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africawild

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africawild

I have been reading and enjoying many trip reports here on Safaritalk so i feel a bit obliged to write mine . Since is not simple for me to express in English i will put lots of photos and do my best with the writing.

 

This was our 11th visit to Africa , the 9th on safari to subsaharan countries , but it was our first trip to Zambia.

Since we had only 10 nights on safari i had decided to visit 2 locations , 4 nights Lower Zambezi and 6 nights South Luangwa . I would love to visit Kafue but i would try to do it deep in the dry season and hopefully spend a week there.

We ( my wife , my younger son and myself ) got at Jeki airstrip on June 16th around 10 a.m. after arriving from London in an overnight direct flight to Lusaka .

 

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Before we landed i was already able to see the great amount of water in the area and later i learned that authorities got a third Kariba dam gate open a few days back so water level was very high .As a result of that , canoe activities had been canceled due to lots of hippos getting deep into the channels with high risk of unwanted encounters .No problem with me , i was not planning to do canoe.

 

 

 

The drive from the airtrip to Old Mondoro , our camp for the next 4 days is around 40 minutes depends what you see onroute. Around the Jeki airstrip there was abundance on wildlife ( we later discover it was the area with most animals ) with plenty of zebras , waterbucks , impalas , kudus , elephants and warthogs . There is a big flat plain between the Zambezi River and the Zambezi scarpment where lots of wildlife concentrates.

 

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This was the place where we saw the first buffalo herds comming for the season , some pretty good size herds of 200 more and also nice elephant families .

 

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I decided to choose Old Mondoro because i have readed that the location was very good inside the national park , very remote and in the most scenic area of Lower Zambezi.

It is remote for sure , during our 4 full days stay we did not see or share a sight with any other vehicle , nor one . Of course it was the begining of the season and also the closest 2 camps to Old Mondore where close for the season ( Kulefu because the flood and Anna Tree because change owner and problems with this ) but our guides told us they never share sights with more than 3 vehicles.

 

Scenic , yes the area is beautiful with wide variety of terrain , from flat open plains to beautiful winterthorn and mahogany grooves and numerous chanels . Since the water was so high all these chanels were full the place looked amazing . It was curious that during our first day one of the Kariba Damn gates was closed and by our last day water level had drop so much that the place did not look the same .

 

The camp is located right in the Zambezi banks .It is only 4 room so it feels intimate , remote and has a very relax atmosphere . Our room had a nice view of the river were we could see lots of hippo .Sadly due to water level no crossing elephants , something i was expecting to see. Around camp there were elephants and buffalo so everybody was scourt to and from the tent,some were driven because one of the buffalos was a bit crazy .

 

 

Very good staff and managers and 2 fantastic guides , Morat and Levy . We drove with both of them and was great to see their passion , knoledge , will to please and sense of humor.

Just to let you know the amount of gueests , At our arrival there was one couple from US and one solo photographer from Austria , very nice company during meals . So we were six guest ( full camp is 8 ) during the first 2 days . Then they left and one couple from England arrived . The day we left 4 more people arrived in the same plane.

 

The photographer had a private vehicle and we managge to get by ourselves in all but one of the activities , a game drive we shared with the english couple.

 

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Camp visitor

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Mostly we did game drives since i am much into photography but also did a game walk and the boat safari one afternoon .

Night drives every day 2 hours after the sundonw . I am not a big fan of nightdrives but this time we really enjoyed them and were lucky to see porcupines , a first for us , many genets and civets ( one excellent sight of a relax african civet feeding on a dead honey badger ) and an excellent serval sight , first of the season at Old Mondoro .

 

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Walking safari was nice but of course not good for photography . We saw elephants , hippos , kudus , impalas , warthogs , baboons and the usual small things .Taking during walking.

 

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We also enjoy our boat trip with very nice birdwatching , good hippo and elephants , monitors and of course the beautiful landscape.

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Drives were our main activity. It was fantastic to visit the grovees and see the baboons and impalas looking for fruits with the dramatic light getting beetwen the trunks.

We had a very nice honey badger in one of the grooves but he run fast away from the vehicle . We saw another honey badger crossing a dry river bed .

As i mentioned before animals were easier to find around the Jeki area that was always full with animals.

 

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Big cats were around but we did not get to see many . We heard the lions everyday , sometimes very close like during our walking safari , but only managge to see a solitary strong lioness and one male in our last morning .

We had a fantastic encounter with a female leopard that happen to have a very small cub( only got to see the head ) She had the cub hidden in a very scenic place not more than 100 meters from the river.

During our boat safari the english couple managge to find a big male leopard that had hunted and impala the day before ( we found the impala dead under a busch the previous afternoon but did not managge to find the cat.

The Austrian photographer had a nice photo session with a well grown leopard the same day so this is very good leopard country for sure.

 

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Overall we enjoyed Lower Zambezi a lot . Great elephant and buffalo viewing , very good bird viewing and plenty of plain game in a very exclusive area ,almost a private experience . If you need to see big cats every drive maybe is not the best place (it is good for leopard viewing ) . Also both our guides told us that deep into the dry season big buffalo and elephant herds come to the area to drinnk in the river and predators are easear to find .Also they get to see some sable and roan at the end of the dry season.

 

 

 

 

South Luangwa to follow ..

 

Paco

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samburumags

Excellent report Paco (I wish my Spanish was as good as your English!) I look forward to the next part.

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ZaminOz

Thanks Paco - some stunning photos in your report, that capture not only the wildlife but the beautiful scenery as well.

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wilddog

Great report and images. it is always particularly interesting to hear about an area that I have personally not visited. It sounds and looks lovely. Thank you.

 

 

 

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Super LEEDS

Amazing pics!

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twaffle

Lovely. I always look forward to seeing your beautiful photos. Thank you.

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Atravelynn

Hi Paco! You brought us all right back to Zambia. Not many people get a night time shot of a civet feeding on a dead honey badger. Nice you got a photo of a live honey badger as well. Beautiful birds (with kills), giant leopard! The leopard cub must have been a highlight. Your report leaves me longing for Old Mondoro.

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks a lot, Paco. Great report along with the pictures ...... enjoying it very much!!! Look forward to you Luangwa section of the report. Glad you had a great trip!!!

 

Hari

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Game Warden

Paco, what is the saying? Pictures are worth a thousand words, and those images are stunning. Thankyou indeed for taking the time to upload the report and look forward to reading more. Matt.

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Shreyas

WOW! What a start, Paco!

The pictures are outstanding, absolutely loved the pictures of the Leopard. The Civet and the Honey Badger sighting is something :)

Can't wait to see the next installment.

 

Cheers

Shreyas

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cris

Stunning photos. Love the landscape and the movement you capture. The egret with frog capture is beautiful.

Looking forward to your continued report and pics.

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Jochen

Fantastic images. Especially those "treescapes" ...simply stunning!

 

J.

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Pangolin

Great report and photos Paco. I especially like the way you captured the demise of the frog.

 

We were also in the general area in early September 2006 (stayed at Chongwe Camp). We enjoyed the area, but didn't have your luck with leopards. Seeing a civet feeding on a dead honey badger is pretty amazing.

Edited by Pangolin

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africawild

Thanks everybody.

 

I tried hard but my photos don´t do justice to the beauty of the scenery.

 

The leopard sighting was a highlight for sure . We passed almost one hour with the female leopard , just us . First we let lots of space and when we notice she was very relax we got a bit closer . Then we started to hear the cub calling , it was fantastic even we did only got to see the head of the cub for a few seconds.

 

The civet feeding on the honey badger was also great , again just us and again a very relax animal . The sounds were amazing also .

 

The Jeki area was definitely were most animals where , most days we ended driving there and it was a good decision .

 

To see the animals inside the mahogany groves and winter thorn acacia woods was amazing to us , completely new and exciting experience that was going to be even more rewarding in South Luangwa .

 

Paco

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Jan

I love your report, and you certainly don't have to apologise for your English! The shot of the honey badger in

 

the woods is great, but then so are all your photos. Keep it coming!

 

 

 

Jan

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Sangeeta

Got my daughter to see your pictures yesterday, Paco - now she knows how long the road is to becoming a good photographer, but also how rewarding it can be. Absolutely fantastic shots. Wow.

 

Others have spoken of Old Mondoro as a wonderful camp in the past - it sounds like it continues to be great. Looking forward to NLNP.

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pault

Excellent, Paco. I really like this - much better than just your words only. Like Jan, I really like the honey badger in the woods - it just seems so magical; like a scene from the Witch and the Wardrobe. :)

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africaaddict

Great trip report Paco with some nice images also, eagerly await your Sth Luangwa 6 nights report.

I'll be returning to Kaingo/Mwamba, Tafika & Luangwa River lodge in Sth Luangwa which is one of my favourite African wildlife/nature regions in October for 4 weeks. ;)

 

Cheers

Marc

Edited by africaaddict

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pault

Paco... it's September already! :rolleyes:

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Game Warden

Yes, come on old chap, updates please...

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africawild

Before the next chapter ( South Luangwa ) a few b&w shots from Lower Zambezi , i think they go well with the place

 

 

 

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Edited by africawild

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Kavey

Love it, Paco!

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twaffle

Lovely

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basto

Fantastic report and photos. I would just love to have the B&W:s at home on my living room wall...

 

thanks,

Tom

Edited by basto

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pault

I love the waterbuck.

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