It’s Monday 13th March 2006 and the Flood?

The Luangwa Valley continues to surprise me – after eighteen years.  In a few days we have gone from sunny days to complete flood alert and back again to the sunniest of suns.  On Wednesday night – it dumped.  I was out and tried to get back an hour into the storm in my Rav 4 (my little hair dressers car as I call it!)  A little ambitious I admit.  I went through the first huge pond in the road and the headlights went under water!  The rain was solid, the lightening all around and the thunder making me jump.   I lost my nerve and radioed for help.  Robin and Rob obliged and came to the rescue (actually drove home so a tad embarrassing!).  But oh dear – the river is already high and if this keeps up…….

vehicle in watervehicle in water

Robin did not sleep all night.  Would the river break over the top?  He was up and checking at 0500 and it was still pouring with rain.  The river was rising three inches an hour with a only  couple of feet to go.  For a river over half a kilometer wide, and moving fast, that is a lot of water.  So we went into flood alert.  That means taking all the vehicles we can out of camp (too late for my Rav, the water was too high over the bridge), packing everything and I mean everything, into the main store.  Emptying the containers as apparently containers float (they what?!).  Then the river started to slow down.  The rain stopped.  The river stabalised at lunchtime.  Relief.

We had just over 200 mls in twelve hours (that’s eight inches).

Then there was the problem of the villagers – and plans were made for delivering water, food etc. But within 24 hours the water had subsided everywhere.  You would not have known there had been a near humanitarian disaster.  A place of extremes indeed.

That evening we sat on the deck – next to a very high river.

on the deckteh river

The lagoon at the Luangwa House has filled and you can now boat from Nkwali to the house – as we did last year. See January 24 2005. Of course the swimming pool does not look the same without a model so I ask everyone to turn around so I can take my clothes off. There is a member of staff there sweeping and I ask him to oblige. He looks at me, drops the broom and runs out the house. Hmmmm…..but as you can see – it certainly needs a model.

Pool viewhigh lake

The ellys are back in camp.  Daudi says they enjoy the dry ground.  Here they are walking past Kim’s house and the matriarch then came to visit us as the office.  Too close for my liking!

elepahnt outside the officeelepahnt outside the office

Today is glorious – sunny, blue blue skies and guess what, that red chested cuckoo is at it again !

All the best



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