It’s Monday 29th May 2017 and a family trip to the Luangwa

I hope you are well and had a great weekend? This week I have been spoilt again with an easy task of telling you what has been going on in the valley, but made all the easier by the fact that we have been having some incredible sightings. At each turn we seem to be completely blown away by what Mother Nature is sharing with us. Simon and Shanie were back at Nkwali for a long weekend with the girls and have been kind enough to share their safari with us so for this week I am leaving you in their very capable hands:

“We had an amazing time, as always, and the staff were great. It was lovely to be with the family in the bush and the girls are so enthusiastic for everything!

On the first afternoon we found the big pack of 21 wild dogs on Lupunga Spur. It wasn’t long before they were up and after anything vaguely resembling food. An amazing sight. They eventually caught an impala just out of reach of the car but soon brought the remains of their kill out and around the vehicle. As we were enjoying the dogs playing, John, our spotter, saw a leopard appear from the thickets! It had come to investigate the noise of the kill. It crept closer, darting from one bush to the next but was spotted by the dogs. Realising it had been spotted and with 21 dogs now after it, the poor cat took off at break neck speed for the thickets!

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The next morning at breakfast we heard a lion calling across the river from camp. Eager to catch up with the lion we quickly finished up our tea and toast and took off across the river to the waiting vehicle and went in search of the beast. It wasn’t long before we found the lovely big male and to top it all off, he let off a magnificent roar very close to the car. What an amazing sight, and sound, in the early morning!

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We briefly caught up with the dogs on the southern end of Lupunga Spur but I felt that their overall plan was to move out of that area and head south. They had been on Lupunga spur for about a week and there was not too much food left there, the poor creatures that remained were extremely jittery!

With the dogs possibly heading south we spent the afternoon drive around Wakumba, opposite Nkwali, in the hopes that they would show themselves in that area. Typically, just as the wine and beer had been poured, we heard the unmistakable sounds of hyenas fighting with dogs! We threw everything back in the car and shot over to where the noise was coming from. 2 hyenas had just stolen an impala kill from part of the pack of dogs and the dogs were busy calling for reinforcements from the rest of the pack, who were scattered all over the area during the chaos of the hunt. The rest of the pack arrived too late, though, and the hyena’s made off with the spoils.

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I suddenly realised that we had left the big male lion, asleep in the bushes in the morning, and realised that if we heard the hyena’s and the dogs fighting, then he would have heard them as well. Sure enough, not a moment later, he came storming onto the scene scattering the dogs in all directions! He proceeded to roar his heart out and inform all in the area just who was boss! Another amazing sight!

Throughout the stay we made sure that we looked at all creatures great and small as the girls are interested in everything – not much escapes their enquiring minds and sharp eyes! Birds, grasshoppers, butterflies and even the different types of fungus growing out of elephant dung is of huge interest and amusement to them!

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We had some amazing sightings including a stunning spot from Shanie, who spotted a Narina Trogon! I had never managed to photograph one so this was a big deal for me!

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On our last afternoon we were fortunate enough to come across a leopardess stalking an impala in the late afternoon. The male impala was completely unaware of the fate that was about to befall him. The leopard had inched close enough to for a comfortable ‘pounce’ position. Then, luckily for the impala, he heard some other male impala rutting off in the distance and turned around in curiosity; he spotted the leopard that was about to leap and he took off! A VERY lucky impala!

After a lovely final sundowners on Chichele hill we headed out on the night drive and almost immediately came across another leopardess. She was a little bit cagey and seemed to be looking around quite a bit… and then we saw why. 3 hyena’s came storming in and almost ran over the leopard in search for her kill, which they found in a thicket. No wonder she was a bit twitchy!

Just to cap it off we saw another leopard on the way home!

As always, the valley delivers again and it was sad to leave!”

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Thanks so much Simon and Shanie and I don’t doubt that you will all be back again soon for more amazing safari spoils in the Luangwa. From my side well let’s be honest, there is no way that I am topping any of these stories so I am going to leave you to a wonderful week ahead and hope that you have a lovely weekend with lots of smiles and laughter.

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