It’s Monday 13th February 2006 and the trip to Nsefu

It’s Monday 13th February 2006 and the trip to Nsefu

Occasionally we, as RPS staff, get to enjoy the benefits of working in the South Luangwa in that we can occasionally take time off and get to enjoy the areas in which we work so hard in during the season. We get to treat ourselves as guests and take the trips we want to take.

Emily and I have just returned from a short three day break up to Nsefu. As is the norm at this time of the year the trip was taken by boat. A trip which took an epic three and a half hours due to the fact that there was so much happening and so much to see – frequent stops to take photographs of fisherman’s huts on the side of river to having lunch in the boat under a tree with a young baboon who was very keen to share what we had.

fisherman’s hutsyoung baboon

As getting around on land this time of the year is quite a sticky business we did a lot of walking. The bush is thick but the ground relatively dry as the area has not received rain for the last two weeks. Every walk and boat trip had its high points and was its own little adventure. The first afternoons walk took us through the Nsefu ebony grove which has been radically transformed.  

Nsefu ebony grove Towards the end of the walk, having seen elephants and buffalo, we walked onto a hippo taking advantage of the early evening. The hippo heard our arrival but did not know what we were and was rather cautious, as were we! Efforts to walk around the hippo proved difficult as the bush was thick so we stood waiting for the hippo to settle and continue on his way. As we were waiting, there was a rustle in the bush between the hippo and where we were stranding which once again alarmed the hippo and we were in serious danger of having our cover blown, the relative peace and tranquility would have been shattered. What happened next was most unexpected – an elephant shrew came boiling out of the bush in our direction stopping about two meters from where we were crouching, completely oblivious to our existence, stopped looked around and went boiling back into the thicket. The end result was the hippo settled and went on his way none the wiser to our presence.

yellow billed stork colony The next day we took a short boat excursion up stream of Nsefu to visit the yellow billed stork colony. This involved a walk in-land from the Croc Bridge re-entrant of about ½ an hour.

We could hear the beak chattering and a soft lowing sound from the colony long before we saw them. It would appear the colony is in the early stages of breeding. Birds are congregating and getting to know each other again. Some have started to build nests but not with any great commitment. The volume of the birds in the colony is already a very impressive sight. There is the usual constant comings and goings of birds which in itself is amazing to watch and I am sure would be any air traffic controllers nightmare!

Malachite kingfisher On our return to the boat we stopped in the shade for a bite to eat. Whilst tucking into our sandwiches a bold malachite kingfisher graced us with a bathing display within about a meter from where we were sitting. A great finish!

One thing this time of the year brings with it is the storms and the dramatic skies in the evenings. Every evening had its own spectacular display of thunder and lightening along with rain in the distance.

dramatic skies The return trip to Nkwali was some what eventful. We decided to take advantage of the current and drift down stream looking and photographing as we went. This had an interesting effect on the hippo’s who were, on the most part, curious about what we were. Some rising meters from the boat, all beat a hasty and somewhat confused retreat. We did however manage to catch up with a dead elephant cow floating in the river on which was a huge crocodile that appeared to have taken up ownership of the carcass.

elephant bulls swimming



As if this was not enough we saw a group of elephant bulls swimming in the river. They appeared to be very relaxed and continued their playing and cavorting even in our presence.

elephant bulls swimmingelephant bulls swimming

Have a great week.

Rob and Emily

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