It’s Monday 24th January 2011 and let’s hear from Simon and Shanie

I thought that this week it would be nice to have a few words from the original RPS’ers Simon and Shanie who came to visit us for a long weekend bringing with them their little daughter Isla who has kept us all enraptured with her excitement at being back in the Luangwa Valley.

Simon over to you…

Well, it is great to be back in the Luangwa Valley again. This is, indeed, one of the best times of year to be in the bush. It is lovely and green and the wildlife is simply fantastic……. And having the park almost completely to ourselves as quite a few of the other camps in the area are closed at this time of year is just another added bonus.

Slender mongooseSimon Cousin and his daughter Isla

It did not take the Cousins’ family too long to get in to the swing of things and start enquiring on the water levels in the river – and age old habit of all who live (or have lived ! ) in the Luangwa Valley!! When we arrived the river was surprisingly low for the time of year but with the heavy presence of huge rain clouds all around us this started to change quite quickly and soon the levels were coming up.

Shanie and IslaZebra

On our first morning here Rob needed to go up to Tena Tena to drop off supplies so I decided to tag along for old times sake. Rob did warn me that this may take a little longer than normal as the river was so low but off we set anyway. Time spent on the river is always lovely and we had some fantastic sightings of crocodile, hippo and birds on the way. Among these sightings was a very undignified entrance into the river from a large hippo. Given the size of the creature I suppose you cannot expect too much more from them, though!

Simon and Isla boating on the Luangwa RiverSimon and Isla boating on the Luangwa River

hippo going in to the riverhippo going in to the river

Our little daughter is now just over two year old and is getting very excited about EVERYTHING she sees. Certainly one of the easiest of guests to please – monkeys, baboons, hippos and impala seem to be her favourite – not too much of a tough job for mum and dad to arrange this. It really is quite rewarding to see her interest in the wildlife at this age – my only fear is that life back home is going to be a little dull without the river and the game drives!

Leopard hidden in the bushLeopard

As always, I do not venture out of camp without my camera and once again we have been extremely lucky on the sightings front. In the three days that we have been out in the park we have been lucky enough to see three leopards – all in daylight. On all of these trips they have been relaxed and obliging for the camera. Along with the lovely sightings of lion, elephants in the lush green lagoons and buffalo wallowing in the mud pools we have also had some amazing bird sightings.

flocks of Cattle egretsmasked weaver

Among the highlights were the large flocks of Cattle egrets on the river as well as the masked weaver building a nest and showing his progress to his lady friend!!

comb duckdragonflies hovering over the puddles

From Slender mongoose to the dragonflies hovering over the puddles, water birds to the impala we have once again had a wonderful trip back ‘home’. Thanks to Rob and Emily and all the staff at Nkwali for a lovely time! See you all again soon!

Thanks ever so much Simon and needless to say we look forward to having you all to stay again in the very near future. So from a thunder filled Luangwa Valley we shall say goodbye and look forward to chatting to you all again in a couple of weeks time.

Have fun and enjoy the next couple of weeks.


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