It’s Monday 7th November 2011 and a Bang and a Roar!!

Hello all, so then, how have things been??  Just thought that we would make you all really rather jealous with stories from our last week up in the Nsefu sector before the camps close for the rains…

After the early couple of days of rain at the beginning of the month, which took us really rather by surprise and left Nsefu bar with a curious looking new hair do, things dried out and really started to heat up.  With temperatures resting in the early 40’s during the day everything was starting to get a little slower off the mark – even the birds sitting in the roads could only just get off in time to let you pass.  However whilst we were all wilting away it would appear that mother nature decided to put on a pretty spectacular show for our last guests up in the Nsefu sector for the season.

Carmine Bee-eaters littered the bank with their gloriously coloured plumage and their friendly and familiar chirps – Bertie had put in a fabulous hide down on the river bed, right amongst a Carmine colony and, once in there, they forgot you were around and flew right up to you giving a spectacular display.  From the small and elegant Bee-eaters we were then blessed with the B52 bombers of the skies as the Pelicans dove down to feast on the fish trapped in the drying out Lunga Lagoon.  Whilst large and slightly clumsy looking, they swim in perfect unison through the water creating a perfect trap for the fish – once full to the brim “time out” is taken on the edge of the lagoon waiting for their appetite to return.

Carmine Bee-EaterCarmine Bee-Eaters

Lunga Lagoon was also the site for some slightly less elegant shows, with a few buffalo getting stuck in the mud and providing a feast for the crocodiles as well as a young male lion who was not going to turn down such a wonderful opportunity.   The lion pride at Tena took a little attempt at mating, but I think it was just a little bit too hot for the old guy and he really rather just take things easy in the shade!!

PelicansMale Lion

Large herds of buffalo have been moving in swathes across the open plains, eating what small amounts of greenery that they can find, and maintaining comfort in numbers, but this really didn’t help a couple of them up at Nsefu when the Nsefu pride, with last years cubs, took to their feet and dashed through one particular herd, breaking it up from all sides, before isolating one buffalo and taking it down, whilst simultaneously (and I don’t think that this was planned) pushed another off into some deep thick mud where it got trapped and turned into easy pickings – it was like two for the price of one in the lion supermarket!!  Rather full, they continued to gorge themselves on this wonderful feast before cooling off in the river and then doing what lions do best – sleeping!!!!  From the same pride, mum has brought her new cubs out to play a couple of times, but they are still really rather tiny so not fully part of the pride yet, but the occasional glimpse has been had which is a real treat.

BuffaloCrocodile

The icing on the rather large cake then came with Wild Dogs… a pack of them were spotted on the salt pans for several days running, which is great news as they are not often seen at this time of the year as well as not often seen up in the Nsefu sector. We hope that they stick around and provide us with lots more excellent viewing.

Wild DogLions crossing river

So that was the last week of Nsefu and Tena Tena being open – you can not say that we didn’t go out in style!  The camps are now closed and packed up for another rainy season – although we will be opening Nsefu for the River Journeys, which is always a particularly magical trip.  The other thing is that we have had a lot of people inquiring about our beloved Tena Tena and what is happening.

We will be opening our current Tena at the beginning of the season for a few weeks (exact details yet to be finalized) whilst we finish building the new Tena.  We will then block off a few days and move everyone across and get started with the new era.  Whilst it will be sad to say goodbye to a camp that we all know and love, the new camp will be fantastic – a hard challenge though to upgrade such a camp and maintain its current feeling.

To give you all a brief insight into it, the new site will be just over a kilometer upstream and situated under a beautiful ebony grove.  The new tents will be square in shape (current tents are 5m x 3m and the new ones will be 5m x 5m, so slightly bigger but not huge, which we feel is important) the bathrooms will be on the side and they will be pretty much the same as the current ones.  The main difference in the rooms will be that there will be no thatch over the tents, so just a straight canvas roof, the floors will be a permanent fixture and the sides of the tents will baton down onto the floor. We are hoping to go solar which will be quite a challenge for us, as we have not gone this route so positively before – something new and exciting!!

So there we go for the brief insight into the new Tena Tena, I hope that it has got everyone excited and whetted the appetite. We are starting to get raw materials into place now and will start as and when we can, weather permitting, so shall keep you all posted with progress and, hopefully, with some photos.

I shall go now, but I really feel I should leave you all with a rather entertaining story from Luangwa River Camp…   Claire was waving Sebastian off on his game drive a couple of days ago after a rather large rain storm.  Just as the car drove off and Claire turned away, she heard a dull thud – Sebastian, rather un-used to driving a car with a canopy, had slightly misjudged the height and hit a low hanging branch which caused all of the water sitting ontop of the canopy to come pouring down creating a spectacular waterfall feature all over Sebastian and the spotter in the front seats!! Much hilarity was enjoyed by all onlookers!!!

Just in case anyone missed the online streaming of the hippo film , I believe it is being shown this evening in the UK on Channel 4 at 9 p.m.

Hope you all had a chuckle and have a great week.  Next week who knows what tales we will have to share…

Cheers

Emily

Pelicans

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