Good morning from a sunny Zambia! This news letter will be slightly longer than usual as this is the first time that we have been sending this out in email form to some of our guests and friends. If you are reading this on the website and would like to receive this monthly please email me your email address on email@example.com and for those receiving this on email form you might like to look at our website on www.wildlifecamp-zambia.com
Our news letter is written up by Colleen (who is out here for the season and is the teacher – we now have a small school at our house for Byron and Tara and another 6 children from ZAWA and the local community) Colleen also helps around camp and somehow with her around we seem to be getting a more single men in camp???
Comments from Colleen:
I thought I would start this newsletter with a Zambian greeting, Bwanji, which is the general word for hello.
The amazing thing about living out here is no 2 days are ever the same, the Valley changes dramatically with the seasons, the river is constantly changing and every sunset and sunrise is as beautiful as the ones before but always so different. We are meeting new and exciting people everyday and we get to learn so much about different cultures and traditions. There is also the excitement of returning guests whose familiar faces we are always happy to see. There is never a dull moment.
The temperature has definitely dropped and winter is upon us. I myself feel the cold and am dressed as if going to the snow. But I can assure you it is not that cold as everyone else is still dressed as if going to the beach. The mighty Luangwa is definitely shrinking and is no longer the raging river from a few months ago. It is now just more apparent how many crocodiles and hippos live in these waters. I have been informed that as the dry month’s progress I will see more and more of these amazing creatures and the many I am seeing now are just the tip of the ice-burg.
There has been a lot of excitement in and around camp this month. We had a Mexican night last Thursday which was a great treat. Evan’s freshly made nachos were delicious, and Jerry made perfect torteias and once filled with all the goodies were to die for. It was a great fun had by all. Patsy has been demonstrating one of her many talents which included making Sushi. This was definitely something I did not expect to learn in the valley, how to make and eat Sushi. Using chopsticks was an added bonus.
Our resident female leopard has been around for the last week. Herman and I were lucky enough to witness her take down an impala in front of our houses. It was very exciting as she pounced on the unexpected victim. However she was unlucky as the Hyenas were on her tail and as soon she had pounced they came running in to steal her meal. Both Leopard and impala escaped the hyena’s jaws as she had not yet killed her prey yet, and in all the confusion they both got up and ran away. It was definitely something I will not forget in a hurry. It was one of my most exciting moments to date. I have been informed by Levy that a large male leopard has been sited around our bush camp. Phillimon and myself were on a drive on Sunday and heard the alarm calls of the baboons, we were expecting to find the Lions and their cubs which have been spotted on an almost daily basis, and I was hoping to catch them on my camera, however we disturbed a large male leopard who came shooting out of the bush and past us into the deep thickets, Unfortunately in all the excitement I did not get a photograph, I did however manage to get a blurry picture of the tip of the tail.
Billy and Phillimon have spotted a large pride of Lions in the GMA (Game Management area). They were on the road back to camp the other night around Kalawani pan. There are also two lionesses with three new cubs which I mentioned before that have been spotted almost daily. I unfortunately have the luck of a frog and have not yet seen them. Phillimon and his guests had an exciting rare site of a honey badger. One of our other guides had wild dog chasing impala in front of the land rover, unfortunately they did not get to see the outcome of the hunt as they ran into the thickets, but still a very exhilarating experience for both the clients and guide involved. The game viewing is improving with the drying up of the park and we expect it to only get better with the season.
The hand reared bushbuck, Esmeralda and Bob have been around camp a lot, they are looking very healthy and are doing well. “Bushy” also came back a few days ago – with a lovely large male in tow, and is looking very pregnant so it will be interesting to see if she brings her baby around. Patsy can still go up to her, but she is becoming very wary of other people. Generally bushbucks are solitude animals that are part of the Tragelephines family. These antelope have either stripes and or spots which are used for camouflage; they give the illusion of light coming through the trees. Some other antelope in this family are the kudu, Nyala and Eland.
– as there have been a few changes in our staff we would like to give you the updates on who is who!
Here at wildlife we have a large family of staff, some whom you will never see or meet but play a vital role in the running of the camp.
We have our great management team, the guides, reception and bar, house keepers, kitchen staff who feed us all, our grounds men who keep the camp gardens and lawns tidy, our workshop guys who ensure the vehicles are working and do all our repairs around the ground. We all work together to give you the best possible stay. We look forward to meeting you all.
Here are just a few of the faces you will meet when coming to wildlife:
Herman, “known as Bwana”. Can be found tinkering in the workshop, doing guided walks, or his favorite past time, seated in front of the TV watching Super Sport. This year especially with the World cup rugby who can blame him.
Patsy can always be found clicking away on the computer in the office. Patsy is “the Boss” and is normally who you will communicate with for reservations. She is woman of many talents, and can always be called on for advice, in all areas. Byron and Tara the youngest of Patsy and Herman’s children will often be heard before seen.
Oscar is the manager along with his wife Miriam; they came to wildlife in March 2006 from Zimbabwe with their son Reece. Oscar is general camp manger and overseas the daily running of the camp. Miriam is our caterer and head of the reception.
Phillimon is one of our more serious guides, and occasionally cracks a joke which normally confuses us as we all take what he says seriously. Conservation and wildlife is of great importance to him. His love of nature was passed down to him from his father. Phillimon received a bursary in 2005 from the Luangwa safari association, to study and train as a guide. He passed his exam in May 2006. Philemon is currently studying for his walking guides; he has passed the theory and will be doing the practical next year. Philemon is currently working on a project to encourage the locals and lodges to work together to keep the GMA and village areas litter free.
Phillimon would like to further his education in ecology or similar fields.
Billy can normally be heard before he’s seen! Billy is originally from Malawi, where he worked in a big hotel as a cook. Billy moved to Zambia in 2003, where he joined the wildlife family as a chef and was based in our bush camp. Billy excelled and soon became head chef. His great bubbly personality, love of the bush and his determination soon got him out of the kitchen and into the seat of a land rover. Billy qualified as a guide in 2006. His clients are always smiling at the end of every drive and Billy’s jokes and smile are very memorable. Billy is hoping to sit for his grade 1 in 2008.
Sylvester Mbaama is the eldest of a family of four. He was born in Lusaka. As a young boy at school, Sylvester had a passion for wildlife and conservation and joined the conservation clubs at school. In 1998 Sylvester moved to the Valley to live with his uncle and to finish school. He joined the Ncheka Basic School conservation club, where he was appointed as the chairman of the club. In 2003 Sylvester joined our team as a waiter; he worked hard and was promoted to barman. In 2006 Sylvester became a trainee guide and with great determination and lots of hard work he sat this year and passed. Sylvester loves the bush and showing his guests the beauties of the park. He especially enjoys sharing his knowledge of the animals, birds and the flora in the Luangwa.
Andrew started with us in August 2006 as a barman. He attended the Guides course in early 2007 (on a bursary from LSA) and then sat his exam in April and got highest marks in the written. Andrew has a vast knowledge in all areas but especially enjoys mammals and birds. Andrew has an amazing ability to learn languages, and is fluent in 7 local languages and is always learning different languages from the guests. Andrew has an outgoing personality and is very enthusiastic about his job; he loves to learn and is always asking questions. He is married with 2 small children.
Andrew Bwaylia is our main walking guide. He started his career as an escort scout for ZAWA and become a grade 2 guide in and passed his grade one exam in. He is a quiet and calm person and this is reflected in his safety standards on the walks.
Wishing everyone a good July!
Patsy and the Wildlife Team