Its Monday 22 April 2013 and leaping leopards.

Hello and hope that Monday is off to a great start and the week ahead is going to scoot by with excitement and speed ready for the next heavenly weekend!

Here in the Luangwa we are in full pre-season panic mode. Now when I say panic, I don’t really mean it. I suppose I am aiming more towards that feeling of nervous excitement. That feeling of my goodness…there is so much to do and we literally only have 4 weeks to get it done!! I am sure you all know what I am getting at. With the infrastructure and the various restraints of living in the bush there is a period at this time of year for about 3 weeks when we cannot get up to the Nsefu Sector (home to Tena Tena and Nsefu Camps) as the river is too low but the roads are too wet. We also have the marvelous challenge of a tributary river, which we need to cross and put a bridge across every year in order to reach the Nsefu Sector. So we are in limbo!

Nsefu

Ruben and his team of intrepid explorers have headed up to the Kauluzi, bumping along painfully slowly on the churned up what would be road of the Mtanda Plain, and have started on putting in the crossing. Everything was going beautifully when all of a sudden thunderclouds started to build, exactly what no one wanted as a little rain would have meant they would be stuck in situ with the river coming up! But luck was on our side and they are now in full swing, so much so that the tractor has headed up there first thing this morning to start putting in the road. Hurrah, by the end of the week we are going to be able to get to the camps and get started with preparing everything for the beginning of the dry season.

Clouds gathering

Moving away from the nitty gritty of camp building and opening, I generally don’t like to focus Its Mondays on leopards and lions as we have so many other wonderful species in the national park that I like to spread the attention around. This week however it did seem rather appropriate, as whilst at sundowners on Saturday night a leopard strolled past announcing his presence to us with the guttural saw-like call that they make. All of us suddenly realizing that the tables were most certainly turned; our eyesight in the dusky light was certainly not good enough. I don’t think many people in the Luangwa have packed up their cooler boxes with such speed as we did right then!

Our sundowners though is certainly not what everyone wants to be hearing about, the game viewing is definitely where all the action has been and it really does seem that there have been some absolutely extraordinary leopard sightings over the last few weeks. For those who don’t know, the collective term used for leopards is a leap, incidentally not something that we see terribly often it has to be said. However there was one leopard who seemed intent on completely terrorizing a herd of impala by brazenly circling them and teasing them by her presence! Another simply sitting up in a tree showing off for the ferociously clicking cameras and another just simply strolling on by – it has been nonstop leopard sightings!

Leopard in tree  Leopard stalking impala

Leopard circling impala

All of the spotted excitement though does not seem to have interrupted the impalas’ focus, which at this time of the year is on one thing and one thing only as the males defend their territory and their ladies. White tales fluffed up, loud noisy grunting to ward off any other males and complete and utter focus on making sure that not a single male hoof other than theirs lands in their patch!

There has also been strangely enough an increase in hyena sightings which is also very exciting and a large clan of about 8 was spotted by Katete River just a couple of days ago. It is so fascinating how the various populations oscillate and move in and out but that is getting rather technical so I think that on that note, I should leave you all to it for another week and will catch up with you hopefully after my first trip up to Nsefu and Tena for the year.

Leopard  Male Impala

Hyena

Have a great week, don’t work too hard – have fun.

Cheers

emily1

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