Every time I start off with one of Wildlife Camp’s newsletters, I feel the urge to say it was a ‘busy month.’ Well, May was truly a busy month – we can be glad it had 31 days, otherwise June would have started with May’s tasks still unfinished!
There seems to be a misconception that hyenas are lazy animals. People think they sleep all day, and at night wander about the bush until they find something to eat, before they go back to sleep. That same laziness misconception applies to working in the tourism industry, and more specifically the safari industry. Guests often think that we drive around in Jeeps all day long looking at animals hunt other animals… But, unfortunately we do not.
During May Wildlife Camp spent some time at Indaba in South Africa, we celebrated Labour Day with the rest of the world and we put up a couple of tents, a bush-shower and a shady shelter under three big Mahogany trees next to the River Luangwa. So, there was not a lot of time to spend in our “Jeeps”, but that was not a problem seeing as a leopard made her way right up to restaurant chasing some baboons! Who needs a Jeep when you can have a comfortable chair…
International Workers Day, or May-Day as it is known in some parts of the world, is also celebrated here in the Zambian bush.
Each year Wildlife Camp nominates two of our employees to be honoured at the annual Labour Day Celebrations organized by our local district council. This year, Margomelo Phiri and Lackson Banda were named as our employees of the year for their contributions made to Wildlife Camp. Margomelo is a gardener (his garden can be seen on the photo) by day and a professional spotter by night. He always has the biggest smile on his face and is never shy to share some of his knowledge on the trees around camp with guests. Lackson is a night-watchman and I can honestly not remember a single day that he was sick or absent or late for work. He is always friendly and often goes the extra mile to make sure our guests feel safe at night.
Each one received a little-bit less than a full month’s salary in cash as well as a Wildlife Camp shirt and cap and a certificate. They also got the chance to be handed their prizes by the DC of the Mambwe district, Mrs. Janet Palukani. Thanks guys!
Herman spent some time in South Africa attending Indaba, Africa’s largest travel trade show. It was great to meet up with old-friends that we have been doing business with for years-and-years! We also met some new faces and got re-acquainted with others. Thank you to all who made the time to sit down and chat with Herman! If you have any further questions or remarks about Wildlife Camp and what we do here, feel free to contact us, day or night.
Overnight Walking Safari!
It is not often that the words ‘overnight’ and ‘walking’ and ‘safari’ are used in the same sentence… Well, here at Wildlife Camp we not only use these words regularly; we also make an experience of a lifetime out of it!
As always at the end of May, Wildlife Camp starts operating our very popular overnight-walking safaris. Our little bushcamp with its buckets shower, hole-in-a-ground toilets and some dome tents are up and we are really looking forward to sending the first guests for the season there over the first weekend in June!
“Do not expect luxury, expect the bush!” is the best way to sum up our overnight walking safaris. Guests take a late-afternoon walk with Su and David, Wildlife Camp’s guide & scout team, and arrive at the bushcamp as the sun sets over the Luangwa River. Baggage and a cold drink will already be waiting for them and before long Amon, our expert bushcook, appears out of the “kitchen” to start the fire he’ll use for cooking. Hoisting a bucket, into a tree, filled with water boiled over the fire means that something as every-day as a hot shower is turned into a unique experience. Guide, scout and guests dine together and share stories of their time spent in the African bush before retreating into dome-tents for a good night’s rest.
An early morning wake up with a cup of steaming coffee is followed by breakfast in the bush before we head back to camp, on foot off course.
It is an experience not to be missed! If you want any further information please contact Retha on email@example.com
Moment of the Month!
It was the end of another busy day here at Wildlife Camp and the sun was heading towards the Muchinga escarpment. There were impala and puku grazing on the short ‘kapinga’ grass between us and the river and the baboons were entertaining staff and guests alike with their play-and-groom routine. Then, out of nowhere, all these animals started alarm-calling – something was up! I asked our Spanish guests who happened to be sipping on G&T’s at that very moment to write the story from here. (I added my own two cents in italics).
“We are travelling for a year through Africa and last week we spent a couple of days in South Luangwa National Park.
We arrived at Mfuwe. Before the Park Gate there is a cross that indicates the different Camping Sites and Lodges and we decided to stay in the nearest one (we were really tired because of the road between Chipata and Mfuwe) and not in Wildlife Camp as we planned and were told to do by everybody that we met on the road.
After two days we took our first idea and moved to Wildlife Camp and since the first minute we felt that this was a special place as hippos, birds, baboons, crocks… were all around and for free.
In our first sunset we saw the elephants coming close to the bar and we went there to drink a gin tónic. Amazing!
Our second sunset we went to the bar earlier and wait…
No elephants came but, after a while, a leopard ran from the bush (there is a thick combretum bush a couple of meters in front of the restaurant and within the blink of an eye the cat had made it from the bush to right next to the restaurant!) and jumped into a tree trying to hunt a baboon only 20 steps from us!
Leopards never attack people (I would not say never, but they are more likely to run away than run towards you when confronted) but we did not know this and when we reacted we ran into the bar… Another strong G&T please! Ja ja. The sudden movement of the guests jumping up, along with their screams of excitement and fear stopped the leopard from further pursuing the baboons up the tree. It dashed down the Jackal-berry tree (from now on we’ll call that one a Leopard-berry tree) as quickly as she had ascended it and disappeared back into the thick bushes.
Judging by the baboon barks, and fresh tracks the next morning, the leopard stuck around through the night, on the prowl for something to eat.
We know that we were very lucky but in this wonderful place everything can happen.
Remember: when you arrive to the cross in Mfuwe, don’t doubt, turn left to Wildlife Camp!”
Nacho and Mónica.
Canary Islands, Spain.
Unfortunately we do not have photos of this moment, so I filled the space with some more bushcamp photos. But just to give you an idea of what happened, Retha made this brilliant artwork to give a clearer picture! Enjoy!
On that high note, it is time to say goodbye.
Next month we’ll be looking at a new book by Mary Earnshaw (check it out at www.cosiandveyn.co.uk). It is set here in the Luangwa Valley, and a lot of the inspiration for the book comes from Wildlife Camp! But more on that in the June edition of Wildlife Camp’s newsletter.
Kind Regards from all of us here at Wildlife Camp, in the majestic Luangwa Valley, Zambia.