Office Africa January 2013
This is our first newsletter of 2013 – let us wish you all a fantastic new year, good health, happy times and hopefully captivating travels (preferably in South Luangwa J)!
So the rainy season is under way in Zambia, the rains are good so far. We don’t hear much from our guides out in the Valley – they are busy with their chores.
Jules, Derek and the girls travelled to Australia for 7 weeks, visiting Jules’ family and spending time together away from the busy life they have in Lusaka. I’m so happy to share a picture of all four, they are so hard to get!! The picture was taken on the wedding day of Jules’ brother – don’t they all look smart and beautiful?
They are now back home in Lusaka, and as always keeping busy with the upcoming season. It is only 4 months away before we re-open.
I keep myself busy with the usual work load of reservations and marketing, having recently spent a few days in Paris visiting travel agents (oui oui!), and planning another trip to the UK later in April. I’m also spending a LOT OF TIME viewing, trimming, collating the many (hundreds) video recordings taken by our guides over the 2012 season. Manipulating the video cameras was a learning process for us all – but once the shaking has been removed, amazing films can be put together!
I invite you to have a look at these first 3 videos, they really tell amazing stories (click on each picture to access the video):
1) the unexpected, and dramatic, arrival of two male lions at the Mwamba Pride’s meal.
2) the rare scene of a lioness going down in a warthog hole, leaving her young cub on the look out.
(Note: this is the surviving cub from the above story)
3) the spectacular sighting of leopard Kylie on a kill, while her son Elliott (the one-eyed leopard) steals the prey away from her. Absolutely gorgeous leopards!
Stay tuned for more! I usually post them on YouTube and Facebook as soon as they are ready, and will share the links on our next newsletter.
We talk a lot about lions and leopards, ellies and hippos but what about the others?
For example the honey badger?? I love honey badgers! So does our return guest Jenny Cox. Jenny first came to us in June 2011 with husband Dave. Jenny quickly told us she was desperate to see a honey badger. Unfortunately none were to be found in the 7 days they stayed with us. But they had plenty of other sightings to enjoy, so much so that Jenny and Dave came back in 2012, with son Sam. This time they came in October and stayed 12 days with us. You will have seen many of Sam’s pictures already in our previous newsletters and blogs, he is a fantastic photographer!
But back to the honey badger… It was not long this time before Jenny’s wish came true. For several days in a row, she did see honey badgers, even a particularly rare sighting of TWO (we do things well at Shentons!) badgers, in DAY TIME, climbing a tree! Seriously! They were so busy looking for food that they totally ignored Jenny and her safari mates. I love these pictures taken by David and Sam!
Another animal we don’t often talk about – is the Pel’s Fishing Owl. Many of our visitors are also desperate to see them. They are quite rare indeed, but we are lucky to usually have some around Kaingo Camp. Being nocturnal, having good pictures of them is not always easy. Happy to share a few, captured by our guides and our guests.
Other types of owls are also often seen, but rarely captured – or at least not many of those pictures are sent to us. So here are some of those beautiful nocturnal raptors you can find in South Luangwa.
And here is another animal we don’t get to see in pictures very often. The elephant shrew! Here are a few pictures, including some from friend and travel agent Kristina Trowbridge, who managed to capture hers in daytime!
As we are about to announce the first Picture of the Month winner for 2013 (see below) we wanted to say thank you again to all those who have sent us their photographs over the past year! And please keep doing so. Even if they are not always making it in the selection, they are always a joy to share, and to include in our stories. We also wanted to congratulate all the “winners” of the 2012 Pictures of the Month, by re-publishing them here.
WINNING PICTURES OF THE MONTHS FOR 2012
November 2012 – MONKEY BUSINESS
No winner – postponed to February 2013 as we need more entries!
The theme for January 2013 was BLACK & WHITE. We had many entries for this one, and we will repeat this theme later on in the year. You can try and edit your pictures, some can look stunning in black and white. The winner and runners-up for January are:
By Jeff Nadler, August 2011 – WINNER
Settings. Nikon D300S, 1/90sec at f/22. Focal 340mm. ISO 1000.
By Sam Cox, October 2012
Settings: Canon EOS 7D 1/500 sec at f/5.6.Focal 400mm. ISO 800
By David Tickner, August 2010
Settings: Canon EOS 5D MkII, 1/800 sec at f/5.4. 500 mm.
Our upcoming themes for the Picture of the Month are: Monkey Business for February (we are still looking for more monkey pictures!), Comical for March and Action for April. Pictures must reach us by the middle of the said month. Now, head to your computer and email us your shots.
Travel news! Proflight has indeed confirmed that as of February 1st, the DEPARTURE/SECURITY TAXES will be included in their domestic tickets. We are now accounting for these when securing tickets. It means that holders of tickets issued after Feb 1st will not have to pay the taxes at the counter at the airport anymore. The queues will become a thing of the past. Make sure to print your tickets to present at the airport. We apologize, but those holding tickets which have already been issued will still have to manually pay the tax at the counter.
January 1st, also saw the RE-BASING of the Zambian Kwacha. The new Kwacha (ZMW) was introduced at a rate of 1000 old Kwacha for 1 new Kwacha.
The Kwacha is subdivided into 100 Ngwee which can be found in form of coins. The Ngwee existed prior to the rebasing, but the value of the coin material was higher than its face value, so it had practically disappeared from the market. Also new is a coin of 1 Kwacha.
If you have old notes you can use them until June 30th, 2013, as both the old and new will be legal tender.
Currently, the exchange rates between ZMW and other currencies are as follow:
1 USD is 5.2833 ZMW
1 GBP is 8.3548 ZMW
1 EUR is 7.1065 ZMW
(Source: mid-rate from the Bank of Zambia on Jan 25th, 2013)
Here’s what the new notes and coins look like:
I’ll end our newsletter by another call to our past guests, to post their review onto TripAdvisor . I know I talk about this a lot, but ratings on TripAdvisor are better if frequent postings are added. In the opinion of those in charge, it is not only the number of stars given to a property, or the total number of reviews it gets, but also the frequency of reviews posted – which for a seasonal property is not as high. It is all very complicated, and utterly not so important, but it certainly is rewarding to keep both Kaingo and Mwamba in the top 10 properties of South Luangwa. We can only do this with your help! As for Facebook, we have well surpassed our end of year goal of reaching 500 fans, we are now at 523! Thank you, and join us if you haven’t yet done so.
Click on the icons below to connect directly to the relevant pages.
We’ll be in touch again before our 2013 season starts!