It’s Monday 13th June and lots of running around

It’s Monday 13th June and lots of running around

Hello all, hope that good weekends have been enjoyed all round and that we are now feeling nice and refreshed ready for the new week. So a few things to catch up on from this week as in all honesty quite a lot has been going on.

Up in Kasanka they had their bicycle challenge weekend a few weeks back but the bush news travels slowly so we received the photos and details on Thursday but thought it a great event to tell you all about as it was such a great success and raised just over $1000 for the project.

Kasanka Bicycle Challenge

Promoting conservation and tourism as well as a few goodies donated by some local suppliers the event attracted a great selection of participants from semi professional cyclists to novices in gum boots. The 22km circuit was however not for the feint hearted but was attacked with the usual enthusiasm that we would expect. Several obstacles along the way including waterlogged dambo’s and rickety footbridges provided a rather varied race. The winner of the race will be joining us here at Nkwali for a few nights of well-deserved rest and congratulations. Let us hope that this tradition continues and that there will be many more annual Kasanka Bicycle Challenges.

Kasanka Bicycle ChallengeKasanka Bicycle Challenge

Down here in the Valley we also had the annual Johnny Ambrose touch rugby tournament, which was a great success. Some players came over from Malawi and many of us realised just how unfit we really all are. I use the term “we” loosely as I graciously sat on the side lines gossiping with the other girls and feeling tired for the boys running around on the pitch. The event, however is not about our rapidly depreciating levels of fitness but about continuing the memory of an incredible young man who was and still is loved by many. This year we also managed to raise just over $500 for South Luangwa Conservation Society and also Project Luangwa, so a success all round.

Johnny Ambrose cupJohnny Ambrose cup

Simon and Zoe Simon and Shanie were also here for the rugby with their 10 week old – little Zoe and as you can see it has not taken Simon long to get her truly embroiled into RPS!

Simon (Ozzy) however didn’t make it as he was enjoying a fitness challenge of his own walking up through the National Park – enough of that consider the bate to have been dangled and I am sure that we will hear more about his journey in the next couple of weeks!

The team from the Carnivore Project (previously known as AWDC) have also been frantically running around, not on an exercising mission, but in their fleet of landrovers as the carnivores in the Luangwa have been really rather busy of late and are certainly keeping them on their toes!

Slit the once magestic black maned male lion is still lurking with a new slightly smaller pride to his hey day. Many thought that before Christmas his days were numbered but the old chap is still plodding along looking really rather worse for wear and rather scruffy around the edges but he carries it off with a certain aplomb which really is rather impressive.

The dogs have also been seen a few times last week – first alerted to their presence by hearing them it wasn’t long until one was spotted covering some ground between Nkwali and the pontoon on a definite mission.

Wild Dog Also a few words from Eli, part of the Carnivore team, about a recent trip up to Nsefu

During a trip to Nsefu sector tracking for lions and wild dogs, our team picked up the radio collar signal from a coalition of three males who spend their time both in Nsefu sector and on the western bank of the Luangwa River. When we discovered the males, we found the Nsefu pride — six lionesses and five cubs — feeding on a recent buffalo kill. Between the panting bellies of gorged lionesses, we could make out the body of a decent-sized crocodile among the feeding lions. Given that it was a very long way from water, it had blood around its head, and the lions were completely unconcerned about its presence just inches away from them we presumed the lions had killed this unlucky crocodile looking for a meal. Nevertheless we weren’t going to go into the middle of it to confirm!

As we were identifying the members of the pride, all of a sudden we heard a long hiss from the crowd of feeding lions. The croc lay with its mouth agape facing off with an inquisitive lioness, very much alive and well and actually joining in with the lions for the feast! Over the next thirty minutes, the croc began to edge up to the carcass without harassment. Lionesses and young cubs would walk closely by, even stopping and swishing their tails close to the croc’s gaping jaws, unconcerned by the crocodile and it apparently unconcerned by them, save for a few warning hisses! As the buffalo continued to go into the big bellies of the cats the croc inched closer as the lions began to move off and lie down. By the time the croc had made it to the carcass, an adult male lion was the sole lion feeding, and though there were some exchanges of growling and hissing, the croc and the male lion fed on opposite sides of the carcass. Truly a remarkable, unusual combination of South Luangwa predators!

LionCroc and Lion

Thanks Eli, and what an incredible sighting.

Gosh, so it really has been a rather busy week and my “Its Monday” this week has run on a little so I shall leave you all for now but will be back next week with news from Luangwa River Camp and also the first trip up the 05 road to open up mobiles.

Have a good one and enjoy.



Lion eye

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