The park is exactly that – a beautiful park with green lawns and trees that have been carefully pruned by the natural gardeners. It is fascinating to watch it all come back to life after the long dry spell, and not a moment too soon.
We have lost some of the hippo and on investigation have found that some of the deaths have occurred due to large amounts of sand in the stomach. This will occur when the grazing is poor and on each mouthful of grass a large amount of sand is also taken in. I am not sure why this is not passed and have heard about this happening with horses but this is the first time I have been aware of this problem in hippos. If anyone has any more information on this please do let me know as I would be interested to know more.
I am sure many of you are interested in the baby elephants and Chadoba and Chamilandu are now in the Kafue Park and are part of a new herd. Chadoba went by road and thanks to all who helped raise funds to fly Chamilandu. As she is still on milk feeds the drive would have been a huge undertaking. I will keep you all updated on their progress.
As the camp is our home we will not be packing up and migrating like some of our neighbors and we are open all year around. The rains are a fascinating time to be in the valley each year the transformation is incredible. Any keen photographers should come at this time of the year as the skies are clean of dust and smoke and the visibility is excellent.
Oscar and Miriam are leaving us at the end of December and we hope the future holds good things for them. Colleen has gone back to New Zealand but will be back with us in February and be teaching and also managing the camp in 2008.
The road to Chipata is still in a good state and the wash outs areas from last year have been repaired and will hopefully withstand the expected rainfall. Please only use the Chipata road as the Petauke route is closed. It is also advisable to contact us for updates if you are planning a road trip in January or February.
Zambian airways have cut down the number of flights per day, as the season draws to an end, but there are still at least one or two flights a day into Mfuwe.
Christmas is being planned! We still do have some availability so if you have not planed your holiday yet then let us know.
Whishing you all a great Christmas and may the New Year bring you to the camp!
Patsy, Herman and all the Wildlife Team
Comments from Colleen;
The rains have arrived!!! The dry, dusty valley of last few months has gone. Driving down the road you would not believe that this is in fact the same place. It took only a few days to transform into a beautiful green canopy of butterfly shaped leaves.
We have had some glorious showers which have cooled and quenched the dry earth’s thirst. The park is looking beautiful and clean.
Our camp is situated in a Mopane Woodlands, and as these trees are leafless during the dry months I decided to take a few photos every 2 days to show you how quickly the mopane trees change from one extreme to another. I also used this has a school project with the children. However I did not take into account that the elephants favorite meal is in fact the new leaves of the Mopane, so there ended my great idea. However here are the few of the photos, taken from the same place every 2 days after the rains.
This month has been very exciting in camp, our resident female leopard has been prowling about. She killed an impala on our road, by the campsite a few nights ago. Our guests who were being dropped off back at our campsite after dinner were in for a treat as they watched the large cat kill and drag the impala from the road several meters and into the bush.
The elephants are crossing the river and visiting us in camp. They have been wandering through the campsite, visiting me at my house and then proceeding to the chalets. Please do not keep food in your chalets – especially fruit as some of our guests experienced – as a young bull elephant took a liking to the fruity smells coming from their chalet.
The Impalas are all dropping their young at the moment, and there are some very tiny, gorgeous little impalas – wobbly knees and all about. The impalas drop their young once the rains have arrived. They normally all give birth together over a short time span. This is a survival technique.
Unfortunately with all this glorious rain, our safari walks have stopped, with the bush becoming more dense it is no longer safe to walk, as our scout and guides have trouble seeing danger.
We are still doing both morning and evening drives, however I do advise to bring a rain jacket with you.
We are open all year round and would love to have you visit in the emerald season. Its is truly a treat with everything fresh and green.
This will be my last newsletter for the season, as I head back to New Zealand to spend the festive season with my family. I will back towards the end of January, to report the news of Wildlife camp.
Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas
and all the best for 2008!!