Office Africa – October 2016
We have had a really great season. Over 70% of our guests this year had visited us at least once before and many more had been referred by past guests. There was a wonderful feeling of familiar friends at Kaingo and Mwamba Bush Camp during 2016. To those guests who joined us for the first time this year – welcome to the family; we look forward to welcoming you back in future seasons!
2016 was possibly the best game-viewing I can remember! Our game seems to be getting better year-on-year. We’ve been operating in this area for 24 years now and our presence, combined with the anti-poaching efforts of CSL and Derek’s firebreak networks in the back country, have encouraged the wildlife around our two camps to flourish.
As we approach our 25th anniversary we’ve decided to take Kaingo Camp and our logo through an evolution. To everyone who loves Kaingo and Mwamba for their authentic bush feel, fear not! Rest assured we are not planning to change the essence of the camp with this refurbishment, we are expanding the rooms and opening them right up to make them more spacious and give you a more expansive view of the river, Logo image to follow early next year.
We migrated to Kaingo en famille at the beginning of October. We had originally planned to be in camp for 2 weeks this October, but with the refurb demanding so much input from both Derek and I and home school being so flexible we decided to spend October and November in the bush. What a joy! October is my favourite photographic month of the season and whilst we’ve been too busy in camp to get out shooting much, our guests have been reporting phenomenal photographic opportunities.
In 2016 100% of our guests had spectacular leopard sightings. I get in trouble from our guides when I share percentages like this so I’m now going to duck for cover! As Derek and the guides always says there is so much in this beautiful wild place that is just as special to share as the cats. The cats are quite beautiful though…
The crew that has been here much of the season filming our lions has wrapped up and is off to cut the doco. There has been so much drama with the prides this year and we believe it’s going to make an incredible documentary. We’ll be sure to let you know when that comes out!
We’ve also had great dog sightings right throughout the season this year. The last three were found on a night towards the end of October at the mouth of Kaingo’s ebony grove where we watched them hunt impala on the beach.
We arrived at the Mwamba hide yesterday to find a pregnant, female impala stuck in the waterhole. She was surrounded by a group of playful eles with a Crested barbet drinking off to her right. She was valiantly struggling to get out, but was firmly wedged deep in the mud. None of us could bear to leave her there, and after asking the eles very nicely to vacate, Craig and Derek waded bravely into the quagmire. One last bull elephant refused to leave the scene and kept a watchful eye over the proceedings as the guys worked to successfully free her.
The month of November is racing along bringing with it the first rain showers. Grass is sprouting, leaves are budding and we’ve witnessed the stunning Feretia Flush when the dry, barren stalks of the Feretia aeruginescens burst into star jasmine like pink and white flowers. Warthog babies are emerging for the first time from burrows and last night we saw the first Impala fawns. Having never been in the park this late before I’m excited to see what further treasures the bush has to reveal as we race the rains to finish this build.
Our 2016 season has come to an end, and once again the South Luangwa has gifted us an exceptional 5 months! The beauty of this Park never ceases to amaze us… as the water levels receded this valley has changed to arid landscapes, with the exceptions of the Kigelia africana – the beautiful sausage trees – that in this month shed their leaves to grow emerald foliage in record time. They are green beacons in a sea of beige that remind us of the rains to come. The predators flourish in October, as their prey struggle to find food and the strength to escape. The incredible sightings started in May and snowballed throughout our season.
At the start of the season we introduced Craig’s fantastic idea of the Big Cat Roundup, starting as a way to log and monitor the movements of the Big Cats in our area. It is now one of our favourites, keeping you in touch with the beautiful felines you meet whilst with us. Either our lions; Hollywood or Kaingo/Mwamba and the dynamics of their prides. Or our resident leopards; Malaika, Chiphadzuwa, Luambe and so many more. We enjoyed keeping you up to date with their movements and news in our short and sweet “Log Book” blogs.
This season was also the start of our #NourishedByNature campaign, and we have been overwhelmed with the beautiful photographs and moments that you have shared with us. Derek & Jules introduced this campaign to share their fundamental beliefs in sharing this beautiful location with the world!
Some amazing sightings this season…
Each one of us have certain sightings that have stood out, but here are just a few links to the blogs that we loved this season:
- In the beginning of the season there were a lot of territorial disputes between the Hollywood Males and the Numbu Boys, with Mwamba Bushcamp being the dividing line. Many times the guests at Mwamba got to witness this back and forth banter from the morning tea area.
- Our guests sleeping at the Elephant Hide were woken to 2 different Wild Dog packs on either side of the river being extremely vocal. The one pack was directly below the platform, with the guests watching from above.
- Being able to witness the Hollywood Pride take down a Buffalo from start to finish was an amazing experience for both Guides and Guests!
- Being able to watch a Hyaena attack a Leopard in a tree, managing to grab its tail, was a great moment that was able to be caught on camera.
- Watching the growth of the Carmine Bee-eaters’ Colony this year was outstanding. The photographic opportunities from this hide with the morning light hitting the bank is a firm favourite amoung guests.
- And who can forget the amazing fight that happened between Malaika and Chiphadzuwa – mother vs daughter!
It has been fantastic to have a front row seat on the banks of the Luangwa River and watch it change over these few months. To have seen it in full flow to now just a small stream is always an amazing scene to witness. The lion activity in and around the camp has been phenomenal, especially in these last few weeks. We have had great sightings of lions right at the Hippo Hide while the hippos and elephants joined in on the action around the hide too. We also had a few of the younger lion pride members become a bit curious of the hide itself which proved great entertainment!
From the first day we knew this season was going to be extra special with amazing animal sightings. From having wild dogs running right through camp chasing bush buck to the Numbu Boys and the Hollywood Male Lions having their famous territorial dispute right where we enjoy tea and coffee in the early mornings. Some of our guests were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the two honey badgers that call Mwamba home, keeping all the staff on their toes making sure we didn’t leave our kitchen unlocked for them to raid our pantry. One night some of our guests were also lucky to experience the meet up of 4 different predators right in camp- a lioness, hyaena, a leopard and wild dogs. They were all after the remains of an impala that the leopard managed to bring down but got chased off by the lioness.
The Mwamba Hide, the Last Watering Hole as it’s known, has been non-stop action in the later months of the season. From the beautiful flocks of love birds enjoying the undisturbed water in the morning to the endless train of elephant families coming down throughout the day for a drink, some of our guests even shared a mud bath with an elephant down at the lower hide.
Every day that has passed has led to some life long memories. From all the staff at Mwamba it has been an absolute pleasure sharing our piece of heaven with our guests this year. For those of you who missed out this year we hope to see you all in 2017 where we hope to help create life long memories of the true African bush.
The intense October sun has left the valley parched- the ground arid and dusty and the life-giving Luangwa reduced to the faintest trickle. It can seem at this time of year that there is not much to be thankful for, as animals and people alike are waiting for one thing…rain.
But every cloud has a silver lining and here in Mfuwe, though the rains are still a few weeks away, we have been awash with a deluge of mangoes; sold in the village for 5 Kwacha ($0.50) a bucket.
I’m sure our guests in the Northern Hemisphere can appreciate the pure luxury of having sun-ripened mangoes on your doorstep. Far superior than a fruit that has been plucked before its peak then shipped halfway across the world, before it reaches your plate.
One of our chefs at Kaingo is Andrew Njobvu Junior, who particularly loves making desserts and sweet treats. A natural flare is reflected in his crowd pleasing creations and if you are staying at Kaingo, it is likely that he will be baking the cake for afternoon tea. A firm favourite with guests is his light and fluffy Victoria Sponge filled with orange curd and passion-fruit.
Here Andrew explains why this is his favourite time of the year and shares a recipe to tantalise your taste buds.
“The mangoes in Mfuwe are some of the best in Zambia and that is why everybody loves them. Young, old and even the elephants adore these magic fruits. Every night they cross the river in large herds to eat the mangoes in the village, only re-entering the park when they are full! In our village we use the mangoes for many different things: we make jam and chutney, or we dry them and then pound them to make porridge.
At this time of year it is very very hot!! So I think the guests would like something cold and refreshing. I decided to make a mango and coconut ice cream as I think the flavours go nicely together. Serve the ice-cream in a chilled glass, if you like you can dust the rim with toasted coconut, then to finish you can add mint or even passionfruit.”
Another mango product made locally is dried mango which is sold by the company COMACO “It’s Wild”.
COMACO “Community Markets for Conservation” works with small-scale farmers in the Luangwa valley. Its mission is to “provide marketing services, trade benefits and extension support aimed at incentivising farmers to adopt improved land use and farming practices that promote natural resource conservation and better quality of life.”
If you would like to read more about “Its Wild” please follow this link http://www.itswild.org/
At Kaingo we support “Its Wild” by buying all of our honey, peanut butter, rice and dried mango from the shop in Mfuwe. The honey and mango make a fantastic addition to our homemade granola; served at morning tea and brunch.
Shenton Safaris – Picture of the Month
October 2016 – Picture of the Month – #NourishedByNature
“Because I decide when, not you!”
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