We’ve had a late start this year and its been all hands on deck preparing for the upcoming season that begins with our first clients arriving on the 11th.
Nearly all of our annual rainfall occurred in February, about 500mm. We’d normally plan getting into camp to start preparing for the season at the end of March but the area was inundated with water making access before mid-April all but impossible. So since mid-April we’ve added a new deck to the main nsaka, new window gauze in the chalets, re-varnished the window sills in the chalets and decking in the tents and dug an enlarged soak-away for the kitchen, in addition to all the standard maintenance and cleaning that takes place at this time of the year.
Having so much rain in such a short period of time has caused some erosion and wash-away on our main access road from Livingstone. At this time of the year the plains are under water and access to the lodge from Dundumwezi Gate is via the southern boundary and cordon roads. We are expecting the plains road to open sometime in July. Until then the transit time from Livingstone will be a bit longer than normal.
A consequence of the late rains is that we still have plenty of surface water around and the bush is lush and green and the grass very high. Absolutely lovely but it does make wildlife viewing somewhat challenging. Wildlife tends to be naturally dispersed at this time of the year becoming more concentrated as surface water dries up. The plains are still inaccessible so in May and June will be concentrating our game viewing efforts to the west, on higher ground, particularly in the Mafuta Loop vicinity and as far north as the Ngoma area and Lake Itezhi-tezhi, and bush-walking areas along the Kasha and in the Zebra Pools areas.
Although wildlife is difficult to see on account of the high grass we have seen most of the antelopes and plenty of evidence of the cats, particularly lion and cheetah, that at this time of the year tend to use the roads to avoid the grass. On the birding front most of the migratory species seem to have left for warmer climes but the residents are out in force. The openbill stork are still on their nests with active heronry’s up and down the length of the Nanzhila River.