And yes we are already turning the page of November, another great & busy month at Kafunta River Lodge.
As for the bush camps, they are closed and packed away until May next year.
Ever wondered what Island Bush Camp looks like when it is dismantled for the rains? Here you go. Everything is taken out of the chalets ((yes even the toilet!), the dining and lounge and the kitchen, and stored away in rain-proof containers. The grass & reed walls are removed, and we only leave the poles and platforms. Those elements can resist the rains and will be used as the base to reconstruct next season.
Lions at Kafunta!
Imagine it is time for the afternoon tea at Kafunta , and you’re enjoying a refreshing iced tea and a piece of cake, when suddenly something catches your eyes, there on the plains…
You look up and you see this coming down towards the lodge!
This is exactly what happened earlier in November, although to be honest it was just past tea time and our guests had JUST left for their game drive, hence missing the scene by a few minutes! So it was a private viewing for our staff and managers who couldn’t believe their eyes.
Luckily TJ ran to grab his camera and got me these excellent photos, otherwise I’m not sure I would actually have believed him!
The lions walked down the flood plains and came to drink right at the water hole in front of the lodge.
This is to say that on safari, you simply never – ever – know what can happen. Incredible…
A total of 4 lionesses, 1 juvenile and 6 cubs sat there drinking for quite a while, in the middle of the afternoon, in the scorching sun. One of those once-in-a season sighting!
And the next day…
But our guests didn’t completely miss out. Later that night the same group made a kill near the guides room, and this was what guests saw the next morning, only meters from the chalets.
Ginger & Garlic
Although they were not around that afternoon, we think the pride is the same that was seen a few days earlier with Ginger & Garlic, near the river.
Those 2 celebrities are still around, and often seen on both side of the river.
And then there are the ellies…
More regular visitors to the lodge, the elephants are still seen daily at the moment, enjoying the remaining wild mangoes falling from the big tree in the lounge. This elephant to the left was interested in the pool!
The photos below were taken during breakfast time.
Last month I showed you some screen captures of a video our manager Adam had taken with his GoPro. The video is now edited, and you can watch it here (click on button).
Wait till you see what happens when a bird of prey lurks around!
It’s really amazing footage, and it was hard to reduce the 80 minutes of video to just one and a half minute, as it is fascinating to be so close to the birds and observe their behaviour. We often see the carmines take off suddenly when a kite or harrier flies by, but rarely have we seen that the bird of prey actually searches the nest holes.
Well done Adam for your creative use of the GoPro!
Saving Chilongozi Primary School
Amazing wildlife is what makes South Luangwaso special. But there is another reality that rarely makes the cover of glossy safari brochures, and that is the poor living conditions of too many local communities and the little attention they receive from the Zambian authorities.
If you’ve been following us for some time, you are well aware of the amazing work done by Project Luangwa, the non-governmental organisation that we, together with four other lodge owners, formed 9 years ago.
Nevertheless, since opening Three Rivers Camp down in the Malama Chiefdom we’ve come to realise how easy it is to forget the more remote villages.
The Chilongozi school
We’re trying to change that. And first, for the sake of hundreds of children, we’re trying to save the Chilongozi Basic School from closure.
"The distance is too great for daily travel on foot so the pupils are boarded in disused and derelict teachers’ houses only returning home occasionally at weekends. These (primary school) pupils have to be self-reliant; they bring their own food from home and cook for themselves as well as do their own laundry etc."
The various buildings are in a terrible state and the Department of Education is considering closing the school unless something is done (but sadly help is not expected from within the public sector, it is left to the locals).
If this happens there will be no primary school within travelling distance for pupils to attend. Remember there are no busses, the area is remote and accessible only in the dry season by 4 x 4 vehicles, and walking remains a risky activity due to wild animals such as elephants, buffalos and lions. During the rains (November to March) the villages are inaccessible due to the many seasonal rivers.
Project Luangwa has put a proposal forward to build and equip new classrooms, and we will be working hard to raise the funds necessary to turn this proposal into reality. And to save the school.
If you too would like to help, and contribute to the future of the Luangwa Valley children, click the button below to read the full report.
Or forward this information to your local church or school or philanthropic organisation who are often on the look out for serious causes to support.
Contact us here and we will put you in touch with Project Luangwa.
Thank you so much!
Photographic Workshop with Stephan Tuengler
Join Stephan on his next safari at Kafunta River Lodge, and hone your photographic skills. There’s only a couple of rooms left for the tour (German & English speaking), which will take place from 18 June to 27 June 2019. Read more here.
Meet our guests… Rene & Renée Calkins
It was their first trip ever to Africa, and they chose Zambia! Let’s hear what Renée had to say about her trip.
What triggered the wish to come to Africa?
A trip to Africa has always been on my bucket list. There’s just something about the thought of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat, the unique cultural encounters and spectacular scenery that I’ve always wanted to experience.
Was there anything that made you nervous in the African bush? Absolutely nothing. Although, we were quite close to the animals at times, there was always a sense of respect.
Why did you choose Kafunta Safaris? I
I spent time on the net searching for an African Travel Specialist, and I found Tony McKeithof Busanga Safaris. I was impressed because he was especially attentive to what I wanted. He really listened. He proposed Kafunta, and our whole itinerary.
What was your favourite wildlife sighting?By far it was witnessing a leopard kill a bushbuck, drag the carcass for several hundred feet, and then carry it up a tree by its mouth!! The sheer strength and determination of this animal was impressive.
After Kafunta you went on to Lion Camp and then Kaya Mawa on Lake Malawi, how was the rest of your trip?
AMAZING! We were able to have separate experiences with each place we visited. Everyone was extremely accommodating and we loved that people took time out of their busy day not only to get to know us, but also share in the history and culture of their gorgeous property.
What was the hightlight of the trip?
That’s a tough question because there were so many wonderful things… Seeing the wild animals up close and personal and learning about them was pretty amazing, but also visiting the villages in Malawi and seeing how they live and interacting with the children was an unforgettable experience too.
Do you think you will travel again to Southern Africa after this trip? I’m sure at some point we will return to Zambia and Kafunta. We had the most amazing guide, Cephus and spotter, Daniel. We learned so much from both of them and enjoyed our time together.
It’s more than a job for these men. You can see the love and passion they have for the animals and it was wonderful to see. Travelling to Africa has been a trip of a lifetime and I would encourage everyone to consider taking the journey to see just how amazing it is.
Renée Calkins, USA
All right folks, I’ve taken enough of your time for now! Let’s meet again next month, final month of the year, of an incredible 2018 season!
Izzy Kafunta Safaris.