It’s July 2004 and …

 

It’s July 2004 and …

It’s Monday 5th and a day trip

I have been on a little jaunt. In the UK this may have been a trip to the local but here I get to fly up to Shiwa N’gandu for the day. We have a group of UK agents staying with us at the moment and we had organised this day trip for them. However, I really felt they should be escorted and so volunteered for the job!

Setting off early we flew from Mfuwe to Shiwa – a 45 minute hop across the park and up towards Kasane. We flew high over both Tena Tena and Nsefu and then followed the 05, which is the road through the park which takes us to the mobile camps on the Mupamadzi river so lovely to see this route from the air.

Shiwa - horses and lakeWe spent a superb day wandering around the house and grounds. Charlie Harvey took us out to see the lake, brick making and on a general tour of the estate – well part of it, 20,000 ha is a lot to get around in a few hours. Returning to the house for lunch we were joined by Charlie’s brother Mark and both regaled us with stories throughout the meal. Luckily for me there were several horse riders amongst the group and after lunch we set off for a ride up into the hills to see the graves – a magnificent spot overlooking the lake and then proceeded down to the lake where we stopped for drinks. Having not ridden for several years I have to admit to sitting on an extra cushion this morning but worth ever minute and definitely worth visiting if you are planning a trip to Zambia.

Talking of Mupamadzi one of the guests, Mark Patrick, who was on last week’s mobile, wrote a little report for us and I would like to share an extract from it with you;

As the sun goes down we are sitting in easy chairs, on the big bend, reviewing the day’s and week’s achievements, this having been the last walk on the mobile part of the safari. Under Robins’ gentle guidance everyone is perhaps surprised how they were able to exceed their expectations and leave with a more balanced view of Africa. We had walked for quite long periods but again thanks to Robin’s powers of observation and to his realisation of human frailty, we found ourselves pausing to absorb yet another extraordinary facet of the animal world whilst resting weary limbs. The enthusiasm of Robin and his guides moved us from observers to participants – for which we shall all feel privileged. And so to a camp dinner with the realisation that we had viewed many of the excitements of wild Africa, a leopard in its prime, the tail of a disturbed lion from 15 yards and all in a sequence of natural progression, a world away from the package safari.

I hate to mention this as it is unusual for this time of year – but – guests saw a pack of 11 wild dog yesterday. Just by the pontoon, they were clearly visible and a real treat – no guarantees that they will hang around but wouldn’t that be fantastic….

Nsefu report that a leopard has been seen on several occasions at tea drinking on the beach opposite camp. Guests also had the amazing sight of a journey of 19 giraffe – unusual to see this many in one group.

Full moon has now come and gone but both Tena Tena and Nsefu have taken full advantage with Nsefu organising an amazing full moon dinner out in the bush and Tena Tena breaking tradition and having a Moonupper cocktail party at Chris’s Tree rather than the normal sundowners! What ingenious caterers we have.

Stay well and have a great week Cheers Kim

It’s Monday 12th and wildlife sabotage

Mudbathing elephantsLast week I mentioned to Emily – our assistant manager at Nkwali – that I had never seen elephants lying down sleeping. Amazingly she came to find me the very next day as there were 2 elephants sleeping at the lagoon in front of the lunch platform in camp. Needless to say as this was during lunch the guests sat and watched them for ages and lunch almost ran into tea.

Kate and Daudi decided to surprise guests by meeting them for sundowners with champagne and snacks recently. They packed up the vehicle and headed off to Warthog Park. Finding a nice spot, they set up the table and chairs. Putting the champagne in the bucket and the little sausages on the table, they sat down to a cold beer. Not long after this they heard lions calling and then saw them in the distance walking towards them. At about the same time Daudi heard a leopard calling from the other direction. A little while after this Jacob radioed in to say that they may be late as they were watching the leopard – fine, champagne can wait. However, the lions were getting closer and Daudi and Kate retreated to the vehicle, which was hidden behind a bush to aid the surprise.

There were 2 lions and one walked right passed the vehicle and had a good sniff at the table loaded with snacks etc which had been abandoned. At this point Jacob arrived on the scene. Daudi quickly radioed him to warn him not to let the guests off the vehicle as the lions were there – however, Daudi had only seen one and was not sure where the other one was. Jacob soon came back to inform him that it was actually sitting just behind them… Deciding that this was not the ideal spot to quaff their champagne, being almost dark by this point anyway – the kit was grabbed and all headed back to Nsefu bar for the party.

Ross reports a beautiful new male lion in the area. Not a scratch on him and a fantastic full mane making him look very grand and regal. Lion sightings have been good at both Nsefu and Tena Tena of late which is always good news.

Grand and regalFishing Party

Tena Tena have also had some great fishing parties, the latest being a combination of marabou and yellow billed storks.

Jo has been busy on yet another new project – Kawaza School has been in desperate need of new building and the work is galloping ahead. However, the whole project is costly and we are looking for donations from anyone who has visited this fantastic school and would like to help out.

Simon has been out and about birding and has taken some super shots with our new digital camera. Amongst other things he has great sightings of scops owls, bateleur eagles and some crown cranes.

Stay well and have a great week
Cheers
Kim

Elephant and cranes

It’s Monday 19th and porridge with puku on the side

Nsefu had an unusal visitor for breakfast this week. A hyena brought down a puku in the lagoon next to the bar just as the guests were tucking into their porridge. A feast for the eyes and quite a start to the day.

Lion CubsAnother incredible sight was wild dog at the Nsefu Salt Pan – this really is turning into an amazing season for them and we hope that the increased numbers mean that they will stick around throughout the year. It is such a joy to see these rare animals and lets hope that the increased sighting means that they are edging away for being one of Africa’s most endangered species.

Meanwhile Tena Tena report three new lion cubs in the area – very sweet and tiny – about 6 weeks old. Simon found them as the mother appeared to be introducing them to the pride. And can you believe it, as they were watching this amazing scene, a leopard came down to the near by water to drink. On the lion front Nkwali have had plenty of lion sightings lately. Some guests who had just arrived from Australia, their first night in Africa, saw 11 lionesses milling around the pontoon area. Pam was overwhelmed!

Lion Cub

Tiger FishJo and I sneaked out for a night and stayed at a non RPS bushcamp. It was great to be out there….lots of ellys, excellent giraffe sightings and a huge herd of buffalo. The carmine bee-eaters are now starting to arrive – and are beginning their annual digging session in the banks. Such a colourful sight.

Kate and Ross have just come back from a few days off. They popped down to Chongwe River Camp on the Lower Zambezi and did some fishing – Ross being the expert was rather upstaged by Kate on her first fly fishing trip. She caught a monster tiger fish. Thankfully for Kate, her trade mark pink hat did not put the fish off – indeed they seemed to be attracted to her side of the boat for some reason. Maybe Ross should take her lead and start wearing pink instead of khaki…

Stay well and have a great week
Cheers
Kim

It’s Monday 26th and raptor rage

A big first this week for Kerri – a leopard hunting and bringing down an impala. Guests were lucky enough to watch the whole process of stalking, hunting and then the leopard tucking into her kill. The whole process took several hours and guests arrived back at Nsefu understandably thrilled.

Tena Tena not to be out done came across lion on a buffalo and guests watched the rather gory sight of the lions squeezing out the intestines – not for the faint hearted as it was a long, drawn out process..

Gymnogene

Still on the kill front, a gymnogene was spotted with a chick which it has just managed to catch so blood and gore were definitely the order of the day this week.

Moving swiftly on to something rather more warm and fuzzy – Simon managed to photograph an elephant busily eating from an acacia tree with a sparrow weavers nest in the way. After munching all around the nest he then set about breaking it up – it had seemingly annoyed him to have it in the way. A beautiful sighting of bull elephants at the Tena Tena crossing made is a good week for elly sightings.

elephant and sparrow weavers nestelephant and sparrow weavers nestelephant and sparrow weavers nest

Robin has just return from one of his mobile safaris and had a group of safari virgins with him. Four out of the five had never been to Africa and were very excited, as you can imagine. They had great and unusual antelope sightings including: three separate sightings of roan antelope (total of 11 specimens), two reedbuck spotted on Lundu Plain, a couple of oribi on Chifungwe Plain and three hartebeest on the Chambowo Plain. A spectacular raptor party was seen – all on the same thermal were a palm nut vulture, long crested eagle, martial eagle, tawny eagle, bateleur eagle (cream backed variety) and a white backed vulture. The long crested eagle drove off the martial eagle by repeated dive bombings.

As everyone went to bed on the first night at camp one, strange cries were heard from the long grass outside camp. The following morning an approach was made to the nearest tree approximately 50 yards from camp were the remains of a puku male were found…as well as signs of the leopard who had killed him.

Very exciting news on the birding front – the possible sighting of a blue spotted dove on the Chambowo Plain – a photo was taken and we are awaiting positive id. If this is the case it will be the first seen in the South Luangwa. Robin casually misidentified it at first assuming it was an emerald spotted wood dove. However, the highly observant mobile expeditionaries immediately brought him to task about the colour of the wing patches which were cobalt blue not metallic green…

Pam and Pauls WeddingSome of you may remember the lady who saw 11 lions last week on her first ever safari drive – well what I did not mention was that later in the week she got married! Pam and Paul had come over from Australia especially to get married at Nkwali and we had a simple, wonderful wedding by the banks of the river close to camp. I was highly honoured to act as celebrant, not something many people can say they have done. Digging out a dress for the occasion and even finding some lipstick, I was obviously quite unrecognisable from my normal khaki clad self – as was evident from the comments made by my office staff….

Champagne followed and then the newly weds set off on a game drive whilst being showered with bougainvillea by myself and Shanie. They later returned to more champagne and dinner with other guests.

Pam and Pauls WeddingPam and Pauls Wedding

Stay well and have a great week
Cheers
Kim

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