It’s Monday 6th July 2009 and “RoJo”

It’s Monday 6th July and “RoJo”

So, going off the leopard tack, this week is about us!

Robin leading a walk in 1978cover shot of Robin's first RPS brochure

Robin and I, after many years in the valley, have decided that from February next year we will step away from the mainstream of Robin Pope safaris administration and day to day operations. We shall of course remain as shareholders, directors and torchbearers for Robin Pope Safaris. Robin will continue to do specialized guiding for RPS – particularly in all those out of the way places. And next year he is set to run the Liuwa Plain safaris. I shall be available for any assistance needed – be it marketing at trade shows, planning safaris, developments etc. Our delightful home will remain in the Valley with our friends the elephants and giraffe. But we shall be designing a new home outside Lusaka and will be mostly based there.

Robin and Jo in the early daysRobin on an early 5 day mobile safari in 1991

It’s rather a large step into the blue and we shall find it strange waking up without the Robin Pope Family – the staff, the guests and of course the elephants. What an honor it has been to host and guide many of you through the bush and to have so many return over and over again.

Robin with mobile team membersKeyela and Robin on Nkwali deck

A very strong, capable, well trained team is in place as you know. Rob Clifford, Emily Hayes and Ton & Margaux de Roy will be at the helm. And Geno and Munyama run the marketing and reservations smoothly. We are completely confident they will continue the RPS style and standards. Business will remain as usual. We plan to be resident in our “bush home” at Nkwali regularly and will of course spend time with the guests. I am sure, without the day to day responsibilities of administration, we will end up spending more time with the guests and will have more time to enjoy the bush! I have become very computer bound – so much so that when I visited the camps a couple of days ago I found it very hard hard to focus more than three feet away from me! I really want to get away from the desk and do different things. I have no idea what they are – we shall see.

Jo at Kawaza SchoolJo being bossy at the annual Christmas carols

Robin has lived in the Luangwa Valley now for 35 years and this is my 22nd season! Tena Tena was where it all started for us and we lived there for about eight years before moving to Nkwali. (Full history on website). As you can imagine, every tree, every inch of every lagoon has a wildlife memory. When we drive around the area we become the “when we’s” – and talk about all the moments that are flashing through our minds. It is quite amazing how much detail has stuck with us from those early days. Of course we were young, energetic and only had Tena Tena to think about. And then over the years the company developed – Nkwali, Mobiles, Nsefu, the Safari Houses. It was an organic growth – just as it came. And safaris to Nyika, Liuwa Plains, Bangwuelu Swamps – it all certainly kept us busy.

Rob and Robin Robin's passion is walking....

During the last 20 years we are immensely proud of how the Zambian staff have developed. We have gone from a handful of English speaking staff, none of whom were well trained to a Zambian team of guides, excellent chefs, waiters, trained mechanics, carpenters, an electrician, accountants and more. Many of our staff have been with us from the start and they have become hugely skilled people and are highly valued. And now the children of the original staff are starting to join us. It is the people that make a company work and we are certainly very proud of our “family” team!

....and remote places like Liuwa Plain...mine is not smelly fish!

As you know, during the last few months Robin has been out in the remote Western Province, running safaris at Liuwa Plain. This has really been back to the pioneering days – making things happen against all odds. No back up, no road access, no one else to borrow from. Alone and remote. And he has loved this – back to his roots! It has reminded us of how things were twenty years ago. We have wonderful rich, warm memories to take with us as we step off into the unknown.

Home for many years - the Luangwa Valleythe happy couple

 

Meanwhile we are here for the next six months and loving every moment.
So until next week…..take care,

PS – most of our old pictures are slides so only managed to find a few that Robin had already scanned! Pity there were not more.
PS – Safari Dreaming sale. This wonderful book is on a “sale” for the next six months at the discount price of USD 20 / GBP 12 plus P&P from the UK. Please contact jo@robinpopesafaris.net for a copy.

old elephant shot

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