One of our friends here, booked us into the Protea Safari Lodge as a wedding gift.Perhaps it was to safeguard Lusaka's precious decibel limit.I have mentioned that I can be a tad loud right? Anyway..the lodge is about 35 kms outside of Lusaka, and is at a place called Chisamba.( A name with a surprisingly high vowel/consonant ratio, FYI we live on Bwinjimfumu road...!)The drive was in itself uneventful,peppered with some off-key singing and constant chatter( who me?)The real excitement came in the last 4 kms of if -I-must-be-forced-into-calling-it-that ,road .Mosi announced that my initiation into the Have car,will drive syndrome was long overdue...So drive I did..and said Mosi was struck with a sudden case of heart in mouth syndrome.We arrived in one piece and were shown to our very own chalet...
I set about unpacking a little bit, whistling a rusty tune.Perhaps my singing isn't that bad..we soon had a visitor.....maybe he came over to say,"Lady,will you pipe down!!".He was a greater Kudu..and peacefully walking around on the lodge premises.Most of the animals seen at the Lodge have been rescued and rehabilitated..and this particular one had a cute,quizzical expression!
Protea lodge offers drive through safaris....where people cram into a noisy van,race around the trail,issuing massive amounts of smoke,kicking up country-sized dust clouds.Loud ,excited chattering doesn't help their cause either.And then they grumble they 'didn't see anything!'Hmm go figure.Well...we were too smart for them.( and of course having learnt from many trips of empty camera rolls and vapourized enthusiasm) Me and Mosi set off on foot.We saw some lovely birds along the way.Such intense colours , such a contrast to the brown ,waving grass.
I am not very good with birds...but perhaps someone who is can identify them?
We walked all along the trail...happily drinking in the peace..and the feeling of being alone!...When...all of a sudden..have you ever had the feeling like a hundred pairs of eyes are on you? Straight ahead..a herd of Zebra and of horned -antelope-like animal.All eyes were trained on us..and they sized up the trespassers.
We stood deathly still..to avoid alarming them.For half a second I was scared.Those horns looked mean.And I was faced with a feeling that I have had before, that without arms or weapons..Human beings really are vulnerable and so weak.It's a humbling thought.Finally the herd grew bored..and cantered off.Our first brush with wildlife.
Walking still further along the trail we came across two Mahuts( elephant trainers) and their elephant.She lived on the Lodge premises too..and was out for her daily dose of fresh air.Now...cute as they seem..the idea of getting close to an African elephant raised my heartbeat..almost to levels that my aerobics instructor would be proud of.She rose effortlessly with me sitting on her.It was quite thrilling to be up that high..and looking down on fairly tall people ! We waved good bye to the two guys and their gorgeous elephant....Wow..that was some experience!!!
The trail curled around a Lion enclosure...It was almost mid-day.The famous African sun was doing its best to zap any signs of water straight into the sky.We came across a well fed, lazy lioness.I was inspired to tell a joke....I have a feeling the lioness didn't think it was funny !
We mosi-ed along..and came across a traditional hut..How lucky we were!...we had a chance to meet the last two Zambian tribal lords on Protea's turf...
How regal...how proud..how familiar?
That evening we strolled along the lodge premises...There is a shimmering lake framed by long ,tall blades of grass.The marsh is often visited by inquisitive birds and dazzling dragonflies.The one downside of having a camera obsessed co-traveler...is that you are often bulldozed into posing for pictures...Luckily though..this one wasn't a close up!!
Our trip ended the next morning ..after a scrumptious brunch.I even ended up sampling crocodile tails...my opinion ..I like them on crocs better!Happily fed and watered...we set off..sad to be leaving...And Mosi sadder still , that I was driving back, the same 4 kms!!
P.S. Photo courtesy...of course Dr.Mosi..renowned as much for wonderful photos as for his blog..
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