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Posted (edited)

The banded mongoose were a bundle of fun! thanks to Michael and Lynn who pursued the mongoose and then came back to fetch @AndMic and I.

we threw ourselves on the floor to take the photos and the staff were bemused that the mongoose could arouse so much excitement among us. if only they knew they could use them as an attraction, perhaps more people would book with them, as long as they feed them properly and fully, and no samosas every lunch-time. (i share Michael's sentiment about the lodge)

 

Some mongoose pics from me: 

 

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Edited by Kitsafari
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Given the poaching activities in the park, it is a good thing that the elephant orphanage was set up. although its not as organised or as widely known as David Sheldrick's orphanage. The Kafue orphanage has taken in elephants from in and outside the park. at the end, i felt sad leaving Lukas after talking to him for quite a while and looking into his eyes - he looked forlorn as if longing for company or physical interaction. I regretted I didn't reach out to touch him but wasn't sure if that would have been the right thing to do. 

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Posted (edited)

On 11/26/2017 at 11:12 AM, wilddog said:

I remember that large stone lodge from some years ago when someone I travelled with had that one. I thought it was the luxury room and was slightly jealous but from what you say it may be rarely used so perhaps I missed nothing

 

Looking forward to hearing more about your trip particularly Konkomoya where I stayed many years ago as the sole guest for a week. (It has now changed ownership) it certainly has! and of course your time at Musakese, which I believe Kit called a "fabulous product," and I agree.

 

On 11/26/2017 at 10:58 PM, janzin said:

ah I've been waiting for this one :) Thanks, We've been frantically sorting and culling photos!  Off to a good birdy start with that Shalow's Turaco! I've still not gotten a decent look at that one.

 

  "There were loads of puku in and around the lodge, and each time i saw one, i thought of @TonyQ as he loves the pretty little animal."

We actually discussed Tony and his love of the puku with @Kitsafari, so it was almost like we were 5 safaritalkers on safari!  And Tony would have understood Michael's obsession with photographing that first puku sighting--in poor light, at a distance.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Posted (edited)

My thoughts on Konkamoya (which means follow the wind) are the same as Michael’s and Kit’s: loved the location, but was disappointed in the approach.  I was even the one who suggested this camp after seeing their website that advertised their focus on aardvarks and their impressive success rate.  We even had Doug check out the Konkamoya's claims and they confirmed the aardvark sightings before we booked.  In fact, when we arrived at Musekese, and Phil and Tyrone learned we had come from Konkamoya, they immediately asked if we had seen aardvark.  When we responded we had not they indicated it was a shame because 90% of the guests see them.  Well not anymore because searching for aardvark is a thing of the past.

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Resting up and elevating my foot, while waiting for the delayed lunch. Aug 6 I had broken my foot, two months before the trip.

 

In looking at Konkamoya on Facebook before leaving, I had seen shots of a troop of banded mongoose and was hoping to see some because it appeared they were camp regulars. With moments to go before departing we saw some mongoose scoot across the back of the camp.  When we asked, we were told they came by every morning and every afternoon around 3-4 pm to get treat.  No one had ever told us!  We were all sitting around camp about 3 pm and missed the mongoose. I labeled this mongoose omission an “unconscionable” breach.


 

But I learned something. It always pays to ask and I should have asked early on about the mongoose. I think I figured they had gone the way of the aardvark. 

 

We had some active and enjoyable 10 minutes with the mongoose from our prone positions.  The banded mongoose were Konkamoya highlight, along with the mating puku, and the night views of the elephant shrew and the Sharpe's Grysbock (which I believe WAS a first for all of us).

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About 6:18- 6:28 am at Konkamoya, at the back of camp. 

 

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Lone puku under gray skies in front of Lake Itezi Tezi, formed in 1977.

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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On 11/28/2017 at 0:05 AM, michael-ibk said:

We had a great sighting of a Porcupine, actually pretty close but it moved amazingly quickly,

 

Yes, porcupines can really motor when they want to.

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15 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

we found out Banded Mongoose are coming to the kitchen for scraps every morning,

 

Sounds like they're better fed than the guests.

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3 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

I had broken my foot, two months before the trip.

 

Eek, not the sort of thing you want to do before a safari.

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Great! Another trip report about Kafue :) I just love this park. Interesting to see the southern part and elephant centre in your report. I don't know why, but everytime I come home (twice) I have new reasons to go back to Kafue. The first time it was Busanga, this time it's the elephant centre which makes me wanna go back there.

The elephants were sometimes hard to find on our trip as well and also not the friendly giants you find elsewhere. Always alert and on the move when you got (too) close to them. A sad thing, but probably also a good thing as poaching is still a problem in Kafue.

Looking forward to the rest of your stay in Kafue, especially about Musekese as we thought about going there as well. (actually, that's a second reason to go back there...)

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I must say I'm with you on Puku...after my recent Zambia trip it has become my favorite antelope. I don't know why exactly but they are just too cute and sweet...maybe its the name also...I was calling my cat Puku when I got home (fortunately for him, I've gotten over that.)

 

Ouch on Lynn's foot! Two months is not a long time to heal a broken foot! But as always, the trooper...

 

But ouch also on the lodge...if I ever get to Kafue I'll give that one a pass!

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Thanks very much to all of you for bringing me back to Kafue and of course to the Elephant Orphan Project. In 2012 the new Owner Andrea was busy to build up the new tents for the guests. We only camped at the lodge because the Hippo campsite connected to the lodge was closed. We got a very warm welcome from the stuff on the first day. Andrea wasn't around. He arrived the second day with friends and as I remember right there wasn't any kind of "hello" at all. Ok, we weren't guests to the Lodge but payed for camping. It looks like there isn't any big change. It's very shame. We Iiked the area around the Lake very much.

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I am enjoying this very much. Three perspectives, an interesting area, but a shame about the lodge. It is strange to invest in the structure but no to get some of the basis right.

 

mongooses are great- I really like the eye level photos. And especially good to see you appreciation of the Wonderul Puku! How very kind of you to think of me when discussing them! I do think they are amongst the loveliest of antelope - but what was @michael-ibk thinking when he said they were slow and not very bright??:o

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Oh my goodness. It seems Konkamoya was a bit of a disappointment in many ways. Sorry to hear that and also that you travelled with a damaged foot @Atravelynn  No doubt the heat did not help with the discomfort. I still remember how I struggled in Mana when my back went into spasm for several days. I hope the next part of the trip was more comfortable and enjoyable.

 

Looking forward to hearing about it.

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I have been really looking forward to this report and am sorry to learn of your disappointing experiences with Konkamoya. I had enjoyed my stays there when Chris Cooke was in charge and on my last stay in 2011 Chris told me of his plans for those lakeside tents. I did wonder if there'd be a problem with strong afternoon winds blowing off the lake. Was that a problem?

 

On 27/11/2017 at 11:27 PM, michael-ibk said:

Let´s take a minute to celebrate Puku.

 

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They are everywhere in Kafue, an enormously successful antelope here, even outcompeting Impala (by far). But this is only the case in Zambia and (still) the Kilombero Valley in Tanzania, everywhere else they are declining. So their IUCN status is "vulnerable".

 

 

Not quite everywhere in Kafue @michael-ibk - for some strange reason puku are not to be found further south in Nanzhila.

 

Also elephants are practically daily visitors in and around the Nanzhila Plains Camp so perhaps poaching and the nearness of the GMA are more of a problem near Konkamoya.

 

Have enjoyed great photos and reporting already from you @Atravelynn and @Kitsafari and looking forward to hearing more and your various takes and thoughts on my favourite park.

 

 

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23 hours ago, Geoff said:

 

Sounds like they're better fed than the guests.  Ha ha, fortunately our meals were far better than breadcrumbs.  Actually food quality was not a problem, it was all very tasty.  Quantity was the issue.

 

12 hours ago, LarsS said:


Looking forward to the rest of your stay in Kafue, especially about Musekese as we thought about going there as well.  Stop thinking and book!  (actually, that's a second reason to go back there...)

 

11 hours ago, janzin said:

I must say I'm with you on Puku...after my recent Zambia trip it has become my favorite antelope. I don't know why exactly but they are just too cute and sweet...maybe its the name also...I was calling my cat Puku when I got home (fortunately for him, I've gotten over that.)  I felt called back to Zambia several years ago because I was missing puku!

 

Ouch on Lynn's foot! Two months is not a long time to heal a broken foot! But as always, the trooper...I "trooped" over wearing a velcro boot on the plane, but did not use the giant boot on the trip.  I did need a hand now and then on uneven inclines and declines. 

 

But ouch also on the lodge...if I ever get to Kafue I'll give that one a pass!  A much bigger ouch than my foot.

 

10 hours ago, Botswanadreams said:

Thanks very much to all of you for bringing me back to Kafue and of course to the Elephant Orphan Project. In 2012 the new Owner Andrea was busy to build up the new tents for the guests. We only camped at the lodge because the Hippo campsite connected to the lodge was closed. We got a very warm welcome from the stuff on the first day. Andrea wasn't around. He arrived the second day with friends and as I remember right there wasn't any kind of "hello" at all. Ok, we weren't guests to the Lodge but payed for camping. It looks like there isn't any big change. It's very shame. We Iiked the area around the Lake very much.  Though I am sorry for your experience, it is a relief that it's not just us.

 

10 hours ago, TonyQ said:

mongooses are great- I really like the eye level photos. And especially good to see you appreciation of the Wonderul Puku! How very kind of you to think of me when discussing them! I do think they are amongst the loveliest of antelope - but what was @michael-ibk thinking when he said they were slow and not very bright??:oI apologize to you Michael's his behalf.

 

9 hours ago, wilddog said:

Oh my goodness. It seems Konkamoya was a bit of a disappointment in many ways. The mongoose came roaring in at the last minute to improve the overall impression a little.  Sorry to hear that and also that you travelled with a damaged foot @Atravelynn  No doubt the heat did not help with the discomfort. I still remember how I struggled in Mana when my back went into spasm for several days. Yikes, I was thinking of that now and then, but I probably suffered way less than you. I hope the next part of the trip was more comfortable and enjoyable.  The trip continued to improve and the foot continued to heal.  I was walking up and down the trail to the boat Musekese boat launch and hopping of the boat by the end of the trip.

 

Perhaps November 29 should be designated Day of the Puku as part of the celebration @Caracal suggests.

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@Atravelynn like @Kitboey your'e a real trooper. I really admire the fact that you managed to go on safari despite the fact that you broke your foot. I do remember that I saw Sharpe's Grysbok in Gonorezhou National Park and I saw them in Pamushana as well.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, optig said:

@Atravelynn like @Kitboey your'e a real trooper. I really admire the fact that you managed to go on safari despite the fact that you broke your foot. I do remember that I saw Sharpe's Grysbok in Gonorezhou National Park and I saw them in Pamushana as well.

 

Oh @optig if you had seen the sharpe's grysbok in gonarezhou - then I must have seen it too there?? i think my memory loss has kicked in again. :wacko:

 

@Atravelynn was more than a trooper - she was such a brave lady who persevered despite the foot and always ready to get going and was prepared for anything. she did fantastically well during a morning walk, and never complained (which put me to shame). 

 

@Caracal the lakeside tents were very spacious, comfortable and sturdy. i don't remember if there were strong winds when we were there, but i don't doubt they would withstand those winds. I have to give the lodge credit for making the tents very home-friendly - there was coffee and tea (a flask of hot water comes with the morning wake-up call), the lights (solar-powered) were very bright, plenty of space to hang and fold clothes away, and a wonderful deck to sit outside during the downtime after lunch. 

 

and I did like their main dining hall very much. 

 

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Edited by Kitsafari
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Moving on now, but just two more things about Konkamoya:

 

On 29.11.2017 at 1:54 AM, Atravelynn said:

In fact, when we arrived at Musekese, and Phil and Tyrone learned we had come from Konkamoya, they immediately asked if we had seen aardvark.

 

Just to clarify, Phil and Tyrone had no knowledge that Konkamoya actually was a good place to see Aardvark - they just knew they were advertising it. From what I was told in all of 2016 they saw 4 Aaardvarks - which is not terrible of course for any place but certainly does not sound like the "90 %" they were boasting. In all fairness, of course I don´t know how often guests actually wanted to try.

 

On a more positive aspect I would like to say that our guide and tracker were both very good and hard-working. I especially liked the tracker, a very energetic and uplifting young man who will doubtlessly rise up the ranks soon.

 

And really, it´s not like it was a catastrophe being there, not at all. The one time I was a bit irked was our second late and little lunch, othewise I did not mind too much. I enjoyed the scenery, the beautiful views, had fun birding around the area, our dinners were really good and fun between the five of us of course. So this is definitely not a "The place is absolutely terrible never ever go there" situation rather a "ok but has the potential to do better" one.

 

On 28.11.2017 at 3:27 PM, Kitsafari said:

 

I must have been dreaming about lions then! :blink:

 

No, we were definitely talking about Lions being around the lakeside area and am quite sure saw their tracks. But the specific situation you were describing was definitely Leopard. I remember that very clearly because shortly afterwards we saw one (or I did).

 

17 hours ago, LarsS said:

Looking forward to the rest of your stay in Kafue, especially about Musekese as we thought about going there as well. (actually, that's a second reason to go back there...)

 

Thanks, @LarsS , and it´s a very good reason. For me, Musekese is as perfect as a camp can be.

 

15 hours ago, TonyQ said:

I do think they are amongst the loveliest of antelope - but what was @michael-ibk thinking when he said they were slow and not very bright??:o

 

I am totally innocent, @TonyQ, Doug said that - he´s always saying horrible things like that. Personally, I thought their facial expression was brim-full of superior intelligence and they moved as quickly and elegantly as ninjas.

 

6 hours ago, Caracal said:

I did wonder if there'd be a problem with strong afternoon winds blowing off the lake. Was that a problem?

 

No, not at all, @Caracal.

 

6 hours ago, Caracal said:

Also elephants are practically daily visitors in and around the Nanzhila Plains Camp so perhaps poaching and the nearness of the GMA are more of a problem near Konkamoya.

 

That´s certainly a very different experience. Actually, we had originally intended to start at Nanzhilla Plains, it was just the Aardvark thing which made us reconsider. Next time! I know you are our Nr. 1 Kafue fan, @Caracal, and I hope you are happy to hear that I am serious about a "next time".

 

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I stayed at Nanzhila once and didn't see elephants there. In fact, I saw lots and lots of elephant sign in the southern sector, but only once saw one young animal which shouldn't have been alone run across the road quite far ahead of me. What I remember from around Nanzhila was that reedbuck almost seemed more abundant than impala!

I really love the diversity in Kafue, it's such a great place, and the potential is even bigger.

I've seen lots of grysbok in the Luangwa valley. I'm sure some of you must have seen them there too!

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17 hours ago, janzin said:

I must say I'm with you on Puku...after my recent Zambia trip it has become my favorite antelope. I don't know why exactly but they are just too cute and sweet...

 

I think it is to do with their fluffy coats. They all look like youngsters. 

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Posted (edited)

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Since we´ve been discussing camp let´s just cover the next one - Musekese Camp! And happy to report no negativism at all here - this is pretty close to perfection, definitely one of the coolest camps I´ve been so far. It is located in the Northern sector of the park, in a remote area where the Kafue River does a long U-Turn. Prior visitors might be scratching their heads now about this picture and think "Huh, I do not recognize this". That´s because they have relocated. Camp used to be closer to the river, but since last year they moved to a permanent lagoon they call "Eden" - and rightly so, it´s paradise.

 

Musekese has four tents, all very private, and with a wonderful view over the lagoon.

 

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The rooms are basic but comfortable, spacious and airy - for my personal taste they got this exactly right, not too luxurios, you still feel (a bit at least) like being in a tent in the middle of the bush, but everything you need is there. If there´s one improvement they could make that´s definitely light though - they only use some small solar lamps, so finding stuff in the evenings and mornings can be a bit tricky.

 

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Last season the tents used to completely open to the front (as several camps in Zambia are). Some guests loved this but most were a bit uncomfortable so they closed this side too for 2017.  I have to admit it does add some security - only in the mind, but still.

 

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The bathroom - note the Pangolin. :)

 

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And say Hello to Charlie, our stalwart tent guardian. He was very fond of AndMic´s jacket, otherwise he liked to hang around the shower. When we moved North to Busanga we could leave some of our stuff in the tent since we would have it after our return for our final night here. Charlie promised us he would take very good care of everything, and of course he kept true to his word.

 

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The view from the tents - abundant Puku all the time and of course lots of birds. Also Warthogs, Waterbuck, Bushbuck now and then, and always worth checking out for something special. Just prior to our visit they had a Sitatunga for a few days! One afternoon a herd of Elephants was visiting the lagoon (on the opposite side though). We sat on our deck and watched them for almost 30 minutes - safari bliss!

 

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The lunch/dining deck

 

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What a fantastic place to sit, chat, drink and enjoy food!

 

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And speaking about food this was just fantastic (and yes, plenty ;)). Lunches were hearty and more home-style while they are going for finer cuisine for dinner - very successfully so. It was all "mmh ... MMMH ... oh this is good .... mmmh" in the evenings. Also good choice for breakfast, toast, jam, honey, porridge, cereals. I developed a liking for that black marmite staff - apparently the first non-guide guest to do so.

 

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The lobby. The most important aspect of the charm of Musekese is not tents or foods however - it´s the atmosphere. I liked the energetic manager Kola a lot but credit primarily goes to the young owners who also act as guides. Phil Jeffreys and Tyrone McKeith are so passionate about their patch of Kafue it´s just a joy to talk to them. Their eyes begin to glow when they tell you about their long-term plans, they beam with excitement when they discuss the many completely unexplored areas waiting for them in Kafue, they smile when they mention how much effect their "no burnings " rule already has had, they are proud when talking about wildlife becoming more and more relaxed - in short, they love love love what they are doing here, and that spirit is infectious - you can´t help love being here as well. So Musekese is a camp where I felt very much "at home", very welcome, it feels a bit like visiting buddies who have come up with that super awesome place in the middle of the bush and invited you to check it out. So compliments to you, Gentlemen, you are doing everything right, and I hope you continue to be successful with it - you very much deserve it.

 

Some of camplife:

 

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A Bushbuck family has chosen the safety of camp as their home. They were still very shy around people though.

 

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Vervets are still trying to figure out how to assess all these human intruders and have not yet learned to steal stuff.

 

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This is Timothy, the local Monitor. Or Tabitha possibly, if there´s a way to sex big Lizards I don´t know it.

 

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Francolins often choose camps as their homeground - Red-Necked in this case.

 

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There were some cool critters around at night (mobile pic).

 

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If you want to see me in good cartoon mode, jumping up and down, screaming "Ouch-ah-OUCH" and trying to get my shoes off, just have me step into a line of ants - it works like a charm, promise.

 

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I was very, very happy to find this one in camp, one of my Top 3 targets for this trip - a Böhm´s Bee-Eater.

 

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From a photographic point of view these little guys were the showstealers - Red-Throated Twinspot, tiny masterpieces of Nature.

 

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Well, it seems Lynn liked Musekese, too. B)

 

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Edited by michael-ibk
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And what did we have at Musekese, almost in camp? Yes - Lion!

 

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You may have heard about the dead hippo here already in @gatoratlarge´s report - he was Satan incarnate! Well, at least that´s what they called him. He was the victor of a bloody, brutal, no holds-barred fight for dominance. Even after his opponent had died he could not stop hacking and biting at him. But victor only for a little while. After a little more than a week Satan succumbed to his many wounds - so the big battle only knew losers after all (as battles often do).

 

Now of course, Satan was a huge chunk of meat to cherish (for those with a robust nose) and two male Lions were making sure nobody would rob them just a parcel of their breakfastlunchdinner. It made walking in camp quite interesting, this was maybe 100 m or so from Kit´s tent. (And while I went over to watch a bit I was quite happy to have my tent on the other side of camp - the odeur was not exactly Eau de Cologne.)

 

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For our afternoon activity we took a closer look - and did our best to hold our noses! The stink really was breathtaking - and not in a good way.

 

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"Satan" did look quite ghoulish now - fitting.

 

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The two Boys (the second would join in later) were pretty new to Musekese, had only arrived on the scene a few weeks ago. The dead hippo was very fortunate therefore because no matter what they would not leave that carcass, and that was a good opportunity to get them used to cars. They had been reacting very nervously before.

 

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Sorry, vulture, there´s not enough dead hippo for both of us.

 

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It was clear they already had fought some battles.

 

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Here´s Big Brother, obviously looking forward to more rotten Hippo delicacy!

 

Doug suggested I could get out of the car to get some eyelevel shots, and as a good soldier always doing what I´m told I happily jumped off while the lion looked the other way and then I crouched down next to the vehicle. We had chosen a different angle by now (because of the stench) and had a little waterarm (not broader than a metre) between us and the lion. Doug said he would feel more secure that way, and in a way I appreciated that "barrier" as well. For quite a while the lion only presented his back to us and did not bother to check what was going on behind him. He finally did - and he did not like this at all.

 

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He might have gotten used to cars pretty quickly but obiously did not know what to make of me sitting there. But he decided he did not like this at all and got very agitated.

 

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I was just a bit agitated as well now and quickly got back in the car. B)

 

The lions were a constant presence in camp, we always heard them roaring in the night, sometimes so loud that I was sure they must have been right outside the tent. We´d see them again twice at night but not at daylight.

 

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Wow! @michael-ibk what splendid photo's, am now working out how we can afford to go to Musekese! and one of the best things about Zambia is the tree frogs in the accommodation!

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Posted (edited)

We thought "old Musekese" was wonderful @michael-ibk, and although Phil & Tyrone had told us of their plans to move to "Eden" (& we had walked over to it), I did wonder how they could improve on perfection - its clear they have managed it and like @Towlersonsafari, we need to work on a plan to get there. 

 

You are also a braver man than I, you won't see me out of the vehicle that close to a lion!

 

2 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

it feels a bit like visiting buddies who have come up with that super awesome place in the middle of the bush and invited you to check it out. I couldn't agree more

 

Welcome to the select band of Marmite aficionados :D,

Edited by AfricIan
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Thanks, @Towlersonsafari, I´m sure you´ll love it. Our Charlie was apparently a Foam-Nesting Frog, the adult form of the little pink ones we had in the toilet in Konkamoya.

 

43 minutes ago, AfricIan said:

You are also a braver man than I, you won't see me out of the vehicle that close to a lion!

 

Just doing what Doug told me, mindless soldier here. And after having been to Mana Pools it just comes naturally. I like hopping off, and Doug, knowing that, gave me every opportunity to do so. Joking aside, I totally trust his judgement. He certainly was enjoying getting me out of my comfort zone. At one point we re-visited the Lion on a night drive and he said, "Michael, I see a great photo opportunity here". Which prompted Lynn to say "Michael you are NOT getting out of that car" (which will earn her extra points with my mother, I´m sure.) And I admit I was getting a bit scared as well and was happy when I was explained that no, I should definitely stay inside (Phew!), but Doug had been thinking of trying some Lion with the stars in the background thing (which did not work out at all).

 

43 minutes ago, AfricIan said:

Welcome to the select band of Marmite aficionados

 

Ah, at least one kindred spirit here!

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Posted (edited)

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Of course dead Satan was a huge attraction for Vultures - all four species found in the area were present. (Most of these photos are from next afternoon when the Lions had finally let go of the carcass.)

 

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White-Backed Vulture, the most common one. But their numbers seen in the park are deceiving - like all Vultures their population is declining, they are Critically Endangered.

 

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Hooded Vulture

 

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White-Headed Vulture, the rarest one. Zambia seems to be a (relatively) good place for them. I´m not sure I have ever seen them before but they were not an uncommon sighting in Kafue.

 

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Also something I´ve never seen before - a juvenile Saddle-Billed Stork.

 

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A distant picture but also something new to me - mating Vultures!

 

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The King landing - Lappet-Faced Vulture.

 

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These two were quite fond of each other.

 

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Edited by michael-ibk
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