Just got back from 4 glorious days in the valley between Christmas and new year at RIFA camp just upstream from Chirundu. We had 92mm of rain the day we arrived and the second half of our party arriving the next day had to leave their car at Jecha point and get ferried to Rifa by Nick and Iona who run Jecha Point. This was all arranged in typical Zim fashion at short notice and without any hassle . Solid bunch of people.
Many people shy away from the valley in the rainy season and I must admit we didn’t see much game as it had dispersed inland with all the rain. As always, though, the Valley surprised us and the lack of game made it safer for our party which included the young at heart as well as the just plain young to dispense with shoes and wallow in glorious mud. The morning after the big rains found the RIFA hot springs flooded with brown water at just a safe enough depth to exclude crocs. This gave us 100m of muddy supertube and hours of fun were had running upstream and then drifting back down in the stream down in various creative ways.
We heard lions every night and in the mornings, the kids planted their bare footprints over lion spoor that had been left only a few hours before. A solitary Hyena snuck into camp in the dead of one night and Hooped once loudly before sneaking off again. The seasonal lack of big game made us look carefully at the flowers and small things. We saw many beautiful bush plants and flowers that appear to be just dry sticks in August. We located a black Arum lily plant and observed Mopane bees in their hives. The macro lens came out for the velvet mites but the pic of a tiny pipistrelle bat on a mopane leaf was captured best by the cellphone camera!
All it all, much fun was had in the mud for the team who’s ages spanned 7 to 70. Thanks Zambezi, you did it again, walking in the valley always throws up surprises