Friday 11th August Day 15
We packed our bags and loaded up both vehicles, said goodbye to Nkhotakota and headed off
back to the Baptist Mission in Lilongwe, where we had set out from ten days earlier. Upon arrival in Lilongwe some of us went Grocery shopping,
while others went to an Internet Cafe to catch up on their emails. George also
took us on a guided tour of the city, pointing out various buildings and places
of interest such as the Government Headquarters. He took us to the Mausoleum, built
in honour of the late President of Malawi, Dr Hastings Bandar who is very much
revered because he did such a lot towards Malawi gaining it’s independence from British colonialism. He also took
the country forward economically.
Later Pat caught up on our laundry which had built up over the past few days since leaving Blantyre. Dave, his wife Trish and their son Richard, depart first thing in
the morning, bound for the UK and home.
Saturday 12th August Day 16
Said our Goodbyes to Dave, Trish and Richard as they left to catch their flight. George drove them to the Airport
whilst we packed our bags ready to move out of the Mission for the final time as we set off for Zambia.
Departed around 09:30 heading for the border. The border crossing took quite a while as
you have to exit Malawi then drive a short distance through ‘no man’s land’ to
the Zambian border. There is money to be paid at each border crossing, such as
exit visas, carbon tax etc. The vehicle has to be checked over, as well as our
Passports. U.S. dollars are the currency needed at these border crossings. The whole process took around 2 hours.
Once on the road again we came to a town called Chipata, where we had to find 2 nights accommodation for Mei Mei
and her daughter, because we were on our way to another safari lodge and Mei Mei
had not booked this previously. We found them a small motel and once we saw
them settled we then left for Kapani Lodge in Luangwa National Park,
leaving them with the understanding that we would collect them on Monday
morning. At this point we had no idea what lay ahead of us.
We left Chibata about 14:45 on the road for Kapani
Lodge but little did we know what the road was going to be like. It was
horrendous, the worst road we travelled on throughout the whole month. A chap
at the motel told us we wouldn’t get through in the minibus and that we would
need a 4 wheel drive as it was a 125 kilometre, about 78 mile, drive over very
bad road due to the rains having washed away much of the road surface. It was
just like a dried up river bed.
Mike had hoped to be at the lodge by 16:00 as that was the time of the evening safari
drive. However, it was well after dark by the time we arrived and needless to
say we missed the safari. We asked several people travelling in the opposite
direction if we were going the right way and they said yes just keep going but
to watch out for a fork in the road and to take the left-hand road. Just
before we arrived, there was a short stretch of tarmac road and we noticed a
road leading of to our left. Apparently it was a road to an air strip where
people fly in from Lusaka.
Mike said, “If I’d known what I know now, we would have flown in ourselves.
Something to remember for next time!”
On this stretch of road, we picked up a man who asked us for a lift. He happened to be a teacher and he told us all
about the area. He said to drive carefully as we could come across large
animals on the road at any point and it was dark by this time. We arrived at Kapani
lodge by 19:20 and were taken
down to the main building, which was a large wooden structure with a big veranda
built on piles over a sw. It had open sides and wicker furniture dotted
around. It also had dining tables laid out for the evening meal. After a
couple of drinks, we were taken to our chalets to unload our luggage and
freshen up ready for dinner.
It was a more ‘up-market’ place than the two
previous lodges we had visited. The chalets were luxurious with twin 4 foot beds
Mosquito Nets were hung over a large wooden frame surrounding both beds, making
them look like Four Poster beds. They had fridges stocked with soft drinks as
well as tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom was equipped with 2
wash basins, toiletries and even face flannels. The price we paid for our accommodation
included all our drinks at the bar, wine with meals etc. there were no extras
to pay for, even laundry was free. The staff were very obliging and couldn’t
do enough for us. They even packed my wooden items I had been given by World
Vision so that they didn’t get damaged during the rough ride back.
Miraculously my pieces of pottery had survived the journey. Luckily they had
been packed amongst my clothes in my suitcase.
After familiarising myself with the room, we went down to dinner. Abraham, who was to be our Guide on the
safaris, joined us for dinner and became our constant companion throughout our
stay. We retired shortly after dinner, around 22:00 as it was an early start next day we
were told there would be a knock on our door at 05:30 .
Sunday 13th August Day 17
I rose at 05:30 when the knock came on our door and
went down for breakfast. I was amazed to find that breakfast was being cooked
on an open fire in the middle of the veranda floor. Apparently there was a
trapdoor in the floor which had a steel fire box underneath. A full English breakfast
was cooked on this fire, including porridge, bacon, eggs, sausages etc and
After breakfast we assembled in the courtyard and boarded one of the
large land cruisers which took us on our safari. There were two vehicles and
our party managed to fit into one of them and we got away by 06:30. Abraham, who was with us for dinner the
previous evening, was our driver and guide. He explained about a certain tree
which we stopped at. It had leaves shaped rather like a Butterflies closed
wings and when it rains, the leaves open up then close again to hold the
moisture. He also told us that elephants like this particular tree, I can’t
remember its name but it bears fruit which has a large stone in the centre.
Wildlife here is abundant, especially Impala. In fact I would go so far as to
say that they must be the most prolific antelope in Africa as every game park that we visited had lots of them.
When you consider that these animals are the main prey for the large cats, then
I suppose it makes sense. Abraham was hoping to find elephants but we were not
successful on the morning run. However, we did see a lion, in fact two lions,
both males, basking in the sun about 15 to 20 feet away from our vehicle.
Abraham told us that they were brothers about eight years old and had been cast
out of the pride. He said that two can survive under such circumstances
whereas a single male may not do so well. There were lots of hippo and crocs
as well as baboons. Abraham pointed out a banded mongoose, these are active in
daytime whereas the white tailed version only comes out in the evening. At
this point we stopped for a while and got out of the vehicle for a leg stretch.
tea, coffee and biscuits were served too.
We drove on a little further with our party taking lots of pictures, unfortunately no elephants. We arrived back
at the lodge after a 4 hour trip. Brunch was served at 11:15, this was a cold buffet meal with drinks.
We sat and chatted to members of staff over our meal then it was siesta time.
At 15:00 we came down for afternoon tea before setting off once again on another game
drive at 16:00.
This trip was much more exciting, from the game perspective. This time we did see elephants,
lots of them. Firstly there was a small group of about 5 or 6 with babies,
just browsing among the trees and picking things off the ground. We also came
across zebra and giraffe. Once again we stopped at sundown for refreshments,
this time it was wine, beer or spirits, plus sausage rolls and mini pizza
tarts. Whilst we were taking this break, Pat noticed a herd of elephants crossing the river. She counted 34 and shortly after another 6 went across.
The river was shallow enough for them to wade across. We could also hear
children from a village further up the river splashing about taking
an evening dip after the day had cooled down a little.
At this point Pat gave us all a spray of insect repellent then we headed off to make our way back to
the lodge in a circular route. We hadn’t been going long when to our surprise
along came a pride of lions walking along the road. Mostly females so Abraham
stopped the vehicle and one came right past usSo close in fact Pat could
have reached down and touched it. She was totally unconcerned by our
presence. Once again the cameras began clicking.
This being the climax of our visit to Luangwa Game Park, We slowly made our way back to the lodge for a shower and to prepare
for dinner. This being our last night at Kapani, tables and chairs were set
out on the lawn and dinner was served under the stars, once again with Abraham
as our guest. We retired at 22:00 as we had another early call in the morning. We had decided to
make an early start to cover that awful journey. The thought of facing that
ghastly road in the morning hardly made for a good night’s sleep.
Monday 14th August Day 18
Pat told us that on wakening and entering her bathroom, she came face to face with an elephant.
It was stripping a tree outside her chalet and Dave, one of the staff, said he
had tried to get to the office twice and couldn’t because of itApparently
the path is only narrow and the elephant was blocking the way.
Following an early breakfast, we departed from the lodge at 06:30 and set off back to pick up Mei Mei
and Georgina in Chipata. The
return journey took 5 hours, although it was still horrendous, it didn’t seem quite so bad going back. I suppose it helped being daylight, also we knew what
to expect. We took an hour break when we arrived at Mei Mei’s lodgings.
People wanted to change currency and stock up with water. Eventually we set
off for Lusaka, a gruelling 560
We left at around 13:00 and after several stops to change drivers and for passengers to
exchange seats. Even though at this stage there were only 7 people on board
but along with all the luggage Conditions were somewhat crowded, so we
shuffled around, changing seats once in a while. We reached Lusaka by about
20:30 and just prior to us reaching the outskirts, George phoned Pastor Paul
who lives in Lusaka, and he asked us to wait at a particular garage for him to
meet us and he would take us into the city and direct us to our accommodation.
There was a slight hitch with the lodgings as we were originally booked into a place known as Abundant Life, but they had ‘pulled a fast one’ as it were,
because they had a party of American Missionaries who booked after us, but
they’d booked a longer stay than we had so, we were booted out in favour of
them. However, we were found accommodation nearby in a Roman Catholic guest
house which was very comfortable. It had large rooms with TVs and swimming pool.
By the time we had been allocated our rooms and brought in our luggage, it was getting towards 22:00 and one
or two decided to go out and eat. Hank and I just wanted to have a wash, brush
our teeth and crash out, which we did. I slept until about 06:00 next morning. I worked out that the
previous day, we had spent a total of 14 hours in that minibus and by the time
we reached Lusaka, I was just
well and truly shattered.
Tuesday 15th August day 19
We had a leisurely breakfast about 09:00 and afterwards went along to the hotel
where Tracey, or Tess as she likes to be known, had been staying over the weekend. She had flown in from Heathrow on the weekend of the foiled Terrorist
attack. Tess is a teacher who has been on Seed Sowers missions before and she
had joined us for the last two weeks and I was scheduled to fly home with her
as she lives in the West Country as I do. We sat and had coffee with her on
the hotel terrace by the side of the pool. Later we drove back into the town
centre for lunch at a place called Steers. After lunch we met up with Pastor
Paul who arranged for someone to drive in front of us and take us to Pastor
Alice, who lives in a town called Kabwe, which is over 100 K about 2 hours
drive from Lusaka. Pastor Alice lives in a large bungalow which accommodated
us all with Hank and me sharing a room. We all sat down to dinner, cooked by
Alice and her companions who share the property with herFor the remainder of
our stay, the meals were cooked by various members of our team. Later that
evening I gave Mike a neck and shoulder massage as he had been having a problem
in this area.
After chatting for a while, one by one we gradually retired to our beds.
Wednesday 16th August Day 20
It was Mei Mei’s birthday, so we all sang Happy Birthday to her at breakfast and she opened her cards, some of which
she had brought with her. We then prepared for a trip to a village which is a
new venture for Seed Sowers. The village is called Makhululu and it is planned
to establish a TBA clinic there as well as a water Bore Hole. Seed Sowers have
not as yet worked in Zambia, therefore it will be a learning curve for both sides.
The man who will be carrying out the bore hole drilling is due to arrive today to determine where
the water supply is and where the bore hole is to be situated. This is one of
the largest communities Seed Sowers have worked with, in Excess of 40,000 people.
Pat would be holding a clinic here tomorrow so she was checking out the
location, it was agreed that the Church would be the best place. It was very
hot today, both Mike and I noticed the heat more so today than any other time.
We both felt very tired, perhaps we hadn’t taken enough water on board. Pastor
Tobias, and his wife Wendy, who is also a Pastor, belongs to this Church and
worked closely with us throughout our stay in Kabwee.
The next step was to
establish a Committee to head the project, as Mike organises in all the villages
in order that things continue to make progress during his absence. He, George
and Pastor Tobias went off to arrange this while Tess, Georgina and Mei Mei entertained a group of children.
We drove back to our lodgings for a late lunch. Don’t feel too good today, Pat told me to have a
lie down and rest. Felt very tired and have pain in my lower back, possibly mild
Heat Stroke. Mei Mei cooked a lovely dinner and afterwards some of us chatted
in the lounge while others watched TV. Tess prepared her programme for working
with the children tomorrow.
Thursday 17th August Day 21
Breakfast at 08:00 and everyone prepared to set off to the village.
Pat insisted that I stay behind and rest today, following yesterday when I
wasn’t feeling too good. She gave me a 2 litre bottle of water telling me to
rest and that she wanted to se all the water gone by the time she got back.
She also did a little physio on my back and thought the problem may have
resulted from the long drive on Monday. I spent the day relaxing and listening
to talking books. Mabel was the only other occupant of the house and she made
me a coffee around 11:00.
The team arrived back sometime just after four o’clock. They had seen over a hundred children. Hank and Mei Mei prepared
dinner and afterwards we sat in the lounge talking, until one by one they
drifted off to bed.