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ForWildlife

Wonderful! I wondered if you'd seen a nyala. It's amazing they occur there, and not a stone's throw away in Lower Zambezi. With the Kariba dam the river is always wide, but before that time you would think it might have been possible to cross at times.

Those lions could use a few good meals though. They aren't skinny, but they aren't very well fed either.

The views and light are amazing, Mana living up to its reputation!

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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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BRACQUENE

Thanks @AfricIan@Bush dog@wilddogfor your Monday comments and appreciation ; I just caught a glimpse of the Nyala sitting behind in the car but Nick had a better view @ForWildlife; I was hoping at that time we would see another one later one but it didn't happen anymore : as for the lions never seen so many on safari and this was only the beginning ! Most of them were well fed but those two certainly looking at them from close by could do with an extra kill ;)

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ElenaH

@BRACQUENEthere are used to be one young male and two or three females who can climb trees... but it was back to 2018.  As I can see there are youngsters (1-2y. old) among them. And now you will tell us about 6 wild dog puppies :D and show pictures ...  I am waiting very impatiently! :P

And a few leopards, please .. :)

 

thank you for TR!

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Toxic
22 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

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22 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

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All of your photos are great but I really loved these two!  Thanks for sharing, as always, it is lovely to "be on safari" with you while I'm stuck at home patiently waiting for when we can freely travel again. I shall continue to follow this thread of joy and excitement, and looking forward to hearing more about this "attack" :o

 

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offshorebirder
On 8/9/2021 at 9:55 AM, BRACQUENE said:

on our way back to the car :

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Very nice photo of a Greater Honeyguide!

 

I was glad to see that y'all had some great Elephant, Lion and other sightings @BRACQUENE.      Nick sounds like a very knowledgeable guide.

 

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BRACQUENE

VIII From Impi in musth besieging camp to  Tusker in the Zambezi river and the welcome return of the painted wolfs 

 

Returning to camp for lunch we realised immediately it wouldn't be the usual relaxing one because an elephant , Nick presented us as  Impi had entered camp and was clea

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BRACQUENE

The next episode went online too early :unsure: so a bit of patience please 

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BRACQUENE

VIII From Impi in musth besieging camp to Tusker in the Zambezi river and the welcome return of the painted wolfs :

Returning to camp for lunch we realised immediately it wouldn't be the usual relaxing one because an elephant in must  , Nick presented us as  Impi had entered camp , was clearly aggressive and starting to work this out on the central tent whilst we had a drink ; as usual my pictures will tell you the story showing he wanted some of our lunch as well and was especially fond of our tent which made me fear that we would have to move soon to another one !

 

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And then for the moment at least he seemed to move on and let us relax in peace before going on the Zambezi again for the second time .

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We had some wonderful sightings in the afternoon and also got stuck three times in a sandbank but the most magic moment was just before dusk when we met Tusker again in the river !

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Even if dinner was excellent as always as was the South African wine , I didn't sleep well that night of the 9th of July because our "friend" Impi was still in camp and close to our tent again for more than two hours  and moreover we heard lions close by .

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Next morning the 10th of July Nick proposed to look for those lions and even if we didn't find them we had some interesting encounters with two side-striped Jackals and even two humans walking in the bush , hornbills and some other interesting birds , a leopard that disappeared before our nose in the bush but stayed close so that we could still spot it , three magnificent elands and last but not least a crocodile that had caught an impala but because it dragged it under water in the blink of an eye , I sadly can't show you all a picture of that event:(  

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For lunch we had a quiche with salad and I didn't tell you yet that Nick had asked us the night before around the campfire when we wanted to go to the dogs again : in the morning or the afternoon : the fact that we choose the latter would prove to be a winner !! So after tea we went to the den :

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Walked again in silence and arrived to see the adults only (without Violet ) , the puppies probably asleep  ; they were nervous and had seen us coming and after a few minutes they went off according to Nick to have a drink .

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As Nick knew where they would go we went back to the car taking a shortcut hoping we would see them again and we did !!

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And then they started to make a move only a few minutes after we had arrived .

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What followed then were the most intense two hours of this safari coming soon ....

 

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wilddog

all wonderful. Some great encounters and photographs.

so lucky with the side striped jackals. I have never managed to get a decent shot of one. always disappearing fast. But you got a pair:)

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Zubbie15

Great stuff @BRACQUENE really enjoying your photos and the stories... Although the cliffhangers aren't cool! Looking forward to more, to help with my safari withdrawal (although if all goes to plan I'll be in Africa in six months!). 

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LarsS

Happy to catch up on your trip report of Mana Pools, it's a real treat! :) I love your ellie sightings. Particularly the ellie with the big tusks, your photo from a very low angle from up close and the trunk stealing lunch from underneath the canvas. I think I would frame it and put it on the wall somewhere in my house if it was my experience. Great to be surrounded by ellies and having one visiting you between you outings.

 

Also impressed by your eland sightings. Were you lucky to see them or is there a good chance to spot them when visting mana pools?

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Dave Williams

I'm doing this in big chunks.... a bit like binge watching a good TV series ....to avoid having to wait for the next episode. A very enjoyable read and a bit of escapism, thank you!.

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BRACQUENE

IX .The Chase :

 

As safari freaks we all dream about certain encounters , interactions or animals we would like to see in real once in our life ; wild dogs on the move in a line hunting in the late afternoon with glorious light and the backdrop of the Zambezi Escarpment was of course a secret wish of mine when going to Mana Pools but I thought this would remain wishful thinking and reserved for viewers of series like Dynasties .

On the 10th of July after following the nine dogs from the den to the water Nick made this happen which again , if needed , made me realise what a great guide he is instinctively feeling what to do and where to go .

We had to be quick in our attempt to find them and at first saw only one and after finding the other eight the chase could start :)

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And then suddenly they started to run and had seen a prey ; Nick drove like mad to follow them but they all went in different directions : but don't worry we struck gold because a few moments later....

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The dog was not at ease and ate rapidly fearing predators but at the same time looking for the pack that had disappeared !

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Light was fading rapidly and a lonely spectator watched the gruesome scene 

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The other dogs didn't come back and we left again in silence when it was pitch dark !

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Biko

It’s getting better all the time…. You were really lucky during this safari.

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BRACQUENE

Thanks @wilddogI  loved those Jackals @Zubbie15@Dave Williams It's my pleasure to give you some " escapism" before you go back to Africa @LarsSFor elands Mana is an excellent place sometimes in big herds but never guaranteed of course ; we had until now one sighting  in a dry riverbed from a distance and those three from much closer by !

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offshorebirder

Thanks for sharing the gratuitous Wild Dog photos @BRACQUENE - your trip report is helping ease my return to "normal" society.

 

 

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BRACQUENE

X . Moving to the wild Chitake Springs 

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It was the last night before we would go mobile to the remote and adventurous southern part of Mana Pools and little did we know what would happen tomorrow and even at dinner Nick didn’t reveal much  ; one of the new staff members who was supposed to help got ill we understood and moreover it wasn’t clear to us if the whole Murray family would go to Chitake or not.

But the next morning , the 11 th and flemish holiday , at breakfast we heard they would join us later for lunch and stay for the next two nights which after five lovely days together made our day !

After a short stop at the main Vundu Camp we were on our way but a few miles outside the concession Nick suddenly looked at Willem and pointed to the left of the road :

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In the early morning sunlight after the hunt of last night , most of the hyenas were resting  ; what followed was more exciting because a bit further on the other side of the road we heard and saw lions and the hyenas , a pride of eight , who outnumbered them started to move in that direction !

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Then started a scene that speaks for itself and I can show you what happened on a YouTube video my son Willem posted taken with his mobile in a more than decent quality :  

He named it : "A hyena clan circle around some leftovers from a lion buffalo kill and manage to chase away one of the females, before a big male lion mauls one of the culprits"

 

Despite Nick’s shout «  He’s got him » The hyena could escape and after some last photos of one of the culprits with  injuries from previous fights :

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We moved on and  on the straight road southwards a first sight (for me at least) of the beautiful crested guineafowl we would see more in the last five days of our safari:

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Followed by a baobab tree in the far distance and this was only the beginning of some splendid ones we would see further on in the second part of this awesome safari !

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Because it was rather late we went straight to the Chitake Springs , looked for an ideal place to settle and secretly hoped to see the famous Buffalo Run from the start:rolleyes:.

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But it stayed very calm indeed ;  perhaps we came to late in the morning , who knows even if we were not alone and three locals from Harare had found a spot to witness what would come 

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Even before we would go to our official camping place we would have another incredible encounter , the largest lion pride I have ever seen but that's coming soon .....

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Towlersonsafari

wonderful stuff @BRACQUENE

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JayRon
1 hour ago, BRACQUENE said:

 

Even before we would go to our official camping place we would have another incredible encounter , the largest lion pride I have ever seen but that's coming soon .....

That is a great cliffhanger :) 

 

And I am  really enjoying this report, some excellent sightings so far ...... 

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wilddog

@BRACQUENEhow lovely your son managed to capture that Hyena/lion footage and so exciting to watch. The hyaena strategy was fascinating too. Did you establish how many hyaena were in the clan.? They were all over the place............

 

I know Mana has worked it's magic on your heart  and you have joined the 'MANATIC' club. welcome ... and you will no doubt go back there.

I recognise all the Buffalo and sundowner spots at Chitake you have posted so far. Lovely memoires. Thank you

 

Looking forward to the next instalment.... 

 

 

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LarsS

Wow! That's some amazing hyena-lion action, unbelievable! Well done to your son for filming it. Incredible scenes.

 

And then you leave us with a teaser like that... For which there's no need to, we won't lose our attention on this tr ;) 

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ForWildlife

Very cool encounter between the lions and hyaenas! You were very lucky with the dog and kill, my guess is the rest of the pack had a kill somewhere else. No need to hoo-call for each other, as everybody knows where to convene, at the den.

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BRACQUENE

@offshorebirder

It is the same for me ; writing this report is fascinating because all the memories come back and I want to let it go on for  a while yet ;) .

Thanks @Towlersonsafari@JayRonand @LarsSfor your continuous appreciation .

Well it is absolutely true that Mana has a special magic @wilddogand as for the hyenas after looking at the video over and over again with Willem it is not eight but ten we count and you can hear Nick talk confirm one male and six female lions 

 


 

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Toxic

Wow! That video your son captured was very tense. Enjoyed watching it a lot and what a fascinating thing to witness. I did not expect to see that big male lion come and scare off so many hyenas!

 

Thank you for sharing, looking forward to seeing more :)

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Caracal

Enjoying every moment of this report @BRACQUENE- love those photos of the dogs heading off in that golden light and what a great and fascinating video by Willem which for me was enhanced by the background sounds of the African bush.

Those crested guineafowl are  elegant and stunning looking birds.

And there's to be more to enjoy!

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