Its Monday and great wildlife sightings in the Luangwa

Hello there, I hope that you are fabulously well and have had a lovely weekend. Here in the Luangwa, well it has been anything but quiet around camp as we have literally been surrounded by lions and let me tell you the noise that they have been making has been quite impressive. In fact we have had some rather strange happenings arise which I thought we should absolutely tell you about.

We have a pride of lions that have been hanging around Nkwali who were originally part of the main area pride called Big Pride, but they split up and a few of them started spending more time in the GMA (Game Management Area) around 2018. As they started hanging out here more and more, they earned the name. There were originally 6 adult females with a bunch of cubs but have since split further, and the pride as we currently know it, consists of 5 adult females and 6 sub-adults but they are breaking up and coming back together depending on circumstance and basically who is in town! Over the last few weeks we have had 2 of the females and 4 sub-adult males pretty much camped out just behind Nkwali, making a lot of noise as they were communicating to another pride just across the river. As a result, a lovely large male originally from the Lion Camp pride who has moved south and now mostly dominates the main game area with 2 brothers, hopped across the river to say hello. What has been really interesting is that he has completely tolerated the 4 young males as he is keen to mate with one of the females in the pride. They have been very busy ‘wining and dining’ but as of yet no action has been witnessed, we can only hope that we will see some new fluffy bundles bounding around in a few months time.

Also in camp, on a much much smaller scale, we have been inundated with thousands of caterpillars falling from the trees on their silken threads; making walking around a little tricky as everywhere we went we got covered in the silk. The baboons had a complete field day feasting on the caterpillars, but try as they might it, was simply impossible to eat them all. As a result, 2 weeks later we are witnessing the far more pleasant side of things with hundreds of butterflies fluttering around.

Other news from the Luangwa, the carmines are starting to come in as well as the yellow-billed kites – a sign of weather warming up. The carmines can be heard chirping away well before you catch a glimpse of their incredibly vibrant breeding plumage.

There was also a swap over of watchmen up at Nsefu (always a straw pulling contest to see who is going to spend the day bumping over the black cotton soil to do this) but it is always worth it when you see a pack of wild dogs.

Luangwa Safari House has been very busy over the last few weeks with a steady stream of buffalo, giraffes and elephants visiting the lagoon, not to mention a leopard killing an impala and stashing it in a tree right in front of the house. We can only assume that this is going to get better and better as the river is really starting to dry up quickly now. We have to pinch ourselves to realise that we are almost already through September and will soon need to start thinking about the arrival of the rains. What strange times these are.

I have one final note before I leave you to the rest of your week. As you all know as part of our effort to help protect wildlife, we support the incredible work of Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) through donations from you when you come to visit as part of the Luangwa Conservation & Community Fund. CSL work tirelessly with the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to protect the wildlife of South Luangwa, at the same time implementing critical community programs. This year, although the park is empty of tourists, CSL and DNPW’s work is more important than ever before and they are working round the clock to make sure that when you visit again, you will find the wildlife flourishing.
We also know that there are so many people and organizations around the world in need right now. However, there is a great opportunity to help South Luangwa. Considering the challenges faced due to the pandemic, rangers across Africa have launched a Wildlife Ranger Challenge (run by TUSK Trust) with the aim of getting 5000 rangers back in the field across the continent. Conservation South Luangwa have a team competing in the Challenge of 21km carrying a load of 22kg each on October 3rd. For every dollar you donate, Scheinberg Relief Fund will match it 100%.
We ask you to please consider donating to this very worthwhile cause here, to help keep the wildlife of South Luangwa safe. Thank you.

On that note, have yourself a fantastic week with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

Emily
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