Well, hello there. I hope that you are fabulously well and have had another fully successful weekend. Here in the Luangwa, we have been non-stop but as the sun rises here this Monday morning there is a steady sense of excitement and nervousness all at the same time…today the doors open at both Tena Tena and Nsefu and we are so excited to welcome our first guests.
Our lovely John Mphasi has taken over the reins of Luangwa Bush Camping and headed up at the weekend with his car overflowing with camp equipment and enthusiasm. He and his team set off up north to Nsefu to venture out into the wilds and get his camp sites ready for the season ahead. We are all looking forward to hearing more about what they see as they explore the Nsefu sector by foot.
It’s been a particularly difficult camp building this year due to problems with access caused by the heavy rains this past season, which also were here longer than usual. We have still not been able to get up the usual way and instead have been taking some rather epic detours which for the maintenance team has meant some very long days, but they have pulled out all the stops and gotten everything working which needed to work and teams at both Tena Tena and Nsefu have been polishing, washing, ironing and it’s all looking spectacular. Whilst the game drives have not yet started there has been plenty of activity in and around camp with plenty of elephants and in particular at Tena Tena there has been regular evening visits straight through camp messing up the lovely sand paths and on one evening a large bull decided to break down one of the pathway lights. Bertram’s waterhole where he has put his hide is still pretty new and not well known in the neighbourhood yet, but there have been a few impalas starting to come through and even a few different birds checking it out.
The hide up at Nsefu has had many more years to become established and has a regular yellow billed stork during the day and a few lions even visited a few nights ago. In camp though, Willie is having a nightly battle with the hippos who are simply loving the amazing lawn in front of Nsefu rooms.
Heading down stream and stopping in at Luangwa River Camp, the guests have been spoilt with some wonderful sightings of African skimmers who have taken up residence in front of camp. On the mammal front, the guests have been lucky enough to see leopard with a cub which is always a treat. It seems to have been an amazing week for leopard sightings and the Nkwali guests have also been spoilt on that front, watching a pair of leopards feeding on a kill in the lovely shade of a sausage tree. The guests full of excitement were heading back to camp for an ice-cold beer but encountered a slight delay getting back to the boat as they had to wait for a chameleon to cross the road (that is one thing out here that you leave well alone due to local superstitions!).
It’s not always the big game that thrills and this week we have had a real showdown on the bird front with some fabulous sightings. Highlights include lilac breasted rollers as they squawk and show off their magical colours, as well as some glossy starlings who often get overlooked since they are pretty common but when you get a chance to really look at them in the right light their colours are incredible. On a quick transfer up to Luangwa River Camp the guests were treated to one of those magic moments which reveal themselves when you are least expecting it but taking 20 minutes to simply sit and wait and watch can be incredibly rewarding. Stopping on the side of the main road to watch some zebra in the distance they gradually crept closer and closer, followed by some young male puku who decided to take up a little play fight in the road just a few meters from the car and all around a recently fledged clutch of red billed hornbills went around their business searching for wayward bugs to help build up their energy levels. It is always well worth it to take a moment to enjoy the simpler things that the bush has to offer.
could go on and on about a million and one other things, but I think that for this week I am going to leave you to it and hope that you have a fabulous week ahead with plenty of smiles and laughter. Don’t forget to look after one another!