Mutinondo Wilderness Camp

the protea flower

part of the horizon

Going native? No, gone.


MPIKA, Mutinondo Wilderness.....One of the things I really liked about the school in Lusaka was their belief in the value of field trips. I was asked to go on the sixth grade trip to northern Zambia.. Sixth graders studied ancient civilizations and this part of Zambia was selected because of the prehistoric rock paintings found in the area.

Our destination was the Mutinondo Wilderness camp near Mpika. Don't worry; I had no idea where that was either. Well, where was it? Pretty much in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Province. Actually, before a couple from Europe started the camp, nobody had lived in the area for 100 years. And, there hadn't been that many changes. No electricity. No telephones. No villages. No deforestation. Our group of kids were actually the first guests at the camp.

Shortly after arrival, we climbed a small hill to see what there was to see. The campsite was 10,000 hectares. How big was that? Well, they owned the horizon in every direction. I found it nearly impossible to believe that anyone could own a horizon - but they did.

I wondered how much it cost to own the horizon and the answer was about as amazing as the concept. In this part of Zambia, if you wanted land, you had to first go to the tribal chief in the area and ask. The red tape took years to finally complete, but the chief ended up giving them the land for free! Yep, my kind of price. But, of course, "free" came with strings.

It was actually a 99 year lease, but the land still belonged to Zambia. And, that was where the real strings came in. Although the chief gave the land and got nothing in return, a yearly land lease had to be paid to the Zambian government. As it turned out, the cost for leasing the horizon was $6000 a year.

We had several days to explore. We hiked in the bush, crossing through fields and over hills. The Musamfushi River, which ran through the area, had several waterfalls. The water was clean and we could drink right from the stream.

Copyright 1999 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.