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We have a 7.30 start this morning for the long drive to Kapishya in Zambia via Tunduma border post. Breakfast was delicious and the coffee aficionados gave the thumbs up to the local brew. There was a White-browed Robin Chat at the bird bath where Speckled Mousebirds tucked into pawpaw.

 

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A flock of Bronze Mannikins feeds on the lawn while Purple-crested Turacos hug the top branches of a tall tree and an African Pied Wagtail sat on the path. 
 

The border crossing was slow but relatively painless as we left Tanzania and entered Zambia. While Johnny completed the vehicle paperwork we had a great time people watching. We could have kitted ourselves out with new jeans, shirts, an iron and even an ironing board. The usual sugar cane, fruit and vegetables are elegantly arranged on round trays and transported on the heads of local ladies. Babies are trussed in kangas on mother's backs and expertly moved from back to front with the shift of an elbow.  Johnny returned from completing the vehicle paperwork and explained that he had been held up due to the arrival of the Zambian Commissioner of Police because everyone in the office had to line up outside to greet him.


We then began the long trip south along the Great North Road passing the usual procession of trucks including breakdowns and rollovers.  The Zambian roadside landscape has more trees than in Tanzania and less cleared land. Small settlements and individual mud homes line the roadside, it's quite difficult to find an unoccupied stretch of road. We stopped for lunch on the side of the road and munched into chicken, samosas and cake supplied by the folks at the Coffee Lodge. We gave our leftovers to a group of curious children who watched us from the roadside.
 
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Eventually the turn-off to Shiwa N'gandu and Kapishya Hot Springs appears and we are then driving 32km down a corrugated road past original English buildings from the original 1930s settlement.


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Darkness fell very quickly, as we arrived at Kapishya after dark.   Tomorrow we are starting out with an early bird walk with Johnny, then I'll find time for a dip in the hot springs probably have high tea, just a lazy day.

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This morning I awoke to a spectacular view over the river and forest from my bed. There is a window at mezzanine height that the sunrise steals through while the river gurgles below the deck.


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Five of us did an early morning bird walk with Johnny, starting at reception then past the flourishing vegetable garden to the steaming hot springs and on to the camp ground. Some of the self-drivers came to dinner at the lodge and spoke highly of the well-appointed campsite where some had been tempted to linger longer than planned. Around the campsite we saw Yellow-breasted Sunbird, White-browed Robin-chat,
 

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Ashy Flycatcher,


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Tropical Boubou, Yellow Love-leaf and Black-throated wattle-eye. We were chasing a Ross's Turaco which was feeding in the canopy when we found a hide which was excellent for Black-backed barbet,
 

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Olive Woodpecker, Yellow Loveleaf, African Yellow White-eye, Black-eyed Bulbul and Bronze-wing Mannikin. After breakfast the others went for a walk to see the some cave paintings and I took the opportunity for a dip in the hot springs. What a treat, white sand underfoot, steaming warm water, birds flitting in the trees and dragonflies dancing across the surface of the water. 
 

 

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Back at reception Green-headed sunbirds were feeding in a callistemon outside the dining room at lunchtime.


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We indulged in high tea at 4 pm which was served in the upstairs River View Terrace.
 

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In a vain attempt to walk off some of this largesse, a few of us went on a late afternoon bird walk through the strawberry patch and veggie garden.


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Mark called us over to the kitchen where their Dalmatian was wearing an England t-shirt because tonight England and Croatia are playing in the World Cup semi-final. The dog may have been a bit confused because he is a pure-bred Dalmatian imported from Croatia!

 

 

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The day finished with a Mexican meal followed by pavlova kindly made by Mel Harvey.

 

Next morning, I lay in bed watching the yellow dawn climb over the treetops before heading out for a pre-breakfast fruitless search for Ross's Turaco followed by the drive to Shiwa House.

 

 

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On 11/17/2018 at 5:41 PM, Treepol said:

It would be wonderful if UNESCO could find a few $$$ to begin preservation work on this unique site.

 

Yes that would be great @Treepol- Bagamoyo was of course the setting off point on the mainland for Burton & Speke and later  Speke & Grant on their explorations and Stanley ended up there with Emin Pasha in tow!

 

Your lovely photo of the Impala delicately crossing the Magwusi River bed induced a rush of great memories of my stay at Magwusi Safari Camp on my first visit to Ruaha in 2000.

 

Loving everything about this report and so looking forward to the next section on Shiwa. The Africa House is a favourite book of mine.

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@Caracalyes, Bagamoyo has an illustrious history and was a really interesting place to visit.

 

The impalas dancing down the Mwagusi is one of my favourite photos from Ruaha 2018.

 

The Africa House is certainly one of my favourite books too, and the inspiration behind my plan to link Southern Tanzania and Kafue in a single road trip/safari. Lets go there now!

 

 

After saying goodbye to Mark we drove to Shiwa N'gandu, a baronial manor house built by Stewart Gore-Brown in Northern Zambia during the 1920s. His idea was to build an African utopia with housing, education and health services for the estate workers. The story of the house and the Gore-Brown family is told in the book The Africa House by Christina Lamb. Between Kapishya and Shiwa House we stopped at a bridge where Red-rumped swallows dipped and dived. These local children came to see what we were doing.
 

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The original farm buildings at Shiwa from the early 1930s are in poor repair but some are still inhabited.
 

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The house and adjoining chapel are incredible, incongruously presiding over the surrounding farmland.


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Labradors charge down to greet us and Charlie Harvey, the current owner introduces us to Rosa our guide. The tour starts in the family chapel that is used every Sunday for services.  

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Shiwa House could be described as a living museum, a place where time stands still. It is very much a family home and visitors are shown through entrance hall, lounge and dining rooms as well as one of the guest bedrooms then upstairs into the library.

 

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The Harvey's private living quarters are closed to the public.
 

The entrance hall is decorated with bronze animals and certificates awarded to Sir Stewart Gore-Brown by the first president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda. The lounge room is a comfortable family room, where French doors open onto a terrace.


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The carved door is magnificent and the ornaments have been collected by various family members. The guest room was spacious and a bit unnerving.
 

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The dining room is used by the family every day and the cabinets contained the family china and silver.


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Sir Thomas Gore-Brown was an early Governor of Tasmania and both Mark and Charlie were quick to make the connection with our Tasmanian group. Charlie bought out some photos from Sir Thomas's time in Tasmania which was a nice touch. The staircase up to the library is decorated with family photos, paintings and travel mementoes.
 

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The library is home to a large collection of books, and has a separate room specifically for African titles. At this point I will say that our group of 7 included 5 librarians, so we spent quite a bit of time browsing the shelves.:D


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Sir Thomas was presented with an ornate silver ornament decorated with a kiwi, fern and Maori warrior when he completed a stint governing New Zealand.

 

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After the tour finished we spent some time in the garden and photographed the avenue that links Shiwa House to the village church.


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Charlie gave us 3 loaves of bread baked at Shiwa using wheat grown on the estate, another nice touch.  I turned and looked at Shiwa House until it disappeared from view, feeling as though I should be pinching myself at the realisation of a 30 year old dream - to visit the scene of the Africa House. With one foot still in the past, I quickly adjusted my outlook to further down the road at Mutinondo Wilderness.
 

The drive to Mutinondo was 3 hours along the Great North Road via Mpika. Lunch was ready for us at our 2 pm arrival and I was delighted to see Double-collared Miombo Sunbirds feeding within a metre of the dining area.


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This area (and the camp generally) overlook miles of uninhabited African bush and a dambo.

 

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Here is the view from my chalet. 
 

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There are four chalets, all worthy of Grand Designs Africa, here is mine.
 


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Two other chalets are open-sided, none have locks or curtains and one has an outside bathroom with a luxurious bath. Here are some other photos of the camp. 

 

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It's possible to walk here without a ranger so we took full advantage of this.  The first afternoon we walked to Chosa Falls and returned to camp via the River Walk. Unfortunately there were no birds to be seen, maybe it was too cool.


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The fire was lit at Harry's Bar which is where we whiled away an hour before dinner, watching the world turn orange and pink.


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The evening meal of roast Shiwa lamb and vegies, followed by pear sponge and custard was served in the inside dining room in front of an open fire.
 

This was the perfect end to a perfect day and tomorrow morning Sharn, Johnny and I are heading out early in search of Ross's Turaco.

 

 

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@shouldbewriting thanks for following the tale.

 

I slept well last night and was ready for an early pre-walk cup of tea. The walk was quiet early on, but once we were down at the dambo we saw Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Black-headed oriole, Senegal Coucal and Yellow-fronted Canary. Returning through some woodland we stopped to look at a Monkey Orange tree, Old Man's Beard blowing gently in the breeze and another type of colourful parasite.
 

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A Scaly-throated Honeyguide attempted to lead us along the path, perching very high above. Just as we turned for home, a dark shape in a tree turned out to be the elusive Ross's Turaco which gave good views of red feathers and a glimpse of the bare, bright yellow face.  Consequently we were an hour late for a breakfast that included home-made bread, fresh pawpaw, local honey, eggs, bacon and tomato. A Crowned Hornbill kept an eye on breakfast from a distance.

 

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By late morning the donkey had heated enough water for a hot shower and for laundry after which I sat outside my chalet gazing over the bare hills and lowland woodland.  Believe it or not, we lined up for a light lunch and I decided to head off on a bird walk on my own,  through the campsites and out along the entrance road. There wasn’t much about so I returned to camp and sat up at Harry's Bar taking in the vista. 
 

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Later, a Miombo Double-Collared Sunbird sipped a final nectar from the aloes before nightfall and Dusky Flycatcher and Amethyst Sunbird were also attracted by the last of the sun's rays. A couple of pretty birds made an appearance but I couldn't ID them. One looked like a black and white weaver, possibly with lemon on its wings/belly and the other had a bee-eater back and a golden/orange breast. It's Jo's birthday tomorrow and as we have an early start we celebrated tonight with delicious chocolate cake cooked in a wood stove and champagne from Stellenbosch.

 

Johnny advised leaving Mutinondo as early as possible in order to make good time to Lusaka, an estimated 10 hour trip. We left at 6.30 and made good time, there wasn't too much heavy traffic early on because the Tunduma border post doesn't begin clearing trucks before 5 am.  We ate the snacks that Doug thoughtfully provides, stopped at lots of police and army checkpoints, admired the roadside tomato stalls (there were many) and watched the habitation change from a small groups of one or two huts to larger villages.


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Closer to Lusaka large, productive farms were growing irrigated crops (lots of wheat) on a broad acre plan.  Lusaka is a small capital by African standards with a population of about 2,000,000. The traffic was slow moving but with the help of the GPS we found our way to the Wayside Guesthouse where the gardener had been busy.
 

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We had Debonaire's pizza for dinner on Jo's birthday with champagne of course. Tomorrow we have a leisurely start for the drive to Kokamoya in Kafue NP.

 

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The background city noise on a Saturday night contrasted sharply with the peace and quiet of Kapishya and Mutinondo and when I woke at 3 am the local disco was still going gangbusters. However, I drifted off back to sleep and woke refreshed and ready for another day in Africa assisted by a breakfast spread of fruit, cereal, yoghurt and freshly cooked eggs, bacon and tomatoes.
 

We left Wayside at 8 a.m. for a 5 hour trip to Konkamoya Lodge in Kafue NP. The road was quiet, no trucks and not much traffic at all. The first part was in bad condition, as was the alternative road beside it, so we had the choice of 2 bad roads. A new road was awaiting completion and this will make a big difference to the trip into the park from Lusaka.
 

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We eventually found a sealed road and made good time arriving in the surprisingly large town of Itezhi-Tezhi which has built up around a hydro station. We drove across the spillway and alongside the dam wall - just like home really (the chief source of electricity in Tasmania is hydro power.) Baboons foraged in the grounds of the power station and many Fish Eagles perched over the water. Leaving the town behind we drove into the park where paying the park fees took quite a while, but there was a troop of vervet monkeys to entertain us, the babies were very cute.  Johnny said these were the Malbrouck sub-species, although I gather this sub-species is not universally recognised.

Then we had to find the lodge which took a long time, but we had a game drive on the way and saw a lame young ele that seemed to have been abandoned by the herd, 2 large warthogs, puku, hippo, egrets, pied kingfishers and hamerkop. We knew we were getting close when we found the Hippo Bay sign – we were supposed to be staying here, but had been upgraded to Konkamoya Lodge because the reed huts were destroyed during the last wet season.


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Eventually we saw a 'Lodge' sign and decided that at 3 p.m. any lodge would do.  Fortunately we had found Konkamoya and immediately settled into the tents before a light lunch of pizza, focaccia and quiche. We learned that Konkamoya staff had rung the park gate to see if we had arrived and became concerned when they were told 'your people have already been past.'  Our rooms are amazing - spacious, with separate open bathrooms and veranda. I can see that eles and hippo might be close tonight and the small wallow outside my tent may be a warthog magnet.


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I am writing up my notes on the veranda watching a herd of puku grazing along the lakeside. Fish eagles fly and cry along the lake shore. 

The group got together at the bar, where a G&T is served with rose and cucumber tonic water which made an interesting change. Dinner was chicken curry and dessert was a birthday cake for Sharn. Matthews and the kitchen staff entered with the cake and singing Happy Birthday - but what is this, a second verse I hadn't heard before??? Matthews deep voice boomed into the darkness and across the lake singing - "How old are you now, how old are you now?" The cake was a delicious Victoria Sponge and Sharn was delighted to be given the recipe to take home. 
 

Konkamoya is a 4 tent lodge that is built on the edges of flooded Lake Itzeh-Tetzi. It is un-fenced and visited regularly by eles and hippo. The name means 'follow the wind' which is very appropriate because a cold wind blew throughout our stay at Konkamoya and followed us further into Kafue. The swaying light shades are a good indicator of the windy conditions.
 

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I was hoping to have hippo and eles close outside the tent last night but apart from a bit of what I thought was hippo munching - rubbery lips tearing at the grass and then munch, munch, munch - it was a quiet night or maybe I just slept well. A light breakfast was served at 6.45 and then we all piled into the game drive vehicle and headed bush in search of a lioness with 4 cubs that has been seen in the area and whatever else is around. 
 

Aaron is our guide and he makes for the main entrance road where we are surprised to see a large Konkamoya sign and agreed that we came in on one of the game drive routes yesterday. The guys at the camp told us that he Konkamoya signs out on the highway had been removed by road workers. Here are Aaron and Johnny hard at work in Kafue NP.  
 

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Someone says that a cold front has hit South Africa and Harare and it seems it's traveling north as the day gets colder and grey clouds scud across the sky.
 

A flutter of orange feathers alerted us to a family of hoopoe at the roadside followed by impala, Defassa waterbuck and common reedbuck. A herd of about 20 buffalo silently regarded us from the tree line before high-tailing it into thicker cover. Warthogs provided a few laughs as they tore off, tails held high. Bird wise, the best sightings of the morning were Little Bee-eater, Wattled crane, Arnot's chat, Pygmy Geese and a Gymnogene. 

 

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New birds for me were Dickinson's Kestrel and a glimpse of Schalow's Turaco. There are many lion footprints, including those of the lioness with 4 Cubs, leopard and hyena prints too but no sightings of these predators. I was delighted to see my first Sharp’s Grysbok resting in the long grass.


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We did visit the Hippo Bay Campsite to see the foundations and thatched roof of the huts we had booked. The shower base is on the left – this is all that remains.
 

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The drive returned to camp about 1 pm for a tuna salad and fruit salad lunch and a short rest before the afternoon game drive which extends into a night drive. The first sightings were of the usual suspects - puku, impala, baboon and warthog before seeing our first white-faced whistling ducks, darter and Malachite Kingfisher.

 

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Further along a Coqui Francolin scurried across the road whilst White-headed and White-backed vultures flew and perched above.

 

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The first unusual mammal sighting was this Side-striped Jackal soaking up the last of the sun.
 

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Sundowners were enjoyed by the lake, where hippos snorted and honked, impatient to begin the evening's grazing.

 

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Aaron pours a mean G&T - he made 6 from an unopened bottle of gin and when he had finished there was only a third of the bottle left. He said it helped with the night drive home - 'there's a leopard, and another one over there with cubs...'


Night drive views of scrub hare, elephant shrew, buffalo, large spotted genet, white-tailed mongoose and Spotted Dikkop rounded out the game viewing while onion soup, beef stew and lemon meringue pie completed our evening.
 

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The alarm went off at 6.15 this morning just in time for toast and muffins before the morning game drive. Aaron says we are driving around the lake shore, then north to the grasslands in search of cheetah and oribi.  Birds made up the first sightings – a punk Fish Eagle, Little Bee-eater, Lizard Buzzard, Guinea fowl, Senegal Cuckoo, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Crested Barbet and Green Pigeon.


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Early mammal sightings included puku, impala, banded mongoose, Common Reedbuck, numerous warthog and zebra.


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The grasslands delivered 2 new mammals - Lichtenstein's Hartebeest and oribi.

 

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More good sightings of Wattled Crane, a Saddle-billed Stork followed, and the first Spur-winged Goose of the trip followed.
 

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Johnny has gone to Itzeh-Tetzi for fuel and Kwacha so we have Aaron and Gibson for the evening game drive. Aaron has 'guaranteed' everyone elephants this afternoon so he must be feeling confident. Pretty Blue Waxbills, Pied Wagtails and a White Breasted Cormorant were the first sightings.


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Curious puku near the campsite watched us closely.
 

 

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The next birds were Green-backed Heron, Tropical Boubou, Dickinson's Kestrel, Lizard Buzzard and Ant-eating Chat.


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These pretty flowers bloomed after a recent fire.

 

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A pair of puku watched us before heading into the trees and then we saw the eles.

 

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A young bull mock charged the vehicle while the others fed quietly.

 

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We returned to Konkamoya for a final dinner and made plans for an 8am departure to Kiangu Lodge. 



Next morning we left Konkamoya at 8 a.m. for a 3-4 hour drive to Kaingu Lodge which

extended to 6 hours due to corrugations, steep and washed out culverts and 2 trees blocking the road. Early sightings included the lake scenery and waterbuck. 

 

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A lot of travel was done at 20 kph and there wasn't much wildlife to see. A Common Duiker ran from the vehicle as we left camp, followed by the usual suspects of warthog, puku, impala, baboon and waterbuck.  We arrived at Kaingu at 2 pm,  traveling downriver to camp where we had lunch, followed by high tea at 3.30 and then a trip upriver by boat. The tents are stylish and well appointed and the river runs below my deck.


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We saw a Brown-headed Kingfisher, Hadada Ibis, 2 baby crocs, a water monitor, hippos, Egyptian Geese and had tantalising glimpses of an African Finfoot.


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Sundowners were enjoyed on a small island before the return trip to camp for dinner.
 

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The wind has followed us from Konkamoya and the day has been chilly, definitely need 4 layers of clothes. We return to camp for a delicious dinner and to hear the plans for tomorrow morning - a game drive via the Meyer's parrot lek.

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I recognise that view from the tent at KaingU @Treepol

 

I rather think you've got a photo of 4 Southern Reedbuck above those Lichtenstein Hartebeests.

 

Beautiful markings on the Coqui Francolin and backtracking somewhat - not sure why but amongst all of your beautiful bird photos to date I find that photo of the Ashy Flycatcher most captivating.

 

Roll on with more of this great report.

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@Caracal- mea culpa. This is a cut and paste tragedy as the text should have read:

 

"The grasslands delivered 2 new mammals - Lichtenstein's Hartebeest and oribi, together with a family of curious reedbucks."

 

The boat trip from camp is magical and "mistical" with the reflected sunrise.
 


 

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JohnD is taking us on a game drive beginning with a stop at the Meyer's Parrot Lek. About a hundred birds were calling from the trees and flying by before landing at the waterhole. A pair of Red-necked Spurfowl scratch around the vehicle for grass seeds while Green Pigeons perch in the treetops waiting for the sun.


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Jacanas wander over the water weeds as the sun creeps higher, and Cape Turtle Doves drink at the water's edge.

 

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The parrots are back and forth in the morning shadows, and still we wait for the sun to light up their brilliant green and yellow plumage. It was worth the wait, even if most of them had left by sunrise.
 

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A short drive beyond the Lek brings us to the river where a Southern Black Tit is hopping around and we catch a first glimpse of Boehm's Bee-eater. A Half-Collared Kingfisher perches low over the water. Common Reedbuck, puku and impala are the first mammals of the morning. JohnD stops at what looks like a sausage hanging over the road which is really a communal moth’s nest. 

 

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Further down the road we see the first of 3 herds of Lichtenstein's Hartebeest and a number of shy oribi.
 

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Nearby a female warthog appears to be taking over an aardvark hole in preparation for the breeding season. A Lilac Breasted Roller and Blue Waxbills round out the morning's game viewing together with a Bushbuck at the boat station.  
 

The staff bring falafels and delicious fresh salads for lunch which is served on the dining deck overlooking the river. This afternoon I am going on a game drive while the others go on a walk. Bohm's Bee-eaters are waiting at the boat station which we all agree is a very auspicious start to the drive.


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We head upriver to the vehicles, where the first sightings are impala, puku, kudu and 2 Western Banded Snake Eagles. These are followed by Defassa Waterbuck, warthog, oribi, Little Bee-eater, Gabar Goshawk, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, a White-backed vulture and a lone sable.
 

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The weather is still cold and cloudy so sundowners are very quick. Tonight we have a surprise - dinner is served down at the rapids a few hundred metres from camp where lanterns, a camp fire, a kitchen and dining area have been set up.  Wake up tomorrow is at 6 am, with departure at 7 pm. 5 of us are being transferred by Kaingu in one of their 'air-conditioned' luxury game drive vehicles driven by the inimitable JohnD while Johnny takes Jane and Don back to Lusaka, before meeting us tomorrow 'down the road to Livingstone'. 

 

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We are to meet the Nanzhila vehicle at 10 am at the Hippo Bay Campsite turn-off - you know what is said about the best laid plans of mice and men.
 

Next morning we said goodbye to Gil and Julia, Linda and Rick and climbed into the boats for the short trip to the vehicle station. An African Finfoot swam quickly past the camp so we spent a few fruitless minutes searching for a better view. The first sights down the road are some quiet corners of the park as well as Maribou Stork, a Brown Snake, Sable, Tree Squirrel, Coqui Francolin and then...wild dog. The alpha male ran out onto the road and distracted us while the rest of the pack slipped quietly through the bush and past the vehicle.


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After this exciting find, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Waterbuck and Sharpe's Grysbok seemed rather tame. 

 

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We were a bit late for the scheduled rendezvous due to stopping and slowing for game viewingThe drive into Nanzhila Plains was through miombo woodland that changed to open grasslands the further south we drove.


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We did get to see the lioness with 4 x 8 month old cubs that eluded us at Konkamoya.

 

 

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Steve pointed out the first zebra and blue wildebeest we had seen since leaving Ruaha NP as well as oribi, Sharpe's Grysbok and Lichtenstein's Hartebeest. We didn't see any eles around Nanzhila, but a couple of broken tree trunks are evidence of their presence.  Other notable sightings included hippo, puku, Defassa Waterbuck, many shy reedbuck, a pair of juvenile saddle-billed storks and a pair of Wattled Cranes. Arriving at Nanzhila Plains Lodge we are shown to our tents, have afternoon tea and then head out on an afternoon game drive, which after sundowners becomes a night drive back to the lodge. The best sighting of this drive was a serval bounding through the high grass. We also had good views of African Hoopoe, Senegal Coucal, Spurwing Geese, Saddle-billed Stork, Meve's Starling, Swainson's Spurfowl, Common Genet and Scrub Hares. 



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We also saw this elaborate fish trap used by the local people
 

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Early to bed tonight after a delicious dinner - outside the Bell Frogs are tinkling prettily, what a lovely sound at the end of the day.

 

Edited by Treepol
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My wake-up came at 6.30 as arranged followed by a quick shower, cooked breakfast and then we jumped into 2 4WDs for the transfer back to Kalomo where we are to meet Johnny at 1 pm for the trip south to Livingstone. The mist over the waterhole in front of camp augurs well for a clear, sunny day.


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Some early birds are already admiring the view from the dining room
 

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Steve takes a quiet moment to enjoy a world class view before the drive out.

 


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The game this morning was similar to what we saw yesterday. Lots of reedbucks, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Banded Mongoose, a distant view of Black-faced Lovebirds,  Saddle-billed stork, Spurwing Geese, Senegal Coucal and Wattled Crane. The villages outside the park were very interesting. They were quite large, mostly tidy and contained handmade raised grain storage rooms, individual chicken hutches and sturdy cattle and goat bomas. Along the way, 7th Day Adventists dressed in their Sunday best are walking to church.
 

 

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I was very taken with the reed chicken housing - these are in the photo below. Look over the top of the blue and grey drum where there are some small reed houses with doors that are raised about a metre from the ground, these are for the chickens. 

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Johnny was waiting at Kalomo and we set out along a remarkably good road so we gained a few minutes (that's never happened before) and arrived at Chanter's Lodge in Livingstone around 2pm. Johnny has taken the others down to Vic Falls this afternoon. I stayed here to sort out tomorrow's birding trip and I've seen the falls before. Tonight we are going to the Golden Leaf, a recommended Indian restaurant for a last dinner with Johnny as he's leaving at 5 am. My birding day begins at 6 am when I am being collected by Chiinga from Savannah Southern Safaris.
 

 

Johnny asked what I was doing today and I said that I was gong birding with Chiinga and that the first stop was the sewage ponds. Johnny replied "Hey, I must get some tips from this guy!"

Edited by Treepol
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Arriving at the local sewage ponds we walked through a patch of scrub on the edge of town where elephants spend the night. We're on the lookout   for a calling Red-faced Cisticola which didn't show. The first sighting was a female Pin-tailed Whydah followed by flocks of Red-billed Quelea which lasted throughout the morning.


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A Red-faced Mousebird perched high in a tree soaking up the early morning sun.
 

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Little Bee Eaters (known locally as Brazilian birds due to their bright plumage) swooped on insects. At 0720 Chinga had to go and do a presentation to a group of Rhodes Scholars on the history of Livingstone so Chuilei (the junior guide) continued on with me spotting Blue Waxbills, Golden oriole, Black Crake, female Red Bishop, Common Moorhen, and Long-toed lapwing.


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The only new bird so far is the Green-backed Camaroptera.

Chinga returned and we continued around the ponds where the usual suspects were present - cattle egret, juvenile black-headed heron, hadada, sacred and glossy ibis.


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I was surprised to see that a male hippo has taken up residence in one of the sewage ponds - he seemed very happy at his wallow. A crocodile basked on the water hyacinth nearby.


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We headed into the park in search of Common Palm Thrush which we found skulking in the shadows.
 

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I returned to Chanters for lunch and am being collected by Albert at 1415 for an afternoon along the river in search of Finfoot, Kingfishers and other specials before heading to a fruiting tree at dusk in search of Schalow's Turaco. There are a number of buildings from the colonial time in the main street, these look like a former bank and theatre.


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This afternoon we drove into the park and are accompanied by Saboi, an armed ZIWA ranger. It's very pleasant exploring the park on foot, staying close to the river for African Finfoot, in vain I’m afraid. The first sighting was a White-crowned lapwing followed by Green-backed Heron, White-fronted Bee-eater and Dark-capped Bulbul.
 

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We saw 5 species of kingfisher (Giant, Half-collared, Malachite, Pied and Brown-headed).


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A Red-faced Cisticola swayed on a reed while a Golden Oriole shouted from a treetop. Last bird sightings were Southern Grey-headed Sparrow and a Yellow-bellied Greenbul.  Chiinga called in at the Royal Livingstone where fruiting trees attract the highly sought after Schalow's Turaco, not this evening though. Tomorrow we will leave town at 0630 to try at the Royal Livingstone one last time before the flight to JNB.


Chiinga arrived at 0630 for the drive out to Avani Royal Livingstone for one last look for Schalow's Turaco.
 

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I did get close to the top of the falls


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and this Giant Kingfisher posed nicely in the morning light.
 

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Despite our best efforts the bird eluded me, and I returned to Chanter's Lodge for a late breakfast and a transfer to Livingstone Airport and the flight back to JNB.  Immigration and baggage collection was very quick and we were soon checked into our rooms at the Airport City Lodge. Jane H and I went over to arrivals where  @farin and @GnuGnu arrived about 6 pm ready to explore South Africa.

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Along the road in Tanzania and Zambia
 

 

This year’s safari/road trip linked some distant points on the safari road map, namely Ruaha NP in Southern Tanzania and Kafue NP in central Zambia via the Shiwa Estate. This route would have been impossible on a flying itinerary, (unless we opted for private charters) and whilst we spent considerable time on the road we were richly rewarded by close-up sights of local life along the Tanzam and the Great North Road. Traveling by road also meant that we avoided irritating airport processes and multiple transit nights in airport hotels. 
 

School children in spotlessly clean uniforms were a frequent sight throughout Tanzania and Zambia.
 

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Trading was obvious throughout both countries with roadside markets for vegetables, tomatoes and honey.
 

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The shops, bars and restaurants had memorable names like Mancures and pedicures, DM investments – favoured in Jesus name, Open love corner bottle shop, Divine butchery, Third world Barber, Shagy Trading and Untie Juliet’s restaurant and takeaway.
 

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This guy caused us some anxious moments when the gas bottles became wedged between the back of our vehicle and a bridge.
 

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We stopped at a number of garages for fuel and leg stretches. 


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Most of the traffic was heavy trucks hauling fuel, mining and construction equipment from the port in Dar es Salaam to Zambia, Malawi and the Congo. The lack of regulation, dangerous loading, non-existent occupational health and safety, poor working conditions and the dilapidated condition of most of the trucks and buses was confronting. There was a huge variety of vehicles travelling the Tanzam all negotiating the pot-holed highway with various degrees of success.


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(Photo: Noel and Sharn)

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In many places the blacktop had worn away or cracked up, creating sharp drops into holes that were deeper than 8 inches which happened to be the clearance on the Quantum. Most of the way the road shoulder was a drop of more than 8 inches which made pulling over well nigh impossible for us, much to the disgust of some truck drivers.
 

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We saw between 4-6 rollovers daily between Dar and Lusaka, each carefully signalled by freshly cut branches.
 

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This driver was lucky not to slip any further down the steep bank into the river.


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There were lots of breakdowns with drivers waiting for weeks sometimes for owners to arrange repairs or a tow. These guys had set up a make shift camp at the roadside.
 

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We saw a couple of breakdowns where the engine block had been manually lifted out of the truck so that it could be fixed – one of these had tents pitched alongside, a cooking fire and a family living onsite. Such a contrast to travelling on the main highway in Tasmania, where a truck rollover would make the 7 pm news!

 

Now, we really are going to South Africa where the first stop is a 3 night stay at Marrick Farm.

Edited by Treepol
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  • 4 months later...

You had to cheat a little with the 'zania, but you get an A for creativity.  Lion by the roadside was exciting.  You really covered ground on this trip!  An 8-week odyssey!  Thanks for the Zanzibar tip about the vibe moving north.  Nice monkeys though.  The pig on the motorbike was unique. 

I was especially interested in Ruaha, as I was there about a year later.

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