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Archive for the ‘Zambia’ Category

Safari!

We went on a safari and stayed in tents.  We cooked over an open campfire and went game hunting but not with guns in the morning.  Unluckily we did not see any cheetahs, we heard lions and we saw three elephants.  Our guide was called Kennedy and one morning he took us fishing.  I only caught one fish and Emmett caught four.  We threw them back, it must have been Emmett’s lucky day, he was so proud!

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Kafue Safari

It was an early morning start for our Zambian safari.  We chose Kafue because it has a reputation for being a great place to spot cheetahs and Bede is very much a cheetah lover.  Meeting up with our guide and heading off was somewhat overwhelming and I realised it is hard to completely organise these adventures by email without small miscommunications.

Suboptimal car seating Zambia April 2010

We had arranged a 4 day safari by email, with Florence being free of charge and the rest of us full price.  When they came to pick us up, two things became apparent.  Firstly the safari camp was an 11 hour drive from Livingstone, which I could probably have worked out on a map prior to arriving in Zambia but had not done.  Secondly, Miss Florence, being free, was not entitled to a seat in the 4WD for the 11 hour trip.  It’s funny, we have had no alternative but to use minivan transport that did not have seatbelts in Asia, but because it was the only option it somehow felt less overwhelming than finding that I was supposed to hold a small child on a very potholed road in pouring rain.  We managed to arrange ourselves four across the middle seat with Florence in her Saferider vest but sharing a seatbelt, which I was extremely nervous about, but it did hold us all very securely, not sure about accident safety.  Clearly culturally we were well outside the Zambian norm as on the trip a POLICE OFFICER tried to con us into also taking him and his partner and baby home because our car wasn’t full!  Every vehicle we saw had three people deep on each seat so I think the guide thought I was bonkers!

The car trip went surprisingly well (as I commented earlier sometimes having our kids in restraints aka seatbelts, is the most peaceful way to be!).  We arrived at Kafue at a lovely safari camp just on dusk where our personal cook whipped up a delicious meal over the open fire for our dinner.  The boys were in heaven – a tent, a fire – what more could you want!  But then it got better, with some pig-like snorts a hippopotamus appeared in the river water literally 5m from the tent!  Those animals are quite seriously the size of cars!  We were camped on a 10m wide strip of land between a deep lagoon area and the huge, deep fast flowing Kafue river.  I started looking for somewhere to tether Florence…

Tent with Kafue river beyond

The camp manager wandered over to give us a briefing about staying at the camp.  Rules:  1. Don’t get between a hippo and water, if you do, run.  Hippos are vegetarian but chomp people in half if they feel threatened.  2. On waking, check a crocodile is not lying outside the tent door before leaving the tent.  3. If you see an elephant do not move (clearly the camp manager knows my children well – they have two speeds, asleep or moving so fast the camera only works in sport mode).

Next morning we had an early morning game drive where we spotted lots of impala and puku (that’s how they say it ? spelling), wart hogs and an elephant.  No cheetahs though!  In the afternoon we cruised on the river and saw lots of hippos, but no cheetahs…  The next day Leah and the boys did some fishing and then we went on the big evening drive to look for the big cats (and cheetahs).  Unfortunately they were all hiding and we only got to hear lions roar but see none.  We did see lots of other interesting animals, from crocodiles to more elephants and plenty of owls.  Nobody got eaten by anything and the boys are raving about the “best bit of our world trip” and not looking at all disappointed about the lack of big cats!  The mums are mostly just relieved to be in a hotel room with solid walls and no crocodiles outside tonight!  It was an amazing and exhausting experience to be so much on alert for those days.  I feel so lucky that we usually live in NZ where the kids can run along the river bank and be so much freer outdoors.

Cruising on the Kafue - Emmett on the end of Leah's arm

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Victoria Falls

To our amusement the long haul flying and huge road trip part of our holiday has so far not been the most stressful!  We managed our 28 hour journey to Livingstone in Zambia very well.  The kids were thrilled to find that the pool had a fountain and as Florence puts it “A bubba pool” – somewhere shallow enough for her to stand up.  The temperature was much more moderate and not humid so for the first time in 6 weeks diving into the pool actually made me gasp!

The afternoon we arrived we went out to see Victoria Falls, having had a sneak preview from the plane.  They were truly breathtaking.  Not only are the falls themselves spectacular but viewing them with Bede and Emmett running along the clifftop in  front of you to get a better view increases the adrenalin level even more.

Victoria Falls April 2010

Victoria Falls

Next stop Kafue Safari!  We’ll keep you posted!

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