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Yet again I've fallen a bit behind on this report, as well as some others, but the nice is there are then several entries to read at once. You really had a great trip, how fortunate to have been able to make it work. Looking forward to the remainder. 

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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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If I am totally honest seeing that Klipspringer and the long video I was able to make of it because the five of us ( Blade and Marc included) were not moving an inch ( usually you are lucky if you see it for one or two minutes ) was the highpoint of my safari notwithstanding the painted wolfs .



Thanks a lot I agree with you because I also like to do some binge-watching on Netflix from time to time :D 

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XVII : Where has our Fish Eagle gone ?


After returning for lunch as the weather was still grey and overcast there wasn't much movement at the waterhole but enough to keep me focused :)
















And then we left for the final afternoon drive and would you believe it the sun came out just when we started and we noticed that the bush fires had spread  !






We spotted a Fish Eagle in a tree and a few seconds later another one lying strangely on the ground and barely moving !






Suddenly an elephant approached and we feared the bird would be trampled :o










It was a narrow escape but we were still worried because a big herd arrived and the eagle was surrounded :066CE6D2-624A-4F85-8C78-62945CB80CC2_1_105_c.jpeg.645ad29afecb2ce817cca1ae262a40d0.jpeg



But after a while the elephants left giving us time to have a closer look :








Marc and Blade decided to have a look if the Fish Eagle was wounded and Marc stepped out of the car : 



So could that be the reason of this strange and rare event : a confrontation with another bird , perhaps the one in the tree ; feathers close by could have been an indication .

We were happy he looked alright and when we came back later he had gone and hopefully is still around in that part of Mana Pools .


We followed the elephants and had some great sightings for the rest of the afternoon as you can see : 









































And then it was time for the last sundowner in Mana !




Close to the fires in the southern Zambezi Escarpment :






And returning to camp before seeing the last of our leopards , our safari was slowly coming to an end and tomorrow we would fly gracefully back to Harare like the signature white-fronted bee-eater of Mana Pools we saw earlier .



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XVIII. Some of the highlights of our trip on video part 1 : 


Before talking about the return to Harare and Brussels and a few conclusions , by popular demand some of the videos I made during the trip ; Even if the quality of the images mostly in 4 K is often superior to what my son Willem achieved  with his mobile , image stability ( and sometimes sharpness ) was a problem because of the conditions but probably also because it was the first time I used the Sony DSC-RX10M4 and holding it steady wasn't easy as it is heavy and not a video camera , but next time better .

I will start with those most of you want to see I presume  : the dogs , the cheetah and the buffalo at Chitake :



Violet and the puppies and the pack returning from the hunt 

Drinking at the little pool 

 My favorite : the Chase


The Kill :


The mating couple



Dust and Buffalo at Chitake Springs



The last night at Chitake 

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What an amazing safari it has been for you @BRACQUENE, thanks for sharing all the photos, videos and your stories!


Very interesting fish eagle sighting! Looks like the bird was fine a little later. Dropping from the sky, I can imagine it felt a bit dizzy afterwards. But very special to see it so close and out in the open.

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@BRACQUENEI find that buffalo video so creepy... every time the camera pans back around there is another staring at you! :ph34r:


Thank you for sharing your journey with us - it has been fun following along! 



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Thanks @BRACQUENE, this was a wonderful trip. I will surely do some video practicing with the RX10 before my next trip.

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XIX. Some of the highlights of our trip on video part 2 : 


More memories of this unforgettable safari :

It is a bit like coming home

Arriving at Little Vundu Camp 

Impi leaning on our tent 

Meeting Tusker on foot

The fearless Hyenas 

The Kavinga lion pride

At the waterhole


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XX . Returning to civilization and final comments :


On the evening of the 15th of July after seeing the last leopard we all sat around the fireplace talking about our three night stay at Kavinga , which couldn't have been much better in terms of sightings and I couldn't stop talking about the little Klipspringer . 


Next morning we heard for the first time about the flood disaster that hit Germany and Belgium the day before and it made leaving even more difficult than it usually is when we are on safari ; I went for a last visit at the hide even if the light and the sunrise wasn't ideal with some hazy conditions:






And returning for breakfast we suddenly saw a juvenile hawk eagle trying to catch some bush chicken but failing three times ! 




Leaving we saw again the magnificent Crested Guineafowl passing before us on the road : 






Arriving at the airstrip we met some people patrolling belonging to the Bushlife Wildlife Conservation unit and joined our plane and our pilot for the return to Harare who spend the night at Kavinga and had arrived yesterday. 







In Harare we went back to Highlands House and learned to our delight that we had an upgrade but also a very noisy neighbor staying at the hotel for a few months who was on the phone all the time and we asked the management to switch rooms before we had our test done ; a coincidence : the friendly female doctor's mother worked in Brussels at the Zimbabwean Embassy and a few hours later we learned that we all tested negative ; we also had a message that we couldn't return to Belgium via Frankfurt or would have to go in quarantine so our agent had put us on the Zurich flight instead.

Dinner was excellent even if CNN showed constantly sad live images of the disaster in Belgium at Verviers and Pepinster and the next morning the 17th it was return time :IMG_1574.jpeg.2977849b7b38d9c5a5f531918387984d.jpeg






In Johannesburg security and controls were " again " intensive and as I had forgotten my luggage registration ticket  in the SA Airlines plane I feared that we would arrive in Brussels without , like in South Luangwa in 2014  : the Swiss Air flight was full and even in business not as pleasant as with Lufthansa but we arrived on time and safely in Brussels where not only our luggage was present but on that early Sunday morning of the 18th of July we just walked out of the airport without any control at all !! 


A safari of a lifetime : 


Without any doubt it will be very difficult to match let alone surpass this safari in the future : the fact that it was almost a private one due to covid is the main reason together with the level of the guiding that Nick but also the guys at Kavinga obtained ; of course there is always an element of luck when you have so many incredible sightings and confrontations even in a few hours time , but in my opinion it was the right decision  we made at the last moment in June to make it a Mana in depth safari or you may call it a Mana madness one and leave the Zambia part for a next time !

It confirms again my conviction that it is better to do a NP or specific area thoroughly than move from place to place every two days ; for those who visit Mana I would moreover recommend strongly not to limit yourself to the floodline but do the southern part as well not in the least to witness one of the wildest and most exciting places on earth : Chitake Springs without forgetting to visit the waterhole and the leopards of Kavinga .

Don't believe the books when they tell you July especially the beginning is not the best month of the year to go to Mana ; be it only for the denning of the dogs it was as Nick showed us one of the best months !

It finally proves if needed that even if Mana hasn't the diversity of animals the Kafue or Ruaha have , it has something else you can't resist : the light ! 







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What an amazing trip @BRACQUENE, thanks so much for taking us along with you.  Mana has been on our list for a long time but reading (& watching) your account of your time there has definitely pushed it higher up that list!


I know you spent a long time with Tony ( @Tony Busanga) creating (& modifying!) the trip, but the results speak for themselves - epic :):)

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Thanks so much for your absolutely amazing trip report. You had so many incredibly good sightings. I very much liked your pictures and Willem's videos. My favourites are the animals in their environment. The light and the views are simply beautiful. Next year we will visit Mana Pools and hope to see as much as you did:)@BRACQUENE

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Thanks again, a wonderful trip report! The next best thing to being in Mana. :-) I share your fondness for Klippspringers, fantastic creatures.

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Thanks @michael-ibk@Athene@AfricIan@LarsS @Toxicand @Bikofor your final comments , appreciation and continuous following of my TR ; it took quite a bit longer than I thought and after a flying start I slowed down a bit partly due to the advice of some members :D but also because I posted most of it during my final working weeks before retirement followed by a few weeks on holiday at the end of August .

Honestly , it was very rewarding for me  and I was almost discovering my pictures and videos at the same time as you all did ; moreover I was particularly touched by the reactions of all those safaritalkers who couldn't go themselves on a trip in 2021 because of the policy of their government but were visibly happy in my place or at most a tiny bit jealous in a healthy way !!

2022 is approaching and hopefully the return to normality is near ; if all goes well next July I will report again on my North and South Luangwa safari and I am sure you are all looking forward to that ;)


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1 hour ago, BRACQUENE said:

2022 is approaching and hopefully the return to normality is near ; if all goes well next July I will report again on my North and South Luangwa safari and I am sure you are all looking forward to that ;)


Bring it on :D

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I really enjoyed this trip report @BRACQUENEwatching the videos really made me long for Africa. Hopefully covid will behave and my planned trip for February works out.  Thanks so much for sharing, you've really sold me on this area for some, hopefully not too distant, trip. 

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Thanks a lot and I am sure that trip to the Mara Kenya , planned so long ago will be a complete success !



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22 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

or at most a tiny bit jealous in a healthy way

Not ashamed to admit it was not tiny :lol:


22 hours ago, BRACQUENE said:

if all goes well next July I will report again on my North and South Luangwa safari and I am sure you are all looking forward to that 


Oooh, yes! Luangwa is on my list (mostly for crocs which I've heard are PLENTIFUL but some helpful ST'ers also recommended other places for me to go to see those) so another of your TRs I shall be following! 

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23 hours ago, Toxic said:

Luangwa is on my list (mostly for crocs which I've heard are PLENTIFUL


Yup, no shortage of crocs in the Luangwa



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4 hours ago, Soukous said:


Yup, no shortage of crocs in the Luangwa




I love this photo so much. 

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