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.

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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 16th – 22nd September 2013

Going on an African safari is always the luck of the draw, however there is always something to see whilst at Leopard Lodge as the Kafue National Park has a vast diversity of game and bird life.

Sable Antelope Kafue National ParkGuests returning from an afternoon game drive having seen Sable Antelope, Hartebeest, Wild cats, Bush Babies and White Tailed Mongoose couldn’t believe their eyes when a lioness walked through camp right past where we were having dinner.

The next day shortly after leaving the lodge on a game drive, with the same guests, we came across 3 cheetah hunting Kudus.

Cheetah Kafue National ParkA cheetah by itself would not generally try take an animal the size of a fully grown Kudu, but with three of them they had a chance. We managed to watch them for about an hour; just when we thought the cheetah were going to get lucky the Kudu, moved off quickly into thick bush and cheetah gave up.

That evening back in the camp, to our guests’ disbelief, we once again saw the lioness. In our flashlight we could see her coming from our furthest Chalet. Once passed all our Chalets she turned, to our guests relief, to the parking area where she disappeared in the dark.

They weren’t the only guests to be extremely lucky and also saw lions in camp. Lions visited the camp regularly even during our next guests stay. They also had the wonderful experience on Friday evening when the monkeys and baboons went absolutely crazy, barking loudly. This was their alarm call, letting all for miles around know of an approaching danger.

We then heard the distinctive call of a leopard and we then knew why everybody was so on edge. As the leopard was calling we knew it was not hunting but communicating to other leopard. We took our open safari vehicle out and searched the area, but unfortunately we couldn’t find it or another leopard it was trying to find,

Rangers Diary 9th – 15th September 2013

Kafue National Park

Spring in the Kafue National Park

Lions have visited the lodge regularly this week visit. The Lions sometimes walked quietly through the camp and their presence only noticed by footprints in the morning. However they often draw attention to themselves by roaring as they pass through or whilst resting at different points around the lodge.

The alarm call of a puku woke me one night and with a spot light I could see a lioness close to a chalet and another lying close to our carport. Their plan to catch a puku had been ruined as the puku had discovered them in time.

Another night this week, a loud roar, very close by, got me up and I looked out of my room, but couldn’t see anything a lion must have been just down on the river bank out of sight. The following morning the tracks and vultures told the story of the nights activities.

Lion Kill Kafue National ParkJust meters away from our dining area down on the river bank were vultures and the carcass of a puku. From the tracks we could see that a big male lion had caught it right at our dining area and dragged it a short distance away to feast on it.

One afternoon as the guests were waiting on the deck to go fishing they saw a lion walking on the river bank walking directly towards them, they quickly retreated to the safety of the lodge.

During a bird photographic boat cruise the emphasis on the target species changed drastically as just 500m from the lodge a young male lion and lioness were spotted sleeping under a tree.

It has been a good week for lion, but we must not forget the elephants that we saw on drives, whilst canoeing and on boat cruises, as well as the big bull who spent a couple of hours feeding just outside our reception. The general game has also been plentiful on Fishing in Africagame drives.

Fishing has also been excellent and guests have found it easy pulling in a number of fish from the rich Kafue River.