It’s Monday 5th September 2011 and the sausage tree, the squirrel and the leopard

It’s good to be back in the “Warm Heart of Africa” after my annual trip home. Having been relatively out of touch with the happenings of the camp – Yolanda and Warren came to my rescue by sending me a great write up of their recent RPS experience. Warren was the winner of our Guest Photo Competition last year and from the photos he sent through to us from this last trip, it’s easy to see why.

Let’s hear from them…

“It’s very easy to become completely focused on seeking out “fur and claw” when spending time in the African bush. However there is so much more on offer when you stop to look at the little things. From small things big things grow and that has certainly been the case for us during our recent visit to the three RPS camps in the South Luangwa .

After a long journey from the east coast of Australia we started at Tena Tena with Julius helping us to become reacquainted with the bush. Hippo bones along the road caught our attention as the weight and scale of the bones really reinforced the size and bulk of hippo. Once again we were quite taken with the antelope and enjoyed spending time watching the Impala as well as Puku.

Hippo bonesMother and baby puku

From Tena Tena we drove to Nsefu and it was a pleasure to be out with our friend Daudi and meet the rest of the wonderful RPS staff again. A morning drive to visit the stork colony was very memorable. We delighted in watching the young storks testing their wings and the Marabou Stork patrolling the ground around the colony. Our attention was fixed on the birds when Daudi spotted a male lion. We had found a member of the Nsefu pride. At first the lion was very relaxed in our presence however he soon grew tired of our excited whispers keeping him awake and made it perfectly clear that he was not happy to have us watch him. He scowled at us as he walked towards the vehicle and then turned and strolled away for some rest in private.

Yellow billed storkLion Lounging

We have always been taken by the sausage tree wondered what eats the huge fruit that develops on the tree. Well an afternoon drive with Daudi answered that question. We had not long set off from the camp when we just caught a squirrel feeding on the sausage tree fruit. It stayed on the fruit for a moment before leaping off and disappearing into the canopy of the tree. Further along the track I asked Daudi to stop the vehicle again as I had seen a particularly lovely sausage tree that I wanted to photograph. The light was lovely and I thought the tree looked fabulous. Then Daudi started laughing, well you wouldn’t believe it but in the bush behind the sausage tree was not one but 2 leopards resting from their days work. We had actually seen them earlier that day and here they were again, a male and female who had secret business to conduct. Unfortunately they did not want the paparazzi to photograph their private moments so we contented ourselves with viewing them with the binoculars only.

Squirrel & SausageLeopard

From Nsefu we then travelled to Nkwali to again meet Kiki again and the rest of the friendly Nkwali team. We then met Kanga our guide for the next four days. after crossing the river On our first morning, after crossing the river we watched baboons feeding and grooming one another, a dazzle of zebra argued amongst themselves and elephants enjoying a morning drink. Warren was particularly keen to photograph giraffe during our stay and we were fortunate enough to spend time with a very young baby and mother. The baby still had part of it umbilical cord attached and the mother was silently moving and encouraging the baby to stay close to her. The baby had other ideas and appeared to be reluctant to stay with Mum. It seemed to spend a lot of time trying to work out what was this noisy animal that kept moving on wheels around it!

Mother & baby giraffeBaboon Family

On our final morning we were returning to the camp for lunch and just before drop off circle were a tower of giraffe. They continued feeding quite unconcerned by our presence. Warren’s camera went into overdrive and we were late for lunch that day!

Giraffe snoutImpala rear

After 10 days with RPS it was time to move on. One thing is certain, we will return. Thank-you to all at RPS for making our stay so memorable again and as I said earlier it is not always the “tooth and claw” or “fang and fur” that delivers the most amazing wildlife moments. Being able to spend the time to quietly enjoy the landscape, observe and listen to the wonderful birds and animals of South Luangwa National Park has made this a holiday to remember. “

Zebra LaughingMother and baby Elephant

Thanks to Yolanda and Warren for the lovely feedback and photos.

Alison from Luangwa River Camp also filled me in on what’s been going on their end. Nine wild dogs were sighted just two days ago. On a morning game drive with Victor, the guide, guests saw a leopard, which was sniffing around in the grass. Suddenly a lioness appeared out from the bushes and ran straight for the leopard! The startled leopard made a quick getaway by climbing up a tree but was followed by the lioness! The leopard sat in the tree for a while then climbed down and strolled in the opposite direction. Also on the drive, guests spotted at least eight giraffe having a drink, a tiny baby puku, an elephant drinking from a lagoon, then another leopard just lying in a sausage tree waiting for impala to feed from the flowers under it….what a morning!

And on that note, I must sign off.

Have a great week ahead



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