Its Monday 24th August 2015 and a First Aid Tracking Safari

I hope that you are all well and sitting comfortably for another instalment from Neil Andrews but this time from the Nkwali side of their visit.

A year on from our last visit, Jane, Ian, Sarah and I were back safely in the guiding arms of Kiki as we left Nkwali for the first drive of our visit – a sundowner.

The first sighting was almost something that one would expect from off of a Salvador Dali canvass rather than the banks of the fast shrinking Luangwa River – an elephant carcass, by now mostly skin and bone, was being harangued by an enormous crocodile with a few brave vultures watching on. The crocodile building itself up for a frenzied whole body-shake of an effort as it tried to detach huge mouthfuls off the remains … the vultures scattered and the sand produced a plume of dust as the prehistoric reptile tore dried skin and sinew from off of the corpse.

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This was only our appetiser. Kiki knew of a leopard that had recently made a kill so we went in search of it, initially only finding the dead impala across the branch of a tree. However, vervet monkey alarm calls meant we knew the leopard was about, and a flicking tail gave her location away. A beautiful female leopard! She obligingly climbed a tree to pose in true recumbent leopard fashion. I have been enjoying safari holidays in Southern Africa for twenty years, and it was not till the tenth year that I finally saw a leopard in this classic pose … but now, thanks to the combination of Robin Pope Safaris and South Luangwa such sightings, whilst not every day, are more than just a wistful dream.

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Then of course it is not a case of merely spotting and sighting the animal, but also placing the vehicle in the right spot so that all aboard have a clear view, especially if cameras need to focus on such a beautiful subject through branches of a tree. Kiki did us all proud.

As ever with Robin Pope Safaris’ guides, Kiki chose a lovely spot on the riverbank for our sundowners where we watched the bird life come home to roost. One upturned tree trunk supporting sacred ibis as well as crash landing guinea fowl, the park seemed full of guinea fowl this holiday … as amusingly headless chicken-like as ever; whilst twelve white affronted bee-eaters made their farewell to the day perched on the outer branches prior to going into their riverbank-wall nests.

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A final visit to the leopard (for that day!), which was enjoying a few more morsels of impala, prior to revealing a very full belly as she did an encore of the classic leopard pose, actually making her look exceedingly uncomfortable as she stretched out – thankfully on a weight-carrying a branch.

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Then we had a leisurely drive home in the balmy July air, sighting a beautiful large spotted genet exceedingly close to the roadside.

As we approached the river shore for our boat crossing back to Nkwali Ian noticed that his bottle of methotrexate was missing. It was not in the vehicle.

‘Not to worry,’ said Kiki. ‘I’ll retrace our drive.’ Despite Ian’s protests, Kiki duly did just that as we returned to camp.

At pre-dinner drinks there was Kiki to reunite Ian with his medication … found by the track where we had spotted the genet.

That is what you call First Aid in any language. Thank you Kiki.

And on that note there is no other way to really finish off this weeks instalment but I shall leave you with a sweet squirrel sighting by myself and Rob as we were driving from Nsefu and passed a patch where some cotton had fallen off the side of a truck and one particular squirrel decided that he was going to make the most of the situation and we saw him running across the road with his mouth stuffed full of cotton! Now that is what I call a great find and that nest is going to be the cosiest squirrel nest in Mfuwe!

There you have it for another week so have fun, laugh lots and keep on smiling

Ems

 

 

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