It’s Monday 4th October 2010 and another week at Nkwali

Another week has passed and yes the temperatures are rising, the river is dropping and the clouds are building – now comes the annual bet and never ending discussions of “what date have you chosen for the first rains??” Robin has always been a strong advocate of going with the moons stating that the weather changes after the full moon. Not one to argue with his years of experience I will definitely jump on that ship and hold off on my “date” until I know when the next full moon is going to be.

Everyone knows what comes next – the never ending discussion on how much the river has gone up – however you will all be glad to hear that we still have a while to go before we begin that topic! And who said we weren’t obsessed with the weather.

Behind the scenes – Ruben (one of our workshop team and specials projects man) has been out and about cooling off in the Luangwa putting in the crossings for the cars so we are now officially able to drive across the river. I think maybe he put himself in charge of overseeing the project as he headed off this morning with a fishing rod and tin of bait. Simon has put in an exciting wibbly wobbly route across the river just down from Tena Tena the only problem being that the hippos have decided it would be far more fun to push down the bamboos that demarcate the route so let’s wait and see where everyone ends up.

The caterers have also been rather busy running around and keeping the camps tip top – this time of the year the leaves fall off the trees like snow flakes and the dust devils dance through camp ensuring that everything is left with an attractive fine coating of dust. As you can imagine this is a constant nightmare and the girls can regularly be seen wielding feather dusters and cloths ready to wipe up natures challenges. The baboons have also been causing headaches for the caterers and tummy rumbles for the guides as one particularly confident male took an opportunity to grab the cake at afternoon tea and tucking it under his arm like a rugby ball made off. Unfortunately the cake crumbled a little sooner than he had imagined and he was left slightly disappointed and embarrassed picking up the crumbs.

I thought it would be nice to hear from Georgie this week who has been our caterer at Robin’s House this season and get an inside view into what cannot really be called a normal day:

“Life as a caterer is never dull. With new and exciting people from all over the world coming in and out each day with tales from every corner, how could it be?! But behind the scenes is what makes the camp tick and the team is wonderful. With smiles all round, despite the early mornings, everyone is always hard at work. There are however no shortages of obstacles that can make ones day all the more adventurous!

Only this afternoon were Tigger and I chatting away when we saw an enormous elephant outside our rooms, then another, and then two more – two mothers on an afternoon stroll with their babies. We are always cautious, but standing by our door we knew it was safe to watch and so we did, only for them to come within a couple of meters’ of us. In any other circumstance it might have been terrifying, but today they were as calm and placid as you imagine they could ever be. One mother stood, face to face with us, eating her leaves like crisps whilst occasionally letting out that somehow reassuring and comforting rumble.  At times like these it can be a problem getting to tea on time – no ‘sorry, the traffic was awful!’ does not really work as an excuse but ‘there were elephants on our porch is pretty much part and parcel of bush life. Arriving at tea we were greeted with yet more elephants, this time crossing the river in front of camp and having the most glorious roll around in the water, so inviting it looked that if things were any different we might just have joined them! Then on the opposite bank giraffes bending down to drink on the other side, their usually graceful gait made so much more entertaining as they bend in that comical way attempting to reach the water. So, just an average day at Nkwali, and who knows what tomorrow will bring…”

Thanks Georgie.

So we shall leave you to enjoy the rest of your week – don’t forget about us and our tales of bush life.  Next week I think we will have a chat with Claire as the Walking Mobile Safaris are finishing up for the season and the team will be out on Thursday packing everything up for yet another year – gosh it has gone so quickly.

Always remember to have fun.

Have a lovely week,

Emily

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