Well, hello there. I hope that you are splendidly well after an enjoyable weekend.
To start off on a rather somber note, as you might have seen on the news, South of Malawi has been hit by cyclone Freddy which has left a trail of destruction. Many have lost their lives, homes, loved ones along with their sources of food (fields and livestock included) and livelihoods. Our hearts go out to all affected. We are grateful and can report that all our staff in Malawi are safe and sound. Mkulumadzi Lodge has not been affected and has re-opened its ‘doors’ for the new season last week. The Shire River in Liwonde National Park flooded and the water levels at our Kuthengo Camp were very high. The team have done an amazing job keeping themselves and the camp equipment safe. Apart from 1 deck being under water, the camp did not sustain severe damage. Water levels are dropping now, and Kuthengo Camp is scheduled to re-open this week Saturday. Should you wish to donate towards the flood relief, we recommend that you pick one of the international organisations such as UNICEF, MSF, Save the Children among others.
Over to this week’s story… In the Luangwa we are enjoying the beautiful scenes of the green season and great game viewing with the added boating experiences of this time of year. This week I am handing over the story telling over to Liz and John Atkins who have recently been to stay with us in the Luangwa after a small gap in their usual safari routine. Liz and John over to you:
“It was wonderful to be back again at Nkwali after 4 years of just dreaming about it. To top everything off we were lucky enough to have the amazing Kiki as our guide. It is always a pleasure being guided by someone so passionate and knowledgeable about the bush and the park generally.
It is fascinating how in the bush we seem to have “days”. One day it will be an elephant day, another a giraffe morning but always the most exciting is a Wild Dog day. We came across them as a result of a chance sideways glance by both Kiki and I. Through a gap in the bush, we both spotted a dog standing out in the open and both exclaimed at once. They were resting in the bush and the long grass, so we were able to sit with them for a considerable time watching their antics.
Eventually we left them, and Kiki drove us a little way beyond for a coffee stop. We had a perfect view of an open space where three waterbucks were standing under a tree. Suddenly the buck took off and dashed into the bush. At the same moment about twelve dogs came streaming out from their resting place in pursuit of the buck at full speed. It was an impressive sight and provided a wonderful coffee time entertainment.
At one evening sundowner stop near a marshy area popular with elephants, a young elephant decided he would come and check us out. He was trying to be brave and nonchalant but couldn’t quite pluck up the courage to approach too near. It was a case of two steps forward one step back until his nerve failed him and her retreated to the safety of his family who, incidentally, were taking no notice. It was very funny.
Sadly, on this occasion we did not see any cats despite Kiki’s best efforts to find them but the sighting of the dogs more than made up for it in our opinion. We also had some excellent birding, including being able to get right under the tree in which two fish eagles were enjoying their lunch.
Even the weather was exciting. One afternoon a storm broke bringing with it the most tremendous wind. Everything in our room was flying around including the loo paper which the wind completely took off the roll and the floor was covered in bits of tree. It was probably the edge of Cyclone Freddy, and it was very dramatic.
On our last full day, we were treated to the best breakfast in the world. There is nothing that beats bacon and eggs and all the trimmings cooked on an open fire in the bush surrounded by quietly grazing animals.
A huge thank you to the exceptional staff at Nkwali for making our stay so special.”
Wonderful, thanks so much Liz & John! It was wonderful to see you after the little gap in visits and we look forward to seeing you out here again soon. After such a wonderful account, there is no need for me to continue with tales from the bushes so instead, I shall bid you a very fond farewell. Have a wonderful week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.