Day 27 and 28

September 17, 2012 - Choma, Zambia

We decided to find a campsite near Choma that we had read about in a birding book about Important Birding Areas in Zambia.  It is on the way to Livingstone, where we are going to stop for a couple of days.

The road is good, but as soon it passes any kind of settlement there are really fierce ‘sleeping policemen’ in the road, so the going isn’t as fast as one would like.  The approach to Lusaka from the North is awful.  There is a huge pall of smoke from the charcoal burning and all the indigenous forest is gone.  Rubbish is piled up along the road, some of it burning and little children can be seen picking through it.  It is also rather distressing seeing people selling parrots in tiny little basket cages along the road.  

But into Lusaka where we stocked up at Pick n Pay.   A bit smaller than our P n P’s but nevertheless had everything we needed, and then on to Choma through agricultural land that is now well developed  -  large fields of wheat and sugar cane.  We are now travelling along the Northern side of Lake Kariba, in the opposite direction from that which we travelled in the ferry about 3 weeks ago.

We found the turnoff to Muckleneuk Farm which is part of a conservancy formed by the local farmers to conserve the local woodland.  We bumped along a long gravel road and the car suddenly stopped!  Again!  But this time we knew what to do and there weren’t thousands of tsetse flies and horseflies around.  So Terry was under the car and blowing on the fuel line in a trice, and the car started up.  We found the farm and after a cup of tea with the farmer (who is a 4th generation on this farm and farms with his daughter), we were shown to a beautiful campsite in the forest.  What a find!  Only thing is that the showers are cold water.  Very bracing!   We were joined a little later by 4 Namibians on their way back from a similar trip to ours, so had a cup of coffee and a chat with them after supper.  And a lovely peaceful night’s sleep - we seem to have found a spot where there aren’t so many insects to bite and sting us.  We woke up during the night to the call of a wood owl just above our tent.

This morning, we arranged for a guide, Sylvester, to meet us at 7 and he took all 6 of us on a walk on this lovely farm to see the Chaplins Barbet, a bird endemic to this area and living off the fruit of the sycamore fig.  We had a lovely walk in this pristine bush and got very good views of the barbet.  It certainly seems that the farmers in this area are doing a good job of conserving the bush.

Now the Namibians have gone, so we have this beautiful place to ourselves and are having a lazy day in camp.  Bliss!  Tomorrow we go to Livingstone.

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