Logs from Charlotte

2nd February

I had a really interesting trip!!….actually it’s been lovely…..we left Lusaka very late and after a blowout just before Mumbwa we arrived in Mumbwa as dusk fell

I thought it prudent to buy a spare tyre but the 2nd hand rather dodgy looking spare was available for the same price as our brand new tyres in Lusaka – so we declined!!! After late last minute ration cabbage and inpwa purchases at the market we headed for camp- quite challenging as we navigated puddles the size of swimming pools!!!

We finally arrived near camp after an interesting night drive seeing many owls who flew headlamp golden lit in to nearby trees. Two dainty bush pig stepped into the road and gave us a wonderful show of snuffling and rooting the middle monarchy. An African wildcat who spent all her time cleaning herself, oblivious to our spotlight!!…and there was a really big leopard who crossed the road. We stopped to look where he went only to discover he was watching us closely from the verge with an unblinking golden stare. I was glad I didn’t get out with the torch as I would have been able to stroke him!!!!

There was a fairly hair raising last section drive – at speed through water that came over the bonnet at times and twice I was drenched as a wave of water came through the window! Full credit to Keenan who kept up the momentum through extreme trying conditions!!!

I advised caution as we neared camp and we stopped near the Mushingashi Crossing at 1.30!!! The staff in camp came to meet us. I was impressed but I decided to sleep in the car. Zacks and Keenan decided to brave unseen muddy conditions and walk back with with Kalila and co. I slept fitfully. There were lots of mozzies in the beautiful star filled night sky, but it was chilly!!

I awoke to a birdsong filled dawn and took some photos of a fast flowing Mushingashi stream. The staff arrived to start unloading and I walked back with them. The camp is looking good!!

We started sorting rations and Keenan was working on the Banana boat engine.

I released Alfred, the little tortoise that Alfred Mwamba had found on the road. It was fun to watch the little head cautiously appear and stiff little legs come out and ginger first steps to freedom….I watched him until he became invisible in the undergrowth.

We rested until the afternoon. When I planned to go to bush camp to swop staff, a most humungous wind started up – really breathtaking and then thunder, the blackest clouds and suddenly the heavens opened. I hope we can get out!

I decided to have a sleep whilst the storm raged. When I woke up the sun was shining-the weather is really fickle. We decided we had better do the bush camp changeover, but again there were severe black clouds on the horizon. Weloaded the boat with staff and rations and off we went. It is very dramatic being in a fast flowing, vast river with huge swirling black clouds overhead – I admit to feeling a tad apprehensive!!!

We got to bush camp and it was sooooo wet. All paths are under running water. The lounge/dining area was under water as well. We did not take the tents down but they appear to be unharmed. I decided to take the small boat back as the dambo at main camp is filling up fast and it is the only way to get to camp (which becomes an island in the wet weather). It took ages to ‘catch’ the small boat to tie it to the banana boat and tow it back. That was a sloowwww trip back. The Game Scouts wanted to borrow the boat so they took it as soon as we arrived at the main camp.

As it was quite late I came to our hut and relaxed., then had an early night. I was woken by distant lion roars which got closer. A lonely owl call, few light drizzles but otherwise a lovely peaceful night.

I awoke to a Hueglin’s Robin song filled dawn, a beautiful crystal morning with golden sunrise. I must have dozed off as when I woke again their was a dark grey day, lots of different birds singing and its still not even 7am yet! So we start a new day…..another day- let’s see what magic this day brings- chilly and grey but beautiful!!!

Lion – Captured by the Trail Camera (6Mb)