News from #KafuntaSafaris in #Zambia

 

Dear ATC Readers!

It is hot in Luangwa! Summer is definitely upon us, despite a very strange episode of rain earlier in the month as you can see on this photo taken right from the lodge by Wilson.

As always at this time of year, the bush is extremely dry, except for the lagoon at Kafunta, which is now a magnet for all sorts of wildlife and birdlife!

Another month to go and our “peak season” will come to an end with the closing of our bush camps. Kafunta however is looking busy well into November.

 

Congratulations & Farewell!

 

On August 5th Rob, our Operations Manager, woke up to some startling news!

Six weeks ahead of schedule, his partner Raphaëlle – freshly returned to her home in France – had overnight given birth to their son Noah, in Saint-Malo. Rob grabbed a bag and caught the first plane for Brittany, hence embarking for what will most likely be the most memorable and incredible journey of his life!

 

Poor little Noah had a rocking start to life, but he is now a healthy and strong 8-weeks old baby boy surrounded by proud and loving parents.

 

How incredibly exciting! We congratulate Rob and Raphaëlle and wish them and Noah, a life filled with lots of laughter, love and good health.

 

With Rob now off to France taking on his new role as a parent, we sadly have to bid farewell to the devoted Operations Manager that he was for Kafunta Safaris since early 2015.

We want to thank Rob for the incomparable strength and confidence he has shown at work, and as he pursues greater heights in his personal life, and career, we wish him only the best and we can’t wait for him to bring Noah to Kafunta for introductions!

 

Come November, after the closing of Three Rivers Camp, Theuns Kruger will take over Rob’s role as Operations Manager. Theuns has shown great enthusiasm and strong customer service skills since his arrival in May. Guests rave about his kind personality and his professionalism and we have no doubt that Theuns will continue to grow with our company and step in Rob’s boots very quickly.

 

Other kind of babies!

 

Without much of a transition, let’s look at some beautiful photos of the Luangwa Valley by Mfuwe-based wildlife photographer Ed Selfe.

I’m sure most of you are already familiar with Ed’s photographic work as I’m a big fan and gorge our Facebook page with his images and blogs.

His 6-night Best Value Safaris at Kafunta River Lodge run through the peak season and fill up fast, but he is also available year round as a private guide throughout South Luangwa.

 

Ed was with us in August and will return again in a few days, each time with more amazing stories to follow. Learn more about Ed here, or read on for a couple of snippets of his most recent Luangwa trip report with photos and videos.

 

Lion cubs must wait

Ed: “Male lions dominate on carcasses, the “lion’s share” being the fee they take for protecting the area and keeping the females and cubs safe from intruding males. As the cubs inched closer, the males continued feeding and then swiped at the youngsters with no warning at all! They were up against a small bluff meaning that the only available angle was shooting in to the light, but we all got some good shots and we enjoyed the amazing interaction”

Click here for a short video showing the cubs waiting.

 

Leopard play time

Ed:”Our final day was spent with a female leopard with a fresh impala kill. She is known to have a 3-month old cub. At one stage she did call the cub and it was wonderful to watch the little one creep across the open ground and finally rush to join his mother at the edge of the bush. I prepared my guests to ensure they had enough shutter speed for the play that I knew would follow, but even I was amazed at the speed and incredible agility of the youngster. “

Watch the video!

 

 

Here are a few more of Ed’s photos from his last stay at Kafunta River Lodge.

 

Meet our Guest… Joanna Martin

 

For the 5th year in a row, Joanna packed her wheelchair and travelled with her good friends to Luangwa to visit her cousin Ron Cowan.

Injured during her duty as a RAF nurse, Joanna sees no obstacle or limitation when it comes to exploring the world, helping others and challenging herself.

An Iraq war veteran, and an Invictus Gamescompetitor, she is an inspiration to many!

Here’s her side of the story!

 

Joanna: I consider myself to be very lucky to come here as my accident in 2005 whilst on a military training exercise left me with a spinal injury resulting in no movement or feeling from my chest down and a permanent wheelchair user.

After my injury I really regretted that I had never made it to Africa to go on Safari, which was high on my bucket list, and I thought once I was in a wheelchair it would never be possible.

However that all changed when my cousin Ron and his wife Anke visited me in Scotland and realised how much I wanted to come.

 

They made it happen. Ron adapted one of the suites removing steps and making the bathroom accessible. He also made a large ramp that takes my wheelchair up to the height of the jeep and allows me to transfer into the passenger seat next to the guide. Anke got going on planning the journey especially the last part of the trip flying from Lusaka to Mfuwe in the small plane that we knew may be an issue. It seems they had not transported anyone with my condition and at one point were suggesting I would have to be transported lying flat therefore chartering the whole plane. Those of you who know Anke will know that she does not give up easily so a letter to the chief exec of Proflight sorted that one and they agreed to transport me sitting in a seat.

That first journey went without a hitch until we arrived at Mfuwe airport and found that regardless of the countless emails that had confirmed it there was no suitable chair to lift me off the plane. But Zambians are resourceful, so along came the firemen who bodily lifted me off the plane. (*)

 

On the second trip Ron made some alterations to the flooring of one of the chalets at Island Bush Camp to allow me be able to stay there. It did involve two very willing and strong volunteers to carry me in my wheelchair up and down the stairs. It was so worthwhile to listen to the hippos at night and have the elephants pass by only a few feet from the bed. For obvious reasons I did not join the walking safari but instead had a lie in followed by breakfast listening to many of Klaus’ amazing experiences. I think the others were a bit jealous!!

 

The staff at all three camps over the years have been terrific and often anticipate my needs as they remember from previous years. The only problem is that the food is so amazing and I get so little exercise with the staff so keen to push me everywhere I always go home heavier than I arrive.

 

This year we tried out Three Rivers Camp for the first time. We were not disappointed what a beautiful setting and great to arrive at a time that 3 giraffes were casually strolling through the camp. It was lovely to have a wee bit of luxury but be very remote. The highlight for me was definitely sleeping under the stars on the upper deck. It was a bit of a feat getting me up there but well worth while. I also loved the fact I could lie in bed and look out especially as a very large elephant visited one night about 3am to feed from a tree right in front of our deck.

 

I am so glad that Ron & Anke gave me the confidence to take that first journey out to Zambia as it is a very special place with amazing people and wildlife.

Kafunta: Before coming to us you also went for a Behind The Scene tour of the Elephant Sanctuary in Lusaka. How was that?

Joanna: Yes, we stayed for 3 nights at Lilayi Lodge as I had always wanted to visit the elephant sanctuary that is there and I wasn’t disappointed. The tour started with the mixing of the milk then going with the keepers to see the baby elephants feed. We were kept a reasonable distance away as obviously they are keen the elephants have as little human contact as possible. It was a lovely sight seeing them feeding but it did not last long as the average 2 litre bottle of milk is drank in 12 seconds!! There were three six month old calves and one three month old who had just arrived. Her name was number forty three (with the red coat on the photo) as she was the 43rd rescue and would not be named until they could see a bit of her personality. We also saw where the elephants and the keepers slept and learned lots about their behaviours and about a research project than was underway. Lilayi Lodge was a lovely place to stay. The staff were all welcoming and helpful and the food was amazing.

 

Kafunta: Can you tell us about Chandra?

Joanna: On my first visit to Luangwa we were keen to visit the local schools and meet some of the children. That’s when we learned about Project Luangwa and the fantastic work that they do. The years since we have managed to take a couple of suitcases full of sports gear and school bits and pieces for the children. I also started sponsoring a little girl through school who is hoping to become a nurse and this year for the first time I managed to meet her. Her name is Chandra. It was a very emotional moment for both of us as we have been writing to each other but had never met until now.

 

Kafunta: What is your next adventure?

Joanna: My next adventure is on home soil and is a kayak race from Glasgow to Edinburgh. A total of 55 miles of paddling over two days.

Thank you Joanna for being such a fun and adventurous guest, your spirit is an example to us all.

(*) note that since Joanna’s first visit, Proflight and the Zambian Airport Corporation have greatly improved their assistance to less mobile passengers!

 

Share your images!

As you know I’m always on the lookout for photos taken by our guests while on safari with us. Here are some taken by Joan Sharkey who visited Kafunta last July.

I hope it will inspire you to do the same.

 

Email me your images now

Hello from Klaus

You are many to ask me news of Klaus, tour guide extraordinaire, who was Island Bush Camp’s manager for a few seasons.

 

Klaus is well indeed, and he was back earlier this month for his yearly group tour with Duma Naturreisen. He’s already planning his travels for next year, so if you fancy a special trip with Klaus, sign up now! He’s got many stories to tell.

 

Klaus’ favourite spot – Island Bush Camp

 

Well folks, another newsletter without enough space to show you everything. So come back next month!

Anke, Ron and myself will all be at Kafunta in October – we hope to see you there!

Izzy

Kafunta Safaris

 

 

 

 

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