Posted by: wildsidezambia | June 11, 2012

Leopard sighting in Kafue

Kafue National Park

Pippa Turner of Mayukuyuku writes:

“ Mayukuyuku continues to be the place to see Leopard in the Kafue National Park. About a week ago on a boat trip just across the river from the camp, this superb male Leopard was spotted in the late afternoon just lying under the bushes looking out over the river. Regular visitor David Barker photographed him from the boat and was delighted.

a stunning photo by regular Mayukuyuku visitor David Barker

This was David’s first really good daytime sighting of a Leopard despite having seen them numerous times before after dark. As many of you know, I have been studying the Leopards via face markings in the Kafue from my years at Lufupa and up to now at Mayukuyuku Camp and David’s clear shots will certainly enable us to identify this Leopard again in the future.”

For more information check or email

Posted by: wildsidezambia | March 2, 2012

Wild Dogs

Anyone in Kafue seen them again?

Posted by: wildsidezambia | February 28, 2012

A record pack of 50 Wild Dogs seen near Leopard Lodge

Members of the Leopard Rock staff couldn’t believe their eyes when they spotted a super pack of Wild Dogs numbering 50 individuals near the Lodge. Not since the late 60’s have packs this size been seen anywhere in Southern Africa!

Last year we saw packs of 30 plus Wild Dogs in Kafue National Park, a long way from the Lodge. Now our staff, en-route to Lusaka but only a kilometre from camp, were delayed when they saw the dogs. As the pack crossed the road they counted 50 dogs in total.  A pack of this size is obviously very rare and an incredible sight.

Wild Dogs rarely sit still long enough to get a close-up photo... (photo Munene Kermer)

Wild Dog numbers have dropped considerably over the last 20 years owing to habitat loss, human persecution (hunting and poisoning), disease spread from domestic animals and isolated populations. Packs now generally vary between 6 and 20 dogs with an average of 15 in a pack. Records indicate that the last time a pack of this size was seen was in 1969 in the Kruger National Park. Around this time packs of up to 40 were being sighted in Botswana.

We are so excited about this sighting- maybe we should rename our lodge Wild Dog Lodge???

For more information check or email

Posted by: wildsidezambia | February 22, 2012

A guest reports back

Jackie Connor, a recent guest from Lusaka at the Kafue River Camp (KRC), sent us this:

During our drive with Newton, KRC’s game ranger, we came across a herd of impala, among which was a young hartebeest. Apparently it was orphaned as a tiny baby some time ago and found a welcome home in the impala herd. The baby hadn’t been seen for quite some time so Newton was very happy to see that it had survived and was quite a bigger, already spouting little horns.

Newton also took us on a walk into the Kafue National Park, where we were taken up a hill and had lovely views of the national park. Really interesting – we were out for about three hours. While up at the top we watched a huge bushbaby in a tree.

The hot springs were fantastic! Three beautiful hot springs have lots of steam coming out of them and the water is so hot you can only just put your finger in. Lots of animals clearly had been nibbling the minerals there.

During our 3-day stay we saw two groups of three wattle cranes in the dambo on the same side of the hot springs. We also saw puku, impala, bushbuck, kudu, oribi, duiker, warthog, ground hornbills and had more than one lion walk along the track just behind the chalets.

We heard lion and leopard at night. On our last evening we were sitting by the fire and a lion roared from directly opposite us on the bank. It was amazing.

The bird watching was also wonderful.  All in all really exciting. The Swiss group with us  also saw sable.

Kafue River Camp’s tranquil deck overlooking the river
Posted by: wildsidezambia | January 19, 2012

Mayukuyuku Camp – by Judith Chongo

My recent visit to Mayukuyuku Camp was such a memorable experience.

The Camp is situated inside the Kafue National Park, located literally on the banks of the Kafue River; just 4 hours drive from Lusaka on good roads and open all year round. Mayukuyuku means water hitting the rock (a rapid). Kafue National Park is the only park in Zambia with Cheetahs and has the good sightings of Wild Dogs as well as lots of smaller mammals seen both during the day and at night on a sundowner drive.

Patrick Moyo, Pippa Turner (GM), Judith Chongo of Wild Side Tours and Musonda Mbalazi

The park has four of the Big Five – Lions, Leopards, Elephants and Buffalos. If you plan your visit to Kafue National Park let Mayukuyuku Camp be the first place to visit and watch nature pass by while enjoying spectacular views as you relax around the Camp.

Thanks for the wonderful hospitality!

For more info on Mayukuyuku contact us on


Posted by: wildsidezambia | July 25, 2011

The magnificent sable antilopes of Kafue

An interesting article on Sable Antilope in Kafue recently appeared on ‘Tom’s Talk’ on the Best of Zambia blog.

“Sable antelope with many other highly sought after Kafue National Park wildlife species, could be a very lucrative source of revenue for local communities that want to get into joint venture game ranching developments with prospective investors to breed up these animals for sale as live animals”, says Tom Heinecken of Kainga Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park.

a sable bull in Kafue

For the full article click here

For bookings and/or information at Kainga Safari Lodge and other bush camps and activities, click here

Posted by: wildsidezambia | June 6, 2011

Road to Kaingu finally graded

by André Plaisier, Kaingu Safari Lodge

After years of having to use the most unbearable road in Africa, one can now reach Kaingu Safari Lodge in a comfortable way: the infamous Itezhi-Tezhi road (running South from the Great West Road to the Itezhi-Tezhi Lake) has been fully graded.

It has become a nice drive and the trip from Lusaka to Kaingu Safari Lodge has been shortened by one hour, making it a five hour leisurely drive.

Go to or email  for more info on rates and bookings.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 28, 2011

Kitapo, the Goddess of the Kafue River

From May until mid November Kafue based Mawimbi Canoe Trails run trips on the Kafue River. Their logo features “Donna”, the much revered and feared Goddess of the rivers.

Among the Central African people, who deeply respect the spirits of the waters, they fear the shape of gods and goddesses most. These so called “creatures of the waters or rivers”, were mostly female and demanded offerings from local residents. She pulled her offerings, often human, down to the bottom of the river to be consumed. The arrival of the Portuguese and their “mermaid” offered the people bordering the Congo river a kinder, more humane, image of the creature that fishermen feared so much. By humanizing it, giving it a face and a friendly name, “Donna “, meaning “lady” in Portuguese, the fear disappeared. Donna is currently offered flowers, fruit and fish, and she is asked to protect the husbands that go fishing and use the river. Her image is carved into wood and it’s now unthinkable that people be at the mercy of the river monster.

The legend of “Donna” has spread across borders with beliefs shared by the people of the Zambezi and the Kafue Rivers alike. In Zambia she is called “Kitapo” and seems more evil than her sister of the Katanga region. Her malice, however, does not punish innocent men. Here “Kitapo” protects the weak and saves virtuous husbands. Sometimes she is seen sitting in the middle of the rocks. Others have seen her save a child in the rapids. Woe to those who do not respect her, liars, murderers, rapists alike, who will be thrown to the bottomless abyss and offered as food to “Muntu Mamba” half man, half-crocodile. “La Donna”, while unobtrusive is still a virtual belief, so with a little luck, and if your heart is pure, she could appear before you between two waves.

So, if you are a virtuous husband or you just have a pure heart you have absolutely nothing to fear! To book a canoe safari and a memorable stay camping in the wilds of Kafue or staying in total comfort at the Kaingu Safari Lodge, contact

Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 20, 2011

Win a 3 night stay at the Mama Out of Africa near Livingstone!

Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 7, 2011

KaingU Safari Lodge builds new school

KaingU Safari Lodge, with the help of a Dutch Trust the “KaingU Stichting” and the KaingU community, has recently rebuilt a primary school in on of the neighbouring villages  in Itumbi. The original school had fallen into disrepair and was in a terrible state.

the old school

Conny Verheijden en Heiner Maag, members of the KaingU Stichting in Holland, were instrumental in undertaking the renovation of the school, along with Tom Heinecken and HRH Chief KaingU.

the handsome new school at Itumbi
For more information on the project contact or visit
Posted by: wildsidezambia | March 21, 2011

News from Nanzhila

by Steve Smith of Nanzhila Plains Safari Camp

Firstly, an official welcome to Brad and Ruth, our managers at Nanzhila who joined us in the middle of last year.  They previously worked in similar positions in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

Ruth and Brad have spent the last few months re-charging their batteries and preparing for the upcoming season, which included upgrading of our camp site and extensions to the main lodge.

Secondly, for the first time in the seven years since we started developing Nanzhila, we have had the pleasure of the company of a hippo who has taken up residence in the dambo in front of the lodge. This is very encouraging as our hippo population suffered a great deal in earlier decades from poaching.

Although he will probably migrate up to Lake Itezhi-tezhi soon his presence is definitely indicative of the success of the joint efforts by ZAWA, TNC and ourselves in the southern Kafue National Park.

 Thirdly, permission has been granted for us to construct an airstrip at Nanzhila within walking distance of the lodge. This will mean that guests will be able to enjoy the comforts of the lodge within 60 minutes of their departure from either Livingstone or Lusaka. We are currently busy with the construction and hope to have the strip operational by July.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | March 21, 2011

Mayukuyuku’s Tinkerbell

Here is Tinkerbell, a small and strikingly pretty three and a half year old Leopard who likes wandering around in the day time!

“Her territory is near to Mayukuyuku Bush Camp so we see her all the time” writes Pippa Turner of Kafue Camps & Safaris. “She is very curious. We think her Dad maybe the resident male here Tom who is a big guy who wandered into camp a few days ago and slept on the anthill by reception.

“The naming is done to record which family they are from – not very scientific but it works. We identify by the facial spots around the eyes and the forehead”, says Pippa.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | February 14, 2011

Poaching no longer a major problem in Kafue

By Pippa Turner of Kafue Camps

As a camp owner in the Kafue NP and having been working in the park since the mid 1980s I can honestly say that the poaching is no longer a major problem and Zawa have worked really hard to get things under control. It maybe has not disappeared completely but the game is fantastic with more variety of species that Luangwa and Lower Zambezi. In the 80s we hardly ever saw Elephant but now they are everywhere!

This handsome fella rests his trunk on his tusk in Kafue National Park

Yes, you have to look for the game as the park is vast, but it is all there and where we are located on the edge of the north, we are blessed at Mayukuyuku with having both Plains species such as Zebra, Cheetah and Reedbuck as well as the thicket lovers such as Leopard, Sharpe’s Grysbok and Kudu. The birdlife is amazing – at present we are seeing Pel’s Fishing Owls on a regular basis from the boat. Let us now not associate the Kafue NP with poaching!
Pippa Turner

Posted by: wildsidezambia | February 11, 2011

Kafue: Phoenix baby elephant sanctuary

Poaching has been an enormous problem in Zambia, decimating the elephant population by 90% in the last 50 years and killing off all the black rhino’s.

Says David Shepherd on his website

“When I first visited Zambia in the early 1960s it was home to 250,000 elephants and 3,500 black rhinos. Today fewer than 25,000 elephants survive and all of its rhinos were lost”.

In 2008, along with GRI (Game Rangers International) the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation built an elephant sanctuary called Camp Phoenix in Kafue, after a baby elephant found trying to suckle her dead mother. Sadly she succumbed to billiary, but her memory lives on in the many elephant babies that are reared successfully there.

a happy baby elephant having fun on the river bank at Phoenix

 “Sadly poaching continues today with the tragic results of orphans such as Chamilandu and Chodoba. We are totally dedicated to saving these babies but more importantly the wider park protection programme which will ensure wildlife survival and benefits to the wonderful Zambian people.”

Posted by: wildsidezambia | February 10, 2011

Wild. Untamed. Beautiful!

Kafue National Park

Despite its proximity to Lusaka and Zambia’s Copper Belt, the 22,500 sq km Kafue National Park is one of the most pristine and untouched areas in Africa. About twice the size of Belgium, the park includes the Busanga Plains, one of Zambia’s largest wetland regions. Yet it is accessible to visitors, with a choice of accommodation options ranging from rustic bush camps to luxurious lodges. Central and East Kafue are open all year round, whilst North and the scenic South Kafue (more accessible now with the recently upgraded road from Kalomo) only open in the dry season (April – October).

 The flood-prone northern grasslands, the Busanga Swamps and plains offer the rare experience of exploring varied, stunningly beautiful landscapes with unique features as well a huge herds (often numbering in the hundreds) of buffalo, elephants, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra as well as the native lechwe, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, the elegant roan, sable, the puku and the tiny oribi. Predators, not far behind, include cheetahs, lions, leopards, and wild dogs.

Wherever the large herds roam, lions are never far off…

Large pelican flocks, crowned cranes and wattled cranes are a birdwatcher’s delight in the plains, during specific periods of the year.

Along with the Kafue River, itself a tributary to the Zambezi, the Lunga River is home to large pods of hippo. There are large stretches of teak forests and several specimens of the impressive candelabra tree as well as the typical African ‘upside down tree’, the Baobab.

The President of Zambia, Rupiah Banda, recently referred to the Kafue as the ‘lungs’ of Zambia, recognizing the importance of protecting this precious natural resource.

Kafue appeals to the adventurous of heart but who like their little touches of luxury.