It’s Monday 25th October 2015 and a long weekend at Luangwa House

Happy Monday everyone – I hope that you are all well. So what news well to be honest with you we had another visit from Simon Cousins. He came out with some friends for a long weekend at Luangwa House and as always has come back to us with some wonderful stories of his visit. So yes you guessed it – over to Simon:

“We had a wonderful trip as always with great sightings and good humour. Staying in Luangwa House for three nights is no hardship posting and this obviously adds to the fantastic experience!

Not wanting to waste time we headed out on a game drive not too long after arriving at the house. Now my track record with flat tyres is poor at best and no sooner had we crossed over the river and hopped onto the game viewer our first flat tyre occurred!! I had not even had time to find a thorn to drive over really. I was only about 600 metres from our start point!! With a certain amount of ridicule being thrown my way from my crew I changed the tyre and arranged with Keyala for another spare to be brought over by boat. We doubled back to the boat crossing to exchange bad tyre for good. More cussing and ridicule was directed at me from the team in the back for wasting valuable game viewing time – I did tell them that this was a blessing and were bound to see something that we would have otherwise missed if we did not have a puncture but they were not buying it!!

Well, they were wrong and I was right!! 2 lovely leopards in the space of 10 minutes, in the late afternoon light, silenced the crew and it was my turn to have a few little jibes of my own!! A lovely big male lion just before sunset and some great photo opportunities with vultures perched in a dead tree as rounded off our first afternoon in the Luangwa. Not a bad start!
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Having seen all those lovely sightings the afternoon before I realised I may have done a little too much on day one and soon the jibing from the comedians in the back of my vehicle was in full flow as the shopping list came out and expectations were set high!! Fortunately the Luangwa seldom fails and the wonderful Carmine Bee-eaters kept is entertained for ages. No matter how often you see these stunning birds they continue to marvel and impress.
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With the river as low as I have seen it, at this time of the year, since I can remember and the demand on the remaining drinking water the game viewing was fantastic . With Kudu and Buffalo, elephant and Giraffe around almost every corner there was never a dull moment.
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When I go to the Luangwa I like to spend as much time in the park as possible so we decided an all-day drive, with a picnic, was in order for our last full day in the valley. The Salt pan in the Nsefu sector was where we were planning to go. We got up early, arrived at the main gate at 6am sharp and headed north.

It started off with a bang! We had passed a few, fairly lazy hyena’s lying about at the top of the wafwa doing very little so we left them to their own devices. Moving on a couple of hundred metres we came across a your raptor that we stopped to look at and identify – a young Gabar Goshawk was the general consensus. Whilst looking at the bird the baboons started barking behind us. We quickly turned around and headed back towards the noise.

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What we found I had never seen before. A hyena was running, at full pace, after a couple of baboons. The baboons, although obviously a little concerned, were not as worried by this loping creature as they would be if it was a leopard after them –obviously. I mean, all they had to do was climb up one of the many trees that were around………

Never underestimate your enemy……….

The hyena started to gain on the baboons and the chase came past our vehicle and disappeared behind a combretum thicket where there was this almighty racket and frantic barking from the baboons in a tree nearby. The hyena emerged from behind the thicket with the baboon in its jaws – amazing! This hyena had just hunted down a baboon!!

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The photos show why you should not underestimate your enemy!

The Salt Pan and the Nsefu sector did not disappoint – numerous sightings of lion, huge herds of buffalo, countless giraffe, kudu and all of the other plains game as well as a couple of lovely leopard kept us entertained all day.

We had time for one final morning drive ( no real pressure after all the sightings we had already had! ) so we headed across the river by the pontoon. There sitting on the sand were another 8 lion just lazing around in the morning sun.

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Letting sleeping lions lie, we moved on and came across a buffalo that had got itself stuck in the mud and had died. With hyena, vultures and marabou storks on the scene we sat and watched the action for ages – it is always entertaining watching vultures fighting over a kill.

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Reluctantly I called time on the drive and we headed back across the river by the pontoon and we heading home when we found 3 more lion on a young giraffe kill!
13We had been totally spoilt by this wonderful place again – the Luangwa never fails to entertain.

As always, a huge thanks to all at RPS for a great trip.

See you soon!”

Thanks Simon for the great photos and story.

Thats all for this week. Catch up with you next Monday.

Ems

 

 

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