It’s Monday 24th November 2008 and the river is rising

It’s Monday 24th November 2008 and the river is rising

I just heard from Simon, which therefore makes it official, the Luangwa River is rising … so far it is up by 4 inches. The Musandili River has also started flowing – it’s one of the seasonal tributaries of the Luangwa that you cross when going to the Nsefu Sector. We’ve sent supplies up to the watchman at Tena Tena and Nsefu because soon the roads will no longer be navigable and the river won’t be quite deep enough for the boats for at least another week or two. In preparation for River Journeys we’ve bought a third ali boat which has made it to Lusaka and should be here just in time for the boat cruises.

Enjoying a boat cruiseAnother beautiful Luangwa  sunset

We are now well into the groove with the Emerald Season – it’s all changing very fast and you can almost sit and watch the grass grow. The little impalas are growing (but are still undeniably gorgeous) and the longer they survive the more chance they have. For all their cuteness their nickname still remains ‘dog biscuits’ as the wild dogs (and other carnivores) relish the increase in fast food. Our guests had an amazing sighting when the dogs were spotted taking down an impala kill. A little later on they were caught in a thunder storm but chose to stay out rather than seek shelter. Their reward was lion cubs playing in the muddy puddles, plus all the friskiness brought out in other species’ young by the cool-air after the rains.

Adorable  impalaLion cubs playing

Our Emerald Season caterer – Emma from Australia (not the same Emma who was at Luangwa House, but a new one) is settling in fine and will be joined by Lucinda in the middle of December to assist with the Christmas rush. Emma went out with Simon to learn the intricacies of 4×4. She had great fun climbing steep banks, crossing the river and learning how to control the cruisers in sticky slippery mud. Of course Simon often gets distracted on drives and had a great time spotting all the new flowers that are coming out – fireball lilies add bright dash of red to the green landscape while wild jasmine contribute to the increasingly heavy fragrance of the evenings.

Emma driving down the river  bank in preparation to cross the riverFireball lily

The migratory birds are also flocking in – we are being serenaded by emerald cuckoos (Pretty Georgie), red-chested cuckoo (pick my frau) and woodland kingfishers (very distinctive – but my phonetic spelling is not up to the challenge!). A several hundred strong flock of abdim’s storks were seen riding the thermals above the airport before landing beside the runway to hunt for insects. But the most exciting sighting was by Kanga, who came back from one of his drives, over the moon becasue he had spotted Angolan pittas – birds that are so rare this was his first ever sighting.

Red chested woodpeckerBishop in Emerald  Season mating plumage

Enjoy the rest of the week!



PS Last week we asked if anyone could identify the chick in the photos – they are in fact African Skimmers.

African skimmer

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