Zambia #15 "Happy Campers"


Happy Campers

Hey Guys,
thanks so much for your emails, since we don’t have a TV or radio, we find relaxation in reading your emails. They are very valuable to us.
We took half a day off last Friday and traveled with 2 other couples to a camp ground 4 hours away in the Lower Zambezi area. The Zambezi is the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It was fun driving through the country on such rough roads and even partly on muddy dirt roads, good thing we had a 4X4.

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Just before we arrived we had to cross a small river but there was no bridge, only a hand driven pontoon boat. Two men crank a wheel and pull the ferry back and forth across the river all year long.

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They let me crank the wheel a bit to see how hard it was.

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It took quite a while, so a Brother and I started fishing. Some local kids make a living catching fish here and selling them to the women that come down to the river to get water and wash their cloths. Here is a quick snap of the fish most people eat in the area. And yes, that water jug is totally full of water. The women here have an ability to carry anything and everything on their heads for long distances.

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When we arrived at the camp ground we were the only people there, not surprising. At this campground there is some chalets, a pool, a bar over looking the river and a kitchen that you can use. The kitchen was very primitive but had a stove, fridge and some rat proof storage. We could not afford the chalets but had brought some backpack tents that we set up on the grass by the river. Not too close to the river mind you, because we are right next to a National Game Reserve and of course there are tons of crocs in every river in Africa. As we set up our tents we could look out and see Elephants across the river and and hear Hippos in the river. Of course, our air mattress we had borrowed had a hole in it and the tent leaked when it rained like a “big dog” in the middle of the night, but that’s part of the fun…right? Here is a picture of our tent and a few very large Elephants in the back ground. You might not be able to see him as I had make the picture smaller so I could mail it, his is just above the tent. The Elephants are on an Island that the river creates. Many animals swim out to the Island because on people are on it.

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At night it was quite hard to get to sleep as the Hippos were quite close. Hippos become very active at night and even leave the water to eat grass and parts of some trees. We were up a river bank a bit but still they were playing and fighting quite loud. Their 2 ton size and 5 ton noises were a touch frightening while your laying under a sheet in your underwear.
During the day we had planed to take a canoe or boat around the river but were too exhausted to do much of anything.
Tamara spent most of her time with the other Girls swimming and laying around the small swimming pool being watched by large (3-6 feet) Monitor lizards.

I personally used my time much more frugally; Fishing.

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The last night we were there I woke up at 4 AM, wondering why I was awake. A couple of hippos were arguing or something a hundred feet away down the bank so I thought that was it. But then I heard something that made my blood run cold! Off in the distance a extremely powerful roar followed by a even louder bark of some sort. All the crickets and even the hippos stopped their talking. Again I heard the roar but closer this time. It was a lion on the Island. He had swam out there from the other side of the river and was looking for something to eat… or mate with. I woke Tamara up and she started to ask “What’s up?” when the lion roared again even closer. I felt the Nylon tent and wondered how long it would protect me from something that weights 500 pounds, is 8 feet long and can travel 36 feet in one leap. I think the crickets and hippos were thinking the same thing as they took off. The lion was across the river on the island, he roared for an hour until another lion roared far off in the distance, then he took off in that direction. Not that I got out of the tent ( is was scared to move ) but you could hear where he was each time he roared, which was about once every 90 seconds or so. It was scary but I would not have wished it away for the world.

In the morning we packed up our tents (found a deadly scorpion in my blankets right by my feet) and headed back to Bethel. It was a nice trip and we really needed to get away for a few days to rest up.
I know I have sent many sunsets but I have to send you another one that we watch from the camp ground….

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Tamara and I are on the panel for the Family Watchtower study and we are making a big push on the building to get the outside done before the big big rain starts up, so our last two weeks will be even busier.

Talk to you guys later

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