We've been to Kasanka before during the bat migration. Every November and December (at the beginning of Zambia's rainy season) some five million of the continents largest fruit bats come from all over to roost on one hectare of Kasanka's wooded wetland -- it was a long drive in very hot and rainy weather, we were self-catering & tent-camping. We enjoyed the time there -- the bat experience was unbelievable -- but it really was not the most relaxing or chill trip. When the idea came up to spend Easter weekend there with the family in April for birding, it was not an easy sell: 7 hours in one car. With 7 people.
Right there you have a big huge red flag saying "THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA".
But. .. what about 12 people in two planes for 55 minutes? NOW we're talking.
We hatched a fairly last minute plan - our friends have an air charter service and had two planes available. The main lodge only had the French ambassador booked and we could stay at an outlying camp to keep out of her way and basically have the place to ourselves. The other family with the planes.... their boys are good friends with ours and were home from boarding school.
Oh, and they all used to live at Kasanka. The boys grew up there and know the lodge, the staff, the bush like the backs of their hands. We would basically have everything we needed organised for us and everyone at our disposal for guided walks, fishing, canoing, birding, sitatunga-stalking. SOLD.
As a bonus, the Kasanka Trust has a world reknown ornithologist on staff would could take Hugh (and any other willing birders) birding around Kananka and, if we were up for it, out to Bangweulu to track down some Shoebills. For Hugh, this was an opportunity NOT to be missed.
Separate plugs means that the kids can talk to eachother but that we can shut off their mics. This is key to happy flying with a gang of boys who would like to spend the entire flight singing and burping.
This was the view for most of the flight. (Minus the grey spots. That was my sensor before it was cleaned. Thank goodness I have a friend here who I trust with my gear and he sorted that out for when we came back. I had put off bringing the camera into him because I was worried I had really done it in and damaged the guts of the camera (it is ABUSED) and really could not have bore that news.)
Swamp swamp, crocs, hippos, stream, and swamp.
Pilot and Co-Pilot
Wasa Lake and Wasa lodge (the round building is the main lodge/reception)
The airstrip at Wasa... with "the Landy" waiting for us.
The kids (except the baby) and Alan took one plane, the parents took the other.
Alan, strategizing how to pick the non-wacko kid vehicle.
Tsetse forest.... with wildlife come Tsetse and biting flies.
TROUBLE x 4: Dom, Finn, O and James. The boys has a separate agenda from ours. Theirs involved fishing. They caught a LOT of stones and not a lot of fish. They really did not care too much. They were happy to catch anything.
And shooting. They shot at targets and tin cans.
They also had babysitting duties, although I bet it was more the case that TomTom took care of them. Look at this guy!! He's ALL BUSINESS!
The clowns, meanwhile...
Miracle of miracles, the "ee-see bunny" found us all the way out at Luwombwa Camp! But the chocolates and eggs were hidden in the craziest places!
A beautiful Easter Breakfast on the banks of the Luwombwa River.
Are these two related? Todd and his mom, Bev.
Frank Took us out for a night drive in the truck. we stopped a few meters ahead and looked up an there was an owl RIGHT ABOVE US. We could have touched it, it was so close! no one managed to get a photo but it was one of those WOW safari moments. Super cool.
craziness with my f stop.
One of the main hides for animal viewing...we climbed up close to sunset.
At my favourite spot, standing on top of a truck. We were looking for a swamp dwelling antelope called a Sitatunga. They are shy creatures. We were also looking for shoebills just in case some had wandered back into Kasanaka NP. (below: Todd NOT following the rules of staying by the vehicle. I think he was flanked by Edmond with his pistol b/c they went to go check out a MASSIVE croc.