It’s Monday 10th January and what a start to the year

So then what has been happening since you last heard from us in the Valley… well 2010 has been and gone and the Luangwa Valley has not let us down so far in 2011. The game viewing has been superb and the weather has been reasonably well behaved which has been great in keeping the bush refreshed and green but it has also been dry for the most part of the day which is excellent for all out and about in open cars.

GiraffeElephants

Before however I get lost in tales of wildlife, there is a small story that I thought would be fun to share with you all….. Each year we close both Tena Tena and Nsefu during the course of the rains. The camps are not left completely abandoned and each camp has a team of 3 watchmen stationed in them keeping an eye on everything as well as maintaining what needs to be maintained.

Storm clouds

We generally bank on sending re-supplies up to the teams in the first week of January as the road is either passable or the river has come up enough to boat. On Wednesday myself and Rob decided to give the road option a good old go – it has to be said that this was not a successful journey and we were back at Nkwali 2 hours later, the landrover significantly muddy and John (who works in the office) took one look at it and his face dropped at the thought of trying to remove the thick layer of mud splattered all over! The following day Ruben (heads up all of our special projects) was given the challenge of boating up – usually when the river is high this takes no more than 2 hours, 6 hours later Tena Tena was in sight.

The guys were delighted to see him so he moored up and offloaded all their food and stopped for a chat – the rain decided that moment to give a short sharp shower and just as he was preparing to leave they all heard a strange noise – all eyes looked down towards the boat only to discover that instead of a boat there was now a large pile of mud as the bank had collapsed on top of it. Well I am sure you can imagine the looks on their faces – one of those classic moments that just makes you giggle. Unfortunately no photographic evidence of the occasion.

Back to camp…

Nkwali has been very busy and the team is being kept on their toes with lots of game activity. At the beginning of the week the wild dogs were spotted by Fred which was a highlight and exciting news that they are around so fingers crossed for lots more sightings of our favourite canines.

Lioness and cubWild dog

Lions have also been sighted almost every day this week (it doesn’t rain but it pours) the Mfuwe pride have been strutting their stuff and showing off for the cameras, but the best sighting of the week came from Nyambe who was out on an all day picnic and saw a lioness with 3 very small little cubs – always a highlight no matter how tough and manly you pretend to be.

Relaxing Lioness

Leopard have been rather more aloof however Bertie had a fabulous sighting of a female wandering nonchalantly through the bush then scoot up a tree to a conveniently placed branch ready to pose for the cameras. Unfortunately for the family in the car at the time their camera chose that moment to simply stop working and as all mothers will know this is the time when you can rely on your children to make you feel pretty good about yourself! the youngest son announced that mum had missed the photo of the holiday….

LeopardElephant trunk

The elephants on the other hand have quite simply been everywhere – around camp but also plenty of sightings in the park as well. Having changed the dusty look to one of muddiness they are revelling in the cooler temperatures with no shortage of food and water at their trunks tips.

Seka the local drama group have also been visiting us quite a bit recently as with lots of young families this never fails to be a great spectacle and is hugely enjoyed by all – young and old!

SEKASEKA

So from the valley lots of little stories for you this week – it seems that so much is going on it would be unfair to focus on any one particular thing.

We hope that everyone had a superb New Year’s Eve and wish you all the best for 2011. Until the 24th (when you will hear from me again), take care and remember to have fun.

Elephants on parade

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