Travel News from Zambia – MAY 2018
The lion welcome is the soundtrack from Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa
Although our normal rains have finished there has been some unusual rain coming from the south. I always think of this as cold rain, unlike our rain from the tropics. The showers have been light and quickly over. Temperatures are ‘nice’ – not too hot and not too cold (14-30ºC) – and the sun is shining. Perfect.
Throughout Zambia the operators have been getting ready to open bush camps for the coming busy season. As the park roads dried out, the teams could get through to their camps and start to renovate and, in some cases, totally rebuild. One by one the camps in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi have opened. Some camps in Kafue are still not accessible easily – Busanga and Nanzhila Plains. Nanzhila is accessible only by the travel-hardy but Steve and Cindy are on site and ready – visitors need to take the long way round via the cordon road. Liuwa opened again for self-drive visitors.
The wildlife in the parks are dominated by all the young ones which have been born during the rains. There have been some wonderful sightings of families, especially the predators. Although elephants can have their young at any time of the year, there were plenty of births during the rainy season. A female elephant will have been pregnant for 22 months prior to giving birth and the young one will be dependent upon her milk for the first 2 years of its life.
The Zambezi River
The Victoria Falls are still full, visitors getting wet on their walk along the precipice opposite. As you can see from the photograph atop, I took the dry route along the riverside. Definitely the ‘smoke which thunders’. The river has been extremely high. The whitewater rafting is closed until the water goes down – expected in late June. All the water is arriving in Lake Kariba and filling up the lake. In 2015 the lake level reached a serious low causing a loss of power generation but it seems as if now, three years later, the lake will return to its ‘proper’ level. In some ways this is sad as the many islands which appeared during 2015-17 will be drowned again.
As I have mentioned, Zambia is football crazy and a lot of our domestic tourism is by fans following their teams. The league started in March and most teams have now played 14 games. The top three teams so far are:
1 ZESCO United based in Ndola at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium (last year’s winners)
2 Green Buffaloes based in Lusaka at Woodlands Stadium
3 Power Dynamos based in Kitwe at Arthur Davies Stadium
It can, of course, change during the season of 38 matches.
Livingstone held its annual Cultural Festival. I will write a bit more under Livingstone.
Around the Regions from Social Media (and me)
Livingstone Cultural Festival
Livingstone played host to Zambia’s annual Cultural Festival. Here are some of the performers.
First came the Tonga, the people who live along Lake Kariba. Their ‘music’ is quite threatening. Have a look.
Next came the Toka Leya from around Livingstone.
These were followed by the Nkoya from Kaoma, a town between Lusaka and Liuwa Plain National Park. These are the performers shown in the header for Livingstone
Then came one of my favourites. The Mambwe/Lungu performers from Mpulungu on Lake Tanganyika. Notice the use of three-legged stools and pots to make music.
Finally, I watched a group of Kaonde people who live around Kafue National Park. If you visit Kafue National Park you will find that many of the staff are Kaonde. Notice their hats are made using traditional bark manufacture.
The Zambezi is full. At this time of the year the Falls are spectacular, mainly from the air
Safari Par Excellence, our activity company, is quiet at the moment. The Zambezi River is high and raging down the gorges, unsafe for whitewater rafting. The good news is that the river has started to go down quickly and that we hope to be able to start rafting again in June.
AVANI’s Falls Sports Café
This May saw the opening of AVANI’s new Sports Café. The Café is located in the Activity Centre of the resort and is the perfect way for guests to enjoy their favourite matches – rugby, football or cricket. With several large TV screens, visitors can be sure they won’t miss any of the action. We are open every day except Mondays.
Taita Falcon Lodge
I went for lunch at Taita Falcon Lodge – a lodge perched on the edge of the gorges. If you would like to read more, click on the photograph below:
I also went for a walk around Chundukwa Lodge, along the Zambezi River, upstream of the Victoria Falls. If you would like to read more, click on the photograph below:
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Hippo Lodge is on the east of Kafue National Park and accessed via Mumbwa. They have been busy on social media during the month.
Hippo lodge is situated on the East bank of the Kafue River. How amazing it is to sit next to this Majestic river in the morning, coffee in hand soaking up the first rays of the sun while Hippo greet each other and Elephant stroll by in the early morning. What a way to start the day!
Our Hot springs could not be more inviting! Among many of the activities that we offer, bathing in the hot springs is always a winner!
We are so excited to announce that Hippo Lodge is now only a 3.5-hour drive from Lusaka!!! The road has been graded and awaiting your arrival.
Kaingu Safari Lodge
So when a 1.5 ton beast of a hippo decides the deck is there to be walked on it is inevitable that it is not going to end well. Sunday work schedule is now set!
Mukambi Safari Lodge – Tsetse Repellent
Though Tsetse flies play a vital role in the ecosystem at Kafue, they can be an annoyance at times; having a habit of landing on you or your camera just at the wrong moment. We at Mukambi have the perfect solution… smoking elephant dung in purpose-built holders attached to our game viewers! Photo: Joanne Hedger
Game Rangers International at Camp Phoenix
Njanji and Kakaro have just returned to the boma after their morning walk in the bush on their first day as part of the release herd. Reports from the keepers suggest that Chamilandu, the herd Matriarch, has been very protective over the two newcomers, following them around and protecting them from the dominant males of the herd. Njanji and Kakaro are easily identifiable at this stage, not only because they are the smallest, but because of their orange colour caused by the soil in the areas surrounding the Lilayi Elephant Nursery. After a few more dips in the boma pools, they will soon reveal their natural grey colour and blend in with the rest of the herd!
Baines’ River Camp
“I PACKED FOR A PURPOSE”
A massive thank you to our very generous guests who “Packed for a Purpose”. Jerry & Marcia Albrecht and Chuck & Jeanne Short filled their luggage with 15 pounds worth of supplies for The Chiawa Rural Medical Clinic. We received 52 dental kits for the children, baby growers, leggings and tops and homemade knitted beanies.
It’s a gesture like this that has such a positive impact on our local community and we are exceedingly grateful for all of your efforts
Kanyemba Lodge & Kanyemba Island Bush Camp
Slower Zambezi – a slo-mo HD video shot and edited by Eugenio Manghi and Annalisa Losacco in the Kanyemba surroundings. Enjoy!
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
Incredible sighting of a breeding herd of elephants with up to 50 individuals, passing by Kafunta River Lodge
Now that the Kafunta season is in full swing, so is the use of the pontoon crossing the Luangwa River.
Gavin Opie Safaris – Nkonzi Camp
Nearly ready for camp opening… only 2 days to go until our first guests arrive for 2018! Can’t wait to share this seasons sightings and experiences from Nkonzi Camp
It’s that time of the year and our bush camp is about to open! Our bush camp is a rustic camp situated on the banks of the Luangwa river. You will experience bucket showers, three course dinners cooked on open fire and bread baked in a termite-mound oven.
Although its probably more common to find hyenas living as solitary scavengers, tracking down and defending a big meal certainly seems easier when working as a group. This made an excellent sighting for our guests who spotted over 8 hyenas surrounding a one-week old elephant carcass, chewing on the left-over bones and trying to defend their feast from pestering vultures.
Remote Africa Safaris
Chikoko Tree Camp is opening today – there have been lions heard calling most days in the vicinity of the camp and so we’re hoping for some good lion sightings in the coming weeks!
Robin Pope Safaris
Seeing a pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal, in the wild is an incredibly rare sighting.
So, just imagine the shock and disbelieve when Ed Selfe who led a photo safari at John’s Camp recently uttered on their game drive “Um, please go back, I think I’ve just seen a pangolin!” And there it was!
It’s safari moments like these that give us goosebumps!
How’s this for a sighting…. A female leopard with her cub feeding on an impala kill, followed shortly by three wild dogs who tried to jump up and steal the impala carcass (unsuccessfully). The dogs ran directly next to the Flatdogs vehicle and quickly headed off into the sunset.
NSUMBU NATIONAL PARK
Ndole Bay Lodge
Releasing the 21kg Tanganyika Perch! The fishing in May has been amazing so far. Thanks again Andy for the footage as we love a good live release to promote conservation fishing on Lake Tanganyika. It can often be hard to release these fish as they are brought up from depth but by using Ventafish and live wells on your boat, anyone can do it.
Morkel Du Preez to Isanga Bay Lodge
Thank You to Mr. Marcel Biasca for this short video on his drive down to Isanga Bay Lodge.