It’s April 2004 and …

It’s April 2004 and …

It’s Monday 5th and a rude awakening

Nkwali is now open and in full swing. The first guests arrived on Friday and as of tomorrow we are back to full camp. Keyala, Daudi, Paul and Jacob are here doing the guiding and the guests had superb gameviewing over the weekend.

Sleeping Lion

Daudi came across a lioness at the Wafwa in the process of moving her cubs and was seen carrying a month old cub in her mouth – an lovely sighting. There have been many sighting of lions in the past few days – not large prides but lots of small groups of both males and females. Also on the cat front, our first guests – 3 ladies from Norway had the luck to come across a leopard in a tree during daylight and sat for sometime with this beautiful animal.

A large herd of around 400 buffalo have also been seen as well as lots of elephant, zebra, giraffe and even a few hyenas.

Kerri was in the park again with trainees this week and they saw a gymnogene trying to pull a squirrel out of a hole in a tree. He was successful even whilst being mobbed by a group of longtailed startling – quite an achievement.

Ross and Jason have arrived back in the valley which is great – Jason only for a visit before heading back to Lusaka for a while and then back in time for the start of the season. Ross is back to start camp building at Tena Tena and is hoping to be able to go up later this week. We are at that in-between stage at the moment – the river is too low to boat up as the sandbanks get in the way, but the Kauluzi is still running and not quite crossable but he is hoping that an expedition will be ready to head north at the end of this week. Nkwali ElephantRoss is currently making the most of Emily’s delicious cooking as it will be the standard camp building fayre of corned beef, tinned pilchards and baked beans for the next few weeks!

Our family of elephants came back to camp this weekend. I was rudely awaken at 4am on Saturday by a huge squeal, which could only have been a young elephant running around the staff compound. They remained, pulling down the trees around camp and then surrounded my house about 2 hours later – a lovely sight and hopefully I got some good shots of the young one just after the sun rose – luckily no-one spotted me creeping around in my nightie, camera in hand.

Stay well and have a great week
Kim

It’s Monday 12th and Mr and Mrs Cousins have returned

Well it’s really good to be back in the bush. Although we had a wonderful time – the time of our lives, in fact, it is good to be home !! Our wedding was absolutely amazing – we couldn’t have choreographed it better if we had tried!! The day was made even more special by the large contingent of our African friends and family that made it over. What was a bit of a shock was how some of them scrubbed up !!!! Seeing these guys in suits and not clad in khaki was a real surprise!!!

The new deck at NkwaliIt was strange to arrive back here with everything in full swing. We both knew that we were going to hit the ground running – it was just a matter of finding out which direction to run in!!! The new look Nkwali bar is fantastic and the deck on the front has been a resounding success with a number of our guests opting to miss the morning drive and have a large, lazy breakfast on the deck overlooking the river.

The traditional Easter egg hunt took place yesterday afternoon and the little scrub hare, who is growing daily, made an appearance in its official capacity as the Easter Bunny much to the delight of the children in camp !! Emily, Daudi and Jacob accompanied the kids on their rush around camp, following all the clues, in search of the eggs. The hunt ended at the bar where the Easter Bunny was on hand to make sure that they got an equal share of chocolate eggs.

THe hunt in the barEaster Bunny

The game viewing, as always, has been amazing with particularly good wild dog sightings. With 2 large packs in the area, all of the guests have been lucky enough to see them on several occasions over the last week. Hopefully we will see a lot more of them throughout the season.

Wild dog

Yesterday afternoon the “behind the scences” staff treated themselves to an Easter Sunday gamedrive – it was wondeful to get back into the park. On the way back, just as we got in the boat to cross the river, we saw a huge crocodile with a dead baby hippo in it’s jaws. We managed to drift downstream, below the croc, and got some wonderful photo’s – gruesome but that is the way of the wild…….

Crocodile

Take care,
Simon

It’s Monday 19th April and what a week

This week has been full of excitement, potential disasters and great game.

The week started with Daudi finding an aardvark….a great view of this rarely seen creature ambling across the road near Mbangula and ended with a pack of 13 wild dog being spotted playing and being very social near the Katete river. In between we have had many lion sightings, both day and night as well as good leopard – mostly during the night drives, seen at various spots in the park as well as just behind camp. We have also seen serval and grysbok on several occasion which is quite a treat.

Great excitement when Paul and his guests found a half collared kingfisher – a very uncommon sighting. In fact the last time one was seen was at Tena Tena many years ago, so a great one for the birders.

Sunset at Nkwali Robin has been busy re-establishing the road around the back of camp. This is quite a major operation at this time of year as the grass is so high that it covers the vehicles. With Robin leading the way and Adam in the tractor with mower attached following, these intrepid explorers set off one morning. Around a bend in the old track Robin quickly stopped as the “track” was blocked by a big bull elephant. With nowhere to go, Robin turned off the engine, with the elly literally a few meters away. The elephant happily continued eating and just ambled past them. Bernard, one of our mechanics, who was sitting in the back to the cruiser did not feel quite as happy and was seen trying to disguise himself as a spare tyre! A few of us popped along the new road for sundowners and it is a beautiful area. We had a storm brewing and the sky was just spectacular – the sunset it self was amazing but the colours were all around making it seen like a 360 deg show.

Sunset in the green season

Later in the week Robin had another super elephant sighting – a big tuskless male chasing a young, and clearly sexy female. They were hurtling around at full speed with the male keen to catch her and the female seemed keen to keep out of his way. Robin has only seen one large tuskless male before and that was at Tena Tena, so we are wondering if he has relocated to Nkwali.

LeopardJacob managed to get his cruiser stuck in mud this week – last year it was the river!! Richard and Mary, who are regulars, were out with Keyala and got the SOS call and raced off to rescued the others. On the way they managed to see a lovely leopard so that was worth the call if nothing else. On arrival after much pushing the vehicle was extracted from it’s muddy hole and all set off again. Archie, one of our young guests got back to camp very excited by the whole ordeal and especially impressed that he was covered in mud – with a legitimate reason…..

Ross and Simon, our resident photography fanatics, have been out and about getting shots for the website. Any excuse to get into the park with their long lens’s. They have some superb shots which included African Monarch butterflies and a male Red Bishop still in breeding plumage.

Red BishopRed Bishop

The next amusing event was yesterday afternoon. The rain started and in all we had about 22mm in about half an hour. Keyala, Emily and Aliyele hopped in the boat to cross the river where a vehicle had been left ready for the afternoon gamedrive. They needed to cover the seats so that they would not be soaked when guests arrived after tea. So, barefoot, off they set with Aliyele, our room attendant and trainee waiter, wearing his oversized plastic raincoat with peaked hood looking quite a sight. The guests all had their binos trained on the party to watch the antics. First, Emily jumped out and managed to hold onto the boat but with little grip underfoot it looked like she was going to be dragged into the river. Breaths were held. And then Aliyele, after somehow managing to scramble up a hippo run, jumped up on the top of the bank only to slip spectacularly over and cover himself with mud. Keyala played typical manager – and sat in the boat giving orders. Laughter could be heard from both sides of the river.

Stay well and have a great week
Cheers Kim

It’s Monday 26th and Kerri’s zoo

We have been experiencing some heavy showers this week and the rain is hampering our camp building at Tena Tena in particular – both Daudi and Ross are champing at the bit to get up to camp and get started. They are hoping to be able to drive up tomorrow, all being well, so we will be throwing vehicles and man power at the camp to get ready in time – I am sure all will be fine. Ross has been here since the start of April trying to get up there.

ChameleonWe seemed to have a sudden influx of chameleons at the moment, sightings in the park have increased and even around camp there seem to be lots of the bizarre little green things. They really do look odd with their swiveling eyes – we feel like we are being watched from all angles. Kerri now has one in her room. She is collecting specimens ready for next week’s trainee guide lectures and now has not only the little scrub hare, but also the chameleon, a praying mantis and a herald snake tucked away in her room. Hopefully the snake will stay in his new cooler box home or there could be blood shed and a few tears…

The lioness which was spotted a few weeks ago carrying her young was seen this week. She was again carrying the cubs in her mouth but this time across the old Airstrip – a lovely sight for the guests who were lucky enough to witness her endeavours.

Lioness and cub

Shanie’s parents have been visiting this week and Simon took his new in-laws out for a day’s birding. Woodland KingfisherThey were here for 5 days and managed to clock up 159 birds – pretty good going. There are still some of the migrants about including the woodland kingfisher.

Jo and I were also out in the park one evening – racing to meet guests for sundowners. Leaving the office a little late we had to ‘put foot’ but still had time to stop and admire a beautiful pair of tawny eagles as we entered Lupunga Spur.

There are lots of elephants around and also a couple of sightings of a large herd of buffalo, which pleased regular guests, Richard and Mary, who saw these on their last night on the way to meet us for champagne in the park.

Sunset champagne

As for wild dog – Shanie had a wonderful sighting so over to her for more..

“My first drive in the park since I got back proved to be a very exciting one, with an amazing hour’s viewing of one of the packs of wild dog that are in the area at the moment. Wild dogI had not seen these wonderful animals for nearly 2 years and had never seen them interacting in the way that they were on Saturday. As we arrived at a lagoon near Chichele Hill the dogs were busy finishing off a recently killed puku. There was lots of growling and squeaking as the younger dogs got a chance to fight over the remaining bits. The older dogs had all collapsed under the shady bushes with very full stomachs. The vultures started circling over head and several hooded and white backed vultures landed to pick at some of the remains at the actual site of the kill. A nearby herd of elephants were extremely agitated and distressed by the dogs and several of the large females charged at them, trumpeting loudly. The dogs however seem fairly unperturbed and just retreated to the bushes and lay panting in the shade. It was fantastic to watch the interaction between the dogs, elephants and vultures, and a real treat to be able to spend an hour with the rarely seen wild dogs. Back to Kim…..”

Stay well and have a great week
Cheers Kim

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