It’s Monday 30th January 2006 and the Heli Ride

This weeks It’s Monday is all about me…

Kim in the copter
I have never been up in a helicopter and it has always been an ambition, so when I was offered a trip I jumped at the chance. The helicopter was going up to try and find the wild dogs for Emma, who is one of the researchers now based here at Nkwali – working for African Wild Dog Conservation. Also on board we had Rachel who runs the South Luangwa Conservation Society who wanted to check on one of her patrols.

The ladies sat up front and were in charge of the map reading – happily following the river is always an easy option so we found the camp without too much of a problem.

Map readingRiver view

Mike, the pilot is based in Livingstone and it was his first trip to the South Luangwa – needless to say he is dying to come back!

tight turn The views were just amazing as we flew low over the Chindeni Hills then swooped down to the Luangwa river. We saw lots of elephant in the area including some lovely big bulls. We then stopped at a bush Camp to check out the patrol who are based there and for owner to see that his team, who are looking after the camp whilst it is closed, were all well.  We had to circle a couple of times and made some pretty tight turns – about a 60 deg angle according to Mike, and lets just say that one of the group was particularly happy when we found a landing spot and had feet back were back on firm ground! It was the first time that I had really felt G force and whilst I did not feel sick it was quite and extraordinary feeling.

landing by the river The ground was quite wet and there are lots of trees close to the camp so it was not easy to find a place to put her down. The only landing spot was on the river bank but so close to the river that the tail was actually hanging over the edge.

view from the door Flying back towards Nkwali (just on the point of the bend in this photo) we had the side door open and it did have the feeling of being in a Vietnam movie! I imagined that at any moment someone would come through my head set saying –  boggies at 11 o’clock – lock and load! As you can see I am a bit of a drama queen and of course I should have been thinking about the wonderful views and not some tacky war movie!

The whole trip was just amazing and if I ever get the chance I will be up again like a shot. It just proves that life really does begin at 40!

A couple of nights ago we celebrated Jo’s return from her holiday by taking a sundowner trip in our new boat – wonderful sunsets- we had some debate on which to put in so I have decided to show you both!

sunset 1sunset 2

And finally – a super sunset sent to us by Jonathan Trollip who, with his family, was our first guest to stay at Luangwa Safari House.

sunset 3

Stay well and have a great week

PS from JO – Robin and I had a lovely holiday – if only a week – at Rocktail Bay in South Africa.  Lots of sleep and reading of course, interspersed with scuba dives (one of the best areas I have dived in Africa – tons of fish, coral and a few feeding turtles) and body surfing in big waves.  There was a great moment – spending a couple of hours with a 1.55 meter leatherback turtle, laying eggs on the beach in the moonlight.  Magical.  But no pics as no camera.  Good to be back in the lovely Luangwa however ! As always.

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