It’s Monday 16th November 2009 and camps closing

It has got to that time of the year when the clouds start to build the temperatures rise, the frogs start to “sing” and that all too tempting sound of thunder monopolizes all back ground noise!!

sunrise in the Nsefu sectorImpalas at Nsefu

The animals and the parched landscape all seem to be longingly looking up at the sky waiting and hoping for those first few precious drops – and so we wait……

Then all of a sudden the rain hits and we know that we have been lucky to get Tena and Nsefu Camps closed up for the rains in time this year. There were a few threatening clouds lingering and each camp had a small storm but miraculously the rain held out. Closing up the camps in the pouring rain is not the most convenient or easiest of environments as absolutely everything gets washed and packed up into large airtight containers so everything needs to be really dry if it is at all going to last the rains.

View of the tent at Tena Tena CampElephants in front of Nsefu Camp

Tena Tena was the first to close and it wasn’t long after the last guests had been waved off that the tents were down and packed up. It takes a lot of control and management to stop the team from dismantling the camp in 2 seconds flat – it is like the end of term and the guys are all keen to go home to see their families and get their fields ready to plant their crops in time for the rain. So the reigns of the ship were tightly held on to by Simon and Emma as they orchestrated the packing and doing a full inventory of their camp. Tena Tena – literally means temporary home and it is at this time of year that this really does ring true and the entire camp comes down and gets packed into the 2 containers which are at Nsefu (Nsefu being on higher ground as we never want to be too cautious of river levels). The Samil 50 was on standby to transport all the containers and drums across to Nsefu as well as a couple of landcruisers – there really was no hanging around. By the end of day 2 it was pretty much done and all that was left was the final litter picking session and the organization of accommodation for the 3 watchmen who are stationed in the camp for the rains.

view from Nsefu barNsefu camp

Nsefu was next – although this was a first that the Tena team had completed their camp closing mission before Nsefu as it is usually the other way round. Nsefu was not far behind them – Rob and I got up to Nsefu mid morning on the day the guests left and it was a picture of calm, the only thing remaining to be done was the final packing of the container. The bar was packed away, as were the rooms and all furniture was lined up outside the container awaiting its appointed packing time. However everything can wait whilst the team breaks for lunch and a bit of a siesta!! By that evening there were just the vitals left to be done the following morning, so a decision was made that work would not start until 6.30 the next day. However, this was not put into practice – Nessa and Daudi were woken up and removed from their rooms by 5.30 by the anxious bedroom attendants wanting to get all the linen washed ready for packing.

Dinning at Tena Tena Lovely view from Tena Tena

Two days to take down and pack up the entire camp!! When you think it takes us up to 3 weeks to get them open for the season. And so that is it the season of 2009 finished – well for Nsefu, Tena, Fly Camping and Mobiles. Luangwa House, Robins House and Nkwali remain open for the Emerald Season.

It has been a wonderful season and has flown by far too quickly with all the teams doing the most fantastic job – for which we really can not thank them enough. Time now though for everyone to put their efforts into their fields and crops ensuring that their families have a good yield for the coming year. While for most the thought of seasonal work is not a good one, out here it is key to preparing everything for the upcoming year.

Baby ImpalasLion relaxing

Now is also the time when we start to become slightly obsessed with the river, watching the levels as they rise and fall and as is tradition every day there is a comment or question on what it is doing – today it has come up about another inch so the island in front of Nkwali is becoming smaller. Still though there is not enough water for boating activities but slightly too much water in the river for us to be crossing by car. Though I do not think that it will be too long as there has been rain up at Nsefu every single day for the last week. We definitely got out in time! We shall keep you posted on the river levels no doubt.

So until the next installment keep safe and have fun…

Emily

PS: For your information we have included an invitation to the Nyika-Vwaza (UK) Trust Evening being hosted in London in Dec:

Lecture on ANIMALS, ANTHU AND ANCESTORS: Relationships between Malawians and the World of Wildlife by Professor Brian Morris, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London

The Date: 09 December 2009
The Place: The Royal Geographical Society (Exhibition Road entrance), London
The Time: 6pm for 6.45pm and ends 9pm

Hippos

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