Working in the bush means that you can find yourself in interesting, but scary, situations.
Some housekeeping was needed in a chalet, as three of us approached the chalet a big male lion that was lying just out of sight suddenly flew out at us. Thank goodness it was only a mock charge, just warning us to keep our distance. We did, and spent the rest of the day at the bar.
Two of our staff went to collect the game viewing vehicle which had been left on the opposite bank of the river when guests had returned by boat. They were near the vehicle when two male lions charged at them. Fortunately they were near enough to the vehicle to jump to safety.
One evening just before the guests came for dinner a big male lion appeared right at the restaurant, stood there for awhile then with a low growl warned the two of us standing at the entrance. He then moved off and lay in the long grass just outside of camp. The same time we had two lionesses lying in the parking area.
Rangers Diary: 6th – 12th May 2013
Owing to lions around the camp, almost permanently now, guests found themselves having to stay on the deck during the day as it was too dangerous to walk to the chalets.
A big male lion and a lioness have decided the lodge is just the place for them. In the evenings we need to drive guests to their chalets to ensure they arrive safely. Staff are also resorting to using vehicles and I had a case where the male lion was lying right at the door of my room when I went home one night.
One morning staff took the boat to collect guests from their chalets as lions lay between the chalets and the main buildings. As I came out to wave to the guests the male lion mock charged me from where he and the lioness had spent the night.
Transporting guests to their chalets and back came part of the job for the next few days until the lions moved off for awhile.
With all the excitement happening in camp we did however venture out on game drives to see if we could find other animals apart from lions and were well rewarded with a variety of game, including sable, hartebeest, jackal, civet, wild cat and a stunning leopard sighting.
Guests returning from Jifumpa Village, where you can witness local life, were not far from the lodge when they saw 4 young cheetah right in front of them in the road. Probably the 4 we saw with their mother a couple of weeks back, roughly in the same place.
Rangers Diary 29th April – 5th May 2013
Lions around the camp are still a regular happening and often guests see them from their chalet. One evening guests saw a lioness chase some impala that were feeding on our lawns. The lioness was unsuccessful this time.
Later a big male lion was seen lying peacefully near the bar and four lionesses lying not far away at the solar panels
As if the lions around the camp weren’t enough we saw a pride of 6 lions during an evening game drive.
Guests on a boat cruise saw a massive crocodile, lots of hippo and an elephant close by on the river bank.
On a game drive we found the two male lions that our guests had seen lying on the bank across the river from our deck. With all the lion action in camp they could probably smell the females but do not know how to cross the river.
Lions, lions everywhere. Not only are they all around camp, but guests were totally spoilt by seeing a total of 12 lions at 3 different sightings during a game drive.
Rangers Diary 22nd – 28th April 2013
Coming on duty early one morning I noticed 2 lionesses walking into camp from behind the chalets towards reception. And then at reception they disappeared into the thick bush. But reappeared just on the other side of the reception building before moving off in the direction of the airstrip. A third lioness came from the chalets walked past the restaurant and into the bush, also heading in the direction of the airstrip.
Not far from camp we were very fortunate to find 4 young cheetahs with their mother just walking down the road with the young cheetahs in a playful mood. Chasing and jumping on one another.
The big male lion, we call “Ginger”, that now basically lives at the lodge, has a mate; a beautiful lioness. They move between the chalets and find a comfortable place to rest up.
Whilst the lions were so busy around camp, guests did find the time to sneak out on boat trips and enjoyed the amazing diversity of birdlife which is found in this area. Also seeing hippos and a huge crocodile.
Max, the hippo also showed himself in the evenings when he came to feed on our lawns.
Rangers Diary 15th – 21st April 2013
Elephants, lion and hippo are almost guaranteed now on a daily and nightly basis at the lodge. Our regular male lion visitor one evening went and lay right at the bar. Guests of the lodge are really looked after by our caring staff, but in this case this visitor wasn’t offered a drink.
Game drives have been very rewarding and the Kafue National Park with its massive diversity of game species has been offering some stunning sightings. In particular sable antelope and large herds of eland.
With the river still flowing strongly we are finding canoeing upstream quite hard work so we are generally doing the more relaxed thing and going with the flow. With very little effort we paddle downstream and get a vehicle to pick us up down the river. This is a wonderful way of seeing the many water birds that frequent the area as well as getting to see game coming down to drink.
Rangers Diary 8th – 14th April 2013
One thing about Leopard Lodge is that you don’t actually have to go on game drives to see some amazing game, you can just relax on our deck that extends out over the Kafue River and watch the animals coming down to drink.
Guests thought they were lucky when they saw an elephant across the river, but then, shortly later an elephant came out of the bush near our parking area strolled through camp, passed the deck, where the they were sitting, and went to feed on our mango trees.
With the Park beginning to dry out, more and more elephants have filtered their way back to the river and we are getting daily sightings of them on drives and often in camp.
Our nightly visits by a male lion coincided, on two nights, with a visit by the same elephant bull which was feeding on the mango trees. The first night as the lion roared so the elephant trumpeted, walked through the lodge and disappeared into the bush behind the generator house. The next time the elephant was much more relaxed and just carried on feeding.
Rangers Diary 1st – 7th April 2013
It is wonderful to have the lodge open again after a short break during the wet season and the animals seemed to welcome our return by popping in to visit.
The stunning male lion that visits us frequently, which we have nicknamed “Ginger”, strolled into camp at about 5 in the morning, to the disgust of a herd of impala that were on the lawns. The Impala barked their warning calls continuously. The lion lay down and looked at them for awhile before realizing he had no chance and disappeared into the bush.
For the next few nights he was back every night and found it very comfortable lying next to the swimming pool whilst listening to other lions roaring across the river from our deck.
Our lawns are still filled daily with herds of impala and puku. Warthogs and monkeys are regulars as well. At night “Max” the hippo makes his regular visits to feed on our grass and lies up near the kitchen.