Its Monday 6th April and an Nkwali Safari

I hope you are coping well with life in isolation and that hopefully this newsletter will add a little light and change to the day. Here in the Luangwa we have a wonderful round up from Robert and Marijke Van Oordt, who were our very last guests at Nkwali Camp before we had to sadly close our doors due to the various lockdowns and travel bans. Robert and Marjike over to you:

“Somewhere I read the following which I would like to share with you:

Some people think you should have two faces, one for yourself and one for the outside world. That’s what makes animals different from us. They have one face…

We spent two gorgeous weeks at Nkwali Camp in a charming chalet with thatched roof, where we had an unobstructed and mesmerizing view of the wide and fast-flowing Luangwa River. Every afternoon a large monitor lizard rested on the bank of the river, waiting for edibles to come his way. Baby skinks scuttled across the grass and baboons checked on us from a safe distance – high up in the tree hanging over the water. Humphrey, the camp hippo, who lives or rather hides in a large lagoon covered with beautiful light-green Nile cabbage, only left us his deep and easily recognizable tracks in front of our chalet on his nocturnal jaunt to the river. But he was kind enough to show himself the day we left! And what a large beast he is, covered with Nile cabbage as if he was off to a wedding in his most festive attire.

Every day at 06.00 a lovely ten-minute ride by boat would take us to the “harbour” – a rather grand word for the steep slippery riverbank – extra slippery after the nocturnal rains. But we would not have wished for a jetty and a railing – this is nature at its best. Then we would climb into our faithful mud- and deep-water-proof jeep, already filled with goodies for a coffee break and driven by our very knowledgeable and indefatigable guide Kiki.

Paul Theroux calls Africa the Kingdom of light and a nearly lost paradise – we couldn’t agree more. Against the sweeping background of the green savannah dotted with glorious morning-glory shrubs, stumps of dead mopane tree and a grandiose baobab, the impalas, puku and baboons, all with babies, would greet us, the impalas prancing as fast and high as they could, racing around and around in large circles, thoroughly enjoying themselves and delighting us. Screeching male baboons chased each other fiercely in their fight for supremacy and the winner immediately claimed his trophy – his female of choice – as the tiny weeny baby baboons found safety under their mother’s belly.

Apart from the usual but always exhilarating sightings of elephants, zebra, impala, giraffe and the ubiquitous Guinea fowl with their fluorescent blue necks – always in large numbers and with lovely babies – we had some extraordinary surprises.

One morning we spotted a large pack of wild dogs who apparently had just finished off a kill and were resting, blood-stained, under the trees, while two of them, still hungry, licked the bones. We heard and saw two giant eagle owls hooting to each other from separate trees – most likely about the whereabouts of snacks in the undergrowth. The discovery of two young leopards playfighting on a branch of a mopane tree did not cease to excite us and our iPhones and camera tried in vain to get a sharp image. And then four lionesses walked in front of our jeep to their hunting ground while two males passed us very close by as unconcerned as can be…

We were constantly treated to an endless variety of colourful birds: the storks: yellow billed, saddle billed, open billed; the bee-eaters: European, white fronted, swallow-tailed, and the little bee-eater; the pied kingfisher and the spectacularly light blue woodland kingfisher; the crowned cranes; the ground and red-horned hornbills, the blue waxbill; not to forget the herons, bateleur eagles, western banded snake eagles, vultures, weavers and lapwings and many many more.

We would have stayed longer if the closure of airports and the cancellation of flights had not forced us to leave before plan. We sincerely hope that at some point this dreadful life changing global disaster will be overcome and life will return to normal.

Our thoughts and deep respect are with everybody affected by this terrible crisis and with the many professionals and volunteers who are risking their life to help where they can. I would like to end with a fitting quote from Charles Dickens:

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ”

Amazing! Thank you so very much for that Robert and Marjike. The only thing that remains for me to say is a very fond and warm farewell and hope that you have a wonderful week with smiles and laughter and plenty of hand cleaning and sanitizing. Stay well and look after one another, and we will be back again next week with more updates from us here at Robin Pope Safaris.

This entry was posted in 2020, It's Monday. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.