It’s Monday 8th September 2008 and splashes of colour

It’s Monday 8th September 2008 and splashes of colour

Fiona is covering for Jenna at Pumulani so here I am – back in the It’s Monday seat. For me – writing the newsletter is not a quick throw-it-together on Monday but a process that takes all week. What to talk about? So I have been thinking about September and what this month is for me. But firstly…..I simply have to tell you……

A Luangwa Hippo PodHippos on a  beach

In July (that long since I last spoke to you?), I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a day helicopter flying up the Luangwa. Oh joy of joys! Helicopters just do it for me! Love ‘em! Chris of Chongwe River Camp and his new partner Thierry Dalais (lovely guy who happens to have a little heli) were night stopping on the way up to the Northern Province. They landed at camp – always exciting to have a helicopter parked. We planned the route that evening which ended up being just ‘follow the river’. Where else? It was fascinating – always is. After twenty years here I know virtually every bend and lagoon. Very familiar and much loved territory.

Luangwa River sand patternsColourful  lagoon

The number of hippo in the Luangwa is quite staggering – we saw pod after pod. The crocs were also numerous. Chris, who knows the Zambezi well, was very impressed with the populations. From the air you see things from a different perspective. We were flying low and the patterns on the sand and colours in the lagoons were beautiful. Simon Barnes, a journalist, once wrote that the Luangwa, from the air, looked like a writhing snake. Good description – here is a bend in what is now a secondary channel. The river is so close to breaking through. Not many years now. Off the river will go, changing course, and the bend will become an annually flooding lagoon.

Elephant bend on the Luangwa Riverwe flew without  doors!

And now it is September and the hot, dusty period of the year. The trees loose their leaves and the sharp colours of the Emerald Season are just a memory. But just as I start to find the bush grey and drab, red bursts forth with great intensity.

Sausage tree flowercarmine  beeaters

First the sausage trees start to flower – and every morning there is a carpet of deep red velvet flowers under every tree. Then from my desk I notice the sound of the carmine bee eaters as they arrive and start to gather at nesting sites. Brian Jackman, another journalist, once said to me they look like rose petals floating in the air. The colour is fantastic. But the crowning splash of colour flicked across the landscape is the flame creeper – Combretum Microfilum.

flame creeper - Combretum Microfilum

These bright red carpets are draped over trees throughout the bush. This morning as Robin and I walked through camp to early campfire breakfast, we passed under a creeper, buzzing with bees. They were disturbing the tiny flowers, which were dropping off and falling onto the dry leaves on the ground. So many were falling it sounded like rain.

elephants at our waterholeone of the  regular younsters!

Sunday is our day of rest and usually spent at home. The water hole in front of the house is visited continuously by elephants – now looking for the fresh tasty water. I find myself looking up from reading, cooking, playing the piano (domestic goddess in the making!) – and there they are. And on our balcony is our garden, in pots – well away from the elephants reach who have an “eat all there is” policy. So I spent some time in the morning cleaning the leaves and enjoying the splash of colour from the bougainvillea!!

Jo washing the leaves of her plants!

Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to pick the daisies!


a quirky shot by Robin


Oxford 23rd September or London 24th September 2008

Chris McIntyre and Mike Unwin

Be inspired to fall for Zambia (again) when Bradt Guide author, travel writer and consultant CHRIS McINTYRE and Travel Zambia magazine editor and African expert MIKE UNWIN stand before audiences at two superb venues during September:

The Queen’s College (High Street, Oxford OX1 4AW), on Tuesday 23rd September – Chris is a ‘wanderer returning’ to his old College 20 years on!

Zambian Embassy (2 Palace Gate, Kensington, London W8 5NG), on Wednesday 24th September – Enjoy a rare opportunity to visit the ceremonial rooms of the Zambian Embassy.

Doors for both Zambian events will open at 6.30pm. Join Chris, Mike and the Travel Africa magazine team plus representatives from BRADT TRAVEL GUIDES for a complimentary drink prior to a 7.00pm start.

Tickets cost just £15.00 each.


London RGS 29th October 2008

Andy Rouse

Looking ahead to Wednesday 29th October 2008, the Travel Africa team invite you to see renowned Wildlife Photographer and highly entertaining speaker ANDY ROUSE present beautiful images (on the big screen) with musical accompaniment, funny anecdotes and adventures.

This event will be held at the prestigious Royal Geographic Society in London with tickets priced at just £15.00 each.


Call Wendy Ball, Travel Africa Magazine, on 01844 278883.

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