Keela School Update

So it has been a long time since we talked about the Keela school.  Covid put a stop to development in a major way.  We had planned that 2020/21 would see the school building complete (depending on fundraising). But that didn’t happen as our international guests dried up to a trickle.  That trickle was still a trickle in 2021 – but almost every international guest ended up contributing.  We were absolutely delighted with some seriously large donations.  Such that we hit our target of £5000 in March this year on our crowdfunding donation page. 

As we moved towards mid May we heard that the roads down there were starting to dry out so we called a meeting with the PTA/ Teacher Vinagie and requested our long standing building contractor Royd to be present on the 20th.  We all met under the tree by the school, which of course still looks the same as it did last year: 

  

At the meeting we agreed that the existing community builder (Mr Alpha) would work with our contractor Royd.  Both would share an amount to be determined.  Previous works by Alpha hadn’t been directly charged, but as he had moved away from the community and would have to be called back it was agreed that he would now have to be paid something.  It was also agreed that Benny (Kaingu Assist Manager) would be one of the main facilitators and all purchasing would be done by him in Itezhi Tezi.  We wanted to keep the purchasing within the local area as much as possible.  

 

Over the next few days Benny and Royd met up in Itezhi Tezhi and priced up the bill of quantities to finish the roof and do the plastering.  It was made clear from the beginning of our discussions that the more money that we can save in the final building stage means that there is hopefully money to purchase some desks.  As such certain decisions will be made in the interests of costs.  Example:  window glass is actually a very low priority.  Desks are more important than glass in the windows.  Paint will be substituted by lime as it is so much cheaper.  

Then we heard back from the community and the two contractors and the sums that were talking about for the contractors was higher than we expected.  We called further meeting at Kaingu and sent messages that we would pick everyone on the 3rd of June.  The contractors sums were agreed (considerably lower!) and the PTA also agreed that all labour, sand, stones etc would be provided by the community.  The community aspect is vital and is why we got involved in the first place.  Murmurings of paying helpers was quickly squashed!  The bill of quantity was divided into three phases and it was agreed that we would start the process of moving money from the funding page to Zambia.  We should hopefully have the first truck load of materials on site in 10 days or so.  

 

April & May 2022 Newsletter

So we have been a bit remiss with our Newsletters, having published nothing since September of last year.  It sometimes seems a bit of a low priority task, it is time consuming and we sometimes question the validity of newsletters in this day and age of social media.  And as we are pretty active on social media it all starts to become a bit like repetition.  We are not going to stop creating these newsletters, but we are not going to do them religiously every month.  We are going to sometimes combine them and do one covering two months.  This is the case here where we are combining April and May.  If you want a more “live” experience of what is happening in and around KaingU then please consider following us on Facebook or Instagram.  

So April was all a bit frantic.  Julia and myself caught covid in Paris and ended up stranded there for two weeks.  It is a long story – too long.  As such we got back into Kaingu way later than expected so camp opening was rather rushed.  To say the least.  We ended up getting it done in just under four days before our first guests arrived!  

We are joined this season, in the guiding team, by David Chirwa – who we have known for many many years.  He freelanced with us over the two corona years, but now joins us in a full-time capacity.  David brings a lot of experience across the entire Park, having guided from Nanzhila in the far South through to Busanga in the far North.  

David Chirwa 

On our way to Mpamba rock for the first visit of the season we were confronted by this incredible double rainbow.  The rains this year were quite exceptionally late.  The early part of March had very little rainfall but then it started in earnest.  The pattern of rains has also been quite strange – with the Kafue being full (Lake Itezhi Tezhi is full), but Zambezi levels relatively low.  The Busanga plains in the North of the Kafue are also shockingly dry.  But more on that later, and back to the spectacular rainbow.  

These later rains made life a bit interesting.  After we opened the lodge and had our first guests we then had a period of more than 10 days with no rainfall.  Temperatures dropped a bit and everyone was convinced that the rains were gone.  But this was not the case!  Right befor Easter (and a full camp) the rains returned with vengeance and that is no fun with a full camp.  Fortunately the evenings were dry and we were able to do dinner for 25 people (almost a camp record) without drama. 

Then chef Wina and myself had a fantastic wild dog sighting up on the M9 while collecting our delivery.  It has become a bit of a regular thing that Wina and I get early season dog sightings while on shopping trips.  It has happened a good few times now.  The Chunga pack were great to see, but these pictures also illustrate and bring home the threats that result from the M9 bisecting the Park.  These threats being roadkill of animals due to overspeeding as well as litter and fires.  Fortunately the dogs were smart and very quickly disappeared North when this large Namibian truck approached. The truck was actually doing a sensible speed.  Unlike the intercity busses… 

 

Back at the lodge, at the end of April we witnesses a stunning early morning conjunction of Venus and Jupiter.  A conjunction being when they appear to be extremely close.  The closest they have appeared since 2016.  They are not close of course – it is simply that they line up closely but their completely separate orbits mean they are nowhere near close! 

And as April drew to a close the rains were declared well and truly over – thankfully.  The end of the rains and the onset of the cold and dry months means morning mists.  Which if you follow us then you know are a bit of a thing here.  So just after witnessing the stunning conjunction we headed out for soem sunrise boating.  A family that was with us for five nights became huge fans of this and ended up going out three times to witness the morning mists.  

We then took advantage of a short break in the bookings to jump in the car and head up North for two nights to Busanga Plains.  This beautiful area of the Kafue is rightly famed.  Big lion numbers, open grasslands (that are seasonally flooded) and stunning animal numbers and landscapes have created this fame.  It was the first time we had been up there for a number of years and it was great to catch up with old friends up there who were busy with opening their camps.  Morning mists are also a feature of the plains as you can see.  Likewise we saw some of the famous lions and enjoyed two crisp nights under the stars in our roof tent.  This visit reminded us of how in the Kafue you can really enjoy such a diversity of different scenery and animals and camps.  

Back at KaingU now, and talking of stars….  You probably know that some of us here are a bit keen on the night sky.  As the rains move away conditions for imaging and observing the night sky get better and better.  The chances of clouds get lower and as the humidity drops the astronomical “seeing” improves (the disturbance of the atmosphere caused by winds and moisture is called seeing and is the effect that causes stars to twinkle.  Light being bent).  This also coincides with us starting to get good views of the core of the Milky Way – that is the heart of our own galaxy.  This image is looking into the milky way.  Clearly visible (top to bottom) in the Carina nebula (the largest and most spectacular S. Hemisphere emission nebula), the running chicken nebula and then the dark coalsack (huge dust cloud) with the Southern cross immediately adjacent to it to the left.  The red colour of the nebula is caused by glowing clouds of hydrogen gas.  

Continuing with a bit of astronomy we then also had a full lunar eclipse on the 16th of May.  The day that big event however, we had a sunset and moon rise at almost exactly the same time.  From Mpamba rock both were absolutely spectacular and these two images were taken within 10 minutes of each other. 

 

And then the big event.  We knew that there wasn’t going to be much time to witness this eclipse as it would happen with the moon very low on the horizon and that the moon would actually set during the eclipse and basically at the same time as the sun rises. For this reason I decided to go lightweight and simple. No tracking mount (which requires quite complex alignment with the South celestial pole). Just a camera on a tripod. It was a decision that left me with mixed feelings. With tracking I could have got the moon and surrounding stars, but on the other hand the moon was already disappearing pretty quickly into atmospheric haze as totality peaked.  Here you see the moon darkening and then the second image is full totality.  The effect is caused by the Earth’s shadow falling on the moon.  But red light bends around the Earth, hits the moon and gives the red hue.  Hence lunar eclipses also are known as “blood moons”.  

Now we want to talk a bit about group travel.  Over the period of the worst of the pandemic (i.e. the last two years) international group travel dropped to zero.  Sure there were a few (very few) intrepid individual travellers that braved it all to come to Africa, but the big groups stopped completely for very obvious reasons.  So it all got a bit emotional when we had the return of some Overseas Adventure Travel groups from the USA.  Only two groups, and reduced numbers compared to pre-pandemic, but so good to see international travel starting up.  And of course with groups comes a bit of a show!  The Kaingu band got back into their swing.  

And the band not only welcomes the guests but then for the final night there is a bit of a traditional evening and send off.  The guests get Zambian food and there is a bit of pre-dinner festivities that takes place.  All in all it is loved by guests and staff alike.  

And then to wrap up we again had another encounter with the Chunga pack of wild dogs.  This time they had moved down from the M9 and were a few kilometers from our car park on the spinal road.  So great to see them again.   Israel had encountered them on a staff transfer, and had seen them on his way back down again.  So as it was the middle of the day we reckonned that they would not move again for several hours, so we took the opportunity and headed up.  Sure enough there they were.  And with no traffic to disturb them they were completely relaxed and allowed us to get within a few meters of them.  

So that is it for this our first newsletter of 2022.  Follow us on social media for more frequent updates and if you like what you see then do come and visit us!  

 

 

September 2021 Pictorial Newsletter

September.  The month when a switch gets thrown and we plunge into searing heat!  As I write this we are (okay yes we are now in October!) seeing temperatures of 37 degrees.  It does seem that the whole country is facing a bit of a heat wave.  While out looking at yoga locations we came across these guys cooling off: 

It must be nice to be larger than a croc sized snack!!

The elephant action on the river just never ever gets old. 

Island life

We then hosted our 9th (I think) yoga retreat.  And it was a stormer.  

It was also our most attended event yet.

The always beautiful Chief’s Campsite

Restorative rapids yoga

We also had lots and lots of camp elephant activity.  This very early morning visitor made us all a bit nervous by being up close to our satellite dish.  We really have bad enough internet without the help of elephants! 

Do not touch the dish please…

Blocking the path to tents 5, 6 and the family house!

The wildlife highlight in our immediate vicinity though had to be a young leopard that we found sunning itself on Mantobo island – which is a large island near the lodge. 

Mantobo island is over 3km long and this is the second time we have seen leopards on it.

And then we received a pleasant surprise when family from Germany announced they had booked flights. So we had the pleasure of Julia’s mum and brother for a couple of weeks.  Its great to see Europeans starting to travel again.  We are by no means busy with international guests, but the numbers are steadily increasing.  Fingers crossed for next season. 

If elephants don’t get old neither does exploring the rocks.

The climb up “flat top” is not the easiest, but the views are stunning.

Oh and a quick obligatory shot of this month’s full moon.  The harvest moon.  So called becaue it used to help illuminate northern hemisphere farmers bring in the crops late into the night.  

And then a few random snaps from the month.  

Beautiful backlit baboon.

Peak hover. Pied kingfisher.

The beauty of the giant star Antares and its surroundings – Rho Ophiuchi.

 

Last Minute International Special!

As European travelers start to spread their wings we have put together an amazing 12 night package with four superb owner-run Kafue lodges.  All the participating properties have agreed to discounted rates for this end of season “Ultimate Kafue” package that spans the Park from North to South.  Valid from the 15th September until the 15th of November.  

Full package details are here (English): 

https://kaingu-lodge.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ultimate-Kafue-Last-Minute-Offer-2021-1.pdf

And in German: 

https://kaingu-lodge.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ultimate-Kafue-Deutsch-Last-Minute-Offer-2021-1.pdf

If you like what you see get in touch with your travel agent!  

 

August 2021 Pictorial Newsletter

July 2021 Pictorial Newsletter

  So let’s get the topical one out the way first…  We got our second vaccines!    We drove out to meet the ministry of health team on the Itezhi Tezhi road, and while we were getting jabbed we mentioned that we had staff members coming in from off time who would also be needing 2nd vaccines, so a few days later the MoH team drove up to do all the 2nd vaccines.  Of course there are one or two staff who are unwilling to take it, but we of course respect that decision.  

Mike Yandila (mechanic) fully vaccinated!

  Anyway, once the jabs were done we gave the team a slap up lunch and then drinks and a boat cruise.  It was the least we could do for the MoH being so proactive and willing when it comes to vaccinating people in the hospitality industry.  

Ministry of Health team ready for the river.

We had some keen birders through camp this month, but the absolute best moment was when we had a VERY keen birder with us from New York state.  Of course the discussions turned to what birds were top of her wish list, and of course the Pel’s fishing owl was up at the top.  While out on the river we had a great sighting of one.  It was a bit of a photographic challenge, as in flight it kept it’s back to us.  It landed briefly on a tree in the far distance and we were able to grab some pictures before it very quickly flew off into the distance.  

A bit of a lifer for many. The Pel’sfishing owl.

And a few more from the month.  White-breasted cormorants, guinea fowl and crowned hornbill. 

 

But at this time of year if we have anyone remotely into birds then a must-do is a morning visit to the parrot pool.  We have talked before about this unique phenomenon.  More details here:  https://kaingu-lodge.com/blog/2017/07/26/mayers-parrots-kaingu-lodge/  Anyway we saw a gathering of approximately 100 birds!  Photographing them in flight is very challenging as they move incredibly quickly.  

Meyer’s parrot in full flight

And then just to prove that it doesn’t have to be a more esoteric bird or be in flight… While driving the pools loops one evening we caught the guinea fowl in glorious golden hour light.  Just as satisfying. 

Glorious golden guinea fowl!

We also took guests out exploring.  Some of our favourite rocks were visited over the month.  While we do love the usual rock (Mpamba) it is also great to show people a bit of variety. 

Exploring flat top. Not the easiest rock to get up, but well worth it!

Searching for signal. No rock trip is complete without seeing if phone signal is out there!

The scale of some of the rocks is a bit mind boggling!

And of course being quite deep into the dry season means wildfires.  While up for a bit of astrophotography on Mpamba I captured this one.  At 8 kilometers away it was a big one.  

8km away to the west. Strong winds whipping the fires right through the night.

I did mention a bit of star gazing and photographing.  I thought it would be quite interesting to have a look at visualising exactly why the Zambian night skies are so good for seeing the stars.  Here are two maps of light pollution which while not the same size, are to the same scale. One is Kafue National Park and it’s environs and one is the eastern seaboard of the US.  The difference is staggering.  So is the size of the Kafue!  

The US Eastern seaboard. Dark blues being less polluted areas.

Note the complete absence of light pollution in the Kafue. Almost the entirety of the Kafue is what is ranked as Class 1 skies on the Bortel scale.  

And finally lets look at Zambia as a whole: 

Zambia as a whole. The pin indicates Itezhi Tezhi at the southern end of the Kafue National Park.

And then as a comparison and at the same scale let us take a look at central Europe.  

These amazingly dark skies are what allows us to see the sky in such amazing clarity.  And allows us to look at the amazing arch of the milky way from the top of the rock. 

A relatively cloudy night but even so the clarity as we look towards the galactic core of our galaxy is incredible.

And a shot of our moon:  

A big challenge at this focal length of just over 1500mm is trying to obtain focus and keeping the moon in the frame as at these super telephoto lengths the earths rotation makes the moon drift through the frame quite quickly.

And finally (for the bit about the night sky anyway) is a picture of one of the constellations that visitors are most interested to see – the Southern cross or the crux.  Here you can clearly see it canted to the right and with the dark “coal sack” (a dust cloud obscuring stars behind it) to the right.  

The crux and the coal sack.

and to round up our newsletter we leave you with what might be one of the last mega mists of the year!  There is no doubt that things are warming up that the mists are reducing.  However this one almost right at the end of the month was a stunner!  

Kaingu Lodge lurking in the mist!

Liuwa Plain National Park Self Drive Notes & Guidance

What you need:

We are not going to list details of camping gear as that would be far too long and everyone is different.  But rather we just want to highlight what you really must have as a basis for your self-drive adventure to Liuwa Plain National Park as well as give a bit of guidance for first time visitors, as compared to other more visited parks in Zambia it is a bit more “wild”. 

High Clearance 4×4.  Just a standard proper 4×4.  Ideally something with low range and decent clearance as some of the sand tracks leading into the park can be very thick, churned up and heavy going. 

Basic recovery gear. Preferably a highlight jack (and a thick bit of wood to use as a base), a shovel and some traction aids such as some short sections of 1” planks, “maxtrax” recovery boards or some sections of old conveyor belting or even carpet. Basically, anything that can help you get traction after you have freed the underside of the car.  You do not need your vehicle to look like it can win the camel trophy, but if you do get bogged in thick sand then basic equipment can save you hours of angst, sweat or waiting for (very) infrequent passers-by.  Of course, if you are using a hi-lift jack then your vehicle must have proper jacking points (such as front and rear steel bumpers strong enough to jack on).  Many modern vehicles do not.  So, think about this now and not when you are stuck!  You could substitute the highlift for a decent hydraulic bottle jack, its just all going to take longer and be more difficult than with a high lift jack.  Saying all that, in 9 visits we only needed a jack once, and that was in an exceptionally wet mid-December.  

20L jerry can and fuel. If you are in Liuwa for a three-night stay and your vehicle is a modern fuel efficient one then you probably don’t even need extra fuel.  For many trips we have filled up in Mongu, spent a few days in Liuwa and had enough fuel to get back to Mongu.  But on a recent four-night stay and having covered quite a lot of distance in the park our rather thirsty diesel Land Cruiser needed topping up to reach Mongu.  A 20L jerrycan in the back of the car will give you piece of mind.

Tyre pressure gauge and compressor.  An essential part of sand driving is lowering your tyre pressures to allow the tyre to spread out, lowering the surface pressure footprint of the vehicle and increasing traction.  This is not optional, it is essential.  Otherwise, you will get stuck.  Park rules state that you should drop to 1.6bar, but if your vehicle is struggling then go lower down to 1.2 or 1.4.  Bear in mind that when driving in sand with lowered pressures that you must not make sharp turns (the bead of the tyre can potentially come off the rim) at significant speed.  Remember also that the thinner side walls are now bulging out and so more vulnerable to damage from sticks etc.  You must air down at Kalabo before getting onto the hand-drawn ferry (pontoon) as on the other side when you come off the ferry you are straight into the sand.  And it is a bit embarrassing to get stuck immediately coming off the ferry!  When leaving Liuwa it follows that you must then pump the tyres up again once you are off the ferry and in Kalabo.  There is a tyre mending place where you could stop and pay a few Kwachas to pump your tyres, and this is the best solution unless you have a decent compressor.  Bear in mind that the small cheap compressors from Game or whatever are very easy to overheat or even burn out and will take a long time to get four large 4×4 tyres back to highway pressure. 

Navigation device.  We would recommend Tracks 4 Africa.  Either on a standalone GPS device or on a phone or tablet.  Liuwa can be a difficult place to navigate as it is so open and with few landmarks.  Tracks 4 Africa has been the default overland navigation standard for years but having seen a latest Garmin car navigation I was impressed.  The detail was in some cases better than “T4A”.  It is worth pointing out that tracks in Liuwa can be very confusing. What seems to be a well driven track can peter out to nothing.   As with all GPS navigation using premade maps, do not treat all tracks and navigation routes as gospel.  Use your common sense too! 

A second vehicle or going solo?  If you are not comfortable with independent 4×4 travel in remote areas, then we really advise that you should go with friends.  Two vehicles give peace of mind – it makes recovery easy and if one vehicle has a breakdown then it makes solving that problem so much easier.  Liuwa is not as wild as it used to be.  Access is easier and cell phone reception is possible in quite a few places in the park.  The community campsite attendants all have radio communications with park HQ.  But despite all this it is a wild place that can be hard on vehicles and it sees few visitors (especially at the moment).  So, if you are going solo then a degree of self-reliance and familiarity with basic recovery techniques is essential. 

Getting there 

  Liuwa is far!  From Lusaka you need to overnight in Mongu (Liseli Lodge is the best in town).  It is just under 600km from Lusaka to Mongu.  Our self-drive promotion package that this guide goes along side assumes that you are starting from the Kafue National Park.  So lets start with assuming you have just crossed the Hook Bridge over the Kafue river in the middle of Kafue National Park. 

From the bridge you continue along the M9 for 48km on perfect smooth car.  Watch out for wildlife and observe the park speed limit of 80km/hr.  After the 48km you reach the Western Park gate (Tateyoyo gate).  There are often good small, sweet bananas for sale here. 

From the gate you continue 74km to the town of Kaoma.  Unfortunately, this is the worst section of road that you will face on the trip – big potholes and broken tar. At Kaoma there is a good filling station on the M9 and another one in the town itself.  The M9 filling station sells particularly good (and massive) pies! 

From Kaoma to Mongu it is 195 km and after departing Kaoma there is only about a further 20km of the bad section of road before it turns to good smooth tar.  It is then a beautiful drive passing pastoral scenes of beautiful pans and dambos and stunning sections of forest (many of them forest reserves).  As you arrive in Mongu stay on the M9 and you will come to a roundabout with the Barotse Mall featuring Shoprite and the Hungry Lion among others!  The Shoprite is very well stocked.  The whole Mongu shopping experience has been absolutely transformed since our first visit 11 years ago or so!  Liseli Loge is then about 9km from the mall.  Take the road to Limulunga (D557) and Liseli is on the right.  It is obvious and is also clearly listed on Google Maps.  We always find Liseli lodge clean and great service and good food.  Reception is 0974303102.

There are a plentiful amount of filling stations in Mongu as well as banks, a very good tyre and battery fitment place and basically everything you need to stock up before Liuwa.  There are several craft shops selling Barotse basket work etc and incredibly cheap.  Also notable is the Barotse Cashew factory where they have an outlet selling packaged cashews at great prices – also on Google maps. 

The following day head back to the roundabout at the Barotse mall and take the road to Kalabo.  As you crest the small rise after the police station you start to see the Barotse floodplains opening up.  The views are amazing.  You then decend down to the new causeway with its 27 bridges.  This stunning feat of civil engineering has simply transformed communications between Mongu and Kalabo and of course Liuwa. 

After crossing the causeway, the next stop is Kalabo and you should go straight through town and head to the river.  At this point you will see African Parks/DNPW workshop and offices just before the small hand-drawn ferry.   This used to be the point where fees would be paid, but African Parks have moved their HQ and tourism centre closer to the actual park – so on the other side of the river.  However, at this point you must air down your tyres and sometimes this is not a bad way to kill time while the official ferry operator arrives with his receipt book (50 Kwacha each crossing). 

This is now the real start of the adventure! Once off the ferry follow the tracks and look out for the signs to African Parks tourism HQ where you will then complete all the entry formailities and payment.  The sand from the ferry at Kalabo to the AP HQ and onward to the park boundary is the worst that you will come across in your trip – it can be very thick and quite hard and hot going.  If you are heavily loaded or pulling a trailer in October or November, then keep an eye on engine temperatures as thick sand at slow speed with high ambient temperatures can easily lead to overheating.  From African Parks HQ you are almost into the park.  From here the roads (well, tracks) get harder and smoother and progressively you start to see more and more animals. 

Where to stay?

You have three types of accommodation choices in Liuwa.  There is the very luxurious (and priced accordingly) King Lewanika camp which is a very high-end camp run by Time and Tide.

Then you have self-catering accommodation at Sibika Camp which is a relatively new site with four very well spaced out and completely self-contained chalets.  There is everything you could possibly need.  Just bring your food.  They are very comfortably equipped and offer a good medium between full on lodging and full on camping. 

Next is the four community campsites.  You can read about them here:

https://www.africanparks.org/the-parks/liuwa-plain/liuwa-plain-campsites

We have seen quite a big upgrade to the campsites over recent years with solar lighting and solar hot water geysers adding a new level of comfort to staying there.  All the sites have an attendant who will check your entry permit and pump water and keep things in order.  On the African Parks website it says that they can assist with gathering firewood, but on some occasions the camps do not have firewood and gathering of firewood is  prohibited under park rules.  Better just to carry firewood with you. 

Important Notes:

  • Last year and this year (2021) have seen a massive drop in visitor numbers such that pre-booking campsites in Liuwa has not been required. However, in normal times this is not the case.  Particularly in South African holiday times and in ‘peak’ season of late November Liuwa can be full as it has become a bit of a destination for overland travellers from the south. Full does not mean that it is busy, but simply that all the camp sites are occupied.  Even if you are going there this year I would pre-book.  It would be highly unfortunate to get all that way to be told you can’t get in! 
  • Quite often there is no firewood available in the park. Best to buy some on the way between the Kafue NP and Mongu. 
  • Water in Liuwa is usually from shallow wells, hand pumped up to overhead tanks. As such while it is potable, it is not the cleanest water in the world.  In the past we took a water filter, but the fine sediment meant the filter choked very quickly.  Best to bring in your own drinking water. 
  • Cell phone reception is best with the Zamtel network where Katoyano campsite can get (patchy) reception. Ask the camp attendant to show you the network tree!).  If it’s Airtel you need then near Lyangu there are areas again with patchy reception.  Best just to switch off completely if you can! 
  • Liuwa is not about seeing big predator numbers. If you drive all that way thinking you are going to see hyenas, lions and cheetah in one visit then you are probably setting yourself up for disappointment. It is more the overall adventure, the wide-open landscapes (unlike any other park in Zambia), the large groups of Wildebeest and Zebra (in the right season) and the birdlife.

And that is it from us.  Enjoy your visit and here are a few pictures to whet your appetite! 

 

 

 

 

Pictorial June 2021 Newsletter

Our June newsletter.  As usual we are less about the words than the pictures.  June is the month of firebreaks and morning mists.  And of course bee-eaters!  So lets start with our bee-eater colony…  

June is also the month when we burn firebreaks around the lodge and the carpark.  Bo and the team are highly proficient at this vital task that (for obvious reasons) has to be done well and with care. 

And of course with the cold temperatures comes the morning mists.  Yes, we might be guilty of repetition (bee-eaters and mists!) but we make no apologies.  Both are just so beautiful.   

We also had our first proper full-blown international guests!  So we did dinner down at the rapids and I couldn’t resist documenting it for posterity. 

And then we had guests bring a mixed case of the amazing Wild  Dog beer for us to try with them.  They have just won a silver medal in the African beer cup with their “Shempa Ale” All of them are fantastic and highly recommended.  

    

Pictorial News May 2021

A bit of a less wordy month for once.  May is a beautiful month as the bush dries out and roads become accessible.  The temperatures drop and the crazy insect life of the green season starts to drop off accordingly.  With the cold temperatures comes mists on the river which to be frank is one of my favorite phenomena that we experience here on the Kafue river.  

Oh and the other wildlife news is that a large (larger than we have ever had here) bee-eater colony has started establishing itself 5 minutes up stream!  Expect lots and lots of bee-eater action this season. 

In terms of travel news it is more of the same, so we are not even going to go there!   

Enjoy some pictures taken in the month of May.  

 

Mother and baby in the park side troop trying to warm up in the cold morning mists of May.

 

Ilala palms on mantobo island catching the last rays of the autumn sunset

 

And another ilala palm on the island this time backlit by a beautiful sunset.

 

Western banded snake eagle staring intently out over the dambo by our carpark. Captured on our first drive of 2021 of our pools loops.

 

On the same game drive we came across this magnificent specimen! A leopard tortoise that we estimated must weight over 20kgs!

 

And a random shot of the moon!  I was asked by a few people on social media how to shoot the moon. It is not difficult, you need a long lens with either good image stabilization or on a tripod. Best is when the moon is not fully illuminated (so not a full moon). A faster shutter speed than you would thing and generally underexpose the shot a bit. This is 560mm at F8, ISO 400 and a shutter speed of 1/320sec.

 

Down by the rapids one evening we were astonished to watch a pair of Egyptian geese risking the waves in the rapids to graze on the rocks.

 

The bee-eater colony that we mentioned… Well the colony has rocks below it and I was amazed one evening to see the bee-eaters freak out and start mobbing this monitor lizard. Who in turn got chased off by a larger lizard!

 

More of the moon! This time a rather unusual sighting with it backlighting a bee-eater.

 

Another unusual sighting. We normally only ever see the crabs being battered apart by giant kingfishers! Clearly this one has had a few close encounters with something judging by the missing legs!

 

The elusive finfoot.

 

The bee-eater colony! I am so pleased at the location and the size of this colony. Oh, and there is the perfect place for a hide too….

 

Rocketing out of the burrow.

 

And we leave the month with a few shots of the magical May misty mornings!

 

And that is it for May. I have zero doubts that June will be more mists and more bee-eaters 🙂 !

Kaingu’s 8th Yoga Weekend. 11th – 13th June 2021

KAINGU’s 8th YOGA WEEKEND  
YOGA IN THE WILD
11th to 13th June 2021

 

ABOUT: Bring harmony to mind and body, improve your body strength and flexibility. Immerse in the relaxing natural beauty of the Kafue River at KaingU Lodge. Enjoy massages, yoga and delicious meals.
Ruth’s weekend yoga retreat will include Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga which is energetic and synchronising breath with movements, as well as Yin Yoga, a slow, soothing, and meditative style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia, and ligaments in the body.
KaingU provides the perfect backdrop for your yoga sessions, revel at the Rapids, Mpamba Rock and on Yoga-Island. At KaingU Safari Lodge you will enjoy caring service and delicious healthy meals will complete your weekend of wellbeing.


DATES: 11th to 13th June 2021
LOCATION: KaingU Safari Lodge, Kafue National Park, 4 ½ hrs drive from Lusaka
DISCOUNTED COST (resident rate): $385 per person, self-drive
INCLUDES: 2 nights accommodation, healthy nutritious meals & snacks, 4 Yoga sessions with Ruth Odendaal on top of Mpamba Rock, on Yoga-island, Chief’s camp and the Rapids overlooking the river, one nature walk and a boat cruise
EXCLUDES: bar, park entrance fees (if applicable), road transfers (can be organized)
EXTRA: head, back and full body massage available over the weekend at additional cost
CONTACT: Lynda: info@kaingu-lodge.com www.kaingu-lodge.com
BRING: your yoga mat, let us know if you don’t have one
TELL US: dietary requirements, level of yoga experience