It’s Monday 27th September 2010 and the temperatures are getting higher

It’s been three weeks since I was last in South Luangwa but it’s unbelievable how much I miss the scenery, wildlife and all the little things that are difficult to describe.  As Vic Guhrs said once ‘all mystery of Africa seems condensed here, like the calm at the eye of hurricane.’

I asked Emily to share with us what has been happening in the camps and to give us an update about the wildlife sightings this last week. Let’s hear from her:

“Over the last 2 weeks there has been a definite increase in the temperature, the nights are no longer cold and the duvet, blanket and hot water bottle combination has most definitely been thrown by the way side. Midday temperatures are rising into the mid 30’s and all the animals are most definitely noticing the difference. Lunchtime siestas are being enjoyed by all and the elephants are all huddled up under the dense shade of the trees keeping cool. The river has dropped dramatically and I am sure that it will not be long before we will be driving across – an annual highlight and at the same time an annual challenge for all the guides as the male ego is pitched against the slight possibility of getting stuck and having to call for some help, those avid readers amongst you will probably remember Bertram’s fantastic effort last year – hopefully not to be repeated this year!!!!

Elephants seen from Luangwa HouseElephants seen from Luangwa House

Nkwali

The animal sightings have been fantastic. Lots is going around camp, elephants are visiting the Nkwali lagoon almost daily and guests can enjoy some game viewing from the cool of the pool which is definitely a bonus, as for Luangwa Safari House it currently spends its days surrounded by elephants as they rush down to the lagoon in front of the house to cool down in the muddy water.

bush buck Kingfisher

Some 5 weeks ago a young male bush buck had been chased into the lagoon by baboons and found it self stuck in the mud – I helped it out and took it across to see Matt from ZCP (Zambian Carnivore Programme) as there were some bad wounds on its side and its tail had been unfortunately bitten off!

After 10 minutes and some terribly attractive blue antiseptic spray later it was taken into a lovely thicket with lots of other bush buck and released, very excitedly it was spotted last Wednesday happy, healthy and healed with its mum.

Sticking to the animal rescue stories a young malachite kingfisher seemed terribly disorientated on Thursday morning and flew into the office wall!! Dropping to the ground knocked out I picked it up in a cloth, mesmerized by the beauty of its feathers – these little birds are usually only seen at a distance through a pair of binoculars so getting the opportunity to see one so close up was quite fortunate. A soft grassy patch high up in a tree seemed to be the ideal place and having placed the little bird down and stepped back it shook its head, stood up and a few moments later flew away – I don’t think that it was a morning person…

lions

The wafwa pride of 9 lions were seen slightly separated earlier this week and whilst 4 of them tucked into a buffalo the remaining 5, true to lion form, were sitting and relaxing under some shade. The leopards have been patrolling around camp making themselves heard as has an African Wild Cat that seems to think that it would be fun to sit outside my bedroom window miaowing incredibly loudly in an attempt to attract KP (Emily’s cat) – she however is not at all interested and manages to ignore the wailing.

Tena Tena

Has had some great views of Eland and the herd seems to be becoming a resident group which is fantastic news. There have been a few small fishing parties starting in and around as the lagoons start to dry up which is always a fantastic site.

Lucy has had fun and games manoeuvering herself around camp, as the resident pride of lions have been on occasion a little too close for comfort. Also, the elephants seem to be happily wandering past. The “river” in front of camp – the term can be used very loosely as the main channel is now on the other side of the island, so it is more of a very dried up lagoon – has acquired its usual dry season residents. Siestas can be spent in the hide watching the birds coming down to drink and the old lonely hippo wallowing.

carmine bee eaterscarmine bee eaters

The carmine bee eaters are also back which is as always a highlight to all even those who are not particularly “twitchy”! and Simon has managed to get a boat into the river so that the guests can enjoy long lazy afternoons watching the carmines from the river as well as the rest of the activity taking place around the waters edge. Also the first baby warthogs have been spotted which is always a highlight and a sure sign that winter is over.

Rocky and his brideElephant

Nsefu

Has returned to its usual calm after Rocky’s wedding. However it would seem like the animals have not taken on that sentiment!!  The elephants are coming through camp on a daily basis and Patrick our head chef at Nsefu is doing battle with them as they attempt to break into the vegetable store room and grab the oranges – the temptation has become too great and we are now wandering how long a bamboo and grass room and withhold the strength of the elephants.

leopardleopard

There were mating leopards seen just outside camp on Wednesday evening which was a highlight for all guests and guides as this is something that is only glimpsed at on very rare occasions.

Daudi has been guiding regular guest Ian Horsfield, and on Thursday they were on a gentle drive and came across the Nsefu pride relaxing in a nice shady spot – jealous of their decision Daudi and Ian followed suit and parked up in the shade for a cool drink and break from the heat of the day when all of a sudden 2 grumpy old male buffalos wandered into view. Initially the lions ignored them until they came that little bit too close and it was not long before the lions stood up and burst out of the shade managing to take one of the buffalos down!  Everyone in the car was slightly stunned as this was the last thing they were expecting and all happened right before them whilst they were sitting in the shade sipping on some nice cool water.

Mobile Safaris

The river is dropping quickly but there is still enough of the clear flowing water to wallow in during the heat of the day and is a particularly pleasant relief for guests to be able to cool off in the river with a lovely cool drink – needless to say that the team also enjoy this added bonus to life on the Mupamadzi River. The team have had a fantastic season and we are all still slightly in shock that it is almost October and we only have 2 more weeks of the mobile season to run. The Samil 50 (truck) will be coming out for the last time on the long journey down the 05 road and we shall embark on the challenge of packing the entire camp into a container ready for the rains.

The game viewing up at mobiles has been fantastic and even though on foot guests have had some great sightings of lion, Roan antelope, warthogs and plenty other delights. Some guests even managed a fleeting glimpse of a leopard! The white impala is also still going strong which is pretty good going.

On Monday night the camp was visited by a particularly confident honey badger, who took it upon himself to try to take out the entire crockery trunk, successfully broke a significant amount of dessert bowls – it may be because mobiles were feeling a little left out on the animal in camp incidents, as Luangwa Bush Camping had an elephant trying to use the canvas and metal luggage rack as a step, in order to retrieve some particularly juicy looking leaves. This happened while a pride of lions was dashing through camp and meeting the bar table with quite a collision…  ”

Have a wonderful week,

Rita

carmine bee eaters

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