Its Monday and a highlight cheetah sighting

Hello there! I hope that you are well and sitting comfortably ready for this weeks’ update from our neck of the woods. Before we hear what news there is, I am delighted to share that the Leopard Legacy documentary is going to be showing in the US on the 14th of April on PBS Nature. Please do look out for it if you are in the US! The creators of this incredible story are acclaimed wildlife filmmakers, Will and Lianne Steenkamp (who are also behind our weekly Safari Diaries), who have been filming Olimba’s journey for 3 years while staying at none other than Nsefu Camp!  View the trailer here.

Right… now onto news for this week, an update from Conrad at Kuthengo Camp in Malawi.

“After having packed the camp up for the rainy season, it was time to dust, sweep, polish, wash, iron and generally unpack. The team arrived into camp the last week of March and there was no stopping them as we busied ourselves getting camp ready for Easter weekend. The bush tends to rapidly reclaim any unused areas so after a few weeks of regular rain in Liwonde National Park, slashing and road works was the name of the game (with the odd plank here and there being replaced after a naughty hippo had wondered over them) and in no time at all the roads were cleared and the camp was ready. Now it was time to welcome our guests!

A guest once told me, “I’ll come back to Kuthengo, even if it was just to experience the arrival once again”. I must admit it is quite the arrival and we were soon able to share it with our first guests.  Arriving at the gate, then enjoying the slow boat ride up the Shire River toward the camp. At this time of the year the only way to access camp is by boat, so we transfer guests (and fuel, toilet paper, courgettes, and screws to fix planks!) upriver, as much out of necessity as it is for the experience of counting bobbing hippo heads on your way to camp.

Under the watchful eyes of Amon and Sebastian, all is running smoothly and Kuthengo is proving once again to be the perfect base from which to explore the park’s Mopane woodlands, magnificent baobabs, Lake Malombe and the floodplains.   

Sebastian, having come across from the Luangwa Valley to help out at Kuthengo, made sure to assign himself to spotting duties one evening – there is always a good excuse to go on a game-drive. Little did he know that, after twenty years of guiding, he would be so lucky to have his first sighting of a Cheetah! “I was so happy – and it was on the same day as my son’s birthday, so I got two presents on one day” he told with a beaming smile when I saw him the next day. The pioneer Cheetah populations in both Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve are doing well (even if they keep park management on their toes keeping track of all of them!).

And speaking of things with long canines, the Liwonde Wildlife Trust reports that lion cubs were born to the Chinguni pride in Liwonde, further cementing the lion’s presence in the park after being reintroduced in 2018. Many thanks to El Comley from the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust for the lion cub photos we are sharing today. We will be sure to keep an eye out for them and keep you posted on progress and hopefully as the year progresses, we will be able to share more of these wonderful moments with more and more guests.  But for now, I had better get back to some of the nitty gritty of camp life.”

Fab, thanks so much Conrad! This all sounds wonderful, if rather busy.  Here in the Luangwa, the rains are certainly coming to an end and the seasons are starting to change with the mornings getting a little chillier and the skies taking on that crystal clear blue hue.  The river continues to plummet, but the lagoons are still retaining loads of water and the hippos are loving the cover of Nile cabbage to hide in.  Bertie and Obi have both been remarkably busy with guests over the last week, so I will be sure to sit down with them for a full debrief on sightings and look forward to sharing it all with you next week.  In the meantime, have the most fabulous week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

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