Its Monday and an action packed safari

Hello there. I hope you are well and have had a lovely weekend.  Here in the Luangwa, we are getting used to the slightly nippy mornings, and guests are getting good use of the blankets on the game-viewers.  But before I digress into chatting about the weather, I am going to stop myself as we have an action-packed safari to tell you about. So, get comfortable it’s time to get jealous….

Last weekend Santiago Quinones (who has been kind enough to share some of his photos with us) came to visit with some friends; and let me tell you, they had three incredible days in the park with Yona.  The first drive was a gentle introduction to what the Luangwa had to offer with heaps of giraffes, elephants, impala, hippo and a few zebra.  Yona at this point was obviously just playing it cool and didn’t want to show his hand on game drive number one.  The following morning though, he decided that it was time to show off a little and not long into the drive he found 5 lions who had just been outnumbered by the crocs in the lagoon they had decided to have their meal by. The crocs had dragged the buffalo carcass away from the lions and down to the water’s edge where they were incredibly happy with their meal and the lions were looking a little upset by the turn of events.  Leaving the lions to deal with their hunger they headed on, and just past the Mushilashi they heard loads of vervet monkeys going absolutely nuts alarm calling.  Obviously, this meant something was going on, so getting closer to the kerfuffle they finally found what it was all about.  There was a young female leopard up in the tree hunting the vervets – no wonder they were in a total panic.  The young leopard really had chosen a tough target and leaping from one branch to another she gave it her very best but eventually decided that there was no way she was going to win this one.

After all of this, it was time to head back to Luangwa Safari House for some lunch.

Right… time for the afternoon drive, what would this one yield?  Yona headed towards Chichele Hill and it wasn’t long before he found 7 lions feeding on a fresh zebra kill.  The guests got to enjoy this sighting until thirst took a hold. So, they headed off for sundowners and then before heading back to the house, took one more glance at the feeding frenzy that was occurring with the lions.

The following morning, they decided to get off to a similarly magnificent start. Just after crossing into the Park, they burst out of the thickets into Wakumba where they found 15 wild dogs on an impala kill. The dogs were very excitedly yapping, eating, and then digesting – for 2 hours the guests watched everything unfold.  After that everyone decided that they needed their own little refreshment and popped off to find a nice spot for a cup of tea and slice of cake before heading back to the house once more via the wild dogs.

The afternoon was a far more relaxed affair with champagne sundowners up on Chichele Hill to celebrate a wedding anniversary, followed by a birthday dinner back at the house.   The following morning, knowing that it was time to head home, there was a debate on “should we have one last foray into the park or should we take it easy and just get ourselves ready for the days travel”. Most of the guests decided to have one last excursion and they were duly rewarded with the sight of 2 huge dark maned lions on Wakumba. These lions have apparently just come into the area, which is extremely exciting. The guests were so please and said to Yona that really everything had been so amazing, why not just finish on this high. 

Yona stuck to his guns, as they had the previous night mentioned that they would like to see another leopard, so off they went a few more loops. Later there were the wild dogs – just relaxing in the middle of the road – suddenly the dogs stood up, all 15 of them and just started chasing something.  No one had seen any prey nearby so were totally confused at what they were chasing. So as the dogs went through the bush, the car went around and found the dogs sitting under a small bush/tree growling.  Yona thought it may have been a snake so was slightly hesitant to get closer, but the guests managed to persuade him to stick around and wait to see what was happening and after about 30 minutes Yona finally spotted what it was that they were growling at – pushed up into the most difficult position was a leopard.  The dogs were standing up on their hind legs trying to get to this poor cat. Eventually she bit the bullet and decided to make a run for it as there was simply no alternative way of surviving this.  She leapt out of the bush and ran for it, with the dogs chasing her, hearts in throats everyone thought that this was going to be the end of her, but she made it to another slightly better tree that she was able to get up into and the dogs sat down around the tree growling and waiting. 

What an incredible way to finish off a safari – thank you so much Yona for sharing the events with us and Santiago for the wonderful photos.  There is little else for me to really follow up with after all of this, so I shall bid you a very fond farewell and hope that you have a wonderful week with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

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