November sees the start of our rainy season in Zambia. The rains will continue until March/April. It is a beautiful time of year with many animals having their young. The birds are breeding and sitting on nests full of eggs. Wild flowers and herbs burst out of the ground covering the landscape in blues, reds and yellows.
This is the time of year, though, when many areas become inaccessible. Zambia is a land of rivers and floodplains unlike some of our neighbouring countries. When the rains come, our wildlife estates can become boggy. I am sure you are thinking that the Okavango in Botswana is open throughout the year and the Okavango is also very watery. The difference between the Okavango and floodplains in Zambia is that our floodplains are on clay soil whereas the Okavango is on sand. Anyone who has ever driven on wet clay soil will tell you that it is not easy …
North Luangwa, Luambe and Lower Zambezi National Parks closed during the month.
Some parts of Kafue National Park closed – Nanzhila and Busanga Floodplains.
The Bush Camps in South Luangwa closed.
However, the good news is that Liuwa Plain is at the start of the wildebeest migration. Kasanka is in the middle of the bat migration.
Now, from around the country, here are some photographs and comments from the tour operators.
The photograph is of Livingstone Airport, officially named Harry Mwanga Nkumbula.
Around Livingstone at this time of year we always have plenty of elephants in the park and outside. They are often seen swimming across the Zambezi River, to and from Zimbabwe, so this is a great time for a river cruise.
The Victoria Falls are still dry-ish but will fill up after a storm often with very muddy water.
The birdlife is great. Here are some pics of birds in my garden – bush-shrike, cuckoo and kingfisher.
The Explorer Club At the Victoria Falls Waterfront
So you’ve seen the construction and you’re thinking WHAT’S GOING ON!? Well, I’ll tell you. We are getting ready for shiny new rooms within the Adventure Village… VERY exciting! Check out the new & improved auditorium too
Visitor this morning at The Waterfront.. where the really really wild get wanderlust too
Zambezi White Water Festival
The inaugural Zambezi White Water Festival kicked off on the 9-11 November, a celebration of the Zambezi River and the rafting community who call the banks of the Zambezi River home. The competition side saw seven 6-man amateur rafting teams battling it out to be the “Champions of the Zambezi”. The event took place over three days, hosted at The Victoria Falls Waterfront by Safari-Par-Excellence. Designed to be a celebration of the river itself and the white water community lifestyle, the festivities included DJ’s and local and regional bands- DJ Claudous, Livingstone local Shyman, Black Mamba Man and band Chicken Bus all made it an event to be remembered for the spectators. The Victoria Falls Waterfront also hosted a kiddies play area, craft area and food stands, selling a variety of local and international foods ranging from crocodile skewers to American styled burger sliders. The Livingstone community pulled together and we had an epic weekend and Mosi Lager sponsored a large part of the festivities.
On the river the teams competed in 3 main events based on time; with each second used representing a point, least points wins. The competitors had a practice day on the Friday to get to grips with the formula of the race.
On the Saturday morning the first event was a timed individual sprint between Rapids 1 and 4, this saw teams taking on some challenging lines and one flip from “The Big, the Bad and the Ugly” a Zimbabwean team from Bulawayo. The second event was a mass start race from above Rapid 6, this saw teams careening into Rapid 6 with some interesting results. “Team Montana with a token Welshman” a group of travelling Americans won this event by a long margin. The final component of the competition was a slalom race between Rapids 12A and 13, this event saw teams criss-crossing the river to reach six attainment areas. Additionally teams were judged on clean lines at Rapids 5, 7 and 11, where a dropped paddle, swimmer or flip resulted in penalty points. Despite a carnage ridden practice day in Rapid 7 the race day saw all teams having clean lines and no swimmers. As an additional event the Zambezi White Water Festival hosted the “Surf and Turf” in Rapid 18, known for being a big retentive flipping hole. The event saw the competitors attempting to contrive the biggest most spectacular flip or surf in this infamous rapid.
Despite a very close set of times “Team Montana with a token Welshman” took the first prize a “Flight of Angels” trip for the entire team proudly sponsored by Batoka Sky.
Second place was taken by “Team Protea & Bushtracks” who won seven bungee jumps sponsored by Shearwater Bungee.
The third prize went to the elegantly named “Zambezi Seamen” who won a trip for seven with Zambezi Expeditions.
“Team Montana with a token Welshman” also took the prize in the Surf and Turf Competition with a spectacular performance, winning themselves a buffet breakfast sponsored by Avani Hotel.
Safpar would like to thank all the sponsors, participants and supporters of the event. All in all a great event and stay tuned for next year!
Thorn Tree Safaris
We all survived … and repeated this epic ride twice again this year , in July and August , alot cooler and friendly but just as crazy excellent!!
Our months are getting busy but we can still fit in one or two more Lusaka to Mfuwe Cycle Safaris in 2018
(G: Thorn Tree Safaris is based in Livingstone, hence the reason for plonking the story here. You never know where Claire and Sean will be with their cycle tours, so I will keep them under Livingstone.)
Livingstone’s Adventure Victoria Falls
The catch from a Zambezi River Fishing expedition last month.
Our very first Cassia Fistula flower of the year at Kayube. In one week time the tree will be laden
Mindola Dam, Rokana Sailing & Boating Club
Sunday 19th saw the final fishing competition of 2017 taking place at Mindola Dam. All the proceeds raised from the competition will be going to charity. … 10 teams competed, 27 people fished and 118 fish were captured and released. The heaviest fish weighed in at 1.4kg … Many, many thanks to all our sponsors through the year, Panorama Security (Hendrik), our fisherpeople, supporters, club barmen and staff … you’re all legends …
1st – Team “Fishmore” – Charlotte, Marguerite, Richard and Skipper Andy …
Lake Safari Lodge
Lake Safari Lodge was established in 1977. In September we celebrated our 40th anniversary.
As everyone who visits Lake Safari Lodge knows, we are constantly bettering our services and clients always find something new. We lend our success to our amazing hard working staff and our patrons. We are not perfect and we are humbled to have clients from Companies to Government and everyone in between. All are welcome! You make us great!
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Mukambi Safari Lodge
Two more days until the time has come to pack up Mukambi Plains Camp for this season. What an exquisite four months it has been! We can see and smell the rains approaching, the green season is on our doorstep and the plains will soon become inaccessible. But what a grand finale we’ve had! The enormous fig tree above our main boma has started dropping its fruits, a delicacy to many: bats, birds and big boys…
Nanzhila Plains Safari Camp
To celebrate a wonderful 2017 season for Nanzhila, we’ve put together some our best moments (caught on camera) from throughout the year.
G: I will show a few this month but as Nanzhila is closed until around May, I will put in more during the coming months just to remind you what to look forward to in the coming season.
Kaingu Safari Lodge
Friday evening here on the river. Elephants and sundowners.
Just back from *yet* another Mpamba rock sunset. Totally surreal with incredible light, rainbows, distant storms and everything turning green. Mpamba rock rocks.
Jeffery & McKeith Safaris
Some fascinating behaviour seen at our seasonal camp on the famed Busanga Plains! Roan antelope feeding on the rib of a deceased hippo… Thanks to guest Ian Singer for the amazing image!
A beautiful photo of a regal sable bull.
Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro Camp
Leopard cub at Chiawa Camp, thanks Lee and team!
Time + Tide at Chongwe River Camp.
Good morning from Chongwe River Camp – what a view to wake up to!
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Uber Lower Zambezi … Royal Zambezi Lodges friendly security are there to fetch and deliver you to and from dinner and your room.
Baines’ River Camp
A pair of gorgeous bee-eaters! The various bee-eater species are some of the most splendid, acrobatic and fascinating birds that we see in the lower Zambezi bush.
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
During the month South Luangwa National Park was declared the world’s first International Sustainable Park for Tourism Development by the UNWTO.
There were many ‘boxes to tick’ for South Luangwa to be recognised as such. The operators and ZamParks have shown that the park is managed with full regard to the wildlife which live within it and the people who live in the surrounding areas. They have shown commitment to increasing visitor numbers but with due regard to uplifting the lives of the people who share this part of the world.
As the last ‘box to tick’ states: Mutual understanding, peace and security. South Luangwa has reached those goals.
And then the rain came down !!!! We had a heavy downpour yesterday afternoon with 30mm falling in a short time (photos taken from my house).Strong winds that sadly blew the roof of the Youth Centre for the Wildlife Society.
We have three new male lions pushing into the main game viewing area that for the last few years has been dominated by Ginger and Garlic. They seem to be doing quite well, hunting buffalo and even making the acquaintance of some of the lioness around. Our guides think there might be a power struggle in the coming months. See the new kids on the block below and watch this space for news!
Nkonzi without the camp! The last guests checked out on Wednesday, and with the rains threatening, we have been going flat out dismantling camp. Looks a bit different than a few days ago!
Edward Selfe Photography
Leopard eating a crocodile
Robin Pope Safaris
Precious moments captured in South Luangwa by Sherry McKelvie during her stay at Luangwa River Camp.
Did you know that lionesses share parental duties, and all lactating females in the group will assist with feeding until the infants are weaned?
Early morning, the end of dry season, brings everyone out of the bush and heading for water
Cranes, carmine bee-eaters, Cape buffalo, mother and child, elephant and giraffe.
A while back across Three Rivers Camp… A lion crossing the Luangwa River. Photos by Sverre Beugelink
The Bushcamp Company
Because who doesn’t need a couple of giraffe to brighten up a Monday?
photo by Mfuwe Lodge guest Lesley Weaver
Zambian Carnivore Programme
At over 11 years of age Wild Dog 73 of the Hot Springs Pack continues to successfully raise yet another litter, with 9 pups from 2017 still running with the pack. Photos by M. Becker
A wild dog pup from the Luangwa’s Mwasauke pack toys with an unamused vulture attending the pack’s kill. Photos by M. Becker
Munyamadzi Game Reserve
Yesterday we saw 18 wild dog on an afternoon drive. Unfortunately, there was a lot of brush between them and the camera and they moved off pretty quickly – and silently.
Always a lovely sighting and sign of real conservation success knowing they feel safe enough with plenty of prey to occur in such large numbers and maintain a presence in the area.
Photo: Martin Drud
LUAMBE NATIONAL PARK
Some fantastic sightings that one of our guests Bill Attwell, who visited us last month, managed to capture beautifully.
KASANKA NATIONAL PARK
Kasanka Trust Zambia
Bat Season offers more than just the bats! This beautiful Pel’s fishing owl was spotted along the Mulembo River by guests last week much to their excitement. Photo credit to Richard Peel.
Bangweulu Wetlands Zambia
With the first rains the Black Lechwe are coming back to the floodplains around Chikuni Station, soon thousands of them will cover the landscape. And with them are some newborn calves! Look at that little cutie taking a rest in the grass!
NORTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
Kapishya Hot Springs & Buffalo camp
Celebrating End of season.
Buffalo Camp is now closed!!
Below couple of photos from the last and arguably the most adrenaline packed walk of the season plus us taking the camp down.
See you again in June 2018!
NSUMBU NATIONAL PARK
Nkamba Bay Lodge
Road trip to Nkamba Bay Lodge and watching the sun rise! Blessing to see how darkness changes to welcome a brand new dawn!!
We have now retired our first purpose built dhow – ‘Nyumfi’ after many years of great service. Meet ‘Sokonto’ (Tiger Fish) our latest addition to the fleet. Locally built in nearby Munshi village and decked out for sunset cruises and snorkel trips. Her most notable feature is the hand drawn Tiger Fish jaws on the bow.
LIUWA PLAIN NATIONAL PARK
Time + Tide Norman Carr Safaris at King Lewanika.
Come and witness the marvels of Africa’s second biggest wildebeest migration for yourself!