It’s Monday 20th February 2012 and the Cousins’ crew

This week I thought that it would be lovely to hear from someone different, so over to Simon to entertain you all with his tales from the last few days.

“It was wonderful to be back in the bush again and to be here in the Emerald Season is extra special – such brilliant light and colours along with fantastic game viewing.

My parents and my uncle had been up at Nsefu with Daudi for three nights before we arrived to join them for five nights here at Luangwa Safari House. They had already enjoyed a fantastic trip but I will leave this tale of their trip up river to Nsefu for another day!! We now had three generations of the Cousins’ family all under one roof in the bush – what fun!

Cousins crewCousins crew

Jacob was guiding us and, as always, enthusiasm was bubbling from the man – promises of great things and always a glass half full attitude. This paid off on the first afternoon with a beautiful big male leopard sleeping in a tree within an hour. Sun-downers on top of Chichele Hill, always a special place for a drink, followed up with another leopard hunting just before we headed home.

The following morning started with a real bang when we found some lion tracks on the road. After looking at the spoor for a while we determined that there must be some little lion cubs amongst the group due to the large amount of little paw prints. Barely 200 metres down the road we came across them all – one big female and 5 little cubs – such a special sighting! We managed to get ahead of them so we could photograph them as they came down the road towards the vehicle.

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Mother lion was clearly on a mission to find the rest of the pride, fed up with being on baby-sitting duty with what looked like 2 different litters of cubs, and was route marching the little ones through the bush! Only stopping briefly to have a drink from a puddle of water in the road the lioness kept her little troupers marching on. She left the road and disappeared into the bush heading purposefully toward a large open area just beyond. We rushed round in the vehicle just in time to catch her coming out of the thickets. What a spectacular sight seeing her and the cubs strolling through the herds of very alarmed Impala and Puku before crossing the Mushilashi River where we left her to be.

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impalaimpala

As we all know the time spent in the bush is not just about the lions and leopards – there is an abundance of creatures to look at and marvel in. The birdlife at this time of year is stunning and the birds, flowers and butterflies are worth being here for on their own.

All the animals seem to have a spring in their step and are enjoying the fresh grass and abundance of water. Wonderful sightings of young elephant bulls tussling with each other, crowned cranes displaying and big gatherings of giraffe enjoying their lush surroundings is simply spectacular.

giraffebird

elephantscranes

Thanks to the superb staff at Luangwa House for their hard work dealing with the Cousins crew – from chasing the little girls, Isla and Zoe, around the place to making sure the drinks were cold and plentiful for the adults.

P.S. One thing I failed to mention is that one of the main reasons for being in the Luangwa Valley at this time of year was to see wild dogs (as sightings are usually great this time of year) and I had foolishly promised my uncle that we would see wild dog in the green season – bearing in mind that he has never seen wild dogs before, this was a silly statement to make as the pressure was now on.

This It’s Monday has been written in past tense but we are in fact, still here, and I am writing this from the comfortable lodgings of Luangwa House, where we are staying. The rains had kept us from going on drive one afternoon … what a blessing! As we were sitting by the house enjoying a beer, two wild dogs came charging out the bush at the resident herd of impala !!!!

Unbelievable !!!!

We stood on the deck watching the hunt unfold. The dogs failed to make a kill, but we were treated to a spectacular scene of two wild dogs chasing impala through the lagoons and around the bushes. How lucky … and for me, the pressure is now off!”

butterflybug

Thanks Simon it is always great to hear from a first hand point of view and certainly extremely envious of the fabulous game-viewing. So that is all from us for this week, I hope that you all have fun and had a lovely weekend. After a long dry and hot spell we have had a wonderful cool afternoon of rain which was much needed and will hopefully keep the river topped up so that Daudi and Sebastian can continue zooming up and down the river on their river safaris.

Catch up next week – cheers

Emily

lion crossing

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