It’s Monday 5th November 2012 and another dry season bites the dust

Can you believe it another peak season has passed!!  The lush greenery from May has been sucked up into the earth and replaced with a more desperate façade of dry dust.  Whilst this sounds bleak, trust me it is far from it! One of the magical parts of this time of the year is the feeling that the animals, trees and everything else has hung in there for 6 months with no rain and now they are anticipating some relief.  Looking up to the building clouds in the sky, hoping that every afternoon that familiar rumble will start making itself heard, before eventually one large gloopy drop at a time starts to come down and kiss the ground releasing that wonderful smell and giving everyone a spring in their step!   Suddenly, on Thursday night we had to pay for our wishes as the heavens opened on us with over 85mm of rain fell over an 8 hour period.

Lunga Lagoon BEFORE the dry seasonLunga Lagoon AFTER the dry season

With the roads impassable the camps and the teams were marooned (eek)!!  What to do?? Well the teams at Tena Tena and Nsefu fortunately had plenty of packing up to be keeping them busy so that was not a problem. The issues arose when we had to deal with a food shortage, so not to be stopped Rob and I set off on Saturday morning to attempt the journey.  First attempt through Milyoti Gate failed at the first hurdle, the Mtanda Plains.  Second attempt through the main gate… well we kind of got there! We got to almost opposite Tena so the guys paddled over in a boat to collect their food and back to camp they went.  The journey by road was certainly an adventure the car turning an incredible brown colour with game drives stopping just to photograph these odd-looking mud splattered characters in the front!

Mud covered landroversome curious hippos look on

Mud aside, we have had a fantastic season up at Nsefu and Tena and not to be outdone, the wildlife decided to put on quite a grand finale for everyone.  Lions camped out at Tena, so much so that guests were driven back to their rooms.  Then as if a memo went out to the Luangwa lion population, the Nsefu pride took down a buffalo in Nsefu Camp, waxing lyrical about their success, [hear their roaring] and, to top it all off, a couple of old girls killed a young giraffe at Robin and Jo’s house.  Well, whilst we are on the subject, even lions can grow old ungracefully and this old gal was no exception to the rule!

lions at TenaOld gal

If that was not enough, the local male leopard regularly sauntered through Nsefu taking a sip of water from the lagoon at the bar before cleaning himself off and strutting his stuff showing off to any girls looking on.  The “saltpans” continued to produce some phenomenal wild dog sightings with the pack of 21 being regularly seen up there and always performing for the cameras that were busily clicking away.

male leopardtwo leopards

Let’s not forget about the elephants! The point at which we cross the river from the main park area to the Nsefu sector has been a phenomenally productive site for elephants this year with sightings of up to 40 bulls together.  There is a particular spot in the river-bank which is home to some sort of salts or minerals that are just like candy to the elephants and every day after 11 they have been gathering there in their droves to tuck into the treasure trove.  The large pod of 200 or so hippos have grown very wary of these large grey objects ploughing their way through the water to reach their destination and have learnt their lesson from last years “hippo tossing elephant” scenario to move out of the way as quickly as possible.

EliesHippo taking a dip

Ellie crossing

The stories could continue but I must keep some tucked up my sleeve for next week so I will leave you with a sad farewell to Nsefu and Tena for this year.  Tena has now been packed up until May but Nsefu will re-open in January for the River Journeys under the emerald umbrella of the green season. Nkwali, Robins House, Luangwa River Camp and Luangwa Safari House are still open and are making preparations for the beginning of the Emerald Season

Tena  TenaNsefu

River  Journeys

Have a great week and cheerio for now from the Luangwa

Emily

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