Zam to Zim

August 21, 2016 - Victoria Falls & Hwange National Park

We depart Kafue and fly to Victoria Falls.  Our local guide is all too eager to share his encyclopedic knowledge of Dr. David Livingstone, which could take up to three hours if we indulge him.   We opt for the short version...

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On the way to camp we encounter the first of many elephant herds. 

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 Zebras in love. 

Zebras in love. 

 A rare treat--baby ostriches. 

A rare treat--baby ostriches. 

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 Sometimes, I swear, it was like the animals posed for us. 

Sometimes, I swear, it was like the animals posed for us. 

 A horn-billed something or other.  Or as I like like to call him, Angry Bird. 

A horn-billed something or other.  Or as I like like to call him, Angry Bird. 

 "We all get along just fine together." 

"We all get along just fine together." 

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Coalition

August 20, 2016 - Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park, Zambia 

When male lions work together, they form a coalition.  These two fellas where a part of the same pride as the lioness (aka The Killing Machine) and her cubs.

 When members of a coalition first meet up they rub heads together.

When members of a coalition first meet up they rub heads together.

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 This is called "flehmening" which is what some animals do when they investigate a smell of interest.  They can detect pheromones and sexual readiness of potential mates. 

This is called "flehmening" which is what some animals do when they investigate a smell of interest.  They can detect pheromones and sexual readiness of potential mates. 

 The Lion King. 

The Lion King. 

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 I love this shot. 

I love this shot. 

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Morning Over the Plains

August 20, 2016 - Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park, Zambia

The "wakey-wakey" call is 5:15 am for those of us going up in the balloon.  We are a bit delayed by The Killing Machine and her cubs--they are standing at the edge of camp, no more than 10 feet from us.  Two adult males swing by as well.  We'll see them in action later in the day.

 Sunrise. 

Sunrise. 

 Water is life. 

Water is life. 

 A controlled fire burn. 

A controlled fire burn. 

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 Hippos are hard to photograph. 

Hippos are hard to photograph. 

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The Killing Machine

August 19, 2016 - Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park, Zambia

We spend the morning stalking lions.  The guides at BBC refer to one particular lioness as The Killing Machine given how consistently successful she is at hunting prey in the concession.  We find her along with her two sub-adult males.  The cubs remain close by and practice their hunting moves on each other while she watches the plains for weak and slow prey.   We are on the verge of seeing her take a puku or a lechwe, but one young lion blows the hunt by getting to close to mom, tipping the herd off.

 The Killing Machine. 

The Killing Machine. 

 Ready, set, go! 

Ready, set, go! 

 Leapin' lion. 

Leapin' lion. 

 Play. 

Play. 

 Practicing the hunt. 

Practicing the hunt. 

 Takedown! 

Takedown! 

 This is how it is done. 

This is how it is done. 

 Brothers. 

Brothers. 

 Watching and waiting... 

Watching and waiting... 

 Playtime is over. 

Playtime is over. 

The Welcome Crew

August 18, 2016 - Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park, Zambia

Newton picks us up from the airstrip and we drive 30 mins or so to Busanga Bush Camp. Along the way we see many different species of antelope, including sable, lechwe and puku.

 The buggy ride with Bill as navigator. I left out the part where we swatted away the tsetse flies.  Painful little buggers...

The buggy ride with Bill as navigator. I left out the part where we swatted away the tsetse flies.  Painful little buggers...

 Black sable. 

Black sable. 

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 See those rock-like formations? Those are termite mounds.  And the tree in the back is actually an island when the plains flood during the rainy season.

See those rock-like formations? Those are termite mounds.  And the tree in the back is actually an island when the plains flood during the rainy season.

 Puku on the move. 

Puku on the move. 

 The first elephant (aka Ellies), but not the last.  🐘 

The first elephant (aka Ellies), but not the last.  🐘 

Lusaka to Busanga

August 18, 2016 - Lusaka, Zambia

The journey begins.

During a light breakfast with my Aunt Shannon and Uncle Bill we meet our NatHab guide, Thuto. I'll (at best) retain about 25% of what Thuto points out over the coming days. And when it comes to the birds, well, let's just say that I'll never become a birder.  😏

 You gotta love the handwritten boarding passes. 

You gotta love the handwritten boarding passes. 

 Our awesome pilot.  

Our awesome pilot.  

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 The airstrip near Busanga Bush Camp (BBC). 

The airstrip near Busanga Bush Camp (BBC).