It’s Monday 14th December 2009 and the president visits

Robin, Jason, Michelle and the same crew Alfred, James, Emmanuel and the mechanic Bernard are all packing up and getting ready to leave, out in the Liuwa Plain. They have just finished three weeks of safari with four groups and a President. They sent a memory stick on a flight out with photos and news. But let Michelle explain…..

wild dog seen in Kafue the road from Mongu to Kalabo

Its Monday and the RPS team are happy to be back on the luscious Liuwa plain. The rains have arrived and once again we are greeted by large open landscapes and a 360 curtain of colourful, cloudy skies and carpets of bright yellow flowers and blue lagoons as far as the eye can see. The journey getting here wasn’t nearly as treacherous as last year as we managed to meander through the muddy Zambezi floodplain as well as cross over two pontoons quite effortlessly.

getting stuck behind a truck!the Zambezi floodplain after the first rains

Jason helping the ladies pull the pontoonRobin taking it in his stride as he crosses the Zambezi River

On route we drove through Kafue National Park and discovered 14 wild dog… 15 in fact, but sadly one had been run over on the road. The 14 seemed to be hanging around mourning the loss of their friend, and as we arrived they quickly scurried off into the dense green forest. We also spotted lots of newborn impalas as calving season is at its peak, which was a wonderful sight.

Lady Liuwa and her beausuccessful mating

So, as we arrived into camp, we quickly offloaded supplies and eagerly set off on a game drive (and well deserved sundowner!) in the hope of finding Lady Liuwa. As some of you may remember, she is the only lioness in Liuwa, and has been single and alone for 8 years, as hunters had wiped out the entire Liuwa lion population. In May this year, two young males were translocated from Kafue and introduced to her in the hope of them creating a new Liuwa pride. It was a huge historical event and pulled on many heart strings… including my own! When we left in June they were only just starting to make friends and were rarely seen close together. You can imagine our delight when sipping on our G&T’s we heard some growling and groaning – what a wonderful surprise to find Lady and one of the males mating!! We watched them ‘enjoying themselves’ every 12 minutes (Robin had his stopwatch ticking!) for over an hour, each session only lasting for a minute at the most. This apparently lasts for 3 days!! Besides the bored look on lady’s face it was fantastic to see her so happy, rolling and wriggling around on her back, purring loudly. She seemed happy to see us back again too, well, so I’d like to think as our presence really didn’t seem to bother her! Or I guess she was distracted… anyway, all going well, she should be having some cubs in 3 months!! Hold thumbs won’t you?

Alfred, Michelle and Emmanuelopen spaces with carpets of flowers

Robin entertaining the PresidentMichelle and the President

A few days later we were just about to sit down for lunch with the guests when we received a radio message, “The president is popping in to camp as he needs to use your loo!” No, not Daudi but his Excellency, Rupiah Banda and a small entourage turn up to camp minutes later. They’d been visiting Liuwa and were out on a game drive and were obviously desperate for a pit stop. We offered them drinks and all sat in the bar chatting like old friends – ‘The Pope’ and the President! Of course, I couldn’t resist having a (blurred) picture taken with his Excellency! After a little chat I was quite taken aback when he asked me how my dad was?!! Apparently they were mates back in the day! He asked me to pass on his greetings so dad, if you’re reading this, the President says, “hi!”

dramatic skies on Liuwa Plainwildebeest and flowers

It’s been quite an eventful week so far and with the clouds forming beautiful skies and formations, this place just gets better and more breathtaking each time I look up!

Thanks Michelle. Great to get the news and photos. Those wide open spaces are so enticing. We had hoped that Lady Liuwa would have had cubs by now as she has been at it since June!! However, she has moved from the older lion to the younger one. The thought is that maybe he was firing blanks. Sincerely hope the problem is not with her as she is it! The only lioness on the plain.

I fly down to Lusaka on Wednesday as Robin drives from Mongu. I am very excited to see him…..has only been just under four weeks but it does seem like a very long time! I do miss the man!

So next Monday we will both be back at home, on short finals to Christmas and happy to be together.

Have a great week

fabulous skies at Liuwa Plain

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