It’s Monday 23rd April 2012 and the lovely Luangwa

It has certainly been a week of ups and downs, arounds and abouts here in the valley. The serious high of having my family here was far too quickly turned around, as they left to go back to their everyday life dressed up in suits and slightly more colourful clothes. Then no sooner had they left than we dived straight into “camp building mode”.

Having regularly been heard muttering to myself under my breath (relatively often slightly loudly), about my misfortune with wildlife sightings, and more specifically leopards, I now no longer have any excuse what so ever! King Kanga put all of that behind us and truly spoilt us with some magnificent game drives. Having already seen the leopard in the tree that I proudly told you all about last week, we decided to try a different area of the park. No leopards on this day, but instead we were treated to three lionesses relaxing under a combretum bush before one of them sprung into action and dashed after a warthog. The excitement of that was soon exceeded when we came to a lagoon with elephant and buffalo cooling off, to find Justin and Alfred hiding behind a termite mound with a surprise bush breakfast for us all – what a treat.

lionessesKanga

With the thought that things couldn’t get any better the following day, we found wild dog. I can just imagine Simon Cousins now sitting at home reeling with envy as he reads this. A fleeting glimpse of one dog dashing across the road and we were off. It was not long before we caught up with them and found the entire pack, all eight of them, who then nonchalantly strolled out of the bush and took over the road.

Wild DogWild Dog

At the same moment the impalas were rutting, creating some rather entertaining scenes of male impalas tails fluffed up and grunting very unattractively. The males were so set on keeping their patch of ground and lovely leggy ladies that they completely ignored anything else. In that instance one particularly bold male decided that he was quite simply not going to tolerate the dogs in his area! Whilst photographic evidence was not obtained I can assure you that this rather bold animal bounced towards them huffing and puffing until one of them stood up and he came to his senses!!!

impalasimpalas

Our luck continued with some spectacular sightings of pretty much everything that we could have wished for. Some stunning birds in their full breeding plumage, beetles and butterflies fighting over what I can only imagine was for them a particularly nice pile of dung.

butterfliesbeetles

Woodland KingfisherBishop

Elephant families with youngsters still learning how to use their trunks (can you imagine how frustrating it is for the babies figuring out how to use all 60,000 odd muscles in its trunk!).

Spectacular sunrises and sunsets whilst floating on the river. In the mornings, with the onset of winter, the steam rises from the water as the temperatures rise creating a rather mystical setting. Then on the last day lion cubs playing in the dried up Katete river. Could we have had a more perfect week.

Elephantsunset

storklion cubs

Now back to the drawing board with a bang, as first thing on Thursday morning we were full throttle with cars going each and every way. First car to Lupande to try to get the road in, so we can drive to Luangwa River Camp. Second car up to Miliyoti gate to gauge the level of the water in the Kawaluzi channel, so that we can put in the bridge to enable us to drive up to Nsefu and Tena. Boat up to Tena with Bertam and his team to get going on opening up Tena, plus a mechanic to fix the tractor and harrow in readiness for putting in all the roads. I tell you one thing is for sure, and that is we are definitely getting ready for the new season.

lionessstorks

During all of this, Polly, who will be our caterer up at Nsefu for the season, has arrived and has taken everything in her stride, including a quick trip to Liuwa where she will be based for the next three weeks before we sneak her back to the valley in time to put the girly touches to Nsefu before our first guests arrive. I have instructed her to take lots of photos whilst in Liuwa and she will be telling us all about it when she comes back.

So that is all for this week. I hope that everyone enjoys the week ahead. What news will be coming from us next week I am sure will be filled with some of the nitty gritty, behind the scenes, malarkey. Until then, have fun and enjoy.

Cheers

Emily

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