From : Knoware.co.uk
15 March 2012
We are up at 5:30 to meet the rest of the group off the plane at 6:25. As it turns out they have arrived half an hour early and are sitting around waiting for us. Julie “Blondie” is a seasoned traveller and has already been to Africa around ten times, several of which were with Barefoot Safaris. Katharine “Sunshine”, also a Barefoot veteran, having done the African Odyssey with Ken, is aptly nicknamed, as she is always bright and cheerful. This safari is by invitation, and the only person who has not been with Ken, or indeed to Africa, before is Pete, Kathy’s boyfriend. However, she has vouched for him, and her confidence is certainly not misplaced. He is well over 6ft with a swashbuckling look, and Ken quickly christens him “Pirate”
We pile into the Land Rover and after a quick stop at Melissa’s for Kwacha, head south, picking up a small hitchhiker on the way in the shape of a chameleon who accidentally jumps in through the window.
Today is an easy drive and we stop of in Kafue for breakfast before leaving the main road and heading for Siavonga on the shore of Lake Kariba. The weather is still overcast and quite cool, and we get a few spots of rain, but it clears up during the morning. The rains have been good this year and everywhere is very green.
We arrive at the Eagle’s Rest hotel around 1 o’clock. It is right on the shore of Lake Kariba. The weather has now cleared completely and it is as hot as one expects Africa to be, so we enjoy a light lunch and a couple of beers, and retire for a nap.
Later in the afternoon I risk the crocodiles (and the bilharzia) and go for a swim in the lake, where I am joined by one of the hotel’s dogs, a lovely old labrador bitch called Pula. It turns out the hotel owners have several dogs, and a parrot, all named after currencies.
We are due to go for an evening cruise on the lake, but this is cancelled, so Ken takes us for a walk instead. The main tourist town on Lake Kariba is Kariba on the other side of the Zambesi in Zimbabwe. Siavonga is a sleepy little place, but enjoying an unexpected boom since Robert Mugabe effectively closed Zimbabwe to whites. There is a little shop, and a mains water pipe where the women from the villages collect every day to fill their containers
We return to the hotel for an excellent meal by the lakeside. The owner, an Englishman called Ian Kennedy, comes and introduces himself and buys us a round of drinks.
I should have been sharing a room with Ken, but he has wangled a room to himself, which means I get one to myself too. By 10 we have crawled under our mosquito nets and are falling asleep to the sound of fruit bats, which make a noise like a squeaky cartwheel.