There is quite a distinct dry season and green season in the South Luangwa Valley were Flatdogs Camp is located. We arrived 28 February 2016 and the camp and park were lush green with masses of plants and animals. From our house we could not see the Luangwa River and had our housekeepers Alec and Kenny slash a path for us to walk down to the river for sun downers. The vegetation would grow back every few days and we had to be on high alert for passing animals including many elephants.

The days were hot and some were very wet. Our Toyota Landcruiser had no roof, no doors and no windscreen which made driving to work a nightmare – Wendy did not cope at all when working on night shifts and the whole thing was quite challenging. Ade graciously gave us some black plastic for us to cover the seats though it was not quite the same as having a roof. In day it was easier as we wear our uniforms and hiking boots which have been put to the test in the mud and fortunately did what the manufacturer said they would!

So the dry season begins and the guests start arriving by the dozens:

• The Luangwa River gradually dries up to only a few channels out front
• The hippos move to deeper water and the males are often booted out.
• The grazing land animals and their predators congregate near the river and pools
• The wildlife is easier to find
• The washing dry’s as fast as you put it out
• Endless elephants move through camp and sleep under our Sausage Trees
• Our safari guides work for weeks with no days off
• The housekeeping ladies are exhausted from endless amounts of washing
• The Jackalberry Treehouse is almost booked out for the entire dry season
• The camp is buzzing with happy guests from all over the world

The unique and sensational Jackal-Berry Treehouse is open to the stars above and has no roof so the Treehouse is available only during the dry season. Built around three live African ebony trees with unspoilt views out across a lagoon system which is regularly visited by elephant and giraffe it is a sensational accommodation to relax, have close encounters with passing wildlife and eat and sleep under the stars. Located 900 metres from the main area of the camp the Treehouse has three main decks which are eight feet off the ground with wooden stairways to reach the spacious open air sitting area and open-plan bedrooms. The two bedrooms have an open air en suite bathroom, the middle deck area has comfy sofas and dining table and chairs which are all perfect for watching the game wandering past.

And then we woke one night to the crash of lightning and it started to rain, it was September 20 and it lasted one hour.

Then finally the dry season comes to an end and the talk of the valley is “when will it start raining” generally it is around mid November and then officially the green season arrives.
So what happens in the green season?

• The Luangwa River fills creating food for the fish and crocodiles
• Wart hog, Vervet Monkeys and Impala have their babies as there is more food
• The sausages grow on the Sausage Tree after it has flowered
• The hippo’s move to smaller ponds
• The animals spread out in the park as there is easy access to water and food
• Birds migrate to the valley including the stunning Carmine bee eater as below

Thanks to Ed Selfe who lives in the valley with his family and runs photography tours here is superb summary on the seasons of the valley. It includes more informative and a collection of Ed’s stunning images click to view Ed Selfe the seasons of the South Luangwa Valley Zambia