Into Africa

29 Sep

The carrier pigeon thing didn’t work out quite the way we’d planned so I know it’s been a bit since you’ve heard from us.  We’ve missed writing to you but there is so much to share so let’s get right into it.  Africa is magic.  After spending a week in the bush I am marveled that this is the same planet that we all live on. Here, nature is in charge, not man.  And nature has an elegant way to solve every problem.  Birds ride on the backs of giraffes to remove bothersome ticks and have a healthy meal. Image Elephants digest only part of what they eat to feed ground insects.  The balance of nature is apparent in every corner.

ImageWe arrived at Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia on the 20th.  Our senses were instantly assaulted with the sights and sounds of Africa.  Birds that seem to talk; one of which calls “Go Away, Go Away” when there is a lion in the vicinity.  Another one that says “Work Harder!”  Although many suggest it’s saying “Drink Lager!”  ImageElephants strolling through the bush looking to add to their daily food intake which totals over 80 pounds!  ImageImpala that leap gracefully like little brown Barishnikovs through the fields.  Hippos spending the day in the water to beat the heat. Image

On our second morning we took a 3 hour ‘game drive’ to the Kapamba Bushcamp.  It’s not camping, it’s not glamping, it’s luxury on solar power…and not much of it at that.  But as you can see, not too shabby!  ImageOur bungalow (they call them chalets) is enclosed on three sides with the open side facing the Kapamba River.  From our bed we watch baboons, lions, pukus, impala and more stroll past.  ImageOne elephant who is missing a tail makes one of his first of three visits to us.  Marci named him “Stubby” and we’ll see him quite a few times here in Kapamba.  

Our days begin at 6am with a beautiful sunrise.  Because this is before the rainy season, the sky is clear which means that the bright red ball of a sun is with us for sunrise and sunset.  After a breakfast of fresh fruit, freshly baked breads and hard boiled eggs we head out.  Sometimes in our Land Rover and sometimes on a walk.  There’s no telling what we may see but I’ve tried to include a variety of the photos we’ve managed to snap along the way.ImageImageImage

It’s an awesome sight to see these creatures in their natural habitat, going about their business, looking for food, hiding from predators, seeking shelter, taking care of their young.ImageImage

By 11am the sun is high, the air is hot and we retreat back to camp for brunch.  There may be 7-10 different items to choose from.  All made fresh by the bushcamp staff and all the guests, which range from 4-8 eat together to compare notes on the morning’s sightings.  After brunch it’s time for siesta.  By now it’s over 90 degrees and so the shade of our chalet and a cool shower is just what we need before a nap.Image

By 2:30 or so we may be awoken by hyenas or the trumpet of an elephant and we get ready for the afternoon.  As Zambia is the former Northern Rhodesia, british customs persist and so before our afternoon gamedrive we must have high tea!  Then off to the bush.

By the time the big red ball approaches the horizon, and the light is too low for photos, we rendezvous for Sundowners.  It’s usually in some beautiful open area where we climb off the Land Rovers, are served an icy cold Gin and Tonic and watch the African sunset.ImageImage

But the day is not done.

Nighttime is the right time for many species and we are in search of the predators that come out after the sun goes in.  Aided only by a hand held searchlight, and armed with a National Park Ranger packing heat, we drive deep into the bush.  Sometimes we get lucky…Image

After three nights in Kapamba we head to another camp down the Luangwa River called Kuyenda.  Kuyenda is run by Babette and Phil.  Two of the most knowledgeable and lovely people we have ever met. Phil Berry is near 80 and has lived in Zambia since he was eight.  He hears things I will never hear.  The snap of a twig 300 yards away that means a lion is hunting.  The cry of a baboon that means zebras are nearby.  Phil was one of the fist anti-poachers and founder of the Save The Rhino program in Zambia.  We are lucky to spend time with them.  Babette is the Martha Stewart of Africa.  No detail is overlooked from freshly ironed sheets to fluffy towels to candlelit dinner tables, and exquisite staging for Sundowners all created on a patch of sand in the absolute middle of nowhere.ImageImageImage

Speaking of lucky, as you can see we have had wonderful animal sightings and have learned so much about behavior and habitat.  Africa is wonderful and our trip through it is just at the beginning.  Next we’re off to Cape Town and we’ll write again from there.  Until then…

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9 Responses to “Into Africa”

  1. Janice Yelland September 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I am in awe! So much to learn. Like being a baby again with all that is new around you! What an experience. Looking forward to your next post!
    Janice

  2. Susan Leiber September 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    OMG. I love to read what you write. 27 more days till skiing at Killington. That is Rob’s prediction. Live Large

  3. Susan September 30, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    WOW, wow, and WOW, love reading your words, making it come alive, in awe of all of it. And we should all be in awe of nature. Beautiful photos, beautiful animals and of course, beautiful friends

  4. Anne-Marie Aigner September 30, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Living the dream — our dream as well. Beautiful photos — beautiful memories!

  5. Ellen Highfield September 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Just wonderful to share this. The photographs are awesome and you both look GREAT!
    Shana tova!

  6. Phil Holberton October 1, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    What a glorious lifetime experience – another item off the bucket list?

  7. Susie Cummings October 1, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Michael, these pictures are just amazing. I am glad to see that you and Marci are having such a great time. Marci, I love that last picture of you in the brown shirt. You both look so happy!

  8. Mom/Ellie October 1, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    The pictures are GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing. Delighted that you are having such a beautiful adventure. A once-in-a-life time kind of trip. So happy for you both. Travel safe. Love, Mom

  9. Mindy October 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    I am with you with each word and photo, thank you.

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