Its Monday 1st December 2014 and Carnivore Week continued

We continue where we left off last week from the Carnivore Week, recently hosted at Nkwali.

“Wednesday was the designated all day drive up through the Nsefu sector. And what a spectacular day it was! The morning began with all guests witnessing an impala birth from start to finish. Shortly after entering the main gate, we found an adult female impala with the two front legs of her calf dangling underneath her. The guests watched in awe as the rest of the calf slowly descended to the ground. They saw the mother eat the placenta, clean the calf, and then they witnessed the calf take its first steps and even start to run! From birth to running was only 30 minutes.

After that phenomenal scene, we continued past Chipela Lagoon and found a young male leopard trying to hunt. He was sitting in a tree, waiting to pounce on whatever walked beneath him. This proved an unsuccessful tactic so he descended the tree and started chasing a herd of impala. It was clear he was a young male without a lot of hunting experience and rather unsubtle techniques! Eventually he gave up and resumed his position in the tree.

 

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Shortly thereafter, we picked up the signal for one of the lionesses in Luwi pride. We quickly located her and saw that she was with a male, however this was likely at the end of their courtship as she did not seem interested in mating. ZCP has known this lioness since she was a young cub and she is now about 6 years old. She has not yet raised a litter of cubs, but we suspect she was recently pregnant and lost the cubs as her nipples looked recently suckled.

 

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After watching the pair, we left the lions and crossed into the Nsefu sector at Tena crossing. We then heard the signal for the Nsefu collared female, part of Nsefu Pride, and we found her mating with a male from the Tafika coalition. Unlike the Luwi lioness and her mate, these two put on quite a show for Carnivore Week! This lioness was seen with her cubs approximately three weeks ago but she unfortunately must have lost them as there were no suckle marks around her nipples and she was clearly back in heat. Last year, this same lioness performed just as dramatically for Carnivore Week when she was mating with a male from the Tsetse coalition.

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After leaving the active pair, we came across more lions approximately 5 km away from the Nsefu Hot Springs. These lions were also from Nsefu Pride and they were feasting on a recent buffalo kill. There was no collar amongst this group so this was a great chance encounter. The day in Nsefu finished with a lovely sighting of wildebeest near the park boundary and a very young – and very cute – hippo!

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On Thursday morning, we finally saw hyena! As soon as we crossed into the park from the pontoon, we saw two spotted hyena running back and forth. There was a herd of puku nearby so we were hoping to see yet another carnivore on a kill but they did not seem interested in hunting. After watching the very active hyena, we continued south only to be called back to camp by Daudi who had seen four wild dogs in the dry sand island in the Luangwa River! One of the dogs we recognized a former member of the Hot Springs pack in Nsefu and the other three we still need to identify.

 

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Friday afternoon, we accompanied the guests into the park for their final game drive. Shortly after entering the park, we spotted a leopard in a sausage tree and we were told she had been chased up the tree by lions earlier that morning. Sure enough, we heard Chinzombo pride very close by. Now back in the park, having moved another 3.5 km since they were last spotted, the small pride of three had lost interest in the leopard and were focused on looking for their next meal. We saw the cub try her luck with stalking a herd of impala and puku, but she got a bit too “Zambitious” and chased them away. From there, we made our way to Chichele Hill for our final sundowners. Upon returning to camp, the ZCP team joined the guests for a braai, after which we bid them a fond farewell and thanked them and the RPS guides for a wonderful week.

 

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An absolutely fantastic carnivore safari, sprinkled with all of the wonders and beauty of the late dry season in South Luangwa. We look forward to sharing equally memorable experiences with you next year during Carnivore Week!”

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What can I say… what a week!

Hope you have all your Christmas shopping done or else have yourself a fun filled week doing some.

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