Thursday 5th September
Chiphadzuwa is still without Chidwi as she rests in a sausage tree at Fish Eagle loop. She appears alert and Patrick thinks she may wait until later into the night to hunt.
As Patrick’s drive continues, he finds a pack of 13 wild dogs on the move inland. The dogs squeal and play as they cover ground. Their trots are relaxed indicating that they are on their way to find a place of rest for the night.
Friday 6th September
Nine females from the Kapanda Pride are spotted with one nomad male, the 10 lions are resting at hippo lagoon full-bellied. No evidence of a kill close by, they must have left the site of the successful hunt. Syl quickly notices that one of the females and her cub are seriously injured. What’s more, two cubs are missing. Syl and his guest leave the scene without answers to their questions about the cubs. We hope they are well and safe.
Saturday 7th September
Hendrix finds himself surveying the occupants of the Mwamba River, his efforts pay off because an unknown female leopard is with a kill, unfortunately, they miss the event by minutes as the leopard has only just begun attempting to make the kill lighter before taking it to refuge up a tree. They watch as the leopard feeds and then drags the impala into the lower branches of a lead-wood tree. Safe from lions and hyenas, the leopard feasts into the late afternoon.
A tamarind tree shades our beautifully colourful carnivores as they rest in the mid-day sun. Unusually, the wild dogs are all asleep meaning they are unaware of the company that lays with them. A lone hyena opts into sharing the shade of the tamarind tree with the pack of fierce and feisty dogs- a brave move. Hendrix and guests sit with the dogs plus their company, and it isn’t long until the dogs wake up and quickly become aware of the hyena and take their opportunity to have some fun. The pack harass the lone hyena, he is outnumbered and quickly makes his escape.
Sunday 8th September
This week’s Sunday is apparently dedicated to leopards. Syl and his guests see six different leopards in one day. Chiphadzuwa, of course, graces us with her awe-inspiring presence and then Syl and his guests spend time with four other unknown males and females. One of the males had previously been identified because of a kink in his tail. Twisted all the way around, this leopard was either born with a deformity or had an altercation. Although, no scaring suggests it is a deformity.
Monday 9th September
A buffalo falls victim to the sticky mud that the Luangwa Valley is infamous for. A slow, terrifying way to lose a life and it was not long until the buffalo was feeding the mouths of our most feared predators. Lodged in the mud themselves, four females and two males quarrel over the meat accompanied by the unpleasant squawks of vultures awaiting their turn on the carcass.
Tuesday 10th September
The Luangwa River glistens in the early morning light, the water shines and sparkles as the wind runs along it and the early morning sun reflects like stars. The Luangwa Valley really is showing off today because the M-K ladies lie on the beach warming up, ready for a typical lions day- sleeping and hunting.
Chiphadzuwa is also having a lazier start to the day, Patrick finds the lovely leopard in and out of sleep in a sausage tree.
Wednesday 11th September
The alarm call of a baboon is often a telltale sign that a leopard is in the area. Hendrix hears the calls and immediately turns the vehicle around to follow the noise and investigate. At the scene, Hendrix and his guest find an old male leopard, a hyena and the barking baboons. Neither the hyena nor the leopard were active and neither were disturbed by the calls. The once beautiful large male leopard appeared to be in the final stages of his life. His face and back legs balding, it was hard for Hendrix and his guest to see this graceful cat on its ways out.