It’s Monday 24th December 2012 and a walk before Christmas

Hi there It’s Monday readers, I hope that everyone is feeling particularly festive and ready for the onslaught of Christmas!!!  Here at Nkwali, Santa has visited the bridge over the lagoon and the baboons are completely terrified at his presence that they haven’t been on the bridge for the last couple of days… Other than that the trees are up, voice boxes tuned and sparkling wine in the fridge, we are all ready to go.  Today I am in the kitchen all day getting ready for the snack feast for the carols, as we cross our fingers, toes and everything else that for clear skies and a perfect evening.  The chefs are prepped, rested and full of gusto for the turkey cook-off tomorrow, as we prepare a feast for a full camp and houses – generally everyone is feeling particularly jolly.

Christmas at NkwaliChristmas at Nkwali

Christmas preparations aside, we have had a great account of a morning walk last week, from regular guests Stella and Tony Williams – a Luangwa walk with Daudi.  So for now, over to them…

‘It was the second walk of our stay at Nkwali. Daudi was in command with Benson on guard. Tony and I love walking in the bush. Daudi said later that he knew this would be a special walk when we parked the vehicle and he saw drag marks [possible leopard kill?] on the ground.

Tony and Daudipaw print

We then saw leopard prints and set off to follow the tracks. In the background we could hear the call of the Giant Eagle Owl.  Daudi and Benson then stopped to check why the drag marks had stopped. Hyena prints had appeared. So now we were looking for the hyena that had stolen the leopard’s kill. We forgot all about the Giant Eagle Owl. Then from the bush we heard the familiar whoop of a hyena and caught a glimpse of it in the distance.  Heading in that direction Daudi noticed a giraffe looking slightly transfixed so following his gaze we came across the entire pack.

Sneaking in tightly behind Daudi through the bush, the thick combretums acting as a natural camouflage, we slowly approached the pack of seven all playing around in a small pond.  Squatting down behind a bush we were lucky enough to spend several minutes watching three of them playing tug of war with a stick.  We were so amazed to be five metres from the playing pack that I almost forgot I had my camera with me. I signaled to Daudi and he said I could use it, so I managed a few pictures before the hyena eventually sensed our presence and suddenly turned and then ran off. We felt so privileged and amazed to have been so close to such a relaxed family scene.

HyenaHyena

Once the hyenas had moved off we walked into the area where they had been playing to have a good look at all the markings. Only to find that there had in fact been 8 hyenas with 2 pups but not all had been visible to us from where we were hiding.  Peeking around another bush we were able to catch a glimpse of the whole clan plus pups again.

As if the morning couldn’t have got any better and completely in awe of our hyena sighting we were suddenly and firmly stopped in our tracks by Benson as a large elephant joined the scene – hearts in mouths we watched as he just ignored us and walked on past.  Phew!!  Deciding to move off, it wasn’t long before we were standing over very fresh lion tracks and then we heard them calling not too far away.  Enough magic for one morning though and exhausted and enthralled we stopped for a spot of tea watching the giraffes watching us.

ElephantElephant

zebragiraffe

A magical walk!’

Thanks Stella and Tony, it really does sound like an incredible experience and I really appreciate you sharing a part of your holiday with us.

For now though I am going to leave you all to it as I get on with my festivities. Wishing you an amazing Christmas and hope that everyone has such a wonderful time with their friends and families.

Take care, have fun and jingle bells!!

Emily

Christmas Choir

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