TOURISM NEWS FROM ZAMBIA
Once again my thanks for Kafunta Safaris for allowing ATCNews to rebroadcast their monthly newsletter which is always well received by our readers!
As I type this newsletter, Anke & Ron are leaving Nepal where they spent the past couple of weeks on a trip far different from your typical African safari vacation.
During their 11-day trek, they hiked to Mount Everest’s Base Camp, which is at an altitude of 5364 meters.
Anke described the journey as amazing but definitely challenging.
Kudo to both of them for this remarkable achievement!
Meanwhile I was myself based at Kafunta for the month, but I’m now also on my way back to my home office in Belgium.
It was great to be with the team for all these weeks, but I have to admit that escaping the 40-PLUS degrees (Celsius) temperatures of the valley for maxima of 7 or 8 degrees in the countryside of mine is very appealing! Hopefully the rains will reach Eastern Zambia soon and bring relief and coolness to everyone, including animals.
End of Season for the Bush Camps
Above: Elephants at Island’s hide. Below: at Three Rivers’ waterhole
And by the time the newsletter reaches your inbox, we’ll be in the process of closing down both our smaller camps, Island Bush Camp and Three Rivers Camp for the year!
It’s been a great season with fantastic sightings throughout.
Three Rivers is in its third year of operation and animals around camp have been plentiful. The quality of the sightings on game drives has increased significantly as with time wildlife is getting more habituated to seeing vehicles around, and is more relaxed.
The safari experience at the camps is quite different from the one at Kafunta River Lodge, and we encourage a combination of walks and drives there to fully appreciate this remote and wilder part of the park.
In just 160 days, Island Bush Camp welcomed 259 guests while Three Rivers Camp hosted 371 guests. It was a busy season for both camps, and we warmly thank both managers, Stephan Joubert & Dave Pugh and the entire staff, including the safari guides, for their excellent work. We’re already looking forward to the next season with much anticipation.
If you stayed at one of the bush camps, it would be wonderful if you could add your own review to Trip Advisor, to help potential visitors appreciate the experience one can expect and help us crank the ranking up (the ranking is also influenced by the frequency and number of reviews). I know it’s a bit time consuming but if you click on the links below you will be brought directly to the camp’s own page to enter your feedback. Thank you!
Of course we also welcome the reviews for Kafunta River Lodge, so I’m adding a link for this as well!
Senior guide Martin, on one of his last 2019 sunset at Island Bush Camp
News from Here & There
Farewell at Project Luangwa
"Change is hard. Especially when it involves something close to one’s heart, and Project Luangwa’s heart for the last ten years has been Karen Beattie and Dave Hopson". It is with these words that Jo Pope, founding member of Project Luangwa recently announced Karen & Dave’s retirement decision. Jo goes on by saying "Karen and Dave’s vision has made Project Luangwa what it is today – a thriving non-profit organisation that does tremendous work in the community with school sponsorship, gender support programs, training opportunities and much more, helping the people of the Luangwa Valley reach their potential"
It is with great sadness that we see them leave the Valley. Ten years after they began as directors of Project Luangwa, they can look back with pride on everything that has been accomplished. We thank them for their commitment and their enthusiasm, and we wish them all the best in the next chapter of their adventures together. Project Luangwa will continue with the effective team in place and will carry on Karen & Dave’s vision.
Learn more about Project Luangwa here.
Chilongozi School – Phase 1
We are delighted to announce that the first stage of renovation of the Chilongozi School has started, after several months of fundraising. The worst parts of the building have been taken down and soon the renovation will begin. If you would like to help, we are still taking donations for this big project!
The best of Zambia
For the second time, Nick Aslin, together with his team at Zambia Ground Handlers, has organised an amazing networking event in his offices in Lusaka. It was a real pleasure for me to be part of this crème de la crème gathering with over 30 international travel agents and close to 20 Zambian safari operators.
And of course Nick also made sure that all these travel agents got to experience what Zambia has to offer by sending them to the individual lodges and camps in Lower Zambezi, Kafue and South Luangwa National Parks. A great success, once again!
Congratulations to Benson Kanyembo who is the winner of the prestigious TUSK Wildlife Ranger Award!
Benson has spent the last 20 years on the front-lines of wildlife conservation here in Zambia and joined Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) over 10 years ago where he is now the Law Enforcement Adviser.
Now in their seventh year, The Tusk Conservation Awards celebrate extraordinary people, whose work and lives might otherwise go unnoticed outside their fields.
Benson will travel to London to attend the awards ceremony on 21st November and meet with Tusk Royal Patron, His Royal Highness Prince William who is a vocal advocate for conservation and the protection of African wildlife.
“I would like the world to know that when it comes to conservation of our natural resources, it is no longer time for talk, we need action and real support on the ground.” Benson Mayembo
Elephant & Croc photo creates worldwide buzz
This photo above was taken by our guide Andrew Mwanza, with just a cell phone, while he was guiding near Island Bush Camp on the 8th of October.
It shows the carcass of a dead elephant on top of a dead crocodile.
The sighting although gruesome is made incredibly unique because the circumstances are a complete mystery. How did it all happen? We’ll never know for sure but the photo certainly got a lot of attention!
We posted the photo on our Facebook page and within a couple of days the post was shared 773 times and had reached over 393 000 people! Within hours we were contacted by news media and the story was reported on several platforms, amongst which Live Science , Fox News, Daily Mail UK, Africa Geographic, each with its own style and interpretation.
They make for a good read, and were certainly good PR for us!
It is well known that the Luangwa has a large population of leopards and that sightings are frequent. But once in a while there is a sighting you know will remain with you for ever. I had one of those earlier in the month when on a morning game drive with our guide John. I took the above photo to give an idea of the scenery.
The dry October bush, a large dead tree, some broken logs and … a dark black hole.
If you could zoom in on the above photo, you would see a beautiful young female leopard laying on one of the fallen logs. Here she is below.
The light was a bit dull, but the texture of the tree made for a great background. We stayed with her for a while before she got up and moved up and down the log, always looking up towards the "black hole". We thought something was up.
She starting calling and then all of a sudden she jumped up and disappeared completely in the hole! Gone! We just couldn’t believe it!
Then she reappeared, first peeking out just slightly at the bottom of the hole.
She then came out in full light, and was snarling at us – maybe annoyed that we had discovered her hidey-hole! She jumped down again to finally rest back on the log, but she was still calling slightly and looking towards the hole. We thought we could hear some squawking noises in there, and are pretty sure she was hiding very young cubs. But we decided to leave her alone as she obviously didn’t enjoy our company so much.
In the days that followed we paid regular visits to her hiding place without seeing the cubs. They were probably too young to come out and she likely moved them to another hidden place. I’m sure the guides will keep an eye out for the new family.
As for me, I’ll never look at a tree hollow the same way again!
At this time of the year it is hard to miss the bright Southern Carmine Bee-Eaters and their dashing display of colours along the banks of the Luangwa River.
They are true acrobats and can outmaneuver some of the fastest insects. Their show is best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset, also when they are the most active. And their twitter is unmistakeable.
Enjoy these few photos taken by our guest Rudy Atallah who visited us this past September.
See more of Rudy’s work here: Rudy A. Photography
In the spotlight…
France-based travel agency Bel Africa is a small company specialised in tailor-made journeys to Africa.
Over the years I became very good friend with two of Bel Africa’s passionate travel designers, Gene Routier & Jean-Philippe Baude.
Both are excellent photographers and were keen on sharing some of the photos they took while visiting Kafunta River Lodge and South Luangwa this past August. Here is just a small selection of their work.
With incredible passion, experience and knowledge of Africa, Gene & JP are your ideal contacts to plan your safari of a lifetime.
And this brings me to the end of our October newsletter. I promise to talk about wild dogs next month as really they were seen so much across Kafunta recently that we’ve got some great photos to share.
But I’m running out of space.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this round of news and I will be back in a few weeks with more.
Izzy, Kafunta Safaris
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