Well, hello there. I hope that you are well and sitting rested after the weekend ready and raring for the wonderful week ahead. Here in the South Luangwa even though the camps are either closing down for the rains or slowing down that doesn’t mean that the animals are taking any notice whatsoever. This week we are hearing from Bianca who managed to make the most of a quiet afternoon in camp and get out into the park. Bianca over to you:
“With only 2 guests in camp and just a few days left of my season there was no holding me back when the guests asked if I wanted to join them on a game drive. Daudi’s gentle nod from the corner confirmed that we were good to go and so dashing back to my room to grab my camera and water bottle we were ready to embrace yet another hot afternoon in the Luangwa. Chilumba had snuck a bottle of sparkling wine into the cooler box for them to enjoy on their last
Luangwa sundowner and having seen the dogs in the morning off we headed in the same direction. Given it had been such a hot day the dogs had barely moved so the plan was simple find the dogs, check they are hot and sleepy, enjoy the game drive and other animals and return to the dogs in a while when the temperature starts to drop.
Enjoying everything that the Luangwa has to offer with herds of elephants, zebras and troops of baboons that can keep me entertained for hours as the babies mess around playing with each other then climbing up small bushes and hanging off upside down. One baby in particular had our attention as it appeared to be white compared to the other darker coloured babies.
We left them and stumble upon an area where a couple of vehicles are parked all facing the small ridge and we wonder if it’s the dogs as we weren’t far from their last known location. A quick look around and we realised it’s a herd of elephants. We decided to go check up on the dogs. When we got there they had already moved off but soon found them having just moved location for yet another snooze. As the sun was starting to reach a certain angle in the sky, we decided to move off a little and stop for sundowners with the dogs far away so as not to disturb but close enough that we can just make out if they decided to get up and move off. We all leapt out the car to enjoy a well-deserved drink.
Best laid plans and all that and no sooner had we got out the car than some of the dogs started getting up to play with each other, typical wild dog behaviour, before heading out for a hunt. The dynamics in a pack of wild dogs always fascinates me. They started moving toward a bigger open area, we knew there were elephants there and wondered what was going to happen. One dog moved to the left side of the road where the elephants were and stood there as though it was wondering where to go, and the rest of the pack headed to the right and straight towards a small ridge with thickets, so we pulled to the side of the road to watch what was going to happen.
Then Chilumba said “look they’re hunting”. A quick grab of cameras and all you could hear was cameras clicking away and the ‘ooh & aah’ of everyone around. The dogs that went to the right moved in a circle, knowing there were impala behind the thickets that we couldn’t see and chased them into the open area where the other dog waited. As the impala approached him with the others strong on his heels it was up to this one dog to grab on to the fleeing impala. He missed! Almost instantly you see the rest of the pack give up, but the one dog kept chasing it into the sunset. We drove a little bit in that direction but didn’t see them, then I spotted him running back towards the rest of the pack in the distance. A failed hunting attempt.
The dogs settled in the short grass in the open area close to the vehicle and the herd of elephants in the background seem to be moving in their direction. The dog that continued the chase on the impala seemed to want some extra run time, he probably didn’t get his steps in for the day, and pushed his luck with one elephant who promptly chased him away. This happened about four times while the herd of elephants moved towards the thickets. Two adults and three calves hadn’t passed the vehicle yet and the one adult was still showing the wild dog who was boss. As we watched this, an elephant behind the vehicle started trumpeting and crushing bushes, it seemed that one of the calves close to the dogs was hers and she got a little bit stressed. Then they passed the vehicle, and she calmed down.
We headed up to a ridge overlooking the open area where it seemed the dogs had settled and decided to finally have our sundowners.
As if all of this wasn’t enough excitement for one drive, we were then rewarded with a beautiful leopard on our way back into camp but the sighting whilst amazing was brief as in within minutes she had blended into the background, and we could no longer see her.
What an amazing way to end off possibly my last game drive in South Luangwa for 2023. I look forward to my season in 2024 and can’t wait to come back to this amazing place and amazing company.”
Wow, thank you so much Bianca! What an amazing game drive and like you said a fantastic way to end the season. Thanks so much for sharing this and after all that excitement I am left with very little else to report on so instead shall bid you a very fond farewell for today and hope that you have a fabulous week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.