wulff

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About wulff

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  1. Just to back up my recommendation for Musekese at its new site, here is a recent view from the deck at sundowner time.
  2. While the SLNP is unrivalled for the volume and accessibility of its wildlife, the KNP offers a greater variety of species and of scenery. This year I am embarking on my third "Plains to plains" safari in the KNP and can recommend all my chosen camps. My starting camp is Nanzhila Plains, a small camp run by its dedicated owners Steve and Cindy Smith whose prince over the last 10 years has contributed in no small measure to the recovery of wildlife in what had been a heavily poached area of the park. In the first 24 hours in the area one can expect to see Roan, Sable, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Impala, Reedbuck ,Bushbuck and maybe Eland. On my last visit I saw a herd of about 40 Eland on an area of burnt grassland not far from camp. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, the occasional caracal and wild dog, and also serval. At night, in addition to the usual white -tailed mongoose, civets and genets you will see spring hares which do not occur in the SNLP and even in the KNP not much further north of Ngoma. Bird sightings will almost invariably include both martial and long-crested eagles and there is the added bonus of the endemic black-cheeked lovebirds. Habitats vary from miombo to mopane woodland interspersed with areas of floodplain and stands of terminalia. And in addition to all this you are unlikely to see many vehicles other than the lodge's own. My next stop after a road transfer within the park will be Kaingu. Beautifully situated on the banks of the Kafue river just outside the park in an area where it runs through a series of islands and huge boulders.Access to the camp is by boat on a short journey where you will see cormorants, darters and rock pratincoles and maybe elephants on the banks or on the islands as well as antelopes coming to drink. KaingU has always been a nice place to stay, but game viewing opportunities have been a bit limited. However, now that loop roads have been established in the park opposite the camp a whole new wildlife viewing area has been opened up. Next stop, Musekese . This relatively new camp run by Kafue enthusiasts Phil Jeffery and Tyrone McKeith has already earned itself a great reputation, and I am expecting an even more exciting bush experience now that the location of the camp has been moved to a new site not far from the original. The new site is on the edge of a large perennial dambo bordering the Kafue river. When I visited it last year I was impressed by the sheer numbers of small antelope, mostly puku and impala which rivailed anything the SNLP has to offer. I also saw bush pig and elephant in the area. Now that the new camp has been built it does not seem to have affected any of the wildlife, and there are reports of frequent sightings of lions and their kills around and even in the camp. Leopard, cheetah and wild dog also occur in this part of the park which is very much virgin territory which has hitherto not been open to tourism and where you are unlikely to see any other vehicles than your own. River trips are also a speciality of this camp whether for fishing or simply observing animals coming down to drink or just lazing by the water. Finally, the Busanga plain in the very north of the park. This vast expanse of grassy flood plain with a papyrus swamp at its furthest end offers a landscape totally different from the rest of the park. Here you will see large herds of red lechwe and puku as well as wildebeest, roan and zebra. Elephant have also made a come-back in the area and can be seen crossing the plain to feed in the tree line and then back to their retreat in one of the plain's wooded "islands". Sable also emerge from the treeline to drink at one of the waterholes on the plain. My camp here will be the Busanga Plains Camp run by Mukambi Safari lodge. It is a tented camp with great views over the plain from a dining area on a raised platform. After this journey from south to north of the KNP I shall be returning for a couple of nights at Mukambi Safari Lodge. This is a much larger establishment than the other camps in my itinerary, and is less of a "bush" location. However animals do frequent its grounds and you still need to be escorted back to your rondavel or tent at night in case you encounter a hippo or even a lion. Although situated outside the park and not far from the main road, Mukambi can still offer excellent game viewing drives in the park on the other side of the river as well as river trips. My safari concludes with a 4 hour drive on the main road back to Lusaka, the principal problem here being the battle to get across to the airport in the face of the intensely congested traffic in and around the city. I hope, Julian, that this will give you an idea of what to expect if you choose to come to the KNP. Not that I want to undervalue what the SNLP has to offer. indeed I have spent many enjoyable safaris there. However, if you opt for the SNLP but prefer smaller camps and fewer vehicles on the roads then I would advise that you opt to go to camps in the northern part of the park or in the Nsefu sector and I can recommend Robin Popes two camps, Nsefu and Tena Tena or Derek Shenton's Kaingo or John Coppinger's Tafika.
  3. My experience of Zambia and both the KNP and SLNP goes back a very long way - to the mid 60s and early 70s when I was living and working in Lusaka. Unfortunately I was never able to get onto the Busanga plain during that period since the road was only graded up to the edge of the plain where it ended in a heap of black cotton soil. But all accounts always mentioned the large herds of buffalo which reached a climax of numbers amounting to several thousand at the end of the dry season, and of course the attendant lion prides. When I returned to Zambia for the first time for a short visit in September 1975 I was at last able to get onto the plain. I saw a comparatively small number of lechwe and then the legendary huge herd of buffalo. Somewhere I think I have some film that I took on that occasion panning across a line of buffalo that occupied the whole horizon. There were also considerable numbers of wildebeest and zebra. Now the number of larger herbivores has been sadly depleted, buffalo numbers having been reduced to a few hundred, but on the other hand numbers of smaller animals - lechwe and puku - have increased dramatically from hundreds to thousands. My own theory for the decline in buffalo numbers is simply large scale poaching for commercial bushmeat for sale in the copperbelt. As for the diminution of lion prides this may well be due to the relative scarcity of large prey. Although there is plenty of small prey, one lechwe or puku does not provide much nourishment for a large pride and, as I have seen, half a dozen lions plus attendant scavengers can totally demolish a puku in a very short time leaving no trace of the kill. One can only hope that the increased tourist presence on the Busanga is starting to lead to a decrease in poaching pressure and that there will be an eventual increase in the numbers of larger herbivores, especially buffalo. At the moment roan seem to be doing well and the presence of elephant in quite large numbers during the daytime would seem to indicate that the Busanga is becoming a safer place for wildlife.
  4. Just a correction to the shooting info for the Large Grey Mongoose pic. Shutter was at 1/1250 sec and I was using DX mode on the D810 which meant that the lens setting was the equivalent of 600mm.
  5. Large Grey Mongoose (Herpestes Ichneumon) Seen in the Nanzhila sector of the KNP Zambia, September 2015. Photographed with Nikon D810 and 80-400 mm lens. at 400mm. 1/250 sec f5.6 ISO 800.
  6. In a 4 night stay I saw the sable herd on the Busanga twice. Once on 2 Oct when they were returning to the treeline and again on 4 Oct when they were emerging from the treeline and crossing the plain to drink. On both occasions the time was around 9 am and my guide, Lex, knew what would be the right area to look for them. I missed out on seeing the big black male this time, but here he is last year at full gallop.
  7. Sable herd on way to water hole on Busanga Plain, Zambia, early October 2013.
  8. Returning from a visit to the Liuwa plain in western Zambia in May 2009 part of the journey was made by boat along the Zambesi as far as Mongu. On the way we made a detour into the reed beds in a backwater off the main river channel to view a breeding colony of open-bill storks. The number of birds was truly impressive, and in view of the relative remoteness and inaccessibility of the site it was a rare opportunity to observe it at such close quarters.
  9. Sunrise on the Mara. October 2006.
  10. Sunset on the edge of the Busanga Plain, KNP Zambia. October 2012
  11. The "Baobab Forest" in SLNP Zambia. Situated in a fairly remote area of the northern part of the park it can be reached by a track from Derek Shenton's Kaingo camp. The reason why so many comparatively young baobabs occur in a limited area is something of a mystery. Pottery sherds which we found at the base of one of the older trees may indicate that they were planted for ritual or burial purposes at an earlier time in this area's history.
  12. White-tailed Mongoose. Taken in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park in June 2005 with a Nikon D100 , Nikon's earliest DSLR. Things have moved on a lot since then.
  13. Marsh Mongoose (Atilax paludinosus). Photographed last October on the Busanga plain, KNP Zambia. Nikon D7000, 70-300mm lens at 210mm, ISO 800 1/60 sec at f8 with SB910 flash
  14. Porcupines usually run when surprised at night, but this one wandered right up close to our vehicle and did not seem in the least concerned. Photo taken in the Mfuwe area SLNP Zambia not far from the entrance gate. It was quite some time ago in the pre-digital era and this is a scan of a Kodacolor print.
  15. Encountered this Honey Badger when on a night drive in the SNLP, Zambia last year. Although it ran and took refuge under a bush we were able to get close enough for me to get this shot. Technical details : Nikon D800, 80-400 lens at 400mm f8, flash at 1/250sec, ISO 3200.

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