It’s Monday 29th August 2005 and the poles arrive

The Safari Houses of Zambia

Luangwa Safari House (now opens 01 December 05) and Chongwe River House (opens 01 April 06)

  • Luangwa Safari House – special introductory offer.
  • 50% special rate
  • Valid for any guest who has stayed with RPS before.
  • Start date of safari between 10 January and 31 March 06
  • Cost will be $1000 for up to 4 guests.
  • $175 per person per night above 4 guests.
  • Minimum 5 nights

This week you are getting the update on the houses.  Hmmmmm…….we are not quite on schedule.  Well ok – it was a little ambitious to build two huge houses, in remote bush locations, in six months, but you know me – always up for a challenge.  However, I’ve never had to move an opening date before. My pride is twingeing.  In my defense I would like to add that the delays are mostly due to circumstances beyond my control.  The first of these was “big thinking” by Neil, the designer.  Putting in the twenty five leadwood trees, each weighing five to seven tons was a task! It took four weeks longer than planned to get the trees and foundations in place. But he was right – it was worth the effort and expense.  They give the Luangwa House the most amazing feel.

Luangwa Safari HouseLuangwa Safari House

Progress at Luangwa Safari House – the right photo, view from a bedroom, shows grass ready for the roof.

The front door of Luangwa Safari HouseSo we were catching up, just, when the country experienced a month long severe fuel shortage and the transport of materials to both houses virtually came to a standstill.   With lots of phoning, pushing and shoving we are slowly getting transport sorted now.  Remember that we are a long way from Lusaka – some 750 kms.  We had ordered the poles for the roof a couple of months ago….it was taking time to get them together as it included twenty seven poles that needed to be eleven meters long.  Now that’s a big pole…a monster.  But the fuel situation delayed and delayed the delivery by weeks.  Finally a mammoth articulated truck and trailer (sounds tiny – trust me it was huge) arrived this week.  We sent someone out to intercept it and take it straight to the site, however they missed and it arrived outside my office window.  All the staff came out to watch – no way was this beast going to turn around in the car park.  Well it did, without much fuss to be honest and the guys all stood agog, applauding the driving performance.

The polesRobin and the poles

We off loaded the forty ton delivery (only one squashed finger!) and then realized that all the eleven meter poles were far wider than we had asked for and would be impossibly heavy for the roof structure.  Heads were scratched, meetings were held, tempers were kept (just) and the answer was to shave them down with a chainsaw.  What a job. But as it turns out we have an Aussie coming to work for a few months who is a forester and loves the chainsaw.  You can imagine – “now your first job is to…..”.  Overnight we thought about it and realized it would probably be quicker to just reorder them, which we are now doing.  My toes wanted to curl – more time lost.  However, shaved poles would not have looked perfect and I want the house to be just that!

The houses are going to be so fabulous.  Certainly well over budget but I have got to the point when I say at every meeting “we can only do this once so lets go for it”.  So I buy the best – including Egyptian cotton sheets, duvets, pillows shipped in from the UK.   The supplier has asked me to report on them as so few people buy the very top of the range.   Yes – I have done a lot of the buying already.  I do not want to get caught out when the time comes for opening.  On my list are things like a 15 cm cake tin which according to Shanie is the right size and a must but I have not found it in Lusaka or Joburg.  I swing between forty tons of poles and a cake tin.  Crazy.

Elephants outside Jo's houseGiraffes outside Jo's house

The game continues to walk all around the house as they are built.  It amazes me – we even had a sleeping elephant only 50 m from a chainsaw screaming away.  I have taken some photos from our house this week. The Luangwa Safari House is on the same ridge, only a kilometer away and the same animals wander will past both houses.  So there will be fantastic gameviewing from the deck!

Have a wonderful week and remember to pick the daisies.

Jo's signature

Chongwe River HouseChongwe River House
Building Progress at Chongwe River House

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