It’s Monday 22nd June 2009 and the first mobile

After some days of nail biting at central command, national parks finally released the front end loader. The road up to the remote Mupamdazi River in the very north of the park, where we operate the five day walks, is impassable at the beginning of each year. This is due to the rivers and streams that flow during the rains and so cut the banks into steep impassable drops.

front end loader clearing the roadsunset at camp four

We always send a team of 20, led by the intrepid Rueben, to do what they can by hand and that at least allows the landcruiser through. But for our truck that carries the camp to get through – that requires some more serious work. Definitely a job for a front end loader. Usually we have a week to get the roads ready but this year, due to the late rains messing up the road development schedule, it happened the day before the guests went up – so very tight. All rather nail biting stuff as I said.

Emma's home for the next four monthsEmma's kichen

But I have received a note from Emma (Ozzy version who has been at Nkwali for the Emerald Season) saying how well things had gone on the first group and here are some scribbles for you. Impossible for me to make this into a story without talking to her so you have it in bullet form.

  • On the first walk a rasping leopard could be heard and followed but not sighted
  • Second morning the group stumbled into a very surprised lion. He would not have seen humans since we left last October so yes he was probably very surprised. I can just imagine him saying “that time of year again – it must be June!”
  • Very inquisitive baby zebra that walked right up to the group to check them out.
  • Excited hyena in the night whooping around camp – always a thrill.
  • Successful camp moving but slow as I had the eggs to think about.
  • Stunning sunrises in Camp 4.
  • Jeffrey (guest) redesigned the thrones (the loos) to minimize any bug surprises.
  • Patrizia (guest) refined her “dooming tsetse moves” for the central area on the way up
  • A very successful first mobile!

And that was all I got from Emma. These mobiles are still a very unique safari. With a totally mobile and fully serviced camp in support, the group of up to six guests walk down one of the tributaries of the Luangwa. We have been running them since 1990 (really that long?) and it has always been one of our specialties. It is always a big moment when they the team go off each year.

wild dog at Tena Tena wild dog at Tena Tena

I have also received some photos from Simon (known as Oz – another one from down under). He is managing Tena Tena after making his way up through the ranks. He says over the radio that he is loving it, the game is great and why don’t I come up. But somehow every day there are things to sort out, emails to answer (always!) and lists to sort and tick. Soon, Simon, soon.

relaxed leopard at Tena Tenachameleon

But great to see that the wire-tailed swallow was back as soon as the bar tent was up. The woodpecker inhabits the same hole and the Pel’s fishing owl is still around. That you are seeing the wild dogs – I assume up at the springs. Of course the storks are fishing out the lagoons already. And the leopards and chameleons continue to be excellent posers! Business as usual up at Tena Tena.

wire tailed swallowwoodpecker at home

Pel's fishing owl with a fishyellow billed storks fishing

Oh and there you are having an opening party – it is usually at the end of the season Simon. But I guess new managers, new rules!

Siom at his party

Robin is back from Liuwa this week and I will be delighted. Being a safari widow for 2 months is not much fun (ok – I did get to see him for 5 wonderful days!). But next year I will spend more time with him there. Never going to be separate from him for so long again – ever.

Until next week, have a great one.

cooling off in the mupamadzi river

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