Finny, proud piggy in the Lost Little CowboyWe had a far-from typical weekend. Todd got up at 5:30 on Friday morning in Choma after a religious leader's training and drove back in time to see Finny perform in the preschool graduation (his class did Lost Little Cowboy), pick up Owen from school, shower and get back in the car which I spent about 35 minutes packing -- actually, I kind of threw any camping or cooking related things in the general direction of the car and hoped for the best.
Our friend graduating all the way from the Yellow Class up to the Reception Class at "the Big School." (with the school's GM)
We drove slowly...achingly, painfully slowly, through Friday afternoon traffic and then like bats out of hell out to the Kafue National Park where they close the 'Hook Bridge' gate for the night at 6pm. We got there at 5:45 and it was ALREADY closed. Thankfully someone appeared from the bush with 'the book' and a key (Zambian Wildlife Authority keeps close track of park visitors) and we were soon on the dusty road to our home away from home for the weekend, the Lufupa River Camp, just as the sun was setting.
The campsite under the marula tree which we shared with our friends and their two sweet girls
The 60km drive from the main park road to the camp took 2-1/2 hours; our tardiness at getting to the gate was not punished....we were in fact rewarded with the most amazing drive...we saw a CHEETAH! Thankfully the kids were not asleep and we got to see it just sauntering down the road lit by our headlights (about 10m in front of us), then it turned off and disappeared into the bush. Right after we saw 6 lion cubs (and made sure that the windows were up at this point b/c we didn't see momma lion) and also a genet which was just incredible. We got to camp and met our friends, who left Lusaka at a reasonable time of day for a 6 hour drive and arrived in the daylight to set up their camp like most normal folks like to do. The camp/lodge host met us to say hello and to remind us to be mindful of the fact that the camp is IN the park and we should expect to have wildlife in camp....i.e leopard, hippo, wild dogs, hyeanas and elephant that come nightly to check on things and eat from the marula tree that we were camping under....OK, Goodnight.
It was FLIPPING COLD that first night but we all slept despite this the threat of being a leopard snack if we needed to get up to go potty, er, visit the abulitions block. In the morning we all went out on the boat and went fishing, did a little game drive and then did a night drive. We saw: monster crocs, hippos galore, monitor lizards, birds of every shape and size, elephants, maybe a wild dog (not confirmed but we can't figure what else it could have been), warthogs, bush baby, more gennets and every nearly every kind of antelope in the book: bushbuck, impala, puku, kudu, waterbuck, roan, sitatunga etc.
How cute are these safari campers? O and Scout
Monday was a work day and school day. The kids are both healthy again so are back for their last week of school, I had a photo shoot and TJ jumped back into things as he has a busy few weeks as we prepare to leave for Seattle (9 July). We were so lucky to have squeezed in one last adventure before the insanity of traveling. Some photos from the weekend.
my espresso pot barely survived the camping experience (with O still looking sickly)
Fishing on the Lufupa River, Silver Barble for tea (with O looking much better!)
See? roughing it: my ice cold G&T had a LEMON not a lime!
The staff spoiled the kids rotten
Kudu. Kafue NP has no shortage of antelope....cheetah snacks
Ellie Elephant having a snack before a very close encounter with the Jennings family as we left the park on Sunday