It’s Monday 24th October 2005 and the thatch is on

 

thatching Luangwa HouseWell we have finally reached the thatching stage of the Luangwa house project and not a moment too soon. The rains are just around the corner and the pressure is on to get the thatch finished before the big storms arrive. Hastings and his team of thatchers are going along at great speed, chasing the carpentry team as they are trying to finish up the final bits of woodwork before the first layer of ceiling grass can go on.

thatching Luangwa House

We have had a couple of big build ups of cloud and there have been scattered showers around the valley but none of these showers have really affected us yet – just a little sprinkling of rain the other night. With the stillness in the air right now, you feel the animals are almost holding their breath waiting for the rains to break. The same cannot be said for the feeling around the Luangwa house building site – no stillness there – just frenzied activity and organised chaos!!

The game viewing has been fantastic as per normal. A little while ago Rocky and Chris saw a great leopard kill up at Tena Tena. The little leopardess caught a puku and took it up a nearby tree to get her dinner away from the lions and hyenas who might steal her kill if she kept it on the ground.

leopardess with pukuleopardess with puku

leopardess with pukuAs you can see by the photos a great deal of strength, skill and agility is required to get her food up into a tree but the reward is great as she can then feed uninterrupted. Notice that it is the choice cuts first!! The rump is usually the first to be eaten followed by the other specialties such as fillet, loin and possibly ribs depending on your preferences!

sunset over a dry Luangwa riverAnother great sighting from Tena Tena was a Pels fishing owl with a very big catfish which it had managed to haul out of the little lagoon behind camp.  Not only is it uncommon to see these big owls so clearly but to get an opportunity to photograph one with a fish is fantastic!

Pels fishing owl

Nkwali has had some great sightings of aardvark the last week – 3 sightings in a couple of days with 2 sightings on the same night. Admittedly, Keyala thinks that the aardvark that two vehicles saw on the same night was the same creature but hey, it still counts!!!

And finally a great parting shot of a sunset over a dry Luangwa river. Note the depth of water that the hippo is standing in – it is hardly covering his toes!

Have a good week,
Take care,

Simon

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