January 2013 was one of the busiest quiet months we have had in a long time.
The Old Lady and the Elephants.
The ‘green season,’ as we call it, does not attract as many khaki-clothed, camera-carrying people to the Luangwa Valley as the peak-season, which stretches from July to the end of October. Therefore, we do not have as many guests to look after as in the dry months. But we do have a camp to look after. This year Wildlife Camp celebrates our 21st birthday. – In safari-camp terms that means she (the actual buildings) is an old lady. So, during January we were rebuilding the kitchen, rethatching the restaurant, dragging a dead hippo away from the bar (yes, you read right) and of course planning to make sure that 2013 bring as many great memories for our guests as 2012 did. And of course, we made some time to put our feet up and enjoy the Luangwa Valley – This photo was taken from here in camp. It’s a tough life!
21st Birthday Celebrations!
Yes, Wildlife Camp has been the best value-for-money camp in the Luangwa Valley since 1992!
When Herman started the camp back in the days when a 6 hour trip to Malawi was needed for beer, he had a clear vision for the Wildlife Camp. Now, 21 years later the camp is better than ever.
We have decided to celebrate our 21st birthday with special packages. Keep and eye on our website (www.wildlifecamp-zambia.com) facebook page (www.facebook.com/WildlifeCamp) and newsletter for further informtaion.
One such a package is “Wildlife Camp’s Green-Season Special.” For only US$825 per person sharing you can enjoy a 5night stay at Wildlife Camp including the following.
• Accommodation in Chalets
• National Park-Fees
• Airport Transfers
• 3 Morning Safaris
• 4 Night Safaris
• 1 Tour of the Local Villages & Tribal Textiles
Please note that these packages are calculated for direct bookings. If you are a travel agent, and would like to make use of these packages, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Terms and Conditions apply.
Wildlife Camp’s December 2010 newsletter was dedicated to the various odd-jobs that has to be done in and around Wildlife Camp. It ranged from building bridges to raising squirrels (Borris & Patricia).
So, let me tell you about the massively odd-job we had this month. Hippopotamus bulls can be very aggressive towards each other, and it was after one such a fight that we all woke up with a two-and-half-tonne dead hippo 10 meters from the campsite bar. It takes no rocket-scientist to figure out that 10meters from a bar is not the ideal place for a hippo-carcass. I doubt that the health-and-safety department would be very happy, hey Herman?
And so started my odd-job Monday. After informing the Zambian Wildlife Authority about our sticky situation they agreed to send some help. But the problem was that persistent rain kept the tractor away from the carcass until very late in the afternoon. But just as the sun disappeared behind the Muchinga-escarpment we were able to drag the carcass away. We would rather let the baboons in the bush deal with that smell!
Less than a week later there was nothing but a few pieces of bone and a skull left. You can see all the crocs on their way back the the Luangwa after a feeding frenzy. Great Job Mother Nature! More photos on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/WildlifeCamp) under the heading “Operation Hippo” & “Operation Hippo: Nature takes its course.”
Moment of the Month
Everybody loves leopards! I have seen people sit with binoculars glued to their eyes, staring at a lead-wood (combretum imberbe) tree 300meters away from the road and then getting very excited when the cat in the tree flicks its tail, because that is the only part of the spotted-feline they can see. Here in camp, for example, whenever a baboon gives the slightest alarm-call from his roosting spot, every torch around camp goes on in an instant, shining onto the short grass next to the river where the leopards so love to hunt. The cooks run from the kitchen and the barmen stop washing glasses. Even Boo, our trusty camp-dog runs towards the door and sticks her nose into the cool evening breeze outside. It is as if Dora, Herman, Retha and all 6 of our watchmen (I do not for one moment exclude myself from this list) sit waiting, torches ready by their sides, for a hint of an alarm-snort by an impala or a bark from a baboon. And all this just to get a glimpse of a leopard. And even with our well-oiled leopard spotting system in place, we very often only see impalas running about frantically, leaping high into the air to avoid being caught by a cat that they can clearly see, but we can’t.
So, when you find three leopards in one tree (yes, it was a lead-wood tree, but only meters from the road) you have to award that moment the best moment of the month! A mother and her two cubs (one male, one female) had an impala kill (they are not frantic about leopards for nothing) in a tree with a lone hyena waiting below. We were able to spend two magical hours with them. Whether it was two of them fighting over the final scraps, the young female walking right past the hyena on her way to a drink, or all of them characteristically lying around in the tree, it was magic all the time and a great way to start our safaris for 2013!
There is a complete album on our facebook page. Go and have a look at www.facebook.com/WildlifeCamp and while you are there, please ‘like’ our page as well.
That is all for the January 2013 edition of Wildlife Camp’s newsletter.
Wildlife Camp will once again be at this year’s Indaba in Durban, South Africa from the 11th to the 14th of May. Please inform us if you are also going – it would be great to see you there!