Rangers Diary 12th April – 5th May 2016

We are back after the rainy season. On our arrival the roads were still very wet, the bush was still thick and lush and the grass green and tall.

Elephant in the camp at he car park on 30th April 2016Ever since our return we have had an elephant around the Chalets and in the Lodge grounds.

Our resident hippo, Max, has not moved away and as always he waits until the sun sets before he makes his appearance on the lawn but he also likes to graze around the chalets where the grass is shorter.

It wasn’t long before our pride of lions returned and the big male was accompanied by a young male and a lioness. They lay down, in clear moonlight, for some hours just on the side of the chalet path.

ll lionWe are also hearing the roaring of lions on our side of the river some nights, just behind our furthest chalet,  as well as across the river in the park. Even this very morning lions across the river started roaring for about 3 hours. They are definitely there but in the long grass not very visible.

Leopard’s have also been very vocal, both sides of the river, but they are being very secretive so far. We often see tracks in camp showing that they have passed through.

The Jackals though are daily visitors around the camp at night and on two occasions we have found the tracks of a hyena passing through the camp.

 

fish eagleThe other mammals in and around the camp are the civets, porcupines, the vervet monkeys, baboons, warthogs and our daily common Bush Bucks, Impala’s and Puku’s.

Bird life is still great as the migrants haven’t headed out and fish eagles are often seen on one of the dry branches just across the river from the deck.

It’s just so wonderful to be back in this amazing piece of paradise, come and visit.

Rangers Report August & September 2015

Bome met bloeisels en grasdak 1 Sept 2015 007The last two months has been very windy and now most of the trees have finally lost all their leaves, making game viewing exceptionally good.

Towards the end of September some trees, such as the Pink Jacaranda, started to bloom, giving a pleasant fragrance around camp.

The lodge grounds are full of lion or leopard tracks every morning and their roars and growls can also be heard at night. A lot of the time they just move through unnoticed, but we have been lucky to see some of them, especially when the moon is bright.

At about 1 in the morning one night we could clearly see a lioness and cubs walking up past the chalets towards the dining area, before disappearing out of sight.

Leopard Kill and tracks 003One morning we found drag marks just outside our reception. On closer inspection we could see that a leopard had killed something and had dragged it away. Not too much further we found a dead Puku. We hid away and soon the leopard was back and with amazing effort it pulled the carcass up a tree. Vultures were all over the place and the leopard had quite a job fighting them off.

We also had an amazing sighting of a leopard and a cub walking along the river across from our deck one evening.

048We have had many sightings of both these big cats on game drives as well, and on one occasion we came across a pride of 10 lions feeding off a warthog carcass. This was bettered a week later when we had 11 lions (1 Male lion, 6 Lionesses and 4 cubs) walking past the lodge on the other side of the Kafue River.

Breading herd of elephants across the deck on 3rd Sept 2015Elephants have also not been shy; they are often feeding around camp,
can be seen drinking across the river from us and seen all over. These have been from solitary bulls, to small groups of bulls and even large breeding herds.

It is not only the big game that has been exceptional, as we have seen plenty of general game, the highlights of this are:

  • At this time of the year every mother warthog runs around with a number of piglets in close attention.
  • A rare sighting of 16 Roan Antelope on a few occasions.
  • Plenty of Sable Antelope
  • Max our resident Hippo is often around mowing the lawn in the evenings together with the bushbuck, Impala and Puku’s.
  • Excellent birding and fishing

Reubens Pictures Sept 2015 015One of our guests, and avid bird watcher, managed to spot over 60 different species during her short stay with us. This is definitely a birders paradise.

On top of this she also saw a leopard walking on the river bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth one of our guests recorded 70 different bird species.  They then saw this Leopard on the river bank.

 

 

 

 

 

Other Info:

Rangers Diary 1st – 21st June 2015.

Winter is here on the banks of the Kafue River in the Kafue National Park. Really cold some early mornings but after 09h00 until 17h00 we have wonderful warm weather.

Second Elephant on his way back to the busch 7 June 2015The river is dropping earlier and faster this year and the bush is thinning out making game viewing easier and more spectacular. An example of this is seeing the dominant male Leopard, of the area across the river from the lodge, more and more often, not merely just hearing him.

Leopard on the river bank at 17h46 10June 2015Presently there is also a Leopard that occasionally passes through the lodge. He makes sure that we know he is still around. Just the other morning we found his very fresh dung close to one of our buildings.

Leeuwyfies 12h50 in die kamp by die kombuis en solar kamer 3 Jun 006The Leopards aren’t the only predators passing past and through the lodge. Lions are still regulars and around lunch time one day we had 5 Lionesses chase a warthog passed the kitchen door. We were tripping over each other trying to get safely into the building.

Early one morning, lions killed a Puku in the lodge grounds. In torch light some our staff saw 5 pairs of eyes. After enjoying their kill they went walked off into the bush.

Copper and Coin, the two big lion males, that often frequent the lodge are also still around but mainly at night time. One afternoon whilst enjoying tea on the deck we heard the alarm call of an Impala, swinging around, with cake flying everywhere, we saw them chasing an Impala. The 3 animals disappeared behind some bushes and it sounded as if the lions had caught the impala. But we soon saw them moving behind the trees going in the direction of the pontoon.

The Elephant have been around camp often and a breeding herd drink and bathe regularly across the river from us, which is always a lovely site.

004Max our Hippo is still often on the lawn. His body is full of marks from fights; he must be trying to show his dominance in the area, but as he is always alone it doesn’t appear he is winning. Three nights in a row another male has chased him around camp and between the Chalets.

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Rangers Diary 12th April – 11th May 2015

The amount of lion activity in and around the camp has been incredible and guests have seen them on game drives as well.

We now have a new record at the lodge with 6 lions and a cub in camp at the same time. They were just passing through early one morning.

Elephants Kafue National ParkAlready we are finding that the mornings and evenings are getting cooler and slowly more and more animals, such as impala, bushbuck, warthogs and puku can be seen on at the lodge a definite sign that the bush is drying and winter is on its way.

Elephants are around camp almost every day and we also have had a breeding herd drinking from the Kafue River across from our deck.

lourieBirds during this period: Saddle-billed Storks, Wattled Crane, White-backed vulture, Senegal Coucal, Narina Trogon, Red-crested Korhaan, Martial Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Giant Kingfisher, Pennant-winged nightjar, Red-throated Twinspot. Green Pigeon, Namaqua dove, Emerald spotted Wood-dove, Livingstone’s Turaco, Ground Hornbills, Fish Eagles, Marsh owl.

Rangers Diary: Easter Weekend 2015

Our 2015 safari season has just kicked off over the Easter weekend and what a weekend it was.

It is always great being back at the lodge after the rainy season break. The location right on the banks of Zambia’s Kafue River is stunning and its solitude is just perfect.

All our regular visitors are still around the lodge, such as the small pride of lions, their cubs have grown so much, and “Max” our resident hippo comes almost every day to help us mow the lawn.

We have already had a number of elephants coming to drink from the river across from the lodge and a couple of nights we have heard them breaking branches around the camp. Their mess we happily clean up the following morning.

Our guests over the weekend were also treated to a stunning cheetah sighting. Two cheetah were just lying out in the open, sunning themselves, which gave wonderful photographic opportunities. They were not worried by us at all, it just seemed from their expressions that they were thinking “so you are back”

It’s sometimes the small things in the bush that are really special – like seeing a porcupine sleeping out in the open during the day. These nocturnal animals generally spend the days sleeping in burrows or thick bush.

This is what our clients had to say about their weekend:

“What a wonderful trip and great team here at Leopard-lodge.
Thank you for a memorable Easter weekend. All the Best Paul, Lynn, Ryan and Torie Cowler”.
 Lusaka, Zambia

 

Rangers diary 13th – 24th October 2014

It has been quite an eventful 2 weeks here in Kafue National Park with both elephants and lions.

Basically every day we have had at least an elephant feeding on our trees in the lodge grounds and as normal doing a lot of damage – but they are always a welcome visitor.

Not far from camp, on a game drive, we saw an impala dashing across the road, this was followed by a large lioness. She jogged next to our vehicle, obviously trying to use us to cover her. The impala did get away and the lioness, who was now walking, was joined by another two lionesses and two cubs.

Later in the week we could hear something chewing, it was loud and we assumed that it was a lion that had made a kill in camp again. Well it was lion, but it was across the Kafue River from us.

We could see two young male lions coming down the bank to drink and then they lay in the shade of a big tree. They were joined by a big lioness and more lions of all sizes were visible in the grass.

Taking the boat we went and had a closer view. After some time more lions came to the bank and eventually we counted 9 in total.

Lions and hyenas have been through camp but they moved through during the night and very quietly; only their tracks gave their presence away.

The resident leopard has been a bit quiet during these last couple of weeks and we have heard him just once, when he was calling as he walked out of camp.

Kudus have also now ventured into camp. We have often seen them just outside our grounds, but obviously now they have built up the courage to come in.

Our lawn mower, Max the hippo, has been doing a fine job and works hard every night in keeping our grass nicely trimmed.

Rangers Diary 23rd September – 12th October 2014

Not only is a pride of lions regular visitors to our lodge but we now have a resident male leopard who is being seen around the camp more and more regularly. It has been a month where we really didn’t have to go out on game drives or boat cruises.

Max, our resident hippo is back from a short trip to another feeding spot. His return was welcomed by our ground staff, that were busy getting the lawnmower warmed-up. With the hippos return they would be spared the job of cutting the grass.

Spring is busy fading away. Most of the beautiful flowering trees are now mostly dressed in their new green outfits and full of seeds which the birds and some antelopes are really enjoying. It’s just amazing to see all the trees covered in different shades of green.

The loud, sharp alarm call of an antelope, in the camp, one evening got me investigating. In my strong spotlight I could see three big lionesses with 3 cubs; they were moving down to the river where other lions had dragged a kill. Their victim had been caught just in front of one of our chalets.

DSC_0715The lions fed off the carcass the whole night and following morning. You could hear them chewing and grumbling all the time. Late in the morning two lionesses came up from the river and rested briefly right next to a chalet, before heading back for a further meal.

Having lions often in camp does create interesting times. Late afternoon, before the sun was even beginning to set, 4 big lionesses with Sept -Oct. 2013 0225 cubs walked past our chalets, then past the kitchen before heading to our staff quarters.

The staff was busy having a meal in the open kitchen area at the time. They suddenly saw the lions, but it was too late to do anything. They just sat like statues as the lions went by within 2 to 3 meters of them.

The lions didn’t even stop, just continued walking straight out of camp. So of the staff are now asking for danger pay.

The two big lions across the river from us have been roaring a lot and so much so that at times it has sounded if the world was going to end. It was so loud that one would think they were right outside the chalets. That night none of us could sleep.

Elephant Kafue National ParkElephants are also regulars, day and night. It is mostly bulls, singularly or in small groups, but every now and again we get the breeding herds passing through or very close by the lodge.

On one occasion we were watching a breeding herd of elephants crossing the river, from the opposite side to our side, when halfway across they started trumpeting loudly and turned back. All that we could think of was that they had seen crocodiles and as they had very young calves they were scared for their safety.

Rare but thereBirding has also been great with a lot of the migrants back now as well, some of the rarer bird sightings we have seen are: African Openbill, African Finfoot, Wattled Crane, Black Heron, Schalow’s Turaco, Martial Eagle, Square-tailed Nightjar, Arnott’s Chat, Violet backed Sunbird and Red throated Twin Spot.

 

Book and come soon – you won’t be disappointed

Rangers Diary: 15th August – 23rd September 2014

We can say it again – “We are so lucky; the game viewing has been incredible again this last month.”

ll lionThe two big lion males, that often come into camp, that we have named, Copper and Coin, are still around and still patrol their territory – meaning they come straight through the lodge grounds. Sometimes they even visited us with their lionesses and cubs.

They are not the only lions that we have been fortunate to see and guests this month have been threated to numerous sightings. Some guests even managed to see 9 lions during their short stay.

ll leopardThe same big male Leopard has been seen on the river bank across from our deck at least 6 times during the month. He has also been seen on game drives, on a kill, on more than 4 occasions and twice during night drives.

In the camp we often see the tracks of leopards and we hear them call, but don’t often see them. One night, just after midnight, we heard a leopard in camp and those that were lucky enough to still be awake managed to see him.

There seems to be a continual flow of elephants to our area. Sometimes just big bulls moving solitary, other times in small groups of 2-4 bulls. Breeding herds have also blessed us with their presence.

Oktober 30 002We thought we had hit the jackpot when we had two breeding herds drinking at the same time across the river, until on one occasion we had a herd of around 150 animals come to drink and cool themselves off in the water – an absolute amazing sight.

When elephants come into the lodge their “average night stay” is about 4. They do a lot of damage to the lodge trees and plants, but are lovely guests to have.

Wild dogs have also moved through the area and we were fortunate to see them on two occasions.

General game viewing has also been great, with plenty of zebra, kudu, sable, hartebeest, reedbuck and oribi. The impala, puku and impala are always in camp.

IMG_0487There are plenty of hippos in the river and they often congregate in front of the lodge. Our resident hippo spent the first two weeks of this month with us, but has moved off to another grazing ground at the moment. We hope he will return soon to mow our lawn, as the grass is getting a bit long.

Other animals that were seen were white tailed mongoose, African civets, large spotted genets, bush babies and porcupines.

Birding – let me just say amazing.

Rangers Diary 22nd July – 14th August 2014

Game viewing has been excellent over this last month with leopards seen from our deck, lions wondering through the lodge and elephants seen all over.

Early one morning we heard a grumbling noise from behind one of the staff houses and we soon realised it was the sound of lions feeding.

We were sure that it was the regular pride, of a male, 2 females and 3 cubs as they had been in camp for the last 4 nights and their tracks headed in that direction.

The situation was too dangerous to investigate, but they must have caught something big as they fed for the whole day.

Elephants Kafue National ParkElephants have been seen all over with one group of guests seeing at least 7 groups and were mocked charged a few times as the cows were protecting their youngsters.

The same guests also saw elephants twice whilst on a boat cruise.

Sable Antelope Kafue National ParkSable Antelope have been seen on a number of occasions not far from the lodge and on one occasion we saw a herd of 16. These magnificent animals with their black backs, white bellies and curved horns are great to see.

Lions kafue National ParkDuring one game drive in the Kafue National Park we were so fortunate with lions. We first came across a pride 8 Lions feasting on their waterbuck kill. Later we came across Copper and Coin (or resident lions) plus another 3 Lions (13 Lions on one drive).

We have even been lucky to see Leopards on game drive and from the Lodge’s deck we saw leopard twice walking on the other side of the Kafue River in the grass.

When we came across Crocodiles eating on the hippo carcass I thought that was the last of Max – the hippo that visited the lodge most nights last year, but up to this stage hadn’t appeared at all this year.

To our surprise Max returned twelve days ago and is now around every evening and every morning.

Rangers Diary 27th May – 18th June 2014

Animals are once again being draw to the river and the lodge grounds as the dry winter approaches and waterholes and food source dwindle. The evenings nights and mornings are chilly, but the days are wonderful and warm.

Elephants Kafue National ParkElephants are common visitors to the lodge and are breaking a lot of trees in and around the camp. We even had a breeding herd of about 15 elephants in camp, which stayed for about 2 days. They were the worst culprits for breaking trees, but lovely to see, and wonderful that the mothers trust our presence with their young.

Our green grass is attracting more and more game and we see plenty of Puku, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, Zebra, Hartebeest and Bushbuck feeding on our lawns and scrub.

Lions can be heard most nights roaring from across the river and behind the lodge. We have been reasonably lucky with lion sightings as well. On two occasions we have seen them from our deck as they came down to drink from the bank across the river from us.

Sept -Oct. 2013 022Our regular visiting lion pride still pop in and it is lovely to see how there cubs are growing and getting very naughty as they pull and tug at everything they see.

We have also see a number of lions on game drives in Kafue National Park and fortunate at one time to see 6 big females with 5 cups.

The Leopards are also around. In the middle of the day we sat and watched a leopard drinking water across the river from our deck. We managed to find the leopard again during our evening game drive.

Leopards also come into the lodge grounds, more often than not we just see their tracks, but every now and again we catch a view of them. the leopard drank water across the deck and watched by our room attendant for some few minutes. Then the quests saw the leopard on an evening drive. In the camp we also have a leopard around. Once seen close to the top house and often we see jst the tracks in the camp as they move around mainly at night.

Jackals pop in at night and sometimes their calling fills the sky. Some not so often seen visitors also have been seen such as porcupines, civets and most special we have seen pangolin twice.