This was originally booked as a "mini" safari for Zambezi Sitatunga in Tondwa GMA, but then expanded from there.
Friends of mine who had done this hunt in the past had commented on hunting Crawshay's Defassa Waterbuck in Tondwa, and when I asked Laura DuPlooy about that, I was told that they were no longer found in Tondwa, but that they could arrange a short day of hunting them in a private land area in the southern Kafue area. With that I also agreed to hunt an Oribi if possible.
On arrival, I stayed at the DuPlooy's guest house in Zambia. We drove up to the game farm area, and while it is behind a fence, it is a rather large working ranch. I shot a good representative waterbuck and a Oribi that was very good for the place we hunted at. While the game was numerous, the animals did seem to be all of one size, and it was obviously a controlled setting for waterbuck; the Oribi was shot in a sugar cane field and are agricultural pests there.
The following day we flew a domestic airline to Kasame, and then drove to Tondwa. The airline did not have a good handle on its firearms policy, and this took a couple hours to settle it. The roads were not good. I would strongly recommend that people use a charter flight for Tondwa.
At Tondwa, while the Sitatunga were relatively calm and unmolested, the other game was showing signs of poaching, with game being very skittish and camp staff reporting that up until when we arrived, hearing gunshots was not unusual. There is also an issue with excessive "special permits" being given for subsistence issues here (Hippo and Buffalo.) These animals are not available for hunting here.
We did see tracks of Roan, and I did see a very nice Sable (mid 40s+) but I had not purchased the requisite permits to hunt those.
The grass was very high and quite green. While some burning had been attempted before I got there, and we did some as well, it was too early to be very successful on the burns.
The sitatunga we hunted from an aluminum canoe. This was a rather unique way to do this, but requires some degree of balance to stand and shoot. The water is not all that deep, so no worries about falling, (other than getting wet...) and we saw numerous sitatunga bulls each day.
I shot mine on the second day, and then we concentrated more on the other game. Puku, while skittish, are present in numbers, and should not bee too much an issue. I shot a blue duiker from a blind on a waterhole, but they also will do drives and call them.
Due to a combination of the issues with finding game, and the amount of time available, I then elected to add on a short Wildebeest safari in Muchinga's new concession, Chifunda. We drove from Tondwa to the Luangwa valley in a long day road trip.
The difference between the two concessions was startling. The chief at Chifunda is much more in control of his people and poaching is nonexistent to minimal there.
While the camp was not complete, it was a much more refined camp, with numerous amenities that were not present in Tondwa.
We took a number of drives to get acquainted with the area. The numbers of Wildebeest were amazing, and we saw numerous Kudu, Impala, Buffalo, baboon, and Puku there. I do note that while the impala are numerous, they are a little on the smaller side. I shot an 18" one that looked a little bigger than most of what we saw. I tried to connect with a 1-horned kudu on the last day, but missed an easy shot.
We were also charged by a cow elephant at one point, and while it turned out to be a mock charge, having a .30-06 with softs when it happened was not comforting. The elephant in the Luangwa valley seem to be a bit more "cheeky" than most I have experienced, and I would have been much happier with a large bore rifle there.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. I have only good things to say about Johnny DuPlooy and his outfit, and hope to get back to hunt Chifunda again with him.