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All Content Bushdrums.com - Striving To Protect Wildlife and Encourage Responsible Tourism Practices http://bushdrums.com Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:17:37 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Hunters Can't Bring Elephant Corpses to U.S http://bushdrums.com/index.php/news/item/3947-hunters-cant-bring-elephant-corpses-to-us http://bushdrums.com/index.php/news/item/3947-hunters-cant-bring-elephant-corpses-to-us

WASHINGTON (CN) - Americans who hunted and killed endangered African elephants in Zambia cannot bring trophies of their prey back home, a federal judge ruled. "Plaintiffs paid a princely sum for the opportunity to shoot African elephants in Zambia and then they wanted to import the animals'...

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News Thu, 01 Sep 2011 21:14:15 +0000
Abseiling & Gorge Swing http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3211-abseiling-?-gorge-swing= http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3211-abseiling-?-gorge-swing=

Abseiling & Gorge Swing in Zambia

High-Wiring in Zambia with Abseiling ZambiaThe latest adventure activities to come to Livingstone and the sheer gorges around Victoria Falls are ideal for them.

The company, Abseil Zambia offers abseiling, gorge swinging, rap jump and cable swing experiences in the deep Batoka gorge.

A platform has been erected on top of the gorge, and the ropes are strung out from safety pegs which have been drilled into the rocks.

Abseiling

The helmeted client is attached to the main rope and safety rope from their harness. Then s/he is gently lowered over the platform. Slowly the rope is let out as the client makes their way down the rock face. Clients improve with each attempt and they can go down as often as time allows.

On reaching the base of the gorge the client has the choice of walking out or being hauled back up. The walk up has been designed as an integral part of the day’s activities. A gentle slope with plenty of rest stops has been chosen. It is a pretty walk, especially now that all the trees are in leaf.

High Wiring, Gorge Swinging and Rap Jumping

This is the world's first commercial High Wire. A cable is spanned across the gorge 135m long and 75m above the ground. A full body harness is attached securely from your back to the cable and you take a running dive off the edge of the cliff. Soar across the deep gorge like a bird in flight.

It costs US$65 for about a full day of abseiling and high wiring, gorge swinging and rap jumping during which time you can have as many turns as you like.

For further details please visit the Website of Abseil Zambia.

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Activities Sun, 23 Jul 2006 00:10:00 +0000
Riverboarding http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3210-riverboarding http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3210-riverboarding

Riverboarding in Zambia

Armed with a body board a wetsuit, a life jacket, a helmet and fins, you will embark on a river journey playing in the currents, charging the rapids and surfing some of the world’s biggest fresh water standing waves.

Riverboarding in ZambiaThe main difference between river surfing and rafting is that you are in charge of your own vessel on the river. Instructors teach and and guide you, but in the end its you who’s taking on the rapids. The attraction to many is the physical freedom and the sense of achievement felt after tackling the Zambezi on your own.

The general rule is anyone over 13 years but they must fit into the equipment adequately. For all the clients it depends on their fitness, water confidence and experience. Anyone who has basic swimming skills, reasonable fitness and most importantly is confident and relaxed in water. Girls love it too! No previous body boarding experience is necessary.

Starting at your arranged pick up, you will be transferred to a rendezvous in Zambia, there you will enjoy healthy snacks, while the guides introduce you to the concept of river surfing and run you through the days programme.

Before venturing to the gorge, the guides will fit your river equipment ensuring maximum comfort and performance.

Riverboarding in ZambiaThen its down to the river for a ten minute safety and river talk, followed by your first plunge into the water where we practice the basic manoeuvres and positions required to river surf.

Once everybody is happy with the equipment, and their new found environment, its out into the main flow to start what many say is a seriously fun day ! The only way up into the Boiling pot below the Victoria Falls, is to swim – the day begins by exploring this amazing environment.

ZAMBEZI RAPIDS This is what this River is really known for and what makes river surfing here such a blast, literally ! Charging into rapids with water crashing around you and punching out the other side to find yourself surfing will undoubtedly be one of your best ever adrenaline rushes.You have the opportunity to take it easy in grade one to four, or if you’re up to it, go hard in Grade Five Zambezi white water !

WAVE SURFING The Zambezi has many sensational standing waves which provide everyone with fantastic surfing. Surfing on a river wave is unique, and a highlight for everyone.

PLAYING The great thing about riversurfing is being able to play in the dynamic currents that rafts can’t. A good example of this is Whirlie Riding – dropping into the zone where the main flow meets an opposite moving current, you drop your board into a vertical position, spinning inside the whirlpool.

SQUIRTS By placing your board under the boil currents, you can feel the power of the water as it takes you down. Through controlling your board angle, you can maintain your depth and cruise under water ! This is optional and for the more adventurous. It’s like flying under water !

SUNDOWNERS After an awesome day of river surfing, it’s time to climb the gorge to enjoy beers and softies at the top before transferring back to Victoria Falls or Livingstone.

 

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Activities Sat, 22 Jul 2006 23:44:00 +0000
Adventure Companies http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3209-adventure-companies http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3209-adventure-companies

Adventure Companies in Zambia

ADVENTURE COMPANY BASE TEL EMAIL
The Zambezi Swing Livingstone Tel: 3-323454

theswing@zamnet.zm

BUNJI JUMPING African Extreme Livingstone Tel:  03 324156 extreme@zamnet.zm
 
Cholwe Adventures Livingstone, Zambezi Tel/Fax:03 321044 cholweadv@zamtel.zm
Mutemwa Camp Lusaka Tel: 03 3213220 remote.africa@satmail.bt.com
Sakazima Island W. Province Tel: 2711 4651534 .
Ndole Bay
Lake Tanganyika
Tel: + 27 (0)12 
 347 2499
sundown@iafrica.com
Nkamba Bay  Lusaka Tel: 01 287291 nkamba@zamnet.zm

HELICOPTERS
FIXED WING
Batoka Sky Livingstone Tel: 03 320058
cell: +263 11 407573
reservations@batokasky.co.zm
Remote Africa Safaris South Luangwa Tel: 01 252163 remote.africa@satmail.bt.com
United Air Charter Livingstone/ Vic Falls
Telefax:  03 323095
uac@zamnet.zm
HORSE TRAILS
Chundukwa Adventure Trails Livingstone Tel: 03 324006 chunduka@zamnet.zm
Chaminuka Private Game Reserve  45 mins north of Lusaka Tel: +260 1 222694 / 225432 chaminuk@aol.com
Lilayi Game Ranch 45 mins south of Lusaka Tel: 01 228682
Fax: 01 222906
Safari Par Excellence Livingstone
 
Tel: +263 13 44726
Cell : +263 11 205 306
safpar@zamnet.zm
KAYAKING Raft Extreme Victoria Falls  Tel: +260 3 324024/323929 grotto@zamnet.zm
HOUSEBOATING Bateleur Siavonga/Kariba Tel: +260 1 511168 eagles@zamnet.zm
Gwembe Safaris Lake Kariba Tel: 032 20021 gwemsaf@zamnet.zm
  Siavonga/Kariba Lusaka,262281 /260989 .
Matusadona Siavonga/Kariba Tel: 01 252518
Tel: 01 511358
.
CANOEING African Experience Lunga River, Kafue NP Tel: 27 11 888 8015 afex@super-hub.com
Cholwe Adventures Livingstone, Zambezi Tel/Fax:03 321044 cholweadv@zamtel.zm
Changa Changa Adventures Luangwa River Tel: +873 763 981 315
Fax: +873 763 981 316
bridge.camp@amosconnect.com
Chundukwa Adventure Trails Livingstone, Zambezi Tel: 03 23235 chunduka@zamnet.zm
Karibu Safaris Lower Zambezi River Tel: +2711 -31-839774 karibusa@iafrica.com
Makora Quest Livingstone, Zambezi Tel:  03 321679 quest@zamnet.zm
River Horse Safaris
The Zambezi Canoe Co.
Lusaka Tel: +263 61 2447 enquiries@riverhorsesafaris.com
Safari Par Excellence Livingstone
 
Tel: +263 13 44726
Cell : +263 11 205 306
safpar@zamnet.zm
Sobek Canoe Adventures Zambezi Gorge and Lower Zambezi Tel: 01 511168 eagles@zamnet.zm 
Tongabezi Livingstone, Lower Zambezi Tel: 03 323235 tonga@zamnet.zm
Tafika Luangwa River Tel: 03 321320 remote.africa@satmail.bt.com
RAFTING
Cholwe Adventures Livingstone, Zambezi Tel/Fax:03 321044 cholweadv@zamtel.zm
Raft Extreme Livingstone  Tel: +260 3 324024/323929 grotto@zamnet.zm
Safari Par Excellence Livingstone
 
Tel: +263 13 44726
Cell : +263 11 205 306
safpar@zamnet.zm
  Tanganyika Lodge Lake Tanganyika Tel: 224616 atd@zamnet.zm
Kalambo Lodge Lake Tanganyika Tel:224616 atd@zamnet.zm

Raft Extreme Livingstone  Tel: +260 3 324024/323929 grotto@zamnet.zm
ZAMBEZI BOAT CRUISES Bwaato Adventures Livingstone Tel: 03 324106  .
Taonga Safaris Livingstone Tel: 03-324081 during working hours,
launch site 03-322508.
Boniface 097-878065 Andrew 097-333184.
taonga@zamnet.zm
Victoria Falls River Safaris Livingstone

Tel: +260 3 324115

Cell: +263 11 230655

riversafaris@zamnet.zm 
Taita Falcon Lodge Batoka Gorge
Victoria Falls

Tel / Fax: 260 3 321850   (office)

 taita-falcon@zamnet.zm
African Horizons Zambia/Botswana Tel: 260 3 323432 ahorizon@zamnet.zm
Cha Cha Cha Safaris Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa Tel: 222257 safaris@chachachasafaris.com 
Hemingways All Zambia
Wheelchair accessible facilities too
Tel +260 3 320 996,
Cell  +26 097 866 492
info@hemingwayszambia.com
Zambia Outdoors All Zambia Telefax: (0)1179 606494 info@zambiaoutdoors.co.uk

 

 

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Activities Sat, 22 Jul 2006 23:29:00 +0000
White-Water Rafting http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3208-white-water-rafting http://bushdrums.com/index.php/kenya/kenyaactivities/item/3208-white-water-rafting

White-Water Rafting in Zambia

White-Water Rafting in ZambiaConsidered one of the best stretches of commercially run river in the world, Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its twenty three whitewater rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller coaster ride along a route carved over millenia by the Great Zambezi.

 

White-Water Rafting in ZambiaThe rapids are run in large rubber rafts, launched from just below the Falls. You can do a half day trip, full day or two day.

When the river is high, March - July, only the last 13 rapids can be done. As the water subsides, from June to February, all 23 are navigable.

White-Water Rafting in ZambiaIf you are keen for the ultimate thrill then a multi-day trip along the Zambezi is it! After a full day of rafting, you'll set up camp in the Batoka Gorge and listen as the wildlife, gaze into the campfire and a down a few cold drinks before you settle in for the night. Rise to a big breakfast, and the crazy adventure starts again! Perfect for a group (4+ persons) travelling together.

Overnight camps are on sandy beaches on the river's edge deep in the gorge.

Please see our Listings for Zambian Adventure Companies for bookings.

 

 

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Activities Sat, 22 Jul 2006 23:17:00 +0000
Zambia Explains Policy Over Sale of Ivory http://bushdrums.com/index.php/news/item/2731-zambia-explains-policy-over-sale-of-ivory http://bushdrums.com/index.php/news/item/2731-zambia-explains-policy-over-sale-of-ivory

Zambia Explains Policy Over Sale Of Ivory

 

Coastweek.com
MArch 19-25, 2010


The Zambian government requires about 10 million U.S dollars annually for conservation of elephants


LUSAKA (Xinhua) -- Zambia has made last minute appeals to other countries to understand the country’s bid to start trading in ivory as member countries of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prepare to make a ruling on whether to allow the country embark on sale of ivory.

The southern African country has since appealed to the countries opposed to the idea of its bid to start trade in elephants, saying the country needs to control its elephant population.

Zambia and Tanzania have applied to down-list the African elephant population from appendix I to II at the on-going Qatar CITES conference but some countries and organization are opposed to the idea.

But Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala told Xinhua on Wednesday morning that some countries opposed to the two countries’ proposal do not even have elephants.

"It is not true for our friends who get money from NGOs (non- governmental organization) from outside to believe that just because they can be funded by outsiders and they plough that money into conservation and that we are also going to give up our sovereignty and fail to make decisions that are good for our people," Namugala said.

Namugala appealed for support as the country makes its last minute effort to persuade CITES to down-list elephant trade, saying the international community should understand the country’s need to embark on elephant trade.

Kenya and other 23 African countries, with the support of the U.S. government and some European countries are reportedly opposed to Zambia and Tanzania’s proposal to sell the ivory, contending the one-off sale of ivory would heighten poaching that will lead to extinction of elephants.

But Namugala said the proposal to embark on elephant trading has been necessitated by the increase in elephant population which has resulted in human-animal conflicts and dismissed assertions the sale would increase poaching.

The Zambian government requires about 10 million U.S dollars annually for conservation of elephants.

Appendix I listing means that the species is threatened with extinction and no commercial activities or exploitation are allowed while appendix II allows for commercial utilization of elephants.

The elephant population was estimated at over 100, 000 from 27, 000 in the early 1980s.

Zambia has currently stockpile of 21.6 tons of ivory which could bring about 4 million dollars if the sale is allowed.

CITES members have been meeting since last Saturday and will on March 25 conclude their meeting when they would make a decision on whether or not to approve the proposal by Zambia and Tanzania to sell their ivory.

Article at:  http://www.coastweek.com/xin190310-03.htm

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News Fri, 19 Mar 2010 18:53:16 +0000
Mosi-o-Tunya Zoological Park http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/320-mosi-o-tunya-zoological-park http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/320-mosi-o-tunya-zoological-park

Mosi-o-Tunya Zoological Park

The Mosi-O-Tunya National Park is situated along the upper Zambezi stretching from and including the Victoria Falls for about 12kms up the Zambezi River above the Falls.

It is only 66 square kilometres but there are plans to extend the park further up river. Because the park is small, it affords a wonderfully relaxing drive alongside the river for much of the circular route and the wide variety of species can be easily seen.

The Park provides a home for numerous antelope species, zebra, giraffe, warthog, a variety of birds and smaller animals.

Elephants cross the Zambezi and freely walk through the park and the surrounding area.

White Rhinos at the Mosi-o-Tunya Zoological ParkThere are several white rhinos, who are breeding successfully in the park. These are the only rhinos to be seen in Zambia as its previously large population has been completely eliminated through poaching.

One can take a pleasant drive around the park in a couple of hours and all the species there should be seen at close range. Since there are no predators, they are very relaxed and afford some excellent photo opportunities.

Visitors can drive their own vehicles through the park or go on organised open vehicle game drives and recently elephant back safaris have been introduced.

 

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National Parks Sat, 22 Jul 2006 22:06:07 +0000
Liuwa Plains National Park http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/319-liuwa-plains-national-park http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/319-liuwa-plains-national-park

Liuwa Plains National Park

This remote park in the far west is pristine wilderness, which to the ardent bush lover, makes it its biggest attraction and the rewards are great.

The game is spread out across the plains and takes some driving around to find. But to come upon a vast herd of blue wildebeest, a prowling wild dog, a dozing pride of lion in this forgotten piece of Africa is especially fascinating because of its completely natural and uncommercialised state. The birdlife is abundant and the very dramatic storms and lightning rising up on the horizon, contrasting with the green and gold grasslands create views of spectacular magnitude and fantastic photographic opportunities.

What to see

In November, with the onset of the rains, the massive herds of blue wildebeest arrive from Angola, traversing the plains in their thousands, very often mingling with zebra along the way or gathering around water holes and pans.

Other unusual antelope found include oribi, red lechwe, steinbuck, duiker, tsessebe and roan. The Jackal, serval, wildcat, wild dog as well as lion and hyena are the predators of the area. Many birds migrate here during the rains and massive flocks of birds can be seen as they migrate south. Some of the more notables are the white bellied bustards, secretary bird, red billed and hottentot teals, crowned and wattled cranes, long tailed whydah, sooty chat, yellow throated longclaw, large flocks of black winged pratincoles around the pans, fish eagle, tawny eagle, marshall eagle, woodland kingfisher, pink throated longclaw. The plains are dotted with woodlands which also make for excellent birding.

When to go

August to December. In November as the rainy season begins, dramatic cloud formations erupt as the storms build, creating spectacular skylines and with the onset of the rains, carpets of flowers explode around the pans. This is also the time when large herds of blue wildebeest migrate across the plains from neighbouring Angola.

Getting there

Liuwa Plain is best accessed via one of three tour operators offering ‘mobile safaris’.

Private access demands at least two 4WD vehicles, complete self sufficiency in terms of fuel, catering and camping supplies as well as a healthy degree of offroad driving experience. Permission for private entry can be obtained from the National Parks and Wildlife Services office at Chilanga (near Lusaka) or Kalabo, the closest town to the plains. Kalabo is also the place to hire a guide. This is essential as it is very easy to get very lost.

The road from Katima Mulilo to Kalabo is fine up to the Nangweshi/Senanga ferry. From that point to Kalabo, estimate two days to do the 180 kilometres - low range driving over very sandy roads. There is no fuel available at Kalabo so carry extra supplies.

Accessing Kalabo from Mongu depends on the seasonal levels of the Zambezi - enquire at Mongu’s port office for available options which range from the Post Boat to two ferries.

 

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National Parks Sat, 22 Jul 2006 21:58:00 +0000
Bangweulu Floodplains http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/318-bangweulu-floodplains http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/318-bangweulu-floodplains

Bangweulu Floodplains

The Great Bangweulu Basin, incorporating the vast Bangweulu Lake and a massive wetland area lies in a shallow depression in the centre of an ancient cratonic platform, the North Zambian Plateau. The basin is fed by 17 principle rivers from a catchment area of 190 000 kms2 , but is drained by only one river, the Luapula.

Bangweulu Floodplains

The area floods in the wet season between November in March, receiving an average annual rainfall of about 1200mm, but 90% of the water entering the system is lost to evapo-transpiration. The resultant effect is that the water level in the centre of the basin varies between one and two meters, causing the floodline to advance and retreat by as much as 45 kilometres at the periphery. It is this seasonal rising and falling of the flood waters that dictates life in the swamps.

Man has inhabited the periphery of the swamp area for hundreds of years as it has always provided a rich source of food. But the area is so incredibly vast, it is largely left to the the multitudes of wildlife that dwell of the rich resources. The current inhabitants of the Northern Province are descendants of a series of emigrations from the Congo Basin.

The earliest settlers were known as the Ba-twa or Wild Men by the more recent arrivals. Formerly they occupied the islands around the confluence of the Chambesi with the Luapula Rivers and lived by fishing and hunting from temporary shelters. Today they have become assimilated into the surrounding tribes building permanent villages, cultivating and speaking the same Bemba language.

Vegetation

Bangweulu FloodplainsThe higher ground surrounding the Bangweulu is dominated by miombo woodland intersected by numerous dambos. The floodplain itself is dominated by grasslands varying in composition according to the depth and duration of annual flooding. For the most part, the swamps consist of areas of open water surrounded by permanent dense stands of Papyrus grass and Phragmites reeds which are only accessible by shallow canoe via an intricate network of narrow channels.

In contrast, the temporarily inundated floodplains, grasslands and woodlands provide for a greater range of vegetation types and as a consequence a greater diversity in the bird an animal species who inhabit these areas at various times of the year.

Numerous termite mounds are scattered over a wide area. They are such a feature of this environment that Livingstone once described the Bangweulu floodplain as "a world of water and anthills." These raised mounds act as small islands safe for any flooding and allow the survival of various tree seedlings. Over time these trees have become well established with the result that a woodland has developed and contains good examples of water berry, Syzygium cordatum, sausage tree Kigelia africana and several figs, to name but a few.

Getting there

The drive to the southern edge of the swamps where Shoebill and Nsobe camps are, takes about 12 hours from Lusaka, the last stretch of 140kms taking six hours. Take the Great North Road from Lusaka, turn right just after Kapiri Mposhi towards Mpika. Take the Samfya/Mansa turning left after Serenje. Turn right 10kms after the Kasanka turnoff, towards the Livingstone memorial and remain on this track, keeping right at the memorial fork, for 70 km, towards the village of Chiundaponde.

Another route is to go directly to the Lavushi Manda turnoff on the Great North road, just below Mpika, which leads straight to Chiundaponde. From the village, make your way to Chikuni Island and then straight ahead to Shoebill Camp or left to Nsobe Camp. You can ask for directions at the WWF camp at Chikuni, as it is very easy to get lost after you leave the village.

If driving, make sure you have adequate fuel and spares as this is an extremely remote part of the country and help is a long way off. It is advisable to let someone know when you are leaving and when you expect to arrive or return. There are radio facilities at Shoebill camp and a National Parks & Wildlife Services office at Chiundaponde.

Access is also by small charter aircraft to an airstrip just on the edge of the swamps.

Sunset at the Bangweulu FloodplainsWhen to go

During the rains (November to March) the insects are more prolific but the birdlife is phenomenal. All trips in and around the swamps are by boat. The Chimbwe floodplain will be inundated and to attempt to drive to Shoebill Island Camp will be impossible. There is a raised causeway leading from the last village before the floodplain, Muwele, to Chikuni. A small banana boat is used to reach the Camp from Chikuni, a trip of 4 kms through tall grasses and reeds.

Depending on the extent of the rain during the summer, the floodplain dries out sufficiently to allow the passage of 4x4 vehicles by mid to late April. It is then possible to observe the black lechwe at close quarters and also to reach another raised causeway that leads to Shoebill camp.

By June/July, much of the floodplain is dry and the lechwe have moved closer towards the permanent swamp and Shoebill Camp. It also becomes possible to take walks from the camp and experience the strange sensation of walking on the floating mats of vegetation which grow on the surface of the once open water. While the number of birds around at this time of year is still extensive, the number of species drops with the departure of the summer migrants.

August is very much the middle of winter in the swamps, and although the daytime temperatures are pleasant it can be extremely cold at nights with temperature dropping to freezing.

Sightseeing

One of the best reasons for coming to this unusual watery wilderness is the remarkable experience of this infinite flat expanse. The views to the horizon seem endless and one imagines one can almost see the curve of the planet. The birdlife is just magnificent and the sight of thousands upon thousands of the endemic black lechwe, unforgettable.

Vast open floodplains, several kilometres wide exist at the periphery of the permanent swamps. These may lie under a blanket of water from a few centimetres to a meter deep from 3 - 6 months a year depending on the extent of the summer rainfall. These shallow waters provide ideal feeding grounds for huge numbers of indigenous birds as well as numerous summer migrants, many who will have travelled the length of Africa to winter-over in the swamps. White and pink backed pelicans, wattled cranes, white storks saddle billed storks, spoonbills and ibises in flocks numbering in the hundreds as well as many species of the smaller waders, are a common but dramatic sight when the waters are rich in small fish, shrimps and snails.

The rare shoebill stork is still found in the Bangweulu FloodplainsOne of the most rare and elusive birds in Africa, the shoebill stork, Balaeniceps rex, which is in fact closer to the pelican family than a stork, favours the Bangweulu swamps as one of their last remaining habitats and during the early months following the rains, this strange looking bird can regularly be seen on the fringe between the permanent swamps and the floodplains.

Other fairly rare birds that are reasonably abundant in the area include the swamp fly-catcher, marsh tchagra, marsh whydah and the white cheeked bee-eater. The ground hornbill and Denham’s bustard are also a common sight as they patrol the grassland for large insects.

The floodplains simply teem with birds including pratincoles, ruff by the thousand, crowned cranes, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers. The shallow waterlines abound with ducks, geese, jacanas, spoonbills, pelicans and occasionally flamingos. Other notables are the slatey egret, black egret and goliath heron. Watch out too for the swamp fly catcher, white cheeked bee-eater and the rosy breasted longclaw.

With wetlands, grasslands and woodlands in such close proximity, a great diversity of birds can be seen in a relatively small area and to date nearly 400 species have been recorded here.

Unique to the floodplains of the Bangweulu swamps is the water loving black lechwe (Kobus lechwe smithemani), which can gather in herds of up to 10 000, following the floodwaters as they recede during the year.

The shy but attractive sitatunga, Tragelaphus spekei, is associated more with denser vegetation and has hooves especially adapted for walking on the thick mats of floating vegetation. These antelope are good swimmers and can spend the greater part of the day immersed in water and when disturbed, can submerge with just their nose visible.

Course grasslands are found bordering the floodplains where the land is imperceptibly higher and not subject to such extensive flooding. The Oribi, a shy and petite antelope, enjoys the long grasses and can frequently be seen in the late afternoon when small family groups stand up to feed.

The areas surrounding the termite mounds, characteristic of the swamps is an environment much favoured by the tsessebe, the world’s fastest antelope, which can be seen in herds of over a hundred strong.

Also seen in the woodlands are common duiker and reedbuck. Less frequently roan, wild dog and vervet monkeys, as well as smaller more nocturnal mammals such as mongooses and bushpigs.

Until the early 1980’s there used to be lions in the swamps that preyed on the lechwe and sitatunga. But with the increase in human activity around the edge of the swamps, they have unfortunately been eradicated.

Although rarely seen, leopards do exist while hyenas and jackals are often heard at night and occasionally encountered on night drives.

Later in the year, when the flood waters have receded, buffalo and to a lesser extent elephant move into the area to feed on the plentiful grasses. Numerous crocodile and hippo are found in the permanent water channels or lurking in the papyrus reeds.

The swamps are a protected wetland having international importance under the ramsar Convention. The area is ecologically very sensitive and great care should be taken when driving around the floodplains in the dry season. Stick to existing tracks and keep driving to a minimum.

 

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National Parks Sat, 22 Jul 2006 21:44:00 +0000
Kasanka National Park http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/317-kasanka-national-park http://bushdrums.com/index.php/tanzania/tanzania-national-parks/item/317-kasanka-national-park

Kasanka National Park

This peaceful sanctuary, situated on the south western edge of the Lake Bangweulu basin, is one of Zambia’s smallest national parks. It's 450 km2 however, are so well endowed with rivers, lakes and wetlands, forests, lagoons, meadows and dambos that it supports a uniquely wide range of animals and abundant birds and fish. Do not expect to see large herds of animals round every corner, but it is surely one of the most picturesque parks in Zambia with superb birdlife.

Kasanka National ParkAbout ten years ago Kasanka was in danger of becoming yet another defunct national park due to rampant poaching. David Lloyd, a British expatriate, who had lived in Zambia for many years visited the park in 1985 and heard the crack of gunshots. He concluded that if there was still poaching there must still be animals there and set out to save the park from total depletion. He teamed up with a local farmer, sought funding and along with much of their own resources applied for official permission to rehabilitate the park. They built tourist camps, roads and bridges and set up the Kasanka Trust to raise funds for this community based project.

Slowly it began to earn a little money from tourists to help cover costs. Three years later the National Parks and Wildlife Services Department were sufficiently impressed to sign a 10 year agreement with the Trust allowing full management of the park in conjunction with National Parks & Wildlife Services and to develop it for tourism in partnership with the local community.

Today, although there is still none of the heart-stopping walking safaris amongst elephant herds or any lions brushing past your open vehicle as in the larger parks, there are some of the rarest birds and animals in the country found in the beautiful miombo woodlands, swamp forest, grasslands, floodplains and riverine bushveld, to be enjoyed in leisurely walks and drives. There are ample opportunities for fishing tigerfish, bream and barbel in the beautiful Luwombwa river. Boats are available for hire but you should bring your own tackle.

Recovering from depletion are hippo, sable antelope, and Liechtenstein’s hartebeest. The Puku, once reduced to a few hundred, today exceed 1500. There are fairly big herds of the swamp dwelling sitatunga, reedbuck, waterbuck, Sharpe’s grysbok and the rare blue monkey. Elephants also appear from time to time, and their numbers are expected to recover. Together with Kasanka’s noted birdlife, the animals can be seen on guided walks through the grassy plains, mushitu forests, large tracts of miombo woodland, riverine fringing forest and papyrus swamps.

Over 330 bird species have been recorded including such rarities as Pel’s fishing owl, the Pygmy goose, Ross’s loerie, osprey and the wattled crane. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of the rare Shoebill stork.

Getting there

Take the Great North Road from Lusaka, turn right just after Kapiri Mposhi and left after Serenje on the road to Samfya. Turn left at the 54km mark into the park at the Malaushi gate.

What to See

Not to be missed is the unique platform hide, 18m high in a giant mululu tree with a panoramic view over the Kapabi Swamp. The rare and elusive sitatunga aquatic antelope feeds in the swamps below in the early mornings or late afternoons. A startling site from the hide in November and December is the evening flight of around a million fruit bats leaving their roosts in search of food, darkening the sky for a few moments. The Chisamba Wamponde pan attracts large herds of puku, spur winged goose and saddle bill storks and hosts many hippos and waterbuck. Duiker are often seen in the woodlands fringing the pan. Lake Ndolwa is a beautiful and secluded spot where the shy shoebill stork has been seen in the papyrus reeds flanking the lake. Chikufwe Plain is particularly rewarding in the early hours of the morning during the dry season. The plain is the favourite haunt of the sable and also attracts large numbers of hartebeest, reedbuck and occasionally a few zebra and buffalo. This is an excellent birdwatching site too, especially for raptors such as the black breasted snake eagle.

When to go

Kasanka ia open all year round. Birding is especially good in the wet season from November to March when migrants arrive from the north. Game viewing is best in the dry months from May to October.

 

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National Parks Sat, 22 Jul 2006 21:31:00 +0000