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


wilddog

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14 hours ago, Galago said:

So fascinated to hear about the lions roaring overnight and then one of the Eden Pride rocking up. Was it one of the sub-adult females, do you know?

 

 @Galago I don't think it was a subadult;  she looked mature to me and had scars on her right shoulder and ribs. Perhaps she will turn up in your images or those of the others too.

6624166_IMG_2838.JPG2.JPG.ffcb878fcef27d686a2435e1e5fde529.JPG

 

Great start @CaroleE

Edited by wilddog
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Seniortraveller

@BikoJust thought I would add something here about Pioneer Camp versus Wild Dogs Lodge.
We stayed one night at each and would agree with all that has been said previously. As first time visitors we did not know the layout of either place, our chalet at Pioneer was close to the restaurant and had no outside space. They possibly knew our ages, made a judgement, and gave us accommodation that was accessed by a concrete ramp!! For our return visit we requested a different chalet from the staff there, but we were changed to Wild Dogs, where there are ten semi detached chalets.

When we arrived in Lusaka, there was nobody from Pioneer Camp to pick us up. Staff from Tours Africa approached us, and contacted Pioneer. The explanations given to us  by Pioneer staff and  given later, to the person who booked our accommodation and transfers, were totally different! I know somebody who had an almost identical experience, several months ago, so definitely worth some extra emails to Pioneer, confirming arrival.

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A relaxing day at Pioneer. I didn't do a great deal other than relax on the verandah outside my room, read and basically chill out.

On my second night, I paid my bar bill (eberything else had been incuded in my package), confirmed the time I would be leaving and choice for my boxed breakfast. Pioneer weren't aware what time the driver would be picking me up so I was grateful that I had had a message from Busanga with the time. Then an early night, back into safari mode -  9 o'clock bedtime!

 

I was up on time and was down at reception at 5.45am. This gave me time to have another cup of tea and also ensured I was ready to leave on time.
Note to all: take the advice to leave no later than 6am seriously. You will beat the traffic as you cross Lusaka.
We left just after 6am. Lusaka traffic was light. The Presdent of Zambia was due to leave that morning for the swearing in/inauguration ceremony for the new President of Angola. Another reason, to get accross Lusaka quick. To miss the motorcade that would be heading for the airport.

 

We had a good run through Lusaka and soon I had left the urban sprawl behind. The tomato and orange sellers were out, their wares perfectly balanced in pyramids outside their houses and stalls. Lots of charcoal sellers which unfortunately continued even when we got into the park. We stopped off in Mumbwa for a comfort break, to stretch our legs and for a tea and coffee. Then we were off again, through the Kafue National Park gate. Another silent cheer on seeing this.  And very soon, the car made a right turn, I already knew what was coming. No more tarmac! On to the dirt road. My driver contacted Musekese to tell them where we were. And then no more mobile signal. Yes! I was looking forward to a digital detox.

Most parts of the road were better and had been had been graded. An early sign of the investment from Africa Parks? Not too much wildlife near the spine road through the park. It seems with more human encroachment more wildlife has moved over to the Musekese side of the park. In this part of the park had been burnt. It didn't look good and I still fail to see why it is necessary to burn quite so much. Firebreaks I can understand but not the constant burning of so much land.

 

As we got closer to camp, my first wildlife (I am not counting the goats and cattle along the way!) Antelope were spotted: impala and puku. Then a small herd of zebra.

After about a 6 hour drive, without any major delays. I saw the new Musekese sign. Wasm't the old one destroyed by an elephant? Someone will know.
Arrival at the familiar car park, welcome drinks and towels. Then onto the main area and my first view of the lagoon. Yaay!!! I was back at Musekese.
I met Diane, the new manager and a few old faces. I was very surprised to see James Duncan Anderson in camp. I had expected him not to be in camp. But due to an unexpected staff rota change he was in the Kafue not in the Lower Zambezi. It was very nice to have a catch up with him (he had guided me on my last visit).

 

I can only agree with @wilddog about the new rooms at Musekese. They are fantastic. The 180 degree view looking out to the lagoon, hot water 24/7, drinking water direct from the borehole and lights controlled by a switch. No more carrying around a small solar light whenever you went anywhere or needed to find something. What luxary! Tyrone and Phil have done an amazing job with them. I was in room number 1. The room to the left of the deck as you look out to the lagoon. This was a new one for me. Previously I had stayed in the rooms on the other side of the main deck area. No neighbours on this side, well apart from the wlldlife - more of that later! 

 

Apologies no photos in this post. I could post more of the new rooms but you have already seen those. I also failed, yet again, to take photos on the road journey into the park. One day I will remember to do that. I promise photos, very special photos, in the next post.

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37 minutes ago, Seniortraveller said:

our chalet at Pioneer was close to the restaurant and had no outside space. They possibly knew our ages, made a judgement, and gave us accommodation that was accessed by a concrete ramp!! For our return visit we requested a different chalet from the staff there, but we were changed to Wild Dogs, where there are ten semi detached chalets.

When we arrived in Lusaka, there was nobody from Pioneer Camp to pick us up. Staff from Tours Africa approached us, and contacted Pioneer. The explanations given to us  by Pioneer staff and  given later, to the person who booked our accommodation and transfers, were totally different! I know somebody who had an almost identical experience, several months ago, so definitely worth some extra emails to Pioneer, confirming arrival.

@Seniortravellerthis would be funny if it were not so annoying. I was put in the same chalet nr 3, and it is not a nice place to stay during the day. And I was also the one that was left alone on the airport. So next time I will ask for a booking at Wilddogs. 

Edited by Biko
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Chronological order has been abandoned for this post.

I apologise in advance for a some what excessive use of exclamation marks!
This sighting I have to share straight away. This was one of my most remarkable sightings ever on safari.

 

On my last full day at Musekese before I left for Ntemwa, I had a walk planned. I hadn't done one the day before as I had FOMO on the lion sightings! So early that morning off we went in a vehicle with my guide, the outstanding John D, and our ranger to get to the start point of the walk.

 

We were only a couple of 100 metres outside camp when we spotted a wild dog in the middle of the road.

 

Initially we only spotted the one dog but then 3 dogs. They were contact calling so there must have been more around.


These are one of my favourite animals, they have been regularly spotted around camp this season and I was hoping to find them this visit. And here they were! Needless to say the question of dogs or walk was very quickly answered. Dogs.


A really funny moment when John D tried to inform the other car (still in camp at this point) that we had found wild dogs. James (D A) was merrily explaining, over the radio, in great detail, his plans for the morning. Unaware what we had found :D Eventually he stopped and we could pass the news along: ''Break break we have wild dogs'' This allowed everyone in that morning's 'official' game drive vehicle including@Galagoto join to see the dogs.

 

As it was a walking morning, I only had my small crappy camera with me but took some quick photos.

 

We followed the dogs for a while, they were definitely hunting. Bounding in and out of the woodland areas and occassionally giving us better views on the road. Then they sped off after a bushbuck. John D didn't give them much chance. The dogs eventully gave us the slip. I didn't mind too much. I had seen wild dogs! In the Kafue!
We understood from the other car that they did catch and kill the bushbuck. We tried to find them and it, but they were deep in a bushy woodland area. This is my understanding of what happened. Maybe @Galago will add more details on this later in her part of this TR.
We were still driving around trying to find the dogs again, when we spotted vultures near camp and we went for a look see. They took off as soon as we got close but it was easy to find the remains of the dogs' first(?) kill of the morning. An Impala and literally opposite Tyrone's tent! Even I could tell it was an impala as it's head was still intact.

 

Seems an ok sighting but nothing remarkable you say. Well the story continues....


After lunch I tried to match my photos of the dogs with the new ID books in camp. Fustratingly I couldn't find a match. During afternoon tea and cake I mentioned I couldn't find matches to Tyrone.  He had a look and couldn't immediately find an ID either. He took photos of my photos and said he would look again whilst we were out on our afternoon activity.
 
Over a drink round the fire later he gave me an update. He wasn't able to find IDs for the dogs so he had sent my photos to the researchers at Musekese Conservation. They had looked and couldn't find matches for any of the known dogs in their research area.

 

They were new unknown dogs!!!!

 

Finding unknown carnivores in an area where research is happening and where people are regularly out on drive or on foot has to be a pretty rare event, right? But this time, I had been the one to see the dogs and take a couple of photos on my crappy little camera that proved this.

 

WOW!!

 

After further sightings, it was confirmed that there were 5 dogs in the 'pack'. Initial thoughts were that they were probably a break away from a pack from elsewhere in the park.The Musekese Conservation researchers were going to look at photos of other dogs taken elsewhere in the park and try and find a match.


I got the following update from Tyrone after I got back home:
Yes we have some news on the new pack, the group of 5! They were first recorded in 2020 in the Mufungata area, some 90km south of the Musekese region. They were then and lastly seen on the main M9 road in May of 2021 (50km South of Musekese area). Now here they are! A mix of males and females so we hope they stay and prosper in the area.

Interestingly our ‘resident’ pack, Eden Pack have started coming back towards camp too, finally! It will be interesting to see how the two packs work out their differences.

 

The very important photos

1144036896_WildDogs2.jpg.7a272d1d70aab87d3f0c62414c367010.jpg

 

1310231076_WildDogs3.jpg.411aaf239092f28dfb0019edfcfe87e3.jpg

 

Today's lesson is never under estimate a couple of photos taken on a crappy little camera.

 

I will now return to a more chronological TR. Maybe not for a day or so as I have some pretty full on work days coming up. But more is on its way.

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Fantastic, great the Dogs are around, and two packs at that. Always missed them at Musekese.

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9 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

Fantastic, great the Dogs are around, and two packs at that. Always missed them at Musekese.

I've never seen them there before either. With the great sightings they had been having this season and with them denning in the area I was really hoping I would see them.

This new pack in the area could make for some interesting dynamics. Interesting times ahead.

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@CaroleEThat is such a wonderful piece of news; a wilddog sighting, and of a 'new to the area' pack.

So happy for you!

The 'crappy, little camera' did you proud

 

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Hey girls/guys, you make me feel very anxious: after seeing so many wild dogs in Nsefu this June, maybe I should try to include a safari to the Kafue in my 2023 plans. Wild dogs are really one of my favorite animals.

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59 minutes ago, wilddog said:

@CaroleEThat is such a wonderful piece of news; a wilddog sighting, and of a 'new to the area' pack.

So happy for you!

The 'crappy, little camera' did you proud

 

I think I need to stop calling my camera that after this result!

Always good to have a wild dog sighting.

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2 hours ago, Biko said:

Hey girls/guys, you make me feel very anxious: after seeing so many wild dogs in Nsefu this June, maybe I should try to include a safari to the Kafue in my 2023 plans. Wild dogs are really one of my favorite animals.

The wild dog sightngs this year at Musekese have been excellent. One pack denned nearby so that helped with the sightings. On my last visit, 4 years ago, there was no sign of any dogs. But that is always the case on safari. No guarantees.

Having just read your excellent South Luangwa TR I will also add that Musekese is in a great area for leopard sightings :D

Even without wild dogs, the Kafue is well worth a visit. And not confined to Musekese/Ntemwa. Other areas in the park are also good.

 

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According to Phil, this new 'pack of five' is made up of 3 females and 2 males.  They are very excited about them as it brings the total of wild dog packs up from 5 to 6.  They are hoping to be able to collar one of them eventually.

 

This is the same pack we saw hunting on the lagoon and shortly afterwards on a freshly killed puku. Phil was very keen to take plenty of pictures of them.  A couple of them were carrying injuries.  One had a wounded ear and another had wounds above and below it's eye.  They made short work of the puku though and appear to be doing very well.  (Pictures will eventually follow).

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@CaroleEOh my, it was soooo exciting! And, of course, more sightings to follow, but I'll leave that to you to report. 

@Zim GirlGlad you got some pics at the kill. I've got a sound recording but the video itself didn't work.  Look forward to seeing them. 

 

The irony is that only the day before I'd been told that the Eden Pack had denned some distance away, hadn't been seen for quite a while and my chances of seeing Dogs were low. So imagine my amazement, joy and elation at seeing them within the first ten minutes of our first game drive!

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This TR is getting better and better!!!

 

 

Just a quick question did ANY of you girls do the Tusk amd Mane camps?  if not I will edit the title accordingly 

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18 hours ago, CaroleE said:

The wild dog sightngs this year at Musekese have been excellent.

 

Not when we were there :(:(

 

Fortunately Lower Zambezi came to the rescue :)

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2 hours ago, wilddog said:

This TR is getting better and better!!!

 

 

Just a quick question did ANY of you girls do the Tusk amd Mane camps?  if not I will edit the title accordingly 

No, just Musekese and Ntemwa for me

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Seniortraveller

Another one for just Musekese and Ntemwa.

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5 hours ago, wilddog said:

This TR is getting better and better!!!

 

 

Just a quick question did ANY of you girls do the Tusk amd Mane camps?  if not I will edit the title accordingly 

Same here. No Lower Zambezi for me this time.

 

I'm also really enjoying this TR. By the end I think we will have almost a month of sightings. It is great to follow the developments.

Edited by CaroleE
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8 hours ago, Zim Girl said:

According to Phil, this new 'pack of five' is made up of 3 females and 2 males.  They are very excited about them as it brings the total of wild dog packs up from 5 to 6.  They are hoping to be able to collar one of them eventually.

 

This is the same pack we saw hunting on the lagoon and shortly afterwards on a freshly killed puku. Phil was very keen to take plenty of pictures of them.  A couple of them were carrying injuries.  One had a wounded ear and another had wounds above and below it's eye.  They made short work of the puku though and appear to be doing very well.  (Pictures will eventually follow).

Thank you for the extra info. Good to have a mix of males and females. 6 wild dog packs is pretty crazy!

I will have a closer look at my other dog photos, maybe I have some I can send over (I already offered if more ID photos were needed). Oops, did I just let slip that I saw the dogs again?! I think I did :D

 

4 hours ago, AfricIan said:

 

Not when we were there :(:(

 

Fortunately Lower Zambezi came to the rescue :)

The next Kafue visit. We will send positive thoughts and lots of good luck over!

 

5 hours ago, Galago said:

@CaroleEOh my, it was soooo exciting! And, of course, more sightings to follow, but I'll leave that to you to report. 

@Zim GirlGlad you got some pics at the kill. I've got a sound recording but the video itself didn't work.  Look forward to seeing them. 

 

The irony is that only the day before I'd been told that the Eden Pack had denned some distance away, hadn't been seen for quite a while and my chances of seeing Dogs were low. So imagine my amazement, joy and elation at seeing them within the first ten minutes of our first game drive!

Haha dogs within 10 minutes of your first game drive. How lucky was that!

I think you have a few sightngs to add to this TR as well. I will try and post some more tomorrow and/or Friday. I don't want to hold anyone else up too much with their contributions.

 

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  • wilddog changed the title to Musekese/Ntemwa, Kafue - A September Saga, from 5 ST members
10 hours ago, CaroleE said:

The next Kafue visit. We will send positive thoughts and lots of good luck over!


We did see dogs on our previous visit in 2018 & we were walking which made it even more special. Oh yes, and a lion walked past whilst we we watching the dogs 😃
 

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15 hours ago, Seniortraveller said:

Another one for just Musekese and Ntemwa.

Same for me.

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15 hours ago, CaroleE said:

I think you have a few sightings to add to this TR as well. I will try and post some more tomorrow and/or Friday. I don't want to hold anyone else up too much with their contributions.

But I'm nowhere close to sorting my photos, so no rush at all!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am ready to start posting about my trip here, but as we were the last ones to leave, rather than jump in now and mess up the time line, I have started a new report.

See here  https://www.safaritalk.net/topic/22237-stuff-doing-stuff-a-return-to-the-kafue/

 

Edited by Zim Girl
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Yes it is shame but the others seem not be ready. Good you added the link..................

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Yep, I've been waiting to have a turn too!! Perhaps I should go ahead anyway? What do you think @wilddog?

Thanks for the link @Zim GirlI'll pop over and have a squizz.

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