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South Luangwa Sept' 2016


Geoff

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Game Warden

Super series of portrait studies @Geoff.

 

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Preamble ~ Although this was my umpteenth visit to Africa and 4th safari in the South Luangwa I hadn’t been to Africa since 2008. Whilst life had gotten in the way I had kept my enthusiasm for safaris

SLNP is synonymous with night drives. Many guests love them. Me, I'm in two minds about them. Often I think you end up in a hypnotic trance watching the spotlight flash back & forth in front of yo

An elephant bull enjoys his mudbath in the Mwamba waterhole.     Safari is full of surprises. A few minutes out of camp on a morning drive and we noticed that lions had walk

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Atravelynn

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

I've been there, with the exception of the stomach contents.

The shot of all eyes on the stomach content is excellent.  They sure are riveted.

Hippo and oxpeckers - just plain wow.

You continue to show the power of the hide!

 

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Grasshopper_Club

@Geoff

 

Wow absolutely amazing stuff. The Hippo with the oxpeckers is my absolute favourite!

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Geoff

Animal behaviour & interaction fascinates me.

Perhaps feeling changes to her body as she came into season this young adult lioness was rolling about. 

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0805.thumb.jpg.bad2a280cb6f83c491db6d4f2bef1c82.jpgMwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0816.thumb.jpg.bc1bb85abcd485415368d0391468e7c5.jpg

 

Her actions had not gone unnoticed by one of the pride males and he immediately investigated, testing for her receptivity. 

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0797.thumb.jpg.61235f9b6e64570d89100458081d0281.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-buff-kill_G8A0800.thumb.jpg.7885e4e85a1da54811380921fd12292c.jpg

 

The competition for food amongst pride members is intense. This feisty cub was risking serious injury and even death taking on the pride male. Mwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0688.thumb.jpg.c7bdc3be5a8a0d3bf564dd26bce61318.jpg

Mwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0689.thumb.jpg.5dce17b30e0ca6ae9e215d9e5f77bfea.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0690.thumb.jpg.25948530220724715a5aa699be84b315.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0691.thumb.jpg.8af0414ff39495a5fb1db99dcc1dd85d.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0692.thumb.jpg.6f5fdfb435c5f2b309a8abb08eb01ff1.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0694.thumb.jpg.bee38baa4e3337184ffc3628afa2f25d.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0695.thumb.jpg.c06a1a0966c40cbf9a208a5244b1e6f9.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0696.thumb.jpg.85fd9309d2bd216fc820f91bff0a8234.jpgMwamba-Lions-male-cub_G8A0699.thumb.jpg.5811607189e5149bbd5fce236d45081d.jpg

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offshorebirder

Wow @Geoff - great capture of the cheeky lion cub living dangerously.   Coming on the heels of too many good photos to name individually...

 

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Treepol

@Geoff what  a great sequence. That feisty cub will be a great leader one day - if he lives long enough!

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Hads

I love post 80 thanks @Geoff - that cub has some serious courage.

Awesome report and photo's.

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Thanks Geoff - it's whetting my appetite for my Mwamba visit in September! 

 

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Geoff

I apologise for the delay in continuing this report. It's school holidays here and I've been away. If you've followed along so far I thank you.

 

The famous "Ginger". He and "Garlic" the other half of the Spice Boys coalition were to remain pretty much comatose all day. I initially thought "typical lions" but later a guide told me that he had seen them 30 kilometres from this sighting 10 hours previously. So they had done considerable patrolling during the night.

Kafunta-Lion-Ginger_G8A7460.thumb.jpg.e7e0ecb26676de6bb7d7b38783a4787f.jpg

 

Looking for scraps a Yellow-billed Kite surveys the site of a lion kill from above.

Mwamba-Yellow-billed-Kite_G8A0407.thumb.jpg.fe5c0eeb92f79beae1531ff750d0abf2.jpg

 

A thirsty kakuli buffalo makes his way to the river opposite Kafunta lodge.

Kafunta-buffalo_G8A7515.thumb.jpg.c3176ed405249d044d7104d92b1b4568.jpg 

 

During morning tea we watched a small elephant herd quench their thirst before crossing the river from the Nsefu sector into the park south of Kaingo camp.

Mwamba-Elephants_G8A1247.thumb.jpg.cf9bd2383f9e8267795b3bbd7fea3188.jpgMwamba-elephants_G8A1267.thumb.jpg.15df7f7a38a0df98bcc929902b09633d.jpg

 

High, err umm, Four.

Mwamba-LIon-cub_G8A9078.thumb.jpg.30bb2b786e3dbf94cc68fd6b712c4230.jpg

Edited by Geoff
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pault

Fabulous finish @Geoff :D

 

I really like the second to last post about the lion interactions - that's great stuff.

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Towlersonsafari

really like that poor shot, sorry paw shot @Geoff

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Geoff
19 hours ago, pault said:

Fabulous finish @Geoff :D

 

One last instalment to go  @pault:) Then I can set about reading your TR.

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pault
3 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

One last instalment to go  @pault:) Then I can set about reading your TR.

 

So you have two on the go at once?

 

Anyway, glad to  hear it, although the shot "high four" would have been a perfect ending.

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Geoff

I have more images to process from the South Luangwa but I've decided to work on my Masai Mara TR else I will not have it completed before my next safari. If you feel the need to look at my Mara TR you can find it here.

 

In Summary ~  The Luangwa valley is an excellent safari destination for the first time visitor and seasoned safari goer. The drive to/from the airport to the park entrance provides an enlightening glimpse of life within Mfuwe village. Some of the shop enterprises are extremely amusing and my favourite from this trip was an Auto shop & Beautician. Just imagine ladies, you can get the latest hairdo whilst your car gets the once over.  

 

There are numerous lodges and camps to choose from, both inside and just outside the park. 

Surprisingly good value for money can be found amongst them and I think it would be possible to get something that suits even a meagre budget. 

 

For the keen photographers, I would be wary of choosing any accommodation where they insist on providing a full course breakfast before the morning drive. Choose a camp/lodge where a quick wake up tea/coffee is served. There is ample food supplied at other times and I have never been to a camp that has not fed guests like a king.

 

Many of the camps cater for walking safaris that provide a completely different experience to a game drive. I really consider these to be an easy paced walk within a few kilometres of camp (or to another camp) rather than a hardcore walking safari. 

 

For those that feel they need a more isolated, wilderness experience you could combine a trip to North Luangwa N.P. for a walk on the wild side.

 

Some last pics.

 

TV cameraman (Nathan) filming us watching the lions. Did any member from the UK see the 3 part series "Lion Country : Night & Day" screened on ITV in February this year?

Mwamba-Lion-TV-crew_G8A2264.thumb.jpg.29f85a5283fcb94f36878dcd064543b6.jpg

Yes, another Carmine Bee-eater

Mwamba-Carmine-Bee-eater_G8A9201.thumb.jpg.c4d596b05c94d88a084575a1ba4b4359.jpg

 

White-browed Sparrow Weavers (I think) having a brawl whilst I was enjoying morning tea. 

59684b55e3322_Kafunta-White-browedSparrow-weavers_G8A7839.thumb.jpg.20e6f31abdc078756c80516575416772.jpg

 

Hooded Vulture with lion poo snack.

Mwamba-Hooded-Vulture_G8A0304.thumb.jpg.29545afc44a2ecee4fff95ed7b8104d8.jpg

Zebra portrait

Kafunta-Zebra_G8A7710-2.thumb.jpg.deb5c078b9b5a4c8b3e34a9fd918f419.jpg

Mwamba-Lion-cub_G8A8949-2.thumb.jpg.c574207e5afe2ce139ffa45668ca7220.jpgMwamba-Lion-cub_G8A2253.thumb.jpg.65c14cb3316e5f92a1ed52d06888e3dc.jpg59684f502106a_Mwamba-Lion--cub_G8A2233-2.thumb.jpg.8582be6b20809b631ebdde9e9a001699.jpg

Mwamba-Lion-Numbu-male_G8A1183-1.thumb.jpg.5acc1d9e845d38d1b638e027abb0839b.jpgMwamba-Lion-Numbu-male_G8A9165.thumb.jpg.6b7a9182970f2cd9b0f2c13a35e4d106.jpgMwamba-Lion-Numbu-male_G8A1169.thumb.jpg.153c8ef92c2bff67360a09e20d7db44b.jpg

 

The obligatory sunset image. Thanks for dropping by...

Mwamba-sunset_G8A0977.thumb.jpg.8da66de243ecd47c8dd3ffe6b49d3303.jpg

 

Edited by Geoff
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Kitsafari

@Geoff   I had a tremendous return to SLNP through your words and images. Now off to Mara with you I'll go,

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Caracal

 

South Luangwa did you proud @Geoff with sightings on your return and you've certainly done it proud with your beautiful portrayal of them.

 

You utilised your tea break well those brawling sparrow weavers - superb shot.

 

Loved following this TR - thanks.

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xelas
On 14/07/2017 at 7:02 AM, Geoff said:

Surprisingly good value for money can be found amongst them and I think it would be possible to get something that suits even a meagre budget. 

 

Song to my ears, @Geoff ! Now tell me also self-driving is possible ... because your TR and your photos did pushed Zambia higher on the list :)!

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Geoff
14 hours ago, xelas said:

Now tell me also self-driving is possible

 

@xelas  Yes! I've spoken with self drivers at sightings in SLNP on a number of occasions. Although I'm not up with the latest information on self driving in Zambia I don't think it would be hard to plan a trip where you hire a vehicle in Lusaka (or drive up from South Africa) and do South Luangwa, North Luangwa, Kafue, Liuwa, Lochinvar (if you're into birds) and many others.

 

I went on a private expedition in Zambia (way back in 2002) self driving, 8 people in 2 vehicles, I can't remember all the places we visited and we ran out of time and didn't make to the Luangwa Valley. Though I recall the isolation of Liuwa Plains, completely empty, devoid of other travellers and finding a lone young lioness (that I can only presume was much later named Lady Liuwa). Searching for the source of the Zambezi was fun too...   

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Treepol

@xelas, the guys at Hemingways 4X4 seem to be well organised for Zambia self-drive, I'm sure there are others offering similar services. @Geoff, apologies for going off-piste in your thread!

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xelas

Thank you both for your information and encouragements! Zambia looks beautiful through the lens of @Geoff !

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Marks

Great images. I did see the Lion County - Day & Night series. The nighttime footage was rather nice.

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  • 3 weeks later...
vikramghanekar

Great trip report and lovely photographs.

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@Geoff....SLNP delivers once again.  Thanks for a great trip report with fabulous photos!!

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Geoff

Finally catching up on your brilliant report and exceptional photography. The backlit chameleon, the triple shot-reflection, shadow and in flight bee eater in a single frame and the hippo with oxpeckers were three photography contest winnable shots amongst dozens of other superior shots. Also your sequence of the feisty cub sparring with a big male at a kill was truly the epitome of living dangerously and as someone else remarked, if this little guy survives he will be a hell of a lion. 

 

The details of SLNP were also both fascinating and helpful. 

 

Thanks for sharing your report. 

Edited by AKR1
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Alexander33

@Geoff

 

Sorry I was late to the party, but thanks so much for posting this report. Zambia has been on my short list for some time, and Mwamba and Kaingo are exactly the SLNP lodges I've been focused on. Good to hear your favorable impressions. I really enjoyed your photography and accompanying narrative. 

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