This was the first year we got involved in the FUCH Elephant Charge at the Chisuka River outside Lusaka (thanks Sara and Sam for the fantastic opportunity). Both teams we were part of did us proud. Daisy and her Duchesses all-girl team was sponsored by Kasabushi and Andy was part of the Dirt Herders boy’s team. The ‘Ele Charge’ is an annual 4×4 challenge event that teams enter into and compete to get through a harrowing course in the shortest distance.
The total raised by our two teams was just under $13,000 (10% of the challenge total for this year), thanks so much to everyone that supported them. Since 2008 the ‘Ele Charge’ has raised nearly $900,000 to support wildlife conservation in Zambia.
31 teams started the challenge and only 14 finished so our teams did good, the stats:
Dirt Herders – 7th for pledged donations, 5th net distance, 5th for shortest distance, 3rd in the gauntlet and 2nd for shortest distance by a new team. A fantastic effort and a fun day that gave Andy the opportunity to leave camp and join in some 4×4 fun time with Sam and a great bunch of guys.
Daisy and her Duchesses of Hazard – Winners of the Silky Cup for shortest distance ladies team, 10th pledged donations, 8th net distance, 7th shortest distance and 6th in the gauntlet. Sara and the girls did an awesome job for the second year and still without a DNF (did not finish).
The 2019 charge is already being looked forward to, a year to plan our team and maybe get our Jimny ready for some competition.
The Duchesses of Hazard.
The Dirt Herders
Girls 1st place award.
Driving Miss Daisy.
Our teams head for the first checkpoint.
4×4 at its best.
Dirt Herders in action.
These are some of the stunning shots taken by Niels during his camping trip here the end of July. Thanks so much Niels for sharing them with us and to Sandra for taking the time to get them to us via Jeremy, much appreciated. We absolutely love them all and they are a fantastic reflection of this part of the Kafue; the river, birds and wildlife. My favourite has to be the Spring Hare, not often seen here and we’ve never got to photograph one. No more words needed, just enjoy!
Finfoot enjoyed by all Birders.
Our stretch of Kafue River.
Bush Buck family live around camp.
Rock formations that give the river its character.
Sunset on Kafue.
It won’t be long before some river channels between the islands here become unnavigable. So, we decided to try one that we’ve never been up before while we had our Zambia ‘besties’ with us at the weekend. Sara and Sam, Harry and Geke come out to us a lot so we decided to go somewhere none of us had been before.
We navigated the narrow channel in the centre of the map.
Andy’s driving was amazing as always and with the help of our ship mates we squeezed and pulled our way through to the open river. So many laughs with Harry trying to get Sara out of his favourite spot at the bow and the American, Dutch and English nautical terms that left us all in fits and Andy unsure which way to turn the boat.
Harry demoted to the posh seats!
The rock spotting commences.
Captain Andy in control.
Sam jumps ship.
Harry back in his favourite position.
Geke happy to drink wine and enjoy the ride.
The top of the islands.
First mate takes the chair.
Sam catching flies.
No stones or rocks and I’m chillin’.
The ride home.
The stretch of river was absolutely stunning as you can see. Water-berry trees with their unique root formations formed a tree-lined tunnel that shaded the route in places and the biggest crocodile we have ever seen that was sunning itself towards the top of the channel.
We love it when we can share these experiences and laughs with friends and have some down time, even on a busy weekend.
Right or starboard.
That’s a stone.
That’s half a stone.
We’ve had a quiet few days recently so time to get some repairs and renovations done (and write a blog post!) before a hectic August.
The boiler room.
Our campsite is in its fifth season now and there is always touching-up to do be done. The donkey boiler area we call the boy’s ‘office’ was in need of a makeover. The old grass walls have now been replaced with smart gum poles and a more robust wood store. Campers often remark on the standard of Andy’s plumbing (EU standards!) and the efficiency of our boiler and the water system to the showers and loos.
Lib’s power nap.
Andy and the boys did the heavy work ramming in all the corner posts then Lib screwed the 200 poles in place (followed by 40 winks that were sneakily caught on camera).
We have continued our reputation for an exceptional attention to detail with every pole sanded and the structure built to last many years and, hopefully, withstand termite invasions.
We are all proud of the new ‘office’ and looking forward to campers appreciating the facility over the forthcoming peak season.
Another great lion sighting yesterday afternoon. Eight sub-adult cubs (four males and four females) were all chilling near the entrance to the Sishamba Loop under the shade of trees. Two had nasty cut on one leg so we assume they had been fighting or were injured on a recent kill. It’s encouraging to see so many young lion prides in the Kafue this time of year and often on the Spinal Road.
Access to the Sishamba Loop is restricted to a few kms but drying out fast now that the rains have ended. Let’s hope for lots more cat sightings throughout the Kafue as this season gets underway.
One preferred his space.
They still have their tummy spots.
So close but they did not move.
This one preferred to rest nearer the Sishamba Bridge.
When we came upon this pack on the Spinal Road, between the Luansanda and Sishamba Rivers, they were eagerly greeting the return of a few dogs that had been on a kill and covered in blood. We watched the pack fighting over a small head, all that was left of what looked like a Duiker. This would have been a snack for so many dogs and after a rest they would have been off on the hunt again.
The pack was made up of ten dogs, two with collars so known to Panthera in Kafue and our information will help with the monitoring of Wild Dog throughout the Kafue National Park.
Wild Dog have been seen quite often over the wet season and this pack in particular. Let’s hope for more this dry season.
Dogs welcomed back after a kill.
One dog walks away with the head.
The GRI Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for abandoned elephants orphaned due to poaching, human conflict and other tragic circumstances. The babies receive 24/7 care and protection from their dedicated keepers and learn to interact with other orphans after the trauma of losing their natural family. The milk-dependant orphans live at the orphanage in Lusaka until they are 2 years old when they are relocated to the release facility within the Kafue National Park.
The Kafue Release Facility is located in the southern sector of the Kafue National Park and backs onto the Ngoma Teak Forest. There are currently 12 elephants being cared for and they spend their days roaming the park, meeting the large herds of wild elephants from time to time. The hope and intention is that these orphans will be fully integrated into these herds in the next few years and enjoy a natural life within the protection of the park.
The release facility is a days excursion from Kasabushi or a short drive from Lake Itezhi-Tezhi and the perfect opportunity to see and enjoy elephants at a safe distance but up close and personal.
Baby Nkala with one of her adopted family.
Nkala making new friends in the Kafue.
Water fun in the KNP.
Many of our Lusaka based followers and some clients will have visited the Orphanage at Lilayi, Lusaka and got to know the babies cared for there. The youngsters run in with their keepers at 11.30 every day much to the delight of the viewing public. On a recent visit I heard about the latest addition to the family, 3 month old Kesewe but she was sleeping at the time so not on view, next visit I hope to meet her.
The rescue, rehabilitation and release of these orphans is totally supported by public donation.