It’s Monday 1st March 2010 and the emerald season views

This week it is the river that has kept us on our toes again! With the excitement of it all, it is rather like kids waiting for Father Christmas, our first port of call every morning is to check to see how far the river has risen and then predict how long we have got until it comes over the top. Having said this for all of us this really is a magical time of the year and watching the debris floating down gives the impression of the river’s immense power. The huge imposing thunderheads on the skyline set the tone of expectation – water that will be in the river at some point! It is amazing how the river can change so radically from one day to the next. The fact that the Luangwa River has no dam on it means the rise and fall is completely natural and is somewhat of a rarity anywhere in the world these days.

Luangwa Safari House swimming pool, South Luangwa, ZambiaNkwali Camp bar, South Luangwa, Zambia

I could probably go on forever about the water, life out here, why I love it so much, and the extraordinary differences between the dry season and the emerald season. However, I thought it would be far more interesting to hear from the people who have grown up here and whose families are here. So here are some of their responses to my question – ‘Do you prefer the dry season or the rains – and why?!

Nkwali Camp Jetty, South Luangwa, ZambiaNkwali Camp Jetty, South Luangwa, Zambia

Lameck, Chef – I prefer the dry season as in the rains there is lots of mud in the villages and it is difficult getting around. He also paid reference to the fact that bicycles were not too good in the mud.

Vincent – Room Attendant – I prefer the rains as I can see my family more and I can do my farming.

Aliyele – Waiter – I prefer both! There are things about both seasons that I like so I cannot say for sure which I prefer.

Yona – Kitchen Porter – I like the dry season as there are more jobs for people as all the camps are open but my maize grows during the rains which is good.

Alfred – Chef – I do not think the rains are good because we have to wait for the new crops which depend very much on the rains. Being a typical farmer he also said we either get too much rain or not enough. There are also fewer jobs for people.

Lloyd – Kitchen Porter – Dry season as there is good work and people can find work more easily. In the rains there are many months with no work for some people.

boating on the Luangwa River with Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, ZambiaWakumba Lagoon, South Luangwa, Zambia

Geoffrey – Waiter – I prefer the rains as the weather changes a lot so it is more interesting – it can be cold one day then hot and then very wet another day, so it is always changing which is what I like. Also, the trees are all sprouting and there is more vegetation and of course the different birds change their colours and they are very good.

Chilumba – Trainee Guide – In my own opinion I feel all seasons are good to me because I seem to experience different activities as the season changes. So it is never bad to me though the green season is not very active in terms of business compared to peak season. Lastly, it is also good because it creates a chance for employees to rest.

African Jacana, South Luangwa, ZambiaGreat White Egret, South Luangwa, Zambia

So it seems there is a bit of a split as to what is the best season and it shows that we really are all different, and different things are important to us. I would probably have to agree with Aliyele and Chilumba and I prefer both – I simply would not be able to choose if you asked me as they are so extremely different and really cannot be compared.

One of the bonus of living and working where we do is we meet some amazing people, we had a family from the Czech Republic staying with us last week. Filip the father was in the middle of a trans Africa journey – driving from Cairo to Cape Town on his motorbike, and his family had flown out to see him. By all accounts it is turning into the adventure I am sure he was hoping for and I am also sure he enjoyed someone else doing the driving for a couple of days at least! The family had a wonderful time and the game was practically leaping out in a collective bid to be seen! We wish him huge success for the rest of the trip and hope it goes smoothly without too many hiccups and breakdowns.

Zebra, South Luangwa, ZambiaLuangwa River, South Luangwa, Zambia

I am off to England for a couple of weeks so you will hear from me on my return. Next week we will hear from Heather and Liz who have been staying with us for a week or so now and enjoyed their River Journey with Daudi. Liz and Heather have stayed with us a number of times in the dry season and were here when the water was at its highest level so far. It will be interesting to hear their thoughts about their trip and differences they experienced between the green and the dry seasons. I will leave it to them to tell you what incredibly rare bird they saw………….

Cheers,

African Fish Eagle, South Luangwa, Zambia

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