but in a few days they were looking like new.

Mwamba-lion-Hollywood-mud_G8A8633.thumb.jpg.056380e5f18356ac0efc03c7ca1626ce.jpg

Mwamba-lion-Hollywood-mud_G8A8610.thumb.jpg.69d6e5f18d768baa9831ceb60724ee42.jpg

 

 

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Grasshopper_Club

@Geoff WOW Great trip report and absolutely stunning pictures of the SLNP...I really love those Lion pictures, how lucky you have been to see such great sightings. Those muddy Lions are just awesome! Cheers

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Towlersonsafari

I have just laughed out loud during my lunchtime at the muddy bloody lion portrait- @Geoff   splendid stuff. it is fascinating to hear about the various pride dynamics especially about an area we have been too.

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Kitsafari

@Geoffthose muddied lions are looking less than regal or majestic! great alternative shots of them. those mud will keep the pesky flies away from their bloody muzzles though.

love those bee-eaters and that mwamba waterhole brings back very fond memories. :) were Tom and Jerry the elephants hanging around at mwamba camp? 

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Geoff

Firstly two images that I neglected to include in post #56.

 

Look at the size of that tummy.

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0467.thumb.jpg.4404980cc04a25a7cf146ee08d140c3b.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0462.thumb.jpg.e7f45bf27d917ae1e8fa81b3d8d7cfd2.jpg

 

Late in the afternoon we returned to the Mwamba Pride.

 

Whatever was inside the carcass had their undivided attention.

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0657-1.thumb.jpg.4170344d60e4ab00cdb5853c56dc88c0.jpg

 

One of the Numbu males was with them.

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0712-3.thumb.jpg.bbbdcb7512364cac8f77c6d533dcebdc.jpg

 

Some feeding squabbles were still breaking out.

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0837.thumb.jpg.03568bbfa70a952fc1ee6e124af9050e.jpg

 

Whilst the cubs had become more intent on playing with (or in) their food.

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0791-3.thumb.jpg.1d43e3b0ef806959525b3b3e1091ecc8.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0919.thumb.jpg.04af19d2102e16c072f0064babaa5dd7.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0851.thumb.jpg.308f5ca25156fe5d5107ea1d2d97a01c.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0777-3.thumb.jpg.292a5b9b18376f797125eae1521ac074.jpg

 

stuffed to the gunnels.

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0890.thumb.jpg.78e99bf35d7838c0646b93b1aba2c8f4.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0898.thumb.jpg.9fe1687c53f7f2e59d14003fa60c488d.jpg

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Geoff
6 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

@Geoff  were Tom and Jerry the elephants hanging around at mwamba camp? 

 

@Kitsafari Yes Kit, they were still up to their old tricks. Shenton's have installed a small pool at Mwamba, entry is via a raised platform. It did not take them long to remove the cover and drain a far bit of the contents. I heard of one incident (after I had left) when a female guest was cooling off in the pool and an elephant trunk splashed in near her. The lady remained very calm and simply watched proceedings.  

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Kitsafari

@Geoff  oh that story really provided a laugh!  those two provided so much entertainment while we were there. But Tom is such a huge calm gentle giant and I'll never forget those marvellous moments he provided when we were at the dining table. 

 

so pleased they are still there. :) 

but a pool at Mwamba??!! shocking. :blink:

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Geoff
1 hour ago, Kitsafari said:

@Geoff  oh that story really provided a laugh!  those two provided so much entertainment while we were there. But Tom is such a huge calm gentle giant and I'll never forget those marvellous moments he provided when we were at the dining table. 

 

so pleased they are still there. :) 

but a pool at Mwamba??!! shocking. :blink:

 

@Kitsafari  I thought the same about the pool but I used it on the very hot days. I never thought I would do that but I'm obviously getting soft in my old age.

 

EDIT:

@Kitsafari  Kit, have a look here   I think in the last sentence they meant temporary for 2016 not 2017.

Edited by Geoff

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Soukous

I'm usually a bit blase about lion photos @Geoff but you've captured some real beauties there.

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Treepol

@Geoff fabulous lion feeding shots - those cubs look as though they have swallowed a soccer ball! Bloody, muddy lions indeed - the mud changes their appearance so much.

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Geoff

There's been a lion overload so I'll move on to something else before returning to them.

 

One mid afternoon between game drives and I was in the Mwamba hide when the elephant were coming extremely close. No way I could get all of them in the frame with a 100-400mm lens so I decided to concentrate on frame filling eye shots and the like.

Mwamba-elephant-eye_G8A1419-2.thumb.jpg.8e318a453df1e7e977a5a99eb577c83d.jpg

Mwamba-Elephant-eye_G8A7873-2.thumb.jpg.cfb64d8058afff90b8c40ece1f181fd6.jpg 

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Finally they moved away from the edge of the hide.

Mwamba-Elephants_G8A1363.thumb.jpg.91ae7f1fb681d01f30e1fbb6c2554eb7.jpg

These two little ones were often in camp. I took these images sitting at the dining table whilst they foraged not far away.

Mwamba-elephant_G8A1465-2.thumb.jpg.583bc067c453da175f6afcf499976373.jpgMwamba-Elephant_G8A1479.thumb.jpg.3ccfc19842a41b47b3dbb70cd09d060f.jpg

 

A few more from the Hippo hide

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A very old hippo

Mwamba-Hippo_G8A1761.thumb.jpg.e394e8ccdb57f1dd95175099ba8080eb.jpg

The ride to the Bee-eater hide is perhaps only 20-30 metres in a canoe across very shallow water. Even so considerable care should be taken. This character had hauled out onto a mudbank not far from the hide whilst we were in it. I'm very surprised that this is the only croc image I took in SLNP.

Mwamba-croc_G8A2215.thumb.jpg.08216ded03c7316c6d7428112b5559db.jpg

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Bush dog

@Geoff

 

Wow Geoff, you can send that one to the Africa photography of the year contest.  I'm talking, of course, of the hippo and the oxpeckers.

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Game Warden

@Bush dog and @Geoff, fantastic timing and eye for the shot. Such an unusual portrait study of a hippo.

 

Matt

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janzin

Yes that hippo shot really stands out!

 

Fantastic shots of the lions and the cubs as well. I love the poor tuckered out guy on the log.

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amybatt

Ditto on the hippo shot.  You can actually count the whiskers on his cheeks!  Nicely done.

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Marks

Add me to the list of hippo admirers. Haven't seen one quite like that before!

 

The frame-filling eles are also rather nice.

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Atravelynn

Mating hyenas right out in the open.  The body language of the male in the last shot looks like he's casually lounging.  Funny

 

The feathers really make your leopard shot.  That back-lit chameleon is a stunner.  I can feel the suspicion of that buffalo going, "What's that noise?"

 

These are just the camps, and more specifically the hides, I want to know more about!  The hides worked for you.  "Works a treat" is a new phrase for me, but fits perfectly.

Page 1 has great stuff!

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Atravelynn

Sorry about your broken leg.  What a pain in every respect.

You may have been the last to see those cute lion cubs. 

 

"From the Hides. The Mwamba camp hide is at the back of camp and is a short walk within the camp environs.  It is available all day when you're in camp. Where as the Hippo & Carmine bee-eater hides are used as an extension to a game drive and a visit is usually organised a day or so in advance."  very helpful

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Geoff

A beautiful sunny morning and we were lucky to find Maliaka the female leopard but she was not keen on hanging around for a photo shoot.

She quickly moved off into the thickets where we could not follow though we could determine her location by the constant alarm calls.

Mwamba-Leopard_G8A1564-1.thumb.jpg.61580c83c6d5c0c60e17ad725f76ea50.jpg

Late in the afternoon we found her again this time high in a tree. A keyhole through the tree limbs was my best chance for an image.

Mwamba-Leopard_G8A9629.thumb.jpg.c194e307e09eb648de810de7ef045263.jpg

And on the night drive we found her again. She had been successful with another Guinea-fowl kill & has that hunting tactic down to a fine art form.

Mwamba-leopard_G8A9674.thumb.jpg.3b4226153165c73444ecbe62cd1375a0.jpg

Unlike Hyaena in the Mara the South Luangwa population tends to be nocturnal in habit.

Possibly due to the heat? Even so you still get the occasional daytime sighting.

Mwamba-Hyaena_G8A9774.thumb.jpg.fbee788530be5fbd1f0bfd80f29cd7e3.jpg

Mwamba-Hyaena_G8A9775.thumb.jpg.f1ed77e81b0e47ee884dd3c7c133c321.jpg

Mwamba-Hyaena_G8A9961-1.thumb.jpg.39ed07969923a3f139c41614d95689ba.jpg

 To finish off this post some buffalo portraits.

Mwamba-buffalo_G8A1348.thumb.jpg.860b7389b2db7c8c33ba0a2baec953c9.jpgMwamba-Yellow-billed-Oxpecker-on-Buffalo_G8A1335.thumb.jpg.c6ccdbb62e113eb5740777635465c988.jpg

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Mwamba-Buffalo_G8A1309-2.thumb.jpg.3f19e5789667ef4003f788d3531fcafc.jpg

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