It’s Monday 5th September 2005 and the Smelly Hippo

Well it has been as rather smelly week at Nkwali. In the middle of last week we noticed that a hippo had died and was now beached on one of the sand banks in front of Robin’s House with a flotilla of crocodiles waiting patiently to find a way into the carcass. (Even the powerful jaws of a croc cannot pierce the bloated body of a dead hippo.)

beached hippoopening up the carcass

So, to assist the crocodiles and to encourage the rather nasty smell that was developing in camp we went out in the boat in the afternoon and opened up the carcass of the dead hippo – a grisly task but one that had to be done! Within minutes of doing this there were between 40 and 50 crocs thrashing about in the water in a feeding frenzy devouring the dead hippo. Job done, we thought. There goes the nasty smell. Not to be……..

By the next morning the crocs that were there had had their fill and were all lazing on the sandbank leaving a basically intact hippo carcass in the shallows of the Luangwa and starting to smell even worse!!

Plan ‘B’ was hatched. We brought our big truck down onto the beach opposite camp, tied a rope around the remainder of the carcass and dragged it along the beach, downwind of Nkwali, to give the vultures and hyenas a chance to sort out the problem of this nasty smell for us!!

the big truck down onto the beachfantastic scavenger feeding action

With Vultures on day duty and hyenas on night duty we were treated to some fantastic scavenger feeding action with vultures scrapping with each other in the daylight hours and hyenas serenading us with their eerie, piercing cackles and whoops through the night.

By this morning they had all but finished the hippo off and our guests were treated to a great sight of four lions coming in to see if there was anything left for them – too late but they did manage a little stroll up the beach in front of camp before heading off into the bush.

Rocky, up at Tena Tena managed to get some great shots of one of the little leopard cubs with its mother, venturing out on one of its first trips. Although the cubs have been seen from time to time on the night drives no one had managed to get a good day time photo of one of the three cubs that they are seeing in the area. Rocky finally managed to get a daylight shot of mum and youngster crossing one of the dried out lagoons.

one of the little leopard cubsmum and youngster crossing one of the dried out lagoons

We have taken an early booking at the new Luangwa house. scarlet-chested sunbirds Although it is not how we were planning to sell the grand house any booking is worth having so we decided to allow the newly wed scarlet-chested sunbirds to rig up a make shift place whilst we finish off the rest of the building!! In truth the pair have decided that the acacia tree above the kitchen site is the perfect place to raise a family of little sunbirds. We will keep you posted on their development in the coming weeks.

Finally here is a lovely shot of a skimmer flying along the river in front of Nkwali. skimmer

Cheers and have a good week


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