It’s Monday 14th March 2011 and a very very top safari

Surprise, surprise… last week I told you that we will travel to Zambia west province with Liuwa plain and Kasanka bat safaris. Well …we will not. In fact, Kathie and David started their adventure in South Luangwa before going west. Kathie sent me the most fabulous pictures and adventures, that are impossible to cut but also impossible to squeeze it in a single It’s Monday. So, saying that, and making sure I’ll tell you the story in the right order, this week we will read about Kathie and David Richardson adventure through South Luangwa, continuing next week with Liuwa and Kasanka, all with Kathie and David Rogers’ amazing wildlife photographs. Over to her:

My husband David and I returned to the South Luangwa Valley last November with high expectations. After all, when we were in the planning stages, Jo Pope had described our proposed adventure – 5 days at Nkwali , 3 at Kasanka to see the bat migration, and another 5 with Robin Pope himself in Liuwa , all in the excellent company of South African professional photographer and photo workshop leader, David Rogers – as a “very very top safari”. Well, Jo was right! What a fabulous 2 weeks it was!!

David Rogers at Kawaza VillageKawaza School children

Our first and only previous trip to Zambia had been for an Emerald Season Photo Safari with David Rogers in March 2009. We knew from that experience that he was an excellent and enthusiastic teacher who would help us make the most of our time in Zambia and have a lot of fun in the process. In the course of our 2 weeks with David on the recent trip, we photographed a wide variety of subjects – the typical safari material, of course, but in addition, there was lots of macro work with smaller subject matter such as butterflies and flowers, as well as photos of the friendly Zambian people, the food we ate, the lodges where we stayed and even the interesting and colourful signage we encountered in our travels. In fact, there was little that escaped us and our lenses!

on the way to Nkwali campRed Winged Pratincoles

Coming “home” to Nkwali was a great way to begin, particularly after the long and tiring journey from Canada. What a warm welcome we received from everyone, but especially from Kiki, Daudi, Jacob and Kanga (who was on leave but came back to camp one night just to say “hi” to us). We remembered all of them fondly as they had looked after us so well on our previous stay.

The first thing that struck us was how different everything looked at this time of year, before the start of the rains. Not only was the landscape generally golden rather than green, and the trees in bud rather than in full leaf, but also where had all the water in the river gone? During our Emerald Season visit, the South Luangwa had been in full flood, fast flowing and threatening to spill over its banks. This time, there was barely a trickle of water and we were able to enter the park by driving across the river bed instead of taking the long way around by road.

Jacob – Luangwa House ManagerCrowned Cranes

With Jacob as our guide, we had many outstanding game viewing and birding opportunities at Nkwali, which of course we did our best to capture both photographically (me and David Rogers) and on video (husband David).

Leopard at South LuangwaLeopard with a freshly killed baby hippo

A few particularly stand out in our memories – several beautiful leopards, including a mating pair at dusk and a single one feasting on a freshly killed baby hippo until several lions arrived on the scene and chased him off with some very loud growls (you can check this out on the video David’s posted on YouTube .

Female lion with 4 adorable little cubslarge herd of elephants

A female lion with 4 adorable little cubs at her side, all resting in the shade in the heat of the day; a pair of mating lions, viewed at long distance through binoculars;

young male troublemakercarmine bee-eaters

A large herd of elephants near the river with a young male troublemaker in their midst, creating much angst for the other elephants, not to mention the human onlookers; the leisurely mud bath taken by a young elephant at the waterhole in front of Luangwa House one afternoon (David’s put this one up on YouTube) innumerable brilliantly colourful carmine bee-eaters, with a variety of insects in their mouths, darting in and out of their nests in the river banks and perching in the nearby trees; flocks of 100 or more noisy crowned cranes taking flight simultaneously at the salt pans in the Nsefu sector;

pythonhippos in the Luangwa river

Tightly packed pods of hippos in the river, all constantly jostling with their neighbours for a better position; and, finally, a rather large python, with beady eyes and forked tongue, well camouflaged in a bush next to the road. How Jacob knew just where to look for that python, based on the faint “footprint” it had left across the dirt road, was really quite remarkable!!

Kawaza Village traditional danceKawaza School kids

In addition to the game drives with Jacob, there was the wonderful day we spent at Kawaza School and Village, where we were greeted with enthusiasm and winning smiles and well entertained with music and dance.

Daudi – Nsefu camp ManagerLuangwa Safari House

A final surprise sundowners with some celebratory bubbly at Chichele Ridge followed by an overnight stay at the luxurious Luangwa House capped off that part of our adventure.

 

Thank you so much Kathie for taking us back ‘home’ as you so truly said and showing us the impressive people and a wildlife from South Luangwa.

Just a quick note before saying goodbye – The 2011 Safari Awards are back again for 4th year, aiming to recognise excellence in the wildlife safari sector of the tourism industry. In 2011 Luangwa Safari House was awarded, for the 2nd consecutive year, as the Best Safari House in Africa and our guides were happily presented with The Best Walking Safari Guiding Team in Africa. RPS was also the runner up for the Best Safari Group.

Robin Pope Safaris is participating in the Travellers’ Choice Award, open to consumers and journalists only, if you would like to support us in the 2011 Safari Awards please vote here: www.safariawards.com/vote/ by the end of March.

On another note, remember the Zambian Branding competition? 3,981 emails from 2,017 different people in 28 different countries produced 4,445 slogans and 956 different images.  There is now a shortlist posted at www.zambiatourism.com/competition where you have the chance of voting. Follow it on Zambia Tourism Facebook and on Twitter @Zambia_Tourism.

And the last, but not least, congratulations Shanie and Simon Cousins for your new baby girl – Zoe!

I wish you all a wonderful week,

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