Climate and Landscape
The days started out chilly in the mornings becoming windy during the day. Afternoon temperatures averaged around 30° Celsius. The water level appeared to drop rapidly in the first two weeks of the month but it has now stabilised. The receding water means that there is not much water to see from the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls – though this opens up exciting opportunities to see most of the gorge itself. We are also offering our guests the opportunity to view the Falls from the Zimbabwean side. Low water also means that guests can now access Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool.
Most trees have lost their leaves, improving visibility and game viewing while fires in the surrounding communities have created hazy skies. Elephants are in camp all the time and we saw a lot of bushbuck, hippo and warthog coming in too. Even giraffe are coming into camp as they seek green vegetation to browse on. The surrounding bush in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is now very dry whereas Toka Leya’s grounds provide better browse and graze for these animals.
The game drives and cruises produced sightings that included hippo, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, zebra, sable, impala and warthog. We also noticed a rise in the number of puku sightings. Elephant were also seen on the islands near the camp or swimming between these islands.
We had an interesting sighting of a water monitor fighting with, and eventually subduing, a green spotted bush snake just in front of our reception area. It then proceeded to eat the snake.
Bird sightings included such specials as Pel’s fishing-owl, rock pratincole and African skimmers. We have also had good sightings of the ‘resident’ African finfoot in the water around camp. A Klaas’s cuckoo was heard calling around camp so we are expecting more migrants to start arriving all the time.
Our Environmental Commitment We planted 60 new seeds for our tree nursery. We have also begun a project to plant more indigenous palm trees around the camp, especially in our front areas by the restaurant and lower deck.
We celebrated our Wilderness Safaris Heritage Day on the last Friday of August by showcasing and sharing local foods. Some of the staff also wore beautiful traditional attire and we invited the Munjile band to share their local music for our guests’ enjoyment.
The traditional nshima, vegetables in peanut butter, kapenta and oxtail were particularly popular with guests and those guests who took their meals at the poolside and the gym really loved the experience and the change of venue.
Felix Banda was nominated as Toka Leya’s service hero for the month of August for his consistency and calm demeanour under pressure. A lot of guests commended him on how he easily remembered their names too.
“Thank you for open arms into the family of Toka Leya. Beautiful Zambia but even more beautiful are the people, staff and friends we have met.” “Thank you to the whole Toka Leya team. We have had a truly fabulous time. Amazing scenery on the river. Incredibly relaxing. “ “Wonderful visit! Thanks to everyone for making us feel at home. The kids loved it here! Great wildlife viewing! Rhinos, hippos, sable antelope, giraffes, crocs!”
Staff in Camp
General Manager: Chris Chiparaushe
Camp Manager: Nic Moolman
Front of House Manager: Stephen Phiri
Assistant Camp Managers: Faith Chiwende and Mwami Mufwaya
Activities Manager: Amon Ngoma
Trainee Manager: Thembi Ross
Senior Guide: Godfrey Mungala