As per usual, winter departs abruptly on an August breeze and the hot weather, that is so typical of the Luangwa, is back to stay for the rest of the season. With the heat comes thirsty animals all flocking to the remaining lagoons and the park’s life line – the Luangwa river. Fishing parties, mud bathing and beach trips are all the rage and of course, these activities always make for some lovely wildlife sightings.
Carmine skies and crimson beaches
Carmine bee-eaters have flocked to the banks of the Luangwa river to make their annual colonies – another typical sight for this time of year. The riverside is alive with their cheerful chirps and blazes of red as they zoom around the newly dug breeding grounds. Only once they have settled and laid eggs, can we build our carmine hide at Tafika Camp.
A hide isn’t essential for fantastic carmine bee-eater sightings but it can offer some great photographic opportunities and unique sensory experiences at eye level with the action. The hide is constructed with natural materials and tucked amongst debris to blend in with the natural surrounds.
It offers a 180 degree view of the carmine activity and every now and again, you may spot a lion draped on the bank catching the cool river breeze!
The Tafika elephant hide is busier every day with elephants, bushbuck and puku. The chalets are becoming hides in their own right now as elephants are making themselves at home in all of the camps in search of winterthorn and paperbark pods. And yes…that’s Bryan Jackson, back in the bush (and chatting to elephants) again after an extended sabbatical due to the pandemic.
Our local Tafika lagoon is becoming a hotspot for mud-loving elephants, playful baboons, thirsty herds of buffalo, lonely hippos, grazing antelope, chirpy banded mongoose and an array of water fowl.
The Sausage trees are in full flower too which is keeping lots of antelope happy with their daily flower-drop each morning.
The wild dogs are now more active having left their dens. With the Milyoti pack of 14 wild dogs (including 8 pups) in the Nsefu area, there have been some lovely sightings of this pack. The pups are bubbling with energy but are not much help in the hunt just yet as they lose focus pretty quickly!
Thanks to the work of the Zambian Carnivore Programme and Conservation South Luangwa, the wild dog numbers have been increasing steadily over the past 10 years.
On a recent game drive, Pink nose/Olimba’s two cubs were treed by the wild dogs and great views of the cubs overhead and the pups below were enjoyed by the guests who seemed to take to this kind of baby sitting with great pleasure!
The leopard cubs are very inquisitive and often approach the vehicle (and Lloyd‘s toes!) for a sniff. They spend a lot of their time in trees and enjoy showing off their acrobatic skills above the game viewing vehicle. Their mother watches on with her usual relaxed demeanour, happy to let someone else take the lime light for a while.
Mwaleshi has also enjoyed lovely interactions with wild dogs as there was a pack denning close to camp. Out of all of our camps, Mwaleshi remains our most raw bush experience on offer and continues to be a favourite. Last week, guests came across lions hunting on foot and had some thrilling moments of stalking the lions themselves and getting right up close and personal.
Takwela has welcomed many happy new guests this past month. In fact, everyone wants to go to Takwela – even giraffe! This has been our most unexpected visitor so far as giraffe “don’t occur” in the North Luangwa and have only ever been spotted a few times over the past few years. The waterhole behind camp is getting a lot of attention and has even had the rare reedbuck coming for a drink.
Guest feedback about the Chikoko Tree Camp upgrades has been really positive and game viewing from the raised decks is getting busier. Towers of giraffe and herds of elephants can be seen strolling past the dining area deck – just about at eye level!
The Chikoko Trails walking safaris are now weaving between huge herds of elephants and buffalos and busy lagoons are providing beautiful tea spots as the water levels drop.
Our Football league is coming to an end with just a few games outstanding. With a schedule of 40 matches in both the South Luangwa and North Luangwa including mens and ladies teams, there has been much entertainment over the last two months.
Our school pupils are coming to the end of their second term and after a mere one week break, charge on with their third and final term.
We recently received some bulging bags of donated goodies for the school and clinic from generous guests which was very enthusiastically received. We were also very grateful to another lovely guest who put together a fund raising walk with proceeds going to the Mksanga clinic and school. A big thank you to all donations we have received during a difficult year, we appreciate the support and every bit counts!
|If you would like to know more about The Tafika Fund or are keen to offer some very welcome support, please contact Jen on firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|As we sign off, here’s a reminder that last minute mania is very ‘in’ at the moment and we’ve had several ‘last-minuters’ jumping on the plane ready for a safari and finding it all way easier and safer than anticipated. It you’d like to join the rush to the Luangwa river and the remaining lagoons, no need to wait for next year as it’s all happening now!|
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Covid-19 in Zambia
Covid numbers are right down and we don’t anticipate a spike any time soon.
Travel to Zambia
All travellers entering Zambia are still required to produce a negative PCR Covid-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.
In-camp swabbing & departing Zambia
We are still offering in-camp swabbing for Covid-19 tests at Tafika for departing guests so no need to cut your safari short and overnight in town on the way out. Please just ensure this is pre-booked and note that it comes at an extra cost of $300pp.
To keep up to date with Zambian regulations please check the MOH facebook page, ask your local agent or pop us a mail.
Some airlines also require your PCR test to be uploaded to Trusted Travel. If you haven’t signed up with Trusted Travel, please sign up before you leave home on the Trusted Travel website. It’s very easy for in-camp swabs as our collaborating lab, CIDRZ, uploads the PCR test directly onto this website to save you the trouble.
Don’t give up on 2021 just yet…