After a five hour drive our next stop was Karongwe staying at Chisomo Tented Camp. The Karongwe landscape was dominated by a backdrop of the Drakensberg mountains. We were staying for three nights at the Chisomo tented camp in very spacious luxury tents raised on stilts above the ground.

The Chisomo tented camp


The Chisomo tented camp

Wildlife had free access through the camp and a track through.the camp lead to a waterhole where Hippo and Fish Eagles could be seen.

Karongwe


Hippo’s at the Chisomo camp waterhole

Mother Hippo and calf


Mother Hippo and calf


Tender moment

First Drive

After lunch we were off on our first game drive. Grazing beside the track were groups of Zebra, Impala and Wildebest, whilst Nyala and Waterbuck turned their backs to us and disappeared into the bush. Warthogs dug in the mud, before running, with tails erect, into the nearest cover. A family of giraffe, with Oxpeckers clinging to their backs, ambled slowly across the track in front of our vehicle. We were off to a good start.

Giraffe portrait


Giraffe portrait

Mother Giraffe and youngster


Mother Giraffe and youngster

Giraffe checking us out


Giraffe checking us out

The track led along a grassy ditch with some trees and shrubs on the high side. Hidden amongst the vegetation we could see movement. Looking more closely you could see a Lioness and four cubs and what appeared to be a carcass of a zebra. The cubs entertained us by clambering over each other and jumping on their mother. We sat in the vehicle and watched their behaviour for about ten minutes before we moved on to allow another vehicle closer access.

Two of the Lion cubs playing


Two of the Lion cubs playing

Lion cubs taking a rest


The other two cubs taking a rest

As the light began to fadeWe we spotted a Verreaux’s eagle-owl in a nearby tree gazing down at us. We returned to the Lions to see them still playing, pushing each other off a large branch and then coming down into the ditch.

Cub at Play


Or just a cub at Play

Cubs practicing hunting techniques


Cubs practicing hunting techniques

 

With the light now gone it was time to head back to the camp for the evening meal. After the evening meal we headed back to the tent accompanied by a guide to protect us from any animals wandering around in the camp. We strapped the tail camera  to one of the stilt legs of the tent platform where there appeared to be a track going under the structure down the slope.

 

 

Day Two

An early morning wake up call started our first full day at Karongwe. As we collected the trail camera a Nyala family walked passed. The male and female Nyala are very different, almost looking like different species. The trail camera had recorded a Civet walking passed the tent. After breakfast we visited the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. 

Male Nyala in the camp


Male Nyala in the camp

Link to :-

The visit to Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre

After lunch back at the camp we were off on our afternoon game drive. We thought we were off to a good start when we watched a group of Elephants all gathering at a waterhole.

Rear view of elephant


Camera shy !!

Elephant group at the waterhole


Family at the waterhole

Elephant group at the waterhole


One of the youngsters

Further along the track a small herd of Zebra were enjoying a drink at yet another waterhole.  A pair of Giraffe were lowering their long necks to the water as bee eaters flew overhead in the trees. Later on the drive we were on the tracks of a pair of Rhino when we had a fleeting glimpse of a family of Leopards crossing the track before they totally disappeared.

One of Karongwe Leopard


Mother Leopard checking the cubs were still following

White Rhino


White Rhino grazing

Along the edge of the Karongwe reserve there was a fenced off quarantine area, this held two one and a half year old lion cubs. They were going to be moved to another reserve to spread the gene pool. Outside the fence lay the mother Lioness and a magnificient male Lion. The mother and father of these cubs. Although you shouldn’t put human emotions on animals it did look as if they were there because their cubs where the other side of the fence.

Lioness portrait


Lioness portrait

It was time to head back to camp as it was getting dark and we needed to set up the trail camera before the evening meal.

Lioness

Karongwe – Day Two