Zambia Forum trip 2012: Feedback & photos




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    Default Zambia Forum trip 2012: Feedback & photos

    This is the thread for all the reports, photos and comments etc about our successful trip to Zambia. We are going to try something new here, which is a joint report, day-by-day.

    -

    The first thing I would say is that it has been my utter privilege and pleasure to travel with a wonderful group of people, who started as complete strangers and ended up as friends-for-life. My huge and heartfelt thanks to all of the following who made it such a wonderful and memorable trip:

    Tony Weaver
    Anne & Stan Weakley
    Judy & Dave Pretorius
    Margaret & Terry Cowan
    Erica & Peter Hutchinson
    Rihana & Andre Botha
    Belinda & Heinz Stegen (so sorry that your mechanicals spoiled things).

    We are all extremely grateful to Linda & Jacques at Mukambi, Pieter du Toit at Kabula, Chris & Charlotte McBride at McBride's camp, Darrell & Adam at Mushingashi, and Linda & Rick at Kaingu for their huge part in our trip. We'll discuss Konkamoya later!! Curt (Sandbug) at the Caprivi Houseboat Lodge gets an honourable mention too for hosting so many of the folks before & after the trip.

    All of us were extremely sorry that ill health prevented Alan and Sue (All-in-One & Pumba Pilot) from joining us, but some of this trip was quite arduous, and quite remote, so you certainly made the right decision.

    Quite a few are still on the road, so it will be a while before everyone is able to post. I'll tidy all the postings into some sensible order when they are made, so fellow-travellers, just post what you like when you like............but just make sure you make it clear which day you are referring to, and where photos were taken.
    I'll take all your posts and put them in the correct days that I have already set out. This will keep all the report/s at the start of the thread, and let all the comments follow on from there.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/23 at 04:44 PM.
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    Oct 1st: Sesheke to Kabula

    First pics (from PretDave)...

    Quote Originally Posted by pretdave View Post
    First photos:
    Video of the drive from Sesheke to Kabula, from Dave:
    http://youtu.be/mUzqJhnePqg
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/24 at 09:15 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    Oct 2nd: Kabula to Mongu

    We left a couple of cars behind at Kabula, and the rest of us headed to Liuwa Plains via Ngonye falls, the second biggest on the Zambezi.

    This day was marred by losing Heinz and Belinda to a broken UJ/ propshaft-through-the-gearbox on the tar road just outside Ngonye Falls. They were towed back to the Falls campsite, and rescue services were alerted, as well as Piet at Kabula and Curt in Katima.

    The breakdown meant we didn't get to Liuwa, but overnighted in Mongu instead.

    Photos:

    Heinz' broken prop-shaft and gearbox, close to Ngonye Falls

    Local helpers at the breakdown

    Group photo at Kabula:
    Back L to R........Me, Andre, Heinz, Terry, Tony, Dave, Peter, Stan, Curt
    Front L to R ......Belinda, Margaret, Judy, Erica, Anne & Silke

    Ngonye Falls

    Sitoti Ferry

    Floodplain scene
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 05:45 PM.
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    Oct 3rd: Mongu to Katoyano, Liuwa

    Very early start, on the road for 6.00. Low range to get out of the campsite, up a big sandy hill.

    Headed from Mongu to Liuwa across the floodplain, and on a ferry at Lealui, which we had to go onto backwards because of a missing engine on the boat.

    Hand-drawn ferry at Kalabo, which had to spin around mid-stream as it had a missing ramp. This meant a difficult reverse-off, and then up a steep soft-sand bank.

    On Liuwa, we battled to find the right track, but once we were on it we headed north via a series of waterholes to our camp at Katoyana, where we showered in an ablution block where all the water was drawn by hand from a well, and carried up a ladder to be tipped into a tank.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 11:20 AM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    Oct 4th: Katoyano to Lyango, Liuwa

    Meandered south today so that our journey tomorrow wouldn't be too arduous.

    Came across a magnificent waterhole, Pelican Pool, which had about 125 crowned cranes, 200 wattled cranes, some pelicans, 500+ collared pratincals, 20 spur-winged geese, 24 spoonbills, some stilts, bataleurs and 4 hyaenas. Put an awning up, had lunch, and spent a couple of hours just watching. 39 Celcius......

    We ended the day by finding the campsite at Lyango, but not realising it, driving a 3 km loop to get back to the same place we'd just been! Beautiful spot in the trees.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 11:38 AM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Oct 5th: Liuwa to Mukambi

    A long day of driving to get off Liuwa Plain, through the tree line, across a couple of ferries, across the Zambezi floodplain being currently wrecked by the Chinese, then after doing fuel & money at mongu, the 4 hours of tar to Mukambi. Their generous welcome and excellent showers were a great blessing after the remote and simple camps on Liuwa.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 12:23 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Oct 6th: Mukambi to Konkamoya

    This was the day down the Spinal Road, the new road down the west bank of the Kafue river in the National Park.

    We really should have set off at dawn if we wanted to see anything, but we had such a long day yesterday getting off Liuwa, that an early start was out of the question. So, we had a late start, and a slow amble down the new road, still under construction. We didn't judge it well, and got into Konkamoya after dark, having seen very little game at all.

    Konkamoya is at the southern tip of Lake Itezhi Tezhi. To say they were unwelcoming and unfriendly would be to put it mildly. However, it is a beautiful spot, and with lots of elephants, and some good birdlife and other stuff in the area, we didn't let their attitude spoil our stay.

    Peter broke the spring of his trailer a few miles from camp when hitting a particularly big bump, but managed to limp in. This made a big difference to their trip, as it meant missing McBride's and Mushingashi to head into Lusaka to get it repaired.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 12:41 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Oct 7th: Konkamoya

    Our first lazy day in camp, with just an afternoon drive with Stan and Tony to the Ngoma teak forest.

    We had a team meeting early on in the day to discuss a change of plan, to break the long journey to McBride's in two......but everyone agreed to an early start and to keep the pace up in an attempt to stick to the same schedule.

    Peter and Erica headed off to Lusaka with their broken spring.

    Sunrise over Itezhi Tezhi
    Morning ellie herd
    Evening ellie herd
    Terry.....Mr Reliable
    A Diffassa waterbuck hiding
    Waterbuck herd
    Waterbuck close up
    Ngoma teak forest
    Tony Weaver doing what he does
    Tony Weaver doing what he does again.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 12:44 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Oct 8th: Konkamoya to McBride's Camp

    The day I have been worried about since I first put the programme together. This was about 420 km, including some really bad roads, and our convoys had never got any great speed going. However, it all turned out well, and we made it to McBride's Camp by early evening, with plenty of light left to set up camp, and watch some Bohm's Bee-eaters in the trees over our tents.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 12:47 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Oct 9th: McBride's Camp

    One of my favourite places in Africa, and with the big bad day getting here out of the way, I felt able to truly relax at last. The rest should be plain sailing......

    Elephants in the camp overnight, and woken early for our boat cruise by a cacophony of bird noises.

    The Kafue has to be the most beautiful river in Africa.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 12:55 PM.
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    Oct 10th: McBride's Camp

    6.00 start for a walk with Chris, but we were met by a scout who said that lions had been spotted not far from camp, and we were to all jump into the game viewing vehicle to go have a look. Stan & Anne took their car as well, as we couldn't all fit.

    The noise of the 2 big males roaring back and forth with the female, only 30 yards away from us, was amazing. The best display of roaring I've ever heard. We spent a few hours with them, as the wandered around before settling for the day, and in the afternoon drove a new anti-poaching track that Chris McB had just put in, where we saw some nice reedbuck.

    We had a big group dinner in the evening after a slide-show by Chris on his world-famous lion research at Savuti in the 70's. It isn't impossible that I might have missed a couple of slides by nodding off for a few seconds.......
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 01:06 PM.
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    Oct 11th: McBride's Camp to Kashokoto Camp, Mushingashi

    6.00 walk with Chris McB. 3 or 4 hours, and it got quite hot. Good walk, with the added drama of the scout forgetting his radio, which meant a long walk home instead of being picked up by vehicle.

    Easy drive to Kashokoto camp, Mushingashi, which is a beautiful spot right by the river. Lazarus made us feel very much at home. We had the place to ourselves, and there was lots of game (ungulates mainly) in the area. A hippo in the river tried to enter our camp in the evening, but was eventually deterred by a few LED Lensers being pointed in his direction.

    I was camping about 2 metres from the water's edge. A gorgeous spot.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 01:34 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    Oct 12th: Kashokoto Camp, Mushingashi

    Early game drive, with lots to see. Lazy middle part of the day, kicking around camp, then I went out again in the afternoon by myself, and was charged a couple of times by a big bull elephant. No pictures I'm afraid.....I was rather busy! The second chase lasted over 200 metres.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 01:43 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

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    Oct 13th: Mushingashi to Mukambi

    Away from the NE corner of the Kafue NP and back to the central area. Excellent stay at Mushingashi, and McBride's too. On our way at the agreed time (7.00)...what a well-oiled machine this team has turned into!!

    There was fuel in Mumbwa this time, to everyone's relief, so we filled up, visited the ATM, then headed along the tar to Mukambi. Whist there, in the evening having dinner in the lodge, the rainy season began, and my mossie-net roof left my bedding soaked.

    Andre & Rihana decided to swap their booked stay on Busanga with Terry and Margaret, which looked like being in both party's interests. We are also expecting to see Erica and Peter again tomorrow at Kaingu after getting new springs for their trailer. We've missed them!!
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 01:52 PM.
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    Oct 14th: Mukambi to Kaingu

    Dried out after the storm, and so set off late for Kaingu. No problem, as it is only about 40km down the river road. However, this took us 4 hours.......lots of twists and turns, roots and rocks, and a few river crossings (dry, but steep).

    We left Andre and Rihana behind to enjoy an extended stay at Mukambi.

    We had a lovely reception at Kaingu from Linda and Rick, the Aussie part-owners and managers. They had organised, as requested, a big meal/ braai etc with cake, for Tony Weaver's 56th birthday. This is just about his favourite place in Africa, and so he was delighted to spend the only night we have there enjoying a birthday celebration, with singing and dancing from the locals.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 02:00 PM.
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    Oct 15th: Kaingu to Mukambi

    Boat trip on a gorgeous and very unusual stretch of the Kafue. The area around Kaingu is rocky, and with lots of inlets and streams, islands etc.

    Then, we all said goodbye to Peter and Erica, who are such great people. There were one or two tears......

    Back up the River road to Mukambi for a lazy afternoon, and preparation for the big trip to Busanga.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 02:31 PM.
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    Oct 16th: Mukambi to Busanga

    The long journey up to Busanga.

    We took a staff member up with us, which helped with the directions (which can be a bit iffy on the plain). The drive took about 7 hours, with a couple of long stops (one to meet the Mukambi vehicle coming down off the plain and to have a Linda-special breakfast).

    Met by Tyrone & the staff at the "car park", we then carried our stuff over the floating grass river and into camp. Everyone was most impressed......ask Anne about the bathrooms!!!

    Excellent afternoon game drive. Tony and Stan, our keen birders, ticked off at least 10 new life-time firsts, including the lesser jakarna, which was a great find. Hundreds of plains animals everywhere.....a truly gorgeous paradise.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 02:42 PM.
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    Oct 17th: Busanga

    This was a ridiculous day. Completely crazy, unbelievable and ridiculous. We had a morning game drive and then a long evening game drive. Amongst many other things today we saw the following:

    -a number of separate lion sightings. So many that we didn't even bother stopping at one in the afternoon.
    -3 different cheetahs, including one on a kill
    -3 different leopard sightings, including 2 cubs at different locations, and an adult up a tree
    -a serval, hunting
    -60 elephants in one herd
    -a civet
    -a white tailed mongoose
    -a hyaena
    -15 sable in a herd
    -a thousand plus red lechwe in one view
    -hundreds of puku
    -a number of herds of roan
    -zebras (uncounted)
    -Lichtenstein's Hartebeeste (uncounted)
    -numerous wonderful birds
    -and.........


    ..........a pack of 14 wild dogs. This included 6 adults and 8 sub-adults, at our best estimate. I have looked for wild dog ever since my first visit to Africa 18 years ago, and this was my first ever sighting. A truly memorable and moving moment.

    Ferrison, our renowned guide (famous amongst birders), said it was his best day of game spotting ever. He spent the day giggling. I spent it with my jaw dragging on the floor.......
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 02:56 PM.
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    Oct 18th: Busanga

    We wanted a quieter day after the long hard drive of yesterday. We also knew we could never top a day like that. We said a sad goodbye to Dave and Judy Pretorius, who had been really great company for the last 3 weeks. Their booking didn't quite tally with the rest of us, but we were glad to know that they had finished on such an amazing day as yesterday. Great people......

    Within 10 minutes of setting off for a morning game drive we had found 4 lions and a herd of 50 elephants.......Busanga is like that.

    The middle of the day was spent lazing around in camp, as always, with another great feast for lunch (Mukambi is famous for its food).

    The evening game drive found another couple of lions, but we mainly spent it at Hippo Pool, a newly accessible area close to camp. All these astounding sightings we had almost entirely to ourselves, with their only being 3 vehicles moving on the Plains at any one time, in a huge area. Busanga is surely in the top 3 of any wildlife destination in all Africa.
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 03:15 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  22. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Suffolk, UK
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    Oct 19th: Busanga to Mukambi

    Said our goodbyes to all the staff at Busanga. They are a credit to themselves, and made our stay exceptional. Whatever you do, if you ever find yourself within 500 miles of the place, you must find a way of getting to Busanga.

    This then turned into a bit of an unexpected day. My 18 year old Hilux never missed a beat the whole way around the trip, on some very bad roads and some difficult tracks......but on the very last day of the trip, 25 miles or so from "home" (Mukambi), I broke the left rear spring. Not just the main leaf, but the 3 leaves below it. This meant that there was nothing retaining the axle in place, so Terry and I had to do a major bush-repair to lash the axle into place, (using a chain and padlock, a stainless steel cable, some fencing wire, and a couple of nylon cargo straps) and then insert a block of wood between the chassis and the bump-stop.....then crawl at 10kph back to Mukambi. This made the trip into a 9 hour saga........My thanks to Terry for his help, and to Anne Stan & Margaret for staying with us and offering water and moral support. This spoiled Stan and Tony's chances of seeing Chaplain's Barbet......but heck, they need an excuse to come to the area again!!
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    Last edited by MikeAG; 2012/10/25 at 05:47 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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