It is with great excitement that we watched our last two trucks leave South Africa this week. The first packed with gum poles, tools, lights, furniture materials, fire pits for the new suites and safes for the rooms and the second loaded with soft furnishings and interiors.
Getting these trucks onsite before the heavy rainfall is crucial. We’ve had a few showers already, and more rain is looking likely this weekend. We are hoping it takes the edge off the heat but doesn’t restrict our road access. When all the materials are onsite, work can continue throughout the rains as the majority of what is left to do is under cover.
In the last month we have had a few unforeseen delays but our renovation is back on track. The pictures below show the new room flooring which extends onto the private viewing deck in front. We love the Rhino Wood sustainable decking timber, it’s eco-friendly, durable and beautiful.
The Lion Camp refurb team are also feeling the excitement as the build progresses and the opening approaches. During the safari season, Esaya (below left) is usually found waiting tables and serving cold drinks. This year he has been learning the new skill of brick laying. Freddie (below right) is our longest serving chef. When he isn’t busy keeping the refurb team well fed, he says he enjoys being part of the renovation team and learning new building skills.
he Mwamba-Kaingo lions (MKs), who have spent much of their time in and around Lion Camp this season, ventured inland 10 days ago. We were pleased to see that they had returned yesterday and are now back in front of camp on a buffalo kill.
About three weeks ago the same MK pride was seen crossing the Luangwa River. The little cub, the last surviving of the litter, had a very close miss with a crocodile and was saved by its mother who ran back into the water to chase off the crocodile. Sadly, although surviving this close ordeal, the last little cub has not been seen since.
The Hollywood Pride have lately been sighted further north due the presence of the MK pride around Lion Camp. They are going through a lot of pride structure changes this year with so many male sub adults in the pride having to move off on their own. According to the researchers for the Zambia Large Carnivore Programme, three suspected young Hollywood males have moved halfway down to Mfuwe where they seem to be settling in with a few females and establishing a new pride. Very good looking males they are!
The wild dogs have moved slightly south of their previous den. One of their pups was killed by a hyena and the lions were spending a lot of time in the area around their den. The pups are growing fast.
The buffalo are regularly in front of camp, along with lots of elephants and other game. The elephants seem to be having a baby boom up here this year which is wonderful to see.
The carmine bee-eaters have been doing fairly well with a huge colony opposite Fish Eagle lagoon. The young have started to emerge but have a large number of predators to elude including Fish Eagles, Tawny Eagles and crocodiles. The crocodiles have also been seen bursting out of the water to catch some of the huge flocks of Red-Billed Quelea.
Meyam Njobvu has been guiding in South Luangwa for 17 years. We were pleased to welcome him to the Lion Camp team in 2016. He is not only a great guide but a keen photographer and all round great addition to the team. Meyam is from Chikuzu Village in Chief Kakumbi’s Chiefdom. He has 5 children ranging from 9 to 19.
Meyam has been an avid photographer since 2009, an interest piqued by guiding keen photographers willing to share photographic tips with him. These days Meyam shoots with a Canon 40D and a 75-300 zoom lens. True to his namesake (Njobvu translates to elephant in Chinyanja), Meyam’s favourite wildlife subject is the elephant. He says they are interesting to photograph because they are always doing something and are easy to follow, in contrast to difficult to photograph animals like the wild dog who are always on the move through bushes and scrub.
Meyam’s most exciting photographic experience was when he found a 4-5m crocodile hanging on the trunk of a young elephant attempting to cross the Luangwa River. The elephant was 7-9 years old and part of a herd of 13 elephants. When the young elephant made a loud noise and raised her head above the water with the crocodile attached to its trunk, the whole herd turned around to help and rushed at the young elephant, pushing her and the crocodile attached to her trunk down into the water. The crocodile then released the elephant’s trunk and swam away. The young elephant stood up and the whole herd charged out of the river. The elephant was bleeding but she was waving her trunk around. She had survived the attack thanks to her family’s quick rescue.
As well as taking exciting photos, Meyam enjoys sharing his passion, “I enjoy teaching others about photography because I feel it’s a talent that guides need to have to help our guests go back with good memories (in photographs)”.
If you are a keen photographer and would like a guide who understands the importance of waiting for the moment and positioning you and your camera just right and who shares your photographic passion, you can request to be guided by Meyam on your next Lion Camp safari (subject to availability).