News Updates from #Zambia’s #KafuntaSafaris
|Kafunta Safaris – Newsletter
Let our 2018 safari season begin!
That’s it, Kafunta River Lodge is ready for a new and amazing safari season. And it promises to be a very busy one, so we are all extremely excited!
We hope to welcome you to Luangwa very soon!
Where did the time go? I can’t believe that our last newsletter was 3 months ago, and I apologise for the long silence. I’ve been incredibly busy with this year’s reservations but I’ve stocked this newsletter with lots of news and photos so hopefully you’ll forgive me for the long wait.
In the meantime Ron, Anke and Luke spent Christmas at Kafunta before visiting family in Germany and enjoying a ski trip, before returning to their second home in Perth, Australia.
The ski trip was the highlight of these past months. It was Ron’s first time on the slopes, and apart from a few bruises, he loved it!
With Luke out of school and on a gap year, the family is looking forward to more fun time together.
On my side, I’ve been working remotely from my home in the Belgian countryside, mostly keeping busy with 2018 reservations. Late February I joined other Zambian safari operators who braved the artic weather to promote our beautiful country to British travel agents as part of the UK Zambia Roadshow.
We took Zambia’s most iconic feature with us: The Victoria Falls!
This innovative 3D artwork was breath-taking and incredibly convincing.
Below you can quickly watch the 25-second time lapse video of its making.
After England I went straight to Germany for one of Europe’s biggest travel trade shows: ITB, Berlin.
Together with 23 other exhibitors, I joined the attractive Zambian stand to promote Kafunta to trade partners and enthusiastic visitors.
The stand received multiple visits by Hon. Zambia Minister of Tourism & Arts Charles Banda and Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany Anthony Mukwita, as well as charismatic traditional dancers who go the crowds cheering. As the 2018 Convention & Culture Partner, Zambia was at the forefront of the show.
Goodbye Lisa, Hello Johan & Lori
For those of you who follow us on Facebook, you already know that we bid farewell to our lovely lodge manager Lisa Peake in early January.
After 2 years of dedicating herself to the lodge, it was time for Lisa to return to Lusaka and focus on her family. Her hard work, passion and constant smile will be sadly missed. We wish her well and hope that she will visit us very often.
Nevertheless it was with great excitement that I arrived at Kafunta mid-March to meet our new managers Johan & Lori van Eeden.
Working closely together, Johan & Lori are filling the dual role of General Manager & Lodge Manager. Their background is impressive as they mutuallly combine over 30 years of lodge management experience, with the most recent years spent in Kenya and Tanzania with the prestigious Elewana Collection.
Although born in South Africa, Johan spent a good part of his youth in Zambia’s Copperbelt where his parents were working. He later attended boarding school in Zimbabwe, and university in South Africa. Apart from wildlife and the outdoors, Johan is passionate about photography and I look forward to sharing his photos with you.
Alsoborn in South Africa, Lori grew up learning the tricks of her parents’ upholstery business. She honed her organisational skills by first managing her own gardening company and then working in the meticulous aeronautic industry before meeting Johan and switching to safari and tourism. Lori loves cooking and is looking forward to meeting our guests here at the lodge.
We wish them both a very warm welcome, and we look forward to their help in bringing Kafunta Safaris to even higher standards.
Kafunta River Lodge
The past few weeks have been extremely busy with getting Kafunta River Lodge ready for the new season.
As I type this newsletter we are in the final touches as our first guests arrive on Friday!
2018 is going to be a special year for Kafunta, as we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary in July! If you have old photos of the lodge, staff, park etc, please send them to me. I’d like to put together a fun portfolio tracing the evolution of the lodge since its creation.
No rest for the wildlife
The lodge may have been closed for the past 3 months but there was no break for the wildlife. Animals quickly adjust to a quieter environment, with lions and wild dogs having been seen just on our doorstep.
Johan & Lori also took their first stroll in the park to meet some of Luangwa’s unique species and have a look at general wildlife.
Three Rivers Camp
Rob, Levy and Johan also defied the rugged and muddy roads and took a drive down to Three Rivers Camp, in order to inspect the area before we can start re-building the bush camp in a week or two.
Johan brought back some beautiful photos of the green scenery.
Meet our guest… Karin Tièche
While I’m waiting for the first 2018 guests to arrive, I had kept aside one last "guest of the month" feature from 2017. Karin (3rd place on photo) visited us from Spain at the end of October last year, and didn’t even wait for her safari to be over to already book her 2018 dates! Here’s what she had to say about her visit (but not last) visit to South Luangwa.
What triggered the wish to come to Africa? Was this your first visit?
Southern Africa was on my bucket list and I finally had the opportunity to come in 2015.
Apart from Northern African countries that I’ve known for a long time, my first trip in Southern Africa was to the Okavango Delta, Botswana in 2015. This however was my first trip to Zambia.
How was your experience?
I just fell in love with the landscape, the lights, the wild life and the people
You went to both Kafunta River Lodge and our new tented camp Three Rivers, do you have a favourite?
Three Rivers was very special as properly wild and I loved to sleep outside! But Kafunta has really incredible views on the plain and a lot of wildlife.
What was your greatest wildlife sighting?
There are 2: Seeing a hyena and a leopard in competition on a kill and the sighting of wild dogs. I must say I’ve been very lucky as Magic Martin, as I call him, gave us the opportunity to see a lot of animals!
Was there anything that made you nervous in the African bush?
Absolutely not! Humans in the cities make me more nervous 😉
Do you think you will travel again in Southern Africa after this?
Plans have already been made. I’m going to volunteer to the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary in Harare, Zimbabwe in April, then in July I’m going to volunteer at a lion conservation program in the
Maasai Mara, Kenya and finally I’ve already booked another trip to Kafunta at the end of October! So I’m really looking forward to 2018.
And anything else you would like to add?
Kafunta for me is paradise! People and staff are amazing, wild life extraordinary, the camps very comfortable with the best swimming pool and the food is excellent (my scale was not happy when I came back).
So you’ve heard Karin? There is no time to waste. If you are still thinking about visiting us this year, hurry up and book now as we are extremely busy. Contact your preferred travel agent now or email me your questions, and I’d be happy to help.
The skies at this time of year are simply breathtaking and indeed they look like beautiful paintings made of Nature’s broad palette of delicate hues.
I’ll end this newsletter with a few of those "paintings", which I hope will inspire you to visit Africa very soon.