I do hope that you are splendidly well and have had another lovely weekend. As we hurtle towards the end of another year and one which appears to have passed me by with alarming speed, I felt that this was a particularly good time to look back at the season. Let’s look back to the Mobile Walking Safaris’ season as we have not heard much from them this year.
Despite the lack of appearance in my Its Monday newsletters that doesn’t mean to say that they have slipped by the wayside. In fact, quite the opposite as it has had an absolutely fantastic season both in terms of the number of guests who have been treated to a true wilderness safari experience and also the quantity of animals that have been seen up there.
As with all our Mobile Walking Safaris the guests arrive at Nkwali usually the day before departure to get a full briefing from their guide about the trip and the adventure which lays ahead of them. The following morning bags packed, cooler boxes brimming with cold drinks and delicious packed lunch, everyone clambers into the tank (stretched closed Landcruiser so appropriately named, as it is a car of size that it has a presence on the road). They head up the 05 road all the way to the first of our Mobile camps. The journey there is taken at a leisurely pace taking in the game and scenery on the way with stops for tea and then later for lunch before finally arriving in camp by early afternoon to be welcomed by smiling faces, cold flannels and walk in tents set up on the Mupamadzi River. Then a couple of hours to grab a snooze or even a wallow in the cool waters of the river before one of Alfred’s delicious cakes fuels your body for an afternoon walk.
Each walk is different as the guide takes in what is happening in the bush as well as how energetically the group of guests wants to walk. But either way each day takes on a wonderful peaceful and information filled routine. Moving camp 3 times generally during a 5-day trip each time your tent gets packed up and set up again in the next camp in the same way that you left it.
The team masterfully packing and unpacking everything in just a few hours and without a doubt a delicious lunch is served after your morning walk.
A walking safari does not generally yield the same proximity to game that one would get whilst in a car – for obvious reasons. However, this does not mean to say that the sightings are not as rewarding. A bark in the distance and off you go getting closer to the alarm calls to find out what it is that is bothering the baboons. Usually, lions but occasionally you can be rewarded by leopard – however it must be said that we leave the leopard sightings more to Nkwali and Nsefu.
This year more, than previous years, the lions were particularly vocal, and 3 prides were identified. On one occasion the guests sat watching the lions on the edge of the river, the females were incredibly relaxed, but the cubs were a little less so and decided that a trip across the river was a better option. As the years have progressed, we have been seeing more and more elephants up on the Mupamadzi which is as always, a real treat but not everyone feels that way. 7 lions found out the hard way that elephants are a lot bigger than them and a little greedier so when the lions were relaxing under a fruiting winterthorn tree they were no competition for the elephants who proceeded to chase them away!
Jason also had a few wonderful sightings from the shade of a tree watching herds of up to 30 elephants crossing the river. The plains game as always was around with some of the lesser spotted main area antelope including roan, hartebeest, wildebeest and even reedbuck. And this year plenty of buffalo were also regularly sighted.
The wild dogs were seen regularly yet were somewhat unpredictable in their location (surely that makes it more fun though!) but there is a small pack near camp 4 which the guests watched feeding on a puku. After gobbling up as much as they could, they disappeared off with very full bellies and not long after returned looking less full. So, there could even be the chance of a den with puppies, which would be very exciting.
The sightings go on and on but before I delve further into them, I shall pull myself away and bid you a very fond farewell. We hope you have a wonderful week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.