First things first - Conde Nast Traveler has just acknowledged Chiawa Camp as one of Africa's Top Twenty Safari Camps & Lodges, and one of only two from Zambia that made the esteemed list.
I am breaking with tradition...and sharing some recent photos from a client....."A much-travelled Morag was back at Old Mondoro & Chiawa for the 7th time in 10 years, claiming the camps are a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts, thus her stay of 9 nights at Old Mondoro and 6 nights at Chiawa in 2015, which proved to be stunningly productive.
- On the 1st full game drive had a rare sighting of a big rock python who initially disappeared into a hole in a tree just allowing for a small photo of its mid-section. The tree squirrels and small birds had given away its presence.
- As though that were not enough, that same evening 3 leopards (a mother with a son and daughter of about 2 years) killed a big female impala in the darkness.
- Continuing the daily dose of awesome sightings, the next day prodiced 2 well-known big male lions (“Greedy” & “Snare”) on a male waterbuck kill. These 2 lions were first seen by Morag in 2010 and, though no longer pretty faces, were magnificent powerful beasts.
- 3 days later, 4 new male lions (estimated to be around 3 ½ years old) surprised everyone by strolling through open area just beyond the camp sitenje after breakfast. Much delight at more lions in the area even if they were trying to maintain a low profile!
- The very same day another rare occurrence – one of the big bull elephants decided to select his lunch (in precisely the same area where we earlier saw the lions) from a topmost branch and obliged everyone by standing on his hind legs to reach.
- Although there were countless other wonderful sightings including small mammals and birds ranging from Martial eagle to a Malachite kingfisher, the next major events were at Chiawa Camp.
- a night drive produced a pride of 8 lions feasting very noisily on a buffalo. There were there, still eating, arguing and playing the following morning. They were led by an aggressive and very dominant female, but at least 4 of their number were full of boisterous play.
Once again, there were beautiful and impressive sightings but a fantastic scenario played out on the last full day.
- A big crocodile was spotted lurking near a tree, well away from the nearest water hole. Moving around in the vehicle to get shots of him produced a male leopard descending from the tree (and his well-camouflaged impala kill) and running away in thick bush.
- Just as the vehicle was moving off a female leopard strolled into the scene, climbed up the tree, and started to feed off the impala! Many photos were taken, despite the searing midday heat!
- A return was made to the tree in the late afternoon, and the now-sated leopardess stood up and made soft calls into the bush. She climbed down and was met by two tiny cubs, who she moved, before she climbed back up the tree.
- Finally the 2 cubs managed to struggle up the tree (after a few attempts) to join her.
What a fantastic way to end a trip, and what a fantastic trip as well!"