It’s Monday 9th January 2012 and a new year

Happy New Year – it has been a while! I do hope that everyone has had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and that so far 2012 is treating you all nicely.
As for us, we are back in the Luangwa after a two week holiday in South Africa and the UK. A fabulous Christmas break with family under our depressingly expanding belts was had and new years resolutions have been made as well as diets set. Last year gladly behind us, after having not only lost my entire library of photos (no I didn’t have them backed up) and subsequent to that my camera breaking, I have returned with a new model so am starting from scratch and really looking forward to getting out into the park and showing everyone what is out and about.

giraffeheavy rain

Enough of that – moving on to life in the Luangwa. Claire and Kiki, aided by the whole team did a sterling job whilst Rob and I were away, and are now all on a much deserved break. We are left now to splash around in the fast drying up mud! We arrived with the rain, and our first day back had an almighty storm but since then there has been very little.

However much to our delight the river did come up, albeit very briefly, so we took the opportunity to head up to Nsefu and Tena on this year’s maiden voyage. A trip that usually takes no more than two hours each way took us almost five hours to get up to Nsefu, with at one point me standing in the middle of the river water only calf deep pushing the boat off a rather large sandbank…. Apparently the river isn’t really high enough yet, but there was no way that we were going to be defeated, so our stubborn hats were donned and we made it. Amazingly during the nine hours of our trip the river levels dropped by a further half a foot. Year after year it never ceases to amaze me at how much the water levels fluctuate. Even though the river bank was looming up over us there was still plenty of game to see, and we were spoilt with the hippos, as usually, when we scoot upstream and the river is nice and deep, they are all rather dispersed. On this trip, however, they were all really rather hugging the deeper channels so we got some great views of them with one really entertaining instance of a large bull dashing out of the way but all under water and creating the most enormous tidal wave – I think it was a case of “I can’t see you, you can’t see me”.

Luangwa RiverHippos

Plenty of elephants and buffalo were enjoying the sumptuous green grass, with the occasional giraffe peering down at us from a discerning height. The birds were also out in force with a pair of skimmers flying alongside us for some few minutes, the occasional bee-eater looking on at their river bank nests hoping that the water doesn’t come up much more and plenty of open billed storks, even a brief and rare glimpse of a cormorant, which is a bit of a treat. The birds, however, all unfortunately slightly too fast for me to get any photos of so I am afraid that you are all going to need to trust me on my sightings and use your imagination on their appearance. However, here are two from our on-line collection to remind you of the amazing colours we are enjoying.

Masked Weaverflowers

Pathetic rain aside, the bush is looking absolutely fabulous, the green is as vibrant as ever, if not more so, the lagoons are filling up, the flowers are out and the game is all looking absolutely amazingly fit and healthy. As I sit here writing, there is a large elephant (contradiction in terms seeing as generally elephants are large) standing a couple of metres from where I am, munching on some lovely green leaves. Oh the hardship of living in paradise!!

I shall leave you all to feel somewhat jealous and bid you all farewell for another week, I hope that you all have a great one and that being back at work after the Christmas break isn’t too bleak.

Take care and have fun

Cheers

Emily

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