It’s Monday 27th December 2010 and Merry Christmas

Since we moved the office to Lilongwe we’ve been missing staff adventures and funny episodes from everyone in the camps back in the Luangwa Valley. So I have invited Emily, who has been with RPS a long time and is based at Nkwali managing operations, to join me writing It’s Monday in a regular base in the New Year and, for a start, to tell us all about their Christmas time. Over to Emily …

I hope that you have all had a lovely Christmas – here in the valley we sure have had a great time.

Christmas with RPS – now then, what does that entail? You can be sure that there is no chance of snow… … If transport is going to cause delays it may be due to getting a little stuck in the mud or having an elephant road block – I am not sure if any of you remember Jacobs wallow of a few years back (Jacob got seriously stuck, and a section of the road out of Nkwali was renamed as Jacob’s wallow), well, despite the entire road having been re-graded, the wallow is back and I feel sure that with a few more heavy rain storms it will become a sticking point for many.

Christmas singingChristmas singing

Anyways back to Christmas, the festivities kick off at sundowners time on Christmas Eve, all the camps get together for a good old sing-a-long, some snacks and of course a couple of bottles of bubbles. Our usual spot was out of bounds due to a slight issue with the sheer quantities of water so this year Flatdogs were kind enough to let us all take over their campsite for the most perfect evening. The rain even managed to hold off (just about anyways), the large thunder heads and looming greyness which surrounded us only giving us a few drops, and like stoic English people we persevered with the weather and carried on regardless.

Christmas table decorationChristmas decoration

Soon enough though the rain drops got a little larger and everyone decided to head back to camp for some dinner – there was murmur of an early Christmas present of an Aardvark, however it remained elusive and Kanga has set himself an incredibly difficult task for the next couple of days – good luck!!

RPS chefs Lameck, Alfred and Leonardspecial breakfast

Then before you know it is Christmas Day. No rest for the wicked and all the guests were out and about and off on game drives by 5.45, certainly no present opening allowed before breakfast this Christmas that is for sure…. In the kitchen we got down to the nitty gritty and started preparing the lunch time feast – Turkey with all the trimmings of course. However parsnips and brussel sprouts not available (the latter I believe to every ones relief!). Everyone got into the spirit of it, all the waiters were wearing their Christmas cracker hats and even the elephants decided to join with a bit of a splash about in the lagoon during lunch.

Christmas cakeChampagne

The chefs did a sterling job and prepared the most scrumptious looking turkey which everyone got to enjoy – even KP the camp cat whose tummy is now rather bulging! The eating marathon didn’t however stop there as Christmas cake successfully laden with brandy made an appearance at afternoon tea.

Boxing Day was filled with activities as well with all the guests having a surprise lunch in the bush courtesy of Zebron and his team as well as a play performed by Seka the local drama group. Fortunately we have managed to sneak all of this in without even a sniff of a cloud – I fear though that the rain is not far off as the river has galloped up over night a sure sign that it is on its way.

Monkey Bay, Lake MalawiPumulani speed boat on Lake Malawi

Also our Ozzy Simon has been enjoying Malawi for the last few months and has been helping out with the building project at Majete but spent Christmas managing Pumulani with Emma Cross (some of you may remember her from Tena Tena and Luangwa House a few years back). Simon has also sent us a few words about lake life over Christmas…

dhow on Lake MalawiInfinity swimming pool at Pumulani

Well another spectacular Christmas day at Pumulani where I have been privileged enough to help the team out for 2 of the last 3 Christmases and with the added bonus of having Emma here we had a fantastic day. The guests woke up to a clearing sky and the blue shone through all day. The boats were out and about busy with people snorkelling, sailing, kayaking and tubing and for those wanting to have a more relaxed morning some time in the sun. James and the kitchen team prepared a lovely buffet lunch, which successfully filled everyone up resulting in a siesta for all.

The afternoon was spent back out in the sun but finishing up with a trip out on the dhow and diving off it in the middle of the lake – bliss.

Pumulani TeamPumulani Team

From myself and the Pumulani team, we hope that your Christmas was as much fun as ours.

Catch you soon Simon, Emma and the team

Thanks Simon – great to hear from you. Not much else can be said after that except we hope that you all have a lovely time over the festive period and wish you all the very best for 2011.

Have fun
Emily

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