It’s Monday 12th December 2005 and the Angola Pitta

With Jo in England and Kim in Lilongwe, I am your scribe for this week. It’s been an exciting week both on the gameviewing side for our guests and back of house. There have been lots of exciting sightings in terms of game and Luangwa House in its final stages (lots of stressed people at the site!!). Having seen off all the caterers last month we now have a new hostess to assist Shanie. Her name is Becky and though born and bred in Zambia, this is her first time in the valley. She seems to have come with the rains as we have this week received the heaviest rains so far and the river is gently rising. Becky describes how magical she is finding the valley.

Storm cloud

“As the Sun sets over the Luangwa Valley gigantic black clouds roll on nearer, snatching up any last rays of sunlight left to illuminate the fauna and flora. Following the deafening thunder, lightning highlights the outline of the trees in the distance. The breeze is soft and cool on the skin, which is very welcome to us here in the valley where temperatures sometimes soar over forty degrees. The first few drops of rain fall only to be soaked up by the dry sand followed by harder and faster drops of rain. On the dry riverbed in front of Nkwali camp a puku prances in the rain showing off his delight in the approach of the new season. The Luangwa River once diminished by the dry season, is fed once again by the heavy rains, and will in time become an untamed force of nature. This signifies the beginning of a fresh season, and new memories for us all to come.”

pukuLioness approaching

Angola PittaAs we all predicted – Simon has taken time off his new city job (already!!) and come back ‘home’. To prove that he is still very much a part of the valley and guiding, he had quite some amazing sightings on all his drives. Having only arrived on Wednesday morning, he went out that afternoon on a game drive and saw the rare Angola Pitta – not one but three. And at the end of three days he had eight sightings in total. A leopard too, on the first drive not far off from camp! As icing on the ‘chocolate’ cake, an amazing lion kill.

Lioness on kill

Just to keep you in the loop – today is the official opening of the Luangwa House with our first guests arriving late this afternoon.  Really exciting for us All!!! But like Neil (designer) said the other day, it’s like child birth – and he now understands what all those wonderful mothers out there go through…  The house has been growing for the past months and today the baby is shown to the World.  Everyone is anxious but the Mother has to endure the labour pains until the final moment.  The finishing touches are being done and we hope the guys will be out of the house in a few hours!!!


Next week we will give you the full story on the house…

So until next week, happy Christmas Shopping!!


P.S. As you might already know Kellie Leigh and Emma her assistant are going to be based at Nkwali for the next 3 years.  To learn more about what they are doing their website is: If you want a special Christmas treat, they have a limited edition of wildlife print available – check their website for further details.

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