In the March edition of Wildlife Camp newsletter we’ll take a look at the month’s headlines and we’ll introduce you to the newest member of our guiding team. Of course we’ll end off with the best moment of the month. Happy reading!
I’d like to start this newsletter by thanking all the people who actually take time to read what we write and for the positive feedback we have had! Please keep it coming. The Wildlife Camp news is actually very easy to write. Think back about some of the moments that stood out during the month and write them down. It’s as easy as that, and I know Mother Nature always provides such moments. For example:
Two lionesses walked through our parking-area in full sight of the guests having dinner. It took three minutes to ‘load’ the guests onto safari vehicles and off we went, on an impromptu mini-safari. We followed the two for about 15 minutes as they strolled around behind camp looking for something to eat – if only they had known we were busy serving beef in the restaurant.
Over Easter Weekend regular Wildlife Camp guests, the Wendels from Lilongwe paid us a visit and brought with them fresh-from-the-oven hot-cross buns as well as Easter eggs, much to the delight of Herman and myself! That was very nearly our Moment of the month!
And then there was the data our new toy, a motion-sensor camera, collected. We now have the chance of snapping all the animals that walk in and around camp at night. Porcupines, hippos, genets, civets, elephants and hyenas have all been caught on camera.
But the best thing about March, in my mind in any case, are the sunsets. One afternoon after another, the sky is filled with dramatic colours as the sun disappears behind the Muchinga escarpment. It is a well know fact that Wildlife Camp has the best sunsets in the Luangwa Valley and we made sure to enjoy each and every one of them!
As we prepare for yet another busy season, (Wildlife Camp’s 21st busy season!) we made sure to get the one of the best guiding teams in Zambia together.
James Zulu was added to our team and brings with him more than a decade of guiding experience, a friendly smile, bush-knowledge that is second to none and willingness to please each and every guest. He also brings a whole lot of luck to the table – while out on only his second drive with Wildlife Camp guests he came across 3 leopards and even saw one of them making a kill!
Originally from a military background, James came to Mfuwe in 1998 where he first started working as barman. He soon passed his driving and walking guide exams and has since built up a reputation as one of the top guides in the Luangwa Valley.
We wish James the best of luck and are looking forward to working with him.
The rest of our guiding team will consist of our old trsust stalwards Billy, BJ and Su.
Moment of the month.
The goal of Wildlife Camp’s newsletters have never been to tell you how fantastic Wildlife Camp is or to make you believe that nothing ever goes wrong. Whether it’s a small little owner run camp in the middle of some bush somewhere in Africa, or the 7 star Burj Al Arab in Dubai, things will always go wrong in this industry! However, I do think that the things that go wrong here are a little bit different from the things that go wrong there.
I can not imagine that the resident Burj cat, Couscous has ever proudly dragged her freshly-caught-and-still-kicking-squirrel into the restaurant just as guests sit down for a cup of tea… It has happened here. Neither can my mind fathom baboons playing on the Burj’s watertank and damaging the float-switch connection resulting in a couple of guests unable to shower in the morning… That happened here at Wildlife Camp over Easter Weekend!
So, every now and then disaster strikes, but it’s right then and there, while trying to get yourself out of a sticky situation, that magic happens. One such a disaster resulted in our moment of the month. Here is what happened:
Wildlife Camp’s workshop had recently repainted all our safari vehicles and it was with one of these that guide Su and his spotter Mago set off on safari one afternoon. They looked picture-perfect in their ‘new’ car complete with Wildlife Camp logo’s and a shining set of new tires.
Unfortunately, after the painting job the car’s wiring was not put back perfectly and just after dark it shorted resulting in a small fire. With 15 years of experience between them, Su and Mago remained calm and controlled the situation brilliantly, according to the guests. They got the safari-goers away from the car and quickly managed to bring the small fire under control. Afraid that the problem might ‘flame up’ once more they called the camp for assistance and asked the guests to remain patient – help is on its way. Now they were stranded in the bush, quite far away from camp, but our guests were in good spirits after some lovely animal sightings and enjoyed some star-gazing and trying to locate south by using the southern cross… That is until two male lions roared barely 50meters behind them! The TV show “I shouldn’t be alive” was in all probability the first thing that went through their minds and everybody soon retreated back onto the vehicle which was now standing on the road motionless and lightness… But at least it looked pretty with its new lick of paint.
I arrived with a second Land Rover about an hour after all this happened (as I said, the brake-down occurred as far away as you can possibly get from Wildlife Camp on a normal game-drive) and by then Su had convinced another camp’s car, who was on its way back for dinner, to take our guests to go and see the lions. It was now 20:15 and with the park-gates closing at 20:00 we knew we had to get going, the fresh Land Rover towing the broken one. The drive back did not disappoint either – a big male leopard trying to hunt, hyenas right by the side of the road, elephants blocking the way… We only arrived in camp at 22:00 that night, but when we sat down for dinner the guests all agreed – it was one of the best safaris they had ever been on! These photos are courtesy of one of the survivors of that safari: Yaser Rabie
If you’d also like to come on safari with us (we’ll try and make sure the cars down catch fire) or if you are a travel agent and would like to send your guests to South Luanwa, please e-mail me at conradtcooke@wildlifezambia to set up a meeting for Indaba in Durban this year.
That is all from all of us here at Wildlife Camp.