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We just wanted to go to Portugal, I swear - so how the heck did we end up in Zambia? In October. 2020 that is. The year which will forever be known as the COVID-year. The annus horribilis horribilissi

So, of course the obvious thing to be doing in the middle of a global pandemic, amidst various states of lockdown and with all travel to Africa under an “all but essential travel” advisory from the UK

Just one or two pictures to add to the morning drive.   Andreas taking that beautiful sunrise shot.   Impala everywhere   We were only an hour into the drive wh

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Bush dog

THAT IS REALLY AN AMAZING INTRODUCTION !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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ohhh I can't wait for this report!! Especially since we are agonizing over the exact same questions right now regarding our safari in February. All those "what ifs..."! You might be braver than us...but I'm glad you took the plunge!

 

BTW...I think you should enter that lovely prize-winning bird photo in the "what bird is this" thread :lol:

 

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@michael-ibkoh! I was waiting for your report! And every time I was putting a new chapter in mine I was looking for yours... because you traveled just after my getting home. Perhaps, I even saw that lion? Or leopard? Certainly that bird :) Or it saw me. 

Thriller beginning! I am happy to read your and see version about SLNP and Kafue. Somehow I will live through my trip again :)

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What a start I am soooooo looking forward to this!!

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offshorebirder

Fantastic @michael-ibk.    You really crushed that Red-throated Twinspot.   And I want to hear and see more about that Lioness with the warthog!

 

Is this going to be a group TR?   Hope so, but no pressure @Zim Girl and @chambersa.    

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@michael-ibkWhat a fantastic teaser- with your usual stunning photograph. But it’s not about that. It’s all about actually doing an African safari in 2020- this awful year. It takes guts to actually do it. You absolutely deserve the pristine parks to yourselves, devoid of tourists, for only the truly brave ( or insane:o) Safaritalkers would undertake going deep into the bush in these terrible times. Look forward to virtually accompanying you. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the rest of us poor folks in some form of lockdown. 

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madaboutcheetah

@michael-ibk- so glad you got to go on safari to Africa - super pictures all of them!!! Love love love the Carmines.

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Fantastic intro and you made me really curious. Jumping all those hurdles and hoops just to see....birds? Well, I’m curious about your encounters with mammals, especially lions to satisfy my lion heart. Lots of leopards please, as well. 
. What luxury to be able to go on safari and inviting us along. I’m with you and can’t wait to get started and see a new destination through your eyes. 

Greetings from KaliCA, well now it’s KaliFL. 

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what an enticing start of your trip report, I admire and envy your decision to go. Great pictures as usual, and many more to come soon, I hope.

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Towlersonsafari

Woo hoo!

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wilddog

 This will be great armchair reading and mental travel for these dark nights. Bring to on @michael-ibk

 

We need to savour every bit.:)

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wilddog

the above means you can drip feed us a bit Michael, with the last episode just pre Christ....................................... :)

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1 hour ago, wilddog said:

the above means you can drip feed us a bit Michael, with the last episode just pre Christ....................................... :)

Nope. We are the Netflix generation now- drop the whole thing and let us binge watch :rolleyes:

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wilddog
17 minutes ago, AKR1 said:

Nope. We are the Netflix generation now- drop the whole thing and let us binge watch :rolleyes:

:lol::lol::lol::lol:

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Zim Girl

So, of course the obvious thing to be doing in the middle of a global pandemic, amidst various states of lockdown and with all travel to Africa under an “all but essential travel” advisory from the UK government, is to be researching a trip to Africa 😊.  But that is what I was doing early September, thinking, this could be the most amazing time to go!  I was looking at Kenya but then Adrian spotted @michael-ibkpost on FB and said “hey, guess what, Michael wants to go to Zambia”.  So I whizzed a quick email off to him asking when and where, and did he fancy any company?  He said yes and the plan was set in motion.

 

We had four weeks to organize everything, hmm, so not the usual 12-18 months I usually give myself but I am sure we will manage!!

 

Travel insurance was arranged through Battleface, the only company at the time we could find that would insure us for a country with a travel advisory and give us medical insurance that included anything Covid related.

 

Malaria tablets ordered.

Flights were booked – Ethiopian from London to Lusaka via Addis and the hop from Manchester to London with BA.

Airport parking booked.

Kennels for the dog booked.

Confirmed visa could be purchased on arrival.

 

Finally, the tricky one for us.  Arranging a PCR test.  Luckily Zambia only needed one within 14 days of arrival.  We found a clinic in Manchester, Doctorcall, who could do the test and provide the necessary certification.  Also luckily, we were among the last at the time to get a private test as the NHS had just taken over their private lab so no more ‘travel’ tests could be done.  It took 4 days to get our results back.  This was definitely the most stressful part, as we had all booked and paid and now we all had to test negative.  Andreas and Michael’s results came back first – all good.  No pressure then:o. 

Mine came back next  - negative, phew, now we were nervously waiting on Adrian’s result.  Finally after one more day we got it – negative.  Yay, we were all off to Zambia.

 

Now Michael might have been after the Carmines but I was after something much bigger and furrier and spottier  -  Leopard!  In all our safaris over the years, Leopard is the one animal we have never fared well with.  I do not have a single good picture of a leopard.  I hoped this trip would rectify that.

 

There was lots of Ele watching.

P1270684c.jpg.7948959fd6c96d7638c826ad64563adc.jpg

 

Plenty of antelopes in the mix.

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Waking up the local residents who were obviously surprised to see the two-legged creatures back.

P1280516.JPG.54c4bae3dd91f76d8de264f62159a122.JPG

 

I may even have taken the odd picture of a bird!

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We had some spectacular views of these.

P1280319.JPG.37ac550616ad7c684438e2d95c33d224.JPG

 

And guess what, I found my leopards.

P1290849c.jpg.26d16ad1da5b2a49f55ab683c80651be.jpg

 

P1280550c.jpg.a4c62132b2b44e98dc903c34ef9d78cd.jpg

 

P1310093c.jpg.21802458c7be774fdfc40c8a8185d185.jpg

 

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BRACQUENE

@michael-ibk  @Zim Girl

 

You can imagine that you have both my full attention , as two of my favorite parks ( and camps !! ) from past and future safaris are in the spotlight to my and everybody's delight  : I will save my binge-watching for the Crown on netflix ;)and savour this " royal " report ( take your time ) like it should be  :  slowly but to the fullest ! 

 

 

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I have been looking forward to this and am pleased it is a joint report!

A great start

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Zubbie15

I'm about 80% excited to read this, and 20% very jealous @michael-ibkand @Zim Girl. Boy do I miss the bush... But off to a great start, and these reports are a nice substitute for not being able to travel. 

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offshorebirder

Oh good - a group TR!     Glad you and Adrian got your Leopard on, @Zim Girl.

 

I am going to savor this TR slowly due to their short supply nowadays, but I smiled when @AKR1 mentioned binging on it.

 

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mtanenbaum

Thanks so much for posting this...I am eager to read along and enjoy your wonderful photos!

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michael-ibk

Thanks a lot @Bush dog, @janzin, @ElenaH, @AfricIan, @mopsy, @offshorebirder, @AKR1, @madaboutcheetah, @KaliCA, @Biko, @Towlersonsafari, @wilddog, @BRACQUENE, @TonyQ, @Kitsafari, @mtanenbaumand @Zubbie15, much appreciated!

 

On 11/19/2020 at 10:16 PM, janzin said:

I think you should enter that lovely prize-winning bird photo in the "what bird is this" thread

 

I think that would be too brutal on the good folks over there, Janet. But feel free to guess what it could be everybody. BTW, I discovered a really fun "Crap Bird Photography" group on FB recently. That "Beam me up" photo was a huge hit there - and actually my most-liked photo on FB ever. Might say something about my photographic prowess. :D

 

On 11/19/2020 at 10:29 PM, ElenaH said:

Perhaps, I even saw that lion? Or leopard? Certainly that bird

 

Pretty sure not that lion. Pretty sure you´ve seen one of these Leopards. And quite possibly one of these Carmines.B)

 

On 11/20/2020 at 1:07 AM, offshorebirder said:

Is this going to be a group TR?

 

Oh absolutely, as you can tell by @Zim Girl´s awesome Leopard photos. And just as happy as I am we are teaming up here just as happy I was we were teaming up for this safari. Nothing better than to travel with like-minded STers, even though disappointingly few seem to share my enthusiasm for Cisticolas! :)

 

On 11/20/2020 at 5:40 AM, KaliCA said:

Jumping all those hurdles and hoops just to see....birds?

 

Well, I might have glanced at the odd Leopard or two. ;)

 

On 11/20/2020 at 5:40 AM, KaliCA said:

Well, I’m curious about your encounters with mammals, especially lions to satisfy my lion heart. Lots of leopards please, as well. 

 

Well, it was South Luangwa - you might just get what you are asking for. :)

 

On 11/20/2020 at 4:02 AM, AKR1 said:

It takes guts to actually do it.

 

Actually I was quite surprised how easy it all was. Which brings me to Logistics.

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