It’s Monday 26th October 2009 and Cuz on the loose again

On the weekend Robin and I were having fun with the elephants at our waterhole. They were so relaxed we could walk quite close and with a long lens take photos looking like we were very close. After this we were out on the balcony with the elephants starting to wander off when a female start to make quite a disturbance. Short mock charges, trumpeting, ears-a-flapping. We could not see what her problem was.

Robin with elephantsElly makes a fuss!

Then from behind the rise ran the smallest little warthog. Hilarious that the piglet had caused such a fuss! The elly then turned and walked on, with the piglet running in all directions! Later the entire piglet family ran to mum – great sight and my first of the season.

Before I hand over to Cuz, Robin and I will be at Nkwali for all of January (our last month) and spending a lot of time with the guests and on the river! Who would like to join us for “picnics and playing on the river”!We intend to have lots of fun.

our first piglets of the seasonmother and babes!

Simon Cousins was with us for eleven years, as many of you know. Now living in Lilongwe, Simon never looses his yearning for the Luangwa and comes when he can. Always great to see him. His laughter rings through the camp – a very familiar and wonderful sound! But of course I am not going to let him off the hook so over to Simon.

“Well, as you can see it is hard to stay away from the Luangwa Valley!

Simon back on It’s Monday duty again! Jo’s powers of persuasion are still legendary!! I don’t seem to be able to visit the bush without being roped into writing a newsletter. Well, it is not hard on this occasion as we had the most fantastic time – both at Nkwali and in the park – what with the amazing amount of wildlife on offer.

Having my old mate, Jason, as our guide we were guaranteed to have a good time. Jason is a firm believer in not rushing around the bush searching high and low for the animals. It is more important to take a leisurely trip and if the animals are there to be seen then you will see them!! Sitting, looking listening and discussing your surroundings is the way forward and nature will reward you – I couldn’t agree more. So this is what we did………… and apart from having some great discussions about the bush and what was going on around us we saw the most fantastic sightings of everything from lions and leopards to the little creatures like monitor lizards and the vast array of birds!

a magical view of the leopardess....and she rolls in the sand

Our first morning started with a lovely leopardess hunting. Jason knew that she had a sub-adult cub and you could tell by her mannerisms that she was really hoping that the youngster would not mess up the hunt (as so often happens with over eager juniors!!) True to form the youngster seemed to achieve just this as the impala took off with out even looking at the hunting mother! She then decided it was time to come and roll around in the sand in front of us and give herself a bit of a clean! A really special sighting.

The rest of the morning’s viewing was fantastic with plenty of plains game including buffalo, a few very good sightings of kudu, elephant and impala.

a pride of lions on the banks of the Luangwa River Luangwa lions at sunset

That afternoon, if we travelled more than four kilometres, I’d be surprised. We came across the usual fare of plains game in the daylight part of the drive and actually decided that, seeing as though we had had such a good day, we would not beat around the bush and just head home after sundowners. Just a quick look over the area where we saw the leopard in the morning…………….. well, waiting for us on the plain was a herd of very startled puku and impala!! A lone hyena was the first thing that we spotted, closely followed by a distant sighting of a leopard – all in the one scene. Looking closely, we realized why the hyena was there. Five lions had killed an impala (we think – hard to tell it was being devoured so quickly!) Moving in closer to get a look at the lions feeding we realized that there was another leopard off to our left!! Unbelievable! One of the lionesses took a dislike to the leopard being nearby and began to stalk it! Half way to there – the hyena stuck his head through the grass and was greeted with a close up of a stalking lioness – not a sight you really want to be presented with! The hyena took off at an alarming rate as the lioness changed her target from the leopard to the hyena!! What an amazing evening.

no comment!beautiful light on the buffalo

We caught up with the lions in the morning – relaxing on the bank opposite Nkwali. One impala shard between 5 lions does not go that far and they were soon off hunting again. They melted into the grass so we decided to leave them to their own devices.

Just as we were coming to the end of the game drive we had a lovely sighting of a little herd of elephant having a drink out of a drying up pool of water. There was heavy competition for this pool and even the little monitor lizard was not too keen to give up his patch and threatened to whip any straying elephant trunk with his tail. Looking at how the elephant were stretching for the clean water I don’t think it will be long before this little lagoon is all dried up.

monitor lizard only moving at the last momenta browsing kudu

A wonderful way to end another great weekend in the bush!”

Many thanks Simon. As always – wonderful photos. Robin and I are off to the UK for three weeks. Speak to you then.

PS Justgiving – due to requests we have signed up with Justgiving – a website for donating to charities. Another way to donate to Kawaza School Fund project.

PPS BBC 1 in the UK are airing the third episode of the new spectacular Life programme tonight – and there will be footage of the straw-coloured bats at Kasanka. Quite an amazing sight! As you know we run safaris to Kasanka every year to see this natural wonder. (BTW my sister is a co-producer of the series, Martha Holmes. I am very proud of her! What an achievement)

PPS Liuwa Plain with Robin Pope – 28 November now full but 08 December has one space left. There are 16 spaces left throughout May and early June.

a very typical Luangwa view.....

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