Well, hello there. I hope that you are brilliantly well after a lovely relaxing weekend and sitting ready and raring for the exciting week ahead. Here in the Luangwa, we are all well and happy to be so very busy, and the animals are helping us enormously giving us some incredible sightings. This week however you will not be hearing from me as Mike and Nancy from Dazzle Africa (they were here during the green season – see here), on a family holiday and have sent through a wonderful account of their stay. Mike and Nancy over to you:
“Nancy and I led a group of friends and family on a Dazzle Africa safari in late May, staying in the Valley, including at Luangwa Safari House. The group of 4 families, including my best friends from my hometown of Vernon, New Jersey, USA, and my mom and stepdad, Kathy and Tony – it was the 1st time in Africa for all of them, and they arrived with a bang, seeing all the big predators on their very first day in the valley! Our stay at Luangwa Safari House was mind-blowing for all of them – they just couldn’t believe how incredible the setting. Emanuel, Edward, and Elizabeth’s careful attention, Chef Steve’s food, and the wildlife that visited. We had 40-60 elephants nearly every day at lunch, plus many giraffe, puku and impala, spoonbills, yellow billed storks, giant kingfishers and so many more.
Our game drives and sundowners were magical affairs, with Yona and Obi in top form as always, bringing us to the best sightings with few if any other vehicles around.
Our trip included showing our friends the projects Dazzle Africa supports in conservation, clean water, and education, including a visit to the Secondary School to buy some great souvenirs created by students through our entrepreneurial arts program called Hands Over Zambia. On our last night, we asked Yona if we could get out the next day an hour earlier to see the sun rise from inside the park, and of course he made it happen. It was incredible hearing the bush awake, and we had Venus shining brightly during the whole experience.
All of us had to say goodbye to Zambia after a friends’ trip of a lifetime, except Nancy, who got to stay another 10 days to lead Dazzle Africa’s Wild Women Safari with our longtime supporter and 3rd-time safari goer, Janet Lewis.
Between trips, Nancy was driving with Obi through the GMA when they spotted an adult female giraffe with a terrible snare on her leg. They quickly turned the vehicle around and drove to Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) HQ. There, ZCP’s Henry and Maggie jumped in their vehicle to stay and keep the giraffe in sight while Nancy and Obi drove to Conservation South Luangwa HQ. There, wildlife veterinarian Dr Sichande, who Dazzle Africa sponsors, and the team prepared to do the first giraffe de-snaring in a year and a half, including doing a full-dress rehearsal. Tranquilizing and de-snaring a giraffe is serious business! The operation was a total success, and the giraffe ran off into the bush after the snare was removed. Incredible teamwork for all involved, showing that great things happen in the world all the time, especially in South Luangwa!
Nancy led the 8 women on a trip they all agreed was flawless, staying in different camps in the Valley including Nsefu and Luangwa Safari House. Chilumba, Willie, Obi, Yonna and staff showed the US east-coasters a rollicking good time. The first morning had the group come upon a herd of buffalo, which is great enough, but right next to the herd was a leopard in a tree chowing down on a warthog with two hyenas underneath catching the scraps and a martial eagle above biding its time to make an attempt for a taste!
Morning tea at the airstrip is a Dazzle Africa mainstay, with pilot Gareth and ZCP’s Bridget giving a fascinating talk about the work the team does to keep the wildlife safe. Dazzle and our donors are proud to help support the aerial program, a vital tool in conservation and research.
Thanks to RPS for our four safaris so far this year, we are so happy to be back and so appreciate the personal attention, making sure we all have the best time. We like to say that whenever we have a request, no matter how complicated, RPS always says, “yes, no problem”. Bravo!”
Thanks Mike and Nancy for the continued support and wonderful stories that you have shared with us, and we so look forward to seeing you again soon. From my side I am left with just one small thing to add which is to say, as has been prevalent in the news during the peak of the Covid pandemic, was the impact the lack of tourism and funds would have on wildlife. Here in the Luangwa, we have been incredibly lucky to have the continued support and efforts from CSL and ZCP whom work tirelessly to protect the wildlife whether it be through aerial tracking and checking for poachers or on the ground with their wonderful scout and dog teams.
During the height of the pandemic, most of the operators had plenty of guides and cars available so CSL started community drives to be able to get people from the community out into the park to show them the wildlife and the importance of it. This is something that is continuing, however as the lodges are getting busier some extra help is needed. If you would like to assist with this wonderful initiative, please follow this link.
On that note, I shall gracefully say my goodbyes and hope that you all have the most wonderful week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.