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Chikoko walking safaris by Patrick Crawford
Game Viewing Diaries / 09 temberSeptember 2018

Chikoko walking safaris by Patrick Crawford

Guide: Alex Phiri | Camp: Chikoko Tree Camp
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Patrick and Allison Crawford enjoyed a 5-day walking safari at Chikoko Trails Camp from the 9 – 13th of September. Both are extremely experienced walkers having visited us 14 times before. Patrick gave an account of what they saw during this period of their safari and shared some of his great photos – thank you Patrick!

Day 1

Walk to Chikoko quiet. A few elephants and two giraffes.

(Genet by day)

Evening Pels fishing owl subadult.

Day 2

Planned walk to Chimbembe, Kankonko abandoned after about 500m – lions calling.

Walk across plain towards Chikoko confluence and find lions in the grass. Mwamba pride who obligingly moved across the plain for us – excellent sighting of the whole pride.

Guide and scout saw a leopard but we did not and we could not find it or the lions again.

Then watched elephant destroying a tamarind tree and all his friends eating all the leaves. Antelope, warthogs also in the picture.

Day 3

Again, a planned walk to Chibembe and on to Kankonko lagoon looking for eland.

At breakfast in camp buffalo and a leopard on the plain. As we walked out warthogs, banded mongoose, puku and impala. Then another leopard (with a short tail) two giraffes, female kudus and then a solitary male kudu. Eight giraffes with water buck and then zebras. Stalked lions on bank of Chibembe River for about 20 minutes and then watched them for about 40 minutes at close quarters. Four male and one female. One female was on the far bank when we first saw her.

One big male swam the Chibembe river as we watched and the three others watched us and also the lions across the river after retreating to the treeline, calling and growling continuously. Best lion sighting ever for us on foot. Close, handsome lions and lots of growling and calling. Didn’t reach Kankonko this time either.

Return walk lots of zebra, a slender mongoose, two giraffes, kudus, elephant with a small calf and warthogs.

Evening was a search for leopard in the morning with kudus barking in the afternoon – not found. No elephants at the crossing but two lions in our path as we approached camp.

An excellent day’s walking.

Day 4

Began with a noisy night with lions and hyena and the leopard calling just outside our house at 1.30

Planned walk to Chibembe and Kankonko lagoon. A very pleasant walk to the lagoon with the expected game and no surprises. Both big and small Kankondo lagoons were dry. Lots of impala, puku and kudus but only one eland who looked to be female. Walk back to camp was different. Usual animals with elephants and giraffes. Two Pels fishing owls in a tree and then flying off (parent and offspring?). Then a really nice leopard in a tree. She stayed for about 15 minutes before descending. At camp after lunch two roan antelope walked across the plain.

Afternoon walk across the plain opposite camp. Lots of antelope, family of banded mongoose and a buffalo herd of about 250 at close quarters. We couldn’t find the hyena with pups but instead found two lions in a winterthorn tree, one high on a branch and looking across the plain for food and the other on the trunk looking at us.

Another outstanding day.

Day 5

Walking out. Saw the hyena with pups and followed two male kudu. Then baboons calling and we rushed to see the baboons chasing a leopard. Encounters with elephants including a lying down sleeping elephant.

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