We have been longing for the moment that Oscar wheels out his sewing machine to start making the canvas walls for the rooms, and that time is finally here!

Lucky for Oscar, the thatch roof has been completed on most of the rooms - just before the heavy rain arrives - and we are starting to see how our new rooms will look from the inside.

Our pallet of dusky neutrals is evident through all our building materials that have been so carefully selected … even the enormous structural gum poles look amazing when they have been sanded back to reveal a silvery finish that perfectly complements the beautiful Rhino Wood.

The walkway now carves an elegant winding path through the bush, and all the curves we put at the centre of the architectural design are now clear to see in their perfect glory.

We are delighted to be working closely with Nzito, an innovative Zambian furniture design company based in Lusaka, to produce a range of bespoke items for the camp. Nzito have introduced us to a craft group working in Mongu (Western Zambia) to produce exquisite items woven out of plant roots resembling weaver nests … quite a challenge scaling up from egg baskets to light fittings!

Polly Hosp, the design consultant on the project, said: “At this point all we can do is trust that the great ideas and hard work in the planning stage produces the look that we are going for … and hope that we love it of course”.

Lion Pride & Wildlife Update

(by Nathan Pilcher with photos by Meyam Njobvu)

This month, the Mwamba-Kaingo lion pride (MKs) continued to hang around in the Lion Camp area chasing buffalo. They caught two buffalo in front of camp within 24 hours, and were chased up and down by elephants who had come to drink in front of camp. Over the last week we have seen the Punks mating with the Hollywood females which we are, of course, hoping will lead to more lion cubs next year.

The wildlife coming down to drink in front of camp has been spectacular as water availability in the park was at its lowest with temperatures soaring. Huge herds of buffalo regularly came, alongside zebra, elephants, giraffe, and a few more permanent wallowing hippo. Two buffalo got stuck in the mud and were found by hyenas that night with lots of commotion and sound.

This time of year we see lots of flowering as trees and shrubs push out vital energy to produce some spectacular blooms. These flowers can produce a much needed food source for many insects, birds and mammals during this dry time of the year. Lots of feeding frenzies were seen with baboons, Vervet Monkeys, squirrels and birds in the trees, and various game below eating the fallen flowers.

The Sausage Tree in particular produces a wonderful display of huge velvet red flowers which open at dusk, and fall to the ground over the first few hours of light the following morning. With various animals moving from tree to tree eating the fallen flowers we would regularly find leopards hiding in the trees waiting to pounce on the prey below, not always successfully though. Malaika's daughter Chipazuwa is particularly keen on this technique.

In November, with the start of rains, we said goodbye to the UK film crew who have been staying at Lion Camp through the last few months of this renovation period.

Producer/Director Beth Brooks said “We’ve been lucky enough to spend two seasons filming natural history series’ in South Luangwa National Park; it’s a truly magical and unique place, packed full of some of Africa’s most iconic and inspiring wildlife. The mighty Luangwa River brings an incredible array of animals, from Aardvarks to Zebras, with everything in between.

Our filming camp, based at Lion Camp, became a hotspot of sightings; from Lion cubs playing on our doorsteps, to elephants mud bathing in the watering hole outside our chalets. South Luangwa is truly one of Africa’s best places to see wildlife as it should be seen; unspoilt and majestic. It stays with you long after you’ve left.

We really enjoyed having the crew in camp, watching clips of the amazing footage they have captured and keeping up to date with all the wildlife action as we rebuild. We would also like to say a special farewell and thanks to Nathan Pilcher who has been sharing his insights in the wildlife updates all season. He is leaving Luangwa to start a new life in France with his family and we wish him every success. 

Staff Spotlight: Emma Robinson

Safari season 2018 heralds a new chapter for Lion Camp and I feel this is the right time to hand over the management reins to a new team.

Having spent the last 15 years developing the Lion Camp ethos and nurturing a skilled team I will inevitably miss the daily challenges and the camp’s unique window on Luangwa’s wildlife.

The continued success of Lion Camp is assured and I wish every guest the best safari experiences in Luangwa.

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