Trip Report Zambia - Bushcamp Company

Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Trip Report Zambia - Bushcamp Company

I will post a series of journal entries in separate posts in this thread that I recoreded during my recent trip to the South Luangwa National Park from Sept 7-15. The trip included 2 days in the Mfuwe Lodge and 2 nights each at 3 of the Bushcamp Company's bush camps (Chamilandu, Chendeni and Bilimungwe).

This was my first trip to Africa which I am sure quickly becomes apparent to the African veterans out there.

Unfortnuately despite ample warnings and precautions from many here I believe I acquired an African affliction sometime during the course of this trip. Symptoms immediately surfaced on my flight home and they were characterized by: scheming thoughts of how to acquire frequent flier miles for return trip, constant thoughts of what the next itinerary may include, thinking what I will leave behind and what I shall bring that I wish I had this trip, constant day-dreaming of my trip!

September 7, 2004 - Day One arrival a Mfuwe Lodge - South Luangwa National Park

I have unpacked my gear having just arrived at the Mfuwe airport. Sitting outside the Mfuwe Lodge adjacent to the pool pondering the reality of really being in African for the first time. Despite this "Best Western" looking pool next to me I quickly realize as Dorothy of Wizard of Oz fame so aptly stated - "Toto I don't think we are in Kansas anymore"

Spread across the field in front of me feeding on the short grass are several Puku antelope, a mother Elephant and her youngster and a baboon just leisurely strolled across the open plain and disappeared into the woods. A fish eagle just flew over my head and I am in awe as all of this is going on within 100-200 yards from me. I think of how excited and how many hours it sometimes takes to spot a single deer in my native New England. WELCOME TO ZAMBIA!!!

I lean back and close my eyes for a second and images of the ride from the Mfuwe airport to the lodge start to float through my mind. A smiling representative of the Lodge picks me up and I hop aboard an open land rover. Also being picked up at the airport and joining me for the ride is a 75-year-old woman from Lusaka who has lived in Zambia her entire life. She is joining two friends for a holiday for several days at the Lodge. She has not visited this part of Zambia for thirty-five years and her sense of excitement matches mine. She would over the next twenty-four hours treat me like her son and extend the warm friendliness that I would soon learn is a hallmark of the Zambian persona.

The weariness from the two overnight flights from Boston to Mfuwe instantly melts away as I begin to view the rapidly changing images flashing before me as we drive for forty-five minutes down a narrow paved two-lane road:

- Neatly hewn golden domed thatched hut dwellings with a few roosters scurrying around the hard mud entrance
- Women walking down the center of the road balancing every good know to mankind deftly atop their heads
- Families crouched down sitting "Middle-Eastern" style in front of a camp fire next to their thatched dwelling
- Small children waving
- Small children in English style school uniforms
- Small children dressed in torn rags
- Bicyclists heavily laden with goods everywhere
- Young men/teenagers adorned with stocking caps and sun glasses
- Young men/teenagers adorned with western style baseball caps
- Women gathering firewood
- Women hoeing the hard clay land
- Women and men extending casual glances of curiosity as we race by
- Women and children waving
- Groups of 5 -10 people congregating by the roadside every few hundred yards. Exchanging the news of the day.
- Mud constructed "southwestern like US" storefronts with odd signs painted on their front such as "Mfuwe Investment Company" (My driver shrugs his shoulders and just tells me it's a grocery store when I inquire about this "investment house"

We slow down as we approach the Luangwa River, which marks the entrance into the South Luangwa National Park. The driver point to a grove of trees to the right about 100 yards away and my eyes turn to saucers as I see two giraffes, several elephants and a small herd of zebra just off the river bank feeding in the shade. I stifle the intense urge to race out of the vehicle and get closer. We stop for a few seconds and I take my first photos in Africa!! I several times peer into the viewfinder to view the photos I have just taken and then look back at the real thing. The little boy inside has totally taken over and I wonder to myself if this is what I see upon just entering the park, what is it going to be like the rest of this trip!
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:47 AM
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GreenDrake: You are writing a page turner but I have run out of words. I'll anxiously await the next edition. It's great to feel the excitement in your writing.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:04 PM
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Ha ha I see you've caught tha bug most of us have... you know there's no cure... we did warn you... ha ha ha...

Kavey is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Yes indeed-y the boy is sick with Africa fever!! Isn't it it the best thing in the world!! And when you tell us about your "first time" we all relive ours.
Maybe that should be a thread: "tell us about your first time".
Greendrake, please continue!!
tashak is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 07:59 PM
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you may find out you'll never finish this trip a matter of fact, you may discover you really haven't returned just yet...there's a piece of you that may never even come back from this African vacation...dee dee dee dee (Twilight Zone theme...)
uhoh_busted is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 06:49 AM
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Love the Rod Sterling twilight zone reference. Thinking maybe that mirror in my bedroom late at night is a tunnel passage to Zambia!!
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 06:50 AM
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Journal Entry #2

Days 1 & 2 September 7,8 2004 - Mfuwe Lodge, Zambia

A few details about the Mfuwe Lodge - The Lodge consists of 20 individual chalets, each with a thatched roof and brown clay walls. About half overlook a wide meadow on the edge of woodland and the other half surround a large oxbow lagoon. I spotted numerous animals feeding in this field while sitting on my porch (puku, elephants, hippos, waterbuck, baboons and impalas.) Numerous hippos resided in the lagoon. All rooms included ensuite bathrooms and had electricity and ceiling fans.

Also on the grounds is a small library with a small conference facility. The central dining area is open to the elements on all 4 sides and covered by a thatched roof. It contains the check-in/reception desk; a full bar, sofas and just outside it is a deck with a swimming pool. You could sit in the pool and view wildlife feeding on the grassy meadow just 50-100 yards away. Area elephants are known to come into the central area and walk right up to the bar and reception area as they head to feed on some of their favorite fruit bearing trees located on the lodge grounds. (Some great photos of elephants standing by the bar "ordering" up a drink from a wide-eyed bar tender hang on the wall)

After being slowly introduced to the safari lifestyle of a late morning full brunch at 11a.m and afternoon tea/coffee and sweets at around 3:30pm I was ready to embark on my first game drive. I had loaded up on several cups of coffee (which I would pay for later) and was alert as can be after 48 hours of little sleep. Five guests including myself hopped into the open land-rover. A middle-aged Dutch couple commanded the first row and I shared the back row with a couple from NYC - both lawyers in the NYC prosecutor's office. We divulged briefly from our surroundings to discuss the state of Yankee-Red Sox baseball and I, with a glint in my eyes, told them the sad news that the Red Sox had pulled within 3 1/2 games of the Yankees.

Our guide Keenan hopped into the driver's seat and next to him was spotter with a spotlight. Keenan was local native Zambian and he was a walking encyclopedia. I am a fly-fisherman and always marvel at my fellow fly-fisherman that can identify every insect and its related cousins by their Latin names. Keenan could do this with every plant, bird and mammal species. His knowledge did not end there as he was an avid movie fanatic and we later would discuss in detail "Keyser Soyce's" scary antics in the movie the Usual Suspects.

We for the next several hours drove both on and off -road with frequent stops, as Keenan would take time to describe the interaction of the flora and fauna around us. I am not a birder, but have always had a keen interest in the raptors and appreciated the multitude of songbirds I encounter in New England. This was, however, another world and I truly appreciated Keenan's bird identification skills and his overall bird behavior knowledge. A flash of brilliant green would pass before us and Keenan would quickly identify them as "Lillian-Love Birds", give us their Latin species name and provide a description of their habits and habitat. We would spot numerous puku, impalas, and elephant before stopping on the banks of the Luangwa River for sundowners.

Now I had received many words of advice to stay hydrated during in the hot Africa sun. I had heeded this advice at afternoon tea and also now during our Sundowners, as I followed my Mosi Beer (the excellent Zambia brewed lager) with several bottles of water. But here is where I made a HUGE mistake!! I, in my jet-lagged daze, did not take the opportunity to relieve myself at this opportune moment. During the next several hours of our bumpy ride in the Zambian bush I would pay dearly for this consumption of coffee, beer and water as I "ached" to spot that "Rest Area - 2 Miles" sign hanging from the stout neck of some hippo. By the time Keenan found an appropriate "safe" spot to stop in the bush and asked if anyone had to "go" I did not care if I jumped into a swarming pod of crocs and I hurdled off the vehicle and raced to the nearest bush!!! I learned my lesson here and would temper the fluid consumption on subsequent drives.

The evening would end with a magnificent leopard spotting. We discovered a large muscular male sitting in a sphinx like posture under a large Sausage tree. He seemed quite oblivious to the spotlight and posed as the multitude of shutter sounds echoed in the Zambian night. The image of the awesome beauty and power of this cat will stay with me for a lifetime. We would, however, not be able to enjoy this moment very long in solitude as two other vehicles arrived shortly. At about this moment we spotted a puku at the periphery of the spotlights. He was frozen like a statue - well aware of the danger near him. We thought we might spot a kill, but Keenan felt the commotion of vehicles around the leopard now may be disturbing him so we turned off our light and moved on.

We returned to the Lodge and I had my first dinner under the stars at about 8:30 p.m. The food and drinks were plentiful and the meal was outstanding. A staff member accompanied me to my hut, as guests at night were not allowed to walk the grounds without unescorted. I crept under my mosquito net in the stately looking bed and slept soundly. I was awakened at 6am with a knock on the door and a "Good Morning" by the member of the staff and I remembered to reply in the few words of Nyanga (a Zambian dialect that is an amalgam of the numerous Zambian dialects) I knew - Bwangi (hello), Zikomo - thank you! I had a quick cup of coffee and a muffin and was ready to go out for the morning drive at 6:30am.

We quickly spotted several hippos, elephants and large red beaked ground hornbills during the first half-hour of the drive. It was now about 8 a.m. and Keenan quickly turned the vehicle off-road about 20 yards and sitting under the shade of a large tree were a pride of six lions. We were now only about 20 yards away and I was in awe being this close to lions!! Keenan explained that this pride consisted of two young males around three to four years old and four females. This pride had recently moved into the area and no doubt a territorial battle would be soon looming with the resident area males. The lioness closest to our vehicle made Keenan nervous. She kept lifting its head to look at us and was flicking her tail in an aggressive menacing manner. Suddenly a single vulture on the horizon began a "dive-bombing" descent at very rapid speed. Each and every member of the pride in unison lifter their heads and turned their ears in the direction of the vulture. This diving vulture was a "meal call" to the pride as it indicated a kill in the area. The lions now got up slowly and began to slowly walk in single file towards to the kill. As the menacing lioness arose, we now could see why she was irritable. She was pregnant and also walked with a slight limp, possibly having a thorn in her paw pad. This combination would make any female a bit "ornery".
We drove in the direction of the vulture and tried to find the kill. When we arrived we only saw a few bare bones and the lions had already discovered that little was left for them and had already returned to their shady afternoon resting spot.

We would return to the Lodge for brunch by 10:30 a.m. and I would shortly after this hop into the land rover for a 60 kilometer three hour drive into the bush to the to my first bush camp - Chendeni.

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 04:17 PM
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oh oh we haven't planned our next trip (to anywhere) and this really makes me want to consider Zambia....yikes!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 06:16 PM
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Better get to Zambia quick, as it looks like prices are quickly rising. I just received a price from Kaingo for $400 per person per night sharing. That is more than triple the rates I paid this year, although my timing for next year would put me there during their busiest time of the year. Kaingo is outstanding for hippos, elephants, crocodiles and has the best possible birding that I have yet seen. Although I never thought that I would appreciate birds, my last trip definitely changed my opinion on that subject. Both in Lower Zambezi National Park and in the Kaingo area of South Luangwa, I was just overwhelmed at the beauty and differing characteristics of the different bird varieties.

Seeing the mixed reviews on Singita lately reminds me why I loved Chichele Presidential Lodge so much. At about 45% of the Singita rate, it is so much better, overall. The guiding is second to none, the food fantastic, the location is unparalleled IMO in the South Luangwa and the staff and management is excellent. Plus, guests have the freedom to eat with the group or to be set up with an intimate table for two, and all this in a very open air setting that was not even too cold in mid-June during my last visit.

Although I would love to see Botswana, I ask myself why I should consider giving up Zambia when I have seen so many people say that Zambia reminds them of the Botswana of 10 years ago (before it was $700 per person per night sharing and the in place).

Plus, it is entirely possible to do a really nice circuit in Zambia, spending time in the Nsefu Sector of South Luangwa, the Mfuwe Sector of South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi National Park, and if time permits Kafue NP.

Roccco is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 06:34 PM
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Your entries are, as the Brit's say "spot on". We just returned from the South Luangwa, and spent three days at Mfuwe Lodge and one at Chamilandu. Unfortunately late bookings met that we were unable to get into the other bush camps. We also had Keenan as our guide, and agree completely with your description. The walking safari at Chamilandu conducted by Freya was amazing. We encountered a couple of cape buffalo, that got our attention. When "dodging" around them, we then encountered two hippo's. We opted for the buffalo, who by then had moved off into the bush. It felt good to have a person with a large gun with us, just in case.
Looking forward to the rest of your journal.
BroadwayJoe is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 09:15 PM
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Hey Broadway, I know Freya-- yes she it wonderful. We saw a big herd of buffalo with her was really cool. Loved her birding and plant training too. And she has great eyes too.
tashak is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 03:48 AM
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Oh how I love to read that first trip report from someone just venturing into Africa. No matter which country they visit, its that first time excitement that keeps bringing me back to try to re-capture my own excitement as I first ventured out. You never completely re-capture that, but I remember our 1999 trip to Botswana, my 6th trip to Africa. That was so thrilling and our excitement lasted for a couple of years after.
You put it so well in your trip report. I was pleased to read about the Bushcamp Company camps too. If you get on their mailing list they send you emails with news from their camps, just short one or two liners, but they are always nice for a quick reminder.
Both my husband and I chuckled at your sense of humor and found the trip report just delightful.
Your pictures also showed how pretty a country Zambia is, and I thank you. Liz
Liz_Frazier is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 06:05 AM
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Days 3&4 - Chamilandu, Bushcamp Company, Zambia - September 8 & 9, 2004

I mistakenly ended my last post by saying I was off to Chendeni bush camp, but in reality I first drove to Chamilandu and then walked to Chendeni two days later.

On the three-hour drive to Chamilandu from Mfuwe Lodge the wildlife viewing opportunities were plentiful and nary a member of the species - Homo Sapiens were spotted. In fact I would not see another human or vehicle other than those from our camps over the next 6 days. I arrived at the entrance of the camp and was greeted by Abby who offered me a cold grenadilla juice and a moist face cloth to wipe off the dust. Abby is a delightful young British woman who is the manager of the Chamilandu Camp. Her easy relaxed manner fit perfectly into the surroundings and truly enjoyed her company over the next two days. I quickly immersed myself into the bushcamp lifestyle where my daily itinerary here and at the next two bush camps would be:

Staff knocks on your door for your wake-up call. Continental breakfast (tea, coffee, fruit, cereal and toast).

Morning walk. (Sometimes driving to the spot where we walk from and sometimes walking directly from camp) After a few hours walk the guide chooses a scenic spot where we stop for a break and enjoy a hot or cold drink and some snacks. We continue walking until around 10:00 and then return to camp.

A large brunch is served. Afternoons until 15:30 are free time.

Tea/Coffee snacks - Beer/Wine other ETOH beverages

Evening safari. Similar to the morning safari where we would walk for an hour or so before our guide would find a picturesque spot where we could watch the sunset whilst enjoying some drinks and snacks. Each night we then embarked upon a night- time game drive at about 18:00.


I am working feverishly trying to duplicate this lifestyle into my office back home!!!. In fact I think it is tea time right now as I finish typing this out.

Abby showed me to my thatched "tree-top" house overlooking the Luangwa River. I plopped down for a moment on the wrought iron bed and looked out at the open porch overlooking the sand colored riverbank. I hopped off the bed and walked into the attached bathroom. The shower/bathroom was open to the skies and several curious vervet monkeys swung branch to branch above my head. Several kelly green bathrobes hung next to the hand painted sink and I could not resist throwing one on for a moment. Here I am deep in the African bush - monkeys swinging overhead - and I have a bathrobe on!! I had to laugh!!

It was about time for the afternoon bush walk and I strolled down the open thatch covered central dining area / bar / viewing deck. Under the thatched roof stood a deep ebony bar, a small freezer with cold beers and soft drinks, a small wooden bookcase filled with numerous books and field guides focusing on Southern African wildlife, and a viewing deck overlooking the Luangwa river.

I was introduced to my guide - Derrick Solomon and the fellow guests. Derrick was an outstanding guide, an expert birder and he patiently answered my many questions. Joining me on my first ever bush walk was Jonathan - a British wildlife painter. He had come to paint and was donating 1/2 the proceeds of all his sales to the South Luangwa Conservation Society. (An organization that focuses on anti-poaching endeavors such as training and supplying armed scouts). I was fortunate to be able to watch Jonathan paint the South Luangwa River landscape in front of the camp over the next several days. If you enjoy outstanding wildlife paintings (includes breath taking pieces from East and Southern Africa) you will enjoy viewing his website:

My other companions were a South African couple now living in London and an American traveling with his own guide. The guide accompanying him was Gavin Ford a native of Zimbabwe who worked out of Maun for A&K. Gavin was just outstanding and added greatly to my bush experience. I never ceased to marvel at how he was in tune with the environment and fully utilized his senses of smell, vision and hearing. Gavin had never been to this area of Zambia. Where after 10 minutes of walking into the bush I would not have the slightest clue as to where we were, Gavin could after several hours point a specific tree a hundred yards away and ask me do you remember walking by that two hours ago? I would shake my head in amazement. He also would be in camp and hear a vehicle approaching about 10 minutes before I ever heard a sound.

Derrick informed us what the walking protocol would be. The armed ranger would lead, he would follow behind him and we all would proceed in single file behind them. In case there was trouble we were to listen to their instructions and we were not to move until told to do so. We had proceeded no longer than ten minutes when the scout stopped and faced Derrick and started a series of hand motions and pointing in various directions. Derrick responded silently with his own series of hand motions. I looked ahead and I now could see what was causing the pantomime communications. A large bull elephant was about 75 yards in front of us. I would learn quickly that on all our walks we would be extremely careful when encountering elephants. We would give them ample room, assess whether we were up or downwind from the elephants and move in a direction that would avoid contact. Derrick now put his finger up to his lips with the universal "keep quiet" signal and whispered for us to back up slowly. We circled around the big bull and continued on our way. I later asked Derrick if he had thought the elephant had spotted us. Derrick replied no, we were downwind from him but he was quickly moving in our direction and he did not want to surprise him.

That evening after watching a brilliant African sunset we embarked on a game drive and I spotted my second leopard. Two leopard sitings in two days!!! On the next morning's walk we would spot a third leopard and the Brits were now clinging to my elbow as I had become their good luck charm as they had not spotted any leopards the previous four days prior to my arrival. I pondered whether to exploit my hot streak with a quick flight to Vegas ....Nah!

It was exhilarating to view this leopard on foot. Gavin, the Zim guide accompanying us, was the first to pick on the audible warning cry emitted by the puku. A herd of about 10 were in an open field and just above them was a small ridge. They had become stiff as statues and were all pointing like hunting dogs towards the top of the ridge. I would soon learn this was the classic sign that a predator had been spotted by the puku. We scanned the ridge trying to see what they had sensed and there crouched upon the small bank was a lithe muscular leopard about 150-200 yards away!!! Three leopards in three days and now the Brits wanted to know what camp I was going to next. On a roll!!

Some miscellaneous thoughts and observations about my stay in Chamilandu over the course of the next several days:

- Wild Dogs - We did not see any. Derrick said there had been numerous spottings in July and a few lately around Chichele Lodge recently.
- Power - generator would be kicked in around 4 pm so you could charge camera batteries.
- Bugs - No mosquitoes in sight and I never had to use repellant. Flies also were sparse and meals were eaten in an almost bug free environment.
- Poaching - The years of elephant poaching in the park had resulted in smaller elephants and also in numerous "tuskless" males as neither of these characteristics were desired by poachers.
- Tree Frogs - thought these little 2-inch guys were ornaments in the room until I touched him one and he hopped away.
- Hunting - Derrick theorized that the lion density of this part of the park was down due to hunting. The Luangwa River forms the boundary of the park and across this river is a game management area where hunting is allowed. Derrick said they were baiting in this area attracting lions from the park over the river. I was extremely sad to hear this!!
- Crocks - One of my favorite activities when I go fly-fishing is to sit on the riverbank and smoke a cigar. I knew I would not be able to partake in this pleasure here. Just as a reminder on afternoon I strolled down cigar in hand about 20 yards from the bank and was enjoying the view. A large crock splashed in front of me and I managed not swallow my lit cigar.

Day 4 - Sept. 10 2004 - Off to walk to the next camp - Chendeni (around a10KM walk) -

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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Wow, you probably were the lucky recepient of a few hundred dollars worth of Gavin Ford!

I have received pricing from GF and a couple other private guides, but considering that many of them do a combo mobile safari / lodge safari, I just cannot justify paying such very high rates for the very reason that I know part of the time will be spent in lodges where private vehicles are not always available.

Increidble stuff...spotting the leopard while out on the bush walk!

How about elephants??? Although in a different part of the park, while we were doing a bush walk at Chichele Presidential Lodge, we must have crossed paths with 25 - 30 elephants (we kept our distance according to which direction the wind was blowing...if the wind was blowing away from the elephants, we would get within about 75 yards, if the wind was at our backs blowing our scent towards the elephants, we would stay much further away).

Time to start thinking about that next trip Green Drake! If you really want an affordable option, take a look at the Emerald Season Special, the best deal ever for a single traveller doing an African safari.

From what I was told by Derek Shenton, the owner of Kaingo, the Emerald Season is the best time for Wild Dog spottings, and although it wouldn't seem like it, leopard spottings are also frequent. I was told that the animals prefer to stick to the road when everything else around them is soaked, making game viewing not as bad as it would seem, and making for excellent photographs.

TEN NIGHTS split between a choice of the following camps, including your transfer from Lusaka to Mfuwe to Livingstone and back to Lusaka:

In South Luangwa choose from:

Mfuwe Lodge
(Mfuwe Trails)

(Norman Carr Safaris)

(Robin Pope Safaris ? Nov/Dec, & 17-31 March)

(Remote Africa Safaris - from 10 Feb / 31 March)

Kafunta River Lodge

and in Livingstone choose from:

Islands of Siankaba


Stanley Safari Lodge

Your air alone is worth half the price of the itinerary, making it as if you are staying each night in the lodges for about $120 per night. NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT!!! Can you feel Zambia pulling you back already?!
Roccco is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:02 AM
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Now you have done it Roccco!!! Any chance I would be productive today is out the window!!!

I had not thought of the Green season as an option, as the bush camp experience that I so much enjoyed would not be available. The fact Tafika and Nkwali would be options added to that terrific price without SS has, however, perked my interest. Then you add the wild dog spotting possibilties, leopards and I know there would be great birding!!

I would imagine there would still be walking options.

Wonder what the bug situation is like that time of year???

Thanks for forwarding this information!!!
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:11 AM
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How strange!
Jonathan was another expert on that Festival in Kenya and I attended 3 of his art safaris. Still can't paint or draw worth a damn but really enjoyed it. Since then I've visited him down in Bournemouth a few times and have also commissioned two pencil sketches based on my own images of animals from the trip. He's a really good bloke isn't he and very talented! Only downside is he seems to take pleasure in subjecting me to the scary contraption that is his motorobike. I keep muttering about how happy I'd be to get a taxi, a lovely sturdy taxi with 4 wheels but... it never works!

My dad is currently in Zambia in same place. He was scheduled to go this time last year but shortly before the trip he had the accident and couldn't travel for a few months. So it's been a long anticipated trip. I can't wait to hear all about it when he gets home next week!
Kavey is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:22 AM
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Greendrake, I think a name change is in order for you...
(to the theme music of Batman)

Cat-man (du du du du du du du du), Cat-man (du du du du du du du du
tashak is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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Yes in regards to Gavin Ford the guide I felt very very fortunate to have him along.

If anyone out there can afford a private guide this guy was OUTSTANDING. Outgoing, knowledgeable tracker, very funny, an excellent birder and a great story teller. On the walks I was fortunate to bring up the rear with him and it was like having my own private guide!! The guy had a wealth of stories!! He told me one where he was canoing on the Zambezi and witnessed a hippo take a chunk out of a canoe. He said the hippos are most ofen more intent on chewing up the canoe than the people inside. The tourist in the canoe in this case was thrown up into the air and landed on the back of the hippo -riding it bareback -cowboy style while the hippo continued to munch on the canoe!! I can only imagine the horror on this woman's face!!

He also gave me wealth of other African destinations he thought highly of. He was very very keen on Tanzania, particulaly the Selous area. Said it was very wild, beautiful and that if you enjoyed walking the Zambian walking experience could now be replicated there.
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Wow, GreenDrake -- awesome experience! I am very excited to go to Zambia now, just got my first inquiry about my Wild Dog trip too so things are looking good for next July.

Can't wait to read the rest.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Kavey I can picture Jonahtan on a wild motorbike. This guy is one of the funniest, talented guys I ever met. He had all the guests, guides and trackers in tears laughing.

He would mimic the radio calls down to the minutest detail and constantly had us thinking it was the real thing with contstant radio calls for lion and leopard spottings. Then he would do dead-on imitations of Woody Allen, Sean Connery and a British stand-up comic I was not familiar with.

Tashak - laughing at my cat moniker. My lucky streak would soon end as I would separate from my British friends soon at the next camp and they would see all the cats and I would get shut out!!
GreenDrake is offline  

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