Days 20 and 21

September 9, 2012 - Shitayke Hot Springs, Zambia

Shitake Hot Springs, the most northerly point of our trip where we have stayed for the last 2 days is really heavenly.

Our campsite is next to a fast-flowing river, although we are camped under a big tree a little back from the river as the only other campers when we arrived were 2 Dutch couples who were travelling through to Tanzania and they were camped next to the river. The Tanzanian border is only about 250 km from here.

The campsite is part of the Shitayke Springs Lodge, so we have use of all the lodge’s facilities, such as swimming pool, bar, and beautiful garden full of the most remarkable birds. This is a mini forest in the middle of the dry African bush because of the water from the river. But the most beautiful thing of all is the actual Hot Springs – a lovely big pool with a white sandy bottom and the hot water comes bubbling up through the sand. The temperature of the water is around 40 degrees, and although the days are hot, lying immersed in this warm water while you listen to the bubbling of the underwater spring beneath you is an almost spiritual experience. Yesterday morning and today were the only people there – absolute magic!

The Dutch couples left early yesterday morning, and we had the whole place to ourselves, but we were warned by the owners that our peace would be shattered as a group of 16 overlanders were arriving that afternoon. Well, just after lunch they puilled in – 16 Danish students on their way to Tanzania to work on building a school there, but as they started to disembark from their vehicles it soon became clear that only 3 were male. The rest were nubile scantily clad young things all about 18 to 20 years old. Terry was delighted, I think, but all I could think of was the pressure on the ladies ablutions! Anyhow, they soon had their tents up and headed off to the Springs and then the pool and the bar and our peace at the campsite returned.

Last night we decided to eat at the lodge, and had a wonderful meal with 2 other guests (2 guys travelling down from Tanzania where the one was a researcher and conservation officer) and the owners – all of them fascinating people. One of the joys of this trip has been all the fascinating people we have met. When we headed out in the dark to the campsite (a little nervously as a lion had been seen in the area yesterday and had taken one of the local’s cows) the revelry in the bar where the students were now encamped was just beginning. They arrived back at camp at about 2 am. We had lots of fun watching them struggling to get up this morning as they were heading for the Tanzanian border today. Lots of really miserable young people sitting with their heads in their hands.

The history of this place is fascinating. About 20 km down the road at Shiwa Ngandu is a house built in the late 1800’s by an Englishman who built an English Country residence here in this most beautiful of spots in the then Northern Rhodesia. The farm on which the house was built is about 9500 Ha. The house slowly deteriorated and has passed down to the present owners who took it over and restored it to its former state. The house is the subject of a book written by Christina Lamb – ‘The Africa House’. The present owner is the elder brother of the owner of this lodge who inherited it through his mother. Both brothers farm this area and offer accommodation. To stay at the house however is very, very expensive. They tend to have very wealthy British guests, I gather. This lodge is more middle of the road, but quite wonderful and Mark is a charming host, as well as working really hard to improve this place.

This morning we did a lovely self-guided walk up the hill behind the property. Just to make the birders jealous, a beautiful pennant winged nightjar flew up from uinder our feet as we walked. We returned and hopped into the Hot Springs and the pool at the lodge. We have the whole place to ourselves today. What bliss!

Tomorrow we head South to Kasanka.


4 Comments

September 9, 2012
What an adventure! We want a power point presentation please for all the jealous people here back home. And maybe also at the Baxter for the U3A??? Take care and lots of love from S & J
September 9, 2012
Hey you two!
I have to tell you I am so envious. It sort of reminds me of when I came overland but then we never stopped to do all the really cool things you are up to !
How about we get together when you return and show all our pics ? !
Lots of love
Barry and Mina
Lesley & Paul:
September 13, 2012
Terry you better watch your heart with all those young nubile females running around :-)
September 14, 2012
Just read your last 4 entries. Thought I'd lost your blog address but trawled through stacks of emails to find it - and it was well worth the effort. Shitake Hot Springs sounds amazing. What an adventurous trip you're having. Keep safe. Love. Joy and Colin
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