Well, hello there. I do hope that you are fabulously well and are sitting comfortably ready for this week’s news as we hear from David and Penny Marsh who used to be very regular guests whom we hadn’t seen for many years. But after a 10-year break from safaris we were excited about having them back to visit and so today we are going to hear all about their trip with us. David and Penny over to you:
“After 10 years we were back in South Luangwa. This time for a photographic safari led by Edward Selfe, staying with Robin Pope Safaris at Luangwa River Camp and Nkwali. I had looked after the RPS website for nearly 15 years, and it was good to find the same (or better) high standard of welcome, and to catch up with so many friends. In the park in the “Emerald Season”, the lush green and clear dust-free light are amazing.
The aim was to be out in the park at first light and find photographic opportunities in the early mornings and to improve our skills at photographing cats, dogs and of course birds. Edward excels at anticipating where the animals may move and at positioning the car so that we are ready when they come toward us, ideally, positioned with a perfect background.
There were lions on the first day, and several sightings of leopard and when the predators were hiding there was abundant bird life and the challenge of seeing how many lilac breasted roller shots could be captured on a single frame.
We were lucky enough to see the Manzi pack of wild dogs who were still a little leaderless following the loss of their alpha female, but they are still looking healthy and are obviously hunting successfully. We found them first running round in a circle before disappearing into the bush away from all the hopeful vehicles.
And then again two days later there was a brief moment of chaos while impala leapt across a narrow track hotly pursued by a few dogs. Flash, and they were gone.
The guess was that they were moving south and indeed we (or rather Edward) found them the next day resting in the shade.
Two more days of fruitless searching before, on our last day, Edward spotted fresh dog tracks near the single baobab, and round the corner there they were, active and socialising before settling down to sleep.
Having decided to extend a little after our time with Ed the following afternoon we went out with Perry. The dogs were still sleeping so we did a bit of bird watching on the road towards the twin baobabs. Then suddenly, the dogs were there at the top of the road, fully awake and in hunting mode, running at full speed towards us, looking this side and that in search of dinner.
By the time we got the car moving they were gone followed by two vehicles, one of which soon returned having obviously lost the dogs to the bush. None the less we set off and were driving along a road with a slightly elevated view across a plain on the left (where we had had coffee only that morning) when Perry saw the full pack of 14 dogs chasing after a herd of impala, who scattered in all directions as the dogs, all but one, followed until out of our sight.
Alerted by the call of a distressed impala we reversed and went to where we had first seen the pack and found a single dog feasting alone on a fresh impala. Unusually he (or she?) made no attempt to call in the rest of the pack and was stuffing its face as fast as it could, watched on by two vultures and an elephant. Eventually it sloped off to find the rest of the pack leaving the vultures to the only half-eaten carcass.
The lesson of the story: let sleeping dogs lie; go birding, and with luck they will come running your way!”
Wow, how wonderful David and Penny, thank you so very much for sharing these incredible moments with us! We look forward to seeing you back in the valley soon. As for me, well there is nothing left for me to follow on with. I shall bid you a very fond farewell and hope that you had a fantastic week with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one-another.