Its Monday and a sneak peek behind the scenes

Hello there, I hope that you are well and ready and raring for the week ahead. Here in the Luangwa, we seem to spend our days and nights surrounded by the wonderful rumble of thunder at varying distances which is quite lovely, I must be honest with you. Anyhow, it is not me you will be hearing from today as we are scooting over the border to have a catch up from Conrad and Retha. They are going to give us a peek of behind the scenes at Mkulumadzi now that the camp is closed for the rainy season. So, Conrad and Retha over to you:

“When a camp is closed, it changes dramatically and the usual everyday hustle and bustle from the staff and guests disappears overnight and Africa takes ownership once more. A walkabout after morning-coffee reveals who visited the camp while Retha and I were asleep. Civet tracks and porcupine quills give away the usual suspects and some mornings we are reminded to remain on the lookout for giants when coming across elephant dung and hippo spoor.

The lodge, connected to the outside world only by the footbridge, relies on its own water and electricity supply. These are vital and the best place to start the daily routine… a quick walk to the solar panels for a look-see (fortunately the rain washes them clean nearly every afternoon now, so one less chore that needs doing), followed by a visit to the inverter room to check on the batteries state of charge and water levels. With very few occupants in camp, the generator sits idle. We do however, run it for 10 minutes each day to make sure she stays in tip-top shape and ready for when the season starts again.

Next stop are the water tanks, situated on the hill behind the staff quarters. It is a steep climb but there are a few forest weavers frantically building nests next the path, making the walk worthwhile. The tanks, with a capacity for 30 000l between them, are filled through a borehole pump and only needs a daily top-up.
Between the water tanks and the incinerator is the one spot in camp where (semi) reliable 4G signal can be found so emails are checked, and WhatsApp’s replied to. How did we ever operate safari camps without internet?

From there, the walk down the other side of the hill toward the footbridge takes about 5 minutes. The Mkulumadzi River, brown and noisy after good rains upstream is a sight to behold. Across the bridge to the game-drive vehicles – good to also start them every other day to make sure they run.
Today is also market day, so Retha and I take a 30-minute game drive to the park gate to stock up on fruits and veggies. Mangoes are in season, so we pay $1 for 7 juicy mangoes!

Back in camp and over the footbridge, up and down the hill again, past the busy weavers, to the restaurant and kitchen. It is strange to see everything packed up (and even stranger to find Buzz, the resident bushbaby in the kitchen looking for her peanut butter – still not sure how she gets in?).

We find that it’s best to wait until the afternoon, when the temperatures rise into the high 30’s, to check-up on the pool… Just to make sure that it still cools you down! And then the all-important end to the day with a trusty gin and tonic watching the sunset.

It’s certainly strange being in camp with no guests and we admit we love it – for a few days and then we start looking forward to opening the doors again and welcoming people in and sharing with them this beautiful little patch of the world.”

Lovely thanks Conrad and Retha – so lovely to hear from you both and enjoy the daily checks and keep us posted. Here in the Luangwa, we have been serenaded by lions over the last few nights and our camp leopard has been causing absolute mayhem with our baboon troop that sleeps in the trees above our house, but that is why we are here and why we love it so much. As I write this week’s newsletter, Rob and Jack are off checking all the boats and I am sure it will not be long before I hear the boat heading off downstream as they decided that for the greater good, they need to give the engine a bit of a run! The trials and tribulations of bush life…So let me take this opportunity to leave you and bid you all a fond farewell for another week and hope that you have a fab time with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

Emily
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