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michael-ibk

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Finally, our first full day!

 

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A tower of Giraffe was waiting for us as we approached our mooring point very early morning.

 

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Always nice to see them drink.

 

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Puku Puku everywhere.

 

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Many Impala were heavily pregnant, just waiting for the rains to give birth.

 

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Little Bee-Eater

 

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And their White-Fronted cousins - very common in South Luangwa.

 

The excitement factor multiplied when our master spotter Adrian found a Leopard! Unfortunately this big guy was in no mood to pose for us and quickly vamoosed.

 

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I just managed one hasty shot while the car was still moving. Into the next bush, and gone he was. Who knows, maybe he was on edge because of his wound.

 

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But he´d give us a much better show later on.

 

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Thornicroft´s Giraffe are a bit special, they only occur in the Luangwa Valley. I always enjoy seeing "new" animals and had wondered if they would be difficult. Not at all, plenty of them in the park. "Plenty" is highly relative though, according to Wikipedia there are only about 550 of them.

 

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One of the many ephemeral streams into the Luangwa.

 

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These cute Swallow chicks enjoying the view on Katete bridge gave me some ID headache for a while but they must be Wire-Taileds.

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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

We stayed at Pioneer Camp after arrival, a well-known place to many here on Safaritalk. A good choice to stay in Lusaka. The rooms are fine, staff very friendly and helpful and food was surprisingly g

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AKR1

What a fabulous upgrade. That is some house. More like a villa in the bush. Especially like the disappearing staff- there for meal times and clean ups and then all by yourselves in true luxury in the midst of the bush. That pool is no plunge pool but the real deal. Yes we like simple canvas( well not too simple) and scoff at plunge pools but hey, find me someone who doesn’t like Luangwa House:rolleyes:

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michael-ibk

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Zebra were around in good numbers. As I understand it´s Grant´s Zebra on the West and Crawshay´s East of the Luangwa River, but I´ve never been very good with telling striped subspecies apart.

 

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White-Crowned Lapwing were everywhere along the Luangwa.

 

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No shortage of Crocs - as tempting as it might be to cool off in the river one should better not. No problem for us - we had a pool at home after all. B)

 

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Jona told us it was quite a difficult year for the animals. As we had witnessed ourselves in February in Southern Tanzania 2020 had brought massive floodings to this part of Africa. The whole area here by the river was often under water. And the river had carried such an amout of sediments that it was difficult for the vegetation to fight its way through. So this year there had never really been green carpets around the fertile riverine areas, so much more challenging for all the animals to find enough food.

 

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Our coffee spot, around Wamilombe IIRC. I haven´t mentioned the best thing yet. So far we had not met a single car. Absolutely no one. We had South Luangwa all to ourselves it seemed. So it was almost a shock when a second safari car disturbed our peace. Residents, as international tourists we really were quite a uniqe thing. As mentioned before we were the very first guests Robin Pope Safaris hosted this season. Good for us but terrible for all the good people working in the safari industry in Zambia. As much as I enjoyed the peace and serenity of seeing a gem like South Luangwa with not a single other soul in sight, I sometimes felt almost conflicted about my satisfaction, my enjoyment of this. We can only hope next season will revert back to normal, or at least recover. So many lives depend on it. And wildlife as well.

 

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After coffee we found some Lions close to the main gate bridge. But they were doing typical midday lion stuff, sleeping behind branches and bushes, and so we did not even take a photo.

 

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Bushbuck

 

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Some of the spots we passed reminded me a bit of Mana Pools. Well, it´s not that far away.

 

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Many, many sausage trees. The guides always warned us not to linger underneath. We complied. "Squashed to death by a sausage" would not look good on any gravestone after all.

 

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Long Pool, no?

 

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A very patient Banded Eagle posed nicely for us at Mfuwe Lagoon.

 

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It was really hot now, and all animals were sensible enough to hide away in the shadow. So we returned to our house. After all, our pool was waiting for us.B)

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AKR1
7 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

Our coffee spot, around Wakumba drive IIRC. I haven´t mentioned the best thing yet. So far we had not met a single car. Absolutely no one. We had South Luangwa all to ourselves it seemed. So it was almost a shock when a second safari car disturbed our peace. Residents, as international tourists we really were quite a uniqe thing. As mentioned before we were the very first guests Robin Pope Safaris hosted this season. Good for us but terrible for all the good people working in the safari industry in Zambia. As muc as I enjoyed the peace and serenity of seeing a gem like South Luangwa with not a single other soul in sight, I sometimes felt almost conflicted about my satisfaction, my enjoyment of this. We can only hope next season will revert back to normal, or at least recover. So many lives depend on it. And wildlife as we

Amen

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janzin

That's a very interesting and excellent shot of the Lapwing. I never knew they had spurs on the wings like that! I will have to research that a bit.

 

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ElenaH
12 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

I sometimes felt almost conflicted about my satisfaction, my enjoyment of this

I felt the same, you've got the point exactly. Sometimes I even felt like being guilty that I could manage it to SLNP and others not and becasue there were only a few tourists... and local people were without work. I hope, it will change soon.

Excellent photo of Lapwing! I like giraffe photos and especially silhouettes!

And Long Pool .. yes, it is like a Long Pool, definitely! 

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being back in Africa, feeling the warm sun, being in SNLP with the kindest people,  I dream of this. Enjoying your TR very much.

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