Busanga Plains

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Jan 1st, 2005, 02:51 AM
  #1
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Busanga Plains

Hi all,

I was wondering if any of you have stayed on the Busanga plains in Kafue. AS a destination it seems very remote and unexplored which is making me lean towards spending a few days there! Any comments on the wilflife viewing?

Thanks
Paul
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Jan 1st, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Paul,

I was there in August 2003 and it was indeed remote, as well as vast and beautiful. I stayed at Busanga Bush Camp run by a lovely young couple. Craig, the husband, did all of the guiding--day and night drives. He always took along a scout too, so there were four trained eyes for spotting game, which was helpful.

In the 3 days there, we spent most of our time hanging out with a pride of about 8 lions. Also spotted: a pair of cheetah (Kafue is the only place in Zambia for cheetah), 2 separate serval sitings, a honey badger, sable, oribi, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, roan antelope, reedbuck and huge herds of red lechwe. Some interesting bird sitings were: purple heron, Fulleborn's longclaw, rufous-bellied heron, lesser jacana, numerous watled crane, open billed stork, and black bellied korhan.

Because Kafue is so remote, I spent a day at Lunga River Lodge, also in Kafue, before and after Busanga Bush Camp. It is a 3-hour drive from Lunga River Lodge to Busanga Bush Camp. Here we could do walks, day & night drives, plus canoeing and boat rides on the Lunga. Sitings included: tree hyrax, otter, roan antelope (on foot,) a serval (on foot), and 2 cheetah brothers. Other people saw elephant. Interesting birds: wattled crane, African finfoot, purple crested lorie.

To see more and better views of the anteleope, which Kafue is noted for, a little later in the year would be better--September-October. Also in Busanga Bush Camp, the lions took to the trees frequently in the hotter weather, again September-October.

The camps I stayed at are operated by African Experience. www.experienceafriac.com

I would return.

Lynn
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Jan 1st, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Lynn,

Just wondering...was the experience any worse off due to the reported lack of elephants in the area?

Also, did you do any canoeing while at Lunga River Lodge?

I nearly committed to Kafue NP this year, but in the end, I was frightened away by its lack of elephants and by the fact that there only seems to be one reputable company operating in the area, leaving me without a choice of another quality operation. I forget the name of the other major operator there, but the 2nd operator didn't seem to be nearly on the same level as the oparators of Busanga Plains Bush Camp/Lunga River Lodge.

It does sound like you did have some great spottings. Did the lions hunt at all during your time with them?

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Jan 1st, 2005, 08:18 AM
  #4
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lynn,

Thanks for that information, it sounds great. Unlike Roccco im not to bothered anbout elephants as that will be made up in my time else where. It will just be a different environment to your standard Botswana concessions and delta. Just knowing how unexplored it is gives you a real sense of wilderness. Was thinking either a June or late september visit.

regards
Paul
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Jan 1st, 2005, 12:19 PM
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Paul: I have not yet been to the Busanga Plains but plan to be there in early July as it is part of the itinerary for a Wild Dog safari that I will be leading. We will be staying at the aforementioned Lunga River Lodge as that is the base area for the wild dog research but we will be venturing to Busanga. My undertanding is it is the best place to see Cheetah in Zambia as well as experience the diversity of antelope. Also, as previously mentioned the tree climbing lions is a unique feature in the area. I have been told that it compares favorably to the Okavango Delta in habitat feel and quality and that the remoteness and very limited development makes it a unique place -- that is definitely a big draw for me.
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Jan 2nd, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Rocco,

There were elephants in the forests, but I did not see them. Since I had no expectation of seeing elephants, that was fine that they did not come out to visit.

I believe there is another camp in Busanga, but I too forget the name. I also got the impression that they were not as responsible or reliable. There also used to be a camp called Moshi that I think was very good, but not operating in 2003.

The lions did hunt at night. About 8 of them came stampeding loudly within 2 feet past our vehicle in pursuit of a puku. There was a full moon which made it easy to see, and also aided the puku in its escape. When they regrouped after their unsucessful attempt the lions leaned up against our vehicle and rested.

The next night while dining about 7 pm we heard a successful hunt right outside our camp. It is very soggy and wet so it was easy to hear the running puku and lions, then the roars, as the male came in to dine. We interrupted our dinner and watched the lions eat theirs. I was pleased that our dinner took a back seat to the lions' meal. I come to Africa to see wildlife, not eat. Craig, the camp manager was out of his seat and running to the Landrover to go check out the kill even before I was. That shows the high level of enthusiam they have at Busanga.

Now, if you could only arrange to ride your bike from camp to the lion kill, you'd have a really unique safari experience! Ha Ha

Lynn
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