It’s Monday 24th December and it’s almost Christmas time at Kuthengo…

Happy Christmas Eve – I hope that everyone has been well behaved and that Santa is absolutely on his way tonight! Here in the Luangwa it’s all systems go with getting the snacks cooked and the champagne chilled ready for our annual Christmas Carols. Then for tomorrow the turkeys are all lined up ready to be popped in the oven and all sorts of other treats and goodies are being planned. This week we are going to hear from Steegan over at Kuthengo as they get ready for their first official Christmas since opening in April this year.

Steegan – over to you:

“Although Christmas is stereotypically portrayed as a snowy white scene, at Kuthengo Camp our white Christmas has been swapped for a beautifully green one. After the first rains, everything has turned from dry and brown to an emerald green! So, welcome to our green Christmas…Isn’t it the most wonderful time of the year? Our build up to Christmas is going a little like this…

Arriving back from Blantyre with Christmas décor in hand, I thought I was going to be the only one excited to transform camp into a Christmas wonderland. To my surprise, I was wrong. Many of the staff members were curious to see what I had purchased and to listen to the vision I had. This included Dickson, our famous chef, who wasn’t the biggest help as he only stands about 4 foot 5 inches tall! I needed guys who were tall enough to reach the high spots around the tents, but none the less he wanted to help out.

Stanley, our assistant manager, helped place the greenery around the top of the tent in the main area as well as place the bows in their perfectly selected spots. Dickson then got into character and began to play around with the greenery we were busy with, this sparked a giggle among all that were gathered around. The Christmas spirit was here already!

It was time to choose a branch for our Tree to decorate, so we sent Dickson and Lucas, the Sous chef, out on the hunt for this perfectly shaped branch to call our bush Christmas tree. While the two of them were out on the hunt, I had recruited a few more curious guys standing around to assemble and put the “Merry Christmas” sign up in the dining room. Amon, our head waiter, is dubbed “the only giraffe in Liwonde” as he stands over 6 foot tall. He came in handy when we had to decorate the top of the tree and place the fairy lights around the tents.

The atmosphere in camp has become even more cheerful since we put the decorations and even sparked a creative idea from Dickson to make a ginger bread house to go along with the festive decorations.

This task has proven to be a difficult one as it’s rather wet and humid around camp, but we still think we have done a brilliant job! As it’s our first Christmas we hope that this is one of many traditions for the years to come. Dickson has even written down the recipe for the ginger bread house for everyone to use and start your own Christmas tradition!

Gingerbread house recipe by chef Dickson

We are also so grateful for our new addition to Kuthengo… the swimming pool!

Many guests have said that the pool is an absolute life saver with the heat that comes with the rain…and with quite a view I may add. This 6x4m pool is approximately 1.6m deep with the same spectacular view as the tents, the beautiful lush open flood plain where many hippo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, warthog, elephant and even sable graze and come to drink at the waters’ edge. The deck is still a work in progress but it is crystal clear and open to all who fancy a dip.

A last little bit of excitement to share, although the rains have come early this year, it never stopped Ole and Jean Peterson going out on a full day drive. Jean is a Malawian born Lady who met and married a Danish man in the 70’s. They make an effort to come to Malawi from Denmark once every two years and said they are happy to have found a place like Kuthengo to visit.

Opting for a full day drive with a slight chance of rain was one of the best decisions the Petersons made. They were keen to see anything that they could although they knew that they might not see much…

After a beautifully set lunch in the bush and drinks they started to make their way back to the camp. Driving along the road they spotted in the distance… what they thought maybe a lion, but to their surprise, it was a cheetah! They then discovered that not only one cheetah but three of them were laying under the shade of a rather large tree. This was incredible spotting from their guide Patrick.

This has been the first time that guests have seen the cheetah this far north! Usually they are found close to Chinguni Hill, which is 2 hours south of camp. We hope the cheetah family will decide to settle here! I mean who wouldn’t want to?

Ole and Jean spent a good few minutes watching them as they lay lethargically under the shade, when suddenly one of the three popped up and started walking away from the group. They followed it as far as they could to see if they could possibly witness a kill, but unfortunately it went further into the thicket.

This was definitely a perfect way to end the day and now it seems the possibility of seeing cheetah closer to camp is greater than before!

Among other news, The Klossners from Germany also witnessed a rarity at Kuthengo Camp… not only did they see the two male lions that were recently released from Majete but also one of the females with the males that was released at a different time. We are eagerly waiting to see if cubs will be a product of this exciting union.

On that high note, we wish you a Merry little Christmas from Jason, Steegan and all the staff here at Kuthengo Camp!”

Thanks so much Steegan and hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and obviously to everyone reading this, Happy Christmas and may your day be filled with festive cheer.

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