Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July Weekend

"Happy 4th of July, what kind of gun are you taking?" "Grandpa, it's not a hunting safari just a viewing safari." "I've seen the movies, I want some elephant tusks." "Gramps I don't have that kind of money." "Have you seen 'Out of Africa' with Robert Redford?" "Of course Grandma." "Find your Robert Redford while on safari." Then the phone went dead....
Mfuwe would best be described as a village with an airport, district offices and the entrance to South Luangwa National Park. We would call Mfuwe a BOMA (British Occupied Management Area) or a district capital. Mfuwe is three and a half hours drive from Chipata, the capital of Eastern Province, down a washed out dirt road. Chipata is a day’s drive from Lusaka through the Machinga Escarpment and the vast expanse of Chieftiness Mukamambo Nkomesha the III’s land that is mostly void of people and development due to its proximity to Lusaka and Chipata.

Mine and Brittany's room at Mushroom Lodge.
By ten in the morning on Saturday we were greeted at Mushroom Lodge and Presidential House with cool wash clothes to wipe away the dust and sweat picked up along the washed out, dusty road. Our rooms were chalets with a sitting room, two beautiful beds, a bath room with a shower and bath, separate toilet and an outdoor shower and veranda. We split up two per room as there were 6 in our group. We had six hours until our first game drive. Which meant time for brunch, a long hot shower, tea, and a game of settlers of catan.
Tea on the veranda over looking a dambo, marsh area full of wildlife especially cheeky monkeys trying to take my tea.

Where is the vervet monkey? He stole some food off a plate in front of a friend and watched us while we ate.

Our guide, Ba Ernest, and the group preparing to leave for a 4 hour game drive.
 The photos from the game drive are in no specific order. I won't bore you with the details of 16 hours of driving around looking for wild life and the hours spent in between enjoying the luxury of a real shower and meals served to us. Enjoy the slide show!

Lion Cubs. Photo by: Geoff Bendeck

And their mama.

Crossing through dried up ravines, felt like being on a roller coaster. Ba Ernest was the best driver so no problems. Photo by: Geoff Bendeck

Our break during the game drive, from left: Ryan, Geoff, Me, Dwayne, Brittany, Ruben.

Leopard eating a puku. We drove up just as the puku was dying and watched her eat. They start with the intestines to reduce the weight so they can drag their kill up a tree.

Alice the leopard posing for all the safari vehicles that came after we found her sleeping in the ravine.

My favorite, the warthog.

A group of hippos is called a raft.

A group of zebras is called a dazzle.

Sunset over the Luangwa river.

Lilac Breasted Roller, the national bird of Botswana.

I forget what these were, a yellow billed stork?

Thorncroft Giraffe, endemic to South Luangwa. The granddaughter of the guy that discovered this sub-species works for Peace Corps!

"I like big butts and I cannot lie....." the trip theme song, with reason!

Water buffalo eating Nile cabbage.

Sweat pooled on my back, my nostrils were filled with dust and the sun was beating down on my bare skin increasing the temperature by the second. The door closed and the air grew stagnant. Sweat beading on my forehead. As our wheels left the ground all you could see was dust and bush fires below us. All I could understand from the intercom announcements was turbulence because of the heat until we reached cruising altitude, nausea was already setting in. Only an hour in the air and then I would be home in my bed. Home from the middle of nowhere. It took a day and a half to get there and a one hour flight to get back, a taste of the bwana life and it was sweet.

Mfuwe International Airport.

The bar at Mfuwe International Airport. See the guy reading in the background? He is our new friend.

So good to be home!

No comments:

Post a Comment