I had heard so much about the Kafue and the Busanga Plains that I was almost worried it would not live up to its reputation. My anxiety was put to rest on our first drive!
We decided to travel a bit further than usual to see if we could find the coalition of two cheetah brothers who had been seen that morning. Our guide Isaac was worried they would move off in the cool of the evening so we had to make tracks fast! This meant driving past puku, lechwe, wildebeest, buffalo, zebra and roan. We will see them later, we were (correctly) informed… The next day a herd of 47 roan were seen. Yes, 47!
We found the area the brothers were in and it took our expert guide just a few minutes to spot them lazing in the shade of a tree. We had been admiring them for a good hour when one of our guests saw something moving in the grass up ahead. Upon investigation I saw my first serval! A little bit skittish, it was difficult to get a clear picture but I managed to snap one of the spotted cat jumping through the long grass. The sun was setting and we decided to head back to camp, satisfied that we had seen cheetah and serval up close!
Shumba decided to give us another amazing sighting. Just before getting back to camp the radio crackled and told us there was a leopard nearby! We found the spot where a Busanga Plains vehicle was watching a relaxed female on top of a termite mound. Apparently her cub was nearby but was having none of it and decided to hide in the tall grass. We admired this beautiful spotted cat and decided to leave her be with her young one. Definitely a day of spotted cats: cheetah, serval and leopard!
The next morning we set off in a hot air balloon over the plains. The silence and beauty of the Plains was magnificent. From the air we saw the usual suspects of puku and lechwe but were also fortunate enough to see a water mongoose, spotted hyaena, side-striped jackal, hippo, lion and wildebeest as well as a plethora of different bird species as we floated along.
Our last drive was a quiet, relaxed outing and we decided to sit with the Papyrus Pride who we had earlier watched chasing roan antelope in front of camp from the pool area. We bid our farewells as we proceeded to our sundowner spot and then relaxed with Amarula in hand, recounting our stories of the trip. On our way to the airstrip the next day we heard that the Papyrus Pride, who had been so lazy the previous night, were in the process of taking down a hippo.
Unfortunately we couldn’t respond to the sighting as our plane was circling overhead but I promise to be back again next season to witness the wonders of the Plains!
Watch a short video of the balloon flight here.