It’s Monday 20th August 2012 and paws and claws

So after last week’s nostalgia, I thought we would get back down to the nitty gritty of game viewing for this week’s Its Monday! First off, the great fruiting season is still going strong and we are surrounded by elephants at Nkwali as well as warthogs who have recently also joined in the fun.

A warthog

However this was not really what it was that I had in mind to chat to you all about this week, lying in bed planning my Its Monday I decided that we would tell you all about some very exciting news…

Wild dogs are denning in the area! This is extremely exciting for us but we are all keeping our distance so as not to disturb them. Matt who is leading the research on our painted friends (wild dogs) is obviously allowed to sneak in and check up on the progress and was kind enough to fill us all in on the happenings:

“The cold dry season is in many ways one of the best times of the year, not only because of the lovely weather, but also because it’s wild dog denning season. Dog packs are cooperative breeders, meaning all members of the pack work together to raise pups, which are typically from the alpha pair. Usually 7-10 pups (but sometimes as many as 19!) are born and remain at a den for approximately three months while pack members stumble over each other in their eagerness to attend to them. In the Luangwa we have two breeding packs that frequent the main safari areas, the Kaingo pack in the main game area, and the Hot Springs Pack in Nsefu (though the latter are outside Nsefu at the moment).

The DenThe Dogs

Dog dens can be impacted by too much commotion around them so we keep their locations secret and they are typically deep in the bush, presumably to avoid disturbance from lions, hyenas and other predators. In Liuwa as well we hope to have a great group of pups visible for Robin’s safaris in November as the alpha female from the Sausage Tree Pack has produced a baker’s dozen!

A curious chapMore dogs

Given that pup production is critical to the survival of packs we’re keeping our fingers crossed and in the Luangwa we have SLCS’s Wild Dog Anti-Snaring Team covering the area to hopefully prevent any of these new dogs or their relatives from one of the bigger threats to dogs in the region. So keep your eyes peeled in the coming months once the pups are mobile, few things in nature are cuter than a wild dog puppy!”

Thanks for the update Matt! As for the cats, well for some time now I have been bleating to Rob that “one of these mornings we will wake up to have lions in our front garden!” Ha – finally! We woke up by the feeling of the house being shaken by that wonderful deep gruff lion call! There was no mistaking the proximity of our whiskered friends. Sleepily getting up out of bed and opening the bedroom door to let Mouse (the genet) in before all scurrying back into the safe and warmth of our duvet, we rolled over, opened the curtains and sure as eggs are eggs, proceeded to watch five lions running down our drive way towards us and then stopping and standing three metres from our noses. Mouse at this point keeping warm under the duvet with his little nose poking out watching the lions and feeling very proud and brave standing up to them!!

LionTaking a stroll

We have also had some great lion sightings up in the camps. Guests at the old Tena on their last night were treated to lions joining them in camp for dinner then wandering through the compound, at which point one of the watchman bumped into one and he claims to still be having visions of the face to face encounter!! The building team at the new Tena were also locked up safe and sound in their tents as a pride of lion attempted to take down a buffalo just metres from them all! Needless to say, a sleepless night was definitely had. As if all that was not enough lion activity, a few weeks ago the Nsefu pride treated all the guests to quite a show by making a buffalo kill just behind camp.

Relaxing on the Luangwa

Before I sign off I thought you should know that the Classic Safari Camps of Africa’s latest coffee table book is now out and can be downloaded here. It’s definitely worth having a look at!

Just a reminder about our Facebook and Twitter pages! Follow us if you would like to have a regular update on what’s been happening at our camps and of course, our phenomenal sightings!

Right, that’s it for this week! We are all very relieved that the building of the new Tena Tena is through and cannot wait to receive more and more guests there.

Toodaloo and have a great week!

Cheers

Emily

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