It’s Monday 31st December and high waters and even higher spirits.

How are you? I hope you had the most wonderful Christmas with friends and family and that you are all preparing to say a fond farewell to 2018 and an excited hello to 2019! Christmas in the Valley is always full of excitement and a certain amount of flexibility. We have had some incredible rain over the last few weeks so game drives have been leaving and coming back at all sorts of times of the days but despite that the guests have been seeing some wonderful game – which we will come back to.

Over Christmas we were chock-a-block so all the trees went up, Santa was guarding the Nkwali lagoon and the baboons circled the Nkwali bar waiting for an opportunity to attack the Christmas tree. The Nkwali tree was attacked however not by the baboons but by a rather large storm that literally swept it of its feet!

Our traditional Christmas carols was in jeopardy due to the rain and Kiki was tasked with putting together an impromptu RPS choir however the skies cleared and it was all on. For those of you who don’t know the carols is an age-old valley tradition where all the lodges get together with all their guests for some delicious snacks, plenty of bubbles and some good old Christmas carol singing.

Christmas day was all fun and games with turkeys running between ovens and the chefs looking at me sideways as I whipped out a box of parsnips – what on earth are these? They asked. Well needless to say as soon as they were cooked there were a few handed out for tasting and they were definitely approved of. The gin cured salmon starter however was only tasted by a couple of the more daring chefs as they were a little sceptical about a pink coloured fish that hadn’t been – well – boiled for several hours! However, they were even more perplexed when I took out a box of edible flowers for decoration.

Food asides the game viewing has been fantastic and the river is running so high that we have been able to get out in the boat as well. It has to be said that I don’t remember ever seeing the river this high at Christmas.

The Luangwa House guests have been seeing lots and lots of game including 4 separate sightings of leopard but there was one sighting that stuck out from the crowd. Driving along the road they found a leopard up in a tree while it was raining and was completely drenched, feet hanging down either side of the tree then suddenly perked up as some impala crossed the road and it jumped off the branch in an attempt to attack but the impalas were a little too alert so the attempt was thwarted. So slightly embarrassed it just sat still and cowered under a little shade trying to get away from the rain.

On a walk Bertie saw two bull elephants so they watched them quietly for a while then they carried on with their walk. The route that they were doing was a loop and on their way back they heard lots of splashing and crashing and the same two elephants came charging through a lagoon and the bushes closely followed by some impalas, waterbucks and pukus. Don’t panic the antelope were not scaring the elephant it was a knock-on effect of a pack of wild dogs scaring everybody into making a run for it! The guests only saw a fleeting glimpse of the dogs as they definitely had more on their mind than being photographed!

The Robin’s House guests also saw some incredible game but the stand out was a pair of mating lions which the youngest of the girls proclaimed as being “terribly romantic” however I fear may have caused a series of questions for mum and dad!

Other than that well plenty of giraffes absolutely everywhere and all the usual birds for this time of the year. There is plenty to be seen that is for sure. However, for today I am going sneak off as we have some preparations to be getting on with for this evenings celebrations and wish you all a wonderful evening and all the very best for the New Year. Have a wonderful first week of 2019 with plenty of smiles and laughter and dong forget to look after one another.


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