It’s Monday 21st Feb 2005 and the Weather

It’s Monday 21st Feb 2005 and the Weather

Wow – when the heavens opened on Saturday night the rain really hit us. I guess it is always like this but after such a long dry spell it is impressive. The musky smell hits you first and it is something that will always live with me. Robin and Jo had popped out on the river for a sundowner when the storm hit and came back absolutely soaked to the skin – a round of hot toddies was definitely in order. Meanwhile Geno and I set off for a birthday party in Mfuwe. We checked the vehicle for spare tyre, jack etc. Put on our hiking boots and wet weather gear rather than party frocks and set out into the lashing rain. However, once we hit the tar road the rain stopped and so we looked rather ridiculous in our “ready-for-anything” outfits at a party. We spent the first half hour explaining to everyone how bad the weather was at our end. On the way back home we hit more rain and came back to fallen trees and lagoons around the office – 55 mls had fallen in a few short hours.

StormsView from Jo's bedroom

The contrast between the storm and beautiful, clear, sunny morning the follows is stark. This morning Jo took a lovely shot from her bedroom window – what a view to get up to every morning. It is no wonder that she arrives at the office, fresh as a daisy and full of the joys of spring – well most mornings!!

As the rivers drop it is amazing to see effect of the erosion. Be this the mighty Luangwa as below or the smaller tributaries, it is easy to see why the rivers changes course so dramatically and how the trees are simply swept away as the earth is literally sucked out from between the roots.

Robin has been up to Tena Tena to take a look at the bank. A party of workers have been shoring it up as the erosion was felt to be threatening the large Mahogany tree in front of the bar. Thankfully the bamboo “wall” that is in front of the bank is working well and the tree is out of danger. In the boat Robin did his annual hippo count – both up stream and then on the way back. Each count came within 10 so it is pretty accurate. The count was 367 over approx 13 km (ave 28 per km) which is impressive for a time of year when they disperse into the lagoons and smaller rivers. Shows you how low the water levels really are.

Protect the bankStnad up and be counted

With the storm comes some undesirables – well for me creepy crawlies and bugs are not something that I will ever get completely comfortable with – be it a baboon spider in my bush bedroom or daddy-long-legs at my mother’s English house. However, the insects do seem to appear out of nowhere after rain and I thought I would put this lovely picture of a grasshopper taken by Kerri to illustrate – much more beautiful than some I can tell you.


Talking of hopping off (sorry corny link) – Dixon, who has been pitching up to work for Robin for years said his farewells this week. Dixon lives some 150 km away and he walks to Nkwali to work when he feels like it…..he just appears from time to time. It takes him a ten days to walk from his home –through the bush, including part of the park. He does this in all seasons – quite amazing. Last year he pitched up with one shoe on – he said the other was broken and at home. He stays to help out at the workshop until he feels it is time to go and then one day says “I’m off”, we pay him and off he goes. I hasten to add that this sort of laissez faire attitude is not normally the case with our staff but Dixon is a special case and one of Robin’s exceptions. Everyone has to have them.

Stay well and have a great week

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