It’s Monday 31st August 2009 and stuck at croc bridge

First some news from Steve Wilson about his return journey on the 1955 motorbike. This epic journey – Cape Town to Nkwali and return was to raise money for the Kawaza School Fund (we are raising money to build a forth school). The return journey was certainly an epic…..from Steve….

“How very kind of you to spare a thought for ‘The Lost Traveller’! In turn, Nkwali for me is now the equivalent of Manderley in Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’. Yes, the journey from then on was a bit of a slog, starting with the ruptured tyre on the road back to Chipata. (I think it was because I’d left my little lucky Myange Myange necklace in the hut that last morning.) Gearbox then partially seized 30 miles into Zimbabwe, but that led to a really magical evening at the home of a Parks and Wildlife Ranger and his family. From then on, though, Zim had me repeating ‘Get me out of here!’ Shame, because it’s beautiful. The old bike got me back to within 300 miles of Cape Town, then started to run a big end, so not wanting to return with an engine in kit form, I’m sorry to say I called it a day.. But had done 5,000 miles +, and what I set out to do.”

That’s good enough in my book. Well done Steve.

vehicle stuck at croc bridgeA relaxed leopard

Talking about getting “stuck” Simon sent me some photos from Tena Tena. The photos were taken by the Hatton family. They had done a sunrise drive to hot springs and on the way back down came through the Nsefu Camp area and got stuck in Wafwa crossing. The sand bags gave way as they went across and the vehicle went on to its rear axle. Simon was called in from Tena Tena to rescue. Although I hate to hear that someone was stuck, broken down or anything other than a smooth safari – it is always a little bit of adventure on a safari. As were the amazing sightings of leopards and lions. They had spent so long watching a leopard hunt the night before that the spotlight flattened the battery.

Emily and I were laughing about these photos and then thought about the logistics of our life.

Unloading good fron the delivery truckShopping for the week all packed up ready to be sent up to the various camps

Emily’s view….

“There is no popping out the front door to the local supermarket to collect some emergency supplies out here in the remote South Luangwa. Planning is key – what is available? What is in season? What is in the fridge and store room?

Once a week a couple of very large refrigerated trucks carry our food all the way up from Lusaka (about 16 hours). So shopping is by excel spread sheets and emails. The first truck laden with all of our dry goods and hardware usually arrives at around 7am on Sunday – somewhat of an early morning work out that is for sure. All of the crates are unloaded, checked off and either packed straight to main stores or siphoned off to the various vehicles going up to the camps. Time for a quick breather before the vegetable and meat truck arrives. Again all items are checked, repacked and quickly whisked away. All of this happens before 10am so that the food can reach the camps as soon as possible. The longest journey being up to the Mobile safaris which is 4 hours so cooler boxes and ice is a definite must!

Weighing fresh vegetables supplied by the valley local farmersBJ helping pack the fresh vegetables

And it doesn’t stop there….

Monday morning and my next delivery arrives – this time it is from Frank one of our local farmers. We try to support the local economy as best as possible. During the peak season for ease the bush camps receive the majority of their vegetable supplies from Lusaka however Nkwali, Robins House, Luangwa House and all of our camp staff food is largely supplied by local farmers. Everything is checked, weighed
and distributed – talk about fresh organic produce!”
Reilley & HarrisonReilley & Harrison

Then as I was thinking about writing this letter to you I received some amazing photos taken by Reilly (aged 9) and Harrison (7). Clearly been through the photoshop with Mum/Dad but I was so impressed that I asked them to write something about their safari.

A pride of lionsBuffalo

Reilly(9) : I really liked my safari in Zambia. It was fun to sleep near the river and listen to the hippos every night. I saw many more hippos and crocodiles than last year in Kenya. I saw my first leopard on our first night drive at Nkwali. Wow !! Melissa was very nice. Joseph and Kanga were our guides and they showed us some great things. I had my 9th birthday while I was on safari. I like the bush breakfast by the water. A monkey jumped into our shower and surprised us. It was very funny.

Reilley on their visit to the local schoolHarrison

Harrison(7): My favorite thing to do in Africa is to hunt for bones and teeth. I am very good at spotting animals and I am called “Eagle Eye”. I like the car barge (ed.pontoon) and the boat. My sister and I pulled the Rover across the river by ourselves. We went to the local school and the children were very nice. They didn’t have very many toys or books. I caught some very cool frogs near our cottage. I went swimming every day and saw an elephant, right next to the pool, while I was swimming. I used my first real camera this year and took more that 2,000 pictures all by myself.

Well – safari through younger eyes always puts a new perspective on the experience.

Robin and I are off to the Kenyan coast for a week of R&R. Sun, sand, sea, seafood… what joy! So I will not be here next Monday however, Michelle will be chatting to you.

Have a great fortnight!

Zebras having a drink

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