It’s Monday 3rd December and a leap into December.

I do hope that you are all well and have had a fabulous weekend and welcomed December with the gusto and excitement that it deserves. The last month of the year! Where has the time gone? The season has also flown by and Nkwali, Robin’s House & Luangwa Safari House remain open, as Tena Tena, Nsefu and Luangwa River Camp are all closed as the rains have arrived. The skies are heavy with clouds and dry bush has transformed itself into a surreal parkland with new sprigs of grass sprouting up all over the place. The elephants have decided that Nkwali is not the only place to hang out, which means it is now significantly easier for us to get around. Humphrey the hippo is having a wonderful time in his lagoon which has significantly more water in it.

On a festive note, this week we are going to get cracking with some early preparations for Christmas. The amarula ice cream will find its self being churned and we will start with some experimenting for the Christmas menu so that we are fully prepared. The crackers are already in and the turkeys have been on order for the last month – there was no way we were going to leave that to chance. And this year will be the first time that we will decorate our house as with Jack I feel it important to celebrate. However, I am not entirely sure how a Christmas tree will survive with him and the cats but let’s wait and see what happens there!

Anyway, let’s move on to the serious business of game viewing… So, what has been happening out in the park? Well the animals are looking decidedly spritelier with the start of the rains. The baby impalas have popped out everywhere – although I must admit I do feel that this year there appear to be fewer. However, they are always an absolute joy to watch. The guests witnessed a puku being born – never ceases to amaze how these fragile little creatures can be born and up and running within a matter of minutes! And the migratory birds have started coming in with sightings of Abdim Storks and White Storks. On Saturday John was out on a drive and they heard an Africa Pitta (formerly known as Angola Pitta) – it’s always the biggest challenge this time of the year for our keen birders to try and spot one of these elusive birds. I am afraid to say that the challenge continues as despite a lot of neck craning and eye straining it remained heard but not seen.

Whilst talking of being elusive this week the leopards have been somewhat absent from the show. However, 2 female lions were spotted having just taken down an elephant calf and were feasting on their reward. Whilst on the subject of animals and prey, also out in the park was a rare and unusual sighting of a spotted bush snake – I want to say pouncing to make it sound more dramatic but obviously there is no pouncing when it comes to snakes, so let’s use our imaginations! Like I was saying, a spotted bush snake was seen grabbing a skink with astonishing speed and taking the poor beast off clasped in its jaws to enjoy its meal in a slightly more secluded spot. Whilst on the subject of bush snakes we had one that really was in a bit of a pickle the other day – it had caught a frog and had the frog in its mouth but was under a door and, well, wanted to go back inside but really couldn’t know there was the added bulk in its mouth. After what felt like an age of indecisiveness it finally decided to leave the comforts of the office and take refuge in a tree.

 

I assure you, it will not be long until I start obsessing over the levels of the Luangwa River. However, for now it remains rather empty and we are still enjoying daily sightings of elephants crossing in front of camp, which is always a splendid treat. The kudus and giraffes are also regularly coming down to drink and we also had lions camped out there for the best part of a week. Never a dull moment.

For now, however, I am going to leave you all to it. As I write this, I hear the dulcet tones of the Heuglins Robin (sorry – white browed robin chat – for those more up to date with the bird names) reminding me that it is time get the day going. So, I shall bid you all a very fond farewell and hope that you all have a splendid week ahead with lots of smiles and laughter, and don’t forget to look after one another

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