It’s Monday 6th November 2006 and G’day


It’s Monday 6th November 2006 and G’day

G’day —,

Well with Kim and Jo away at World Travel Market, Geno and Suku in reservations flat out with bookings for the green season, emerald season and 2007, Emily away closing camps and Rob holding the fort for me while I’m on four days rest, I felt is was not fair of me to disappear off into the bush without helping the team in some way.

So, bad luck, here comes another “Its Monday” from the Workshop Manager. The last week has been crazy at RPS. Tena Tena and Nsefu are now both packed up and put to bed for the rains. Nkwali is busy preparing for the green season with thatching projects on Robin’s House and preparations being made for changes to Nkwali bathrooms to make them more weather proof and a little more plusher.

The workshop is also busy servicing equipment and putting our girls in hibernation. Christine, Wangle, Piglet, Maria and several of our other vehicles (okay so we get a bit to attached to our vehicles in the workshop) now with seats off and cabs on ready for a rest. We are also bringing the Jacana (the aluminium boat) out from its covers in readiness for the rising river.

This week of the year is always a happy but sad time at RPS. Not only do the camps close and we say good bye after another season to Nsefu Sector but also to all our caterers who make the dry season so enjoyable at our camps. We have watched these girls grow over the last year and they have become part of our family and now we watch them move on to new parts of their lives.

Yesterday we said good bye to Carrianne, and Niki who have finished now and are heading to Livingstone for a well earned rest and in a few days time we are saying goodbye to Jo, Bec’s and Hannah who will also be heading to Livingstone (watch out Livingstone!). The girls have been wonderful this year and once again put a smiling face on RPS and created a wonderful atmosphere in the camps for guests and staff. We always take our hats off to the girls who come out to Africa and take on the challenge of living in the bush and us, and we hope to see them back again in years to come either working or on holiday.

White Crowned Plover on a nest We still have one caterer remaining to look after Nkwali for the rains, Rachel, who has been with us since September and who is looking forward to the rains after having dealt with the October heat. We have been boasting to her about the beautiful sunsets and boat rides on the river in full flow. This makes the rains a magical experience when combined with the migratory birds and the bush going into beautiful shades of green and what seems to be a rebirth of life as many of the animals are in the throes of having young. Some animals have got a head start and Emily recently got some great photos of an Egyptian Goose with some chicks and a White Crowned Plover on a nest.

Egyptian Goose with some chicks

Eland During the last week the wildlife, as it always does, has given us some wonderful highlights. Members of the Chichele lion pride have been hanging round the Nkwali area. There have been some wonderful sightings including one appearance of the lions while Rachel was setting up a bush dinner on the sand alongside the river. There has also been a male and female moving around together near Luangwa house and they were seen mating on several occasions so maybe we’ll see some new cubs early next year. Emily and Rob also saw some Eland on their trip up to the Nsefu sector camps for closing along with some lions and one of the big herds (several hundred strong) of Buffalo that move through the sector at this time of year.

Sleeping lions

As I mentioned at the start of the letter, I’m currently on a four day break and as always when I get free time I jump in my trusty Landrover ( bit sarcastic, it died last night due to a problem with the fuel lines and I was still two kilometers from home) and drive off into the bush.

Watching lions

Had some great sightings yesterday – I saw lions doing what they do best and chilling out in the heat of the day. I also heard my first Red Chested Cuckoo and Dedricks Cuckoo for the year. This is always exciting as it is a reminder of the change of seasons and the months to come. Yes I know we get sick of the Red Chested Cuckoo going for what seems like 24 hours a day but it is the beginning of the rains and the build up to Christmas and New Year which are magic in the valley.

On a brief stop by Luangwa Safari House I saw some elephants taking a mud bath. It always seems like a blissful experience for the elephants as they cover themselves with mud and try to cool off. You can’t imagine ever getting tired of watching these giants dive into thick slippery black cotton soils. They rub their heads as deep into the mud as possible and coat every inch of their body. The young ones, who haven’t come to terms with the slippery surface, also provide lots of amusement as they slide down the bank and do complete rolls only to get up get out and fall in again. Even some crotchety old buffalo bulls wandered in and then made complete fools of themselves rolling and barging each other in the mud.

elephants in mud

Kelly has just walked in behind me boasting about just seeing the wild dogs again (oi, I wasn’t boasting I was keeping you informed! Ed)… They are moving away from their den and so hopefully we’ll see them in the Nkwali area soon. The Kapamba pack has been fairly successful this year with 6 pups still in the group. With the impala currently dropping new babies left right and centre hopefully the dogs will move through the area taking advantage of the easy bounty. [ news on this project ]

Anyway, talking about the wildlife and my back yard has made me a bit twitchy to get back out there before the day heats up. Think I’ll take a picnic, find a good ebony grove and chill out till it cools off this afternoon. See you all in the valley soon.

Oz

Thanks to Oz for that. We have included, for your information, an invitation to the Nyika Evening being hosted in London tonight.  It will be a worth while visit to a worthy cause. Robin and Jo will be there! Please see below for more details.

Bye for now,

Kimmie


Nyika-Vwaza (UK) Trust

Lecture on Trans Frontier Conservation Areas by Professor Willem van Riet, CEO of the Peace Parks Foundation, South Africa, and exhibition of paintings by Malawian artists

The Date:6 November 2006.

The Place: The Fleming Building, Imperial College, London (nearest Tube is at South Kensington).

The Time: 6.30 to 9.15 pm.

The Speaker and the Lecture: Professor Willem van Riet is Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Parks Foundation. He is a highly respected figure in the world of conservation, with over 20 years’ experience of planning and creating new national parks. We are delighted that he has agreed to come to London from South Africa at the invitation of the Nyika-Vwaza (UK) Trust solely to deliver this lecture.

The Peace Parks Foundation was established in 1997 with the goal of establishing Trans Frontier Conservation Areas (peace parks) and developing human resources so as to support sustainable economic development, the conservation of biodiversity and regional peace and stability in southern Africa.

Its Founding Patrons are Dr Nelson Mandela, the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and the late Dr Anton Rupert. Dr Mandela has said of the PPF: “I know of no political movement, no philosophy and no ideology which does not agree with the peace parks concept as we see it going into fruition today. It is a concept that can be embraced by all. In a world beset by conflict and division, peace is one of the cornerstones of the future. Peace parks are building blocks in this process, not only in our region, but potentially the entire world“.

Professor van Riet’s lecture will discuss the peace parks concept in general before looking at the features of the Nyika Trans Frontier Conservation Area in particular. This peace park will create a wildlife corridor in Zambia joining the Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve in Malawi with the South Luangwa ecosystem in Zambia.

We really do believe that, for anyone with a passion for nature conservation, biodiversity and sustainable economic development for local communities, Professor van Riet’s talk will be unmissable.

The Grand Safari Raffle draw: The draw of our Nyika-Vwaza (UK) Trust Grand Safari Raffle will take place in the lecture theatre immediately after Professor van Riet’s talk.

The Drinks Party: The drinks party will begin as soon as the Grand Safari Raffle draw has ended.

The Art Exhibition: An exhibition of paintings by Malawian artists is being brought to Imperial College, London as part of the Nyika-Vwaza (UK) Trust’s fundraising party. Paintings will be available for viewing and purchasing on the night of the party only, and prices will be affordable. We are anticipating a collection of about 50 paintings by a dozen Malawian artists. Please do support our art exhibition; it is an exciting opportunity for many of these artists to exhibit in London.

What you need to do next: Tickets (£15 per person) will be available on the door

Further information:Please see our website www.nyika-vwaza-trust.org


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