2016 we did our first 'proper' (i.e. paying guests) Liuwa/Kaingu package. We ran two trips, both of which consisted of starting at Kaingu, then flying to Kalabo and having three nights in Liuwa and then flying back for a couple of nights at Kaingu.
We obviously wanted to do a proper job on this one so the amount of gear that we took was staggering! We wanted it to be as comfortable an experience as possible without actually building anything (which obviously we are not allowed to!). Five staff, an open game viewer and our private vehicle and a trailer. Myself & Julia (sous chef, solar and mechanical tech, shower water carrier and room attendants), Wina the Chef, Benny the front of house star and field guide Kaley. We also engaged an African Parks scout for the local knowledge.
Things have been so dry (as in not much rain at the beginning of the year) that the pools were almost empty and the wildebeest were not really grouped in the huge concentrations yet. Despite this the sightings were great. Consistent cheetahs and hyena. Its such a special place.
I am not going to talk much more, rather just show some pictures. As always I like to show a bit behind the scenes. For sure we can just show nice glossy pictures of wildlife, but speaking personally I am always interested in 'behind the scenes' a bit and how things work.
Note even the Lozi stools on the game viewer for bedside tables and fireside drinks! Oh and the ramps on the hand drawn ferry were kaput on one side, so the ferry had to be turned mid-stream and then I had to reverse off with a trailer in thick sand. Fortunately I didn't mess up as there was a big audience!
Benny went mad in the new Mongu Shoprite. To be honest we were all wandering around slack-jawed. It is amazing.
Typical Liuwa landscape.
Overnighting in the brilliant Liseli Lodge in Mongu. We stayed in and watched TV (a rare treat), while Wina (who is a big lad) went into town and a bit mad. he claims 30 castle beers. I believe him. That was his tips blown in advance....!
Chef Wina in front of his kitchen
Julia's amenity assembly.
Guest tents for the first group.
Being in Zambia we of course totally over estimated our Nshima requirements and so lugged 20kgs of maize meal around Western Zambia.... Better safe than sorry!
We even put brand new tyres on GV1 to take it to Liuwa. You need decent tyres here. Not in terms of grip, but in terms of a tyre that can be deflated (to deal with the sand) and not give problems. BF Goodrich. The best! Okay, enough about tyres.
Hyenas are famous for trying to eat tyres. Not these ones though. Too small and cute!
Your 'typical' Liuwa water hole life.
This is the tent you get if you are called Zarius and are a pilot. Luckily he is quite small.
Kaley looking very worried.
Benny looking for wildebeests. He took great delight in telling Kaley that "the guide is rubbish and as a guest he won't even be tipping one Kwacha". Kaley took equal delight in pointing out that this was a staff drive and when the guests arrive he Kaley will sit around the fire with them and Benny will have to serve him!
Wildebeest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, now we need another 8000 please.
7,999 to go. Keep using the binos Benny.
Benny and Wina upset the campsite boss man by moving his table so it could be a drying rack beside the kitchen. The guy went off his trolley, banging on about 'regulations are everywhere'. Fortunately we got into his good books by using a compressor to blast out a choked shower drain. After that we were all friends again. So much so that at the end of the trips he got left the 15kgs of maize meal that we couldn't finish plus dregs of wine boxes. Oh, and we paid his wife to do the washing up.
Tent interior. Please do note the carpet.
Zebras. At sunset.
Discussions about the day.
"Our" dining room.
Short tailed eagle in the trees by our campsite.
Guest tents. We kept numbers to a maximum of 6 per group.
I always say that I would go to Liuwa JUST for the landscapes. And it is true. Yes, we did bring ponchos.
Julia dressed for dinner. I was well impressed.
For the second group we were up at Katoyana and there were a lot of reedbuck around. The guests saw cheetah trying (and failing) to hunt them at the pools 1km from the campsite.
We went out mid-afternoon to try and find the cheetah. For some reason Benny found Johan's photo technique funny. Luckily Johan lives in Lusaka and comes to Kaingu a lot so is tolerant. We don't expose 'normal' guests to ridicule by our staff, but there is nothing normal about Johan. Back in July he chased Nyambanza through the kitchen while wearing a gorilla mask. Hmmmm.
Katoyana also yielded a lot more wildebeest.
There really is nowhere else in Zambia like Liuwa.
With the wildebeest birthing there are lots of side striped jackal around.
Liuwa is also a fantastic place to see Oribi.
Lilac breasted roller at mid day.
Martial eagle making the Oribi nervous!
The Katoyana lounge and dining room.
Changeover day = staff drive.
Packed up and done and dusted.
With the Kaingu team we also did a 3 days bush camp safari at Liuwa Plains. Magnificent horizons, lots of Wilderbeasts and zebra's, many birds. The camp site was beautyful and tents and beds were as clean as possible. Very cosy dinners in the candle light at night. I certainly recommend to do the combination (if you visit in November) of Kaingu Lodge and Liuwa Plains (6 days).
Just thought to forwadr you the feedback of XXXX x2. They are not so with emails etc so she called me and we chat for an hour. They LOVED it!! Liuwa Plains they found really fantastic , it was a ‘little Serengeti’ experience they said. The endless plain and of course less animals in numbers but they have seen plenty. They saw the herds of wildebeast growing day by day due to the birth of many calves. Jackhals, hyena’s, vultures and they even saw a cheetah with a cub! De tents were just fine, neatly kept with camp beds with ironed linen, excellent food and good guiding and friendly, helpfull staff.
And a small video we made: