It’s August 2004 and …


It’s August 2004 and …

It’s Monday 2nd and it’s not unusu-owl

Doctor Death is back! – Regular guest Paul Deniger has arrived back for his month long stay with us. Paul was nick named Doctor Death a few years ago as he always manages to see a kill. Unfortunately the buffalos do not seem to have realised this and came to greet him on his arrival at Nsefu….I am sure the predators will be close behind.

This week seems to have been mating week in the Nsefu sector with good sighting of both leopard and lion coupling up.

Tena Tena had the most amazing sighting this week. Three lions in a tree with a couple of cubs playing underneath, yes I did say three lions in a tree!!

Also in the Nsefu sector this week there was another unusual event. Debs was out walking and saw a giant eagle owl at 10 o’clock in the morning – unusual enough but this owl was hunting a genet. He managed to catch it and then flew off with the genet in his grip, it’s tail dangling in the wind.

Jason also had a lovely bird sighting when he found a green spotted wood dove with 2 chicks.

Another super sighting of wild dog yesterday – August can you believe it. 6 dogs were seen posed to kill a puku. This seems to confirm that they are going to stay around throughout the year which is fantastic and surely shows that the numbers must be increasing and they are therefore needing to hunt in a larger area.

Elephants at Nkwali

Elephants resting at the Nkwali pool

Not to be out done Nkwali guests caught a glimpse of a leopard whilst having breakfast. They heard it calling and it was then spotted directly opposite the bar.

This weekend we had full moon. Sitting on the deck at Nkwali bar with lights off and sipping gin and tonic by moonlight is just super – many guests have never seen their moon shadow and it is quite an experience for them when they do see it for the first time. Of course this is heightened when coupled with dinner by moonlight in the bush.

Stay well and have a great week

It’s Monday 9th August 2004 and boxing fever at camp

Disaster has struck and Shanie is about to be divorced – not from her husband but by all of the camp staff.

What is her crime? – well, it all started at about 1900 one evening when she was asked if the staff could watch a boxing match with Mike Tyson on the TV – this was agreed. However, the staff TV was not working and Shanie was understandably not keen on having about 30 guys in her house at 3am when the match was due to start. However, the solution was that she would tape the event. Obviously boxing is much bigger in Mfuwe than we had realised.However, soon the problems began. Shanie could not work out how to use the automatic timer and then could not get the sound to work. Eventually she set her alarm and woke up at 2.50 to set the recorder going deciding no sound was better than nothing.

Next day all arrived excited to watch the fight. After fast forwarding the tape jammed in the video and the machine blew up….disaster. Unfortunately this meant that Shanie could not record the Springbok game for Simon the next day…Does anyone have a tape of the fight? This would bring peace and harmony back to Nkwali.

Roan on the lundu plain

Simon has just returned from a mobile safari having had a really good trip up on the Mupamadzi river. Amongst all the other sightings, including 3 sightings of lion and 2 very large herds of buffalo, they saw a fantastic sighting of 19 roan antelope on the Lundu Plain.

A lovely photo of a white faced owl, which was seen on one of Simon’s previous mobile safaris, has been sent to him by the guests, the Irving’s. It is a very uncommonly seen little owl and they managed to get right up this little owl, who seemed completely unconcerned. They eventually left the owl to carry on with it’s night time activities.

The white faced owl


Rocky – yes really, another Tyson fan, one of our guides at Tena Tena has sent a report this week –

Everyone had just finished the main course at lunch on morning and were eagerly waiting to see what delight Aniek has planned for pudding, when I spotted an immature martial eagle flying low over the river. A fish eagle and then 2 more martial eagles were then seen on the other side of the river in the short grass surrounded by about 7 puku.

Martial eagle


Everyone leapt up, forgetting pudding, to see what was happening. We could not see if the martial eagle had anything in its talons and it was sweet how the puku were charging the eagle until it took off. It landed in a tree about 200 metres away and still seemed to having nothing. As soon as the eagle departed 4 small crocs came out of the water to investigate. The puku turned and chased them off – we could not see what they were protecting. One of the guests then saw a medium sized monitor lizard wandering off towards the river. The martial eagle then swapped down, grabbed it from under the noses of the puku bodyguards and took off toward the car park. Reconvening at the bar for coffee we saw the martial eagle take off again.

Aniek then found the tail of the lizard by her house and we trooped off to take a look. Back to the bar and the action continued with our resident, short tailed croc watching the scene. Finally he decide to enter the ring – just like my favourite boxer Mike Tyson [you see what I mean, obsessed – Kim]. He was however, chased back into the water by the puku [bit like Mikey boy !! Kim]. The puku actually when into the water to chase him off. Very aggressive behaviour.

From Rocky at Tena Tena

Stay well and have a great week. Cheers,


It’s Monday 16th and the Luangwa monster

Well I really do not know where to start this week so I will begin with what I have seen. I was driving back from dinner out and took the short cut back to Nkwali. I saw something moving to the right of the track and stopped for a closer look. Out wandered an aardvark. It stopped to take a look at me and then sloped off across the road and into the bush on the other side – fantastic, I was so excited at this rare sighting that I rushed back to Nkwali to tell someone. On arriving I found Fergus (our gap year student) in the staff area – rushing up to inform him of this amazing sight he merely turned his head and said “Oh yes we saw one too tonight”! In fact we have now had 3 sightings in 2 days, all in very different areas.

Excitement no 2 – staff were sitting at Nkwali bar preparing for sundowners when 6 wild dog were spotted on the sand bank – they sped off in hot pursuit of a group of puku right opposite us. Various members of staff taking sides and cheering their team. The puku out ran the dogs and so we carried on with the matter in hand – pouring gin and tonics. About 10 mins later a puku was seen careering over the bank and back down onto the sand bank with the dogs again in hot pursuit.

Wild dog and puku

Wild Dog and Puku This lone puku ran straight into the river and the dogs milled around on the shore. The puku had no option but to risk swimming across to the camp side. As you all know there are many crocs in the river so none of us expected the antelope to make it unscathed, but Shanie’s willing must have worked and she actually made it across and ran up the bank into camp – heading for the kitchen.

This was the most amazing sight, especially as the puku swam across as the sun was setting, it looked like we had our own lochness monster.

our own lochness monster

Luckily Simon managed to capture the whole sequence on camera.

Wild Dog and Puku

Daudi had a superb sighting at Nsefu this week too. He was on a morning drive and sat looking at giraffe in Nsefu’s second ebony grove when a leopard was spotted about 100m from the vehicle. About 50m from this female was a group of six puku. Several minutes later the leopard ran out in the open and brought down a large female, a large amount of tumbling and clouds of dust followed and then on driving closer guest saw the puku still kicking and the leopard finishing it off – all a bit gruesome but a really amazing sight of this cat in action.

Still at Nsefu, Jacob has been doing plenty of walking and had a lovely experience with giraffe recently. Here is the report as sent to me.

“Tuesday 10th August we set off on foot arriving to have our sundowner drinks at the magnificent bend of the mighty Luangwa river north of Nsefu. The vehicle with a cooler box of drinks was to catch up with us there so that we could continue with the night drive.

I had 4 regular guests with me, the Marshalls and Charles Mercy whom I found to be great bush enthusiasts. Having meandered through bushes filled with mahogany’s romantic aroma we found ourselves amongst a journey of 13 giraffe. They stood looking at us as if they were ready to listen to a speech from us. We managed to walk through without disturbing them and continue on.

Darkness was around the corner when we were approaching big bend and would you believe what we saw? A bat hawk, an uncommon crepuscular resident, came to perch right in front of us, disturbing the “three cheers for BBC” call of the red eyed dove we had been watching.”

Meanwhile Robin had an interesting mobile. One of our largest falcons, the lanner falcon circled overhead on the Chifungwe plains about 3km east of camp 2. Then two pairs of mating lions were outside of this same camp and Robin and his guests watched them for most of the afternoon from across the Mupamadzi river. One of the males growled heavily at the guests and then spin chillingly they started roaring from a distance of about 40 metres from our the band of happy expeditionaries sitting on the river bank. At the same time watching a malachite kingfisher fly fishing from a nearby tree stump.

There was lots of night calling close to camp 3, but the same lions who moved east shadowing the safari. In addition 26 Cookson’s wildebeest were sighted as well as three reedbuck and an eland. Two buffalo rose out of the grass close to the guests on one walk and watched until they moved away. All getting a good adrenalin rush…

Stay well and have a great week.

It’s Monday 23rd and a cat fest

Simon has just spend a fantastic 6 days at Nsefu with regular guests Frank and Barbara Jones and their friend Paul Deniger. They had brilliant gameviewing. Starting with mating lions on the first morning drive and then a leopard kill on the evening drive.

Mating lion

Shanie was sitting accompanying them and commenting on how lucky they had been. Not 30 seconds later a leopardess was spotted stalking and they then watched it kill a baby puku.

Leopard with pukuLeopard and Puku

Leopard On the second day the 3 guests were out again with Simon and saw a lioness take a kill from a leopard. They could not see the leopard but did see the lioness rush up an ant hill covered in creepers and heard her crunching on the impala. Then a leopard was spotted sitting not too far away and it was assumed that it was this leopard who had lost the kill. Seconds later another leopard, who had been hiding in the creeper shot out and ran off! Cats in all directions…..

Cubs with sticks On their last evening with “Super Star Simon” they came across lion cubs playing and annoying their parents. They were generally being cubs, romping around and chewing on sticks etc.

three banded courser protecting her eggs Also at Nsefu, Kerri spotted a three banded courser protecting her eggs and got a super shot of this – with the bird shading the eggs with her wings.

Repeat guests, the Marshalls, had a memorable first game drive. Straight from the airport and across the pontoon…..and onto sundowners. A large croc was spotted rapidly swimming toward shore. Turning their gaze to the right, they spotted three wild dogs trotting down to the river bank. Between the croc and the dogs was a hapless impala who was being chased by the dogs into the jaws of the hungry croc! The croc swam off with his dinner in the end. On the way back to camp, they spent time with a female leopard…..a great welcome back after 4 years away.

The baby warthog Our Vision in Pink, Kate – assistant Manager at Nsefu, and our bagpipe playing manger from Tena Tena, Ross, have been down at Nkwali for a few days off. Great to have them with us and they both always liven up our little back stage band at Nkwali. We send them back to the bushes yesterday full of energy and enthusiasm.

Talking of Tena Tena, Rocky was presented with an abandoned baby warthog this week. It was tiny – about a week old. We had to contact Chipembere, who look after orphaned animals etc, for instructions. After a brief visit to Nkwali the little wartlet, now named Roxy, was delivered to be looked after by the experts – Emily enjoyed having a pet for a day….

Stay well and have a great week.

It’s Monday 30th and lingering leopards

Great game reports from both Tena Tena and Nsefu this week.

Tena Tena guests had a real treat – whilst having dinner, one of the watchmen came to let Ross know that there was a leopard in front of Tent 2. Ross, guides, guests and Aniek all squeezed onto the veranda in front of Tent 1 and saw the female cat sitting, gazing over the lagoon. She then got up and walked right in front of the guests – about 5 metres away, flopped down and had a good look at everyone, before wandering off again.

This same leopard was spotted a couple of nights later sitting by the “gate” into the camp. Rocky and Ross were returning from Nsefu and Ross hopped out of the car to open the electric gate when Rocky saw the female. Jumping back into the vehicle, the leopard was completely unfazed by Ross and just sat watching him. The watchman then came running towards them thinking he needed to open the gates and again she did not move. She is obviously relaxed and not worried about us humans.

the 2 lion cubs Guests came also across the two lion cubs and watched them for some time playing on a tree stump.

Tena Tena and Nsefu now have four new male lions in the area. These bring the total of large males to eight – not sustainable and over the next few weeks it will be interesting to see what happens, who gets to stay and who is turfed out of the area. Two of the new males killed a buffalo behind Tena Tena recently. One of them has been seen shadowing the female and her cubs so lets hope the female manages to keep him at bay or she may loose them.

Lots of fishing parties around and another large one is building up at Lunga Lagoon as I write. This is such a spectacular thing to watch and it is great to see the pelicans back in good numbers.

fishing parties

Elephants are now pouring in Elephants are now pouring into the area with Lunga acting as one of the main crossing points – for a couple of hours every morning guests are treated to groups coming in off the Mutunda plain, crossing the lagoon and heading to the cool, shade of the river edge.


Ross got a super shot of a grysbok this week – quite uncommon in the area and this one was see on the way to the salt pan. It just stood quietly and allowed itself to be filmed – they normally bolt off so fast you do not have time to put camera to eye.

gecko An even more uncommon sight was actually at Tena Tena bar – a gecko latched onto a smaller one and after struggling for about 15 mins managed to swallow it whole – tail and all!

Meanwhile at Nsefu general game viewing has been good with giraffe, lions and birds galore. Cats have been great this week with daily sighting of both leopard and lion morning and night. One particular sighting of a ‘family’ 1 adult, 2 sub-adults and 1 male cub up a tree – this group have lost one cub to one of the new males in the area but seems to be back together and doing fine.

up a tree

carmine bee-eaters Both Tena Tena and Nsefu report that the carmine bee-eaters are back in force. At Tena Tena they are on the island in front of camp whilst at Nsefu there are at least 3 colonies along the river up from Nsefu and it looks like another one is starting just in front of camp. Kerri’s photo is taken up stream from Nsefu where between 500 and 600 are busy building nests.

Nsefu are also having good pels fishing owl sightings and the bat hawks are still being seen occasionally. One animal which caused some excitement was a big male eland on the beach in front of Nsefu. They have not been seen in the area for some time which is a shame since Nsefu means eland in the local language – perhaps a sign they may return…..

Leopard and Kill Nsefu’s one eyed female leopard has been active recently and 3 kills have been spotted – one bushbuck and 2 puku’s – both of which she shared with a male leopard – possibly her offspring.

Superb sunsets in all areas at the moment – smoke from the bush fires does have some advantages.

Stay well and have a great week.

Superb sunsets

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