Its that time of the month again. Time to recap and review the month of May here at Kaingu Lodge. We kicked off the month with a mini marathon and this (health!) became a bit of a recurring theme later in the month as well. The mini marathon was great fun. We had a day without guests so the whole thing was organised quite well. We had a timekeeper (Mike the mechanic) on top of Mpamba rock and a timekeeper at the lodge (Joel the barman). A few “did not finishers” ended up being brought back from the rock by Mike, but the overwhelming majority did the whole 6km.
After the mini marathon (the winners being Junior and Matron) we moved straight into our annual (7th!) Father & Kids fishing weekend. This is always a highlight in our calendar and while numbers were lower this year the number of nights was more. So basically the fun factor was still the same.
A short video that we put together on the last night!
Now we come to another annual event. Lodge firebreaks! Unbelievably this year we ended up burning on the 5th of May. This is more then a month earlier than we usually do. This shows just how dry conditions are this year.
On the subject of fires… We try to do a monthly astrophotography session on the rock (normally around the time of the new moon). This one captured quite a large wildfire (a good few kilometers south of us) under the arch of the milky way.
When I captured this photo (well, actually a series of photos as it is a stitched panorama) I realised that there was a reasonable chance that the fire would creep West and two days later my theory was proven.
And now for a totally gratuitous landrover picture. We love (and sometimes don’t love) our old landrover! Planning on a paint job this year though…
And then what was for me an absolute highlight of the month. Possibly of the year. There are a couple of ladies who come to Kaingu a LOT. Both are passionate photographers and I have referred to them before as the ‘ladies with lenses’. Anyway, B knew that the mists on the river were coming and that there would be some good photo opportunities. And there was… The cape clawless otter is a fairly infrequent sighting here. But when you get a family group with the adults just having finished eating a fish on a rock at sunrise in the mist, well, lets just say I was wishing for a longer lens! But still we were sitting in the boat kind of speechless.
We went back the next day and scouted around to see if we could repeat the magic, but perhaps not surprisingly we couldn’t. We did have some other water dwelling mammals join us though.
As we got back to the lodge I decided that we would try really hard to find a kingfisher that we think is nesting by the deck (as we are seeing it so often). We failed on the kingfisher but we got lucky with another guy that we see in front of the lodge a lot.
And as our super keen photographing guest was about to leave us we had another unusually spectacular sighting. Osprey! With a fish.
This sighting was quite special as it was Julia’s first time to even see one and it was the first time I saw one and actually was able to get a picture. It was also quite the moment for me because as a child I was lucky enough to be able to cycle round to the Loch of the Lowes nature reserve and watch a nesting pair. So I did. A lot! The story of Scottish ospreys is quite a conservation success story. To go from having been extinct in 1916 to having only 5 nesting pairs in 1969 to now Scotland having 224 breeding pairs is quite something. The story is here:
And then for a complete change of scene we headed North to see our friends from J&M Safaris at Musekese Camp. This was a LONG overdue visit and we were so glad to catch up and see the stunning area that they are managing and conserving. The guys are doing super work with their Musekese Conservation and the area has what is to me probably some of the best animal concentrations in the Kafue and yes I include Busanga in that statement! Phil and Tyrone have been joined this year by Gareth and Frederike and it was also great to catch up with Gareth who we also know from a good few years ago. Here is Phil and Gareth proving their conservation chops by moving ants out of the path of the vehicle!
We do share a lot of guests with each other so while the visit was a pure pleasure we can also claim it was business! If you want to see more of what they are doing for conservation in the Kafue then you can take a look here:
And then back to Kaingu goings on. We had a large group that were keen to experience a bit of local culture (something that we feel is often missing on safari). So the Kaingu team were happy to organise!
And in the same health vein as the mini marathon we then organised Agnes the nurse from the Itumbi clinic to come up and spend a day at the lodge with all our staff. She is a bit of a dynamo and packed in a day of health checks, talks, testing and education. This was the first such visit but will certainly not be the last
And then the last monthly highlight was our 4th Yoga retreat. This is most certainly a highlight of the year for Julia and Lynda. Rick and myself are not quite so keen although I have started a tiny bit… Anyway we got Clare to come up from Livingstone and we got madam Precious the masseuse to come out from Lusaka. It was a huge hit with the participants and we also had a Zambian TV crew film the first session.
And there you have it. May at Kaingu Lodge. We leave you with a last picture from our yoga retreat. Clare helping Julia with the dreaded ‘bridge’….