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Hot dry season at Camp Hwange


Bush dog

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Bush dog

End of the third day

 

Elephants at Shumba.

 

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One last drink for the road.

 

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Because we were close to the lions, the sundowners were not taken at Shumba this time.

 

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At night, we saw a serval and a wild cat again and the Super Models.

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Having spent two weeks, last month, in the Western Cape, on the way back home, I made a stop-over of eight days in Zimbabwe, at Camp Hwange again.  This time, it was very hot (around 42° C) and dry, a

End of the first day   After the sundowners, we tried to spot one of the servals that live around Shumba and we succeeded.           

Second day   Early in the morning, at the water hole, the constant comings and goings of elephants was in full swing.  In fact, from the trumpeting and sounds of movements in the water heard

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Bush dog

Fourth day

 

Early in the morning, we found the Super Models where we had left them the previous evening.

 

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Then, we went to Shumba to have a look at Liam & Mandla.  Big surprise, they were gone for good abandoning the half-eaten carcass.  For what reason, we did not find out.  On the road to Main Camp, we saw a group of nine roans.  Washington said that they were no doubt going to Dwarf Goose to drink.

 

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At Dwarf Goose, while waiting for them, here are some birds feeding on platannas.

 

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As expected, the roans.

 

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Later, we went back to Shumba.  This time it was the carcass that had disappeared.  The Super Models had taken possession of it and dragged it further into the concession.

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Bush dog

Continuation of the fourth day

 

Late morning, we went to Bumbumutsa which is an artificial water hole, south-east of the concession.  It was almost dry because the elephants had digged up and damaged  the pipes.  The light was extremely harsh.

 

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Elephants rather have clean and clear water.  Big bulls were where the pipe was leaking.  They blocked the leak, almost hermetically, with the end of their trunk in order to efficiently suck up as much water as possible.

 

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Guinea fowls.

 

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Bush dog

End of the fourth day

 

 

In the afternoon, we decided to go to Masuma.  At Shumba, the elephants were, as usual, present.

 

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On the way to Masuma, a pearl spotted owlet.

 

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At Masuma, we found Mandla and the Masuma pride.

 

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At Masuma, a bat (horseshoe bat ???).

 

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At night, we saw a couple of Selous mongooses that had killed a snouted cobra.

 

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Some excellent sightings in post #54. 

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Bush dog

Thanks, Geoff!

 

Fifth day

 

We left camp very early in the morning.  We wanted to go back to Big Toms to check if Vusi and its partners were stil in the area.

 

Marabou stork in the sunset light.

 

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Old male giraffe at Masuma.

 

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Near Deteema, we came across the Manzi Chisa (Hot Springs) pride.

 

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The male was very skittish and even so scared that it ran away.

 

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Lovely stork sunset image and good action shots of the male lion.

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Bush dog

@Antee

@Geoff

 

Thanks to both of you!

 

Continuation of the fifth day

 

Further on the road, we found the body of a wild kitten.  It was freshly dead.

 

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Burchell’s sandgrouse.

 

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Vusi and its nine females were always exactly where they were a few days earlier.  In these times of plenty, there was really no reason to leave such an ambush-friendly place.

 

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This time it was a young elephant of about ten years that they had trapped.  One of the lionesses had stayed near the carrion to keep the vultures at bay. But at our approach, this one, being somewhat fearful, after a few hesitations, joined the pride under the bush.

 

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The vultures immediately rushed on and around the carcass.

 

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One of the lionesses had carried, under the bush, the sole of one of their victim's legs that it had decided to take with it in any circumstance.

 

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I am coming to this a bit late- but am really enjoying it! Beautiful photos throughout. Obviously great lion shots, but the kudu, roan, serval and wildcat are outstanding. It looks like a great place to visit. I know you have been a few times, do you always go about the same time of year?

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Bush dog

@TonyQ

 

Thanks a lot for your comments.

 

In fact, I discovered this place for the first time last year late November and I directly liked it for a lot of reasons, great staff, high level of guiding, great bush experience and camp atmosphere, not to busy area and if necessary excellent food.... a great value for money.  Since then, I came back this year in March, May and October.  Though each time was different from the others, I enjoyed them all.

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Bush dog

Continuation of the fifth day

 

Series of pictures showing the vultures activity on and around the elephant carcass.

 

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@ChristopherMoran unfortunately we won't be there at the same time. I have to say to say that there's nothing I enjoy more than meeting my fellow safari enthusiasts,and swapping experiences.Anyways, I'm looking forwards to reading your trip report, as well as seeing your photos.

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Bush dog

Continuation of the fifth day

 

A few more vultures’ pictures with this time the entry of a lappet-faced vulture.

 

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Peter Connan

Fantastic vulture shots @Bush dog.

 

I really like the two Hooded vultures facing off.

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Bush dog

@Peter Connan

 

Thank you, Peter!

 

There are some more vultures to come but elsewhere and in other circumstances. 

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Bush dog

End of the fifth day

 

After having breakfast, we took the road back to the camp.

 

Black-shouldered kite.

 

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These four young lions were part of Vusi’s pride.  They were recently kicked out by it.

 

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This herd of elephants passed very close to the lions without seeing them.

 

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Giraffe at Deteema.

 

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Double-banded sandgrouse.

 

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The afternoon was much quieter.  We went to Big Shumba where the hamerkops were chasing platannas.

 

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Black-crowned tchagra.

 

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At Shumba, as usual, the elephants were present.  This baby elephant had lost its mother and ran panicked, while trumpeting, in all directions.

 

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offshorebirder

More excellent material @Bush dog - thanks!

 

I especially like the vulture tug-of-war in post #62.      And the colors on the head of the Lappet-faced Vulture are choice!

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Bush dog

@offshorebirder

 

Thanks again!

 

Sixth day

 

This day was the busiest.  Elephants and buffaloes  were all day long on the concession, in large numbers.  It began with a beautiful sunset and two honey badgers that quickly disappeared in their burrow giving me no time at all to take any pictures.

 

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 Zebras.

 

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Then came a huge herd of a few hundred buffaloes.  They progressed slowly towards a water hole.

 

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At the front was a calf.  It staggered forward, collapsed and then got up with difficulty.  It looked really bad and seemed to be heading for a fatal outcome. 

 

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The reason it was in this state was really not obvious.  Was it been bitten by a snake or attacked by a predator before being saved by the herd?  There seemed to be some blood that had flowed down its neck from a possible nape and head injury, where the ox-peckers seemed very active.

 

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Bush dog

Continuation of the sixth day

 

We left the head of the herd to focus on other individuals.

 

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The buffaloes arrived at the waterhole but there was obviously not enough water to satisfy a whole herd.  A group of nine sables, that were there, immediately left the place, at their approach, to head to the camp that was close.

 

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As for the poor calf, we had lost sight of it but would probably be fixed on its fate around lunch time. 

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Bush dog

Continuation of the sixth day

 

As expected, the group of sables reached the camp waterhole and drank.

 

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Their thirst quenched, they immediately departed.

 

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Sacred ibis.

 

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Before returning to camp for lunch, we went to Shumba.   A mischievous young hippo had decided to chase all those who came to drink there.

 

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Caracal

Really enjoyed catching up on your more recent posts here @Bush dog. Sad about the wild kitten and that sick or injured buffalo calf. Burchells sandgrouse has handsome markings.

 

Some great lion and vulture sequence shots telling their own stories and I can never get enough of sable. Thank you.

 

PS showing my ignorance here but I hadn't heard of platanna before so now thanks to you and the hammerkop I know what they are!

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Kitsafari

Like Caracal, I didn't know what a platanna was - it sounded like a plant-form thing. great to know what it is now too.

 

Fascinating that the lions are taking down elephants. Are they known for taking down elephants or an opportunistic move? given the dry season and prey would be in poor condition, i would have thought the lions wouldn't want to go to such trouble to take an elephant, even a 10-yr old, down?

 

great pictures, as always @Bush dog.

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Bush dog

@Caracal

@Kitsafari

 

Thank you so much for your kind words!

 

The platanna is also known as African clawed frog.  They have claws, they use to tear their food apart, on each hind foot.  Here is a picture taken a long time ago at Selinda where you can see the three claws on their foot.

 

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@Kitsafari

 

Elephants are perfectly capable to take elephants down.  Here, you must not forget that they are ten, nine adult lionesses and a powerful male, which is helping a lot.  A long time ago, the Jouberts made a documentary in the Linyanti/Savuti about elephants, even more than ten years old, killed by lions.  

 

Julian, Camp Hwange's manager told me that it's common, in October, to see lions taking elephants down at Masuma and even sometimes at the waterhole in front of the camp.  They just have to settle near the few remaining places with water and to help themselves.

 

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Bush dog

Continuation of the sixth day

 

After lunch, we saw vultures, circling high in the sky, above where we had lost sight of the calf.  We immediately decided with Washington to go and have a quick look before taking a nap.   Unfortunately what we feared had materialized.  Calvary of the buffalo calf had come to an end.

 

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At 3:30, we were out but before heading for the spot of the dead calf, we stayed a while around the camp waterhole so many elephants were in and around the water as well as the first buffaloes of the morning herd.

 

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More elephants and buffaloes coming.

 

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