It’s Monday 11th June 2007 and keep that camera out!

It’s Monday 11th June 2007 and keep that camera out!

I have been at home for a few days, catching up with some rest and reading and so was a bit out of the loop.  I awoke this morning at 05:30 ready to go, and so Robin and I leapt out of bed with enthusiasm to have breakfast with the guests.  We were early, and while waiting I asked the guides what had been going on with the game viewing this week. 

(sorry no photos for this story so here are lovely elly shots)

Joseph told me of the “glossy ibis” that had been seen from the Luangwa Safari House, and the Pels fishing owl chick – with partial adult plumage. Not bad.  Then he told the most extraordinary story of the lions, the crocs and the hippos. A pride of ten lions wanted to cross the Luangwa, onto our side.  Four females and one cub swam over and soon started calling for the others to follow (two more cubs and three males – nice pride!).  As they started to cross, a smallish croc started to follow them with clear intent (slightly ambitious I would think).  But surprisingly a hippo came over and chased the croc away.   The lions kept going but as they reached the middle of the river, a huge croc quickly swam up and tried to grab a cub.  He missed.  Three hippos leapt into action and “hopped” quickly through the water and chased the croc – pushing it with their heads and with lots of splashing.  Then the hippos chased the lions, who by now were close to the home run and bolted up the bank.  This whole episode was over thirty minutes.  Extraordinary!


Sally and her son Simon Green from Australia then arrived for tea.  Sally is 82 today – good on her celebrating such a grand age in the bush!  So I naturally asked them how their safari was going.  Well… Tena Tena they had loved the stork colony and had wonderful leopard viewing.  On one drive they had seen four!!  Starting with a mother and a daughter that the Tena Team think is being gently ousted out of the territory.  The mother was stalking puku but the daughter arrived and messed it up.  Frank the spotter later picked up eyes “miles away” that tuned out to be a leopard crouching.  After spending some time watching it walk away, marking it’s territory it was time to return to camp. Simon put his camera away as they neared the camp.  Suddenly there was a leopard right beside the car but briefly.  Now was the chance to get the shot but no camera to hand.  How frustrating!


At this point there was an interruption – the honeymooners Andrew and Laura Manton arrived for coffee.  So I asked them how things had gone. 
“Have you not heard about last night????”
“ No” said Simon, “I was just getting onto that”. 

With great excitement the four sat around the camp fire telling about their afternoon and evening drive with Obi.   It had started off well with wild dog – only three who were “hanging out”.  Later, after dark, the rest of the pack had run across the road in front of them, hunting.   



This was quickly followed by a leopard who had just finished drinking and they stayed with it for some time. They were still only just across from camp and had not gone far at all.  Time to go home….. after crossing the pontoon a scrub hare was photographed.   Things were definitely quieting down.  Andrew was tempted to put away the camera but Simon told him to keep it out, “You never know”. 

Three minutes from camp they spotted the pride of lion that had crossed over onto our side a few days before.  They drove toward the lions and suddenly realized they were in the middle of a hunt and three impala were surrounded.  Lights off and time to sit it out.  Within seconds the sound of snarling and growling was heard and the lights were on.  The lions had killed right in front of them – and close!!  A circle of bottoms in the air was all that was seen.  Suddenly there was an explosion of lions, noise and flying meat as three males ripped the carcass apart and took off with their meal.  Laura was concerned that some flying meat would land in the car followed closely by a lion!


They all agreed the real “National Geographic moment” was as one female, clinging onto the torn carcass, was dragged upside down up a slope before she had to let go. Of course the cameras were out and snapping away but at that exact moment – well Simon was changing his lens!  And Andrew?  Missed it! 

So with that exciting start to the week, I will leave you.  Have a great week.


PS – thanks to Andrew and Laura for their photos (I had to download the entire honeymoon trip to get them – interesting!) – and they say hi and thanks for the great recommendation to parents Brian and Lisa.  They are loving it all.

PPS remember – rather like natural history films, these are the highlights and not daily occurrences.  Please don’t come thinking this is all delivered.

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