It’s Monday 9th January 2006 and the Storm of the Year

From Martin – an RPS regular and a partner in Airwaves Zambia and also Chongwe River House.

“I suppose that it was my fault really for saying to Jo that I had never seen it rain in Zambia.  We  were in board meetings in Lusaka and looking forward to getting out to the bush when I made this remark.  Within minutes there was a downpour with the rain falling like a curtain across the doors and windows. These storms tend to be intense and short but as I experienced, there are varying degrees of the word intense.

view from the carwaiting to go

The weather was kind to us on the flight to Mfuwe and seemed set fair for the game drive in the evening.  There was an unusual party in camp as we were to continue our meetings and the whole camp consisted of the families of those involved. This meant that we set off on the game drive with eight children, five adults, a baby, a spotter and a driver in one land cruiser.

I have been on many game drives with RPS but this was the first one where I have been able to sing ‘there were five in the bed and the little one said…’ whilst trying not to alarm any game.  The two smallest girls, Memory and Rachel, set an all comers record by opting to start with ‘there were one
hundred in the bed..’.

in the car for a game drivequeing for food

After sundowners it happened.  The heaviest rainstorm I have ever witnessed with full son et lumiere effects.  Jacob, who had been keeping his weather eye open, diverted to another camp and there we sheltered (still singing) while the rain bounced knee high off the ground.  After about half an hour two covered rescue vehicles arrived and, stumbling through puddles, we loaded up the children and set off for the camp.

Back at the camp the advancing waters had meant that more and more ground had to be surrendered to nature and the evening meal was relocated to Robin and Jo’s house, being the last dry spot in camp.  All this time the heavens poured out water with the force of a power shower.

At the house, a party ensued with the children running around in Masai robes and eating pizza and chips before settling down to watch ‘Babe’.  Then, having given up hope of the rain ever stopping, we all retired to our dry beds.  The morning dawned bright and clear with Robin cheerfully announcing that we had had over 100mm (4 inches) of rain.  He reports it as the storm of the year and since then the days have been so bright and beautiful it takes your breath away.  The increasd water levels of the lagoons the next morning was amazing.  In front of the Luangwa House the hippos were happily wallowing in the newly filled lagoon.

In front of the Luangwa Housein the boat Before she left Memory presented Robin with a coloured drawing declaring him to be a No 1 boat driver.  He is very pleased with both the boat and his new award.

coloured drawing declaring him to be a No 1 boat drivercrocodile

extraordinary sunset Yesterday Robin demonstrated his skills as we drifted down the Luangwa and, gin and tonic in hand, we were able to witness the most extraordinary sunset with all the colours of a rainbow and more, an aurora with a turquoise centre and clouds which looked for all the world like spindrift breaking from an Alp.

Oh, a lot of interesting non-human wildlife was seen by all.”

So thank you Martin – from a now sunny and dazzling Luangwa.


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