It’s Monday 17th September 2007 and the SIS lesson

It’s Monday 17th September 2007 and the SIS lesson

There is a new magazine called Travel Zambia which I had a hand in starting. Well it was my idea and after four years of being an idea it is now a reality. Very exciting. For the second issue, we are looking for people who have been to Zambia in the “Emerald Season” and who would like to contribute. If so – let me know. And this got me thinking…..

Emerald Season

The season has changed, and we are now into the “hot, dry and dusty” season with temperatures rising. The river is dropping fast and we are now driving across it at the pontoon. But this last week my mind has been on the Emerald Season. I am thinking of clear blue skies, green green bush and a full river as I work on the marketing of the next six months. Such a contrast.

So what have we in store for you this coming Emerald Season?

Mating LionsZebras

I have planned a number Special Interest Safaris – giving you the opportunity to come and visit us during the underrated season of the year with an added focus. Why “underrated”.? The myth about there being no game is so untrue. We have excellent game viewing all year round, and when the ground is wet the game tends to go to the dry areas and guess what – this is where the roads have been built. Hence lots of wild dog or mating lion shots on the road (also the reason given for late lunches!) Someone said yesterday – “but I think of tails moving through tall grass”. We have lots of very open areas and again – if you were an animal where would you be. In the open or in tall thick grass. The answer is the open area.

Green Lagoon

I wake everyday and say – “but its so green”. This has become a joke but everyday you are newly amazed at how green it really is. The air is clear and the colours so incredibly vibrant. There are flowers, high waters, breeding birds, migrants birds, baby mammals everywhere. A time when you can really call this the Garden of Eden. I love it. Have I convinced you?

Bat Migration So in November, the Bat Safari – we are combining Nkwali with one of the truly extraordinary sights of nature – a few million fruit bats! Every year at the end of October thousands of “straw coloured fruit bats” congregate in the trees at Kasanka National Park for a short six weeks, to feed on the abundance of seasonal fruit. By mid November their numbers reach into the millions. To see millions of bats dispersing at dusk against the setting sun, sitting in a hide 60 foot up in a tree, is quite an experience. And yes – I have done it. This safari also includes a fly-in day to Bangwuelu Swamps where the hundred thousand black lechwe will be on the plains and hopefully with newborn calves.

Coming in for a landingThe famous Robin Pope

During the months of January to March we have a number of special safaris being led by our excellent guides. This includes, three Birding Weeks (Rocky and Kerrie will be leading) which are designed for the enthusiast rather than the “twitcher”. For birding this really is the best time time of year – migrants and residents all breeding.

In February we have a “Week with Robin” during which Robin will walk a ridge, boat / walk to the stork colony near Nsefu, and have a day trying to find a hundred birds. We have a standing joke as he says he can find a hundred birds in a day easily and of course I mean a hundred species. Ha ha!

Taking a shot with David RogersWonderful Wild Dogs

Then in March we will have David Rogers back for the third year in a row, leading a Photographic Safari where the emphasis is technique, composition, subject and all the other things photographers think about. David is a lot of fun and these weeks are always a great success. You do not need more than a basic digital camera (but more than a happy snappy). And do not worry about not having long lenses. Just a sense of fun and lots of enthusiasm. He is coming back in May for a second one as well.

Now, if you read through our back dated It’s Monday you will notice that we talk a lot about the Wild Dogs during the months of Feb – April. We have great sightings during these months – of course not guaranteed, nothing ever is, but without doubt a better than good chance! In April we have the “Wild Dog Week”. You will spend time with AWDC Ecologist Claire Harrison and Project Manager Dr Tasila Banda, tracking the dogs, learning about ecological survey techniques in the field including lion identification and prey surveys. Combined with the talks at camp this will be a fascinating safari. The schedule is flexible as the wild dogs are unpredictable, but there will be one activity with AWDC per day.

The amazing shoebill stork

Finally, for the third or is it fourth year, Keyela will lead his annual safari to Bangwuelu Swamps in May – the peak shoebill stork viewing time. Every year he has seen at least three. This is combined with Nkwali and Chongwe in the Lower Zambezi. A wonderful 14 day safari – The Shoebill Safari.

Here endeth the “Special Interest Safari” Lesson. I will say no more!

Have a wonderful week,

Thank to Paul Evans, Alex Paul, Paul and Geert (lots of Paul’s) for use of photos.

Boating into the Sunset

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