So as per usual we planned to open the lodge on the 1st of March after being closed over January and February. Like last year though the weather decided to make things a bit interesting. January and February were unusually dry months, and in fact at the end of February even seasonal game viewing tracks were actually driveable. However March was extremely wet. While we didn’t see quite the huge river levels of last year (the bar at least stayed dry this year!) there was still a massive amount of rain.
This of course is great for the park and surroundings. Like last year I have no doubt that the pools along our game drive loops will hold water right through the year.
So we start with trying to show some of the beauty of the rains and the landscapes at this time of year:
Camp opening is hard work. There is always a lot to be tackled before the first guests. Trying to do it in heavy rain means there is more time pressure than normal…
By the arrival of the first guests we had everything pretty much ship shape and ready to go:
Our first delivery of food and supplies only reached the main road through the park. The road into our car park was rapidly becoming a total mud fest. Last year it was a river (we even took a boat up it!) but this year with prolonged and heavy rain the mud was the issue!
The road and the never ending repairs. It felt like one step forward and two backwards at times:
Mike (mechanic) has been studying the levels of the Kafue river since he was an infant. When he started trying to bolt an outboard motor to his car we knew that we were in for trouble…
And sure enough. The Luansanza and Shishamba bridges were again under water. Fortunately we have the back access through the Game Management Area and we did use it. Several times! Here is the Luansanza. It gets quite intimidating when you drive this:
Then stuck vehicles. We had a few. Game viewers, rescue cars that then needed rescued and on and on!
One of the biggest laughs was a request for an interview by questionnaire from someone who does a safari blog. One of the questions was along the lines of “if your walking shoes could tell a story what would be the best one”. All I could think of was this picture and a whole bunch of expletives!
So we leave our camp opening/March news with a picture of new trainee Guide Chanda. He caused a LOT of coments about his height when we posted this picture on our facebook page. Yes, he is really, really tall. We stood him next to Lizzie (who is a pretty average height for Kaingu staff) for some sense of scale. Annapurna Vs Mpamba rock!