Office Africa – June 2010
Welcome to the 2010 season. It has taken us a little longer than usual to get the opening newsletter ready for you, however it is with good reason; we have a brand new website, a new blog and have made some lovely developments at the camp which I will guide you through in this newsletter.
The blog is more than a little exciting, as it means I can hand some of the ‘work’ onto our guides. They are out and about with guests all day (remember we have three activities a day rather than the standard two), so they have a lot to share with you and the blog will serve as a great representation of what you can experience whilst with us. So whilst there may not always be photos accompanying their stories, you will get the day to day essence of a safari with us from the blog – click here to check it out. Only one or two posts tend to be shown per page, then you can click on a link at the bottom to go to previous entries.
On to the camp developments, the most exciting development at Kaingo is the introduction of a riverbank deck at each chalet. Derek and I are so enamoured with these decks we’re going to put one down at our house. With sweeping views up and down the river, big comfy chairs and a shady roof these decks are a fabulous place to sit and relax in the day. To enable you to make the most of them we have begun serving lunches individually on the decks, rather than together on the big deck in front of the chitenge.
Below are a few shots of the decks, including one of Derek and Saphire shortly after the project’s completion
One afternoon during camp building the team met up near Mwamba for a sundowner, we arrived at the planned meeting spot to find the Hollywood Pride of Lions kicking back in the late afternoon sun. It was shocking to see them so deep into Mwamba territory! This coalition of three big males has been getting stronger and our scout Gideon discovered, during a rainy season patrol of the area, that they have killed one of the huge, dark-maned, Mwamba males.
I love these first two photos, it’s just such a shame it was the collared male involved in the greeting. The collar has been on for a year now and the Carnivore research team have assured us they are about to take it off as they will have collected 1 year’s worth of data, which they are only able to download upon removal. We do hope it will contribute valuable information that will ultimately assist in lion conservation and we very much look forward to hearing the team’s findings, but from a purely selfish point of view we’ll be very glad when it is off.
These big males are proving themselves to be prolific breeders and we found tiny 2 month old cubs along with the 6-8 month old cubs also present.
On to Mwamba then, Mwamba is so loved exactly as it is, that we’re always very careful about changing things. This year we simply altered the fittings in the bathrooms, but kept them absolutely open to the trees and stars.
I tend to be all about form and Derek all about function so together we make a good team. It was quite a trick getting the bucket showers to produce enough pressure to be effective through the new, beautiful shower heads, but persistance prevailed and to my delight they now look lovely and have enough water coming out to give you a steaming hot shower; which I had to grudgingly admit is rather important.
The new sinks are carved out river boulders, they are very organic and natural in form so fit perfectly into the Mwamba bathroom.
We found this juvenile martial eagle with an unfortunate monitor lizard just next to Kaingo’s hippo hide. The light was stunning and he was quite calm, letting us approach and spend some time with him before he took off with his prize.
This is the time of year you can get some lovely photos of hippo in the inland lagoons all muddy and covered in Nile Cabbage. I took both these hippos at Leopard Loop, just outside Kaingo.
Here is a picture looking back at the hippo hide from Accacia loop. The BBC left us some camouflage netting when they were last here and it perfectly hides the lower level of the hide and the tunnel leading down to it. Speaking of the eye level part of the hide, it has been extended. Last year it could comfortably seat 3 guests and it can now take 6-8.
Below is a classic view of Pelican lagoon for this time of year, blue skies, luscious green water plants and an elephant in it’s midst.
Eles weren’t the only excitment to be found at Pelican Lagoon that morning, with his incredible eyesight Derek spotted a middle sized African Rock Python (about 3.5ms) tucked away off the road. We jumped out with our guest to have a closer look. He seemed quite intent on tucking away into the bushes and was none too pleased when Derek gently repositioned him in the sun so we could get a look at his beautiful markings. He whisked around and let us all know in no uncertain terms that he was the boss.
Admittedly the light isn’t great in the photos below, but this baby elephant was too cute to resist as he gave us little defiant ear flaps and brave little charges. As he got closer he lost his nerve and went galloping after his mum.
Wtih their striking shape, giraffes make ideal silhouette subjects, ideally you want a sunset background clear to a sky with variation (e.g clouds or different shades of colour) which unfortunately wasn’t the case below, but it’s always fun dialling down your exposure and trying.
This leopard is the same leopard Mayam speaks of in his blog entry (that I am yet to post), he had been feeding on a baby kudu. Very sadly we saw the mother hovering around just before we drove up on this very sated male. We had some Swedish Shentons here with us so Saphire was out on the drive with us that afternoon. She was incredibly well behaved considering we stayed with him for about 20 minutes, but couldn’t resist piping up every now and then to ask a question about him. Her little voice certainly woke him up!
That’s it then from me until next time