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.

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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.

Rangers Diary 17th – 23rd May

Lots of lion, leopard and cheetah tracks all over the place again this week and early one morning we were fortunate enough to have two lions walking through the lodge grounds.

Then that night when we had just closed-up for the night we saw two lionesses and their 3 cubs wondering into camp. They moved to our parking area, where they lay down.

A leopard has been calling from across the river for a few days now, obviously looking for a mate.

An elephant has moved into the lodge, being here for the last 4 days, just quietly feeding, well not always that quiet, breaking branches. We also came across a breeding herd of elephants on an afternoon game drive.

Rangers Diary 10th – 16th May

Going on a boat cruise, on the Kafue River, in the evenings is really lovely, the bird life is magnificent and we see a lot of animals coming to drink. Crocodiles and hippos can also be seen.

We are seeing lots of cat’s tracks close to lodge so game viewing is going to be excellent soon when the bush thins out.

Elephant are seen regularly and the diversity of game seen whilst on drives has been very good. This has included rarer sightings such as the side-striped jackal and the large-spotted genet.

We were blessed by lions in stereo one morning when a lion started roaring on our side of the river was answered by lions on the other side. It is a lovely sound. Later we found a carcass at the airstrip covered by this time, with vultures. The lions on our side of the river must have had a good feast.

                                                                         

Rangers Diary 4th – 9th May

It is always lovely to see all the different animals that get attracted to the lodge grounds to feed or as in the case of our resident lions to see if there is anything to catch, to rest up or just pass through.

This week apart from the daily visits of Impala, Puku, warthogs, monkeys and baboons, we also had elephants, which were around reception, they then moved past the chalets where they demolished a tree.

Elephants Kafue National ParkWe had a lovely sighting of a breeding herd of elephants on a boat cruise one evening; the whole herd was busy drinking from the Kafue River.

Max, the hippo that often visits the lodge at night to graze on our lush short grass has also been around.

Lions have been roaring from across the river, but we haven’t been lucky enough to see them this week yet. Our resident lions have also been quiet, however we did find a dead waterbuck on the road near the entrance to the lodge. The vultures were already in the trees surrounding the carcass. So obviously they are around.

The birding has been good and some of the birds we have seen are Wattle Crane, African Fish Eagle, African Darter, African Fin Foot, Pied Kingfisher, Open Bill Stork, White-fronted Bee eater, Pied Wagtail.

Cheetah tracks were also seen, which were followed without success. in the main road going to the gravel pit then turned going into our camp, we followed the track to the small bridge where we lost the direction.

Rangers Diary 26th April – 03th May 2014

Autumn is in the air. Though most of the trees are still green and some still have plenty of fruit for the monkeys and birds others are losing their leaves. The grass is beginning to turn beige colour a sure sign winter is just around the corner.

With every day break the birds greet the morning with their songs and the Turacos are always around the camp as well as the Fish Eagles.

On Wednesday morning we found fresh tracks of lions at our storeroom, they had ventured into camp just before dawn and the camp noises must have disturbed them and they had recently wandered off.

We have seen a lot of elephants this week and a lot have been in camp. One afternoon we had a whole breeding herd next to our storeroom and close to the chalets. They stayed in our immediate surrounds for about 3 days.

Another nice sized herd was seen across the river, when they came down to drink.

Both leopards and lions have been heard calling from across the river most nights. One leopard called for about half an hour, to the disgust of the monkeys, which sent alarm calls throughout the bush.

One of our staff returning from checking the water tank walked into a leopard, just above the lodge.

The bush still dense, making game viewing difficult, but this will improve from now on as the bush begins to dry out.

 

Rangers Diary 20th – 26th April 2014

On a short walking safari we saw fresh tracks of lions with cubs, cheetahs and hyena, but unfortunately not the animals themselves. We walked to the natural hot spring where we found the breeding herd of elephants, that have been around the area for the last week, managing to get as close as 10 – 15 meters from them.

The game drives were unfortunately not great as we are still very limited to where we can drive and the bush is still very thick.

The fishing however was not bad and guests managed to catch about 60 fish (Bream and Pike on catch and release). Hippos, crocs and some of the antelopes on the river banks were seen on these fishing excursions.

The birding was also good; some of the birds we saw were: Green Backed Heron, Purple Crested Turaco, African Grey Hornbill, Hammerkop, Fish eagles, African Jacana, Saddle Bill Stork, African Darter, Pied Kingfisher, and Giant Kingfisher.

On the Tuesday after the weekend, Ginger, our resident lion, wandered through camp. Unfortunately some of our guests had already checked-out.

Well this is how things happened in the bush. You can never tell when the animals will be around. But for sure they are there.

Rangers Diary 13th – 19th April 2014

Elephant Kafue National ParkA large breeding herd of elephant that when we first saw them caused us to sit for some length while they crossed the road in front of us. They stayed in the area for a number of days and we were fortunate to see them often.They also came very close to the lodge on a few occasions.

The Easter weekend started on 18th April 2014 and we were most surprised that the animals were all of a sudden nowhere to be seen. The impalas, pukus, bush buck, warthogs, vervet monkeys and baboons were the only ones around.

Rangers Diary 6th – 12th April 2014

cheetahThe great excitement this week was spotting a cheetah that was hunting, but stopped as soon as it saw us, and quickly moved off. We did a few loops and found a cheetah feeding on an impala it had killed.

The following day going to collect staff I saw our resident lion and his lionesses with 3 cubs. We had seen the mating last year before we closed, so I was so excited to see the cubs.

It was a good drive as I also came across a large herd of sable antelope and roans.

Rangers Diary 30th March – 5th April 2014

Ginger, the lion who regularly visited the lodge, seemed more interested in seeing us as he followed his normal route through the lodge facilities, before disappearing.

The following day early in the morning hour we could hear him roaring to east of the camp coming closer and closer, soon he was in the camp following his normal route.

Lions on both sides of the river have been roaring almost every night and we have also been fortunate to hear leopard.

Rangers Diary 23rd – 29th March 2014

We arrived back to re-open for the year after the raining season to lush bush and the fields green with tall grass. The Plains are still soggy and the roads are still impassable making game drives very difficult as only some few short roads would be available. In places there are small springs where the water still bubbles up.

It was not long before some of the regulars made their presence known. The 2 male lions, we have named Copper and Coin, welcomed us back with their roars from across the river, we were delighted that they were still around.

Our second day back we spotted cheetah on the road to the pontoon. The female is heavily pregnant and surely due shortly.

That night we had three hippos in the camp and a hyena calling nearby.

A day on and the Cheetahs were spotted again on the airstrip and elephant came into the lodge grounds to feed as usual on our mango trees. They didn’t appear to pleased to see us back.

 

 

Rangers Diary 1 – 7 December 2013

Bufalo Kafue National ParkIt has been a long time since we had buffalo in game drive distance of the lodge. Last week I reported that we had seen tracks and this week we saw them. It was a herd of about 200 to 300 animals. It was absolutely wonderful to see them again and what a sight to see so many all together.

We had some incredible sightings this week; this included a herd of 14 sable antelope, a massive herd of Elands and incredibly a herd of 15 Roan Antelope. I am sure you appreciate how rare they are.

leopard Kafue National parkWe came across a fresh leopard kill, but no leopard and felt it had moved off when hearing the noise of the vehicle. We popped back every now and again and got glimpses of the leopard and on one occasion a great view. One of our guests set up a night camera and we are hoping to get pictures, which we can share with you.

Probably, even for me, a once in a lifetime sighting, we came across a female baboon carrying an albino baby – something that hardly ever occurs in nature.

We had another rain storm this week, that of 10mm. The bush is getting more and more dense with new growth and the grass is coming back quickly.