It’s Monday 23rd January 2006 and the perfect evening

The past few days have been magical. Wonderful clear skies in the day and stormy clouds in the evenings.
stormy clouds Gameviewing has been good with sighting of many lions – they seem to be mating everywhere with one guest commenting that we should change the name to Porn Park. Leopard and buffalo are a treat to see at any time of year but super in January with the green grass making them stand out.  We have been lucky with the weather and have had guests out walking virtually every morning. Some people assume that walking is only for the dry season but this is not the case and walking at this time of year can be equally rewarding.

One special sighting was of a family group of Elephants with a young one playing with the adults, caught on camera by Rocky.
a family group of Elephants   a family group of Elephants

A staff trip on the river on Thursday was fun – my first outing in our new boat. Simon seems to have settled into his role as workshop manager – i.e. chief cooler box packer – as long as you like mosi lager you are well catered for! However he does seem to have a problem in keeping his feet clean and I think we may have to sort out some welly boots for him shortly.
on the boat   muddy feet

We have had a fantastic group stay at Nkwali who have been great fun to host and guide. Lorraine, who was the chief organiser of the trip, had her birthday on Saturday and we just had to surprise her with something. Harold and Jean who were from SA and part of the group remembered having a bush dinner back in 2001 when they were last with us and requested this if possible.  Ah – well it was the dry season then!

However, with Jo’s motto ringing in my ears “make a plan” we decided to set up on the island opposite Nkwali. At least if the heavens opened we would be close to camp to evacuate both guests and their dinner! As a back up plan Peter was dispatched with champagne and canapés to meet them for sundowners – just in case plan A was a wash out. In fact the rain stayed away and both surprises were achieved!

The new boat was put into action as soon as the guests left after tea and we ferried tables, chairs, fire wood, flares etc across to the island. It was all hands on deck with both Simon and Rob joining in the chain to load and off load. Once all was set up with flares, the fire and lots of tea light on the table, it looked super and the rain stayed away.  A chorus of “happy birthday” announced the party’s arrival at the “harbour” and as it was already dark the surprise was kept until the last minute when we appeared at the top of some newly cut steps up to the dinning area.  All had a fun evening with Freddy, one of the Nkwali cooks, serving up a delicious selection of curries complete with nan bread and poppadoms!

Having guests at this time of year is a new experience for us but it is proving to be a great success – having our boat to ferry everyone into the park rather then driving through the main gate several times a day is of course a great help and sundowners on the river is just a real treat. But then we already know this – we just had kept it to our selves until now!
crowned craneguinea fowl

I have added the two of wonderful bird shots above – crowned crane and guinea fowl, taken recently by Dana Allen, to illustrate the marvelous colour contrasts we see at this time of year. And to end a rather whimsical photo of sacred ibis in a tree at dusk – taken by our multi talented workshop manager!
sacred ibis in a tree

Stay well and have a great week

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