It’s Monday 16th January 2006 and Rob’s turn

a The continuation of the rains has brought upon an amazing gradual transformation of the Luangwa Valley and all its inhabitants. Many of the wild flowers have sprung forth into blossom giving the bush amazing color and vibrancy. The clear skies have given us a true perspective of what we have around us. The Chindeni hills and Muchinga Escarpment appear so close we feel we can almost reach out and touch them. The build up of the huge Cumulus nimbus thunderheads in the afternoon, adding to this a great back drop.

Along with this however comes the renewed appreciation of how to get around and in particular, the mud, the rains has brought with it. A number of times through the course of the game drives guides have fallen foul to the rigors of the mud which is always there to catch the over ambitious guide. Even the animals have had to become reacquainted with the mud. The more graceful appearing slightly more inept in dealing with it.

Dana Allen visited the Luangwa house in a quest to take yet more promotional pictures and arrived to a heavy water laden sky which threatened to wipe out any chance of decent photographic opportunity.  a With the same heavy threatening clouds above us Dana was dispatched on a game drive to photograph animals early the next morning. It was not till later in that day were we rewarded with the sun and a perfect sunset to finish the shooting of the house.

a Not until I saw Dana’s photographs of the animals did I realize how quickly the bush is changing. The Luangwa River is now bank to bank in most places and the number one boat driver (as Robin is now called) can now motor up river with relative impunity. Trees and other underwater obstacles are now no longer a threat to our waterways. At least not on our stretch of Luangwa. We will shortly be able to motor our way to up to Tena Tena and Nsefu to check on wet season work up there. A cruise in relative luxury instead of the usual epic banana boat trip, loaded to the gunnels.

a One of the other noticeable differences has been the change in the animals’ mood to life – impalas pronking and baby puku butting heads and chasing each other, baby elephants challenging the game drive vehicles with their mother looking on completely disinterested, all of this has gives the Valley an air of tranquility. a

Even the lions appear to be somewhat distracted!

The once brown waterholes are now covered with a thin mat of water cabbage  which is no longer the life support for the hippos, who are now enjoying the width and depth of the Luangwa River at its best. No more fighting and cajoling for space in the sparse trickle of water which was their only refuge from the hot November sun.




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