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Trip Report Traditional & Nontraditional Safaris Combine for 2 Weeks of Fab Wildlife

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Including international travel from the US and transfers between parks and countries, the entire duration of this trip is about 3 weeks total.

I did the nontraditional part at the start of the trip, but if this were your first safari, you might want to start with the traditional part and swap the two segments.

Nontraditional: Robin Pope Bats Safari & Liuwua Plains Safari, Zambia
If you did the standard bat safari itinerary (which I did not because I chopped off the front end of the trip in South Luangwa to be home for Thanksgiving) you’d likely see leopard (everybody who DID do the front end saw and photographed leopard) in South Luangwa.

In fact the 3 nights in South Luangwa is actually fairly traditional except it includes many walking opportunities. Lions, Elephant, Buffalo, Thorncroft’s Giraffe, Zebra, Puku, Hippos, Crocs, maybe Kudu, and the elusive Leopard are all possible in South Luangwa. My one night upon joining the group at Nkwali Camp allowed me to enjoy a taste of this beautiful camp on the Luangwa River.

Then, on to the largest migration on the planet at Kasanka: the straw-colored fruit bats, all 10 million of them. They blanketed the skies at sunrise and sunset. A day trip to Bangweulu Swamp offered the opportunity to see the Shoebill Stork and herds of Black Lechwe.

Liuwa Plains is a magnificent, remote, pristine wilderness that hosts Africa’s fourth largest migration. Blue Wildebeests begin their migration and calving in late Oct or early Nov. By December they can be seen in fields of pink lilies. Lady Liuwa is the star of Liuwa Plains and her poignant plight that helped make this location known to the outside world is shown here in this 46 minute documentary.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-last-lioness/

She now has the company of two lions and perhaps by now even a litter of cubs from the other lioness.

A large pack of Wild Dogs and many Hyenas are prevalent predators and make for action packed viewing in Liuwa.

As exciting as the fauna may be, in Liuwa, the place itself is a huge attraction. We could see the landscape come alive day by day as flowering pink lilies (Amachiris) and tiny yellow blooms (Grangea) carpeted the ground in ever increasing numbers, below the commanding backdrop of tumultuous skies.

Full report with embedded photos on Robin Pope itineraries I did is linked here:
http://safaritalk.net/topic/10120-kasanka-bangweulu-liuwa-in-nov-dec-with-robin-pope-safaris/

Getting to/from Zambia is often accomplished by going through Johannesburg, so combining Zambia and South Africa makes sense logistically.


Traditional: Phinda in South Africa
Booking directly costs the same as an agent. I used Eyes on Africa.
It is possible to see the Big 5 here, though leopard are very tricky. (But South Luangwa offered a good shot at leopard.) But another spotted cat—the cheetah—is highly likely at Phinda because it is a cheetah sanctuary. The habitat here also is a compelling part of the visit, as there are 7 distinct habitats in Phinda, all easily accessed within a day.

One nontraditional safari activity I did at Phinda was a night-time Turtle Safari to see Loggerhead Turtles emerge from the ocean to lay their eggs then return to the sea. Sometimes Leatherbacks are also seen.

Full report with embedded photos on my 4 nights at Phinda, Mountain Lodge is linked here:
http://safaritalk.net/topic/10219-phinda-where-the-h-is-silent-as-are-the-egg-laying-loggerheads/

These itineraries proved an excellent combination for me. Maybe you too.

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