July 2005

Apart from the lions, some recent things of importance and interest are: ROAN ANTELOPE We saw the first Roan antelope since we came here on the West bank in early July, then saw another 2 near the river on the same bank in early August. We hope this means they are increasing in this area. Late last year we saw an adult male Roan on the East bank, and another different, smaller one, also on the East bank in July.

These sightings are very exciting.

A delightful time of year in the bush, with the Sausage Tree blossoms and leaves falling….the ground around the Sausage tree is golden with the leaves, and the maroon blooms make a dash of wonderfully rich colour…but the best thing about this transition is the Bushbuck it attracts. In the camp at the moment we have four female Bushbuck, the mother, her daughter from last year, and this years tiny, fragile baby….and another pregnant female, all coming around the office/library and eating the blossoms, the smell of which is strong, and in the heat of the day, almost overpoweringly sweet! I have watched the bats and nightjars on a bright moonlit night swooping through the Sausage Tree and knocking the blooms down…then by mid-day the next day the Bushbuck are here again, …looking like Haawain girls with the flowers sticking out of their mouths….as they scrunch and eat them up with obvious enjoyment!

19 July 2005

We have just had the most amazing sighting of a male leopard, probably one of the biggest I have ever seen, and he gave us a splendid show, marking his territory, lying down, licking his paws, stalking, (a mock I think, as we couldn’t see anything to stalk!!)….and all in the early morning sunlight, so the colouring was fantastic….just outside the camp!

27 July 2005

We walked north on the East bank of the Kafue River, and saw a herd of thirty Puku right outside our camp, then a young male bushbuck, and because we were so quiet, two great big warthogs walked right up to within a few metres of us…one had absolutely enormous tusks, they finally got our wind, and rushed off, snorting, tails high, in a cloud of dust!!! Then a group of about nine waterbuck, one very big male, with huge horns, then saw about eight Meyers parrots, an Elephant Shrew, who scuttled into his hole very quickly, so only a darting glimpse, then a troupe of vervet monkeys, more warthog, this time a whole family, all on their knees, rooting for delicious rhyzomes…then a Bushbuck female with her tiny fawn, another male Bushbuck, about ten Impala, all young males.. …then a sight, none of us could fathom what it was…a snake killing something? a waterbuck being killed by lions….we had been tracking very fresh lion spoor….no!….What was it? IT was an elephants tail, swishing in a very agitated way, but more amazing than anything was the elephant was lying down….I have NEVER seen anything like it before…we got out of the wind, and then walked around at a safe distance, looking, and there he was, great grey elephant, lying flat on his side, the only thing moving was the tail…at great speed….I thought he may be the very old bull who frequents the area, and may have been dying, but when I went back later in the evening…he was no-where to be seen!!!I have subsequently been reading up on elephants, and they do sometimes lie down to rest…but in all my years of living in the bush, I have never seen that sight….I was amazed!…we continued the walk, and saw more Puku, a Banded Mongoose, about four red-necked Francolin….and then decided we had better get home, as the sun was starting to sink…seeing more Impala, Puku and warthog on the return walk….The elephant had taken our minds off the lions we were tracking!

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