It’s Monday 5th April 2010 and Easter at Robin Pope Safaris

I hope you had a Great Easter! I took the opportunity of this festive week and whilst my family was here to spend a few days with the guests, up front and out sharing their game drives and walk experiences. It was fabulous to live life in the “first person” listening to all the explanations about the bush and feeling all the excitement that comes with this.

The drums usually played by Ali, the waiter, wake us early morning, filling us with positive energy and enthusiasm for the new days expected adventures. This week the drums were so popular that some people wanted to record this with the mobile phone to take as a souvenir … (and use it as an alarm clock back home… imagine!).

Nkwali Camp, South Luangwa, ZambiaBraston Daka, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, Zambia

Over this period, Nkwali has been fully booked. Kiki being the coordinator has had everything under control, each group went into the park with their respective allocated guide. I must say I found each guide was completely different to the next. Each with their own special character, they are an important part of the experience, hosting and entertaining. We’ve had Braston for a week and he is on top form. We found out that he is not just a knowledgeable guide he is also a great singer, his voice seems to come directly from heaven….. He secretly told us that he just sings when he’s happy! We hope to hear that voice more often Braston…!

Walking Safaris, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, ZambiaGame drives, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, Zambia

Some guests were keen to walk, some just wanted to do game drives, some had a preference for birding and some were explorers who wanted to see carnivores, especially the big cats. They were not disappointed. Braston managed to find 6 leopards in one day – one of his personal “bests”!

With all the senses well established everyone looked for their own interests. I was particularly interested in wildlife photography, with my brand new camera! My family, on their first trip to Africa was easily entertained – even the impala created excitement!!

On Monday morning Linda and Mike were presented with five female lionesses on their walking safari with Jacob… how lucky were they?

Elephant, South Luangwa, ZambiaThornicroft's Giraffe, South Luangwa, Zambia

Lilac-breasted Roller, South Luangwa, ZambiaRed-billed Hornbill, South Luangwa, Zambia

The truth be told, it is the shear pleasure of finding lots of different bird’s species, lots of mammals, elephants including tiny babies, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, buffalos, kudus, mongoose and the big cats that makes it all become one big adventure.

Lionesses, South Luangwa, ZambiaLioness, South Luangwa, Zambia

We also had the luck of watching a lion growl, marking territory, trying to impress two females – poor guy they weren’t paying much attention…On another night, we found another two impressive  lionesses hunting a herd of impala.

Leopard, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, ZambiaImpalas, South Luangwa, Zambia

A high moment for me was on the second evening we watched a leopard hunting. That afternoon we had the pleasure of joining Linda and Mike and Jacob our guide. Jacob was keen on finding a leopard for us. First he stopped by a small lagoon where a hippo tried to scare us with his big mouth open which gave me a great photo opportunity! Then just a few meters away Jacob decided to stop the car to watch a herd of impala. The sun was going down, which made the light perfect for photography. Everyone was focused on the dominant male pursuing a young female. When Jacob calmly said, “it’s amazing how the leopard watches all this and prepares his strategy from the top of that tree”…. what!! The moment we turned back there he was, lying down on a branch of a tree…. beautiful! Unfortunately I didn’t have time to photograph him. He at once started to put his strategy into practice. He came slowly down the tree and began stalking his prey. He almost caught an impala but failed…. we were told he was a young leopard still and so inexperienced. All the same it was an amazing experience for us! After this initial excitement all the impala faced the leopard and with a series of alarm snouts started to protest his presence. Slowly, he took the hint and snuck off into the grass to find some other unsuspecting impala.

That night we had an amazing mixture of cultures sitting around the dinning room table, people from Sweden, Norway, Britain, South African and Portugal. Each telling a wide range of stories, varying for their countries history to local languages, we discussed how each country influenced others in the world history…. the things you can learn in the bush?

Seka Play, South Luangwa, ZambiaSeka Group, South Luangwa, Zambia

During the weekend we invited the local drama group Seka, to come and perform for our guests. The theme was a hilarious comedy play. I don’t think there was one person who did not enjoy it. The play depicted the balance between wildlife and human presence in the bush. The enactment of the various different animals and there movements was extraordinary – the elephant on the photo gives you an idea. But what put tears in my eyes was their imitation of tourists on safari … absolutely hilarious!!!

What an unforgettable Easter Week!

Have a great week!

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