It’s Monday 30th July 2007 and the lions do growl


It’s Monday 30th July 2007 and the lions do growl

This week we have news kindly sent from Steve and Sherry from OZ. On the Walking Mobile Safari they had the most amazing morning.

Over to Steve…

“0520 and the pre-dawn calm was shattered by the sound of lions attacking something large quite near our camp. We were all awake in our tents, wondering what was happening out there. Soon, Rocky appeared – “Lions have made a kill near the camp, we’ll have a quick breakfast and head out to see what’s going on”. By 0610 it was light enough for us to head out – walking of course – Yona leading the way, followed by Rocky, with the four of us (Brittini, Jason, Sherry and Steve) in the middle. Jen and John completed our party.

Lions feeding About 400m from the camp the sounds of lions on a kill were clear to us, and the adrenaline was pumping. Rocky reminded us – “If they charge – stand still”. This had sounded easy in the pre-walk brief a few days earlier at Nkwali, but here, now within earshot of the lions, it seemed like it could be easier said than done. Still, we had complete faith in Yona and Rocky, so we stood still and kept quiet as Yona went forward to see what was going on. He hadn’t gone too far when the growl of a lion was heard over the din of the kill and the flicking of a tail was seen through the grass. He came back and had a quick whispered conversation with Rocky, who passed the info to us. “There are too many of them around the kill to keep going – we will call up the vehicle and take a look from there”. I think there were at least five of us who breathed a little easier at that suggestion…

Unhapy lionessMother & Cub defend the kill

We backed up quietly and waiting for the vehicle, which had been on standby at the camp. We piled in and Rocky drove us around to the clearing where it became clear what all the noise had been about – a lion, four lionesses and five cubs were around an eland. With the approach of the vehicle the lion and the cubs scattered, and the lionesses also took up positions ready to defend the cubs and the kill. We backed off again, not really sure where the male or the cubs had gone – and discovered neither had gone too far.

That was the start of several hours of glorious game viewing – while all of us were a little sad that a rare (for the area) and beautiful animal such as the eland had been killed, the fact that it fed 10 lions for at least 24 hours eased those feelings somewhat. Some of the highlights during that time were watching the male and the cubs feed together, watching an injured lioness who was quite emaciated get her fill, and watching the determination with which a single lioness held off hundreds of vultures.

Leopard Feeding

The leopard was at Nkwali – we had seen the kill in a tree earlier in the day, and a hyena hanging around the base of the tree. We went back in the evening and the leopard was in the tree. First he had a good feed from the impala, then cleaned himself and casually climbed down and walked away.

The Elusive Pel's Fishing Owl

The pels fishing owl we saw at Tena. Masumba was very excited – he told us that some people had been looking for one for years and had not seen one. I guess they are also difficult to photograph, as they are only seen at night. I was lucky enough to get this one.”

Thanks to Steve and Sherry for the above!

New Teacher's House at Kawaza We have been building teachers houses at both Nsefu and Kawaza Schools but need to build some more. Last year we had two houses sponsored specifically by guests. The cost of a house this size is USD 5500 – and will house a teacher and his family (two bedrooms). We are also about to start a new 1 x 3 classroom block so if you would like to contribute to this please let us know….

Jason and his flower (Crinum Jasonii) And finally – very exciting news ….

During the rainy seasons Jason has been helping the top Zambian botanist lead a group of Norwegian botanists. The group has been working on the lily family and one is a world leader on this family (lilies). Getting very specialist here. Jason drives, cooks and digs up the specimens on these trips (often in the rain). In November 2004 Jason persuaded them to come to the Luangwa and they camped at his house. This lily was found outside his house and as Jason puts it “for recognition for all the cooking, digging and driving he has done over the years” the lily was named after him. His house is also the “type locality” for the newly found “Crinum Jasonii” !!

Here he is proudly holding his plant. When I asked what is the distinguishing feature the answer was – “the stripe is green not pink”! Well spotted I say!

We have had a clear change of season this week – warmer, hazier and the leaves are starting to fall. And my swimming pool is now tempting!

All the best for another week

Cheers

Glimpse of a lion at Mupamadzi

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