Well, hello there. First, the most important thing to say is Happy New Year! The RPS team would like to wish you all the very best for a happy, successful, and generally all round brilliant 2023. However, before we leap into the next fantastic year 2022 was not going to give up easily on the game viewing front and our guests simply had the most incredible sightings all week.
To start with, some of the more normal sightings (although to say that does seem wrong as for me watching elephants is a real treat) we have had plenty of elephants in and about camp as the huge wild mango behind Robin’s House is fruiting – albeit rather late in the season – and the elephants are simply loving it and making the most of the spoils. From huge males hanging out, getting occasionally grumpy if someone needs to get past; to herds with youngsters trying their very best to get to grips with how to use their trunks to pick up the small fruits. There was one baby who was so young it still had pink behind its ears and slightly pink feet.
The Nkwali lion pride have been keeping their cubs very well hidden or at least somewhere behind camp where we cannot get to because of the rain. However, one of the females popped out onto our road and killed a puku and spent the day under a lovely bush taking a break from the kids and enjoying a nice meal. In the park however the lions have not been able to keep their meals quite so secret and the guests were given a real performance from an enormous clan of hyena. A pride of lion had killed a giraffe and had had more than their fill but there was still plenty to go around however, that didn’t mean that they were ready to share! It was not long before the hyenas caught on to what was happening, and some 20 odd animals came lolloping along whooping and giggling charging in at the lions trying to chase them off and the lions charging back out at them with their deep throaty grumbles. After quite the display and quite a while the lions were finally overrun by the sheer quantity of hyena and begrudgingly gave up their feast.
In other predator news the wild dogs have been spotted dashing in and out of thick bushes enjoying the cooler weather generally terrorising the local impala and puku. There was even a young bull elephant caught slightly off guard by a pack of dogs who got himself into all sorts of a panic so just made himself look even bigger with his head up and ears flapping sort of doing pirouettes before finally realising the dogs had run off past him. He then went off to the nearest tree to show it who was the strongest and tore off a big branch which then landed on top of him. Shame, he was not having a good day, but it made for a good giggle for those watching.
Finally, possibly the sighting of the year on the last day of the year pulled out of the bag by Kanga. As he was bumbling through the park, he sees something pink/grey just off the road under a bush. Pulling up to it, he was amazed to see that it was an aardvark – mid morning out in the open – after some 15/20 minutes or so of looking at it Kanga and his guests started to worry that it might be dead as it literally hadn’t moved. Considering the possibility of getting out the car to check if it was alive or not, the aardvark beat them to it and woke up from its nap, got up and started to dig itself a lovely hole where it could safely spend the rest of the day. To this there really is absolutely nothing that can be said except for – WOW.
What a way to end the year!
As we skip and dance into 2023, we watch as the river rises magnificently, and our workshop is busy getting all the boats ready for us to enjoy the river to its fullest extent. It won’t be long before we are able to explore some of the gullies as they fill up and the Luangwa explodes into a vibrant green mass dotted with little flowers and relaxed and happy animals. We look forward to sharing this years’ worth of sightings and adventures with you and we hope that you enjoy them as much as we do. Between now and the next update though let me bid you a very fond farewell and hope that you have a fabulous first week of the year with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.