September News

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Signs.  Nothing new, I just liked the picture.

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The skimmers that are back…  and started nesting!  That means everyone is now going to be subjected to 100s and 1000s of skimmer pictures.

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While “spraying and praying” the skimmers from the hide I noticed that repeat guests Paul and Cathy were with JohnD in absolutely spectacular light.  P&C – thanks so much for coming back and for being such great, appreciative and friendly people.  Twalumba!

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Early morning on the spinal road.  Weird road pictures again….

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The morning after – an area that burned (far too late in the season) had a strange beauty the next morning when we were up at 05:00 to look for further hot spots and embers to extinguish.

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And then an afternoon by the pools.

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Visiting the Kaingu school with the GRI community outreach project.

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An evening on the pools loop.  Living up to expectations.  When we explored this area on foot I cam face to face (and rather close) to a large male buffalo, so I always think of buffalo when driving the area.

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A very, very productive boat cruise!

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New roofs on most of the chalets!  7,000 bundles of grass, two months work for 5 thatchers from the village.

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All the older chalets (so four of them) now have proper doors now.

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I am not a huge fan of night drives, but this was a good ‘un.

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Young leopard.  On the way from the airfield to the lodge.  Middle of the day!  Captured by Nyambanza.  Kaingu intern and all round headache reducer.  Why does she reduce headaches?  Well, she makes things happen in a quiet and efficient way.

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Nyambanza. Thoughtful safari style.

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Lynda went canoeing twice.  Including the rapids!

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One in a thousand.  Literally.  It is seriously addictive.

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More of the highly scenic and beautiful natural pools.

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Bushbaby again.

August News

August. Kicked off with lot’s of excitement with good friends and repeat guests the De Scheppers bringing lots of family and two drones to film all the action while they were here.  They left us some great footage and had a great time:

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We were really impressed with the stability and the quality of the footage that Congo and Jurgen were able to capture:

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Of course some canoeing was done as well.  In fact quite a lot:

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The beginning of the month also saw the real start of the elephant island activity.  We had been seeing them a few times prior to this, but only now were guests really experiencing it.  Even from the deck while having morning coffee!

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Then we got serious with birds!  We constructed a small rough and ready hide opposite a bee-eater colony.  Of course the guys all are teasing me saying that it looks like a village shop that sells mobile phone top-ups.  It does:

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But its a case of function before fashion.  It works!  All the following images were captured from the hide:

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And a few more captured on the way to the hide (from the boat):

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Then we started the second hide project.  This one is a quite something.  There is a small natural pool near the river where JohnD had observed literally a couple of hundred of Parrots flocking every morning.  After checking, we were convinced that it is a daily phenomena whereby they flock together to eat mud before dispersing for their day’s foraging.  The reasons are (at least two theories) that the mud contains nutrients and/or the clay content helps them deal with alkaloids in fruits and seeds that would otherwise poison them.  Whatever the case it is an utterly spectacular sight.

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Parrots and Pigeons

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And then on a rare day off we saw the only positive from all the fire fighting that we have done this year… Exploring new places.  Running around the GMA putting out fires I ‘found’ another spectacular rock, so took Julia off one evening on our day off to see it.  If you look carefully in the photo you can see a bit of smoke…

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We leave you with a couple of images from the last game drive of the month, and we are hoping that this sighting of one a pair of skimmers becomes more regular.  We have been seeing them a lot, but no sign of any nesting as yet….

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July Newsletter

 

We are not going to say much about July.  We did a lot of photography updates (Anthony Grote who did our images last year was invited back).  I will just let them speak for themselves:

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June Newsletter

June turned into the month of the lions!  There has been a marked increase in lion activity around the camp over the last couple of years – most welcome indeed.  We had an early morning visit just behind the kitchen which guests got to be part off which was fantastic.  The one lioness was getting a bit antsy and the adrenaline in JohnD and myself was pumping….  but we did manage to rattle off a couple of pictures before we ran out of bravery pills….

 

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Then a few days later the camera trap caught them walking through the campsite:

 

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June is also the month when we do our protective burns around the camp.  We have fine-tuned this over the last couple of years and obtained some proper equipment, and this year we were delighted to have the Game Rangers International fire team work with us.  It is huge fun (sometimes a bit nerve wracking) as well as vitally important.

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It is also the month when we start seriously gathering in thatching grass.  This year we have to re-roof several chalets (mostly because the monkeys pull the grass out!).  In between cutting grass, Mr Gibson and his crew do a bit of a side business in supplying baobab fruit for the Kaingu Lodge baobab welcome lemonade.

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And then in stark contrast to the organised chaos of the fathers and kids fishing group in May we had a very different group.  A ladies ‘healing and wellness’ weekend was held at the lodge.  Again, the whole lodge was booked out and various activities were held.  All the ladies were enthused about our various locations for sunsets, picnic lunches, meditations and so on.

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I have to confess that the male staff component were not that excited about this, so Kaley and Israel decided to get into slightly more adrenaline filled stuff on a day with no guests.  I stood by with a camera to catch some action.  This practise session was well timed as the canoeing activities shortly thereafter started to get more and more popular.

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And then equally exciting (well, almost) was a spot of birding while waiting for Kaley and Israel to bring guests down to our pickup point at the bottom of ‘snake island’.  A Turraco – finally!!!! And the humble forked-tailed drones with their aerobatic hawking.  Turracos are very very difficult to catch with a camera – they are always highly furtive and seem to be completely allergic to cameras!

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We leave you with a few more images from June.

 

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May Newsletter

Hmm.  Late again.  Ah well, better late than never!

May was as very busy month here at Kaingu.  With large groups in camp we were happy to see the river birdlife picking up – the birdlife on the river gradually increases as the season goes on:

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We also got Mark and his homemade guitar to do a couple of songs as the guests sat down for dinner.  His guitar (made here at Kaingu) was a huge hit.  Like Benny (and his drumming) Mark is quite a talent:

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Then our big groups finished for the month and the very same day it was time for the annual Kaingu “Fathers and Kids” fishing trip.  This is now an annual fixture in our calendar.  They book the whole lodge (this year even the campsites were used).  It is a phenomenal event, involving serious logistics, serious river time and this year also an entire pig on a spit that was cooked in the turning circle for an entire afternoon!

While we awaited their arrival the various hammocks that we had set up for the kids got put to use by another type of youngster…

 

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While Julia dealt with the organised chaos of the first night (which is always the maddest) I sneaked off to take some pictures of the rapids south of the campsites by moonlight:

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We then had a visit by a professional wildlife photographer for three nights which was a lot of fun.  She was toting a monster 600mm lens (among others) and we were delighted that she got pretty much all the shots that she wanted.

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While out with Karine the photographer we also witnessed more ‘monkey business’, although this time not involving our hammocks!

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We also started driving the ‘pools loop’ that we created last year.  Firstly we had to slash and repair 14kms of road as ZAWA’s equipment was all involved elsewhere…  And we saw the first sable antelope of the year on the loop the first time we drove it – encouraging indeed!

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We also got the chance to get out there and get some shots of birds in flight.  We had a super german family who flew in to the airstrip at Chunga and who were mad keen ‘birds in flight’ photographers, so we took the opportunity….

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And then we all took shots of their plane!

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And then on the same subject (flying things) our good friends ‘Congo’ and Antonia came for a visit at the end of the month and brought his PPG (powered paraglider).  This was absolutely amazing and blew the minds of most of the staff and myself!  It was something we had talked about last year, and to finally see it happen was brilliant.

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April Newsletter

April Fools.  Well, my attempt at convincing people on Facebook that we had seen a giraffe in the Kafue was quickly rumbled, but the month really did get off to a flying start, with the completion of Finfoot House modifications and the first (repeat) guests to use it were delighted. We also started the development of a Kaingu band!  Drumming and singing has often been part of camp life – particularly when we do dinners down at the rapids, but we decided to formalise the whole thing and make it a bit better.  To be really honest I don’t think guests always appreciated the 10 minute discussion (argument actually) about what song should come next! So we set aside some afternoon time over the course of a week or so for the band to really get in shape.  Benny (new waiter) has proven to be an amazing member – he has a hugely powerful voice and is wonderful on a drum!

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We were also delighted to welcome two new members to the guiding team.  John D (who we have known for a long time) and Israel Kayombo Kayombo.  John is an absolute top tier field guide and has experience ranging from the ‘early days’ of the Luangwa scene, white water river guiding at the Falls and many years here in the Kafue.  Huge experience and knowledge.  I have never seen a guide studying a field guide to the Sierra Nevada so that he can relate flora and fauna that American guests are familiar with to what is found here in Zambia!  Not only does he have top flight guiding skills, but he is also a fine artist (in almost any medium that you can imagine). Even in addition to that he also is a highly skilled mechanic.  So to say that he is talented is a bit of an understatement. Here he is in his special handmade dancing shirt:

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Israel is a young guide who has worked in the Kafue since 2004..  He is a wonderful character and his kind and caring nature just shines through.  He scored very highly in the Kafue guiding exams last year, and to be honest this was what brought him to our attention!  34 years old and having been started his guiding career 10 years ago he is passionate about conservation, loves leopards and is fascinated by stalking predators and kills! He wants to see Zambia tourism flourish for the future of the nation.  In ten years time he would like to have written a book to help other guides!

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This means that we have now four strong guides in our team.  A far cry from a few years ago…

I mentioned Benny already, but we have quite a lot of new staff here for this season. Pythias has jumped from being a contract builder to also becoming a waiter.  He is a very quick learner at anything he turns his hand to, so waitering is proving an easy one! Here he is looking suitably thoughtful.

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Mercy (Chef Lizzie’s daughter) has joined the housekeeping team and is proving a great band member too!, Nicholas is another great new housekeeper, who unusually holds a commercial driving license.  Mercy on the left on the big pile of thatching grass and Nicholas brandishing his giraffe’s tail fly whisk (AKA: feather duster):

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New mechanic Mike Yandila is proving to be a fantastic addition to the staff.  I really struggle to find things that he cannot do!  From repairing kitchen appliances, sewing canvas and what not through to the more regular mechanical repairs and maintenance.  He really is a very talented individual indeed.  He has taken a huge weight off our shoulders.

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The sightings are difficult in April – the grass is still high, lots of water is still out there and the loops are not yet opened.  Despite that we had good lion sightings, some spectacular elephant sightings and also the first park based wild dogs of the season.  The birding (even just around the camp) has been really good, with fairly regular sightings of the sought after Böhm’s bee eaters along with a lot else.  A selection of images taken over the last month (wild dogs by Kaley):

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Speaking of water…..   March was very, very dry – so much so that we thought the rains were basically done.  Then it came back with vengeance.  Just in time for the long Easter weekend at the beginning of April!  This resulted in a temporary shelter being put over part of the main deck for Easter and then subsequent large groups that have been keeping us busy!

The curio shop has gone from strength to strength, which is a good thing as the sales have too!  New products from ‘Little Indaba’ (soft toys) have been really popular – and each elephant sold results in some proceeds to GRI.  Same with the Kaingu postcards.  Snare jewellery from South Luangwa (Mulberry Mongoose) is also proving a winner.  But the real hit over the last month has been Julia’s ‘Seed and Beeds’ jewellery.  Over 20 necklaces Sold in the last month.  That adds up to a lot of man-hours (and a lot of seeds).  Looks like we might even re-coup the costs of the kilos and kilos of seeds that came up from the villages last year when the word went out that there was a market for them here….

Some images of the ever-evolving curio shop:

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And then to sign off (pun intended) we completely re-vamped our whole radio system!  New base sets, new antennas,  new vehicle set ups and new handhelds. 10 radios in total.  Once it was all installed and set up (big thanks to Stephen the amazing radio tech from Lusaka) we were blown away….  we have gone from 3 rubbish old handsets that could hardly reach the lodge from the car park to a situation where we can even talk to the guides sitting in vehicles waiting for guests at Chunga airfield.  This is a real game changer for us and brings a massive improvement to logistics, safety, sightings and delivery days to name but a few.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog post by recent guests and thoughts on social media etc…

Recent guests Ann and Joe came all the way from New York to Zambia just to spend 5 days with us here at KaingU.  Ann wrote a great blog post which really sums up Zambia, the Kafue and KaingU.  Good reading and it interestingly shows the increasing power of the internet.  Ann booked the trip and transfers directly based only on trip advisor and internet “presence”.  Increasingly we are hearing this from guests – that they are basing their trip decisions on reviews, social media, web presence, photographs etc.

I have to admit that for me it is also an important decision making process.  If we are  looking at say a potential partner agent then an outdated website with wrong information (camps that don’t exist anymore for example) just grates.  Likewise a website where the latest “news” section hasn’t been updated for three years just shouts out that the owner of that site either can’t be bothered to update it (or doesn’t know how).  Either excuse is just that – an excuse.

There are even “social media consultants” who offer to run social media sites for safari operators.  Right.  So I will write something, take a picture and send it to a guy on another continent or country who will then stick it on Facebook and charge us several hundred dollars a month.  Makes absolutely no sense at all.

Remote administration of all this stuff just doesn’t work.  We once ( a few years back now) had marketing content generated by someone sitting in a different continent.  Just not a recipe for success.  Especially when a picture of an Indian elephant was used in in emailer.

“borrowing images” is another one that just makes no sense at all.  Some remote administrator “borrows” an image of a walking safari or whatever and posts it as if that is how it happens at that camp….  Or indeed posts a nice sighting.  But that sighting is taking place among the dry grass of October but the post is in February.  I think you get what I mean!  Don’t forget that ‘search google for this image’ can be done.  I have seen this fairly recently – a social media ‘consultant’ posting pictures of a boat cruise “at” a certain camp in the Kafue and the boat was from a completely different camp.  I only realised it because I in fact took delivery of the same boat and used it regularly!  Doing  a quick image search showed that the image in question was actually a guest’s review on safaribookings.com.

Now for a longer, complicated stay in several camps in several different parks (or indeed countries) then an experienced agent should not be under-estimated.  But for two young tech-savy scientists then going it alone was a breeze.  It was also fascinating to see how connected Ann and Joe were and listen to their take on the whole web/social media thing.

We are certainly not big time techies.  But Saysha (our web designer) made it very clear from the beginning that while she would do major changes and updates she expects us to take ownership of our website and try and do basic updates.  It’s not that hard and it is actually quite good fun.

Anyway I am waffling on…

Read Ann’s post here:

http://annerzflavoredlife.com/2015/04/24/zambia-the-lost-garden-of-eden/

March Newsletter

Well the season is now well and truly open!
We opened very early this year with the first guests pulling in on the 28th of February. Prior to that we had our annual shutdown period in January and February which allows us to get on with various jobs. This year we had unusually low rainfall which allowed at least easier transport of building materials. It also gives us a chance to unwind a bit and enjoy some absolute serenity! It is also a great time of year to be in the bush and taking pictures – the clarity of light and the lush vegetation and blue skies. It is not often over the course of the season that we can wander round the camp with a camera and not have to rush back for guests returning from activities or to place the weekly order etc. The ‘green season’ is a stunning time of year. With the Kafue being relatively high altitude we don’t get stifling heat, so although the humidity is high it is quite pleasant.
Here are a few images taken around the camp over the closed season:

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Bushbuck on the path to the campsites

 

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Böhm’s bee eater by chalet no3

 

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Little spotted woodpecker also by Chalet No3

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Spotted bush snake (and it’s prey) by the laundry steps.

 

 

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Male Bushbuck by the solar panel bank.

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Bushbaby in the tree above our house.

 

 

Of course we also take the opportunity to get out on the boats and even combine visits to ZAWA HQ with a bit of a game drive.  The character of the river completely changes as the level rises and most of the rocks submerge.

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Elephant in the miombo while heading up to pay park fees to ZAWA

 

The birdlife is not as prolific as at the end of the dry season, but still some great sightings can be had.  Having time on our hands we can really appreciate the birds that we see pretty much every day, but never really spend time on.

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The spectacular trumpeter hornbill – we see it every day here, but amazingly this was the first time ever here getting it on camera.

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The even more spectacular Knob-billed duck.

 

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White faced whistling ducks

 

Julia went back to Germany in February for a few weeks to catch up with family and friends (and a few agents too of course!), Rick and Lynda were also back in Oz for a while so I was left to my own devices…. Which meant that apart from the building projects I got quite a few chances to try and improve and experiment with a bit of astrophotography and trying to catch lightning from Mpamba rock.  Let’s face it – while alone at the lodge there is not many entertainment options!

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Mpamba with storms racing in.  There were actually storms on three sides on this night.

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Mpamba moonrise.

 

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Mpamba milkyway.

 

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Seven sisters from the deck.

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Green laser (star pointer) on Mpamba.

 

On the way into town to pick up Julia I was amazed to have the most incredible ‘game drive’ of the green season. Sadly I had no decent camera with me, but at least the tablet managed to get the wild dogs 1km from the camp. But the Sable and Zebra shortly afterwards were way, way too far! All this a few kms from the camp in the GMA area – not the park. Very encouraging.

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The various projects over the green season…. As usual all the design work and layout is by Julia, this ranged from simple things (sign boards and re.construction of the tea station) through to more complex things (our house is anything but a simple construction!).  A few random pictures of all that was going on.

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Japhet (trainee carpenter) in action.

 

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Felix (carpenter and Japhet’s father) in action.

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Royd (builder and Chief Kaingu’s brother) and his crew in action.

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Handson and Dennis (thatching crew) preparing bundles.

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Thatcher (and general supervisor at other times) Bo in the wooly hat.

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Moving a few last minute rocks…

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Some progress!

Of more relevance to guests is the modifications that we decided to do to the ‘Finfoot’ family house.  On the occasions when the house is used by two couples there has always been a bit of inequality in the two bedrooms!  Not any more…. now the twin bedroom has some serious modifications.  We knocked out the window, changed the internal bathroom and then built a door, outside shower, bench seat and mini-deck.  Quite a change, and very favourably received by the first guests that have been using it:

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The beginning of the modifications.

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Half way through the project

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The end result.

 

Some of the less ambitious (but still effective) changes included the tea station – the old one was completely dismantled and then rearranged into a longer counter with shelving above so that more than one person can make a cup of tea at a time!

 

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To avoid confusion we also went back to basics and put numbers on chalets and pathways!  The Ila names that were used previously were great, but to be honest most guests struggled with remembering them (as did I).  Sometimes the simple tried and tested methods work best…

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That was pretty much it with regard to the green season.  We had a great camp opening and so far we have had great sightings, including the spectacular heronary which was discovered just south of the ‘tunnels’.  This is an amazing site – so many nesting birds on a small island in the river.  We took repeat guests Pete and Fran down there and had a great time watching all the action.

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On the same subject (things that fly) we had some great guests that at the last minute decided to take their planes and fly in for the weekend.  Absolutely beautiful Piper Cherokee:

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We leave you with one of Julia’s seed Neckless designs on top of the rock:

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Why the Kafue?

The Kafue National Park we are always being told is unknown and not on people’s radar. Agents and destination management companies tell us that it is far easier to sell South Luangwa and that Kafue is just “too hard”. We are all hoping that in 2015 to a certain extent that will change with Proflight running a scheduled service to Chunga airstrip. Hopefully this will make it an easier sell for agents and guests booking direct and the profile of the Park will rise.

So why should a visitor choose the Kafue over another safari destination? Indeed why do we as operators choose to be here in the Kafue? Or is it all just “too hard”..?

It is not a simple question to answer. The Kafue is diverse and varied, but out of all the features of the Park, the one standout fact always mentioned is its sheer size. At 22,500 square kilometres it is larger than some countries! Wales is always the one compared (at about 20,000). But size alone is not relevant unless we try and describe the other facets of the Park that go along with this size. Size and numbers are also difficult to comprehend without something to compare to.

Kruger and Kafue – both start with a K and are broadly similar in size (Kruger is a a shade under 3,000 square kilometres smaller). Kruger receives around 1,400,000 visitors per year while the Kafue gets around 10,000. This means that while you are on safari in the Kruger you are sharing the Park with and average of 3,835 people each day. Come on safari in the Kafue and you are sharing the park with an average of 27 people!

Now for most people an African safari should be about wilderness areas and the fauna that inhabit these areas. I have never met a guest yet here in the Kafue that complained about not seeing enough fellow tourists! Now one definition of ‘wilderness’ that I found is:
“An unsettled, uncultivated region, especially a large tract of land that has not been significantly affected by human activities”.
Now a place like Kruger boasting those sort of visitor numbers as well as massive rest camps equipped with Wimpy fast food restaurants is (for me at least) just not what I want from a safari.

Of course here we are looking at extremes, but I think this gets my point across. There are very, very few places left where the feeling of untouched solitude and nature are felt as strongly as the Kafue. In fact the only other place I have been to where I have had the same sort of feeling is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.

“Of course the Kafue doesn’t have the game numbers”. True. We don’t have the big five (Rhino is missing) or the elephant herds of Chobe. Sometimes we have to work hard at sightings. But neither do we have to have self imposed rules about the maximum number of vehicles on sightings and neither do we have the terrible sights of desolate landscapes with hardly any vegetation left and animals literally dropping dead from food and water stress at the end of the dry season. I know what I would rather see. Sure Chobe is mind boggling in terms of elephant numbers, but so is the lack of feed and the imbalance in the whole ecosystem. Not to mention the number of Land cruisers going there every day from Kasane!

I could go on and on and list species to justify ‘why the Kafue’, but I wont. I will just paraphrase a journalist guest this year who wrote:

“It is not just the animals. OK, Kafue is not yet fully back to where it used to be and you will see a higher volume of animals in somewhere like South Luangwa. But the animals are there and somehow when you see them in the Kafue National Park, they are wilder and you are more rewarded.
If there are no animals in the immediate vicinity, there will still be the birds. You do not have to be a twitcher to simply wonder at the birds of the Kafue, from the hugely colourful bee-eaters to the majestic hawks and eagles”.

Then there is the sheer variety of the Kafue National Park and its immediate surroundings. More antelope species than any other place in Africa, 515 bird species and habitat ranging from unique teak forests in the south through to the year-round papyrus swamps of Busanga. Pristine Miombo woodland, Mopane woodland in the south and then of course there is the Kafue river itself and it’s major tributaries, feeding into Lake Itezhi Tezhi. Water is not generally an issue in the Park!

What definitely is changing in the Kafue also is the quality of the experiences offered by operators. This ranges from the standard of camps through to an increased focus on guiding standards and training (to bring the Kafue in line with South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi). Like those other parks we also now have an organisation (Game Rangers International in our case) that are working alongside ZAWA to support and help in the fight against poaching. To be honest the Kafue has been playing catch up for far too long, but this is now definitely changed. The overall quality of operators is rising and so therefore is the tourist experience. But again, lets look at numbers….

I have no idea what the number of visitors to South Lungwa are per annum, but a quick skim of Trip Advisor shows that there are 41 active “speciality lodgings”. The Kafue in comparison has only 19 active properties – of which two sites are only offering camping. So once again the point here is the low visitor numbers and the less developed nature of the park.  And of course you have to bear in mind that South Luangwa is less then half the size of the Kafue.

Kafue also offers something for everyone in terms of budget. You can choose to stay at budget facilities and campsites or you can spend over a thousand dollars per night. You can drive in or fly in or even get the bus and be met at the bridge on the M9! There are not many places where the flexibility and range of options are as diverse as here. And this is how it should be – an equal chance for all to experience this wonderful place.

Increasingly we feel that the safari experience in the Kafue is what people are looking for. Perhaps they have done the (in my mind, over the top in many places) opulence of the Delta or the private concessions around Kruger. They might well have seen the spectacle of East Africa’s migration. But they are looking for a degree of what I would call ‘reconnection’. Being out in a true wilderness hardly touched by man and with passionate guides and managers and owners who have chosen to be in this place. Not because it is easy, but because of everything I have talked about. Even in the most luxurious camp in the Kafue you will not find electric gym equipment or private butlers. Why would you want it in the bush? You will not find people coming here for the bragging rights, as who will they brag too? Will anyone know what they are on about…? For something the size of Wales it is a remarkable secret.

And the Kafue is not the only place like this in Zambia. Liuwa Plain National Park, North Luangwa and the Bangwelu swamps are other very much lesser known but truly special places.

So to sum up, well it is not “too hard”. In fact it is one of the easiest true wilderness areas to get to that I know. Certainly easier and faster to access from Lusaka than Lower Zambezi or South Luangwa. The standards are rising all the time and to cut it all short in fact there has never been a better time to visit. Come and see it now!  Proflight flights are available to book online!

 

 

The Kaingu Water Project

The Itumbi Village is the home of Chief Kaingu and so plays a very important part in our local communities.  Located some 27km (in a straight) line south from the lodge, the village is also the site of the ‘Kaingu School’ which was built through funds raised by guests and then matched by the Dutch Government.  Kaingu Lodge pays the salaries of two extra teachers and we are proud of the impact that our lodge is having on education in Itumbi village – it is genuinely transforming peoples future.

However the School has never had running water (despite being a modern construction to quite a high standard).  Now in a school with several hundred pupils there is clearly an issue here with sanitation (particularly hand washing) and drinking water.  Over the years a borehole had been tried at the school several times, but every drilling rig hit granite rock sadly.

There is a borehole at the village, but this is 750m away from the school!

Rewind to May 2013 and we were sitting on the deck at Kaingu talking with two guests from London.  They were with us after an amazing time in Liuwa Plain and anyway, to cut a long story short they expressed an interest to help us solve the problem of water at the school.  From using solar pumps here at the lodge we thought that given some investment in a pump, tanks and stands and a LOT of piping it would be quite possible to achieve it.

Anyway nothing ever moves as fast as one would want…. bush life I suppose.  Over the course of the next year we realised that the money from our very kind guests from London would not quite make the whole project happen.  We at Kaingu had also put in a sizeable chunk, then further guests (Keith and Bev) who make rotory moulded plastics decided they would also chip in with a tank, some pipe and a very good discount on other items.  Clive (from the parent company) later also visited and pledged more material.

We started to get the items ready and contracted Davis and Shirtliff in Lusaka to come and do a feasibility study and then supply the pump and solar panels and do the installation into the borehole.

The community (under the Chief’s careful supervision) dug all the pipe trenches and helped a local contractor erect the two tank stands.  We (rather optimistically) decided that the project would consist of three spurs – going to taps at the Chief’s Palace, a central location in the village and up to the school itself.  The recovery rate of the borehole when it was sunk was good enough on paper…  but boreholes change over time and water flow can reduce.  But anyway, we went ahead with crossed fingers.

So a few weeks back D&S arrived and sank the pump, plumbed it in and wired up the panels.  It all worked beautifully.  So much so that there is so much water being produced that irrigating small field gardens is even going to be possible.

The project was not a small one, and while it took time it is worth it.

J&R (London) – $10,000

Kaingu Lodge – $4000

Keith and Clive  (Rototank) – 1 tank, pipes and other material.

Our future thoughts are now turning to WC sanitation and not Ventilated Pit latrines, but for now the benefit to the children and the community (who no longer have to spend hours hand pumping and carrying water) is there!

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