We are back! Mini trip on Zambia

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Oct 14th, 2005, 04:49 AM
  #1
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We are back! Mini trip on Zambia

The trip from Cape Town to Kaingo took 12 hours including a game drive on the way to Kaingo. We really liked Kaingo -- Guides we had were Ian and Patrick and both were very good. Patrick is a natural mimic so that when you wanted animals to turn around he could often get them to do so.

The room was very nice -- They have been redone this year. Electricity is solar so no noisy generators to hear. In addition to morning and afternoon game drices, they have the hippo hide -- you are about 6 meters above them -- an elephant hide -- inactive when we were there due to the lack of water -- and a carmine hide. You can go to these from noon until 1:30 when lunch is served.

The hippo hide was incredibly close to a pod and really a great activity.

Our second night at Kaingo. it rained and the afternoon game drive was skipped. About 30mm of rain in an hour. But it cooled everything off and ended up being a good thing. Amazing is that after that rain we started to see everything green up.

Highlights as far as game viewing were the 7 week old cubs we were able to observe for hours. Also at lunch one day, three elephants came through the camp. One of them was a baby -- still nursing and it was great to see it do that. I had never seen that before. We heard a lion standoff and saw the end of it -- not a fight just a lot of noise. Good thing our lion won asthe other one would have killed the cubs. We also saw a lot of porcupine. We were supposed to stay here 3 days and go to the bush camp, Mwamba, for 3 days. Because we were getting on very welol with a couple from the Netherlands, they suggested we stay a day longer there which we did. Then we all went to Mwamba for a couple of days.

My highlight at Mwamba was the coke with ice in it-- after being so hot, that was great. We also had an elephant in camp give himself a mud bath -- we had to leave the lunch area and then ended up behind the bar before trhe guide got him to leave. Also, we saw our first leopard here -- two of them. One circled a tree and then went into it to get guinea fowl. She gave up when she heard a kill and went off to investigate. We watched her for about a half hour.

It was a shock to go to Luangwa River Lodge after the bush camp. It is very nice -- running water, main electricity, tub for two. 5* meals -- while the meals at the other camps were good, these were great. Barry and Tara are very nice. We were the only guests.

I skipped the morning game drive and Mike saw a crocodile trying to get a baby hippo. The adult hippos stopped it. Sorry I missed that. We saw a pair of leopard here. a 3-4 week old elephant; a week old bushbuck, porcupine, a giant eagle owl konck white brow sparrow weaver nest out of the tree and pick it apart, some lionesses after the kill.

We spent one day on an all day game drive to the nsefu sector which is where tene tena and tafika are. We were disappointed as the area was very quiet.

We went to Kasaka in the Lower Zambezi. Here we learned about things to ask before you book a camp. This is an 8 tent camp. The rest of the camp was occupied by a group from California. We really felt the odd one out. We did spend some time and did get to know them -- they were very nice. But Kasaka has onlyt two vehicles -- this is scheduled to change next year -- and that meant 8 people in a vehicle which consider too many. I had never had to do that before -- we did it once -- then we did the opposite of what the group did -- if they were all going on game drives, we went fishing. Additionally, they had 6 more of their group at Chongwe and they came for dinner two ofthe nights.

HOWEVER, and here I want to say that Esther and Hugo did a great job. They understood how we felt. She tried to get us a private vehicle from another camp but that did not work. She did manage to get us a private vehicle for one whole day -- we went with Hugo. Additionally, when the group came over for dinner, she set up a nice romantic table away from the group and served us. When you return from a drive tired that was a great thing to do. Kasaka serves buffet style so I know it was a lot for her to do to serve us special but she insisted on it. We went fishing twice and it was a nice change from the game drives. We might not have done it had there not been full vehicles but we did enjoy it. What we dreaded when we first arrived turned out to not be a problem. We found Esther very easy to talk to and she worekd hard to ensure our time was enjoyable. In the future, I will ask every camp how many vehicles they have versus rooms -- will not stay in a camp that has 2 vehicles for 16 people -- and I will ask if any group is booked -- not just when I book but after I want to be informed and given the option of switching camps since I would prefer not to be the only odd couple. But I give very high marks to Hugo and Esther for working through a difficult situation -- they do not do the bookings and were handed this. In fact, they had been told the group wanted to fish. not game drive. They had hired an extra coxswain for them. And the group decided to go on game drives. Accouding to Hugo, there will be three vehicles available for game drives next year-- they are purchasing two more. There should not be any more than 6 people to a truck.

We have thousands of photos to work through -- probably take us a little time to get them on the web. I am hopeful taht we have some good ones of the lion cubs and the leopard and the wartlets among others.

One last thing -- we spent the last night in Cape Town at Cape Cadogan. It was wonderful -- would highly recommend it. The staff was great. Although our room was booked for the next night -- they moved our luggage and allowed us to use another room for that day -- our flight was at midnight so we had the whole day there. It was a beautiful place with great staff. Highly recommended.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 07:15 AM
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Sounds like a great trip and thanks for the report. Your point about beds to vehicles is well made, but you should also question what happens if someone books a private vehicle at a camp, because you may end up in the same state.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Welcome back! Glad you enjoyed the trip - looking forward to viewing a selection of your favourite photos!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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You saw a lot of wildlife for a mini trip. Have fun looking through your many photos and hope you find some to post.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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My Nsefu full day drive while at Luangwa River Lodge was also a little quiet, but with an excellent Cookson's Wildebeest sighting and a daytime Civet sighting (alhtough I cannot find that photo to save my life), it made up for it.

Here is my Cookson's Wildebeest:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...d=880498758205

You just never know what you will get with other guests. My first two nights at Kasaka, we were the only guests. However, on the final night, 10 other guests checked in. Given the fact that safaris must be paid for months in advance, it would be very hard to switch camps at the last second unless you were willing to pay a very steep penalty, and even then, there is no guarantee even then that there will not be a last minute booking.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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We actually did see eland in the nsefu sector which we did not see anywhere else. Also saw the slender mongoose there and the Southern Ground Hornbill in a tree.

We saw a lot of wildlife at Kaingo and Mwamba. Really glad we spent the 6 days there. And there were not a lot of other vehicles. When we went to Luangwa, we asked to stay away from the really busy parts of the parks. After we went to Nsefu, Barry said that the reason there was so much activity around one area that we were trying to stay away from was that there was more game in that area. When we stayed closer to the lodge, we did see a pair of leopard -- they were not mating but they were a mating pair, and lionesses after the kill -- we never saw the kill but they was blood on their mouths and paws -- and the eagle owl was seen here. Also 3-4 week old wartlets. That was a great sighting -- There were two moms and 4 wartlets. The wartlets nursed -- 3 on one and one on the other. Then the 2 of the 3 went to the other mom and the third went wandering away. The mom with 3 nursing got tired of it and just started walking away dragging the three of them. Very Cool.

Every palce we stayed was very different from each other which was nice variety. We took pictures of all the places and hope to post them as well as some photos of the wildlife. We took at least 2,000 - 3.000 photos so it will take us some time to get through them but we will let you know when that is done.

We did not see a lot more things in the Lowere Zambezi and I would definitely choose South Luangwa over that. Part of that may be because the landscape is different -- it is much thicker in the Lower Zambezi and much more open where we were in South Luangwa. That said, one thing I did see there was a femal lion dragging a buffalo carcass into the shade. She was so exhausted and full that she could drag a foot and then stop to get her strength back. Then she would drag it a little more. Every other time I had seen them feeding, when they were done they just left it where it was. She was pretty interesting. Then, as we watched, there appeared a Bateleur Snake Eagle and Hugo told me that that is usually first onto the site and the vultures follow the Bateleur. Sure enough within 5 minutes the vultures were coming and fighting over the scraps.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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glad you had a great trip! i leave in 96 hours, 39 minutes!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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Geez, Dennis, we know, we know.... ;-)
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Oct 14th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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you think you are obsessed with your trip NOW, wait until you have 1 month, then 1 week, then 4 days, then 3....I am totally consumed!! i will try not to think about it by spending 2 days at the beach
Dennis
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Oct 14th, 2005, 12:12 PM
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I'm sorry - that was really cold of me. Of course, you know I was giving you a hard time! So, how long is it now? ;-)
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Oct 14th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Have a really great trip, Dennis. We really enjoyed ours.

I am sorry guys as my typing is horrible. I an also very tired and very jet lagged.
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Oct 14th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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of course i knew you were kidding- i should know your sense of humor by now!! in about 94 hours, i will be pacing the Honolulu airport waiting for my flight to Oakland, then around 34 hours from then i board the plane for the trip to Africa!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Like I'm not jealous enough already having just read a trip report that I need to be reminded another one of you will soon be swanning off to the contintent of my dreams!
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Oct 14th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Oh and I meant to add a to that!

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