It’s Monday 15th Jan 2007 and the Rising River

It’s Monday 15th Jan 2007 and the Rising River

River at ChristmasRiver now - higher

Gosh – it does come around quickly – It’s Monday again. I am going to have to get used to this with Kimmie gone! Well the green season hot topic is right up there again. How high is the river? Is it rising? Has it dropped? We check each inch each day when it gets to the steps. And yes – it rose to the steps this week. That is a rise of just under 3 meters since Christmas (see pic with low water) and there is only a meter to go. Of course this happens every year and it hasn’t gone over the top since 1978, and the rains are not that heavy so really……but it does become an obsession. Rather like the Swiss and the snowfall I guess. We have had some local rain but not too much and so most of this water is from the North. It must be raining cats and dogs somewhere up there! But it leaves all our lagoons, dambos, etc full of water. It makes great boating!

Daudi The “skyscapes”, as a result of clouds and storms are simply spectacular. Both dawn and sunset are a treat everyday. Dawn I tend to miss, but we try to get out on the boat after work for the sunsets (with lots of popcorn of course for me) – here is Daudi manoeuvring a landing last night.

Sleeping lion So the game…..I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there were mating lions around. Well there were three consecutive couples in the end so we had ten days of mating lions. The first pair were on the road and many of the drives were radioing back saying they were “stuck” and could not pass the lions. And of course is it hard work so lots of snoozing took place.

The wild dogs have not been seen for a few days but of course we know where they are. Kellie is in Australia on holiday, and can track their movements on her computer from the satellite link. It seems crazy but I imagine her sitting on a beach and checking it out. She sends us the location so we can go out and report the numbers of the pack, their activity etc. Anyway – at the moment they are on the Mupamadzi road, well past where we can get to. Let’s hope they come back soon!

a Before I hand you over to Robin to explain the other women in his life…..a goodbye to Duncan – a mad Scot who has been with us for a month, training all our drivers and guides, including the office staff, how to drive in the Valley conditions! Duncan set up the Jeep event last year, and spent some three months with us in the end! He has become part of the RPS family now and no doubt he will be back in the near future.


Bye from me and over to Robin ……


Whilst oiling my office window frames and door frames a month or so ago I inadvertently brushed up on a paper wasp’s multi celled nest – Vespula sp. For this intrusion I received a sharp reminder from the sharp end. Despite rather negative thoughts generated by this encounter I decided that I would not “clean up” this wasp and would instead watch its building progress. It finished building its paper compartments and obviously laid its eggs and sealed the paper tubes. Since this time we have become more familiar with each other. I am now able to oil almost around the paper wasp’s nest with only a certain degree of wing drumming. I was further slightly enchanted when the wasp landed on my shoulder and cleaned itself for ten minutes or so whilst I was working on the computer.

Almost within days of my friendly encounter with the paper wasp a second and impressively large wasp, length approx 30mm arrived. The “mason wasp”, Delta sp., began building a clay pot for egg laying on the wall behind my computer. This structure was carefully fashioned. When the pot was complete it drew a large green caterpillar into it, and then closed the pot entrance with more clay. This wasp then began building a second “pot” on top of the first. After being in Lusaka for three days I have returned to see that it has now built four pots on top of each other the top one is open for egg laying and caterpillar insertion. That does not complete the wasp story.


A third wasp, Synagris sp., which is a large black wasp with a bright yellow tip to its abdomen, has built a massive structure above the desk attached to the thatch. It has one more compartment to fill. The office is presently not for the faint hearted.

Termites are in evidence at the moment with all this moisture around. I could write a story about the sometimes dramatic effects of termites and offices. It’s an easy and environmentally friendly method of getting rid of old accounts, books, incredibly important documents, and historic photographs!

That’s it from the Popes. Have a great week!

Robin & Jo

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