That’s it, a few more days and our 2012 season will be over. It is incredibly hot, and both camps are very busy, however our staff are determined to provide the best service till the end, when they will need to find a bit more energy to pack the camps, before returning to their families in Mfuwe and other villages around, and start their farming chores. It is always sad to reach this point, but it’s been an incredible season, with our highest occupancy ever!
Congratulations to every member of the team for their hard work.
2013 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kaingo Camp, and it seems that next season will be as busy as this one! We have already received 60% of our bookings for next year! So if you are thinking about visiting us, don’t wait too long before contacting your agent!
As the availability of water is now so scarce inland, the wildlife really concentrate along the banks of the Luangwa River at this time of year, and lions are just everywhere, as our guests will have noticed! Just as an example, a few days ago, one vehicle encountered up to 24 lions on the morning drive, in 4 different sightings. Lions galore, feasting on various preys every 2 or 3 days. We’ve had lions feeding on buffalo, on hippo, on elephant, on puku, on warthog…
Here are only a few examples of our lion sightings over September and October, some pictures coming from our guests Rona and David.
We were also lucky to see all the Mwamba cubs re-united! As you will recall from our previous newsletters, we started the season with 5 cubs, about 3 and 6 months old. Now those cubs are 7 and 11 months old! Then we found those 3 cubs that survived the rain of early August, we reckon those are now 4 months old. And that tiny cub, whose brother was killed by a male lion, she is probably also 4 months old now. All those 9 cubs have been seen together, not far from Kaingo at all!
Just a few days ago I was lucky to also see them myself, at least 6 out of the 9, so here are a couple of pictures, but I will hopefully get much better pictures from our guides and guests once they are able to share.
Talking about the lack of water inland, there is one place that remains extremely busy, albeit away from the river! It is our photographic hide at Mwamba. The hide is set just outside the camp, on a bend of the Mwamba River where the water remains the longest as the rest of the river dries up. Once the level becomes too low, we pump water ourselves to provide wildlife with a convenient source of refreshment! We will keep pumping water there after we close, until the first rains come and supply occurs naturally.
The Mwamba hide is really the place to be at this time of the year. I have gathered here some pictures of the variety of things you can see at the hide, any time of the day! And we are missing leopard pictures, although they certainly have been seen at the hide too!
Another favorite place in September and October is of course our Carmine Bee-Eater Hide. The display offered by these flamboyant birds is simply fantastic. And for photographers they are probably one of the most difficult targets to capture!
In the first part of October we had the honour to host one of C4 Images & Safaris’ Photo Tours lead by Isak Pretorius and Patrick Bentley. C4 Images offers specialist photographic safaris & workshops for nature and photography enthusiasts, throughout the year in all parts of Africa.
Zambian-born wildlife photographer Patrick Bentley was chosen to guide this group due to his deep knowledge of South Luangwa, as Patrick has been guiding and photographing here since the early 1990’s. In fact, Patrick was a guide at Kaingo Camp during the 2006 season. Patrick has shared with us some of his pictures from this trip, with a lot more to be soon featured on his website: http://www.patrickbentley.com/
Isak Pretorius also shared some of his pictures, but we’ll save those for our next newsletter!
On a travel note, I was announcing last month that the new Aviation Infrastructure and Development Tax had been postponed to October 1st, 2012. As soon as the newsletter was mailed out, we received yet another announcement, this time to say that the new tax had been deferred until further notice!
In the meantime, Proflight (the airline for domestic flights in Zambia) has announced that they will be including the current “exit taxes” charged by local airports in all of its tickets, and passengers will no longer have to queue to pay these taxes at the counter. This was already the case for the international flights. It will be applied to all new tickets issued after January 1, 2013. That is great news indeed!
Early this season we had the visit of Marcus and Kate Westberg, travel writers and photographers who visited South Luangwa on an assignment for National Geographic and Africa Geographic. While in the Valley they also took the time to visit Project Luangwa to find out more about how we support our local community. Their blog was recently released on the digital version of Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine. You can click here for the link, and read their story.
You will find below the winning photographs of our Picture of the Month competition. The theme for October 2012 was “Ellies”. Congratulations to Chris, Peter and Georgios! Our next selections will be on the following themes: “Monkey Business” for November and “Reptiles” for December, and “Black & White” for January. So make sure to sort through your photographs and to email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a final note, we would like to send our sincere congratulations to Jeff Nadler, guest at Kaingo and Mwamba in September 2011, as one of his photos he took at the hippo hide has been chosen by the North America Nature Photographers Association as one of the winners of the 2013 Showcase competition. Well done Jeff!
In a couple of weeks, I will be back to my other home, in Belgium, changing from a 40 degrees centigrade climate to the cold and wet winter of continental Europe. The good news is that I will have access to speedy internet again, so make sure to sort through all your pictures and videos and get ready to send them on through to me!
I’ll be in touch again at the end of November, to cover the latest news from South Luangwa. We are finishing the season with another photographic group, promoted by Oryx Expedition, and led by Canadian photographer Chris Dodds. So I’m sure there will be more pictures to share!
Cheers for now,
October PICTURE OF THE MONTH – ELLIES
OCTOBER 2012 WINNER
By Chris Tickner, September 2012
“I first visited South Luangwa with Shenton’s two years ago with my Dad and enjoyed it so much I returned in 2012, this time with my girlfriend Sophie in tow as well.
We saw this family of elephants an hour or so into our morning drive with Meyam. They were slowly walking past us, when something caught there attention and they all turned to look at our truck. After a few seconds they suddenly turned and ran back the way they had come and I was lucky enough to get this shot. After a hundred yards or so, they regained their nerve, and turned to walk back past us.
This was only one of the many fantastic experiences we had during our stay – I cannot recommend Shenton’s and their guides highly enough. Thanks to everyone for giving the three of us a truly magical holiday!”
Settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 1/400 sec at f/5.6. Focal 400mm. ISO 320.
OCTOBER 2012 RUNNER UP
By Peter Lemon, September 2010
“I’m Peter Lemon from Australia. Fanatical wildlife photographer – especially African wildlife. Still aiming for that National Geographic front cover. I have visited Kaingo and Mwamba each dry season since 2006, especially for the photo hides, and the “Hollywood” lion pride, and the brilliant photo opportunities they often provide. I love the sense of remoteness of these camps.”
PS: this picture was taken from the Mwamba hide
Settings: Canon EOS 400D, 1/400 sec at f/6.3. Focal 300mm. ISO 800.
OCTOBER 2012 RUNNER UP
By Georgios Chaziris
“Living and working in the urban jungle that is Athens, Greece, me and my wife Dimitra are fond of traveling in search of remote and untamed wilderness as far away from home as our limited time will allow. We have a particular fondness for Africa, its people and its wild places with all the profound uncertainty they envisage. Being in the wild is the refreshing sidestep from our sterilised daily city life. Photography is just a part of this process, a trip within the trip.
I took this photo of a young curious elephant from the front seat of our jeep. My wife was on the back seat and literally within one meter from the eyes of the elephant. I like how this shot reminds me of her frozen stance and her terrified smile, as everybody stood perfectly still while the massive, mud covered animal was inspecting her up close and personal.”
Settings: Canon EOS 450D 1/400 sec at f/7.1.Focal 400mm. ISO 400