It’s Monday 25th May 2009 and it’s full steam ahead

We have reached that time of year again when our bush camps are re-opening for the season. This always sounds easier than it is as we have the very tense and stressful moment of not being able to boat in due to the water levels and not being able to drive in as the roads are still impassable, and guests arriving in four weeks time. Somehow we have to get all the staff and vehicles into camps. However, we decided to bite the bullet and Ruben and his team went up to put the bridge in. Two days later the current proved too strong and the bridge was washed away – thankfully there were no vehicles on it at the time. In those two days we had managed to get staff and essential materials into camp – so they were now stranded with nothing to do but build!

Bridge to Tena Tena & Nsefu under construction

Daudi masterfully juggled the building of both Nsefu and Tena Tena as Simon, who will be managing Tena Tena this year, was in the process of taking and subsequently passing his walking exam – well done to him. We should also congratulate Bertie – who will also be based at Tena Tena this year, and Mark from Pumulani who passed their walking exams as well. And so we begin – the first guests arriving in camps on Friday 22nd May.

As always, just before the camps open, life is filled with last minute panics, frantic radio calls and supply vehicles to-ing and fro-ing with seemingly never-ending loads of supplies into camps. Tena Tena has to be effectively built from scratch every year and so perhaps takes the bulk of these supply runs. We also have to add into this work the added element of having to remove the large mahogany tree from behind the bar which had come down in the rains. It was not long after Simon had passed his exams that he found himself with chainsaw in hand!

It is not all hard work however – Daudi was settling in for an early night at Nsefu only to be kept awake by lions hunting outside his room with only some bamboo separating them. The lions were so close he could hear them breathing. Lions were also spotted at Tena Tena a few days later which ensured a prompt end to another day and an early night! Supply vehicles going up and down have also been lucky with the sightings – even Emily who is notoriously ill-fated at seeing leopards got to see one, and in the day time, but alas without a camera to hand!

LionLeopard

In amongst this Emma and Nessa – two caterers from last season – have arrived back with only a few moments to say hello to everyone down here before they were whisked north into the camps to help get everything ready. Meanwhile back at Nkwali our caterer for the season, Melissa, has arrived. Settling in almost immediately and fully in the swing of things Melissa is another Aussie so Nkwali is still in Aussie hands for the season. Emma is going to head up to mobiles at the beginning of June so she is not leaving us – I know you will be pleased to hear.

Things are also getting back to normal at Nkwali. Kiki has returned to camp after an amazing trip to the Bangweulu Swamps, Kasanka, and the Lower Zambezi on a successful search to see the Shoebill Storks, however we will hear more about that next week as Kiki is going to fill us in then on the whole trip.

So all staff are now in place, camps are open, and the radio is alive – another season must be upon us!
Have a super lovely week!
Emily & Lucinda

Zebra

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