Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So, the weekend

About 125 km from Lusaka to Chirundu down on the Zimbabwe border. Turn left and go another 40 or so km to the Chongwe river. Too high to cross.

So we leave the car behind.

This car.

A truck, really. An open-topped safari truck with no doors and no windshield. 100 km/h down the highway gets a bit windy without the windshield.

So we got to Chirundu and took a left down a dirt road until we got to the Kafue river.

Crossed on a small car ferry and continued.

It had rained recently, and some patches of the road were still pretty muddy.

Nothing a winch couldn't fix.

We got as far as the edge of the Lower Zambezi National Park. From the Kafue river crossing to the national park you drive through the Western game management area that has villages and allows hunting (with a concession, very regulated) and the Eastern game management villages, no hunting, more game, more lodges.

Then you get to the Chongwe river, which divides the eastern GMA from the national park...more game, fewer lodges.

The Chongwe was too high to cross, so Jason pulled into a friend's lodge (the aptly named Chongwe River Camp), parked the truck, and we jumped into a boat to finish the trip.

Nice river, the Zambezi, if a little high and muddy right now. The Kariba dam is basically busting at the seams with water so they opened a spillway or two to relieve some pressure. What that does, though, is raise the river and muddy it up. No matter, we were almost there.

And here we are. Sausage Tree Camp.

Jason was bumming around South Africa with a friend and a surfboard back in the mid-90s when a friend of a friend asked if he would like to help build a lodge in Zambia. He went up to help out and never left. Started out guiding, then managing the camp and others in the area. In 2001 he bought the place. It is sick how he has made such a luxurious place in the middle of nowhere. And I was there when it wasn't actually open. The service and the experience during the season will be something.

Tomorrow, a picnic on the banks of the Zambezi, a dog living on borrowed time, and a night drive to "check out the quality of the game drive roads."


At 4:12 PM, Blogger A Daring Adventure said...

Great photos! Loved them!


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