Its Monday and a safari from across the borders

Well, hello there! I hope that you are well and have had a wonderful weekend. Here in the Luangwa, we have been seeing the wild dogs behind Nkwali Camp really quite regularly, which is a fabulous treat and the number of elephants and giraffes has been incredible.  Also, our lone eland is still rather shy but is becoming a regular sighting around Robin’s Bridge, so we just really hope it sticks around.

Diverting slightly but on a rather important note, we have an critical request to assist in saving Kasanka National Park which is under threat from development. You may be aware that at least 10 million fruit bats congregate the Kasanka wetlands (an incredible mammal phenomenon!) each year for a couple of months – we run a trip specifically for this each November as well.
Please read here the full Press Release on this from Kasanka Trust. To help us save Kasanka, please register your objection to the proposed development, by emailing Zambia Environmental Management Agency and quoting reference ‘ZEMA/INS/101/4/1’ here.

This week however, we are not going to be chatting to you about Zambia, Malawi or Zimbabwe but we are skipping across a few borders to Botswana… We are hearing from Perry, one of our safari guides, who was fortunate to be sponsored by Liane Merbeck and Abendsonne Afrika to join her and a group of her guests on a Secrets of the Kalahari safari over there.

In Perry’s words, “it was a dream come true” and he cannot thank everyone involved enough for making it possible.  The opportunity to see a different country, different national parks and different ecosystems was absolutely incredible.  Whilst this was not a Robin Pope Safaris trip, we were 100% supporting this incredible opportunity for Perry. We packed him up with plenty of masks, sanitizer, and contact phone numbers in case he needed some help and with nervous excitement, he headed cross country.  Plus, we armed him also with a German phrase book to learn a few phrases to be able to speak to the guests!

He arrived in Botswana with a warm welcome from Liane Merbeck at Meno-A-Kwena Camp in the Makgadikgadi National Park.  An incredible desert landscape was in front of him and was something totally unlike anything he had ever seen before.  Wandering how on earth the animals could possibly survive in such harsh landscapes, he was amazed to see and learn how they had adapted to drinking far less frequently to the animals here in the South Luangwa.  The predators would predominantly hydrate on the blood from their kills and the herbivores would feast predominantly in the morning enjoying the early morning dew that they would find on the leaves and plants. 

Trees are few and far between and the wide-open plains meant that there were also different species of animals and so for the first time in his life he saw cheetah with cubs, oryx, springbok, to mention just a few that we don’t get here in the Luangwa. Other species he saw include honey badger, ground squirrels and bat eared foxes to be seen regularly in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

There were also differences in the animals that we do get here and, in his words, “the lions were massive, and the males had these huge manes (which are mostly black) so much bigger than what we are used to in the Luangwa.  The elephants are so much bigger than ours as they extract great nutrients and minerals from the ground and grow to such bigger sizes.”

Perry also had the opportunity to join in on a Bushman walk learning how they live and survive in the wild with limited water supplies. This was absolutely fascinating for Perry and made him realise just how much we have available to us here in Mfuwe and the South Luangwa.  The use of plants for medication and again limited water supplies was just incredible. Even more amazing was how the bushman make fire in the bush by using commiphora bark, dry grass, zebra poo and starting their fire by rubbing sticks together – they didn’t have matches!

It wasn’t just the bushmen that taught Perry a lesson, Liane and her group also taught him a few German phrases and he has since returning to Zambia continued to study the language. He is excited to start receiving guests from Germany so that he can practice some of his German on them.

What an incredible experience for Perry and our great thanks goes out to Liane Merbeck and Abendsonne Afrika for affording him such a wonderful experience; one that shall be remembered for an incredibly long time to come.  

All other news I think can wait until next week as I am going to struggle to compete with this lovely story.  So instead I shall bid you all a fond farewell and hope that you have a wonderful week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.

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