Office Africa July 2014
August is almost here, it is hard to believe. It means that we are almost halfway through the safari season, it is all going so fast.
The Shentons have sent us a few pictures from Sweden, the weather there has been fabulous and they are spending a lot of time outdoors, together with visiting family and friends.
I’ll start the newsletter with some travel updates. First of all we are proud to announce that we have received our 2014 Trip Advisor CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE. So a big thank you to all of you who are taking the time to post your reviews onto Trip Advisor. It’s never too late to add reviews on Trip Advisor, so for those of you who would like to do so, simply click on the certificate below.Last month we also brought up the new South African Immigration Act 2010 affecting those traveling to or via South Africa with children under the age of 18. The implementation will now be on October 1st, 2014 and South African Airways has a very informative page on their website.
Finally on the travel front, we just received today the unfortunate news that KLM will stop their Amsterdam-Lusaka-Harare flight from October 28th, 2014. We invite you to contact your travel agent if you had any plans of flying with KLM after October 28th.
Now let’s move on to much more exciting updates – there are many!
I’ll start with the lions of course, they’ve kept us busy all month.
The Hollywood pride continued to be very active, hunting and feeding, and raising their cubs. Sightings are too numerous to list individually, but there are a few occasions where the young cubs (there are 9 of them, of various ages) have been… a bit mischievous to say the least!
Back at the end of June, on a morning game drive, one of our guests, Joe, inadvertently dropped the blanket from his seat down onto the ground. This happens, and is in itself pretty irrelevant. Except when the naughty Hollywood kids are around and already too close for the guide to go and collect the blanket. So here’s what happened next…
A few days later, our guide Meyam and Mwamba’s manager, Matt, were with the pride again, when one of the cubs decided to investigate Matt’s boot. A good reason not to wear flip-flops on game drives!
And only a few days ago, it was Sly’s turn to have to deal with one of the cubs – having a go at his side mirror, as you can see here in the picture, courtesy of Ed Selfe.
Here are more pictures of the Hollywood pride, featuring some of the 6 females and 9 cubs.
As for the Mwamba-Kaingo pride, they have been closer to us a bit more in July than they were in June – but they still cover their huge territory at length as they were reported once as far as 20 km inland from Mwamba Bush Camp.
We had a great surprise on July 9th when our guides came across three lionesses, which had been missing from the previous sightings of the pride – and for good reasons. One lioness had 2 very young cubs with her, they were probably going to be introduced to the pride. I was able to capture a few pictures from the video clip, they are not of the best quality, but they may very well be the only pictures of those cubs. Indeed, a week or so later when the pride was spotted inland again, only one cub was found on the sighting.
In the meantime the rest of the pride ventured very close to Kaingo Camp and was heard just before dinner causing some mayhem. Guides and guests jumped in the vehicles and drove less than a kilometer to find the pride on a kudu kill.
The next morning Pat brought his guests back to the kill, to find only some hyenas crunching on bones. But out of the bush came the two Mwamba males (they were not there the night before), too late for dinner! They walked by the hyenas and continued towards the ebony grove and the Luangwa River.
Pat followed them until he could go no further on the beach. To his amazement the males walk straight into the water, and… crossed!
Pat took a great video of all this, which I will edit soon. The lions eventually sank deep in the water, and had to swim, fighting the current to make it across the river!
So now the Mwamba males are on the Nsefu sector! What is going on really? This caused a bit of anguish amongst our guides, but not for long as a few days after that, the males were seen again – back on our side of the river, inland!
We may not know what they were looking for in the Nsefu sector but we know what they did on their return. One of the male (the one with ringworm) was found mating with a female from… the Mwamba-Kapanda pride! Now that’s interesting! The Mwamba-Kapanda pride (the one with the surviving cub from 2013) has hardly been seen since mid-May, except now for this one female.
It’s quite a challenge to keep track of the whereabouts of all these lions really.
As for leopard sightings, they have been great as always. Pat was delighted to find Elliot, the one-eyed leopard. He had been seen once or twice before, but Pat has a long bond with this leopard who is now 5 years old, and it was a real pleasure for him to be able to watch him in the daylight, and see that he was looking healthy.
In the last newsletter I had shared the very first pictures of the young female, Malaika, and her cubs. We have seen her again on several occasions during the month of July. She is a very attentive mother. Here are more pictures including some from our guest Jacques.
One of the highlights of July though is probably the sighting of a pack of 4 wild dogs. Dogs are so unpredictable, it is so rare to see them, and they always appear out of the blue and disappear just as quickly. This was on July 4th, when Pat was the lucky one to bump into the pack, right on the road – when on his morning drive. Luckily for our other guests, the pack decided to rest for the day, and they were seen later in the morning and again in the afternoon.
One of the females has a telemetry collar, as wild dogs are under monitoring by the Zambian Carnivore Program, and the ZCP team reported to us that the next day those same dogs were seen on the Chichele road, which is near the main gate of the park… We were so lucky to have this brief sighting of them.
More recently, on July 18th, Matt & Charlie, our managers at Mwamba Bush Camp, were out to take pictures of the sunrise, when they saw another pack, of 5 wild dogs, walk right past them, and disappear. One of the females was heavily pregnant too, so more wild dogs are on the way! We have sent the picture of this sighting to the ZCP team, but so far, they have not been able to identify the pack, so they may be some new individuals too.
And there is more on the wildlife front!
On July 24, Pat and his guests, started their afternoon drive by crossing the big open area called Lion Plain. They stopped to look at some zebras only to realize that one female in a circle of other females and males was giving birth to a little one. The scene was captured on video, which will be edited soon, but Pat also took some pictures. Along with his guests, they were able to watch the entire birth, all the way to the first steps of the baby zebra.
Well, as for me – most of July was spent in the office. But I don’t complain as we have had our share of visitors, mostly across the river – which explains the distance on the pictures below.
Last month I was talking about our photographic hides, and the sleep out options we offer. Our newest option is the Numbu Plains Sleep Out, for guests staying at Mwamba Bush Camp and I thought it would be great to see some pictures of it. Here they are! For more information and rates, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or inquire with your agent.
I think that’s it for this month! Stay tuned for more stories via our blogs, and our next newsletter will come out at the end of August.