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Mana Pools October 2021 : Wild dogs, Lions,.....................Gymnogene


Bush dog

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@Bush dog, was the researcher Thomas Mutonhori? He sent me a few pics of pups in August. After checking the pictures I saw that they are the same! :-) One has more white color on he back and on legs. I compared the spots on the legs. That one pup differs a bit from the others. Normally dogs were denning in the woodland area of Mana Pools NP. Area of Sepi is quite far away from Mana, I think. How long have you been driving from Sepi to Mana Pools? Ok, the road is also not a highway. We drove once to Nyamatusi. One can take a permit and drive to the west. The number of self-driving vehicles limited but the permit is for free. But there were too many tse-tse ... more than in Mana. 

The lions and hyenas in Mana are going to be a big problem for dogs! In the past they lost a lot of puppies to lions and hyenas. Hopefully, these will survive... 

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We landed in Harare with Ethiopian Airlines.  In order to avoid Johannesburg, for a few years I have favored ET which also serves Vic Falls and Lusaka.  David, the pilot who was going to bring us to M

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And indeed, this third day was the most exciting of the whole stay. Early morning as usual, we headed east towards Explorer's Camp.  We found tracks of wild dogs nearby.  Zera was absent that day, he

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Bush dog

A few pictures before they decided to move.

 

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Richard asked us if we’d like to follow them on foot.  Of course, we said yes.  By the time he finished equipping himself, they were gone.  We followed in their tracks over very rough terrain until we came to an open space along the river.  They had stopped there to drink.  You can see the camp in the background where they headed.  What we didn't know at that time was that they were heading straight for a lioness that they must have spotted at one point or another and then passed through the back of the camp.

 

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So, we joined Matt and the vehicle to go to the camp to see them pass between it and the river. 

 

On the way to the camp, a striped kingfisher.

 

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At the camp, no wild dogs but well a lioness.  We tried to approach it on foot.  We had not gone 10 meters before it was leaving.  So, we didn't insist and went for breakfast along the river.

 

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BRACQUENE

@Bush dog

 

The Nyakasanga wild dog pack , Mike is the one we saw in July, made up of 10 adult dogs lead by the Alpha-Female  ‘Black Tip.’ ; when they left the den early August there were 6 puppies on the road but I read one was lost at the end of August ; if I am counting well you saw 14 dogs which would mean another one is lost or am I not seeing all of them  ? 

As always beautiful pictures and I didn't see that lovely striped Kingfisher by the way in July  :)

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Bush dog

Thanks Peter!

 

Have a closer look at the picture just below the three pictures with my wife and Richard.  You will see, they are 15 but there are great chances that they will loose some more. 

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Bush dog

@ElenaH

 

I do not know the name of that researcher.  It was Richard who spoke to him.  I remember that his car was white.

From Tembo Plains to the pools, there must be about 80 kilometers.  

Hyenas are not going to be a big problem for wild dogs, they are already! 

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Bush dog

After having breakfast, we drove along the river and then headed towards the main road.  It was then that Stephen called us to let us know that he was following the wild dogs on this same road and nearby.  When we got there, I noticed that the 5 puppies, and one in particular, had trouble keeping up with the pace dictated by the adults.  We accompanied them until they found a nice place in the shade to spend the afternoon and then went back to camp.  It was extremely hot and dry.

 

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From the camp, we went directly to where we left them in the morning.  Unsurprisingly, they were still there, asleep.  We got out of the vehicle and approached them without haste.  Suddenly one of them jumped up and surprised, gave a short growl that woke the rest of the pack.  Seeing that there was no danger, they immediately calmed down.  So, we didn't go any further and sat down.  In fact, we were quite close to them at that time.

 

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I was waiting, at least I was hoping, for this moment when emerging from a long period of rest, they embark on this ritual ceremony which sees them, in a noisy and even playful way, sometimes not taking into account the social status of each one within the pack, greet each other in different ways and which aims to maintain the cohesion and solidarity of the group.

 

The wait was not too long.  One of them stood up and stretched, it was on!

 

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BRACQUENE

@Bush dog

 

Must have been a fantastic experience Mike , following the Painted Wolves on foot ; the stretching is quite a picture !

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Kitsafari

gosh i felt i was there watching the pups and the dogs, being so close (yet so so far) to the canines. I  hope they continue to do well in the area. 

 

 

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Bush dog

@BRACQUENE

 

I think that following any wild animal on foot is quite an experience.

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Bush dog

SHOWTIME

 

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Excellent report, as always, Mike. So glad you were able to get back to the bush. Like others,  I too thought you had been everywhere significant in terms of safari so was surprised this was your first trip to MP. I love the GPC camps so was happy to read about this recent addition-in Zimbabwe. Thanks for sharing  this trip report. 

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Bush dog

SHOWTIME

 

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That was quite an experience !  I had already witnessed that ritual but never sitting on the ground at their level and even a little below, the ground being slightly sloping.  It was really the highlight of my trip.  When it was over, they moved to a hole where there was still water and they quenched their thirst.  They came back to where we were and took the road towards the park. 

 

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At dinner, and for more than half an hour, it was a roaring concert for 4 voices.  It was so loud that they couldn't be far.  The wild dogs episode is over, well almost.  Here are the lions.

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wilddog

magical just sitting on the ground with the dogs doing their thing. One of my favourite experiences. Interestingly my best experience of that was at Chikwenya many years ago, not that far from your camp of course. I think they tend to be a bit safer in the area.. for now anyway.

 

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Bush dog

@wilddog

 

I think they came to that area after their experience with the hyenas because they tought that they would be safer.  The four lions made them change their mind and they moved back to the west.

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Bush dog

From the first hour of daylight on this fourth day, we went in search of the lions.  Yesterday evening, they were quite close to the east of the camp.  We assume that they must have headed west, which was confirmed fairly quickly by tracks on the main road.  We then left the road to take the direction of the river and follow it.

 

Juvenile African fish eagle.

  

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Southern ground hornbill.

 

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After about ten kilometers, we came across a herd of buffaloes and decided to approach them on foot.  Quite quickly, the wind changed direction, back to the vehicle.  The buffaloes stopped and started off suddenly in the opposite direction.  They had, I think, sensed the presence of the lions.  And, indeed, these were a little further on the banks of the river.  They were four young males of about four years old who were nearing the end of their nomadic life.  Some still had the noticeable youthful spots on their legs and belly.

 

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Bush dog

Some more pictures of the lions on the banks of the river.

 

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wilddog

those 4 males will be a force to be reckoned with.......

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Africalover

Fantastic TR, love the lionshots..

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BRACQUENE

@Bush dog

 

I am also mighty impressed by the assurance those young males show despite their age Mike and you managed to capture that beautifully ; Thanks for sharing :rolleyes:

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Bush dog

@BRACQUENE

Like @wilddogsaid  they will be a force if they stay together.  They are indeed impressive and even more so in the dark when Richard spotted one when he was escorting us back to our room on our last evening.  It was stalking, we learned the next morning, buffaloes.

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Bush dog

Some images taken during this fourth day between the morning and late afternoon visits to the lions.

 

Beautiful acacia albida on an island

 

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On the same island, hippo with white spots on the paws due to lack of melanin.  We will see it several times during our stay.

 

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Zebra and foal

 

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Common duiker

 

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Greater kudus

 

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Zim Girl

Really lovely set of pictures of the young male lions. Mana is one of my favourite places so enjoying this a lot.

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