It’s Monday 7th November 2005 and Mango Mania

We are experiencing mango mania at the moment. Yes everyone is now almost sick of eating mangos – they come in many forms, smoothies for breakfast, raw for lunch and mousse for dinner! However, whilst we humans may have a limit to how many mangos we can eat, elephants do not. The ellies go mad for them and at this time of year tend to cross the Luangwa in large numbers to go into the villages to raid the trees and gorge on one of their favourite foodstuffs

Elephants crossing the riverSimon and I got up early one morning and positioned ourselves in the hope of getting some good shots but unfortunately a sum total of 12 elephants came across and that was in about 3 different groups! However, not to be deterred a larger group of us set out one afternoon last week and were rewarded.  We counted upwards of 170 elephants all crossing the river in one group – this was a truly amazing sight. The elephants just kept on coming down the bank, spread out across the river bed and then began to walk across the trickle of remaining water. What a spectacle. Elephants crossing the river

However, it does highlight the constant problem of human and wildlife co-existance – imagine knowing that this group were heading towards your village. Even split up into small groups they can make a mess of the crops being grown.  Different projects are in place to try to help this constant battle including growing chillies around crops as these seems to keep the elephants at bay – they obviously don’t like spicy food!

Talking of the river, one can see from the next photo how low it really is now – the impalas and puku have to travel across a wide dry area before being able to drink. The impalas have started dropping their young in numbers now and the little ones can be seen everywhere – a sure sign that rains are on the way!

impalas and pukuimpalas and puku

Rocky, who has been guiding at Tena Tena all season is now at Nkwali for a stint.  He was out recently and saw a juvenile gymnogene (now called an african harrier hawk). It is great to see this young bird as it has a high mortality rate amongst birds of prey. This is quite an unusual bird as it has double jointed elbows which enable it to get into nests and holes in trees looking for small birds and rodents. Its Latin name is polyboroides typus – which means multi jointed.

juvenile gymnogenejuvenile gymnogene

Some of you may know that Simon and Shanie are leaving shortly. We are of course very sorry to see them go. Simon has worked for Robin and Jo for some 11 seasons and Shanie has been with us for 6. They have contributed hugely to the running of camps and welfare of both guests and staff alike and they will be missed by all.  However, they are not moving far – just across the border to Malawi where Simon grew up. Simon has decided that it is time to move to the city and use his business qualifications rather than his bush skills and will be working for a freight shipping company. Shanie is going to work for a travel company so will still be involved in the business.  I know that many of you will join us in wishing them luck in their new life in Lilongwe.

And finally a photo to make you smile and blow a kiss to the person sitting next to you…go on it’s Monday and we all need a little help! a

Stay well and have a great week

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