So apart from our ‘back of house’ news we also wanted to share our regular pictorial news of what was happening in and around Kaingu lodge for the month of August 2016.
We had our usual annual share of firefighting, both in the GMA and in the National Park. This (sadly) has become such an annual routine now and it is intense work. This year (in terms of being out there) was not as bad as last year, but we still clocked up 8 days continuous firefighting. We are lucky that this year we invested in decent beaters and more backpack firefighting pumps. We were able to at least stop fires from the North and from the South from marching up the park between the spinal road and the river and our early burning saved most of the ‘pools loop’ area. But the amount of late season fires is just too much. The GMA was also bad, again we were at least able to stop our walking areas from burning.
This was day 7 of non-stop burning. The “macpoly” backpacks really mean the difference between being able to control a fire or not. Especially late fires in winds where beaters just cannot get close enough.
Contrast the blackened landscape above with this area near the lodge where early burning was done:
But then to balance the bad with the good. We hosted staff and Trustees from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a two night fact finding mission to the Kafue. On top of the rock we had a big group discussion where fires were a hot (sorry) topic. Some of the good news was that it looks like next year TNC will be investing massively in fire management in the Kafue. Great news. Post discussion beers, pictures and Mpamba sunset:
A day or too later we were treated to a lunchtime visitor. I know we keep saying it, but the regular sightings of elephants crossing from island to island and from Park to GMA is just so amazing.
Then (finally) the Wild Dog Air plane took to the skies! Interminable delays meant that everyone was using a Proflight Islander, but now at least it’s up and running. It does look absolutely spectacular (inside and outside) and we are all pleasantly surprised at how many people have made use of the flights this year:
Then a few pictures just wandering around camp in the early evening:
Then we had our good friend and pro photographer Anthony Grote come and stay for three nights. He was back in the Kafue doing work for some lodges and contacted us that he would love to come and stay and while here put together a small Kaingu video. We jumped at the opportunity! I must say it is great to see that he has been able to add more lodges to his list in the Kafue. We can’t wait to see the finished video. As usual with Anthony we worked the schedule hard – Mpamba, river, poachers rock, shishamba, pools loop, parrots, river, rapid canoeing, more river, rapid dinners etc!
Of course while out working on trying to video things it also means a lot of time being ‘out there’. One afternoon drive that then turned into a night drive was spectacular. Including mating leopards…
Franco. If you have noticed we have talked a lot about him recently. Why? Well it is simple. He is a genuine success story in that he is a local guy that has used his skills and talent and hard work to (via Kaingu and our shop) make a huge difference to his family’s income. With 9 children to support you can imagine the pressure. We mentioned before that he is making good money from the curio shop on a weekly basis. This month we also directly contracted him to make some large driftwood fish for the deck of each tent. Excellent.
Then we end the month with what we might consider the perfect ending to a day! Out on the boat enjoying some peace and tranquility after watching African Skimmers do their thing. Looks like they are back and nesting on what we call “skimmer island”. The bee-eaters are also busy on the same island, so the hide is reconstructed and ready for use. Bring it on!