June 13: Kapamba Remote Bush Camp (Bush Camp Company)
The Bush Camp Company, the same people who operate Mfuwe Lodge, operate six remote bush camps along the Luangwa and Kapamba Rivers as one drives further south. With incredible game viewing en route, we arrive at Kapamba Remote Bush Camp, located on the banks of the Kapamba River, one of the tributaries that flow into the Luangwa. This unique camp consists of only four chalets overlooking the river. By the way, the river can be crossed fairly easily by foot because the water levels have gone down significantly in the last few weeks, as we enter the “dry season.”
June 14: Kapamba Remote Bush Camp
This part of the South Luangwa National Park is known for the walking safari. Our experienced safari walking guide Mishek explained to the group the finer details of ecology that involves a lot of poop! Seriously, one can discern everything about the animal species, their mating rituals, health, and direction they are migrating to, simply by observing their waste…
Game walks are always managed carefully with an armed scout and an experienced guide who can “read” animal movements and respect their boundaries. In this particular walk, we managed to see four elephants grazing approximately a hundred feet away, who were well aware of our presence as long as we kept quiet and did not make sudden movements.
I cannot emphasize enough that while a safari from a vehicle is equally spectacular, it often leaves out the smaller stuff like the “small five” (Ant Lion, Four Toad Elephant Shrew, Red Billed Buffalo Weaver, Rhino Beetle, and Leopard Tortoise) and the “green five” (Elephant Grass, Leopard Orchid, Rhino Thistle, Buffalo Thorn, and Lion Tail) which are best seen on foot. These genuine immersion experiences are not to be missed. The walking safari is an easy stroll, but you need to have a good pair of sneakers. You should also be willing to scramble a bit over uneven ground, deep ruts, and squat to avoid low hanging branches…
June 16: Buffalo Kill and a Spotted Hyena!
Returning from Kapamba, about 0.5 kms from Mfuwe Lodge, Jason (guide) spots vultures hovering overhead. Sensing a kill near by, we come upon eight lionesses and young males who have just completed gorging on a full grown adult Cape Buffalo. They must have pulled down this beast in the early hours and by the time we got to them, it had been several hours of feasting as the inside of the buffalo had been hollowed out (pretty disgusting!). The cats were seen lounging and panting as they digested the meal. Considering how extended their bellies were, we assumed that the next hunt isn’t scheduled for at least two more days. Lazy days ahead…
The last evening game drive in South Luangwa proved to be fruitful. After seven game drives in six days, Steve (the spotter) finally heard the call of a spotted Hyena. We were wondering when we would see this ugly (yet magnificent) scavenger! After following the yipping for a few minutes, one was seen scavenging around. Spotted Hyenas hunt in packs and often steal food from the lions, who, unlike leopards, do not have the luxury of storing their kill on trees. The hyena is powerfully built and his jaws can crack through thick thigh bones. Hyenas are scavengers and therefore the garbage collectors of the African bush leaving no trace of a kill after a few hours.
About the author: Rumit Mehta is the founder of Immersion Journeys, an award winning specialty boutique tour company, focusing on customized leisure, adventure and academic tours to Africa and South Asia. He is also a guest blogger for Africa.com.