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michael-ibk

Fortunately the rain had stopped during the night, and a beautiful day was waiting for us.

 

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This Hippo, however, did not quite accept the fact that it was time to go back into the water. He definitely preferred Tafika´s very British lawn - who can blame him. But after I went over to him, patiently explained he was not allowed to use the sunchairs and gave him a friendly but firm smack on his buttocks he retreated.

 

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And yes, everthing I say in a trip report is 100 % true, I swear!

 

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The three Lions were gone, just the Hyenas were still sticking around. Maybe still looking for that Leopard kill? If so, they were not very good at their scavenging job.

 

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Not only the Lions were gone - so was much of the game. Nature had just waited for rain, new green was already coming out everywhere, and so animals naturally dispersed widely.

 

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Hooded Vulture. Phil at Musekese would later tell us that they are very fond of Lion poo. Actually their favourite food. So they definitely lost some points in my Book of Appreciation.

 

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A Fish Eagle would never sink so low!

 

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Hadada Ibis. Admittedly not the most beautiful voice in Africa but actually quite a nice bird up close.

 

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Always nice to see new life in the bush.

 

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As I´ve mentioned before the books say there are two different Zebra subspecies in S. Luangwa - Grant´s Zebra on the West and Crawshay´s in the East. So these would be the latter. Although it really does not make much sense to me why the river would be such a definite barrier for them - it´s very shallow in the dry season, and as we all know from the Mara, Zebras do cross rivers.

 

And I don´t see much difference. Or any difference actually. For comparison´s sake, a supposed Crawshay from Nsefu:

 

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And a Grant´s from the central area West of the river:

 

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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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michael-ibk

Tafika has a Carmines hide - that was actually a strong point for me to choose that camp. But we never visited the hide - there just was no need. There´s a colony with hundreds of them just along the game drive river loop, the one Kaingo is using this season (from the other side). Needless to say I was happy.

 

 

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Lots of Carmine photos now - last time in this report, promise.

 

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The toughest thing was to get some Carmines and Hippos in the same frame. I tried (and failed), tried (and failed), and tried (and got some, but of course I´m never satisifed. Must go back!)

 

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Excellent shots of the Carmines. I have to say I really like your short videos interspersed through the report. In my opinion 20 to my 30 seconds are the best clips that add motion perspective to photography. Separately I at least cannot make out any material difference in the two sub-species of Zebras above so must be quite subtle in terms of distinction. 

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michael-ibk

This morning game drives was one of my favourites of the entire trip. Not because something super-sensational happened, but we had a steady supply of just nice things to see.

 

Next up we watched some Elephants in a creek - never gets old.

 

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A Grey Heron swooshing through.

 

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Egyptian Goose doing an Arschbombe.

 

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White-Fronted Bee-Eater. More difficult to catch than the Carmines, for some reason the Autofocus just does not grab them as easily. I´ve deleted hundreds of failed attempts at home.

 

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Just before coffee it was Giraffe time.

 

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Normally an unexcusable fashion mistake for men but I will just let it go this time for this very nice white-socked Thorny.

 

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A young Gymnogene.

 

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Just in case you were wondering - yes, plenty of Puku also up here in the Nsefu sector.

 

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Kudu Temple it appears, they liked to hang out here a lot. @ElenaH, didn´t you also see them at this spot?

 

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It was nice to see a familiy group with both sexes and young ones, mostly it´s either males or females.

 

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Just a stunning antelope!

 

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One of the our last sightings this morning - a distant but very cute Baby Hippo.

 

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Peter Connan

Those carmine shots of yours are so beautiful (all the carmines I have ever seen were more brown than your brilliant red). As is the White-fronted (definitely worth 1000 deleted tries) and the aerobatic goose.

 

The camp looks wonderful, but ic you could just off-load me at that carmine colony and come fetch me a week later I would be happy. Although I would need a pile of batteries and memory cards...

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michael-ibk

There´s something missing here for a super game drive? No Spots at all?

 

Don´t worry, of course there were, I skipped one important sighting. Chances were high our Leopard would still be around her kill, so we checked that out first thing in the morning. A bit tricky to get there but Stephen finally made it.

 

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As you can see she was really stuffed - a very happy Leopardess.

 

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Wonderful being so close to such a beautiful Cat. All alone again of course.

 

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The unlucky Impala, artfully draped around the tree.

 

Light was tricky but as close as we were we could go for close-ups:

 

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To show the distance:

 

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She was very relaxed. I guess in South Luangwa Leopards are so used to being admired that they just don´t care.

 

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Time  to get back to camp!

 

Edited by michael-ibk
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michael-ibk
3 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

Tafilka and their camps , as you might know , have a sort of Holy Grail Status for me , call it nostalgia or first safari love or whatever you want but those meals by the river in the garden with at least one member of the family are forever in my memory  and those night photos taken in Tafika and the walking camps have since then a special place in my heart !

 

I certainly understand. There´s something very special about a privately owned camp, such a different vibe. And the Coppingers really are great people.

 

32 minutes ago, AKR1 said:

Excellent shots of the Carmines. I have to say I really like your short videos interspersed through the report. In my opinion 20 to my 30 seconds are the best clips that add motion perspective to photography.

 

Thanks, I´m glad you´re enjoying them. Watching our videos always takes me right back, more so than looking at photos. I especially enjoy listening to the background bush music, never fails to make my memories come alive.

 

17 minutes ago, Peter Connan said:

The camp looks wonderful, but ic you could just off-load me at that carmine colony and come fetch me a week later I would be happy. Although I would need a pile of batteries and memory cards...

 

Thanks Peter. If it would have just been me I´d never have left that place. And I´m only half-joking. :)

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Peter Connan

Wow, what a leopard sighting! Fantastic!

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Kitsafari

3 cars at a sighting? that's terribly crowded! you guys were so spoiled.

 

@Zim Girl your photos of the Tafika camp brings back so many fond memories. we loved our time there, even if it was only for 2 nights as we couldn't get a third night, but the consolation was we had the entire camp to ourselves too. Some filming crew was also there but they stayed near the staff quarters and one night we were there, the lions were walking through the staff quarters and almost surprised one of the camp crew who almost stepped out of his room.

We loved the coppingers' philosophy of inclusiveness with the local community and their extensive help given to the local residents - clinics, schools, etc. They even have a scholarship for the children in the villages - a great way to invest into the future of the local communities. 

 

Did you guys meet their cats? they had two cats - one was a hybrid with the african wild cat. 

 

What an incredible leopard sighting with the impala kill! wow.

 

 

On 12/5/2020 at 12:44 AM, LarsS said:

Thanks @Zim Girland @ElenaHfor explaining. I've had a better look at the map. At first I thought it was the Nsefue Game Reserve which looks pretty small area far away from Tafika and close to the bridge. Therefore I assumed you headed into the park. Now I've had a good look at it, I realize how much more wilderness there is surrounding the park. I'll keep this in mind for future travels.

 

Not sure if this was said anywhere - Tafika is outside the Nseful game reserve. If i can recall from our stay there, it was a short drive to the gates of Nseful reserve - maybe about 30-40mins to the gate? and there was a  lot to see even before we reached the reserve. bushbucks, elephants...

 

still enjoying your days at SLNP.....

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19 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

Kudu Temple it appears, they liked to hang out here a lot. @ElenaH, didn´t you also see them at this spot?

@michael-ibk, no, Kudus were not there but Impalas. The trees themselves are a nature piece of art! And you also captured them so!

Amazing leopard sightings!! wow, wow, wow! absolutely great!

I love also your bird pictures! Especially those I don't have myself :P  I need to join you once on safari to learn to see the birds. I am still more a photographer than a birder.  But I start already to make my photographic preferences rather for birds than for some cats, especially sleeping. 

Pff.. that White-browed Coucal! :o what a beautiful creature! And Lovebirds? Those colours! Stunning! 

For Carmines you need to come again! You don't have a shot of courtship! Or better to say you don't have a lot of shots of courtship ;-) so, you need to come again definitely. You need to make those shots, it is out of discussion, Michael.  :D

 

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shazdwn

@michael-ibkAbsolutely love that shot of the vulture with the lion in the background. 

 

@Zim GirlSeems you really got the hang of night photography on this trip

 

P.S. - it is just not possible to have too many carmine shots!

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AfricIan
On 12/5/2020 at 7:12 PM, michael-ibk said:

Normally an unexcusable fashion mistake for men but I will just let it go this time for this very nice white-socked Thorny.

At least it wasn't wearing sandals as well as the socks!!

 

Fantastic leopard sighting & stunning images all round

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Atravelynn

Lords of Luangwa--that's @AndMicand @michael-ibkright?

Lords of Luangwa House!

Great itinerary that you were able to pull off.  Gorgeous photos of birds and mammals and waterholes of every sort.

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Atravelynn

Wonderful night photography @Zim Girl

 

Even the "gross" photos are impressive works.  Carmines fill the sky above and the elephant shrew scurries underfoot.  What a fantastic trip in Zambia you all had.

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Zim Girl
On 12/6/2020 at 1:53 AM, Kitsafari said:

 

@Zim Girl your photos of the Tafika camp brings back so many fond memories. we loved our time there, even if it was only for 2 nights as we couldn't get a third night, but the consolation was we had the entire camp to ourselves too. Some filming crew was also there but they stayed near the staff quarters and one night we were there, the lions were walking through the staff quarters and almost surprised one of the camp crew who almost stepped out of his room.

We loved the coppingers' philosophy of inclusiveness with the local community and their extensive help given to the local residents - clinics, schools, etc. They even have a scholarship for the children in the villages - a great way to invest into the future of the local communities. 

 

Did you guys meet their cats? they had two cats - one was a hybrid with the african wild cat. 

No cats this time that I was aware of, although I do remember a hybrid wild cat from when we last there.  They have 2 ex village dogs in camp that were adorable, pics later.  We visited the village last time we were there and discussed the Coppingers' involvement with the community and school etc.

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Zim Girl
On 12/7/2020 at 3:22 AM, shazdwn said:

irlSeems you really got the hang of night photography on this trip

Thank you very much.

 

6 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Wonderful night photography @Zim Girl

 

Even the "gross" photos are impressive works.  Carmines fill the sky above and the elephant shrew scurries underfoot.  What a fantastic trip in Zambia you all had.

Thank you Lynn, it was an amazing trip and we were really pleased we had made the effort to get there.

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Zim Girl
On 12/5/2020 at 11:32 AM, michael-ibk said:

But no complaints! I am sorry we all apparently haven´t taken photos showing this but there were a lot of Impala and Puku around, all shrieking and barking at the Leopard, and actually approaching the killer. Very interesting behaviour! But I´ve seen that before, they prefer to know exactly where their enemy is.

 

Now I did have a picture in my post showing the Puku looking at the leopard with the kill but it seems to have disappeared.  I will try again.

The leopard is just out of shot.

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Zim Girl

Another picture of the hippo that tried to join us for breakfast, showing how close he got before Michael very kindly shooed him away!!!

 

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Edited by Zim Girl
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BRACQUENE

@Zim Girl

 

The sound of the hippos rocked me and my wife Anne to sleep ; our chalet was just behind that tree which has become a bit larger since 2014 :D

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Zim Girl

Now I hope you will not mind a few more pictures of that beautiful female leopard.  We were very pleased to find her in the same place, and to add to my 'leopard drinking in the dark', 'leopard with a kill', I can now add 'leopard in a tree'.  I was over the moon we were doing so well!

 

This is how we found her.

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She comes down the tree but only to then climb up to the branch with the impala on it.

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One very contented leopard.

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Zim Girl

Tafika is situated in such a beautiful setting along the bank of the river.  With no other guests around it was really peaceful, and after lunch I had a go at stalking a Black-headed Heron I had seen lurking around the grounds. 

The damn thing kept spotting me and walking away even though I was keeping cover behind the trees.

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Much more approachable were these female bushbuck seen just outside the camp fence.

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In camp behind the rooms, is a hide that sits at almost ground level in front of a small waterhole.  You are free to wander in and out whenever you want.

 

View from the hide.

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I sat and waited for a while then two male bushbuck wandered over to the water.

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One of them came closer and closer to the hide.  I already had my camera up so I sat really still to see how close he would come.

 

Very close  -  oops, spotted now though!

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This afternoon we were going to drive over to an area known as the 'hot springs' near the Chichele Salt Pan.  Lion with small cubs had been seen in this area.  The drive there was very quiet.  We passed through an area of mopane woodland.

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The rainstorm the previous night seems to have had quite an effect on the wildlife.  We didn't find the cubs and I do not have any significant photos in general.  The weather was quite dull and cloudy so no sunset this time.  On the night drive on the way back we saw genet, white-tailed mongoose and actually a leopard walking near the riverbank, although my pics are rubbish so I will give that one to @michael-ibk

 

A distant genet.

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We did see a lovely little flap-necked chameleon near camp though.  So cute!

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Zim Girl

It was also fairly quiet the next morning but always nice to see young animals around.

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P1290825c.jpg.db02761f693267bfaa574d6c3878ff17.jpg

 

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'I think we are being watched, Mum'.    'Just ignore them dear, and they will go away'.

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Of course we went over to the leopard tree just in case.

She was still in the tree but in a pretty obscured position so we didn't stay too long.

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Back to searching along the riverside drive.  P1290861c.jpg.41623e6f102421dc96634e3101d7ffdf.jpg

 

Thought these two hippos were about to have a disagreement, but they decided to make up instead.

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Now it was at this point that Stephen actually spotted another leopard. It was tucked into the back of some scrub on the bank of a dry riverbed.  We had to drive further on to find a way down the steep bank and onto the bed for a better view but by the time we got back to where he saw it, it had gone, oh well, can't be too greedy I suppose!

 

More searching.........P1290866c.jpg.52754bd661bd71e7cf420b50b8874f21.jpg

 

Inland a bit .......

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and back again.P1290874c.jpg.43554f4691d7af02a44259f712049423.jpg

 

At least we had some company for tea break.

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Enjoying a chat with Stephen.

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Quite close to camp we found this ele having a bit of a back rub on the tree branch.

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P1290893c.jpg.3fc090c75f88e602c880a7e46ec7cd39.jpg

 

 

 

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Zim Girl
24 minutes ago, Biko said:

beautiful picture of the chameleon

Thank you, they are a favourite of mine!

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