Its Monday 19th August 2013 and the power of paws!

Well after another fabulous weekend we find ourselves sitting at the threshold of another week, ready and raring to see what joys and challenges it will throw our way. So whilst we sit and contemplate such things, let us hear from Martin and Jane Wynne-Jones who have recently returned from their holiday with us here in the Luangwa….

“After one day at Nkwali we moved on to Tena Tena, the only original RPS camp we’d not stayed at before. Jess and Bertie were so welcoming and we even re-made the acquaintance of ‘President’ Daudi who was passing through. Every drive was excellent but Wednesday was a day like no other.

We started with a visit to the old Tena site from which we had an excellent view of a male lion across the river and a glimpse of the reason Robin Pope Safaris had moved the camp. After a moment of nostalgia we moved on and came across a large herd of buffalo; in excellent condition and with several calves. After spending some time with them we turned around to go, only to see the same lion as earlier emerge from the long grass and start to move towards the herd.

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Bertie swiftly relocated us so that we could watch his stealthy approach. After some 20 minutes he picked his target and made his charge – success! One young buffalo brought down. However, the herd was not going to give up! First – mum approached and was gradually joined by her relatives. Suddenly they all rushed down the bank, catching the lion and tossing him into mid air. Head down he slunk away to lick his wounds (to his pride if not physically). The buffalo gently persuaded the calf to its feet but it was clearly in shock and badly hurt.

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They moved away a little but Mr. Lion had not given up and now started the battle for survival. We watched several more attempts to get to the calf, which was in the meantime getting weaker and weaker – it fell to the ground several times and each time took longer to persuade to its feet. The lion was obviously waiting for the point when the herd would move on, leaving the injured one behind. We decided to head off and leave the scene to unravel without spectators, as it was almost lunchtime. However, when we went out in the afternoon there was no sign of herd or lion. (How do animals manage to disappear so easily??)

Our afternoon drive was fairly quiet (apart from watching an unnamed company’s vehicle get stuck in the sand directly across from our sundowner spot!) but the best was yet to come. After sundowners we jumped back in the car and it was not long until the nocturnal activity started.

Firstly we had a fantastic sighting of a civet which was amazingly co-operative allowing us to watch it for about 20 minutes. Then as we started to make our way back for dinner, suddenly “leopard” whispered Bertie, “there’s a cub” gasped Martin, “there’s two, no, there’s three” from Bertie, his voice getting higher and more excited as each little cat came into view. They were no bigger than domestic cats and Bertie thought this might be the first time mum had taken them out of the den to move them. They were amazingly relaxed around the vehicle and we spent at least half an hour with them – not surprisingly we were late for dinner but Jess forgave us when we told her (with downcast faces) “just the four leopards tonight”! Jane’s earrings that day were in the shape of paws so it had to be “The Power of the Paws”! (Incidentally elephant shaped ones work just as well!)

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We looked for mum and cubs the next morning but we had obviously caught a very special and one off glimpse of them before she had changed their hiding spot.

Thank you to everyone at Tena Tena for making sure our visit matched up to, if not exceeded, the expectation we’d built up over many years.”

Wow! Thanks ever so much Martin and Jane, what a fantastic trip. Not much else to be able to compete with that, so I shall leave you for this week and will wish you all fun times ahead!

Catch up next Monday with the latest stories from the Luangwa.

Cheers

emily1

 

 

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