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Musekese/Ntemwa, Kafue - A September Saga, from 5 ST members


wilddog
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On the Busanga Plains..............

 

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Just back from Muskese, Kafue, the first of many Safaritalk members visiting over the next few weeks. Whilst at Musekese I met @CaroleE hopefully she and the others @Seniortraveller@Zim Girl and @Galagowill add there experiences to it. Obviously they are free to do their own separate report if they wish, but this could provide some continuity.

 

Currently going through all my photographs and I will get this report fully underway fairly soon.

Edited by wilddog
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Looking forward to hearing everyone’s stories :)

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Looking forward to seeing that view @wilddog.  We fly this Friday and can't wait!

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Have a fantastic time @Zim Girl.

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  • wilddog changed the title to Musekese/Ntemwa and Kafue camps in September 2022

This trip was originally arranged during 2020 for 2021, but like so many, it was deferred due to Covid until 2022. It was arranged through Tony McKeith of Busanga safaris, who has been my ‘go-to’ guy for Zambia for many years.

 

Originally I was to have a travel companion, but she pulled out early in 2022 but as someone who has travelled often on their own I was not deterred. As long as the logistics in country are fully organised I am perfectly happy. And I know that I will meet like-minded and friendly people in camp. I know Tyrone quite as well have manned a stand with him (and Tony) at a trade fair some years ago, spent time with him when he managed Mukambi plains camp and visited Musekese regularly since it opened, so I knew I was in safe hands.

 

My trip involved a night at Pioneer, 3 nights at Musekese, 3 at Ntemwa and a further 3 back at Musekese. Due to cost implications I had a road transfer out of, and into Lusaka.

My dates in country were 6th to 16th September.

 

At the time of my booking the joining of Musekese with Tusk and Mane to create Classic Zambia, was just a twinkle in someone’s eye so for me, was not included in my literary

 

I flew with Emirates from Birmingham UK which went fine, with the exception of a bit of Dubai ‘connection panic’ on my return.

 

Many of you Pioneer Camp it well. This time I seemed to be the only resident so the bar/ restaurant are was much quieter than in my previous stays. I understand it has changed hands in the intervening years with Paul, the previous owner, is running his own safari company and guiding. Good for you Paul

 

As I walked up for my evening meal, the cicadas were ‘singing’ . An African welcome chorus.

 

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The road transfer is long, 6 hours, but always interesting. Some familiar sights............ the tyre sales and other engineering businesses on the way out of Lusaka, the long straight Chinese built road out, which now is suffering badly from lack of maintenance. The Road Toll was new to me but hopefully this means that repairs will happen. Wandering cattle and goats as we left the city behind us and the increasing use of bricks for the villagers homes with mud and straw still used for outbuildings.

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And then a lorry which, very recently, had seemed to be have misjudged the edge of the road with dreadful consequence. The roof of the cabin was half crushed. There were many people gathered around the cab area and an official. I can only hope the driver survived…….

 

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The growth of the town at entry to Kafue NP was notable and then.................. we were in the bush……….. with the tsetse. My vehicle was enclosed and air conditioned which made this more tolerable.

 

At the entry to the park we had a brief hello with Phil who was heading off for business meetings in Lusaka and then, to the UK for a while

 

Finally we reached camp and were met by Diane the new Musekese Kafue camps manager. She was very welcoming, efficient and knowledgeable.

Edited by wilddog
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Just got back! We met @CaroleE @Seniortraveller@Zim Girlthere, which was really good. The trip was 3 nights Musekese + 4 nights Ntemwa + 4 nights Musekese.

It was totally brilliant; in fact, it was the best safari ever for me with the most amazing sightings.

It'll take a while to get pics sorted but I'll pop in and add some stuff when I've got it together if that's ok@wilddog

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No rush at all, @Galago I will try to get mine fully sorted in the next few days so you can follow on. Good to hear you had an amazing time and met the others ST ers. 

 

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Museke Camp has been updated considerably since I last visited in 2016.

The boma, with the exception of the roof is much the same but the dining area has been redesigned to allow for vehicle sharers to sit together.

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In 2016

the accommodation was of wood and straw construction, but nevertheless. very open and comfortable,

 

 

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2022...

 

There are now 6  tents which have been seriously refurbished. The chalets are much larger with canvas walls, fully open access to the front, and mosquito netting and curtains to close the front at night.

There is a shower, wash basin and toilet area on one side and the bed etc on the other side, with a small terrace at the front looking out to the lagoon.

 

In addition there is electric light and hot running water. The height of luxury! I had tent 1 the first 3 nights and Tent 5, during my 3 nights there.

 

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Edited by wilddog
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On 9/20/2022 at 10:57 AM, wilddog said:

On the Busanga Plains..............

 

1815547180_IMG_2479.jpgvs2_edited-1.jpg.b057c17325e35fc139cd6247a7741de6.jpg

 

Just back from Muskese, Kafue, the first of many Safaritalk members visiting over the next few weeks. Whilst at Musekese I met @CaroleE hopefully she and the others @Seniortraveller@Zim Girl and @Galagowill add there experiences to it. Obviously they are free to do their own separate report if they wish, but this could provide some continuity.

 

Currently going through all my photographs and I will get this report fully underway fairly soon.

What a spectacular view!

I got back last weekend from another magical Kafue experience. It was great to meet up with so many Safaritalk members,@wilddog, @Galago,@Seniortravellerand @Tony Busangaduring my visit. I can also vouch for the wonderful new ''rooms'' at Musekese.

More to follow when my photos are reviewed and I have managed to process (mentally) all I saw.

Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But was that ever in doubt in the Kafue :D

 

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Glad you had a great time @CaroleE

It was good to meet you during my last couple of days at Musekese.

 

Edited by wilddog
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AfricIan

So pleased you all had a great time & looking forward to hearing everyone’s tales. 
Your 2016 tent picture is one we missed out on @wilddog, 2015 we were at old camp/mobile & by 2018 the “Eden” tents had already evolved. 

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During my first 3 nights at Musekese I did several drives, a trip to Muskese Conservation

and an afternoon boat trip. The main focus was, as always, the lions and leopards (with a possibility of cheetah and wilddogs), but of course with much else was covered.

 

My main guide for this section was James1 (James Batende) who was excellent and very informative. I also enjoyed some time with Tyrone and another guest, Mark, when the others went on the boat, and then Gilbert on my boat trip on my last evening tis time around

 

 

The Lions

It seems that the large Eden pride of some years ago has splintered into 3 smaller groups of females and that the males from the last 2 years (Eden Coalition) are no longer around and with 2 new guys taking over. These 2 males are apparently somewhat shy and still ensuring they maintain thee boundaries.

 

The main group frequenting the lagoon during my visit were the SCZ group. There is also the Eden group and one other group whose name I cannot remember.We spent much time with the SGS goup, which included Mrs. Tripod who I first came across in 2016, shortly after she lost her lower back leg.

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She and her sister and two female cubs form this group. Despite her disability, Tripod looks well fed, but of course her spine and hips have suffered over the years. When she walks you can hear her grunting with the effort/pain. She is obviously not the main hunter but the family bonds seem strong as her sister and nieces must be sharing their kill.

There was some discussion as to whether she and her sister were currently pregnant. The likely hood of Tripod sustainin her cubs is low, unless her cubs are born at the same time with her sister.

 

Leopards.

During this time at Muskese we we unlucky with sightings. We did find very recent tracks a cub on the road, which had probably heard us coming and got out of the way. The mothers tracks could be seen from much earlier. We also spent a lot of time trying to locate a big male which had seen by people arriving on the boat. Despite James intensive and through searching of that we were unlucky.

 

Apart from the sightings I really enjoyed the tracking aspect of this trip. Finding the animals is not always easy and watching the guides working, tracking and, with engine off, assessing the situation, is always fascinating I also love the in-depth, new, information I glean everytime I go on safari. Always learning about the animals and the environment.

 

My most interesting learning this time was the exo-skeleton of a terrapin and underground trees!

 

Daily images to follow.

 

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Posted (edited)

Afternoon of 7th September

 

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This last youngster was highly alert. She was always the one that gave you the 'death stare', when the others were so chilled.

We would see this stare frequently when were near the group.

 

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Edited by wilddog
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September 8th.

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Crowned cranes with a chick

 

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A lesson in Terrapin Anatomy

 

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Interesting how the different lighting almost shows the different plates

 

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Mrs.Tripod

 

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3 yawns done and up for pre hunt ablutions

 

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September 9th

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Simultaneous Sunset and sunrise. Full moon tomorrow.

 

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AfricIan

You had much better luck with lions than we did @wilddog, I don't suppose anything more has been seen (or heard) of (Mr) Tripod since the 2 new males have shown up.

 

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@AfricIannot that I heard of sadly.

 Maybe the other September ST guests have news to share.on that front

 

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@AfricIan@wilddogWe didn't see Tripod, only Ms Tripod. I heard her limping past my tent one night and she also stole a kill from the new dog pack. The comings and goings of the various prides and the splits and coalitions was like trying to keep up with the last few years of a soap opera and I really don't claim to have the story straight at all! Perhaps @CaroleEcan help?

We did pretty well with lions, seeing them on 8 out of 12 days spread over the two camps.  And we often heard them calling at night

Anyway, the big news is that the Eden Pride came back! Mama plus 4 sub-adult females and 1 sub-adult male. I'll post a video of them when I've got it sorted. Phil was chuffed as nuts when he saw it!

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I was leading into the return of the Eden pride, as one appeared at the Lagoon on my last day.

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@AfricIan@wilddogNo, unfortunately I also had no sighting of Mr Tripod. I was hoping to see him and his brother again during my visit.

Then my trip was postponed and I was too late to see them as the new Lumbeya coalition of 2 males arrived and more than likely kicked Tripod and broher out.

I am still living in hope that Tripod is spotted elsewhere in the park at some point!

@Galagois correct, the lion dynamics recently have been very interesting and complex. A soap opera is a very good analogy!

Edited by CaroleE
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Seniortraveller

@wilddog We had no sightings of Mr Tripod, but saw Mrs Tripod several times. She looked well fed, but appeared to be leading a very lonely life unfortunately.

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Posted (edited)

i should just add that on the morning of the 9th I went, with others, to visit Muskese Conservation headquarters. I had planned to do it when I returned to Musekese later in the trip but Tyrone advised me that they are often out in the field, so he checked their availability an we decided to  as advised. As others have said it was extremely interesting. The accommodator for Staff and the Rangers, who rotate through, the massive food stores for the rangers trips, the impressive communication centre which is kept under lock and key and of the presentation on the problems faced and achievements to date. Kafue as you know is huge and Musekese Conservation (in liaison with Panthera) can only cover one section of it. I was impressed with the work and organisation.

The effort Phil and Tyrone have gone to get this up and running, throughout the Covid times too, is quite something.

I would highly recommend a vist there if you are heading for Muskese.

 

The following day, the 10th, was my transfer to Ntemwa day but we were able to go for drive in the morning. We found the lion group again and they were in hunting mode. One of the youngsters made a rush for a puku with had a lucky escape. As we sat to one side Mrs. Tripod made an entrance from her hiding place.

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Wattled Crane with Chick

 

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After lunch we set off for Ntemwa.  When we got to the boat landing there were 2 bull elephants browsing the trees. One was not really happy with our presne and did some of those 'I am not happy' moves so we reversed back so both of them good have a secured exit from the copse. Nevertheless the the bull was not too happy and did a few moves to tell us who is boss including coming right to the sied of the vehicle before heading off with his companion and having a tussle with him instead.

 

Pics taken on my mobile

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We made it across the river and then got in a closed and air conditioned landrover. What a treat, given the tsetse issues on that road. Tyrone drove an mark his business guest came along too. So many familiar sights on the road to camp.

 

We arrived just intime for a quick sundowner at a small river. (always G&T for me in tne bush) , followed  by a delicious dinner.

 

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Edited by wilddog
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15 hours ago, wilddog said:

I was leading into the return of the Eden pride, as one appeared at the Lagoon on my last day.

Ooops, sorry @wilddogPhil implied that ours was the first sighting of them for a long time. Didn't mean to interrupt your flow.

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Posted (edited)

@GalagoNot quite. :)

Trying not to take too long as I know you and the others have obviously had some exciting experiences so your chapters will only enhance the TR and give continuity. Its sorting and tinkering with the images that take so long.

Edited by wilddog
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  • wilddog changed the title to Musekese/Ntemwa, Kafue - A September Saga, from 5 ST members

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