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Safari news October 2014
The rains are in the news at last….
We couldn’t help but repeat a reminder of that clip from last year….the choir drumming up a storm to a rousing and thunderous crescendo! Turn up the volume and smell the rain
Then we received another clip from David Reeler in Harare a few day’s ago – watch and listen to a minute’s worth of downpour in the garden.
Safari news from Zambia
- Mfuwe Lodge is especially known for the herd of elephants which passes through reception every October/November in search of wild mango fruit beyond the lobby. Five years to the day since Wonky Tusk introduced her 2 day old calf “Lord Wellington” to the lodge, he returned with the family to check-in
- So each year Wonky Tusk leads her family through reception and each year wildlife photographer & BBC Big Cat Diary presenter Jonathan Scott visits to lead a safari and photograph this herd in the Luangwa.
- Still in the Luangwa – it doesn’t matter how thick skinned you are, the only way to deal with an itch is to scratch. Andy Hogg shows how the Mfuwe elephants go through their paces from delicate sand bathing to precision-branch-placement to fallen-trunk-rubbing to deal with things. If you need to see this kind of action some time then get on a Luangwa safari.
- An epic battle between 14 lionesses and a young bull elephant was captured by Steve Baker at Chinzombo on the Luangwa River. Watch near the end when the attack is repulsed and the true king of the jungle proves a point. (Although the clip doesn’t show it the bull returns to the herd.)
- Wilderness guide Sam Simunji Simunji has returned to the Busanga Plains of Kafue to witness a new coalition of 4 male lions having ousted the old brotherhood pair known as the Musanza Boys
- Elephants doing circus antics on their hindquarters are a fairly common sighting in Mana Pools but not often seen elsewhere. Wilderness GM Grant Woodrow captured an elephant near Gomoti Tented Camp last week – reaching up an Ilala palm whilst using the tree for extra balance to pull down leaves….all on an iPhone.
- Dry season temperatures have been at a peak at around 40° C at Little Vumbura reported 7 new lion cubs in the Kubu Pride with lots of baby elephants about. Duma Tau and Savuti Camp have had things a bit hotter at around 44º and 46º C with just 5mm of rain to bring some relief. Elephants are all over the show. Predator action is always good at this time of year and the skies have erupted with migrant birds with the woodland kingfisher’s making a very late arrival across the region. But they’re home so the green season is imminent.
- Mike and Marian Myers are living the bush-lover’s dream in Hwange: sleeping out under the stars; test-driving a new GoPro at the new Linkwasha site and at Madison Pan west of Little Makalolo. It’s early days with mixed luck so watch this space in months to come. (read their blog)
- Still with Mike and Marian, earlier in the month they managed to spend time at Nyakasanga with a pack of 23 wild dog adults plus 15 puppies at Ruckomechi. Mana and the lower Zambezi consistently ranks as one of our best spots for wild dog but remember to look into Moremi and Linyanti in June, Selous in July and August or the South Luangwa in the green season from around February to April.
- We’ve been celebrating the onset of summer with jacarandas, flame lily blooms and a butterfly bounty. Special thanks to David Hartung and Sue Christian Bell for their contributions to our seasonal albums.
- The small remaining population of desert adapted elephants of the Kaokoveld is receiving much deserved attention following the loss of 3 elephants in the last 4 months. Arguably the best chance to see them is in the Hoanib valley.
- Andersson’s Camp near Etosha has received just a touch of rain with lots of winds and for the first time ever – elephants taking advantage of the camp waterhole. Desert Rhino Camp has seen big cloud build ups but rains are still to come and the oryx are calving in anticipation of the new season.
- An early migration: Big rains started in the northern Serengeti around 10 October with some big river crossings from the Kenyan side of the Mara River. A few big storms passed over the southern Serengeti drawing the herds down through Seronera as far as Ndutu within 4 weeks. This latter part of the dry season is often the best with lots of unpredictable seasonal changes – which means that we usually get to skip the crowds in the least likely places especially on the mobile trips.
- Rains in Mahale, Lake Tanganyika might have upset the local birds but the chimps still hold centre stage. Here’s a sample of shots from Kate and Cameron having moved from Selous to Greystoke Mahale….read their blog
- Across in Katavi the end of the dry season brings steady droves of game down to the seeps near the Ikuu Ranger Post where the hippos pack the massive mud-wallow to its edges. Nomad camp manager and ace photographer, Mark Sheridan Johnson captured a sample of them….see Mark’s blog for some seriously good wildlife shots.
Jackson Looseyia, renowned conservationist, educator and host of the BBC’s Big Cat Live joined Chris Flatt and Trish Luke across at Bush&Beyond as a private guide last year.
Jackson’s run a few private safaris for us through the years – he’s on call again next year but drop a note soon as he’s doing the rounds with travel trade in the US right now and he’s in demand.
Jackson runs a personal blog which he’s been updating since 2008…follow him!
- Few experiences anywhere in Africa prepare visitors for the southern Omo Valley. It’s an area with extraordinary cultural diversity in which the people here are defiantly traditionalist. You’ll find a typical Omo Valley safari here but there’s a worthwhile gallery across on Facebook.