It’s Monday 18th May 2009 and a crocodile in the board room

It seems as if I have been away a lot and am missing the beautiful months of April and May. But with my marketing trips to the UK and now South Africa it is true – I have been away. Robin left for the Liuwa Plain late April and so we have now been apart for 3 weeks. A long time for us and there is another month to go! He is able to phone on the transfer days which is great. I only get a quick report, “yes I am happy, all going well, please send more popadoms and a milometer cable”. Then I asked if he was going to run the safaris next year as there is lots of interest – the answer to my horror was a resounding NO. What??? But after all this, the marketing, the planning, the EFFORT. Why? I ask. Because I cannot spend so long away from you is the answer. Well you can imagine…..weak at the knees I was. So I have decided to jump onto the next trip and surprise him. I can tell you about this as I cannot see anyway you can let the secret out! Don’t worry – we will be running the safaris next year. I will just have to go out there with Robin.

RPS wins two Good Safari Guide awards

So I am now under pressure to get all my post South Africa follow up done in time. Firstly a huge thank you to Jaci and Jan of the stunning Jaci’s Camp in Madikwe. As members of the Classic Safari Camps of Africa we have an AGM at one of the member’s camp each year. Can you imagine what fun we have – 20 or so safari company owners together for 3 days. And we have 29 of the best camps in Africa to choose from! Next year is it Namibia.

Then at Durban I attended the Good Safari Guide travel awards. We won two awards !! I was delighted – the Best Mobile Safari and the Luangwa Safari House won the Best Safari House. Everyone was very proud when I returned laden with glitter!

croc in the board roomRob with the croc

So yesterday, fingers flying across the keypad, I was very focused. Then suddenly John shouted “there’s a crocodile in the board room”. I ignored this – far too busy – until the cry went from one voice to about ten. There was indeed a crocodile in the board room. Emily thought she would sweep it out but I thought best to wait for Croc Dundee Rob to get back from Tena Tena and catch it. It was not very big but I have seen the result of a small croc picked up incorrectly – there is lots of blood (Marcus??!!).

Robin transporting a freezer by boatmoving stores up the Zambezi River

And in the afternoon a CD arrived from Liuwa Plains (via lots of planes) for us to see. I have to share these photos with you. The month before D Day there was hours of planning, listing, checking lists and rechecking lists. Trust me, if you have to truck everything 600+ km, then boat it for 3 hours and finally drive it for a further 2-3 hours, you want your lists to be correct. The bulk of the dry goods were trucked to Mongu in March and stored.

Zambezi River transportationZambezi River transportation

On Robin’s arrival he hired a couple of boats to carry it up the flooded Zambezi system. It is hard to describe how amazing this is. In the dry season the Upper Zambezi is a 500 meters wide meandering river. Now? A massive river/lagoon system some 30-40 kilometers wide. So all transport at this time is by boat. From overloaded dugout canoes to ferries carrying everything from drums, vehicles and cows – if it needs to move, it goes by water transport. On the way you see families camped out on sandbanks, there to fish.

fisherman on the sandbanksloading heavy drums

A neat pile of boxes, sacks, bags of onions at one end, and after 3 hours everything being loaded onto the vehicles. There is still water on the plain but there is plenty of dry land for the animals and driving around. The bird life is clearly amazing. The wildebeest are there in big numbers. The hyena, the predominant predator, showed up on arrival. I also hear they have seen cheetahs on a kill and wild dog. And I can see they had time for a moonrise sundowner by one of the few palmtrees. Magical.

deep water on Liuwa Plainspoonbills at the pans

the curious hyenasundowner on Liuwa Plain

Finally I have news on Lady Liuwa (the only lion left in the park). She was in camp, clearly delighted to have company again and to be honest I think a little close for comfort. But over the last few days African Parks have translocated two males from the Kafue and I hear she has moved off to the boma area to check the talent out! It will be very intriguing to see what happens. I will keep you posted.

So…..from a busy girl, getting ready to leave again, have a wonderful week.

PS For all you bikers or those hitting their latter years with a yearning for an adventure here is someone taking the leap…..Steve Wilson is riding on a vintage motorbike from Cape Town to Kawaza to raise money for our school projects. How about donating – you will support him and donate to Kawaza! Check out the website or To read a short article on this.

PPS A note from the well known birding expert Peter Steyn (SA) on our Pel’s fishing owl news of 2 weeks ago. “I don’t think Cainism in the true sense occurs, rather the older chick simply outstrips the younger one which starves, rather like Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl and Ground Hornbill.”
Best wishes, Peter Steyn

PPPS … and more from Bob The Birder of Zambia – “Slight corrections – sorry : 1) Pel’s Fishing is definitely Tropical, not Sub-tropical 2) The “Cain and Abel” feature in raptors ; they don’t kill each (even though Cain perhaps killed Abel !) just the bigger (elder?) one hogs all the food ; in times of super-abundant food, two may be reared.

sunset on Liuwa Plain

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