Well October is the hottest month in Zambia and this year we were not “disappointed”. The temperatures in the afternoons were high 30’s. Fortunately we are not in the deeper valleys like S. Luangwa or Lower Zambezi (or Livingstone) so the evenings are still generally a pleasant temperature. So with the heat we decided to get creative. Now a swimming pool has a lot of advantages (all obvious) but there are a lot of disadvantages. Being 100% reliant on solar electrical generation we cannot afford the load of circulation pumps. Then there is the cleaning and the chemicals. And then there is the fact that sooner or later a Hippo will blunder in. And this is not a good thing! So a simple solution was needed. We have a set of gentle rapids south of the camp. So with our trusty team we set off to build a small dam. Now on one of the hottest days this was a great job! It only took us a morning and then a few hours to scrub off the algae from the rocks. Zero emissions. No chemicals. No power. If a hippo wanders in then he will just walk through the dam wall!
The sightings have continued to be strong in the park, and fairly regular sightings of elephants crossing the river have occurred throughout the month. Lions and leopards are also being seen regularly on Shishamba loop and a big herd of buffalo has been seen regularly – coming back from the shopping run! The birding is great at the moment with African Skimmers also having moved onto a few of the sandy islands.
And then the rains! This year the first proper rain fell on the 22nd and I can tell you it was welcome. The rest of the month saw quite a few heavy downpours.
Other news from the lodge includes the fact that we are starting construction of a third riverside campsite. This one will be much further from the lodge (although still an easy walk) and is in an absolutely stunning location. Oh, and those that know Kaingu very well will be pleased to know that furniture has been a major feature of this month! Ten new directors chairs makes deck life a bit easier – no more carrying chairs from the fire to the tables. And Felix (the carpenter) has finished constructing two reclining deck chairs for each guest tent!
And then finally we have to talk about “Amazon Angler” (Steve Townson). Now none of us are super-keen fishing persons. But my brother-in-law instantly knew the name. He has a fishing show on smart-tv and also leads trips to the Amazon and to Africa. He is quite a character and arrived with John the videographer to shoot an episode. We needed help for this one, so our friends Sven and Pete (lodge owners, conservationists and major fishermen) arrived to help out. We were very glad I can tell you. Anyway over the next four days a total of 14 species were caught. All strictly catch and release. Steve was very happy with the fishing, the river and of course the lodge. Being fishermen also meant that Victor the barman was really kept on his toes! John is going to also put together a small video of the lodge and activities – so I hope we can share this with you sometime in December hopefully.
As we wait for the river to rise and the rains to fall more we leave you with a blast from the past. Taken 6 years ago. I really hope that we don’t have these sort of levels next year!