It’s Monday 17th January 2011 and a variety of parks

This Monday we will cover a variety of parks, from Bangweulu to Majete. We will start with Walter who sent us his impressions of the Kasanka Bat Safari, with an extension to Shoebill Island,  illustrated with some great shots. And Simon is giving us some thoughts about closing camps and the end of season at Pumulani.

bat flyingbats flying

Let’s start with Bangweulu Swamps, one of the remaining Zambia special gems, and hear from Walter and Ruth:

‘It is for my wife Ruth and me an unchallenged experience! Exciting, astonishing and unique! We have never felt such an excitement on our many safaris. It’s a feeling which you can not express with words.

bat flyingbats flying

Especially the morning drive, when you get up in the dark, the day is slowly starting, you arrive at the wood, there is some dust and the sky is already full of bats. You walk to the platform, get above the smaller trees and closer to the bats. The sun comes up and you see all these trees full of bats, there are bats all around and it’s a very peaceful atmosphere. And because the sun is rising you can see more and more details. In the evening it is in a certain sense calmer and it lasts shorter because night comes fast.

trees full of batsLichtenstein’s hartebeest

But one should in any case do a morning and an evening drive to the bats. The guide and the park rangers were very helpful to get good spots for observing the scenery. After the bat day we were looking for sitatungas, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and sables. We could not find the sables, but had nice spotting of the other rare antelopes. We then flew to Shoebill Island, where we had a long and dusty game drive over the dry swamps. Finally after 2 hours drive and a 45 minutes walk we found one bird. For a bird interested person like me it was another excitement and even my wife forgot the long and hard ride when spotting the bird. On the slower way back we saw a lot of vultures on a dead tsessebe and found a big herd of tsessebes.”

Flying to Malawi, Simon is finally on his way for his 3 month leave after closing Tena Tena, Mkulumadzi and Pumulani. Let’s hear from him:

Pumulani infinity swimming poolPumulani view from the panoramic bar


Well you are probably beginning to wonder why am I being paid to do the best job in the world! I’ve just finished working in my third national park in as many months and lucky enough to work in three very special ones. South Luangwa with all its wildlife, Majete Wildlife Reserve, the new jewel of Malawi wildlife, where I saw my first ever aardvark, and Lake Malawi National Park whose fish variety is phenomenal. But it’s not all eas,y promise… Who am I kidding, I’m now going holiday and guess where? Back in the bush, of course!!

Anyway what I’ve been doing for the last three months was shutting camps for the rains.

Pumulani staff last day in campPumulani staff last day in camp

Well what goes into closing down a place? It’s like an everything must go sale – absolute mayhem! We start at 6am and finish around 5pm with a small break for lunch. Everyone’s keen to get finished and maybe a half day off before all the off season maintenance starts.

Sun beachSun beach packed

The wonderful beach has to be sand bagged to stop the lake washing it away in storms or when its rough, the furniture all gets stacked nicely out the rain, the boats get pulled out the water and cleaned, the rooms become vacant halls, there is a whole lot of really boring stock taking (which I usually palm off to some other poor soul but Emma left too quickly this time, must have remembered Tena Tena), a lot of laughs, often particular jokes, and of course I couldn’t help but get on the water one more time with a few staff for the ride.

The other major priority was getting the roof back on Pumulani School. It blew off in high winds recently and the maintenance team from the lodge have been using their less busy days to fix it. Term starts Monday hopefully we should finish Sunday…

For all those that managed to get to this wonderful, tranquil corner of the world in 2010 hope you had as much fun seeing it as we had showing it to you, and for all those who didn’t make it, we look forward to seeing you at the lake for some swimming, snorkelling, walking, water sports or just plain relaxing, soon.

From Luke, Bettina, Emma, the whole Pumulani team, Rita and myself hope you have a good start to this year and we’ll catch you soon on Lake Malawi.

Enjoy your week,


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