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Athene

I have been following safari talk for about a year and after our trip to Zambia my husband convinced me to join and write a trip report myself.

The main reason for going to Zambia in October was OH‘s special birthday and his request to photograph leopards. Otherwise I wouldn‘t have normaly given a second thought to visiting Zambia at the hottest time of the year.

I have to admit, I have some problems with the heat and having had a sun stroke before, I knew I had to be very careful. I bought us one coolshirt each (you soak it in cold water, wring it out, put it on and the water evaporates when wearing it and cools you down a bit but you don‘t feel wet. I wore it once and though it helped it is rather uncomfortable to wear under a blouse.

OH never used his. We also had two cooling caps to wear under our safari hat; OH can recommend this wholeheartedly. I gave my cap to our spotter at Tena Tena and he loved it.

 

Our itinerary was as follows:

 

October 3

SAA flight Frankfurt – Johannesburg

October 4

onward flight Johannesburg – Lusaka

October 4

onward flight Lusaka – Mfuwe

October 5 – 8

Luangwa River Camp – South Luangwa, Central Sector

October 9 – 12

Tena Tena Camp – South Luangwa, Nsefu Sector

October 13 – 15

Shumba Camp – Kafue National Park, Busanga Plains

October 16

return home

 

A german photographer – Stephan Tüngler – www.afrika-reisen.com, who also runs photographic safaris to various east- and south African countries arranged this trip for us and we were very happy with it.

 

We arrived in Mfuwe in the evening and it was already dark. We were picked up by a Robin Pope guide and it took us about an hour to get to our first camp We were welcomed by Daudi, the camp manager, and his assistant Becky, who is from New Zealand and on a sabbatical in Africa. They both were very friendly and also very competent as was the whole staff. The food was delicious and taken with the other guests together. Either Daudi or Becky were present and also one or two of the guides. The other guests during our stay were an english couple, a quite eccentric (not in a bad way) english gentleman with a special kind of humour (for me as german sometimes hard to understand), a german couple and a guest from Malawi together with his Zambian girlfriend, all of them nice people. We had lots of laughs during our meals.

The huts were also lovely, being quite spacious with a separate bathroom, consisting of a shower and a sunken bath (which we never used – far too hot to have a bath). There was also a fan which helped with the heat.

We very much liked the setting of the camp under some shade giving trees at the banks of the Luangwa River. While taking breakfast in the mornings (coffee, toast, fruit, eggs and cereal) we watched elephants crossing the river, such a lovely sight.

We only had to cross the river and were in the park, which opens at 6 a.m. We had a private vehicle so we always started early. Our guide was Chris and he was very good.

Now enough with the introduction I better start with some photos. About 90% of the photos were taken by OH, who enjoys photographing very much.

I didn‘t take any notes, so this is roughly the order

 

October, 5 – first installment

 

early morning view from the camp – elephants crossing the Luangwa RiverTopTen_LRC__DSC6182_00001_960px.jpg.8d6122d155e19ff5d7e66b1b726c9890.jpg

 

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The following pictures were all taken during our morning game drive.

 

Please feel free to correct me on the birds. It is the first time I try to identify them.

 

 

Black-winged stilt

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17167_00001_01_960px.jpg.51a4c915ac4d348f0e4a7ee6433bd832.jpg

 

lesser-striped swallows

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yellow-billed storks

 

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egyptian geese

 

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Saddle-billed stork meets black-winged stilt

 

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white fronted bee-eaters

 

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Now my favourites – I was really looking forward to see the carmine bee-eaters. Lots more later!

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Now some elephants – very relaxed - quite contrary to later in Kafue

 

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Bum-shot :-)

 

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giraffes in the distance contemplating whether to cross the river

 

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short tailed giraffe :-)

 

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photogenic vervet monkeys

 

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big crocodiles

 

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and a lonesome puku

 

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That was the first part of our morning drive and my first post. I will continue with photos taken after our breaktfast at the lovely Wafwa Lagoon.

 

 

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michael-ibk

Very nice start, looking forward to more. Beautiful pictures! All your bird IDs are correct. 

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Athene

@michael-ibk thank you!

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wilddog

Great start and some wonderful, crisp images. Looking forward to more

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BRACQUENE

@Athene

 

Those photos are razor-sharp and with lots of detail  : awesome bee-eaters and  vervet monkey ; I can't wait to see the rest and ..... to return in July this year !

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Biko

@Athene those pictures are beautiful indeed. Looking forward to the rest of your TR

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Towlersonsafari

Lovely photos, and i really like the stork meets Stilt picture @Athene

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cvilletravel

beautiful pictures!  What kind of camera lens are you using?  

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Athene

Thank you, I will ask my OH to write a list of camera equipment tomorrow @cvilletravel

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Athene

Here we go with part two of the morning drive:

 

Elephants at the Wafwa Lagoon

 

TopTen_LRC__DSC6066_00001_01_960px.jpg.86fb84058506ea56ca55cdae7db4909f.jpg

 

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Zebras enjoying themselves at Wafwa Lagoon

 

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I was surprised that there was still so much water in most of the lagoons in the central sector. You could always find some animals there and it was in my opinion very scenic.

 

 

Jumping impalas

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17598_00001_960px.jpg.7a6e0b22a9fb11f9346701c064366e59.jpg

 

Puku or impala with new born baby from a distance? Not sure which.

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17608_00001_960px.jpg.5afd6e22fc2b20cefa63441479d5b2f8.jpg

 

Warthog mum with piglets

 

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Cape buffalo

 

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The young baboons were very entertaining

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Ouch!

 

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Cape ground squirrel?

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And some more zebras towards the end of our morning drive

 

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the little ones are lovely

 

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That was the end of our first morning. We saw a lot of animals and enjoyed the drive very much.

Edited by Athene
baboons not vervet monkeys...

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marg

@Athene  great start and great photos!  Our last visit in South Luangwa was in September and it was HOT!  We had to sleep on top of the covers.  So, I cannot imagine what it was like for you.  Shumba was cooler so I hope it was better for you as well.

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mtanenbaum

Fantastic photos! Thanks so much for sharing!

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Ginny

Amazing photos ..... so clear and crisp. Enjoying this report.

 

Ginny

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BRACQUENE

@Athene

 

I love those jumping and almost dancing Crenshaw Zebra and  the female and newborn are Puku I think , because you should see something of the black stripes on the back side if it would be impala ; great pictures again ! 

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Athene

@marg, thank you! I also slept on top of the covers (OH under the cover). It was very hot during the day, I believe in the low 40 C. The heat was very dry and so quite bearable for me even though we had an open vehicle with no canvas shade. There always seemed to be some trees to give some shade. Of course I had to wear my hat, which I really don't like:rolleyes:. The cooling shirt helped, but I only wore it once or twice. It was uncomfortable.

Shumba was different. In the mornings and also in the evenings it was quite cool but during the day very hot. We had a shade on the vehicle at Shumba.

 

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AfricIan
On 2/25/2020 at 9:51 PM, Athene said:

Puku or impala with new born baby from a distance? Not sure which.

 

Puku - the coat of the Puku is much coarser than that of the Impala & lacks the two-tone colouration on back and  flanks.  Both have white underbelly.  As @BRACQUENE has said, Puku don't have the black stripes on their rear end

Edited by AfricIan
clarification

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Athene

@mtanenbaum, @Ginny thanks for your encouragement

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Athene

@BRACQUENE thanks for your ID of the puku, I thought the same - but OH thought it was impala ;-)

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Athene

@AfricIan, thanks as well

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Athene

For our afternoon game drive Chris suggested to visit the bee-eater colony and see what is along the way.

The first thing we saw when driving through the Luangwa River was a little pied kingfisher, sitting on a stick next to a sandbank in the middle of the river.

Again, please correct me, if I am wrong on the birds or anything else.

 

For the photographers, here is the list from OH. It is all Nikon. The D500 with 500mm PF was used the most. The 300mm PF was also used on the Z7.

 

D500 with 500mm f/5.6E PF

D7200 with 300m f/4E PF

Z7 with 70-200mm f/4G (+FTZ Adapter)

Z6 with 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E VR AF-P FX (+FTZ Adapter) = my camera

Nikon Coolpix P300 (pocket camera)

 

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17684_00001_01_960px.jpg.e03ea30ee49f0d08802b669290d1f373.jpg

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17689_00001_01_960px.jpg.9b17aa1c5cdb7d806fe1fa4aaee7f28e.jpg

 

Hadeda Ibis

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17705_00001_01_960px.jpg.66e89a661d365c28b4247218d78c73fb.jpg

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17708_00001_01_960px.jpg.40f87fd3c2d749989d0e8ba924661c31.jpg

 

Now an overload of carmine bee-eater pictures. We spent a couple of hours at the colony and also had our sundowner here.

 

 

 

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After we had left the colony it was almost dark. Our spotter, whose name I unfortunately have forgotten, searched for animals with a spotting light. OH thought the light was very good as it was quite soft and not like a spotlight - better than at Tena Tena or Shumba.

 

He found us a beautiful leopard and we followed her for a while. There were some impalas nearby and Chris thought she would go for them. She was not successful in the end as the impalas heard her, gave an alarm and had a lucky escape.

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17964_00001_01_960px.jpg.7c6bf0fb897690b309cb604f91751327.jpg

 

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Then a couple of owls on the way home - first Pel‘s fishing owl

 

TopTen_LRC__DS17954_00001_01_960px.jpg.2d42c0880d655102611f848311c2c3c1.jpg

 

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and a little Scops owl

 

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This was our first day in the valley and we saw lots of different animals, lovely lagoons and shady ebony groves. We enjoyed it very much and were very tired but also excited what the next day would bring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Athene
double photos removed

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Julian

Stunning high quality photos - really love the birds and the elephant  photos, the Pel’s fishing owl taken in darkness is the best photo I have seen of this species. 
 

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Athene

@Julian  Thank you, my OH will be pleased.

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BRACQUENE

What can I say more than I have said already @Athene this is a stellar display of sublime photography in the wild and that  Perl’s fishing owl : I remember seeing one just before returning to Tafika Camp on my first night drive in 2014 but this photo is in another league ! 

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pault

Very nice @Athene  Very much enjoying all the photos. 

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