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Place Category: Trip Reports
I lived in Zambia throughout 1991 and went back twice on holiday. I am still in love with the country, the people and the bush. Mammals were pretty sparse over much of the place, but national parks like Northern Kafue and South Luangwa are world class.
In the early 1990s at least, the emphasis in the parks was on more expensive safari camps and fewer people than in some other bits of the continent. As a result it was not uncommon to spend several hours on morning, evening and night safaris and not see another vehicle. Life was a perpetual adventure there.
I haven’t been there since 1993 and things are bound to have changed, hopefully for the better. But so far as I can tell although the country has enjoyed considerable economic development, the safari experience remains as wild as it ever was.
Two nights August 1993. Not a fantastic spot for mammals, but an interesting place more famous for its Shoebill Storks. Walking across the floating matted vegetation was an experience: like walking on a water bed except every so often I would tread on a weak spot and my leg would disappear down to my thigh. I saw Southern Reedbuck, Black Lechwe, Topi (Tsessebe) and Oribi.
I also drove my buddy’s Landcruiser off the causeway and got it stuck in the swamp which caused considerable difficulty for a few hours and a frosty evening with my girlfriend. But I thought I saw a rat swimming in the swamp and got distracted.
Several days in January 1992 and August 1993. Not much in the way of larger mammals, but with excellent Sitatunga viewing, and a spectacular fruit bat camp each Christmas when a million or so Straw-coloured Fruit Bats take up residence in the forest.
During two short visits to Kasanka I saw South African Galago and Brown Greater Galago, Southern Reedbuck, Kinda (formerly Yellow) Baboon, Puku, Waterbuck, Red (Lichtensein’s) Hartebeest, Bush Duiker, Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Straw-coloured Fruit Bat and Sitatunga.
Northern Kafue (Mufupwa lodge)
Three nights July 91. An excellent area for finding some of the more unusual mammals in Zambia. The guys at the lodge – in 1991 at least – burnt a good deal of the grass around the place which helped the spotlighting no end. This is one of the few places in Zambia where Aardvark are often reported. Not – I hate to say – by me.
During a 3 night stay I saw Kinda Baboon, Leopard, Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, Serval (my first and only sighting in Zambia), White-tailed Mongoose, Angolan Genet, Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku, Lechwe, Waterbuck, Cape Porcupine, Red (Lichtenstein’s) Hartebeest , Roan Antelope, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Blue Wildebeest, Side-striped Jackal, Impala.
A few days during Easter 91. A disappointing trip to Southen Kafue, though it was the worse time of year for game viewing. The end of the wet season means animals are dispersed and the grass is long. That said, I still saw Chacma Baboon, Southern Reedbuck, Burchell’s Zebra Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku,Waterbuck, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Hippo, Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Blue Wildebeest, Rock Hyrax, Impala.
Trips in October 91, December 92 and August 93 – a glorious national park, with few visitors and one hell of a lot of wildlife. Rightly famous for its Leopards, it has a wide collection of interesting wildlife, including some nice mongoose species, and abundant Four-toed Elephant Shews.
During the 15 or so nights I’ve spent in the park I’ve see Giraffe (the Thornicroft subspecies), Angolan (Large spotted) Genet, Yellow Baboon, Leopard (five different sightings in one night!),
Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, White-tailed Mongoose, Meller’s Mongoose (this seems to be one of the few places in Africa where they are regularly reported), Dwarf Mongoose, Common Slender Mongoose, Elephant, Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku, Waterbuck, Cape Porcupine, Hippo, African Civet, Smith’s Bush Squirrel
Four-toed Elephant Shrew (often), Malbrouk (formerly Vervet) Monkey, Blue Wildebeest (Cookson’s subspecies), Spotted Hyena, Red (Lichtenstein’s) Hartebeest, Sharpe’s Grysbok, Bushveld Gerbil (around Chamalandu Camp).
An overnight canoe trip and then three nights at Chiawa Camp both in 1991, During the canoe trip down the Zambezi I saw Elephant, Hippo, Rock Hyrax and Klipspringer.
At the spectacular Chiawa camp I saw Chacma Baboon, Lion, Burchell’s Zebra, Wild Cat, Elephant, Greater Kudu, Bushbuck, Eland, Warthog, African Buffalo, Savanna Hare, Puku, Waterbuck, Cape Porcupine, Hippo, African Civet, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Marsh Mongoose (rare), Vervet Monkey, Spotted Hyena, Impala.