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South Luangwa August 2018


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@vikramghanekar, yes the wife and l enjoyed this installment. Could the young elephant have lost the tip of the trunk to a crocodile? Good attempt on the reflection on the water, was it pinker to the eye?

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@vikramghanekar, yes the wife and l enjoyed this installment. Could the young elephant have lost the tip of the trunk to a crocodile? Good attempt on the reflection on the water, was it pinker to the eye?

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7 hours ago, CDL111 said:

@vikramghanekar, yes the wife and l enjoyed this installment. Could the young elephant have lost the tip of the trunk to a crocodile? Good attempt on the reflection on the water, was it pinker to the eye?

Thank you!

About the elephant, it could be crocodile but it could also be a wire snare. Snares for bushmeat poaching is very common problem. Accidental entanglement of non targeted wildlife is all too common.

To answer your second question, yes the reflection was "shocking pink" as my wife would say to describe the colour!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 5 My last full day at Zikomo

The day started slowly with usual sightings of some Puku, Warthogs, impalas and a few elephants.

Warthogs were pretty nervous and ran away if the vehicle got too close. This one particular individual was a little bolder and allowed us to approach. 

I remembered that I don't have a single decent photograph of a warthog!



Mammals had gone into hiding but birds were out in full force.

Red billed quelias. Not huge flocks but decent sized ones.



Red Necked Spurfowl



Laughing dove


?Red Eyed dove



Found a young elephant bull chewing on some tree branches.



It was amazing to see how he was using his trunk to adjust the position of the branch in his mouth, crunching on it with his molar and sucking in the juice. He would throw away the chewed up branch once he had sucked in all the juice. Just like eating sugarcane.



Found a small herd of buffaloes with their winged companions.Yellow billed oxpeckers.



Julius unsuccessfully searched for the Nsefu pride but they had gone into hiding.

Instead he found us this



There was only one cub peeping out from this den. Soon, it too disappeared down the hole. Not wanting to disturb them any further, we headed back to the camp. A slow morning by Zikomo standards. But my first hyena cub sighting made up for rest of the morning.

In the camp there were plenty of blue waxbills feeding on grass seeds. I spent some time photographing them.



Evening drive started the usual time. Agenda was to locate the lions if possible.

On the way I realised I did not have a single picture of a Guineafowl! Time to rectify the shortcoming.



We passed by the colony of white fronted bee eaters.





After multiple failed attempts of getting flight shots of these fast birds and testing the patience of my vehicle mate, I gave up.

My only sighting of elands in SLNP. Very shy, ran way quickly.



We reached Tena Tena crossing and were pleasantly surprised. Carmine bee eaters! This must be one of the first groups to SNLP.



My vehicle mate decided to get down from the vehicle for better shots. Of course with her not so stealthy approach and a bright white shirt to boot, the birds were off in a flash, ending my hopes of capturing some decent images of these very colourful birds.

Disappointed, I turned my attention to the river where a couple of male hippos were having a difference of opinion.



Some more show off to intimidate the rival.




Clearly the submissive posture of the challenger was not good enough.



He was chased off this part of the river by the boss.

It was quite nice to witness this bit of drama, somewhat making up for my disappointment about carmines.

We pressed on in our search for Nsefu pride. Finally found them lying close to the river on a high bank. Julius decided to hold back as there was a small group of walkers coming in on the sighting from the other side. It was good to see priority being given to walkers and ensuring that we don't compromise their safety as well as viewing experience in any way.

This game me a chance to take a typical South Luangwa shot, something that we are used to seeing on marketing brochures of walking camps.



We stayed with the lions for a while but all of them were doing the typical lion thing: Nothing.

It was getting dark and time to head back to the camp.

On the way got some decent shots of 2 nocturnal inhabitants on the park

White tailed mongoose



Bushy tailed mongoose




Day 6

Last day in Zikomo. I decided to take it easy. However, I am not a late sleeper so headed to the breakfast spot after other guests had left for morning drive. Had some coffee and a nice long chat with the staff members. It was nice to get some insight into their lives. With just 6 months of tourist season, life is not easy for them. The wet season is spent farming, growing rice, maize, cotton and bananas. Elephants and other herbivores are a constant threat to the crops, making life even more difficult. One of the guys was trained as an agriculturist and had spent 6 months in China on a government scholarship to learn advanced farming techniques. However, after coming back, there was no job for him. He spent a few months working for a Chinese cotton ginning company. He was given a bicycle and his job was to distribute cotton seeds to farmers, ensure that they plant the seeds and take care of the crop. However, he was paid at the end of the season depending on how much yield the farmers generated. If the farmers did not do well, he didn't get paid! Even if the crops did well, some money would be deducted from his pay towards rent for the bicycle! No wonder he left the job quickly. To my eyes it looked like exploitation to the fullest.

Barring mining in the Copperbelt, there is no industry to speak of, no manufacturing units, nothing. It was really an eye opener for me in spite of me being from a poor country like India.

Afterwards, I took some photos of the camp. Something I always forget to do.

Breakfast spot



"Toaster", Coffee pot, Porridge pot and pancake pan: 



My chalet No. 5



Way to the Chalet



Interior: No fancy designer stuff but nice, clean and simple. Good for 3 people




Solar powered fan would be a great asset in October!



Lounge and Bar. Damien's sketch occupies space behind the bar. Victoria would play some nice music in the evening sometime, a bit unusual for a bushcamp in Africa, but I actually loved it.






Swimming Pool



Tea time!



The lady in charge! Owner, manager, trouble shooter, host all in one.



I left Zikomo after thoroughly enjoying the stay thanks to Victoria and her staff. They were superb.

Next stop: Nkonzi

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Certainly looks like a Red-Eyed Dove, bit tough on the carmines, l think to get a photo of them in flight is, right place right time.

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  • 2 years later...

If I haven't said it already @vikramghanekarSimply superb photos.

Thanks for your TR

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  • 1 year later...

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