Well, hello there. I hope that you are fabulously well and have had a great weekend and are sitting ready and raring for the week ahead. Here in the Luangwa, we have had a very busy and exciting week with guests, and the animals have certainly put their best foot forward for the occasion and everyone has been treated to some fabulous sightings.
The camps have been full as has the river and with even more luck of the skies being clear. We have had a week of no rain and as a result enjoyed a slight reduction in the water levels but also high temperatures and dramatic skies. From panicking (4 weeks ago) about how we were going to get our guests up to Nsefu due to lack of water in the river, to panicking about how we were going to get the guests into Nkwali because the access road was completely flooded… it’s been quite an interesting time to say the very least. All in all, we have all loved it! Armed with gum boots and big smiles, we waved in our first group of international guests for the year, expectations high and excitement higher. As travel restrictions are easing across the globe, many are finally starting to dust off their passports and so our teams have been working tirelessly to make sure that we give everyone coming through a memorable trip.
Arriving in time for a late lunch, the group were keen to get going, so after a delicious feast prepared by the chefs there was no time to waste, and it wasn’t long before they were out in the bush. And their first sighting, believe it or not… was a pack of 21 wild dogs on a kill! What a way to start a safari. Now the guides had set themselves up for a huge challenge to match or maintain such an excellent sighting.
True to form, they had some fabulous sightings both big and small. This time of the year is cluttered with incredible sightings and not just the predators. Look down and see what is creeping around on the ground and you will be rewarded with a myriad of different bugs in all shapes and sizes from the ever-vibrant red velvet mites to the dung beetles furiously rolling their dung balls. In the slightly darker damper corners of the undergrowth, we are surprised with mushrooms in all sorts of shapes and sizes with some enormous otherworldly fungal formations to delicate and perfectly formed ones which look like they are too flimsy to be out in the bush.
The lagoons are full to the brim and all the animals are enjoying this fact, from the enormous rock like formations of the hippos hidden amongst the Nile cabbage to the jacanas walking on top of it. Look even closer and you might be able to spy some of the more elusive waterbirds. We have had a couple of rare and fleeting glances of a pair of painted snipes as well as some dwarf bitterns, neither of which seem to stay put for long enough to take a photograph.
The impala and puku are looking so relaxed and healthy as there are grass and leaves galore for them to feast on. The only problem is that such thick vegetation means that the predators have a far easier time of hiding, and seeing a leopard cross the road and simply disappearing was proof enough to all the guests of this fact. Despite all of this, they did have a wonderful sighting of a leopard in the open as it sauntered across the plain simply owning it!
Heading up to Nsefu by river is also a wonderful experience not only from the landscape point of view but cruising upstream with various birds flying alongside the boat is also rather special. It’s hit and miss which animals you will see on the trip but this I feel is always somewhat of a bonus compared to the scenery, but elephants swimming must be one of the major and very fortunate highlights of this. Once up at Nsefu it is a whole different experience to that of the dry season as we can only explore by boat or foot. Boating into the stork colony is a rare and unforgettable treat, not to mention a sighting of lion sitting on the banks of one of the gullies.
I have to say I could go on and on, but I must leave you to your day. As you can see, we have had a wonderful and exciting week and cannot wait to share more with you as more guests come through to the camps over the next few weeks. But for now, I shall bid you a very fond farewell with plenty of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after one another.