It’s Monday 29 October and a treat for all the senses at Johns Camp.

I do hope that you are all extremely well and have had a lovely weekend. Here in the Luangwa well we have had a slight flurry of excitement with some early rain which certainly caught us all somewhat unaware but the skies have cleared up and the temperatures are rising once more and we have even seen our first piglets which is always such a treat. But before I delve too deeply into the goings on in the Luangwa let me stop myself and hand you over to recent guest who stayed at John’s Camp, Deb Primrose.

“Arriving back into camp after an exhilarating day spent amongst the wonders of magical Mana Pools as the last rays of a huge orange sun sets over the Zambezi Valley. Sun tinged and a little dusty, time to head for a hot shower (en suite) and change of attire. Later we gather around and sip on pre-dinner refreshments transfixed by dancing flames in the fire pit. A beautiful dining table is set, alfresco, romantically lit with flickering hurricane lamps and glinting wine glasses. We are soon to be treated to a simply delicious 3 course meal freshly prepared and cooked by the camps accomplished chefs. Happy chat and stories are told. With bellies full we are happy to retire, escorted to the comforts of our tents. Safely inside and enjoying crisp cotton sheets sleep begins to take hold as foreign sounds echo through an inky black night. A high pitched giggle of the hyena, a distant roar of a lion, the shriek of a night jar and the sharp snap of twigs breaking under the enormous pads of a mighty elephant. Wandering what may unfold tomorrow? Who will pass through camp or what shenanigans will take place while we sleep. We were told of the cheeky honey badger who over the last few nights had managed to outwit camp staff by performing skillful manoeuvres as he stole some delicious delights from within the kitchen.
A scheduled wake-up call before sun rise gets us jumping out of bed, welcomed cups of hot tea and coffee and a slice of toast set us up for our early morning adventures while watching a herd of over 100 buffalo in front of the camp!
Breakfast with buffalos

Loaded into vehicles wrapped warmly, as there is still quite a chill in the air, bino’s and cameras at the ready we head out of camp. Full of anticipation and excitement as to what this day will bring.

Rays of a warming sun appear, on the wind an odour of fresh elephant dung indicating we are close – a large herd of elephant little ones in tow, just the cutest, their little trunks dancing curiously seeking new smells tucked in close amongst the jumble of thick column like legs. All are alert but unperturbed by our presence as they continue to forage away happily. Observing these great beauties comfortable in their natural environment is one of life’s most treasured experiences. Amazed by their sheer size, how they achieve such bulk on a diet of just leaves alone. Obvious there is a deep family bond amongst the herd, the big matriarch keeps order, she is the ‘look out’, sensitively alert always. Calm and graceful but unpredictable, when ears start to flap a trunk goes up and steadfast she stands, she warns us that we are close enough.

Moving on… Lion spore almost lost in the dust are expertly spotted by our guide Dave’s trained eye. We come to a halt as the tracks veer from the road, time to follow on foot. Closely behind one another in single file our hearts pounding with anticipation and feeling a little vulnerable we follow quietly. Fascinated at the skills of our guide his ability to read and estimate a time the prints were placed, stopping every now and then to listen or learn about a specie of bird, tree or plant. Unfortunately after a few kilometres and no tell-tale signs that we are getting any closer it is decided we return to the vehicle. Onwards to a favourite pan for a rewarding cuppa and freshly baked muffin. An interesting assortment of water fowl happily chatting go about their business, a hilarious hippo opens his enormous mouth exposing an impressive set of tusk like teeth while contributing to a concert of loud grunting sounds. A troop of baboons entertain, rather human in behaviour, as a young mother reprimands her toddler with a gentle spank.

We travel a winding road through an acacia woodland, shafts of misty morning light illuminate the distinctive black and white stripes of a zebra twosome, grazing beneath, a truly magical sight. Not forgetting the hilarious bald baobab or upside down tree as it is affectionately known. Its robust gnarly trunk and crazy root like branches reach for the sky.

With a sensory over load, so many new sights, sounds and smells our hunger has reached the point of no return. A spectacular buffet brunch of tasty deliciousness catered for every palette is a welcoming sight as we pull into camp. Once again, with our appetites satisfied and the days heat reaching its climax we follow suit of the animal kingdom and head for shade and rest, in the coolness of our tents.

Afternoon tea and cake appointment at three in the mess tent is the call, before heading out once again on another sundowner adventure.

To sleep under canvas in a remote African bush location, one is treated to an experience that enlightens every sense – There is no other place like it on earth.”

Wow! Well if that doesn’t make you want to head to Johns Camp then I don’t know what will. Thanks so much to Deb, this paints the most wonderful picture of a safari even for those of us who live in the bush there are pangs of jealousy. And let’s face it I am not going to be able to compete with this story so I shall gracefully bid you all a very fond farewell and hope that you have a wonderful week ahead with lots of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after each other.
Sunset in Mana Pools



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