Zimbabwe had a bad drought in 2016 with dams very low and the underground water table taking a beating.
Also there were no Blogs from me !!
In January the beautiful Jan and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary !! Where oh where have all those wonderful years gone ?
I had a number of excellent trips with clients last year and Jan and I did two of own. Firstly we joined a whole bunch of mates at Rifa Education Camp on the Zambezi River near Chirundu – wonderful birding but distressingly little game around.
The next trip was the BirdLife Zim AGM which this year was held at Lake Muturikwi outside Masvingo. Great camp sites, Chalets and Lodges and a very good AGM with me not in the chair for a change.
Then I was off to Cape Town !!!
There is a little bird that breeds in southern Europe – the Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin – and then migrates to the Sahel zone to avoid the Eurasian winter. Then a “lost” bird turned up in Cape Town to be discovered by Peter Steyn. It was seen reliably for several weeks and I desperately wished to see it. Eventually Jan said “Just go !” So I did.
This photo is ©Tinus Lamprecht. Well I was successful and also caught up with some old buddies I hadn’t seen for nearly ten years.
Then – big surprise – Jan was effectively summonsed to an Alzheimer’s conference in Nigeria. Greatly excited to meet the King of Ibadan and of course to see a bit of another country.
Roll on to September and we were off again, this time to Malawi with our dearest friend (who has featured many times in these Blogs) AJS. Whilst not specifically a birding trip something new was bound to crop up. We drove all the way via Lusaka in Zambia, through Chipata and on to Kasungu National Park where we stayed in Lifupa Lodge.
It is a vast park and we saw some antelope species, heard Lion roaring very close to camp and saw loads of Elephants
From Kasungu we drove north to the Nyika Plateau, which I covered in a previous post “Above the Tree Line”, and stayed in the very impressive Chelinda Lodge.
I had a couple of hours of forest birding and saw a raft of new, to me, species. Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Bar-tailed Trogon, Denham’s Bustard, Olive Woodpecker, Olive-breasted Mountain Greenbul, Red-rumped and Angola Swallows,Fulleborn’s Black Boubou and we heard a Mountain Nightjar.
Next stop was on the other side of this tiny country at Ngala Beach Lodge on the shores of Lake Malawi.
After three nights of mega relaxing we were off again, southwards this time, to the bottom end of the lake with Nkopola Lodge as our destination. Jan and I had last been to Nkoplola Lodge way back in 1975 !! This was a great romantic reminder of simpler times.
The hotel has, naturally, changed over the decades and is now much larger and very much more commercial. Not altogether a bad thing. We did take an afternoon out to visit the very bohemian village of Cape McClear where AJS and Jan went snorkeling to see some of the colourful Cichlids for which the Lake is so famous.
After a few days it was time to return home and, due to the problems in central Moçambique, we had to again go all the way across Malawi into Zambia and use the same route home. All in all a fantastic holiday. Thank you AJS.
Cheers for now