It’s Monday 21st September 2009 and Nessa’s Nsefu News

The season has suddenly changed and we are certainly no longer in winter. I had to sleep under a wet sheet last night to stay cool. As the temps hot up so does the game viewing. It really becomes intense over this next six week period before the first rains. What am I doing behind a desk? I should get out there! But I have not and so this week we have news from the north – Nessa at Nsefu!

Nessa….”Having got this far through the season, we decided it was high time for some news from Nsefu! The season is flying by in a whirlwind of dust, heat and excellent game drives and we thought we’d share some of it with you….

Nsefu's 3 out of 4 lion cubscurious lion cub

Recently Louis and Clasien Bienfait and their daughter came to check out whether the Nsefu Sector is truly as dense with game as people say it is. They were not disappointed. Their first drive found them three lions on the edge of a lagoon, so they stopped a little way away to enjoy their sundowners, during which their spotter spotted a leopard sitting on the other side of ‘Croc River’, concentrating hard on some impala. A tough decision followed sundowners – who to follow, the lions or the leopard? They plugged for the lions, and what a good decision it turned out to be as trundling along behind them were two tiny little cubs. The cubs were seen again the next morning, allowing for these lovely daylight shots.

the elephant fed on the trees as it approached the bar at Nsefuapproaching the Nsefu barfeeding on the bar roof

The excitement for the Bienfait family didn’t end there though. That same afternoon, the three of them were spending the afternoon siesta time in the bar, keeping half an eye on the ever-active watering hole and were rewarded with some excellent elephant action. The ellys were perhaps a little close for comfort for some people, who would have been forgiven for taking refuge in the fridge, as a rather bold young bull decided that the tastiest branch to eat was the one on the roof of the bar – so it seems its not only Nkwali who have a confident chap visiting camp occasionally.

Even as the caterer who doesn’t get to join actual game drives all that often, I have had my fair share of impressive sightings. I got the fright of my life a few nights ago when waiting patiently in the bar for the evening drives to return, when an enormous lion (he gets bigger every time I tell the story) walked no more than 12 feet from me, padding silently past the bar en route to find either dinner or his wife, nobody is too sure which! It certainly increased my heart-rate being that close to such an amazing creature, and now my camera never leaves my side as a result. Unfortunately, on this occasion, you are just going to have to believe me!

peeping scops owl at Nsefu Campspotted hyena seen on a night drive

But I do have photographic evidence of our resident scops owl, who has made his home in the tree beside the dining room, and quite happily poses nicely for us.

We have also had some wonderful leopard sightings of late, seeing a mother and son combination playing happily together. Porcupines have been spotted in abundance, Roy and Anne Taylor were lucky enough to spot four in one evening drive, and the Humphries-Cuff group who took over camp for a few days went on a successful hyena hunt, which Daudi was most pleased with, having not seen one for a couple of weeks. That lucky group unusually spotted the International Space Station floating across the sky – it’s not all about the game at Nsefu these days!

buffalo with a face full of characterpelicans arrive in the Luangwa Valley for the fishing parties

We’ve also been counting game in big numbers, Braston counted 33 Wildebeest whilst on a walk and a herd of what was said to be close to 1000 buffalo are around (with lots of character in the faces!) . The fishing parties are happily taking over the lagoon in our ‘First Ebony Grove’ area, with pelicans being the most popular with the guests. And most delightfully the carmine bee-eaters are beginning to return to the banks of the river.

carmine bee eaters have arrived to excavate their nests in the banksyellow billed storks hanging out

In other news, Peter Mwenda our night-watchman, celebrated achieving 10 years service with RPS, so was awarded his shiny new bicycle, of which he is very proud, but sadly whisked it off home before I got to him with my camera. Daudi is still running the camp in a very Presidential manner, keeping his little Nsefu family happy and laughing, especially regarding the video of his impromptu Irish jig during sundowners last week. I think he must have Irish roots to move like that (video available upon request!). Camp is in great shape, and this year we even have the added benefit of being able to use the sandy riverside beach for dinner sometimes. A real novelty for guests; having dinner under scout guard!

hippo are starting to get tetchy as the space in the river shrinksTHE END

As I write, four more lion cubs have just been seen by some walkers, so hopefully we can get some photos to back up this claim for you soon, and two pairs of mating lions have had their photos taken so fingers crossed for more juniors in the months to come. The pod of hippo in front of camp is growing now, as the inland lagoons dry up and they take to the river. There is plenty of ruckus between them, so I’ll leave you with an image that we fashioned for the last day of a film crew staying with us to film a hippo documentary earlier in the season. Quite fitting I think. ”

Well reading that makes me feel I simply have to get out there. Soon…but I keep saying that. Do it now, live for the moment, embrace the day and all the phrases that run through my head….looking at my diary it will not be this coming week!

Have a great week.

PS More cancellations on Liuwa Plains safaris. Now 28 November 2 spaces (5 nights) and 08 December 4 spaces (5 nights)

PPS we are opening Nsefu Camp for the period 22 Jan – 31 March when the river is high….River Journeys is a week combining Nkwali and Nsefu Camp during this magical time!

Young elephant crossing the Luangwa near Nsefu Camp - a regular crossing place

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