Other than small amounts of work to do regarding media and reporting, the weekend was allocated time off. After asking several local sources and some avid googling we settled on the idea that our weekend would be best fulfilled with a safari visit. A safari name Chaminuka near Lusaka airport was the chosen destination, and with little knowledge of what we were in for, we set off.
Google maps optimistically assumed arrival within one-and-a-half hours. This became slowly more sceptical when we found ourselves stuck in Kalikiliki. Whether it was the time of day or just how the area typically was, one may have mistaken it for New Delhi, had it not been for the lack of honking from rickshaw. After the suggested route from google maps had taken nearly driven us into a fence, we had the joys of annoying the locals once again by driving back through. Getting back on course we had a comfortable remainder of the journey arriving around midday.
The safari was 10,000 acres of fenced of plains, containing four manmade lakes. Driving into the main lodging area we came across what looked like a luxury golfing resort, with fine cut grass which had been manicured as much as each of the staff members. We strolled up to the reception where, after a brief business meeting, settled on the day packaged.
15 mins later I found myself atop a horse in the middle of a safari. This was one of the last things that I was expecting upon arrival, but the ride was pleasant and gave us a sense of the terrain we would later journey on. However, I couldn’t say the same for my poor horse, whom I felt like I crushed under my weight for the short 15-20-minute ride.
Upon arrival, back at the main facility, we were invited to lunch, where we had a buffet with the other guests. Morally disturbed by the amount of food that lay in front of us, considering the rest of the weeks proceedings, we made most of the warm weather and rest, knowing that this was one of the few times we had a chance to relax.
The game drive began unusually as we were introduced to the fenced off animals first. Lions, cheetahs and jungle cats each had their own area to preserve the herbivores in the rest of the safari, although they did seem almost too isolated. Regardless there was little we could say or do as we whizzed into the main plains of the safari. On our journey, we were greeted by: an elephant, a giraffe, zebra, water hog, water buffalo, impala, monkeys and a host of different antelope species. The ride itself turned out to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the day, with the suns warm rays; the wind gently pressing on our faces and the impressive sense of serenity.
On arrival back to the lodges, the sun began its journey down past the horizon. We were invited for a small boating adventure along one of the manmade lakes. It was the perfect time of day and I would have been happy to spend the whole evening afloat the lake. The sun glistened off the water and other than the noise of the boat engines, only nature was to be heard.
We then fought our way through the bumpy roads in the darkness back home to a cup of tea and forty winks. The forty winks became, twenty, ten then five as I was unwell throughout the night. Fortunately, on my end, we had only a small amount planned for Sunday.
Sunday was a short but fun day, as we were expecting an early start on Monday as well as the personal events from the previous evening. A long chat was had over breakfast, covering much that had happened in the week, before we headed out to a local market near Kalingalinga. The market was swamped with beautiful, hand-crafted local delights, with everything you could imagine on offer. It was as if someone had picked all their favourite things about Zambia and put them in one place. Every colour on the visible light spectrum was to be seen, in the clothes, handmade crafts and jewellery. Looking back, I regret not buying anything, but feeling a bit under the weather still, I wasn’t up for the usual market negotiations. Once we had waded through all the market goodies, we headed for lunch, where we ate the traditional Zambian delicacy of ….. fish and chips.
The rest of the afternoon and evening was calm, other than our attempt at cooking yet another traditional Zambian dish …… a roast dinner. But hey, it was Sunday after all and it would be our last day of rest for the remainder of the visit. Bed beckoned early yet again, around 7:30-8. The sun sets around 6pm this time of year in Zambia, so most nights bedtime felt closer to midnight, especially with the lack of light and noise pollution.