Armed with raincoats and enthusiasm, the team at Robin Pope Safaris is so excited that the heavens have finally opened up over Luangwa and the much needed rain has arrived… with a bang! After experiencing some incredible cloud build-ups, and thunder and lightning, a vicious storm and torrential downpour gifted Luangwa with just over an inch of water before calming down to a drizzle.
Emily from Nkwali Camp shares with us exactly what the rain means for the everyday activities at Robin Pope Safaris.
“Whilst we didn’t have much rain here at Nkwali, there had been plenty in the village, which has certainly put smiles on all the farmers’ faces. The river has also snuck up a little bit as well, which is brilliant news, and we have dispatched the teams to Nsefu and Luangwa River Camp to get them open and ready for guests coming soon.
Sebastian had a rather exciting drive up to Nsefu as we had to get him up there with enough time to open the camp before the guests arrived but the river was too low – the only option was by car. The drive, which usually takes just over an hour, took just short of four hours thanks to a lot of mud, but he made it and is now waiting with baited breath for us to get the boats in the water and attempt the maiden voyage up the Luangwa.
Nkwali has been plodding along with a full camp all weekend and the waiters have been less than impressed as they have been trying to get the food from A to B without slipping and falling over (this has happened before and it made for a rather lean lunch). I have also seen some fascinating umbrella/food tray manoeuvres, but they appear to have managed and that is the main thing.
Poor Stanley, our kitchen porter, is tearing his hair out, as every time it rains the guys traipse mud in and out of the kitchen so the floor is being mopped a dozen times a day. On the other hand the bedroom attendants have developed an intricate network of indoor drying lines to get all the laundry sorted.
Despite the slippery situation, the animals are still out in full force:
The guests have had some lovely sightings, and Chris and Fred from Chilumba have been out and about, armed with raincoats and enormous enthusiasm, which has paid off. The lions that have been calling from across the river have been seen a few times – a pride of nine, which is a lovely treat. Most evenings we have been serenaded by a leopard that is walking up and down the road behind camp, although he remains slightly elusive for now, except for the perfect paw prints he leaves in the soft muddy ground.
And then to top everything off the guests were treated to a sight of 19 wild dogs on an impala kill. Not to mention the vast quantities of elephants that we have had in and around camp, one of which may have got a little cheeky with me the other day. Let’s just say that the ‘stay still and stand your ground’ procedure didn’t apply to me on this occasion.”