Hello once again from Luangwa, I cannot believe another month has flown by. As one would say… time flies when you are having fun!
Comments from Colleen:
Winter in the valley has come and is now going!! The days are getting warmer and I have returned to wearing my shorts!! My winter fleece P. J’s are back in the drawer, and the hot water bottles Miriam and I had ordered from Majoru, didn’t even make it out of their packets. The mornings and some of the evenings are still a little crisp however by 9 am you are stripping off the layers and enjoying the lovely warm weather of the valley.
It has been a busy month, with South African and Malawi school holidays our campsite has been very busy. It is always great to have guests visiting us from our neighboring SADAC countries. It is fantastic to have children in camp, who are enjoying and experiencing the great area that we are privileged to live in, and hopefully will fall in love with the amazing bush and work to conserve and protect it for the future. Not only has our campsite been busy with visitors but it has been bustling with an abundance of wildlife. We had Lions walk through the campsite at out busiest time, the paw prints showed that our friendly (we hope!) felines had walked directly through camp only a few meters from tents. The elephants have been around on an almost a daily basis, crossing the river into and out of the park, the campsite bar has the perfect view for watching the herd cross. (even better with a G&T comments Patsy) With the Tamarind trees fruiting it is also encouraging the elephants to visit the trees around management and staff housing. Oscar had an encounter with a large female who did not take lightly to him walking home after dinner; Oscar has discovered that with a bit of adrenaline he’s pretty quick at a 100m sprint. The hyenas are around almost daily too, the 3 legged hyenas always make for an interesting sighting as he wanders around camp.
The bush is drying out, which is making the spotting of animals a lot easier, and we have had fantastic sightings of animals this month. Leopards stalking impala, the lions with their cubs and the wild dogs have been spotted in the area too. I saw a large herd of Cape buffalo on my trip into the park this week, they were not far from the gate entrance, it is so easy to forget that these are dangerous animals as they look just like cattle. I also saw a journey of giraffe in the park, I counted 22 of these elegant, graceful creatures. It was the largest herd I had ever seen. We stopped the land rover and watched these gentle giants as they came down to the water for a drink. On a walk we got up close to a herd of waterbuck, these beautiful, furry antelope posed for the camera, and were not too bothered by our presence.
Our activity board has been extremely busy, so it is advised you come and book your drives and walks early so that we can ensure we can accommodate you.
Our bush camp has had great reviews, as it’s a great way to spend a night or 2 of your stay with us. The camp is situated in the Game Management Area (GMA), its has great views and is nice, quiet and relaxing. It can only accommodate eight guests at a time.
The walk to camp is a gentle walk with lots of interesting trees, animals and birds to be seen on the way. The rustic camp has bucket showers, and bush toilets. All meals are cooked on an open fire, while you sit and listen to the sounds of the bush and the crackling of the warm glowing fire.
Your guide, scout and chef, will share stories of African culture and beliefs, and stories of the bush and the animals that live here. Walks can be done from the bush camp, as it is a great area with an abundance of wildlife.
One of our past guests sent us this email, I thought it had some interesting and useful information for people wanting to visit us. Thank-you for this email, we always like to hear back from our guests, on their thoughts, ideas suggestions and just to hear how they are doing.
Not sure if you remember me and my partner Colette from New Zealand? We stayed in one of your lagoon chalets last September 5-8 and had a beer with you (& the pilots!) one Friday. We said we would email you to give you our thoughts on Wildlife Camp/Luangwa compared to Kruger where we headed to next.
Having travelled over the last 5 years to Kruger, Etosha, Okavango (Semetsi Camp) and S Luangwa, we think Luangwa is a very special place. In terms of wildlife, there is little between the Parks – we sure lots of amazing things in each and they are all beautiful. However, both Luangwa and the Okavango are set apart from Kruger and Etosha by their remoteness which made us feel we had got closer to experiencing the real ‘wild africa’
we had hoped to encounter. We really appreciated being able to view wildlife without several other vehicles jostling for position alongside us (something we experienced a lot in Kruger and to a lesser extent in Etosha). But what made Luangwa special to us above the other Parks was the hospitality, knowledge and friendliness of the Guides and staff at your Camp. We felt very welcome and at ease and gained a lot of insights from listening to the Guides.
It was wonderful to be able to set around a Camp fire with a beer and chat with our guides and trackers while at the Bush Camp. It is those things which stay with us 10 months later as much as the animals with saw. In comparison, we found that in other places the Guides were either very young and lacking knowledge, or older and knowledgeable, but appeared somewhat jaded and less than forthcoming with information.
Here are some quick ratings of Wildlife Camp compared to your competitors.
Ratings out of 10:
Wildlife encounters/sightings: 8 (Luangwa), 7 (Okavango), 9 (Kruger), 8(Etosha)
Atmosphere/Remoteness: 9 (Luangwa), 9 (Okavango), 5 (Kruger), 7 (Etosha)
Guide knowledge: 9 (Luangwa), 7 (Okavango), 7 (Kruger), N/A (Etosha)
Hospitality/friendliness: 10 (Luangwa), 7 (Okavango), 6 (Kruger), 7(Etosha)
Thank you again for a fantastic
holiday – hopefully we’ll be back one day!
The final word from Patsy
(if you did not know me better one might say I like to always have the last say!)
It has been great to see the camp so busy and I have met some fantastic new people and welcomed old friends back again. Once again we have Larry and his team with us. Professor Larry is with Liverpool University and has been conducting archaeological digs in the valley for the past number of years. I went to visit his site the other day and was impressed by it all – but far too complicated to write down in a few sentences so I will promise to sit down with him over a bottle of wine and get all the details and this will come to you all in the next news letter. (Best excuse I have had for wine in ages!)
I am heading to the Getaway show in Jo Burg in August so might see a few of you there and please let me know if we can help in any way to make your life easier with the planning of trips etc!
Wishing everyone a great August!
Patsy and the Wildlife Team