It’s Monday 25th April 2005 and the Weather Is On Our Side

This week has seen a major surge forward in the re-building and preparation of both Tena Tena and Nsefu. This is largely due to the very dry conditions we have had over the last month and a half. No complaints from here – it is usually a real challenge to get into the camps at the beginning of the season as it is so wet and rainy. Over the past two weeks we have been able to put our bridge in over the Kauluzi River, the boundary to the Nsefu sector, and drive in to the camps. The first trip in is usually very bumpy and painstakingly slow but we were able to get our tractor and harrow on the job and we now have lovely smooth roads all through the Nsefu sector! I do not remember a year when the park was as dry or when we were able to get this much grading done so early. It is a real bonus for us as our vehicles will not get as damaged and beaten up bouncing along the heavily pitted roads.

bridge in over the Kauluzi Riverdrive in to the camp

This strange weather has also produced some interesting temperature changes and conditions in camp over the last couple of weeks. We have had some lovely cool mornings and even the odd morning with ‘June-like’ mist on the river. I do not think nature knows what it is up to at the moment!!

Fortunately for us it has not altered the movement of the migratory birds too much and we are still seeing good sightings of cuckoos, kingfishers and the migratory water birds. Mind you, with the little pools of water and marshy areas drying out fast I think the water birds will be packing their bags and heading off soon.

‘June-like’ mist on the riverkingfisher

These dry conditions have also enabled us to explore further a-field than this time of year usually allows us to. The ever enthusiastic Jacob has already done a day trip up to the Nsefu sector, his old stamping ground. A couple of our regular guests, David and Frances Shaddock, took some nice photos and the hot spring at the salt pan provided good game viewing with loads of plains game including a small herd of Cookson’s Wildebeest. It is great to see these creatures as we do not often find them up there and with the bluey hue on their coats and clearly defined stripes they are actually quite good looking as far as wildebeest go. Mind you this is not saying much for wildebeest in general – they are still pretty stupid looking creatures!! Jacob and his guests also came across a couple of hippos fighting in a small pond – behavior that we do not usually see at this time of year as there is usually plenty of water to go around.

wildebeesthippos fighting in a small pond

Our pontoon is only a few days away from being ready for use which is great. Again, the low river has allowed us to put the pontoon in early so we will now have full access to the areas south of us.  This is great for those of you who are wild dog enthusiasts as you will be pleased to know that the wild dogs from the southern part of the park have returned to the Mfuwe area and seem to be spending their time in the vicinity the pontoon. The big pack of wild dogs that we have been seeing in the main Mfuwe area has also returned. We hadn’t seen them for a week or so it is good to have them back as well. This news is not good for the impala (or dog biscuits as they have been nicknamed !!) as it seems to be their main prey species here with our guests seeing no fewer than 4 attempts by the dogs in the last week to take impala.

Have a good week, Simon

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