Its Monday 7th September 2015 and a perfect day for re-calling roars and cheers to the great A Team…

I hope that you are all well and have had a fabulously successful weekend. This week we are going to hear from our Mobile Walking Safaris but in a slightly more unusual fashion. We have recently had a journalist group heading up there to experience what it is all about and to celebrate its 25th anniversary. One of the team Jurgen Sorges has been kind enough to share some words and images with us.

“It´s the great personality and knowhow of outstanding RPS guide Jason Alfonsi, who since more than two decades has heavily engaged to present flora, fauna and natural feeling to his walking guests in the most attractive and ambitious way. Jason is a real door opener with many keys, his approach is clearly an indirect one, which allows the perfect interaction with the still shy game around. A deep learning about flight distances and wildlife behavior and a wonderful approach to nature protection, which allows you to have a view and experience everything from this eco system in a most ecological and even emphatic way. He showed us uncountable wonderful attractions along and even in the Mupamadzi River, which in local language is known as “gift of water”. Yes, even in the cold, refreshing river waters: The crossings through the sandy river bed in clear (most probably also drinking) water are one of the additional surpluses of such a walking safari – and you would not even need a towel to dry your feet, afterwards.

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It`s Jason`s young assistant, the still learning guide, 25 years old Geoffrey Phiri, who was not only a perfect “strategic withdrawal manager” (just in case, only, don`t worry!), but also always prepared to hand a fresh towel out of his rucksack, if needed. So does RPS in its four camps along the river: cold refreshing towels at arrival after a five hours walk. Then warmed ones to relax in late afternoon. Sarah Diedrich, camp manager, is always on the spot to help and serve: RPS philosophy at its best!

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Asides from seeing amazing herds of bathing elephants, buffalos, puku and impala, and even a huge group of rare eland (group of about 25!!) , not to mention meeting crocs (“flat dogs”, as “Zimbos” call them), hippos, leopards and even, realizing the last chance at Nsefu Camp, three lions (many thanks to wonderful guides Chilumba Lungu and Paul Chiwele, who found the “Nkhalamu” tracks after an hours` search and immediately knew what to do), we enjoyed giraffes, zebras, the mystery face of an African millipedes, the sound of silence in the bush and the terrific territorial calls of leopards at night.

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But what makes an RPS walking safari different and unique, is not only the humor and broad knowledge of Jason, which made each dinner and camp fire meeting an entertaining session! It´s probably for customers mostly invisible, even most silent and secret work of the supporting A-Team: Including Jason, Sarah and the two highly experienced armed park guards Amon and Yona, whose active presence and overview made it always a super safe trip, there are a further eight men working hard for the benefit of a maximum of six guests at a time – or even only one single, as RPS has no problem to offer the walking safari without a minimum participation level. Hollywood could call these silent stars “The Savannah`s Twelve”. On our final day, we had the luck to meet them all on and around a tree in camp 3. Please have a look at this “Group Portrait with Lady”, as German author Heinrich Böll named his famous novel of 1971, which catapulted him immediately to the Nobel Prize in Literature, (1972). The novel was also (unfortunately, most unsuccessfully) brought into cinemas, in 1977, with famous Austrian born German/French Romy Schneider, being star actress. Here, Camp Manager Sarah is ready for attention, but there are also others, for me most probably: all of them!

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Starting with Webby Njobvu (54), boss of the A-Team, who is part of the walking safari since it started, in 1991. Today, he is also driving the heavy loaded Samil 50 truck, called by everyone “the truck”, and keeps together all necessary works.

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Talking is not his most ambitious part of life, but one may discover during the trip how perfect everything is working. This includes not only the transport, building and re-building of the camp and security, but also the daily routines, which may include even the ironing of freshly washed cloths, and all cooking affairs. It`s perfect, that RPS offers a kitchen tour to make possible a view behind the scene. So, never miss to meet Webby and his loyal assistant James (he is always looking for some new flip flops). And never miss Head Chef Alfred Phiri and his Sous Chef Shadreck Nzmia, who is totally responsible for all the bakeries. His wonderful cookies from the earth oven were delicious, as were the crispy catfish dishes and glorious bush tarts of Alfred, as well. And enjoy all hot and even cold drinks, coming from the two coolers, there is even a minus 40 freezer on the truck.

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During the tour a track of a snake immediately calls for attention, to everybody. In our case, it most probably was a python whose track petered out in a narrow gorge with bushes and trees. Would you dare to enter such? No, certainly, not… But it was a good enough reason for us to start a new and funny conversation session at the forthcoming camp fire. Knowing the famous film Monty Python’s Flying Circus of 1971, John Cleese adopts some very strange ways of walking. As being part of a fantasy ministry of silly walks, this subsequently inspired us to create a “ministry of unusual droppings”. Even a place for the first office of this brand new ministry has been found. It is now established on a tablet like huge flat fungus which enjoys off the side of a tree right in the middle of nowhere, as it should be. But, certainly, Jason knows exactly, where the place is. I just remember the huge dried out pan, nearby, where we had a wonderful last breakfast stop before leaving for Nsefu Camp.

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To finish with its all about A-Team, there is to mention only, that all on this walking safari is perfectly organized. I think, silver jubilee of RPS walking safaris is a good enough reason to visit. Anyway, the final roar goes to Sarah the best A-Team of all, and, with great pleasure, to Carolina and Harriet, who accompanied us for some time! And best regards and all the best for the forthcoming 25 years of RPS Walking Safaris… And remember Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979): Always look on the bright sight of life!” Jürgen Sorges

Thanks so much Jurgen it certainly sounds like you had a wonderful trip and that Jason and the team looked after you all very well indeed. So I am definitely not going to steal the thunder from our wonderful team up on mobiles and the entire experience that we share with our guests. So for this week am going to leave it at that and hope that you all have a fabulous week and don’t forget about all that laughter and smiling that needs to be had.

Ems

 

 

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