It’s Monday 19th December and the winner is …

It’s Monday 19th December and the winner is …

After having a fantastic time at Liuwa Plain with Robin and Jason, I arrived here at Nkwali to find our staff dining area looking more like a university study hall. There were reference books all over the tables and all our guides were in deep discussion about birds. The guides were doing a four day birding course with Derek Solomon which they were in their element about. During the busy season the guides don’t often get to work together or even see one another so when I saw them working as a team, testing one another and discussing their passions for the bush, rather loudly; it was really inspirational.   Some new and interesting facts I learnt whilst hanging out with them are, The Southern Crowned Crane is now called the Grey Crowned Crane and that Mouse Birds only occur in Africa.

The Guides with their certificatesGrey Crowned Crane

Coming back to Nkwali is like coming back to a completely different place. The air has filled with the earthy and refreshing smell of the coming rains along with the sweet scent from the flowers of the Snow Berry Bush. Dark grey clouds hang low and there is a constant rumble across the valley. After much anticipation the heavens have finally opened and showered down the most valuable gift to all creatures great and small. Rain. The fine layer of dust that normally coats everything from the trees and bushes to the vehicles and my shoes have been washed clean.  Snails and millipedes have made the camp paths into highways. Tropical flowers bejewel the lush green carpets of grass and the baboons and Woodland Kingfishers are gorging themselves on scrumptious Flying Ants, quite the delicacy in these parts. The hot and barren land of the Luangwa Valley has once again turned into an Emerald in the rough.

Snowberry BushLush green Luangwa

Luangwa in bloomCloudy skies

It is that time of year again where we proudly announce the finalists and winner of our annual photo competition for 2011.

A very big thank you goes out to all our guests that submitted their photos. We received over 100 stunning photos of Wildlife, People and Landscapes and let me tell you, you certainly gave the judges a tough job.

Best in category for People – Debbie Ewing
After much persuasion Debbie finally visited us in October and was lucky enough to stay at Nkwali, Nsefu and Luangwa Bush camping. I believe she left the Luangwa Valley blown away with how beautiful it is here and also took some fabulous pictures including this one. A great example of the term “Capturing the Moment”.  With the subjects completely unaware of the photo being taken their behaviour is truly natural making you feel part of the scene and the laughter. Irene certainly has her hands full.

Irene from Luangwa  Safari House

Irene from Luangwa Safari House

Best in category for Landscape – Kathy Richardson
A passionate photographer who has visited Robin Pope Safaris on a number of occasions and a previous winner of our photo competition.  Kathy has delivered the quintessential shot of the South Luangwa. Heavy dark clouds above, the sky awash with apricot hues, a tree almost in silhouette with its trunk buckled with knots and the life line to it all the Luangwa River gentling meandering past.

The Luangwa at  dusk

The Luangwa at dusk

Best in category for Wildlife – Veronica Wilkinson
Their holes can be seen all over the park but very rarely do you see Ant Lions. From his pincers to its tiny little hairs and even the miniscule specs of sand, the detail and clarity of this photo is phenomenal. It’s great to see this little guy in all his glory.

The ant lion

The ant lion

And the overall winner is – Alex Paul
Having once lived in Lusaka, Alex has made many visits to the South Luangwa and on a number of occasions stayed at RPS. Like Kathy, he is no stranger to our photo competition and has submitted some great shots in the past. I have had the pleasure of meeting him, listening to his stories about the good old days and was given the chance to see all his amazing photos. His photo of the lion cub won us over right from the start and that’s why we chose it as the winning shot for 2011.

The lion cub

The lion cub

Have a look at our gallery to see some of the great shots our guests submitted.
Well that’s all for this week. Have a great week ahead and Merry Christmas from everyone at RPS.


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