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love that rolling baby ele in the mud!


enjoy yourself wherever you are, and happy stumping those in the guessing game when you return. :D

Edited by Kitsafari
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enjoying your report @BRACQUENE!  I saw a documentary film about Chitake, there was a pride of 22 lions that time... My partner got very excited and booked Chitake for 2020. We've been to Mana three times but never been to Choke... That trip was postponed to 2021 and now it will be postponed again because as self-drivers we are coming from Lusaka. The border at Chirundu is closed for private traffic and tourists. Actually there is still lock-down in Zim. I was scared when I was sleeping in the ground tent in Kgalagadi and three lions we're walking around and roaring. How it will be when there are over 20? I think, I need to start to train my brain or to train to sleep in the car...

I am curious about Kavinga game-drives! Looking forward to the next  chapter !

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Wonderful report! You were really lucky with your sightings, Mana spoilt you. Pups, Boswell, Cheetah (wow!) - fantastic. Mana is certainly the most intense safari experience I ever had - will never forget sitting with fierce old Sapi taking down a Kudu 30 minutes after we arrived at Chitake. And yes, the nights there with all the constant rumbling and roaring -unforgettable! That Kavinga hide looks awesome, looking forward to hear about your game drives there. Appreciate the birds, some good species there, Rufous-Bellied Heron for example, a species that has eluded me in Mana so far.

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3 hours ago, ElenaH said:

I need to start to train my brain or to train to sleep in the car...


Don't be worried to sleep in a ground tent as long as you have a popper canvas tent.  

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Excellent report, so many superb sitings, everything you could hope to see and much more, plus great photos. I can only hope our first visit to Mana Pools ( postponed twice, now scheduled for Sept 2022) will be as exciting and memorable as yours has been.


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Since I posted the first Kavinga episode of this trip my life has changed : Thursday was my final working day and so now I am officially retired which should give me even more time to intervene on this forum most people would think but on Friday I went on holiday for 10 days and in the early hours of a sunny Monday morning I finally find some time to thank @Biko@wilddog@Toxic@africapurohit@offshorebirder@Caracal@Kitsafari@ElenaH @michael-ibk@Botswanadreamsand @Julianfor their comments and appreciation in the past days  😊!

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I've been traveling, so just catching up on the last couple of weeks in one go. What a great trip you've described so far, so many great sightings. Looking forward to more... And congrats on the retirement! 

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Many congratulations on your retirement @BRACQUENE.   I am very jealous - I have 11 years 7 months to go  :-(






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Congratulations on your retirement @BRACQUENE, do you have plans for occupying all your free time (other than refining your Poirot skills)?

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Thank you @Zubbie15@offshorebirderand @AfricIanfor congratulating me on my retirement ; it remains to be seen  if it gives me more time to post  on safaritalk as my dear wife Anne who will continue to work for a while yet promoted me houseman from the first of September :o and you all know what that means ; will start to prepare the next one though!

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19 minutes ago, BRACQUENE said:

promoted me houseman from the first of September 

Ahh, the dreaded “to do” list ☹️ 

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Thanks for a great report, looking forward to the rest on your return

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Thanks a lot @shazdwnfor your appreciation ; I returned in the meantime be it again for a short time and there might just be another post very soon ;)

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XIV . The seven leopards of Kavinga :


Even more than cheetah I have always been lucky with my leopard sightings until now on safari be it by day or at night ; of course you could argue that the different locations I visited (South Luangwa Tafika , Ruaha Mwagusi and the Kafue close to Musekese and the confluence of the Lufupa and Kafue River) have a reputation for regular views of those elegant magnificent predators even more so than Mana Pools .

In the first five days with Nick and his family close to the floodline and the Zambezi River we managed to see the eyes of one leopard by day after his tail disappeared in the bush and the following two nights at Chitake Springs we had no night drives because of the difficult and dangerous terrain but with the abundance of lions around as you have seen earlier in this report , it would surely have been a miracle to spot a leopard there !

But suddenly only 9 kilometers from Chitake in the small private concession of Kavinga we had different sightings on all three nights and would you believe it recently on the 30 th of August there were 10 different sightings in one day : it could still be luck and the presence of the waterhole has probably an impact , but I have the impression that this camp could be worth a visit if you are a leopard fanatic ( who isn’t ? ) unless you want to look for the elusive African pitta which visits the area but as @offshorebirder has told me July was not the right time to look for them :(


Blade was and rightly so very proud of his leopards , had given them names of stars like Venus and Orion and my pictures and the pattern they showed helped him to recognize them : 


So the first night , the 13 th of July we had two fantastic encounters be it in the far distance and very difficult to spot : first a leopard with two honey badgers but as you can imagine the young and inexperienced leopard was no match for the aggressive badgers :











and then two leopards , probably siblings , one of them probably the same as with the badgers which Willem managed again be it in difficult conditions to capture on video :



The next night conditions were much better and here I'll let the pictures speak for themselves : 
















And the last night was even better : 




























We will continue with the afternoon drive of the 13th in the next episode but I thought the Kavinga Leopards deserved this special tribute:)

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Congratulations on your retirement- again thanks for this excellent report which many of us here have been enjoying. 

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I have just caught up with your superb report. Great photos, and videos.

Enjoy your retirement!

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Awesome leopards at night photos and great video to see them interact.


Congrats on your retirement, enjoy it!

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Wow @BRACQUENE - a Leopard and two Honey Badgers interacting!     What a fantastic sighting.

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Congratulations on your retirement @BRACQUENE- and again, thank you for sharing your stories and photos with us. Would like to echo what JayRon said - those night time leopard shots are beaut! 

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Thanks a lot @AKR1 @TonyQ@offshorebirder@LarsS@JayRon@Toxicand @anthracosaur online now , for your interventions and continuous appreciation ; holidays have come to an end for me since yesterday and the final chapters of this safari trip will be posted in the next weeks :rolleyes:

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@BRACQUENECongrats on your retirement! More time for safaris and safaritalk! Reading this TR is making planning for my next safari difficult. I'd almost settled on Botswana, but now Mana is tugging at me. Those Wild Dog sequences are terrific.

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XV : Some Kavinga Magic 


Just before we went on our afternoon drive the 13 th of July an Elephant entered in camp but unlike Impi at Liile Vundu he wasn’t in musth and calmly moved away so we could have tea on time with Rachel and Gary we saw at Chitake and who would join us until the night drive of the 14 th : for the first time we were not alone and to be honest we couldn’t have chosen better company :)

It was a lovely drive with the lions we noticed earlier from our lunch table and some more , elephants I saw drinking at the hide , a large herd of buffalo , a male bushbuck and a Sharpe’s grysbok both difficult to see in the thick bush and some birds but it was the landscape and again the light that made it even more memorable before just after dusk the silhouette of a Verreaux’s eagle-owl was only the prelude to the leopards that would follow the next hour and you all have seen in episode XIV.   






































Not easy to see but it is a Grysbok !




































The Verreaux's silhouette at 6 o'clock pm 


The 14 th of July we went for a morning walk in the concession with some difficult terrain and passed the almost but not completely abandoned Rekomechi Research Station for the control of tsetse flies ,  but returning from the walk Gary noticed he lost his mobile somewhere on the road and we had to go all the way back and were very glad when we spotted it ! 

After lunch and some time at the hide the afternoon was a story of lions and birds before the evening ended as usual in Kavinga in a Leopard fairy tale  











































































An easy way to get in the car !

































The first but not the last fires in Kavinga 







The next day would be a cracker :rolleyes:



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XVI .The Little  Klipspringer  :

It is always a bid sad to wake up on your final full day on safari , not in the least after such an amazing trip but in this case we couldn't have imagined what was still ahead of us and together with the wild dog den and chase and the adventurous Chitake Springs I would rate this 15th of July 2021 certainly among the absolute highlights :rolleyes:

With the weather changing and the cold front coming in from South Africa the start wasn't very promising as we didn't witness a beautiful sunrise or a nice guinea fowl run to warm us up though we saw a male bushbuck from the terrace and some birds .







Starting our morning drive we were alone again and regretted to see Rachel and Gary go because even if we were only a day and a half together we had the impression to have made new friends :





We would have a walk in an interesting area of the dry Ruckomechi River but before arriving threw had some excellent sightings :


















Arriving closer to the start of the walk :
















And then we started the walk : note that dinosaur fossils have been found embedded in deep layers of rock exposed in the eroded bank of the river .


After ten minutes we arrived at the bottom of a rocky environment where the sand ended and suddenly I heard Blade shout : two klipspringers ; as this was my first sighting of that species of antelope I was very excited but before I could have a shot they were gone 

But a few seconds later a male came back to have a look ..... 
























I also made a video of that cute little thing lasting more than 9 minutes : a bit shaky from time to time and I am breathing heavily ( the emotion ) but the essence is there :



After that fabulous moment we went back to the car looking happy indeed as you can see : 



















After all that , even our second Grysbok in Kavinga was easier to spot ! and just before arriving in camp ...














The afternoon would bring more can you believe it ?:)


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At first I thought the jackal lying down was a black backed but then when it stood up the white tip to its tail gave it away as a side striped.

Wow @BRACQUENEwhat a great sighting of the klipspringer - I'm envious! Enchanting photos and in the video it looks as if he's fascinated and curious about you.

Thoroughly enjoying your great reporting.

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