Our African Safari update is a bit different than expected. Remember the moto “Go with the Flow”? Well, it’s been flowing all over the place these past 7 weeks.
After the amazing experiences in Mana Pools Zimbabwe, we headed north across the border to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. There we hunkered down for a week for some much needed rest and to catch up on our videos etc. On the way we stopped in Chirundu Zimbabwe and stayed at the Jecha Point Fishing Lodge.
We just wanted to overnight but were overwhelmed by Iona’s friendliness and obvious love for life. Every time we interacted there was something new. Working with the community, wildlife, travelers, and individuals. Especially the local kids who call her Granny, families who need housing, and the elephants that frequent her camp. Tied in at all levels, she makes Chirundu a much happier and better place for everyone. We particularly liked the humans and animals getting-a-long part.
While in Lusaka, we met some very unique overlanders. Two separate families with very young children. One from Germany and the other from the Netherlands. Can you believe it? They were camping through out Africa for one and two years respectively. All professional people who sold all to take time out from the rat race and spend time with their kids. They also said traveling was cheaper than paying for daycare so off they went. And man were they having a fun.
Then there was the most interesting Pastor, Dr. Christopher Kapembwa. A highly successful social entrepreneur. He was doing wonderful things in Zambia and neighboring countries to develop individuals and church communities through agriculture reforms, leadership training, etc. Every evening he come back with a big smile on his face and tales of inspired meetings. The world is be a better place with Chris on the front lines.
Some bad news reached us just before heading out to meet with Gerry and Richard, the fruit bat migration folks in Kasanka Zambia. Margrit’s mom, Nelly at 91, had taken a turn for the worse. The next 5 days were spent traveling back to South Africa to be with her during her final weeks and helping with the funeral and estate arrangements.
Along the way there were two major miracles.
First, massive amounts of elephant just along the main road in Botswana. Did you look in the background of the picture above? With multiple herds there were hundreds of them. It was like a McDonald’s drive through at the waterhole. Splashing and playing in herds waiting their turns at the mud hole and chasing into the woods when a noisy truck passed by.
Second we received new South African 90 Visas which was against all border laws and protocols. For once, just a very nice border manager. Without them we would have been sorely limited on time to be with Nelly.
Not to be too personal but it was a peaceful and contented time together with Nelly and Margrit’s sister and her family. While there we also slowed way down and hiked through magnificent forests in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. A wonderful time of deep reflections to gain the perspectives that only such times can bring.
The funeral was deeply moving and well attended. A highlight was a video our daughter made for Nelly’s 90th birthday consisting of old photos found while cleaning out Nelly’s cottage 4 years prior. And Reverend Paul tied Nelly’s favorite hymn “How Great Thou Art” into a comforting yet challenging message for all. Margrit also spoke of the need for healing our relationships as had happened to us over the past 4 years with Nelly.
Just a quick note. Life is short and as Nelly said ‘It’s like a roll of toilet paper, the older you get the faster it goes.” The challenge is to do those things you need to do, now. No regrets. Something to think about?!
That said, Landy had time to get some TLC and upgrades while we were there. And for me a couple of new teeth. Now Margrit, I and our 17 year old African RV/Overlander are purring like kittens and raring to head north again. Almost 7 weeks behind, the schedule is being reworked. Also to be considered are the Ebola outbreak near Moses in Uganda, an increase in civil unrest in Ethiopia, and the looming tropical rain season in Malawi, Zambia and parts of Tanzania.
Should be fun.
Enjoy the day and do some good.
Smiles, Russ & Margrit