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Winter in the valley; Leopards everywhere; Terrific Tafika ; a photographic report from Lion Camp and Tafika in SLNP - June 2018


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I had a week to get away on safari in between a couple of projects ........ Two or three options stood before me, for this trip.  A friend of mine who was a member of Safaritalk recommended that i try SLNP in Zambia on her recommendation from many visits to the park.  It truly is remote Africa without the maddening crowds.


Big Thank You to Sangeeta and the Chalo Africa team who put together this trip with the constant back and forth changes (including having to pre pone the trip by a couple of days due to social obligations in town).


Tafika is truly a fantastic owner run camp.  Carol and John Coppinger really do deliver the quintessential safari experience - excellent guiding, personalised service along with their commitment towards conservation and community involvement.  Highly recommend Remote Africa!


Since this is mainly a photographic report ...... I will add bits and blobs to the report.  The first instalment of photos from Lion Camp.  Many Thanks to Meyem who proved to be an excellent guide - reminded me a lot of Hobbs in many ways (from Kwando).


This is my first actual safari in Zambia - my only previous visit was back in 2004 at the outstanding Songwe Village in Livingstone.

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Edited by madaboutcheetah
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In this segment - some of the SLNP endemic species ......


The buffalo in the valley certainly look MUCH smaller in comparison to their counterparts in other parts of East/Southern Africa.


Whist we saw several Leopards in the valley (Here's one of the shy ones) - IMHO the single best Leopard destination!  Yes, even better than those places in SA.


Big Clans of Hyena both sides of the river ........  Here's a cheeky clan trying their luck with a Hippo.  


Also, the only Survivor of the famous Hollywood male Lions ///  

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fantastic! a report of one of my most favourite places in Africa. I'm glad to see that the surviving lion from the HOllywood males is still around although he looks tired. is he leading any pride at the moment and paired with other lions? 


Agree with you that this is the best place for leopards (if you discount Londolozi).  Looking forward to more of your as-expected awesome photos. 


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Great photos and a very timely report from my perspective, as we will be staying at Tafika ( and Kaingo)  next month, on our first Zambia safari.


I have a few questions for which your answers will be very helpful:


My wife has a bad reaction to tsetse flies bites-  were there many while you were there?


how cold was it in the early mornings?


We are getting our Visa on arrival, did you do the same and if so did you have to wait a long time?




Edited by Julian
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Great photos as usual Hari, glad to hear you enjoyed your week off. First time in Zambia, wow, wouldn't have thought with a safarista of your calibre. But then, you do have that tiny Bots inclination. :rolleyes:

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@Kitsafari - Thanks a lot.  Yes, he is getting old.  Saw him with a Lioness ...... This sighting was a little bit more South from the Lion Camp area in the Luwi river bed area (Stretched out a little bit that morning looking for dogs) ....... Sorry - not sure about his pride dynamics.  He's not seen more north anymore where the Punks rule ......... 


Thanks @Julian - Not very cold at all.  Just cool enough for a Jacket until say, 9AM for the game drives.  On the walk - didn't need anything. Fleece was too much ....... Need it until you get to the start of the walking points where you need to drive to!  No need for gloves, Scarf etc etc., like you would for Botswana.


Tse Tse flies - there were a few near the salt pans in the Nsefu area from Tafika.  Just a handful .......... Don't think I saw any elsewhere.  Kaingo is in the same drive area as Lion Camp.  I probably just encountered one or two ...... Nothing like Tanzania where you get hammered by the Tse Tse flies!!!


Visa - I got it online.  It took only 24 hours for them to email the visa back to me.  I think you should do this if you can ......... Zambia are really tourist friendly.  If you are in the connecting Proflight to Mfuwe, a proflight rep will ensure you get pushed through to the front of the line to get to check in for your flight.  It's super stress free!!!   Enjoy and say hello to John and Carol at Tafika, please ......... It's a special place!


@michael-ibk - Thanks a lot.  Plan is to try one new place/park in Africa and India every year!  ........... ;)

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Thanks for your very helpful replies to my questions.

As we will be there probably nearly a month after you were there the temperatures will be a bit higher- so good to know we don’t need to take any warm clothes , other than a fleece.


Also sounds good about the lack of tsetse flies.


Nice to know the on-line line visa process worked out well for you. However we  will get our visas when we arrive, as we are staying at hotel ( Latitude15) for our first night, so no need to rush through immigration.

Also pleased to hear they are very tourist friendly.


We will say hello from you to John and Carol.

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lovely photos, especially the lioness on the bank and the bee eater @madaboutcheetah

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Thanks a lot @Julian @Towlersonsafari and @marg


Next batch of photos - found the Hollywood pride this particular morning and they sniffed out an impala carcass up a tree ....... 

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  • 763208110_SLNP39.jpg(1of1).jpg.b9af51977da6dc945602f69222b8a920.jpg 

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Edited by madaboutcheetah
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I'm not able to upload my photos sequentially - not sure why ..........


Anyways, the sighting is from Tafika with Lloyd my guide - A start to finish Leopard kill ...... Followed by Hyena taking over her kill.

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Sequence will have made sense if it was uploaded in order - not sure why the photos get uploaded randomly onto the post.  Any clue why @Game Warden - Thanks!!!



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Beautiful. You are very lucky like always Hari. Thanks for showing us your amazing sightseeings. 

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Hi Hari,


Well, , as far as I am concerned, you've been to the best camp in SLNP.  It's been a long time since I've been there, precisely 17 years ago.  Like I said, Tafika was already a great camp with great people.  About this, can you tell me if Bryan Jackson from New Zealand, a great personality, is still there.  Bryan is in my guides top five.  I would not be surprised if he is.  In those days, he was already a very close friend to John Coppinger.  And is Stephan Banda also still there.


Great sightings! 

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Thanks a lot @Botswanadreams


@Bush dog - Hi Mike .... indeed!!! It's a brilliant brilliant experience at Tafika. Almost every guest I met over 4 nights there were repeat guests. Yes, Bryan is now part owner along with the Coppingers .... Stephen, I'm not sure. I would love to try their camp in North Luangwa too next time. Bryan told me that they too have a carmine hide later in the season. They put it up only after The carmines arrive every year. So maybe will have to time it right! 

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A lovely morning walk with Amon.  Here are some highlights ............ We drove to the river, canoe trip to cross the river and then we walked all morning.  I don't recall coming across anybody else during our walk.  



1494693551_SLNP83.jpg(1of1).jpg.7ad294e347cb24807f411517cfb6b78d.jpg1414546342_SLNP82.jpg(1of1).jpg.29845a0dbc58f39edfceb20c4c331c7f.jpg845365370_SLNP81.jpg(1of1).jpg.b7c9a8807c3570d0baafa8f4da68e325.jpg643710864_SLNP80.jpg(1of1).jpg.20f4043e557f37a8727ce3865f20047a.jpg1346706825_SLNP72.jpg(1of1).jpg.9ce76154b2b9902326fa3658d0a7d46c.jpgA lovely morning walk from Tafika with Amon/ Some  tguidguide

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More from Tafika .......... 606365411_SLNP94.jpg(1of1).jpg.2fd5df80f824609892da9e4b5a934547.jpg1914675127_SLNP93.jpg(1of1).jpg.dcb930321b66256ca65571c2655cd356.jpg1086332672_SLNP92.jpg(1of1).jpg.a203bfe4832b0d7e5cad3233a43cdabd.jpg1928381844_SLNP91.jpg(1of1).jpg.63fe391119ee3d6aed47ff8b41ab8b0b.jpg1675784824_SLNP90.jpg(1of1).jpg.e07b2ae1282e241881b33f3065ace477.jpg762510955_SLNP89.jpg(1of1).jpg.ea111e7fa0203b2ea9a7e619a7fdb6eb.jpg



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more from tafika...... the Nsefu pride doing their thing!  One of the night drives saw some pride members swim across the river to the other side of the park.


The Leopard is supposed to be a popular female leopard - Pink Nose (the mother to the leopard who lost her kill to the hyena) 


Night drive Leopard is right around the bend from Tafika - 

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Edited by madaboutcheetah
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what a splendid leopard sequence SLNP is I think my favourite park @madaboutcheetah

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Thanks @Towlersonsafari - I will try and make changes to get the leopard sequence in order. i had problems with uploading them in the right sequence 

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Peter Connan

Wow, some magnificent sightings and great photography as usual Sir!

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Thank You, Sir! @Peter Connan

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A few Iphone photos (unedited) 













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