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BRACQUENE

@Biko @Atdahl@TonyQ@Toxic@JayRon@Caracal@mopsy

 

Thanks a lot for the lovely words and as you have all seen at the start of this report  the dogs will return :) ; I still have to go through my videos and see the results @Biko but yes I have made one of the den and will probably post those at the end of my TR ;)

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Introduction  :    When I prepare a safari trip I will always look for remoteness and at the same time it has obviously been in the back of my mind to experience a personalized safari from a

IV . A memorable morning at the den :   It was a crisp winter morning , that 7 th of July , and we left before sunrise because at breakfast Nick insisted we should arrive at the latest at 7.

II . The preparation , the anxious anticipation and finally taking off :   Before Covid- 19 our safari planning started always more than a year before travelling and was finalized 10 to 12 m

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NSY

What a thrill to see such wonderful creatures.  Amazing photos,

I always love seeing the wild dogs, they are very special and you were so lucky to see the pups!

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offshorebirder

Thanks for this trip report @BRACQUENE - I am following it eagerly while working on my own, which starts across the river from where y'all were.

 

Kyle said Wild Dogs swim the Zambezi from Mana Pools to Lower Zambezi and vice versa.   I was glad to hear there is an exchange of genetic diversity between the two parks / countries.

 

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janzin

omg those pups, too amazing!!! And on foot no less!! Supremely jealous :)

 

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LarsS

Wow! That is one memorable wild dog sighting! Must have been so special to witness the young pups coming out.

 

Great storytelling overall, I feel like you take us with you on your trip.

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LarsS
On 7/28/2021 at 3:26 PM, BRACQUENE said:

Before disapearing into the night and then very close  to her would you believe it an hyena , Willem’s first sighting ever in three safaris and only our third in four since we saw a few in Tafika in 2014 !

Happy for you to spot a hyena. But I wonder, have you been a bit unlucky on other safaris or been to places where they aren't that common? I know they are not common everywhere, but I am a bit surprised you haven't seen them much.

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pedro maia

Wow, what a sighting, I could’t be more jealous :).

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BRACQUENE

@NSY@janzin@pedro maia @AfricIan
it was indeed an intense moment thanks to Nick and there are still a few to come I can promise you; Especially when we were on the river @offshorebirderwe could almost touch the other side of the Zambezi as the border is supposed to be in the middle and we saw from time to time Zambian fishermen coming closer but of course not allowed  like the dogs to reach the other side :lol: ; as for the hyenas @LarsSso many times we heard them in the past at night or close to our tents in the morning in Kichaka for instance but apart from the South Luangwa never were lucky to see them until now but again this lonely one wouldn’t be our last ! 

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BRACQUENE

V. A quiet afternoon  :

 

Before leaving the cheetahs we cought a last glimpse of one of them  :          _DSC3379.jpg.33de7e2bbbbb31f1f01d2c4e36d02e3e.jpg

And as we still had a long way to go before reaching the Zambezi , Nick continued his drive after a short tea break; then we saw some Burchell's zebras close to the road !

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And a male waterbuck grazing quietly  .

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Whilst we continued to admire  in the meantime the flora and landscape of Mana Pools National Park  .

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Before arriving in the Vundu Concession , a small private area of around 6 square kilometers inside the national park for the exclusive use of the guests at Vundu and Little Vundu . 

 

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At lunch the painted wolfs and the cheetah couple remained of course the talk of the day but as a welcome change after the morning excitement Nick proposed an afternoon  boat tour on the Zambezi  .

 

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Before departure we noticed an elephant close to camp , a sign of more to come and and then Nick started the boat for what would be a restful outing ending at a lagoon 

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We had only a short evening drive that second day at Little Vundu , with a few genet sightings and ended that fantastic day around the camp fire :

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Tommorow we will be walking with elephants :)

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Biko

Pretty Burchell’s zebra’s, I like the “patchwork” spot on her right hind leg.

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AfricIan

You might like to change the post title to V. A relatively quiet afternoon @BRACQUENE, after all the morning excitement you still saw lots :)

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ForWildlife

Cheetahs!!! I think Cheetah Zimbabwe would be very interested in pictures of those.

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offshorebirder
On 7/28/2021 at 9:26 AM, BRACQUENE said:

 

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That is one seriously good elephant photo my friend.

 

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Pictus Safaris
23 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

 

That is one seriously good elephant photo my friend.

 

 

@BRACQUENE- loving the TR, more than a bit late catching up, but enjoying every moment. I agree with @offshorebirder's comment, it's a lovely shot - I always point out to guests the slightly peculiar features of the Mana ellies. Some say shorter legs, I say perhaps slightly longer tails than most, such a curious and quirky population.

 

Tom

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wilddog

On catch up here so just commenting on up to section IV, as  I am savouring every bit. 

 

What a privilege to see the pups at the den. And one of the few tourists that will have done so in 2021. 

 

I recognise your approximate area. 

 

But the pair of cheetah. WOW. This is such a bonus. We tracked both cheetah and wilddog in that area but were not lucky. You really struck gold and a what great job by Nick. 

 

 

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wilddog
On 8/3/2021 at 8:14 PM, janzin said:

omg those pups, too amazing!!! And on foot no less!! Supremely jealous :)

 

It is the best way in Mana 

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ForWildlife
On 8/3/2021 at 2:50 PM, offshorebirder said:

Thanks for this trip report @BRACQUENE - I am following it eagerly while working on my own, which starts across the river from where y'all were.

 

Kyle said Wild Dogs swim the Zambezi from Mana Pools to Lower Zambezi and vice versa.   I was glad to hear there is an exchange of genetic diversity between the two parks / countries.

 

 

Quite a few years ago I saw a collared lioness in Lower Zambezi, who had come from Mana Pools. I heard about dogs swimming the river, but I've never seen pictures of a dog at both side of the river. In Luangwa they cross the river regularly, and I've spoken to somebody who saw dogs jump into the river in early March, when the river was in full flood. They did come back though. However, 2 weeks later they were on the other side, but had a lost a few members. The Zambezi, at Mana/Lower Zam is pretty wide though.

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BRACQUENE

VI.Day three at Little Vundu - Walking with elephants and meeting lions in the afternoon :

 

On the morning of the 8th of July we left camp at 6.15 with a cloudy sky and had a short stop at Vundu Camp where Nick said goodbye to the BBC crew that stayed for nearly a month to follow the painted dogs : mind you  Nick would repeat several times that we had seen more in two days ( the 9th of July would be a stunning encounter with the dogs but that's for later ) than they did in nearly a month !

 

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Today we went walking in the bush to meet the famous Boswell , who needs no introduction ,but before that we had some nice views of a lonely male and some female waterbuck and again a Burchell 's zebra .

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Close to Chisasiko Pool one of the four ( Mana in Shona  ) permanent pools in the NP created by the meanderings of the middle Zambezi ( the other are Long Pool , Chine Pool and Green Pool ) ; we left the car behind and started our walk .

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And already spotted an elephant in the far distance but not yet our famous Boswell .

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But then suddenly there he was , not alone by no means as his followers can benefit from the reach he has and wait to pick up what Boswell couldn't be bothered to eat .

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After that thrilling moment surrounded by elephants , on our way back to the car :

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We drove back to camp and just before arriving we met for the first time Tusker , another collared elephant that Nick knew very well (amongst others like Fred , Grumpy , Chitake and Lisa ) .

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After a while Nick stepped out of the car , approached Tusker (or Spike like he was named before one of his tusks broke ) and touched him. 

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He asked us to come out of the car behind him :

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And I took a photo from a gully very close by !

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Lunch was excellent with Kebab , couscous and vegetables and after a welcome rest DSC05171.jpg.4019e0d8caad41132cb0c582d740f3af.jpg 

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We went with Nick , Jade and Tait on an afternoon drive along the Zambezi and close to the lagoon where we had been  yesterday;  I noticed the light was incredible ( as it was often late afternoon  ) so that could be great for the photos !

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And then lions in the shade , our first since the evening of the 6th and the lioness  :

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Nick proposed to leave the lions for the moment and come back later which allowed me to take some more pictures of the baboons in the beautiful late afternoon light .

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And some more along the riverside : 

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Light was fading so it was time to go back to the lions ..... in the next episode :)

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AfricIan

This report just gets better & better @BRACQUENE.  Do you know if Nick knows Boswells movements "from experience" or does he have access to the GPS collar data to put him in the right area?

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BRACQUENE

@AfricIan

No GPS collar date used I can assure you ; it is instinct and decades of experience that lead him to Boswell !

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Bush dog

Experience, like Peter said, and knowledge of the animals.  It needs quite a bit of time to arrive to achieve the result of touching that elephant.  

Animals are often set like a clock.  On their territory, they use daily the same paths and by frequenting them, the guides can tell where and at what time they will be.

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wilddog

Most Mana guides would know Boswell's likely hang outs. He is the treasure of Mana and everyone keeps a watch for his safety, unless he crosses the river or the Mana Pools boundaries 

 

Still enjoying this great report. Thanks @BRACQUENE

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BRACQUENE

VII . Light at dusk and early morning in Mana Pools

 

If there is one more reason to go to Mana , apart from scenery and wildlife it would be the magical golden ligh:rolleyes: which transforms the Acacia Albida forest , the mahogany and fig trees and the beautiful Zambezi escarpment in the background .

Yesterday I already mentioned that light but in this episode on the evening of the 8th and the morning of the 9 th of July conditions were almost ideal so I will tell you a short story first and then let " the pictures tell the story " ;).

 

We returned to the place were we had seen the four lions to find them as we left them , had a sundowner and as dusk came they finally moved on ;  we tried to follow them but lost them in the dark and the difficult terrain : dinner was nice with tilapia and a fruit cake and the next morning at first light we met two lionesses ( one was that of the first night ) and followed them for a while and then went to the dry Ruchomechi River and had some amazing sightings amongst them Eland and even a Nyala that disappeared to quickly in the bush , so no photo I am sorry :( for that . Then it was our four lions from yesterday evening again before returning to camp in glorious sunlight !

 

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In the meantime camp was under attack :o : but that's for the next time... 

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