unbearable heat and clutch slave cylinder

Drove the 5 to the airstrip in a wonderful morning, we got a great breeding herd of elephants out of camp and two lioness in mdonya juu.
We stayed with the ladies long time and the eventually moved on in a hunting mood, we tried to follow but the clutch slave cylinder left me so I could not change gear anymore.. and I was in reverse.
I opened the bonnet to take some brake fluid and put in the clutch side and exactly then the lioness decided to walk towards the car and stop looking at us inside from less then 2 meters, good fun. Anyway with Richie's help I managed to chang the gear and drove to the airstrip in second.
In the afternoon we looked for the lionesses with the 2 other guests but nothing.

Had new year’s eve dinner with the guest and went to bed.


Lions in camp..... havoc

5 guests for an early morning drive: mbagi, old airstrip, river drive, and bag on the mwagusi road. General game viewing was quite good and the light majestic.
Zebras fighting close to the road, nice birdlife, loads of giraffes and gooood lions.
In the river drive we spotted two adult females and four 6/7 months cubs, behind them in the grass there are more but we cannot see them properly.
The six though are just three meters from the road.
We watched them for almost one hour and then I asked my guest if they were ready to go. They were not and so we kept enjoying the sighting, other cars from other camps arrived slowly, in the end there were 5 cars, a bit too much for me but my 5 people still wanted to stay.
Suddenly the atmosphere changed. One lioness raised the head and started staring at something; warthogs were walking some 50 mtrs away in the open grassland, between the two of them and the lioness just my car and few bushes. the lioness all body tensed as she started stalking the pigs, she passed walking stealthy half a meter in front of the car and trotted to the closest bush to the warthogs.
Unfortunately she lost decisive seconds thinking whether to give them a go or not and they went too far.
Eventually we moved just to see a male and a female lions only 3 km farther.
The afternoon drive was more a matter of great light then a matter of wildlife, but watching the sunset sitting on the ground in the open plain with a cold beer was worth every minute.
We also noticed a lot of broken pottery around the site, it must have been an old village.
The moon was almost full and the white storks were nicely perched, it was like they were posing for us.

Before dinner as doing some boring accounts when I heard zebras running through camp, I thought that could have been lions and went on doing my stuff.
I couldn’t finish though because I heard water splashing and people running and shouting.
The guys bringing hot water to the shower saw lions and did not think twice, the drop the buckets and run, run , run. I was not happy and told them straight what I was thinking.
Eventually I went to pick up guests my self and got the lions in front of the last tent.
Lions are normally fine but with the rains there is way too much cover and worst then that the lions I saw were the two one year old cubs of the mbagi pride.
The rest of the pride was not in sight so I did not know where they were an had to walk back very cautiously.
At dinner time we heard again zebras running and I think from the sounds that lions grabbed one and then lost it.


Rain again but easy one

Good luck, yesterday night I found the mobile phone that I lost in the bush i the morning, bad luck someone drove over it

it was a strange day of rain and sun and rai again and sun again.
Got a new car because guests are too many today, Abi the driver is a very nice guy.
we went to th airstrip together with the two cars, we strted with the rain and we arrived with a hot hot sun.
the plane landed with more then one hour of delay but the guest could see their first elephant just there on the airstrip...
I went back with 5 guests, Abi waited for 4 more landing early afternoon and for Edwin the guide/ranger.
My guests were so enthusiast of being in africa that I had to stop for every impala, I love that feeling of anicipation that you can reading in the eyes of some people when they climb down from the plane. Puts me under pressure but i love it. Evenually we made it to camp before the rain.
Two of the afternoon guests did not show up because one is sick so Abi and Edwin brought back to camp only 2.
Afternoon drive under the rain but good fun, slippery roads, shivering impalas, soaked birds.. a nice greater honeyguide desperately calling us, nice drive.

on the way back we stopped for sundowner and Abi and Edwin called us, they gor a single lioness on the road to camp. so we jumped back in the car and we rushed there to see a sleeping lioness close to the road. good start of a safari


yes I am stupid

Late morning drive with guests towards msembe, missed a leopard by the seconds.
we could see where he killed his prey and the tracks leaving the area.. bad luck.
The sun is out again after a cloudy morning, leaving alone the last three days of rain.
The chief park warden came to camp, we talked about the roads and the sightings and I gave him a piece of ivory I found in the bush some days ago.
The bad news is that i lost my TZ phone somewhere in the bush...


bad start, perfect end

Early morning game drive to go then to the airstrip to fetch the guests who already got the luggage back.
The roads are horrible, muddy and slippery, we had to change roads twice because of cars that were heavily stuck in front of us.
Eventually we went uphill and things were better
From the airstrip we went back from the same road, met Essau with a party of guest, one of them kept pointing a non existing lions to everybody, with the poor guide that could not convince him that it was just a rock.
Nice klipspringer and savannah monitor lizard on the way back.


In the afternoon I sent Rashidi to fix a bit the roads, and told him also to go and check for lions towards west. Luckily enough he got them so at five we went out with guests and spent a wonderful couple of hours looking at small cubs playing all around.
There was a big male, three females and 5 small cubs… a really good sighting.

And for a change the sun was shining.



A confused day, the father of the guests decided to go back to Dar to try to find the luggage that was lost by Kenya airways, we proceeded with our game drive all day instead of going back to camp as planned, saw few lions but far away and that was almost it, except for a lone helpful elephant bull.
Thankfully the rangers came and we have a new road going down from camp towards north so I don’t use anymore the old road. (3 cars got stuck today on that same road, one was left there).
Had dinner and went to bed, and now it is pouring cats and dogs again.


the worst xmas I had so far...

Rained all night, lot of rain, had to drive to Msembe to pick up guests, took me 2 hours and a half.
I drove to kimilamatonge going towards the gate, had to come back because what usually is an empty little stream now was a river of raging water.
The other side of the hill was better, but I was soaked wet and rain went on and on.
Picked guests up and drove back to camp, it is so cold and wet I am shivering.
Up to w7 was all fine but then was hell, the rangers graded the road yesterday and now it is all soft soil. With the rain became terrible deep mud strip, took me 1 hour to reach camp going with low range and diff lock.
The car is often side sliding, always risking to get into the ditch along the road.
In the afternoon did the same road to go in game drive, got stuck once and managed to get out but still bad situation, we drove to Mdonya juu and back, no chance to do a decent game drive, guests obviously not very pleased.
Got stuck again twice on the way back, managed to get out again with the help of other staff pushing.
Called the warden to find a solution, we will see tomorrow morning.
Nothing could have gone worst


My family is xmas

Awsome awsome day… early game drive before going to the airstrip, I drove towards Mbagi because the lions were roaring from that area tonight, actually more then roaring was the concert of hissing and growling that makes the usual frame to a lion’s meal.
On the road towards that we saw a giraffe running out of a bush with half placenta hanging out and loosing amniotic liquid.
Looking carefully nearby we noticed the newly born calf, he was not even able to lift up his head, was completely wet and the hooves were still white and soft.
It was born just a couple of seconds before, awesome sighting.

He looked so helpless that everybody would have liked to get out of the car and help hi to stand. We didn’t do that, instead we left the sighting to give the mother a chance to help him.
We drove a couple of km more and we got a nice pride of lions, 2 females, 3 half grown cubs and one big lion. I know this pride, is the one with also the small small cubs that were not visible at this time.
They were just in the open, one of the lioness start also calling a bit.
After that we drove to msembe were I left Carlo and Lorenzo.
Briefly went to camp, picked up my stuff together with the present for Micol and the present from my cousin Daria and drove to mdonya.
I passed the lions again and it was even mor awesome then in the morning, light was good, cubs and females were playing. The male was very interested in some scent and he kept grimacing trying to bring that smell in the vomero nasal organ.

The cubs tried also to play with him but he did not budge, and made it clear showing his massive teeth.

I then drove all the way to Mwayembe and then mdonya.
Thee there were a lot of friends, Michele, Silvia, Micol, Fabiana etc.
We went to have sundowner at Tania point, I felt she was watching us.
Christmas dinner was good even if far from my family, it was not the same but at list I was with friends, I also managed to talk with all my family with skype.

Awsome day


Humming bird (moth) and Bat (eared fox)

we had a drive in the morning bringing Akil to the airstrip, we had nice elephants.
Bakari was driving and Mark was on the guide seat, I was trying to start training them.
They want to learn and this is the most important thing.
all the morning the sky has been covered with clouds with some small sparse precipitation.
Amur falcons are all over the place, together with a great quantity of varous birds of prey.
also for bat eared foxes it is a period of abundance and happiness, we saw a mother and a puppy close to their den, they were very comfortble with the car and was great to see the big ears moving for every litlle sound that we could not even imagine.
We went out also the afternoon the clouds were gone and the light was majestic.
A nice pair of bulls elephants walked slowly in front of the car to sop feeding on lush grass just close by... was a good sighting.
The humming bird moths are going o a feeding frenzy on the newly blossoming prety ladies (Cleome), it is amazing to see this small insects hovering in fron of a flower and protruding the small proboscis into it.

I forgot anther good sighting, Egyptian mongoose at breakfast point...


Magic trick

today I did the magic trick... I was with the owner, guiding him in a late afternoon drive.
we started at 5.30 pm and i told him we were going towards mbagi because the lions in the morning were roaring in that direction.
we drove there and we looked around a bit and then on the way back I explained that the pride of this area has three 2 months old cubs and two one months old cubs, then we took the southern road that goes a bit up the hill and I told him that I thought that the lions were somewhere close to that road.
while i was driving with the corner of the eye I saw the unmistkable colour of the lions some 20 mtrs from the road.. and there was two femals with three smal small cubs.... exactly as I predicted.... luck today was my second name...


Owner in...

My guests left very happy, it was a bit of adventure in the morning drive because we almost got stuck twice, once in a muddy patch of road, once on the broken edge of a cement bridge again in the mud.
The owner came in with is nephew and Akil, we drove back, actually Mark and akari, the 2 trainees drove back, they were supposed to do a bit of guide that they did not, but we still saw two lions.
Tried to repair my laptop with Akil but he has to bring it back in town so he left me another one. I only hope I did not lost all the datas in the old one…..


Happy birthday pa'.....

Lions were roaring close to camp at 545 am while I was having rooibos.
We went down towards w7 and instead of driving east as planned we drove west looking for the lions. Nothing visible around so we turned the car and headed toward the planned route.
We had god elephants sightings and just before the tortilis forest spotted a big male lion dozing under a small acacia.

I was very happy for my guests as this was the first male lion of their entire safari. My self I loved a couple of good birds sightings, Hildebrandt francolin and black faced sand grouse.

Around 11 am we were close to camp when a guide from hilltop told us about a ale lion in mbagi area, we went to see just to find a beautiful male just 100 mtrs farther then the point we stopped to turn the car in the morning…….
So 2 big male lions in the basket.
Another good thing to see was a pair of lovely little green dung beetles.

Then the drive up to makutano from the north side was long and boring, almost no game, so we went back to the mbagi lion that did not even bothered to stand once.

The gift of the day was a spotted eagle owl just out of camp.


I just asked cooperation

At the beginning of the old airstrip lions were roaring but I could not find them because they were somewhere in the combretum woodland and I cannot drive offroad.
At the end of the old airstrip other lions were roaring but I could not find them because they were somewhere in the combretum woodland and I cannot drive offroad.
Midway on the river drive fresh fresh lions spoors were smiling at me from the muddy road, 2 lions, male and female, I followed them for almost a km on the road but then disappeared not to be seen again and the lions not to be seen at all.
If this is the idea that lions have of being cooperative I am going to have troubles.
We started the drive at six am and we were back to camp a quarter before one, al the river drive and back from the south bank of the mwagusi.
For the first 5 hrs we did not see cats or ellies, great landscapes, fantastic sighting of giraffes fighting, loads of impalas and zebras, savannah monitor lizards, but no cats or ellies.

The giraffes fight was absolutely great, two male (obviously) went on fighting 2 mtrs fro the car, a serious fight lasting for ever…. At least for what was concerning us because when we left after 20 min they were still fighting, pushing each other with the shoulder to get in the best position to blow a proper punch.

Eventually we found ellies and cats, first 2 elephants in the distance, then a lone lioness just by the side of a small road that I do not know why my instinct forced me to take, the other 2 lions in the distance spotted by Bakari and in the end two elephants bulls scratching every bit of their body on a sausage tree in front of the car.

Back to camp I had a bit of a fight with the kitchen staff but it was partly my fault, I over react to some faults of them.
Afternoon was a quite drive in mbagi, mostly elephants an landscapes.


Guests and Guides

Guests are coming! Normal wake up call, breakfast with Mic and Riaan.
After they left I sorted out a couple of things and went to pick up guests at the airstrip.
I brought Bakari with me, he was a waiter in Beho Beho and then came to Chem Chem where he followed the small training Onno and me did there.
He is a clever guy and I hope will do a good guide with a hard training, he has potential, let’s see if he will stand my expectations.
He drove to the airstrip and did well.
The biggest problem we are facing now is that the rain scattered all the animals so game viewing is a bit poor.
We picked up a family of 4, English, coming from Selous, they are interested even in small stuff and this is good.
The afternoon drive was a giraffes drive, loads of them very comfy and close, but this was almost it, nothing more.
Insect life though is very rewarding, both inside and outside camp, Matabele ants, termites, praying mantice are always a great show.


Water Water Water

Water everywhere, all the sand river are flowing after last night rain, what a change of landscape!!!
The big storm created some problems on the tents so we spent the morning fixing tents, a boring job but at least was done.
Got lunch o my tent’s veranda and while I was eating I noticed a small insect, it was a Weevil but it was so well camouflaged that every time I watched away had been difficult to find it again.

Lots of Picasso beetles are buzing aound in every direction..

Edible bullfrog are getting out of the soil after their period of estivation, I found one though that was not fast enough, tried to get out when it was raining but half way the soil got dry again, becoming cement hard, it was hopeless and stuck so I poured water on it and all went fine, it dug itself out and moved to the woods.

In the afternoon I went to fetch Riaan at mwagusi, brought him back to camp and had a fantastic dinner with him and Mic.
Later we went frogging, alates termites were all around and plenty of scorpions and bullfrog were feasting on them.


Termite day

Cloudy, a bit rainy, then hot and humid.
Micol passed by and we went to mwagusi for lunch. We had long discussion with Riaan trying to ID some frogs.
On the way back we were surprised again to see tens and tens of eagles, kites, rollers, palm swifts feeding on alate termites, the show was stunning, birds flying everywhere.
Baboon came also joining the party on the ground together with helmeted guineafowls.

We also saw huge columns of matabele ats moving after raiding a termite mound, their mandibles full of bit and pieces of harvester termites. definitely not a good day to be a termite.


man, I got wet

Try to drive an open car with no wind screen for one hour and something at 30 km/h under a tropical rain storm.
Man, you get wet!!!
This is exactly what happened while driving with Mic towards the Tanapa HQ to introduce myself to the park warder.
I entered the office in a really miserable state
Spoke with the warden, received a good welcome, we discussed several issues and I got motivated answers, it is a good start.
We also met Molly for Jongo, a good friend thet I will soon go to visit.
Eventually I was dry and driving back to camp.
In the afternoon started raining again but this time I was comfortably dry inside my tent… at least I thought so, Rashidi called me, he was coming back after fetching water and he stopped the car because there was a pride of 15, when he tried to start again the battery did not budge.
So I had to get wet again on this “rescue mission”.
The time I got there the lions wee already gone so we jump started the car and went back to camp.
The storm was over and we spotted 2 big males lions in the wild lavender doing what I wanted to do, drying themselves up. it was not easy to see them but still was good.

I rushed back, pick up the guys at the staff and brought them to see lions and one of the two cats walked in the open.

The guys were happy, me I still think of my aunt and trying to make her feeling the warmth of my love!


here comes the rain again

Five o'clock in the morning wake up call for an early game drive.
We decided to head for the old airstrip and back on the kimilamatonge road. more after landscapes and breath-taking scenery then wildlife.
My guest was very interested in everything which is the best thing that can happen to a guide, being able to explain everything comes into your mind and having someone actually listening to it is absolutely rewarding.
She was a pleasure to guide, started being interest in birding and loved when we stopped to look at insects on the milk weeds. What can you ask more???
After breakfast I brought her to Mdonya and remained there. On the way we got charged by a very aggressive elephant matriarch that run after us trumpeting for hundreds of meters. strange how some ellies are comfortable with us and some other completely freaked out.
In the afternoon purple crested turaco, african green pigeon, lot's of different eagles (whalberg, tawny, steppe, bateleurs) feeding on termites and buckets of water....

It went on raining all night....
we had dinner all three together, again a happy time and then decided to go to bed, after doing a bit of night safari on the path looking at ground beetles, tiger beetles, scorpions and a nice worm snake.
we were heading to the tents when Mic and I decided to go frogging... good fun and good results.... 4-5 different species of frogs and toads and a white lipped snake.
This was the good part of the day....

... then I had a bit of bad news, one of the person I love most and is most important in my life does not feel well, my toughts and my heart are all for her. I am hugging you with all my strenght. I love you so much...


Happy birthday mamma......

first guest.... I was so happy to guide properly again.
went to pick her up at Mwagusi, met Riaan there, who told me that there was a good sighting of Python eating an impala calf so we jumped back in my car and drove to the spot where the snake was struggling to swallow the prey, she (the python was a female) eventually gave up, the impala bieng too big and moved slowly but steady for 20 mtrs to hide in the shade of a lush bush close to a nearby drainage line.

this is what I call a good start....
After coffee and cinnamon rolls my guest and me went slowly towards camp, we stop sitting on the boulders at breakfast point watching impalas and giraffes drinking in the little water of the river.
We reached camp before lunch with all the staff lined up, with uniforms, juices and cold towels.... it was good... not perfection but good.
we had lunch and went out towards the Mdonya river where I was told by mic that lions had been seen in the morning.
Bushwillows opened enough to let us seeing a wide variety of animals, 2 herd of lesser kudu's , one marvellous lesser kudu male and elephants.
Later on we entered the forest where ana trees silhoutted against a sky that was getting darker and darker... from pale grey to dark violet... rainstorm was building behind us.
A lone dagga boy standing in the wind and staring at us like if we were entering his own property was a nice prelude to the sixteen lions we spotted few kilmeters later....
The wind of the storm getting colder they all came out of the bush, lot of cubs some females and two majestic males. Is the Mdonya pride, the males are called Pua (nose in swahili, because of the big scar he has there) and Kaka (brother in kiswahili, just because is the brother of Pua).
one of the females was propably geeting in estrus, both the brothers briefly interested in her.

Then the rain strted, wind, big drops, wind, more big drops, wind.... shower. all the lions scuttling now into cover, the Combretum obovatum well suiting this purpose.
Only Pua remained out challenging the storm, his blonde mane getting wetter and wetter to the point that it was stuck on the neck like a blanket over the head.
On the way home we saw a bat eared fox and other breeding herds of elephants.
back to camp again, shower, and dinner.....
Lanterns and stars as a frame for a very pleasant evening with a very nice person fond of africa and fond of the bush, exactly what I needed.

only bad news... my computer doesn't start anymore...


Better days are shining through

Brighter day in every meaning of the words, both outside with a spotless sky at least in the morning and inside with my soul in much better mood.
Some days you do your job some other days you do a job that is not yours. Today I was a mechanic, an accountant, a painter and eventually an electrician.
Early morning, a coverall to avoid getting to greasy and I was under the cruiser with Rashidi fixing the clutch slave cylinder, mid morning with pen and bin cards I was doing stock keeping, a little later I went on checking all the goods we received from town with Dunstan, the chef, just before lunch I was painting the shower platforms in silver and gold.
A male paradise flycatcher came to visit for lunch, peering with his funny blue rimmed eyes through the grass to understand what was looking at him

After lunch was “fundi umeme” time, using the Swahili word for electrician. George and me installed the vhf radio in the cruiser that took a bit of time and some swearing.
I just went out briefly around 6.00 to test the radio and I was lucky enough to spot a small pride of lions. They where a bit far but still a happy ending of the day.
To be honest the best thing of this small drive was the light, it made small things normally overlooked like a lone sycamore fig or a small crèche of impalas something really special.


not my day

There are nights that bring bad dreams and mornings that I would blow out of my life because are so sad, the dream’s black feelings all over the skin.
Today is one of that days
It went on even better, I was stuck in camp because one car was in town and the other under minor reparations, it was hot humid and raining everywhere, everywhere around us but not here…
The sun did not even come out and that's why there was a lot of insect activity today lots of harvester termites busy feeding.

At least lot of things we ordered arrived and I have a brand new vhf radio… something to be happy about. I also have a new whiteboard for training which is another good thing.
The guys have been busy filling the bin cards that we finally received, is a new thing so I expected lot of mistakes but actually so far went quite smooth.
Today I think we will watch all together the gladiator, the only DVD I have here.
A beautiful and strange flower is coming out now in camp, it is called Cryptostephanus heamanthoides. It is always surprising how some flowers are different if seen from far or from very close....

I am waiting the supply car to be back....
....and then this day if God wills will be finished. I still didn’t manage to rub off the sad feelings.


Looong day

What a long day … Was a great day dedicated to explore a part of the park that neither me nor my friends had seen before.
We went down all the way to Lunda, we actually reached the border of the park and over. Was a long day as I said because we left camp at 6.00 this morning and came back around 6.00 in the afternoon…. 12 hours of bush diving.
We got lions just close to camp but we where so focused on exploring that we did not even stop for more then ten minutes. We went all the way to makutano, the farthest area we normally roam, and then on again towards new horizons.
We stopped a lot on the way discussing flowers, trees and birds to identify them in the correct way, it was good fun and a good learning process. Doesn’t matter how good you are, there is so much in the bush that one life is not even enough to be able to know everything, so there is always big room for learning something new. Insect wise we saw a nice cone head katydid on a African chestnut fruit and a beautiful blister beetle on what we think is a Clitoria ternatea (what a name!!!)

“Bigger stuff” wise we saw giraffes, lesser and greater kudus, hippos and crocodiles and much more.
We saw many different environments and landscape. The only pity is that the area has only one main road so we could not go everywhere.
The sun was very hot, and lot of wildlife was just under the shade of trees and bushes, the only brave ones were zebras and grant gazelles that kept grazing regardless of the heat.
On the way we also found the grave of a men called Sangulichuma Mpululu, we don’t know anything about him except that he died in 1955 but would be nice to find out something.
A big big leopard tortoise stopped us on the way and some kilometres later we spent almost half an hour taking pictures of an incredible flower, it is called Caralluma speciosa, and it is a succulent, it stinks like hell but is really beautiful. Especially if you look at it at close quarter.
Both of them, the tortoise and the flower amaze me for their geometries and patterns of lines and colours.

We even went outside the border where we unexpectedly drove into a hunting camp, the camp was closed, there was lot of litter around and the skull of an elephant. The thing was so huge that our mouths almost dropped to the ground.
I have nothing against hunting if done in the proper way but still seeing that skull and thinking about the magnificent beast that now is dead made me feeling a bit sad.
Anyway on the way back we stopped and had a chat with the rangers at their post, we saw a herd of elephants that was at least one hundred strong, and we also saw another pride of lions at the bridge.
The females and two big males were sleeping in the shade, only the cubs and one female were in the sun and one cub kept licking the female reinforcing their bond, they were quite tender to see…. Sorry I will post other pictures later because I have to go “rescue” a car that has a problems .....

ok I was back and posted the pics



Friends always make your day, doesn’t matter how was your mood when you woke up, doesn’t matter where you are, doesn’t matter how you feel.
Today is a good day my friend Micol came to visit me together with two other great friends of mine, Naiti and Richie, all coming from Mdonya, my old camp.
I also used them to test how was the camp reacting to guests after all the changes I have being doing, and I should say I am very positive.
So there are 2 reason to cheer, the camp and the friends.
For lunch the conversation was weird, me and Micol, both italians were talking each other in Swahili together with Naiti and Richie with sentences in english and in italian and sometimes mixing the languages together.
We went out for a drive and we enjoyed the wonderful landscape of this park, we did not see much but the baobabs and the sky were just perfect. But even with few wild animals around we spent half an hour taking pictures of insects from a singl bush of Calotropis gigantea, one of the milk weeds.
It is unbelievable how much life there is in a single bush… Elegant grasshoppers, Milkweed bugs, what could be the caterpillar of Orange Tip (a butterfly)and what probably is a Lesser Cucurbit fly .... all in one go !!!!