It’s Monday 2nd May 2005 and Jo can spill the beans

Today is a very exciting day for us. We can announce our new project at last. Hurrah. Since last June we have been planning this – The Safari Houses of Zambia.

How did this start. Well Robin’s House has been so successful we had been looking at building another private house at Nkwali. Then last June when I visited Chongwe River Camp – I found Chris was planning a house on the Chongwe River. So we decided to work together.

We have Neil Rocher – best know for his famous design of Shampole in Kenya – providing us with all the concepts and plans. Working with Neil is a fluid experience. Not a lot on paper and lots in his head. His inspiration comes from the surrounding bush and his ideas flow at such a speed it is hard to keep up. We are all determined that these houses will push out the design boundaries of safari products into new territory. Very thrilling.

So what are we doing…….

The Luangwa Safari House – will be on our land at Nkwali. The site has a view looking south from camp, towards the Chendeni Hills. This is similar to the view that Robin and I have been living with for a year and it is quite exceptional. There is always game wandering past – we often have our morning tea in bed watching elephants. We broke ground ten minutes ago !

We broke ground ten minutes ago

Chongwe River House – on the banks of the tranquil Chongwe River, the boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park. With a direct view of the Zambezi Escarpment, this is a magical site and the game come through to drink at the river all day – especially the elephants.

The Nyika House (or The House on the Hill, orthe House on the Nyika- not sure this name yet!) is perched on the edge of the Nyika Plateau and overlooking the Eastern Zambezi. We ran the oldsixty year old colonial resthouse forfifteen years but then the lease from parks became too expensive to be viable. With a tear in our eyes, we closed it up some seven years ago. It is still sitting empty and we have recently signed a new lease. Work will start in July to renovate the place. I have lots of slides from the old days but not good digital photos. But here are a couple from my happy snappy I took last October. I cannot describe how wonderful the Nyika is – your soul flies up there.

The Nyika Houseoverlooking the Eastern Zambezi

So with Tangala in Livingstone (Tongabezi’s private house) we will have an exceptional circuit of four bedroomed houses. Like Robin’s House, these houses will be booked by the group, couple, family… and there will be private guiding and hosting. This really works well for a family or group not wanting to share their holiday with strangers at safari camps. I will be keeping you posted on the project…we ambitiously hope the houses to be open mid to end September this year! Ouch.

Wild dogLioness

So back to the bush here. We have had a number of comments from guests saying that they are happy to be told about the wild dog week after week! Well they are still around. Debs and Kerri went out for a morning drive the other day and here are a few pics from them. Unusual to see a “white baboon” and for those of you who cannot remember… it is a white fronted bee-eater, with a wasp!!

white baboonwhite fronted bee-eater, with a wasp

Take care and have a great week.

All the best

Jo

PS just popped out of the office for a quick pit stop and had my mind full of Safari Houses as I returned. Nearly walked straight into this elly who is happily feeding outside the office. That will teach me to not to look !

elly who is happily feeding outside the office

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