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Baboon at the border

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Elephants at a distance

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Water Buffalo near hotel

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Unhappy Hippo

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Mama Monkey

LAKE KARIBE........  It was possible to get out of Lusaka on a regular weekend.  I joined some teachers for a trip to Lake Karibe on the Zambia / Zimbabwe border.  The drive was out of a "National Geographic".  It was African savannah with round mud-block huts and thatch roofs.  Lake Karibe was a man-made lake on the border.  And, we went to an island in the middle of the lake.

The first night we just got to a border place.   The signs at the hotel said not to wander into the bush around the hotel.  There really were wild animals roaming around.  The other van of people saw a few zebras and elephants on the way to the hotel.  We didn’t and I was jealous.  But, in the evening there was a knock on my hotel door.  There were two elephants grazing on trees along the path that was just outside my room.  In fact, five minutes earlier we had been eating at the hotel restaurant and had to cross the same path to get to the rooms.  It was the closest I’d ever been to wild elephants.

The next day we took a boat to the hotel on the island.  All the lodgings had thatched roofs and it looked something like Gilligan’s Isle in Africa.  Again, there were signs saying not to go out after dark. There were buffalo and impala in the vicinity.

We took a late afternoon game ride back to the mainland and into the bush.   We saw several animals, but most were not close enough to satisfy my camera tastes.  There was one elephant that was really close – until my camera was ready.  The other animals were far away.   I knew they were wild animals -- but we still could have driven a little closer.

So, what did I see?  There were guinea fowl (which I didn’t know were native to Africa), storks, impala, elephants, hippos, baboons, and one lonely crocodile.  The hippos and the crocodile were in the water at quite a distance.  We were told by our guide that there was about one large "people eating size" crocodile for every 200 meters of shore in the lake.   It was a big lake so that meant about 10,000 people eaters.

On a boat trip the following day, we were able to get a lot closer to the hippos and elephants.  It was much more satisfying.  And when the ride was over, it was time to return to Lusaka. 

Copyright 1999 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.