Southern Africa Bush Tails

Zambia News – April 2014

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Sausage Tree Camp & Potato Bush Camp
Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

As Sausage Tree and Potato Bush Camp are ready to open for the season; we want to again share my impressions of the Lower Zambezi National Park and these charismatic, family-owned and operated lodges.

The Lower Zambezi offers an amazing diversity of unique experiences. In addition to excellent game viewing, there are also night drives, walking safaris, boat trips, canoeing, superb fishing, and even picnics in middle of the river. Its a perfect spot to kick back for three or four days (or even a week) without running out of things to do!

Incredible Value with Rates starting at $625 pppn, Low & Shoulder Season Pay3/Stay4 specials, High Season 4+ night discounts and no single supplement all season. 2

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Variety of Activities:
Day and Night Game Viewing by vehicle (great location deep in the park) Walking Safaris with an armed scout  Canoeing (we’re right at the start of the renowned Chifungulu Channel) Boat Excursions Fishing (bait or fly, all catch-and-release) Bush Dinners and Breakfasts Lunch in the mighty Zambezi.
 
So much to choose from!

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Sausage Tree Camp:
A classic in safari circles, Sausage Tree Camp has one of the most secluded settings deep inside the  Lower Zambezi National Park. Highlights include the large herds of elephants and buffalo, several prides of lion and good leopard sightings.

Elephants essentially pass through camp daily, while the unique islands in front of the lodge constantly play host to elephants, buffaloes and hippos. Guests are already viewing animals, even before leaving on a game drive.

There are five Signature Tents, two Honeymoon Suites and a two-bedroom family suite.

Sausage Tree Camp also has a new beautiful 25-yard swimming pool with views over the Zambezi.

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Potato Bush Camp:
A perfect balance of elegance, space, understated luxury and exclusivity with only four tents. Great for FITs or for a family/small group to take over for private use.

Potato Bush is self-contained with its own entrance, lounges and hosts, yet is close enough to Sausage Tree that, if needed, you can combine the camps for larger groups.

There are three spacious Safari Tents and a unique two-bedroom Family Tent (pictured). Each tent also has a private plunge pool.

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Logistics: Easy to get to!
International carriers like Emirates fly directly into Lusaka, or clients can take a short regional flight from Johannesburg. From Lusaka, its a quick 35min flight to Jeki. From Livingstone, Proflight delivers seamless service via Lusaka.

Zambia Itinerary: The Lower Zambezi is an excellent combination with South Luangwa, Livingstone (Victoria Falls) and other Zambian safari areas like Kafue and North Luangwa.

Add on to South Africa Itinerary: Adding the Lower Zambezi at the end of a typical Cape Town, Kruger/Sabi Sand, Victoria Falls itinerary adds a whole different dimension to a client’s safari experience.

Add on to Botswana Itinerary: Nowhere in Botswana do you have a big river system like the Lower Zambezi, making it an interesting (and affordable) add-on to a Botswana itinerary.

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Toka Leya:

Weather and Landscape

February started out quite dry for the first two weeks but in the third week the heavens really opened. Initially the rain was slow and steady, becoming heavier after a few days and sending the small streams into full spate once again. Grasses have continued to grow, much to the delight of the wildlife in the area, not to mention the park rangers and local farmers who at one stage had lost hope when the grass started withering again.

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As expected at this time of year, sunsets on the Zambezi are greatly enhanced by the cloud cover that gives them so much more character. Photographing the sunset has become an addiction for guests as well as staff and many, many sunset pictures have been taken by all of us as it always looks like the next day’s sunset is going to be better than the previous day’s spectacle!

Victoria Falls’ water levels have continued to rise and the Smoke That Thunders has increased its roar. The level of the spray is unbelievable, prompting many comments from guests who felt that they had never seen anything like it or that it greatly exceeded their expectations.

Wildlife 
Unlike most parks in the region, the change in vegetation levels does not seem to have an impact on what will be seen in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The size of the Park combined with a well-thought-out road network makes it very viable for visitors to see many different species.

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Several great sightings have been recorded this month, amongst them a herd of buffalo that has been seen several times in camp near Tent 12. Over a number of days the buffalo have come in at the end of the day, had a drink at the river and spent the remaining daylight hours in the shade around the camp grounds.

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The best of our news this month though is the arrival of a new addition to the white rhino population, born in the second week of the month! We have not yet figured out its gender as we are giving the mother and baby space to settle with minimal disturbance for a while before we try to get closer. However a lot of guests have had a chance to spot the two from a distance without upsetting the new mother.

As always the boat cruises are a favourite activity at Toka Leya, as they not only showcase great game but many guests recommend it as the perfect way to wind down after days of travelling.

Watching elephants crossing from one side of the river to the other is always amazing. Several of these herds have babies with them and it is incredible to see how protective they are as they guide the little ones across the river.

Community Activity
Wilderness Safaris as a group has always been committed to its people and it is our belief that our people form the most important part of this business. The people are not only the staff working in the camps, but also the communities in the areas where we operate, most of which are in one way or another our operating partners.

In nearby Sinde Village, we completed the teachers’ accommodation as well as two water plants, both projects made possible by donations from guests of Toka Leya Camp. We officially handed them to the community and the school respectively in the last week of the month. Before we handed over the water plants we constructed a drinking trough for the central pump to take care of all the runoff water – water that will come in very handy for the livestock in the dry season. The one at the school will be used to catch more running water and this will be used for watering the garden at the school.

Staff in Camp
Petros and Gogo Guwa – General management couple
Amon Ngoma, Cynthia Kazembe Evidence Musabi – Assistant Managers
Rhonnex Malasha – Executive Chef

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