Zambia - Bushcamp Company Trip - Photos

Sep 20th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Zambia - Bushcamp Company Trip - Photos

I have just returned from an outstanding trip to Zambia and I stayed at Mfuwe Lodge and 3 of the Bushcamp Company's remote bush camps. I will be posting a full report, but in the iterim here are 2 sets of photos:

Wildlife Photos

Photos of the Accomodations

If anyone has trouble entering the Ofoto site from above I can send you an invite.

In summary the wildlife viewing, accomodations, food and staff at all the camps were superb!!

Wildlife Biologist - you will be very happy with the wildlife concentration and accomodations. Unfortunately, I did not see any wild dogs. The guides all told me there were numerous spottings of wild dogs around Bilimungwe and Chendeni in July but not many recently.

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 20th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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Hi GreenDrake, welcome back and glad you had such a great trip.
When I saw the photo of the lion, I thought, "I know him! (and his crony). I think we saw two of these females, too.
Can't wait to hear your report. Too bad the dogs had moved, I guess you'll have to go back...
tashak is offline  
Sep 20th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the photos!

Although the answers will probably be in that extensive trip report that I am sure is already on its way I do have a couple questions.

How did you find the daytime temperatures? I am considering a visit around the same time next year and may want to again stay at Kaingo and Chichele. It doesn't matter at Chichele thanks to the air conditioned rooms (the only rooms with A/C that I have been able to find in Zambia or Botswana, at least at the places that hold any interest, whatsoever).

Since you were in South Luangwa at its busiest time, did you ever feel like there were too many vehicles at game spottings?

Did you fly on Airwaves Airlink? If so, how was your overall experience? If not, which company did your transfer to Mfuwe and what was your overall experience?

Any insiders info, gossip about the other camps, etc., would also be very interesting. (When I was there, for example, Kaingo was not too happy with the Luangwa River Lodge's wealthy owner that would be flown via her helicopter to her newly constructed game lodge nearby and would seemingly do some helicopter game drives around the area).

Please feel free to save the answers for your trip report.


Roccco is offline  
Sep 20th, 2004, 09:56 PM
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GreenDrake: Welcome home and thanks for sharing the great pics. I can't wait to read your write up!

I had heard the dogs were not in the Bilimungwe area as frequently and the Wild Dog trip I will be leading next July has been moved to Kuyenda. Also, I am trying to help raise funds to put a satellite collar on a dog in the pack in that area -- if so we will find their den for certain as we will for a few packs in Kafue. It's great to see the accomodations and fantastic wildlife. Also, I'm interested to hear more about Derek Solomon as I have been working with him on my trip.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 04:41 AM
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Thanks for the kind words!! In response to several questions:

1) Temperatures - It was quite warm and I estimate the temps hit the upper 90s during the middle of the day.(Using my infallible temp. calculation - count the crickets chirps for 14 seconds and add 40 to get temp in Farenheit - try it - it works!)

It was, however, the proverbial dry heat and very tolerable. I did bring along a small battery operated fan to place beside my bed at night and this was the one Western gadget that I am glad I brought. It would,however, cool off considerably in the evenings and by about 3am I found myself actually under the covers. I am not particularly heat tolerant and do not like very hot weather, but found this very tolerable and would not hesitate for a moment to return at this time of year. In the middle of the heat of the day as you know most people and animals were napping. I,however, was too excited by all the wildlife around me and would sit on the veranda and watch the occassional elle, puku,waterbuck,or warthog come up to either the river or lagoons to sip water. Never napped once and then just went into deep hibernation upon return home!!

The other huge plus was I do not recall seeing one single mosquito. We were occassionally buzzed by small "sweat bees" on walks but other than that insects were never a problem. No flies disturbing meals!! It was great. Never even used either the Citronella repellant or DEET I brought.

2) Peak Season - Vehicles At Game Spottings - We would run into a number of other vehicles during game drives from the Mfuwe Lodge. This Lodge is near the entrance and we often ran into vehicles from Flatdogs and Kampani and also a few free lancers. The wildlife concentration around this area, however, was incredible. Once I left this area and moved onto the 3 bush camps I never saw another vehicle or person other than those from our camp.

3)Airwaves - Flights were very smooth and both planes were 20 seaters. I was told they were newer planes and that the weight restriction had been kicked up to 15kg from 12kg.

4)Inside Info on Other Camps - Had heard some conversation about what I believe is "Lion Camp" being purchased by wealthy outsider. Also some consessions in the western part of the park near Bilimungwe had been put up for tender and the last thing the Bushcamp Co. wanted was to have some large lodge put up near their intimate bush camps.

5) Guide Derek Solomon - Solomon is a fitting name as Derek is one wise, knowledgeable guide. Someone here awhile back suggested when unfamiliar with guides to always ask for the birding expert as he will always have a keen understanding of the full ecosystem. Derek sure adds weight to that theory. He was an expert birder and leads birding focused trips. His overall knowlege of animal behavior was excellent and brought many years of experience to the table. I would request his services once again in a heartbeat!

Tashak, I must say your advice to newbies in regards to walking versus drives was right on target!! I ended up walking about 75% of the time and drives 25% of the time and for me this worked great!! Got the close up pics that you can only get in a vehicle and then really enjoyed being on foot, in the elements and away from other vehicles.

The lion pride in the photo, according the guide Keenan, were fairly new to the Mfuwe area and were not the resident pride and he predicted there would soon be a territorial battle between the 2 prides. Just prior to my arrival I was told that 2 lionesses had battled right in the middle of the Mfuwe Lodge grounds and had staff and guests scrambling!!

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 07:01 AM
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GreenDrake: Thanks for the feedback on Derek. For my wild dog safari I am the expert international leader but Derek is our in-country guide for the entire trip. I felt like he was the goods (excellent rep as one of Southern Africa's best - author of 4 bird books) but its great to get confirmation from someone who was with him first hand.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Thanks for sharing the pics!

Derek is an excellent guide isn't he? He was one of the specialists who attended that festival of wildlife in Kenya in April and he ran specialist "Sounds of Africa" safaris with headphones etc to be able to give people sounds of lots more animals and birds than they would encounter whilst out on the drive. I didn't do one of these as I was too busy with other ones but my dad did and enjoyed it and I was able to enjoy Derek's company during some of the meals when we happened to sit at the same table. I think he also lead some of the bush walks. His activities were well thought of.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 02:22 PM
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Great photos Greendrake. Looks like you stayed in some really nice places. Every time someone comes back w/ pics from Zambia, a get a better understanding of why the secret is getting out. Thanks for sharing.

I am especially intrigued by the "African" cable channel. That's all I need. I'd probably never leave the house if that came into being!
Unless of course, it was to return to Africa.
divewop is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 04:41 AM
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Derek Solomon Guide - I did not know he was an author of 4 birding books. I must say I am not surprised. In a flash he could identify species, sex and probably the bird's 2nd cousin by marriage before I even spotted the bird!!!

Kavey your mention of recordings reminds me that once or twice Derke mentioned he wished he had his tape recorder with him to capture some of the bird calls we encounted. This is actually something I want to bring on my next trip. The sounds of the bush are so wild and intoxicating!! I wish I had a small tape recorder to listen to them as I day dream about my next trip.

divewop - Yes I was extremely pleased with every camp I stayed in. They managed to provide some nice creature comforts while not over doing it and still retaining the bush experience. Having a small intitmate group was great - only 4-5 tents/huts per camp.

Yes the Africa Channel will have me hooked. As I mentioned in my photos my best friend is a founder of this startup enterprise and it has the backing of Andrew Young and NBA players Dikembe Motombo and Theo Ratliff. This country really needs to experience the full cultural richness that the African continent offers. We unfortunately only get the occassional wild life show (which I do love) or disaster news/documentary(necessary news but Africa is so much more!!) We seldom see African produced television content featuring history,music, business, social issues and much more.

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 05:43 AM
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We took a video recorder with us alongside our still cameras precisely because I felt that the sound formed such a huge element of the experience. Also because the movement of the animals and birds is difficult to fully capture in still photography, though it can be achieved to a limited extent.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:40 AM
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Derek specializes in the sound work, the only guide I beleive, who utilizes spophisticated special sound equipment -- a dish that catches the sound and multiple headphones can plug in. He has a hydrophone that works with it to listen to underwater communication of hippos (research he is doing)too. I think it is really going to add a unique experince.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:28 PM
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great pictures! It's simply an amazing experience, isn't it?
uhoh_busted is offline  

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