So let’s get the topical one out the way first…  We got our second vaccines!    We drove out to meet the ministry of health team on the Itezhi Tezhi road, and while we were getting jabbed we mentioned that we had staff members coming in from off time who would also be needing 2nd vaccines, so a few days later the MoH team drove up to do all the 2nd vaccines.  Of course there are one or two staff who are unwilling to take it, but we of course respect that decision.  

Mike Yandila (mechanic) fully vaccinated!

  Anyway, once the jabs were done we gave the team a slap up lunch and then drinks and a boat cruise.  It was the least we could do for the MoH being so proactive and willing when it comes to vaccinating people in the hospitality industry.  

Ministry of Health team ready for the river.

We had some keen birders through camp this month, but the absolute best moment was when we had a VERY keen birder with us from New York state.  Of course the discussions turned to what birds were top of her wish list, and of course the Pel’s fishing owl was up at the top.  While out on the river we had a great sighting of one.  It was a bit of a photographic challenge, as in flight it kept it’s back to us.  It landed briefly on a tree in the far distance and we were able to grab some pictures before it very quickly flew off into the distance.  

A bit of a lifer for many. The Pel’sfishing owl.

And a few more from the month.  White-breasted cormorants, guinea fowl and crowned hornbill. 


But at this time of year if we have anyone remotely into birds then a must-do is a morning visit to the parrot pool.  We have talked before about this unique phenomenon.  More details here:  Anyway we saw a gathering of approximately 100 birds!  Photographing them in flight is very challenging as they move incredibly quickly.  

Meyer’s parrot in full flight

And then just to prove that it doesn’t have to be a more esoteric bird or be in flight… While driving the pools loops one evening we caught the guinea fowl in glorious golden hour light.  Just as satisfying. 

Glorious golden guinea fowl!

We also took guests out exploring.  Some of our favourite rocks were visited over the month.  While we do love the usual rock (Mpamba) it is also great to show people a bit of variety. 

Exploring flat top. Not the easiest rock to get up, but well worth it!

Searching for signal. No rock trip is complete without seeing if phone signal is out there!

The scale of some of the rocks is a bit mind boggling!

And of course being quite deep into the dry season means wildfires.  While up for a bit of astrophotography on Mpamba I captured this one.  At 8 kilometers away it was a big one.  

8km away to the west. Strong winds whipping the fires right through the night.

I did mention a bit of star gazing and photographing.  I thought it would be quite interesting to have a look at visualising exactly why the Zambian night skies are so good for seeing the stars.  Here are two maps of light pollution which while not the same size, are to the same scale. One is Kafue National Park and it’s environs and one is the eastern seaboard of the US.  The difference is staggering.  So is the size of the Kafue!  

The US Eastern seaboard. Dark blues being less polluted areas.

Note the complete absence of light pollution in the Kafue. Almost the entirety of the Kafue is what is ranked as Class 1 skies on the Bortel scale.  

And finally lets look at Zambia as a whole: 

Zambia as a whole. The pin indicates Itezhi Tezhi at the southern end of the Kafue National Park.

And then as a comparison and at the same scale let us take a look at central Europe.  

These amazingly dark skies are what allows us to see the sky in such amazing clarity.  And allows us to look at the amazing arch of the milky way from the top of the rock. 

A relatively cloudy night but even so the clarity as we look towards the galactic core of our galaxy is incredible.

And a shot of our moon:  

A big challenge at this focal length of just over 1500mm is trying to obtain focus and keeping the moon in the frame as at these super telephoto lengths the earths rotation makes the moon drift through the frame quite quickly.

And finally (for the bit about the night sky anyway) is a picture of one of the constellations that visitors are most interested to see – the Southern cross or the crux.  Here you can clearly see it canted to the right and with the dark “coal sack” (a dust cloud obscuring stars behind it) to the right.  

The crux and the coal sack.

and to round up our newsletter we leave you with what might be one of the last mega mists of the year!  There is no doubt that things are warming up that the mists are reducing.  However this one almost right at the end of the month was a stunner!  

Kaingu Lodge lurking in the mist!