Trip report: Kafue National Park

Mushingashi Conservancy

A few weeks ago we made a trip to the Mushingashi Conservancy which is just outside of Kafue National Park.  This area is known as a Game Management Area which means that hunting is allowed and it was obvious that this was more of a hunting camp than a tourist lodge.  The animals (and birds) were what we were there  to see though so we didn’t mind much.

Jonathan informed me at the beginning of the trip that it was NOT a birding trip.  It was a family trip and only birds that everyone found interesting were on the docket.  This meant no stopping to id the lbj’s  or really for any birds at all. Jonathan only birds the bcb’s – big or colorful birds – (but I knew that I could squeeze some birding in between game drives.)    The trip started off on excellent footing for me as the birder in the family when we came across a bustard in a field about 15 kilometers past the town of Mumbwa.  It was a Denham’s Bustard and I had only ever seen one once before so I was pretty excited.   I managed to convince Jonathan to stop and get some pictures for me and we watched it for a little while before we decided we had to move on. My day had already been made, and we hadn’t even arrived yet!

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Upon entering the conservancy there is a nice marshy area with some small ponds and we saw some water birds there including these Wattled Cranes.

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We also got some nice shots of a black crake who was trying to hide in the vegetation but was at least fairly close to us.  (This was definitely straining Jonathan’s definition of big or colorful, so he was getting a bit impatient to move on, but nevertheless got some good pics for me.)

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We have often gone to Kafue N.P. on our vacations so going to the conservancy was a bit of a divergence but Mushingashi did not disappoint.  The water birds were abundant and also one of the highlights for me was the bird parties that often wandered through camp, especially in late morning just as we were getting back from our morning game drive.  Some of the great birds that wandered through camp included:

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Black-backed Barbet,

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and Southern Black Tit.  As usual the birding in Zambia is excellent and all in all I counted up 79 species which is not bad for a non-birding trip.  Along the way, we also managed to snag a few mammal sightings so here are the best  of those as well as a bonus:

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We came across a few lions.  This male and a female made an attempt at a bushbuck but it got away.

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There were plenty of hippos; this one was quite unhappy with our presence so we kept our distance and decided not to linger.

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Of course there were plenty of antelope, this mother hartebeest with her calf was a highlight.

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All of the above, plus plenty of time to relax by the river and enjoy the beauty of Zambia.

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