It’s Monday 30th November 2009 and the Davids

It’s Monday 30th November and the Davids

I have just had the most fabulous weekend! The lovely Amber came to stay. An ex “Zambian”, she comes for a bit of a Zambian fix from time to time. Before she arrived I had Robin on the phone from Liuwa. He sounded very stressed….what’s wrong….? ”its raining, its cold, the airport is full of every dignitary and citizen of Kalabo as the President is about to arrive. And so is my first group for Liuwa”. We were worried that the plane would be diverted to Mongu and get waylaid. However, it landed 20 minutes later, only two minutes ahead of the President. I wonder if the guests met the President??! Another concern – usually everyone gets of the plane and rushes behind the hanger for a pee (no terminal). Not this time!! The airport was swarming with people. So starts the first Liuwa trip. We shall get dispatches for next week no doubt. But I have heard the guests did meet the President and were thrilled to do so.

new born impala with mumand a new born giraffe

Amber then arrived and joined everyone for lunch. “David and David” were regaling us with their mornings’ stories. David Rogers runs our photographic workshops (March and May) each year. And David Bailey is a guest wanting an unusual safari with a focus on photography. I had suggested a combo of a private photographic guide (and only the very David R), the South Luangwa and the bats at Kasanka. “Great” he said. But what clinched it? David B checked out David R’s website. Quote – “What is your favourite African sound? The whooshing sound that a beer makes at sunset”. And so here they both are (looking very similar – same beard, same height, same huge lens!) David R has not been here in November before and is amazed how different the experience is. I sat with him yesterday and asked how….

fireball lily flower of fried egg tree

“There is new life everywhere…..baby impala, giraffe, elephant all very young and frisky. The green is fresh and more intense. The flowers are different. The river is low so there is no boating but you have access to areas you don’t see in March like the Luangwa Waffwa. There are still immature carmines about flitting through the sky. The first woodland kingfishers have only just arrived and the bird song in general seems to be very intense as they rev up for the breeding season.

wild mango fruit that the elephants lovehappy baby elly!

The wild mango trees are all dropping fruit. Hopelessly overexcited families of elephants are running from tree to tree. They seem very happy when they arrive at freshly dropped fruit and disappointed if they have been beaten to it. It is like an elephant pub crawl. We watched a very young baby getting its first taste of a mango! He was running around like a wild thing – appearing to be drunk. After trying to push little trees over he was rushing anthills and stumbling about, trunk floppy, and flailing around.

We have seen leopard every drive which is always wonderful. Dramatic storms and skies. But of course, I also focus on the detail. Wonderful flowers, velvet mites, exotic moths, the dung beetles are full of action.”

dramatic Luangwa skies

Well this was a bit of an issue on arrival as David B has been on lots of safaris but is a big game man and not into photographing flowers or even more unlikely, insects!! I heard him say after the first drive “Do you always make your clients lie on the ground?!” Well David R does. I know this after years of hosting his workshops. And now David B is down there, up close and fully into photographing insects. He was even happy to be pulled out of his shower to photograph the amazing while ringed atlas moth by the bar. (note – who must be David and David – not the one with the happy snappy!) I asked him yesterday what he had learnt on the drive? “How to photograph birds using fill in flash during the daylight” Clearly he is learning lots!

red velvet spider mitesmahogany seeds

Tomorrow they are off to Kasanka to see the 10 million bats. There is a wide range of numbers given for this extraordinary migration – one of the largest mammalian migrations in the world. But recently the authoritative David Attenborough said 10 million on the fabulous Life program in the UK – that will do for me! I have already edited the website from one to ten million! Keyela is also going with John and Jen Talbot – regulars who have wanted to see the bats for a long time. So we will report back to you on how it goes!

heroic effort by the dung beetlephotographing the moth

Meanwhile I had a lovely drive with Amber and Shirley Youngson, another “ex Zambian” who has been visiting us for years. It was wonderful to be out and about in the bush.

Have a great week……and if any of you are fed up with the Christmas fuss – come and join us here.

PS Still stuck on Christmas presents……here are some ideas?
Safari Dreaming book – GBP 12 / USD 20 plus P&P (GBP 157 on Amazon! Imagine!)
Donate to the school fund in general or specifically….
• Buy school desks at @ GBP 30 / USD 50 each (120 needed by end December) – we would put a small plaque on the desk “donated by….” (email me)
• Buy a number of new school text books for the soon to be completed Katapilla School. We need to by 482 books at GBP 5 / USD 8 per book (would put your name in the front of your books – “donated by….”) (email me)
• Sponsor a (or part of a) transmitter collar for a wild dog (GBP 1440 / USD 2300 ) or a lion (GBP 1940 / USD 3100). Your name can be inscribed onto the collar! (email me)

PPS Thanks for voting on the community project last week. Cheryl ended up with over 95%
PPPS Happy Thanksgiving for last week.

impala judo classes??

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