It’s Monday 29th December 2008 and weddings and gun

Firstly let me welcome the new It’s Monday readers. I went through all the visitor books this week and so a number of you will be new. Yes a little tardy for this year. Apologies.

Seka Theatre Group in Luangwa ValleySeka Theatre in Luangwa Valley

Christmas week – always a busy one. After a few weeks of being very quiet (am I ever going to persuade people to travel early December?) – we always have a two week “flurry” of guests. It is quite hard to get into the Christmas mood in the steaming tropics but on Christmas Eve we kicked off. The local theatre group, Seka, performed their animal play – basically a series of unbelievably good animal imitations woven into a story. You can guess who…..

As it finished a massive storm blackened the sky and we all wondered about the traditional carols. All the camps get together, with their guests, for a rousing rendition of carols. The storm skirted us and off we went to set up at Kalawani Pan. This pan has seen many occasions over the years from weddings, memorial services, huge dinners and now it is our annual carol spot. It was traditionally the Luangwa bridge but the dancing by 300 people started a bridge bounce – rather alarming.

Christmas carol singing in the Luangwa Valley

This was the 21st carol service. My first year in the Valley Robin had told me he had always had a fantasy of singing carols on the bridge and so we organised it. This year a couple of us had spent a number of afternoons teaching the carols to the Luangwa Safari Choir (a collection of chefs, storemen and bottle washers from all the camps). So we had a stronger singing voice than ever and it was magical. Always is. Young Lucy, staying at the Luangwa Safari House, joined leaders of the singing on the anthill – very impressive!

So how many turkeys cooked by RPS on Christmas day – 7 huge ones in total, including the 2 at Pumulani. From stuffing through to parsnips – it is the traditional thing! But our Boxing Day was not. Steve and Sherry had asked us to marry them! Actually they had asked for Christmas Eve but we said too much on, has to be Boxing Day. The river had risen in the week dramatically and had covered our chosen wedding site – the island opposite Nkwali. But as this river does, it dropped again and so we had a very moving and simple wedding out on the island. Of course we had to have Jackson and his gun just in case – so not your normal wedding photos. Geno performed the service and Mr Tembo of the District Boma did the legal bit. In the paperwork you are asked for your tribe, what the bride price was amongst other questions. And on the licence there are three boxes – “to put quotes from the bible or comments”. Well Steve and Sherry had had to go through my “three C’s of marriage” lecture at lunch that day. It led to great discussions at the table as you can imagine. Communicate, commit and compromise. So they wrote these words in the boxes!

Weddings with Robin Pope Safaris in South LuangwaGeno of Robin Pope Safaris

Geno who has been leading the reservations team for the last few years (since Kim left) and has been with us for five years now is getting married to her lovely Trust next week and moving to Johannesburg. We are not loosing her entirely, she is going to work with me on the marketing but we will loose her daily smile! And boy, will I miss her.

wedding on Livingstone Island, Victoria Falls

And while on wedding front, the week before Christmas, Munyama (who will be taking over as Reservations Manager) had a spectacular wedding in Livingstone. Which included boating over to Livingstone Island on the lip of the Falls for the ceremony! Another island wedding. Sakhile his bride has joined him here in reservations.

Luangwa Safari House in South Luangwa

So finally onto the game viewing. As always the game has been great. Lucinda, who is hosting at Luangwa Safari House, said they had 42 elephants in front of the house yesterday whilst having lunch. Then, as they had seen sleeping wild dogs in the morning, they had early tea and headed off again. They were rewarded with firstly sleeping dogs, then waking-interacting-ablutting dogs. They ran down the road and off into the bush where they chased and killed an impala. The vehicle had managed to stay with the dogs the whole way! Some very pleased guests at the Luangwa Safari House.

Luangwa Safari House, South Luangwawild dog in South Luangwa

Next time we speak it will be 2009! Have a great New Year celebration and best wishes to you all for 2009.

This is Roxy and her daughter Ruby with their litters of this year. Roxy was hand reared at Chipembele with Robert (who you may have met in the park – the warthog that runs up to the vehicle to be scratched!) Sadly Roxy has not appeared since Christmas Day and her babes have attached themselves to Ruby.

warthog in South Luangwa

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