Its Monday and the guides on conservation patrol

Hello there! I hope you are well and have had a wonderful weekend. Here in the Luangwa, we carry on much the same as usual with a few guests coming and going but nothing compared to what we are used to. As is well talked about worldwide, one of the great concerns of the pandemic and reduction of the tourism industry in Africa has been the effect of poaching on wildlife. Given that this is our lifeline we have taken this very seriously and with the constant and wonderful support of Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) and The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services (DPNW) our guides have been doing patrols twice a week on the Nkwali and Luangwa River Camp properties. This started middle of last year and shall continue until middle of this year. We are grateful for the support you have given us through our Safari Dreaming – eBook and calendar, the funds which we have used in part to support this antipoaching campaign.

Each patrol has a senior guide, three members of our junior team and a DPNW wildlife scout. They leave CSL first thing in the morning and aim to do a good 4-5 hour foot patrol in which ever area they are checking. Bertie, Kanga, Perry, Obi, Kiki and Willie are the guides that do most of the patrols – maybe they have been trying to get out of home schooling! They have had some fabulous sightings whilst doing their patrols including wild dogs, leopard on a kill and even mating lions. The main challenge though is dodging the incredible number of elephants that we seem to have on the Nkwali property. The giraffes however seem to look down on the guides slightly perplexed as to what exactly it is that they are doing.

As a result of these patrols, we have found a snared giraffe and buffalo and each time the CSL and DNPW team were called and the snares were successfully removed. On top of that we have also removed some 15-20 snares on the property. This is obviously something that causes us all great concern as we care deeply for the wildlife but the fact that we know that we are doing all that we can to help protect it gives us great peace of mind. It also gives the guides a great opportunity to be out in the bush and to be learning and keeping their knowledge and skills up to date. For Perry, who is not yet a walking guide, this has been a fantastic opportunity for him to get some extensive walking experience in the bush with some very experienced colleagues. So, he can hopefully once things normalise again, he can get a walking licence under his belt.

We continue to patrol regularly even through the rainy season and the guides can be seen coming back slightly taller than how they started the patrol as they collect a good few inch of mud onto the bottom of their shoes but each time with smiles on their faces from having spent time in the bush and doing their part to protect the wildlife.

In addition to the guides, we have also had the added help of the Nkwali pride who continue to patrol the property regularly and make their presence known throughout the night. Whilst we can’t get out on the back roads to go and look for them (the roads are far too muddy!) we certainly didn’t need to a few nights ago as they were sticking to the main road trying not to get their paws too muddy after a particularly big rainstorm.

Driving in and out of camp it is amazing, what we do get to see whether it be the countless different birds or even several herds of elephants that had merged to create a super group of some 70 animals we are so very fortunate to have all of this on our doorstep and we continue to do what we can to protect it all.

So, on that note with a slightly different Its Monday this week, I am going to bid you all a very fond farewell and hope that you have a wonderful week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter. Stay safe and look after one another and I will be back next Monday with more tales to share.

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