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Kafue—RETURN TO MY ROOTS—Musekese & Ntemwa, Oct 4-14


Atravelynn

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Zubbie15

Excellent report, as always. Only complaint I have is that it's already done! Or if curiosity, for a first time visitor to Zambia, would you recommend a focus more on Kafue or South Luangwa? Clearly both are worthy sites. :)

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This was a RETURN safari to Kafue. The most recent visit was Oct 2017 with @AndMic, @Kitsafari  and  @michael-ibk, a most enjoyable visit indeed.  On this this trip I spent a lot of time on the Kafue

4 Oct Sighting #1 was a kill at Pioneer Lodge, compliments of a Kurrichane Thrush.  Kurrichane Thrush and prey, along the wooded walkways at Pioneer Lodge     Morning o

Morning of Oct 13 – Drive/Walk combo   I put the radio used for communicating from the room to use this morning.  I could make out the figures of a couple of lionesses walking in the danbo j

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BRACQUENE

@Zubbie15

 

I just saw your question and I hope @Atravelynn will not be cross on me that I answer it before she does but as we did do some teamwork together I suppose not ; South Luangwa was my first safari and for walking and the sheer numbers of wildlife it it ahead ( that's why I return in 2020 ) but for diversity , remoteness and even scenery ( the riversafaris at Musekese and the Busanga Plains ) Mafue blew me away

So it depends what you are looking for but for me both are in the running for first timers !

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Zubbie15

Thanks @BRACQUENE for the feedback, I'm certainly happy with more than one perspective.  I don't think my wife would be particularly interested in any walking, which is one reason why I haven't pursued Zambia too much in the past.  In the end, clearly the correct answer is I'll need to plan two trips (or one extended trip)!  :D

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Atravelynn
1 hour ago, Zubbie15 said:

Thanks @BRACQUENE for the feedback, I'm certainly happy with more than one perspective.  I don't think my wife would be particularly interested in any walking, which is one reason why I haven't pursued Zambia too much in the past.  In the end, clearly the correct answer is I'll need to plan two trips (or one extended trip)!  :D

If walking is not a goal, then I'd say Kafue, otherwise I'd go with South Luangwa.  You can do an abbreviated walk in Kafue.  Both visits to Musekese had  one shorter walk, incorporated into the morning drive.  No walking in Busanga Plains.  Also if you are a giraffe lover, Kafue will not provide any of those unless you count the stick giraffe I saw.  And that will likely not last for long.  South Luangwa has the Thornicroft's Giraffe.  @BRACQUENE gave good advice and your conclusion, Zubbie15, of an extended trip or 2 trips is a good one.    

 

You could do (in this or another order)

3 days to get there

5 days South Luangwa at 2 camps

1 day transit between SL and Kafue, though you could be in one location in the morning and the other by late afternoon.

4 days Musekese

4 days Busanga Plains at Ntemwa or another Busanga Plains camp

(You could easily include other locations in addition to Jeffery & McKeith camps, further extending the time)

2 days to get home

That's 19 days max.  If 2 weeks is the norm, then that would be an "extended" trip.

 

I think Kafue is more economical than South Luangwa.

 

 

Thank you for following along and the roots are waiting for you.

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Zubbie15

Thanks Lynn, very useful info that I'll make note of. As you inferred, extended to me is anything over two weeks. I just wish there was a convenient connection to Lusaka that didn't require an overnight at an airport hotel somewhere. 

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BRACQUENE

@Zubbie15 @Atravelynn

 

Since British Airways and KLM stopped direct flights to Lusaka in 2015 this is a major problem and my main concern when going to Zambia; but admit sometimes you need to suffer a bit  to go to paradise !

 

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@Zubbie15...Busanga Plains is so different and beautiful.  Musekesse vs. South Luangwa, we had far better sightings and interactions in SLNP.  And, our last time there we did no walking.  But, every trip/ experience is different.  Lot's of choices for you!

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michael-ibk

Lynn, thanks so much for taking be back to Musekese, probably the most perfect Safari camp around. Good to see that Timothy and Tabitha are still doing well, and very cool how much more relaxed Wildlife seems to have become. Great you got lots of Sable, and wow to all those Leopard sightings. What About Cheetah/Wild Dog now in the area or around Busanga? Very jealous About the Night Heron, still a bird I´m missing, and excellent HC-Kingfisher. The only Thing this report is missing is a Böhm´s Bee-Eater for Andreas!

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Atravelynn
9 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

Lynn, thanks so much for taking be back to Musekese, probably the most perfect Safari camp around.   That about sums it up, from a guy who as been around!  Good to see that Timothy and Tabitha are still doing well, and very cool how much more relaxed Wildlife seems to have become. Great you got lots of Sable, and wow to all those Leopard sightings. What About Cheetah/Wild Dog now in the area or around Busanga?  They were supposedly around, but I did not see them nor did the others who were in Ntemwa during my 3 nights.  Very jealous About the Night Heron, still a bird I´m missing, and excellent HC-Kingfisher. The only Thing this report is missing is a Böhm´s Bee-Eater for Andreas!  We did see one in camp, but no photos.  When I saw it briefly, I remembered that very special sighting for him.

 

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BRACQUENE

@Atravelynn @michael-ibk  

 

It is never easy to compare safari camps and lodges because it remains a personal experience and whilst some people even when they are on safari need to be connected with the outside world , can’t be without luxury and a pool and are ready and able to spend thousands of dollars a night others , like me , want Bush Camps with authenticity , good guiding , personal service and excellent food in remote areas which also might come at a price but in the end makes one wanting to return on safari time after time again.

From my experience until now the quotations given on travel agency websites like ATR ( African Travel Ressource) and Expert Africa and in the different Bradt Guides can certainly in general be trusted ; ATR doesn’t hesitate to give his highest score for Kichaka Expeditions in Ruaha ( I can agree) and Musekese in Kafue being a close second seems fair to me as are the high scores and praise everywhere for all the Remote Africa Safari camps like Tafika and Mwaleshi .

Is it a coincidence that in the comparison exercise the most remote camps in Africa do so well ?

 

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Atravelynn
9 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

@Atravelynn @michael-ibk  

 

 

From my experience until now the quotations given on travel agency websites like ATR ( African Travel Ressource) and Expert Africa and in the different Bradt Guides can certainly in general be trusted ;   I go to ATR often for pricing.  What a helpful site they have. ATR doesn’t hesitate to give his highest score for Kichaka Expeditions in Ruaha ( I can agree) and Musekese in Kafue being a close second seems fair to me as are the high scores and praise everywhere for all the Remote Africa Safari camps like Tafika and Mwaleshi .

Is it a coincidence that in the comparison exercise the most remote camps in Africa do so well ?  Remote, when done well, is a tremendous asset, I agree!

 

 

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BRACQUENE

@Atravelynn

 

Thanks for your reaction ! By the way I remember that you wanted to see the video with Phil at Musekese and of course I will be happy to give you permission 

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Thanks @Atravelynn for this wonderful report about Kafue and especially Musekese. I've just read it with goosebumps all over, brings back the best of memories. Recent memories, as I was there just at the end of October and currently busy with preparing my TR. Not sure if I can get it to your level though, so well-documented!

 

I'm wondering if the camp manager at Ntwemwa-Busanga was Ula. A German woman that was around. She was with us partly at Musekese and left for Ntemwa. During our stay, Tyrone was all the time at Ntemwa during our stay. But since you said he and Phil were both at Musekese together with Frederike, I suspect it might have been Ula who was camp manager during your stay.

 

I have to totally agree with @michael-ibk on Musekese probably being the best safari camp that's around. I would return there anytime if I could have the opportunity.

 

Oh and despite the black mamba and black cobra were excellent sightings, I'm quite happy I only found out now and not upfront of my trip. Especially the cobra in camp.... Irrational fear of snakes I guess ;) 

 

I think I'll go over your report once more, as it's just to good to see camp, wildlife and scenery of Kafue.

 

You've had some very, very good sable and roan sightings! Happy for you! I can probably comment with compliments on each of your posts, but I'm a bit jealous of your picture of the ellies at tent 1. That's where we stayed in! :)  

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BRACQUENE

@LarsS

 

Looking forward to see your report about the Kafue ! Indeed Musekese is a fabulous camp and Zambia as a whole has some of the best bushcamps in Africa and that is the reason I think we always want to go back .

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Musekese is not only a fantastic camp, it is one of the finest not only in Zambia but in all of Africa. The guiding, hosting and location couldn't be better. There is also a wide range of activities. I certainly will return.

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Atravelynn
41 minutes ago, optig said:

Musekese is not only a fantastic camp, it is one of the finest not only in Zambia but in all of Africa.  From another traveler who gets around. The guiding, hosting and location couldn't be better.   There is also a wide range of activities. It's got it all! I certainly will return.

 

9 hours ago, LarsS said:

 

 

I'm wondering if the camp manager at Ntwemwa-Busanga was Ula. A German woman that was around. She was with us partly at Musekese and left for Ntemwa. Yes, that was probably Ula.  I just thought the name was more complicated.  I think I heard other syllables that were not really there and now I think I might have called her the wrong thing due to my incorrect pronunciation.  She was such a good sport, that I don't think she cared about my errant syllables or forgetfulness.  During our stay, Tyrone was all the time at Ntemwa during our stay. But since you said he and Phil were both at Musekese together with Frederike, I suspect it might have been Ula who was camp manager during your stay.

 

I have to totally agree with @michael-ibk on Musekese probably being the best safari camp that's around. I would return there anytime if I could have the opportunity.  Another vote.

 

Oh and despite the black mamba and black cobra were excellent sightings, I'm quite happy I only found out now and not upfront of my trip. Especially the cobra in camp.... Irrational fear of snakes I guess ;) 

 

I think I'll go over your report once more, as it's just to good to see camp, wildlife and scenery of Kafue.

 

You've had some very, very good sable and roan sightings! Happy for you! I can probably comment with compliments on each of your posts, but I'm a bit jealous of your picture of the ellies at tent 1. That's where we stayed in! :)   So did I on my the first 4 days, then tent #2 on the last 2 days.

 

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BRACQUENE

@Atravelynn @LarsS @optig @michael-ibk

 

For the Kafue and Musekese the question is not if we are returning but clearly when ? Even if it is not for tomorrow or even next year we should perhaps plan on  this forum to meet some day under the Musekese tree !

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BRACQUENE

@Galago

 

Of course you could join us  ! Sorry to have forgotten you and others who have been there but the popularity of the Kafue is increasing bu the minute

 

 

 

 

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Atravelynn
1 hour ago, BRACQUENE said:

@Galago

 

Of course you could join us  ! Sorry to have forgotten you and others who have been there but the popularity of the Kafue is increasing bu the minute

Shhhhhhhhh!  Let's keep it our secret!

 

 

 

 

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BRACQUENE

@Atravelynn

 

I know we should keep it between us but admit it is sometimes so rewarding to share everything you experienced on safari even if we limit it to safaritalk members !

By the way like I said before even if Musekese was the highlight of my two weeks trip doing the Kafue NP in depth remains essential if you want to fully discover the fauna and flora of this immense park.

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SafariChick

Just finished the report @Atravelynn - very much enjoyed as I do all your reports. Musekese is so different now than when @Sangeeta and I were there! I would love to see sable again, only have seen them in Bostwana.  You got some great shots of the sable!

 

Love the elephants in post 59 - the three posing in the same position at 10:43 are especially cute.

 

Love the baby vervets, in post # 32 so cute!

 

Your Photos always getting better!

 

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madaboutcheetah

Happy Holidays, @Atravelynn - Thanks for the lovely report and Wow you had spectacular sightings!!! 

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Alexander33

@Atravelynn

 

Thanks for another wonderful report. My “To Visit” list continues to expand!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Galana

Just finished the whole thread. You certainly got lucky with the WB Night Heron and Finfoots. Neither are easy to find and photograph.

Thanks for sharing the pictures with us and telling your story in your own style.

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Atravelynn
On 1/11/2020 at 2:55 PM, Galana said:

Just finished the whole thread. You certainly got lucky with the WB Night Heron and Finfoots. Neither are easy to find and photograph.

Thanks for sharing the pictures with us and telling your story in your own style.  Thanks!

The Finfoots were out and about on almost every boat outing from Musekese.  I remember that was the case in Oct 2017 as well.  I'd estimate 75% success rate with Finfoots by boat.  But the White-backed Night Heron was a one time sighting in many river outings and Guide Garreth was very impressed with the rare sighting too.

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