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A long overdue return to Zambia where it rained! Cats and Dogs


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3 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

that leopard 6 with mouth wide open would have a special place on my wall

Just for you and your wife then. for a few days at least.:D

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I wouldn’t mind spending Christmas Day watching leopards.


Regarding the P900, I don’t think it will be used in a safari any time soon.

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And so we enter our last full day in South Luangwa.

Day 7  December 26th.


Another surprising day in this fascinating park.

Our driver was on top form and the vehicle seats had dried out after the drenching on Christmas Eve.

The usual early start, no lie in for Christmas.


We noted a rather fine  Brown Snake-Eagle in a nice position for a snapshot.


So here it is.


Then we proceeded up to Big Baobab where I suspect we were meant to find those darn cats again.


But to my pleasant surprise we found our friendly family of Dogs.

I think they had had an early feast as one or two displayed signs of blood and gore but there was no sign of a set of horns anyway.




However two pups were showing keen interest in something on the ground and both took turns in rolling in whatever it was. Then the pack trotted off into the bush so the kill, if there was one, must have been quite small and they were going for the main course.


Continuing south over the Mushilashi bridge were approaching Lupanga when we saw a vehicle at a road block.


Yup. We have found those darn cats after all. Note the ellies in the distance. We met them later.




I thought to take these for the folks in the vehicle so when I came home I sent them to the lodge (Flatdogs) as you can see who then forwarded them to their guests who I am told were delighted.


Cats out of the way so now for those ellies.

We parked up where we thought they would be heading for. A large Saltlick in Lupunga and we were correct.

I find that if you do this rather than screech to a halt by the animals you can get much closer to them as they  pass by. This, I feel, is because you have given them the option to approach or divert round you and left the decision to them to do whatever they are comfortable with.





This is especially important to mums who are naturally very protective of their babies.

And the babies are very curious, as all babies are, about who and what we are and if they are happy then so is mum.





You can see at least three individuals with calves here so they are doing well.



Of course there is always one a bit more precocious than his class mates and sets off chasing the Egyptian Geese squealing as he runs..



Nothing to worry about. Just meeting up with old friends.


I love ellies and can watch them for hours especially when they have small calves at foot.

We did stay quite some time but I don't want to bore with too many photos and I often just stop using the camera and watch with my own eyes only.


And so our morning was complete. Our driver had found his lions and we had had time with Dogs and ellies.


After lunch and a rest I retrieved my trail camera in case I forgot it in the morning and was glad I had as some ellies came a calling and totally trashed the bush where the camera had been placed.




That's the culprit.




Then they stopped by my Bungalow where I was sitting to say good bye and safe journey home.


The afternoon drive was a quiet affair. You cannot see what we have seen every drive so I just took some nice shots of a 1-DSCN4839.JPG.ae87a486c413bbb9e1bf6065f7d52066.JPG

Nice young Bushbuck




A busy creche of Impala.


After our last Sundowner we found a leopard surrounded by cars using red spotlights to track it. I am not sure if I approve or not. I suppose it is better than running them over.


After a while the cat got fed up and just stalked off with her tail in the air as some form of gesture.

 And that's it for South Luangwa. An overdue return had produced great memories.


I will deal with the return tomorrow.



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As I said before : Zambia gets in your blood and you always return and even if my second South Luangwa trip it is still six months away for me and Anne  I can’t wait especially not after that great TR , a true Christmas present , you send to us with enough sightings of leopards and wild dogs to be satisfied for the rest of a lifetime ( really ? ) ; I thought most of the lodges and camps in the area near the river were closed during the rainy season from about November to May ( and some even rebuild every year like those of Remote Africa Safaris )  but this is clearly not the case everywhere !

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once again, SLNP delivered with leopards! what a fabulous Christmas gift - you couldn't really ask for more on a safari. Now i see where the singing cat avatar is coming from.

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2 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

I thought most of the lodges and camps in the area near the river were closed during the rainy season from about November to May

Not really. Most of my earlier trips from 1998 to 2008 were in the 'Green season' when the park is really beautiful. Those lodges that stay open take the financial view that they are paying the staff anyway so why pay them for not working? Guest numbers may be lower than optimum but so are the additional overheads when staff costs are the same whether or not there are any guests.


True. The trip was a true welcome back for me. Four leopards in a day. In days gone by we counted ourselves lucky if we saw one or two a week and dogs were a real find.

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For the moment that emerald season safari is not really an option for me because of family and work situation but I might be tempted in a few years after retirement and you proved us that it had no effect on your sightings , on the contrary ! @Kitsafari I agree looking at my first trip to South Luangwa in September 2014 two leopards at night drives and no dogs at all around Tafika which has changed since then I have been hearing 😄

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3 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

I might be tempted in a few years after retirement and you proved us that it had no effect on your sightings


surely retirement should lead to an improvement in sightings :P

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1 hour ago, Soukous said:

surely retirement should lead to an improvement in sightings 

Well it is a double edged sword. Certainly retirement from the day job increases the window of opportunity to find one but sadly the conflict comes on finding the necessary means to exploit that window!

What were once Rugrats have morphed into Buzzards.;)

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Well the journeys almost done and the tale told.

Time for the 'Final curtain'. In the nicest possible way.

If @janzin and her Avatur, and @alan take up my offer I could see a joint report from Namibia from two cats in 2021. Don't leave it too long as the bloody Vet keeps giving me strange pills in my food!:o



Our final morning went with a nice breakfast and sad farewells before driving to the airport for the proflight plane to Lusaka where our meet and greet was waiting to take us back to Pioneer Camp for the night.

A warm welcome as usual from Patrick and team and our 'usual' two bungalows. Well!  we are almost regulars now.

A very nice surprise was that we were joined for the evening by Charlotte and Chris McBride from Kafue who "just happened to be passing!"  So our last evening in Zambia was spent in not a little merriment and good memories.

Then next morning, after settling the bar bill(s), our lift to the airport arrived and we made our way to Lusaka International for our flights home to the British Isles via Addis Ababa where 'the team' split up with Chris heading for LHR and the other three heading for Manchester (in UK and soon to leave EU) and eventually that little rock in the Irish Sea known as the Isle of Man (not in UK and has never joined the EU).

All went well. Flights on time but a bit bleary eyed by the final day


So that was our return to Zambia after an absence of ten years.

Too many good things to list again and the only down side would be two fold.

We certainly did NOT like the unacceptable  behavior from other guides at sightings in South Luangwa.

AND we most certainly NOT pleased by Zambian Immigration's refusal to grant us our Gratis Visas in accordance with international protocols clearly stated on their own website. Not good to be told our Passports were "British" and we had to pay UK rates despite the fact that the Passports clearly showed they were "Isle of Man." Passports. If we could afford a Gunboat it would be on its way!


But it was  nice to visit Kafue and meet the McBrides and to return to South Luangwa and meet again so many of my old friends including several guides I knew well including 'nephew Josephat' and Clement on the Park Gate. Always  a Gentleman. Not so nice to find one or two people I had known had 'passed' in the last ten years.


End of Trip Report. Hope you liked it.

Whatever! All I can say in the words of 'Old Blue eyes' is:-


"We sought the birds, and they came to view,

We found Brown parrots but dipped the Blue**.

We tracked the cats along track and byway,

We found the dogs and ellies too.

But best of all we did it MY way!"


Only 200 species of birds seen but oh those cats and dogs.


Thanks for reading.


** Reference to the mythical Norwegian Blue Parrot.




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Thank you for posting!

A really enjoyable report, interesting camps, great sightings, written with humour.

You should do more of them:)

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Very nice report, as Tony says, you should do more!!



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i didn’t only like your report I simply loved it because I think with @TonyQ that is was written with a genuine love for the African bush and spiced with a portion of humor I particularly appreciated ; we all hope that Zambia will keep the values it is famous for : wild , unpredictable , remote and full of people who are passionate about preserving the essence of their environment for future generations!

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thanks for taking the time to write and posting the images -  and the chance to read again of one of my most fav parks. and looking forward to reading more TRs from you!


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44 minutes ago, Kitsafari said:

and looking forward to reading more TRs from you!

Well @xelas and @kittykat23uk can do the next one as I am only along for the ride (and the beer!)


But thanks for all the nice things people have been saying so far. Much appreciated by this cub reporter.

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Thanks for sharing a most enjoyable trip report @Galana I thoroughly enjoyed it.


So many great sightings, but your Christmas Day will be hard to top in the years to come!

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Thanks for sharing @Galana, what an enjoyable read and certainly one of the better ways to spend Christmas, in my mind! 

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A most entertaining and informative report @Galana - many thanks.


PS Am struggling with the concept of a young and inexperienced "cub reporter"!



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5 hours ago, Caracal said:

PS Am struggling with the concept of a young and inexperienced "cub reporter"!

Put it down to artistic licence but it is literally accurate. NB the adjectives are yours!:P

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Cub trip reporter on ST I understand, so thank for taking the plunge here @Galana. ST is the richer for it. I really enjoyed it all. 

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Loved reading this @Galana, you had fantastic luck with the leopards and the dogs were pretty good too!

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21 hours ago, wilddog said:

so thank for taking the plunge here

Twas not really my first time.

By request I had already done this one.

Maybe I may get the habit as time goes by.:D

Thanks for all the nice things said.

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