It’s Monday 28th March 2011 and time for a catch up

Before we start I need to share with you this very exciting news: World Travel Awards, which is the Travel Industry’s equivalent to the Oscars, nominated Tena Tena as Africa’s Leading Green Hotel and as Zambia’s Leading Safari Lodge and Pumulani is also nominated as Malawi’s Leading Hotel. If you like to support us, please vote.

The World Travel Awards
was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognise excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry. Now celebrating its 18th anniversary, the awards are regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could ever hope to receive!!

Now, over to Emily:

Well hello from the Luangwa Valley , after what seems like quite a long time. Having been gallivanting around Malawi visiting our camps there, followed by Johannesburg (getting way too many ideas on how to spend money) then off to the UK where I was lucky enough to get a smattering of snow whilst up in Cumbria I am now finally back in the bush. And let me tell you it is looking super. Whilst I have been away it would appear that the rains have persisted, the river has come up, the storks are in the stork colony up at Nsefu and the bush and animals are looking refreshed and healthy.

We are now in all systems go mode here as the 21st of May is fast approaching which means opening of Tena Tena and Nsefu . Although I have to admit I am slightly worried about the road access there at the moment given the water levels. I think that I am about to find an excellent reason to head up river and check the camps next week under the cloud of “preparation” – what a fabulous excuse for an outing. Don’t worry I will keep you posted as to how it goes.

So back to the here and now – what has been happening over the last couple of weeks?

Luangwa RiverStork colony

Nsefu has been super busy with lots of guests having the joy of absolute isolation no cars or other noises just the low bellow of the lions at night and the beak clatter of the storks during the day. Daudi and Bertram have been leading the groups up there and have had some great sightings with hundreds of storks gathering for their annual pilgrimage to their nesting sight.

Lioness having a siestaLion walking through the grass

Lions on foot which is always a great thrill and plenty of other game to keep them busy during the day. The river is also behaving so plenty of exploring down little channels, which usually are off limits during the dry season and with that comes the excitement of hippo encounters and the riverine bird life with some stunning sightings of kingfishers.

As for down here at Nkwali , Chris and Emma – new members of the RPS team – went out into the park this week with Simon (Oz) and his family who are visiting and came across some lions chilling out in the sand. Slit a gnarly old male seems to have found himself a couple of ladies to look after him but the evening took a turn from the relaxing into the slightly more frantic.

BuffaloBuffalo & elephant

As it turns out some neighbouring buffalo were spooked by an elephant so got up and dashed off straight towards the lions who then got up and dashed off before realising that they should turn around and in fact try to get some dinner. The attempt for a meal was however unsuccessful due to their bleary eyes and sleepy disposition – great sighting though all the same. Simon and his family have now headed off to Zimbabwe but I am assured that Simon is going to give us all an update of what he has been up to on his leave as soon as he is back next month.

PumunlaniPumunlani

Chris and Emma have also scurried off over to Pumulani where they will be taking over for a few months and enjoying lake life.

Malachite KingfisherMalachite Kingfisher

The sightings though have been fab and all guests have been really rather spoilt with the weather enjoying the beauty and freshness of the green season without the rain interfering. The only down side of this of course means that we have limited tales of guides getting horribly stuck in the mud which always produces fantastic camp fire banter in the evening with copious amounts of teasing!

Luangwa River from Nkwali campNkwali plunge pool

The river has come up and is now at its highest this year and combine that with the electric light that we have been getting at sunrise and sunset we really are being spoilt with the scenery. The cats have also been patrolling the river bank opposite Nkwali with the lions taunting the guests as they had their breakfast yesterday morning calling as if to say – I am here come and find me. Then last night a leopard was strolling up and down treating us all to the deep husky saw like call – fingers crossed everyone gets to sneak a peak today.

KP Nkwali cat

KP (camp cat) on the other hand has been really rather unimpressed by the “large cats” taking all the glory so this morning at 0200 decided that it was her time for the limelight and found her other wild cat friend and sat outside my bedroom window making a really rather impressive racket!!!!

Oh dear the trials and tribulations of living in the bush.

On that note I am off to carry on with the day, but don’t worry I am now back so will be keeping everyone up to speed on what we are up to here in the Luangwa on a fortnightly basis.

Have fun,

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