Shumba Camp - October 2014

Oct 6, 2014 Shumba Camp
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Climate and Landscape
October is the final month of what was a short three-month season for us here at Shumba. The rains mostly held off until our last guests left, meaning we continued to enjoy plentiful game under clear skies. The continuing dry spell meant water sources in the treeline have all but dried out, pushing numerous antelope species out on to the remaining water in the plains. Sable and roan antelope, zebra, puku, impala, bushbuck and buffalo have all been an almost daily attraction.

This year has been the driest in the last 10 years. It is still quite hot, with temperatures around 38° Celsius in the afternoon and a more comfortable 14° at night. Dramatic skies and violent lightning storms have started here already. We wonder what that means for next year!

Elephants at Shumba Camp, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Two previously unseen cheetah were found around an area we call Kapinga Island during the middle of the month – much to the excitement of Sam Simunji, Senior Guide at Busanga Bush Camp. The two guys were in the area for four days before moving north. We are hoping they choose to settle in the northern territory, adding to the resident population that already exists in the southern part of the Busanga Plains.

Also among new animals sighted this season, we had a pack of 22 wild dog settle for four days not far from camp. Normally, unless denning, the dogs here move through an area very quickly and no sooner have we found them, than they are gone again. So this sighting was particularly special for us – 11 pups and 11 adults!

Any newsletter from the Kafue wouldn’t be complete without at least a few lines by way of an update on the power struggle in the Busanga Pride of lions and the fortunes of the alpha male we refer to as Mr Busanga. Last month we detailed the battles for ownership of the pride between Mr Busanga and a coalition of males. You will be pleased to know that Mr Busanga is still the current ruling head, although he is now absent whenever the male coalition is around. We aren’t sure what occurred but last week just overnight two females from the pride were badly injured in what we can only assume was further fighting with the male coalition. They are both struggling a little now with open wounds and claw marks across their hindquarters. The coalition of four seems here to stay and all that remains is for us to put a name to them!

Lion at Shumba Camp, Kafue National Park, Zambia

We are still at Shumba for a couple of weeks, closing down and packing up. In a way it’s a shame as we will probably miss the conclusion of this power struggle. Still, all the more reason to rush back next year to find out which lions are where!

Birds and Birding
For regular Wilderness Safaris guests and avid birders alike, the birds at Shumba completely lived up to expectations, a huge flock of 50 or so great white pelicans, a lesser kestrel making a kill, a blue-cheeked bee-eater and a lesser grey shrike being top of their seasonal sightings at Shumba.

Camp Activities
We like to keep up the pace here right to the end of the season, and the ballooning team delivered on this expertly. The final balloon flight of the season delivered no less than nine lions in the 60-minute flight!

Continuing the theme of final activities for the year, we held our last sundowners of the season at Paradise Junction on Tuesday where we joined up with our sister camp, Busanga Bush Camp. All guests, guides and managers came together to celebrate what has been a hugely successful season.

A fitting end to the year was the sighting of a couple of spotted-necked otters en route to the sundowner stop, playing in one of the few remaining water pools in the Plains.

Shuma Camp

 Guest Comments
We thought we would finish up this year with a few comments from our quests.

  • “Seeing the amazing game, the staff were all so friendly and happy. The food was delicious and the night in the Boma was great fun”
  • “21 lions in one drive!”
  • “The staff personalities and stories were our highlight”
  • “Thank you for creating the perfect environment! Great food, beautiful rooms, lovely staff”

That’s it for now…over and out from the Busanga Plains until next season.

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