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marg

Chapter one: South Luangwa

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marg

     At the end of August we left our home at 11:15 on Monday morning to go to LAX.  Emirates to Dubai, overnight in a hotel, then to Lusaka, Proflight to Mfuwe arriving at the Mfuwe Lodge just after six in the evening on Wednesday.  Our itinerary:

  Mfuwe Lodge   1 night

  Kuyenda  4 nights

  Chamilandu  4 nights

  Tafika  4 nights

  Latitude 15  1 night

  Musekese   4 nights

  Shumba  4 nights

     Must say that it is always great to be back in Africa!

     We arrived at Kuyenda in the morning and stayed in the same tent as three years ago.  The vibe in camp was different with Babette and Phil not being there.  It was still great...just different.  Jacob was the camp manager and we had been with him at another camp the previous trip.  And, again we were the only ones in camp for the first three nights.  On our first sixteen game drives we were alone on fifteen although we had a private guide at Chamilandu.

     I spotted vultures soaring on the other side of the dry river bed mid afternoon so that is where we headed on our afternoon drive.  It was in an area where a lioness had three cubs hidden under a big tree.  They were not there.  We walked and found a dead buffalo under another tree.  The next morning we returned and there was nothing left.  That first night we also found a leopard in a tree.  A hyena was dragging away her impala kill.

 

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marg

During night there were eight lion roars, one hyena concert and three other hyena yips.  I hate to go to sleep for fear of what I might miss.  The next morning we found Ginger and Garlic by reading the morning journal.  Suzyo had not seen them in three weeks.  They are close to ten and are not as robust as they were three years ago. But, it was great to find them.  Then we found four females and one three month old cub.  Ginger and Garlic were nearby.

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marg

On the afternoon drive we head back to where the leopard had been.  She had her kill back up in the tree.  A few other sightings...Southern Ground Hornbill and a white baby baboon.  We have seen this before.  Then we headed over to the Chichele area for sundowners.  It is crowded over there.  Too many vehicles.  After our gin and tonics we were watching a leopard when a vehicle from Kafunta pulled right in front of us.  Time to go home.  When we are out having dinner, one of the guys walks the perimeter with a strong light.  The first night a pair of hyenas were walking out there,  Tonight it was two impala.  A leopard was in the river bed when we were coming home.

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marg

This was a trip with great lion and elephant sightings.

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optig

After having been to South Luangwa no less than 4 times and having stayed at Tafika twice I'm dying to see your trip report. I'm especially eager to see your photos and read what you have to say about Kafue. I stayed a whole week at Musekese and 4 days at Mukambi Plains. I was there in July and thoroughly enjoyed it even if I now realize that the game viewing would be better in September or October. I must say that I actually prefer Kafue to South Luangwa because it's much wilder and there are so few other visitors. I think that it's one park of just unlimited potential and of course I welcome the news that Paul Tudor Jones and African Parks will be investing there. I feel that it will become one of the greatest parks in Africa and should attract more mainstream safari goers and less one that appeals to repeat safari goers. I would definately love to make a long trip to Kafue in combination with Liuwa,Kasanka and possibly Bangweulu

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marg

     Each drive took us to the leopard's tree.  The impala was getting stinky and when we arrived, she climbed down and walked away.  Warthogs were plentiful and kudu were around.  Hippos as well.

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marg

Early one morning we found Ginger sleeping in the river bed.  Garlic was close by sleeping under a tree.   Suzyo thinks that the female with the three small cubs is moving them to get away from Ginger and Garlic.  We spent two days looking for them mainly in the direction of the Chichele Lodge.  Our last night with the light on we spot them  The female, cubs and the other four females with the three month old going to drink.  We drove to the other side of the water to wait and watch.  Two of the little cubs went to our side of the water and we could not see them.  When one of them crossed back, he was muddy.  The other little one was very cautious.  The female had to go and encourage it to come across.  It was worth the two days of looking for them!

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marg

The last morning drive has us with a Yellow Baboon and two young elephants heading to the mud and a puddle of water.  

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marg

Zambia sunset.  And, we hate to leave Kuyenda.

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marg

After lunch we head to Chamilandu, another Bushcamp Co. camp and a first visit for us. The birds visit our tree...Black-capped Bulbul and a Carmine Woodpecker.  We are wide open at night. 

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marg

Where we eat and drink....  There is a sliver of the river below camp where the Pied Kingfisher fishes.   One night we had two elephants visit.  Otherwise it was quiet at night.

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marg

Carmine Bee-eaters are here to nest in the river bank.

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marg

The first morning drive James spots hyena.  When we get there, we find ten hyenas with a puku kill.

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Kitsafari

I've been looking forward to this! And it hasn't disappointed at all.  So lovely to return to SLNP with you and enjoy the sightings thorough  your lovely photos! 

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offshorebirder

Thanks for this TR @marg.

 

Were the elephants you saw in SLNP skittish or relaxed?    They look relaxed in your photos...

 

Also - did you see any nice birds during your Dubai stopover?   

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marg

@Kitsafari   Thanks!  I am getting ready to get going on the report again.

@offshorebirder   The elephants were not skittish.  We had only one unhappy one that will be later in the report.  We stayed only the night in Dubai so did not see any wildlife.  Thanks!

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marg

We then headed over to the area closer to Chindeni.  Actually, we were there daily both morning and afternoon.  We  did find six lions sleeping and were told that two cubs were sleeping in the grass but we did not see them.

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marg

Afternoon drive takes us back there.  We have a road block then, we find lions again.  This time there are seven.  They are a young group only three to four years old.  Sundowners again over looking the river with the hippos.  And, we find the lions on the move.  We sat with the lights off.  We could see silhouettes.  There were impala nearby and baboons making alarm calls.  But, the youngsters blew it by starting to run too soon.   Tomorrow is a new day!

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marg

The morning is quiet.  In the afternoon we find a young male leopard with an impala kill on the ground.  He leaves to climb up another tree.  And, we leave to go visit the river (G and Ts). When we return, he is on the ground with the impala. 

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marg

We start to take a leisurely ride back to camp but did not get too far.  We came across ten lions that had just killed a buffalo.  It was the young lions joined by two older, experienced females. We sat here for good while and got back to camp late.

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marg

The next morning the impala is up in the tree.  The leopard is on the ground.  And, there are two visitors.  One a hyena missing part of an ear.  The other a warthog missing part of its snout.  The warthog must have benefitted a bit with blood and stomach grass that fell to the ground.  No luck for the hyena.  

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marg

Now thirteen, the lions are happy.

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marg

The afternoon...elephants come to drink, the leopard is up in another tree and the hyena is still around.  There is not much left of the buffalo. And, the vultures arrive. The sun is going down.  And we later make more stop to view the leopard now up in the tree with the impala.

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marg

A few birds...Little Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller,  Yellow-billed Kite and Bateleur Eagle.  

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marg

And, a few sightings at night...Flap-necked Chameleon, Scrub Hare and many Genets.

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