We had a little hiccup early this morning, but it ended up being a great day again!
The hiccup: I was up sick in the wee hours of the morning – I think from eating too much good food!! But, we had decided to sleep in a bit and our first activity – a visit to the village within the park was scheduled for 10am for which I was ready to go! In fact we had a short walk around the lodge before that.
Cool eagle sculpture on the grounds (one of the 1000 works of African art collection they have!):
Papaya tree with fruit (and they also had a vegetable garden) in the lodge:
On the way out we drove by the lions’ area, and there they were!!! So, although we did not get a good view yesterday, they were majestically waiting for us, making it a great start to the day!
(Mom and Dad) Lioness and lion:
Father and son!:
We then had a guided tour of one of the villages with our favorite guide John Mwakatala. We sat with two different families in the village and chatted with them. They grow maize and a few other vegetables (okra, bananas, papaya), some of the men work at the lodge, and we met several young children. Unfortunately, there is a school nearby, but it is private and costs K15,000 (about $3) per month, which they cannot afford – so the kids do not go to school. Government schools are free to children until 7th grade, but the government school is 4 km away and too far for them to take the kids. Each family had some hens and there were also a couple of dogs. Water is drawn from a shallow well, but it appeared to be pretty dirty, and toilets are holes dug in the earth.
Village house: made of mud, the kitchen hut is thatched; the house has a metal sheet roof held down by rocks.
Kitchen (note the charcoal stove at the entrance):
Cluster of village houses:
Chicken and maize:
Tomatoes for sale in the village:
An unexpected treat we had was running into John’s family! We met his wife and two young children returning from church. His son who is 3 has started school and the school fees are deducted from his salary at the lodge. John finished high school, and then trained to be a park ranger which requires on the job training and then an exam to get certified. He spouts out names of all the various plant, animal and bird species around very fluidly and has been a great guide for us!
Another treat as we walked back from the village – we saw 2 ostriches!! So, although we had the safari yesterday, the park is such that you may run into animals at any time, which is pretty cool!!
Our next activity – a horseback riding tour! Although Jenn has some experience riding, this was my first time on a horse (although I have had a > 1 hour camel ride before). Jenn rode Beauty and I rode Edward who was somewhat skittish in the beginning as he wanted to keep trying to munch some grass, but once we set off in single file, with me safely in the middle between our guide in front and Jenn in the rear, I managed without any mishap, constantly talking to Edward to make sure he remained my friend!
Our last planned activity was a boat ride on the Chitoka Lake which is one of 4 lakes in the park.
Francis was our boat captain and took us for a spin around the lake pointing out various birds.
Birds: (name forgotten)
Weaver bird nests:
We also saw some large water monitor lizards:
and some very pretty lilies and a bushbuck wandering at the edge of the lake (missed the pic as he bounded off too quickly!)
End of boat ride (with Francis):
And another beautiful sunset!
And so ends our time at Chaminuka. Tomorrow we travel about 6 hours south of Lusaka to visit another program – but that will be the next blog!
Also, a child of mine pointed out to me that it is difficult to comment because of restrictions, so I have removed those and this should make it easier for anyone to post comments. We hope to hear from you!