It’s Monday 23rd November 2009 and the North Family take over camp

It is very seldom that we have a family group take over the entire camp but we were fortunate enough to have this happen a couple of weeks ago. These safaris are always great fun. Bill and Chris North used to live in Zambia long ago and have been revisiting for a number of years. They have become regular guests with us here at RPS – and so are familiar faces around camp and very dear to many of us. We were all very excited to welcome them back. This time however there was a twist……

The North FamilyGrandparents and grandchildren in the Luangwa Valley

It all started just over a year ago when Bill told us of the plan – “there are 16 of us”. “And it is a surprise! And you can not mail me directly!” The plot was soon getting thicker and thicker and it was not long before everyone was getting involved in organizing the trip. The plan was that Bill and Chris would come out for their usual safari and two days later, the rest of the family would join them as a surprise. It was a very special birthday for Chris. Near impossible to keep the secret under wraps but somehow we managed and on the second day, whilst they were chilling at the bar after their morning game drive, their children and grandchildren quietly snuck up behind them for the most fantastic and enormous surprise! I am sure that you can all imagine how exciting and emotional this was. Amazing that the cat had not been let out of the bag.

A few words from Bill….

“It was the perfect surprise party for Chris’s big birthday. From the moment the family burst on the scene at Nkwali we had one long celebration with all the RPS team entering into the spirit and fun of the occasion. And, of course, the final week of the dry season produced an abundance of game with six leopard and the wild dog spottings. And not forgetting the drama of the river rescue!”

fabulous gameviewing in the first week of November!

The week was full of excitement and surprises with extraordinary game viewing – the team pulling out all the stops with the lions, leopards and wild dogs and also a few other surprises. The only person missing from the action was Jacob our Luangwa House guide who was heading off on some leave days so he was dutifully replaced by an extraordinarily large sausage fruit upon which a face was drawn and his name “Great Jake” was written across – I believe Jacob The Sausage is now proudly sitting outside his room.

birthday lunch in the bushpresenting the birthday cake to Chris

The day of Chris’s birthday was great fun starting the day off with a leisurely cup of tea brought to her in her room followed by another lovely game drive and a surprise lunch in the bush. Afternoon tea – well we couldn’t stop our guys from piling into the bar alongside the cake and singing. The way was finished off with a beautiful sunset up on Chichele Hill.

visiting Kawaza Schoolhandsome blonde lion

Getting everyone started at 5.30 in the morning was always a challenge, not so much the getting up but putting an end to the breakfast chat and ensuring that no one had been left behind. But without fail everyone climbed onto their allocated vehicles and off they went to see what delights the bush had to offer. The animals did not fail to impress although there was one occasion when the excitement of the game viewing got slightly knocked sideways. Bertram one of our guides from Tena Tena was on his way back into camp and whilst driving across the river took a slightly inappropriate course and got somewhat stuck so the North’s were then on a rescue mission. The rest of the vehicles safely across one car was emptied of its passengers and made the journey back to Bertram and whilst everyone looked on the guests, spotter and now very sheepish Bertram were picked up and driven out leaving the car to enjoy an evening wallowing in the river. The rest of the guides were obviously slightly put out by this as having just seen leopard with a kill all anyone was talking about was the river rescue!!

wild dog seen on a Luangwa game drivecruiser, tractor and now only the truck to go!

That evening after everyone was safely back in camp the tractor was taken out to pull the car out of its predicament but unfortunately also fell foul to the shifting sand. Keyela drew the short straw to come and inform Rob that now both the new land cruiser and tractor were languishing in the river! That was not nearly as bad the following day when I went out to sneak a peak at what was going on to find that the Samil 20 was now also stuck!!! Not to worry fully fueled by lunch we set out and managed to get everything unstuck by mid afternoon. But there was no way now that any of the guides were going to tempt fate so all the cars were brought round to opposite camp and everyone was boated across straight into the park!

happy face! well done teamBill, Chris with their three daughters

Sadly the week went too quickly and before we all knew it departure time had arrived. Hopefully though it will not be long until they are all back out here again soon. The leaving challenge was a wildlife fact but everyone had learnt so much that there were about 3 each – this means that on the next trip the guides really are going to have their work cut out for them spilling even more secrets about the bush.

Its Monday…and a quick PS

Cheryl Mvula started a fantastic project in Kenya and has recently introduced the idea to Mfuwe.  It is an alternative fuel / livelihoods project where ladies are trained and equipped with the skills and technology to make alternative fuel briquettes out of cow dung (in Kenya) or leaves (in Mfuwe) combined with waste paper.  This reduces the deforestation of the area, reduces conflict between the ladies and the elephants when they collect firewood in the bush and importantly helps them to trade their way out of poverty as they sell the surplus briquettes to the safari lodges.  She has recently started here and plans to expand this further.  This means going on the grant hunt and her project is currently shortlisted for a GBP 5000 grant.  And voting contributes to the process of winning.

I know Cheryl well.  Manny her husband used to guide for us and comes from this area.  She is a totally dedicated and enthused person and I want to support her work.  I have just voted for her project – it is very quick and easy so I am asking that you join me in supporting her work.

Go to this websiteand vote for the “Kenya fuel project” to win

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