This month is the real challenge with a lot of rain, incredible encounters on drives, fixing, painting and thatching. But also, my thoughts were with the people in Chile suffering from that terrible earthquake. We still enjoyed to welcome our guests in a beautiful, green Camp despite some heavy rains and storms. For one week we picked up the clients at Kapani Lodge, our staff had the new task to paddle across the stream with our banana boat and the adventure started! The first trips across were a learning process and I felt sorry for the bushes! But they learnt very fast how to handle the paddles and bamboo sticks, and the guests came very safely across the water and certainly enjoyed the trip.
Everyday they could go out for a drive and one early morning they spotted two leopards, one serval and a big herd of buffalos. Of course not to mention the incredible birdlife, the timeless elephants and many other resident animals. In front of our restaurant the crocodiles are patrolling, and unfortunately one Impala struggled to cross the river for the pleasure of those amazing hunters!
The maintenance of our Camp is a continuous process and we finished painting the restaurant. The new reception slowly gets its final touches and the campsite will need much effort at the end of the rainy season. The river bank collapsed and suddenly, we have an open space overlooking the river – sadly some trees are gone. But our staff are highly motivated, and we work daily on all sides to try have a beautiful place for the coming season.
We also have the great pleasure of announcing that our highly qualified guides have renewed their contracts for the next year.
You will meet again:
- Phillimon Banda; the quiet, philosophic man with his great knowledge about ecology and nature.
- Andrew Mweetwa; the bushlover, storyteller and his skills for the languages.
- Sylvester Mbaama; the most friendly, gentle man and the favorite for children.
- Billy Nkhoma; the man with the greatest laugh and excellent host.
- Our kitchen staff will be the same too, as well as the staff in the bar and restaurant. Not to forget the housekeepers and all the women and men working quietly in the garden, workshop and carpentry following their daily duties.
We wish you all a very happy Easter
Dora and the Wildlife Team.
And now some updates from Patsy…
It’s only by the size that Goose and Finn (banded mongooses) have grown that I realize how time has flown by since the last news letter. They have been fascinating to hand rear, and I have been able to learn so much about them. Mongooses are incredibly sociable animals and constant attention has ensured that they have bonded well with Evance (the squirrel), and I.
All of us cuddle on the couch in the evenings (and they do purr like cats – something I never knew mongooses did). Yesterday we went on our first walk together along the river bank – they kept very close to me, constantly marking my feet – something they do to ensure there is a good scent trail to follow. As I sit and type this on the deck in front of my house (overlooking the Luangwa and amazing sunset) they are all with me and the mongooses are showing very typical behavior – constantly on the move and turning over stones and looking into and under everything.
I have weaned them off the bottle, but they are still on baby porridge and now also eggs, chicken and mince. They also forage for themselves – finding worms, grasshoppers and many other insects. They spend the day outside in my garden so are free to go, if and when they want to, but at the moment still come inside at night.
It will be interesting to see how long they want my company for. I am fairly certain they will join a wild troop(or mongaggle?) as soon as they are mature. I am curious to see how they react to my children, who have been away since February on holiday with Herman in South Africa and are due back for Easter, as at the moment they are extremely wary of any other people and take cover as soon as any people are seen. I have not encouraged them to get to know people as being wary is what they need if they go back to the wild – so I want them to retain as much instinct as possible and humans are not part of this.
Easter weekend is upon us and we have great plans – an Easter egg hunt and picnic brunch in the park has become a tradition for us. Our good rains have ensured the Katete River will still be flowing, and cooling off in the clear, flowing water is always appreciated after all that chocolate and excess picnic fare.
I will be at Indaba again, so I hope to see any of our agents who are attending.
Patsy and the extended family