9 March 2015 – This time I did take a boat
There was a time, back when I was Wurzburg/67th commander that I traveled downrange with my SGM. We were due back on a winter’s eve in the Feb/March time frame which puts the year at 1999 after our deployment. The challenge was getting home. The reason I know it was after rather than before TFME is that I specifically remember writing “But I didn’t take a boat.” to the list. That trip involved a HUMMV, helicopter, C-12, van, bus, Sbahn, train and car. But no boat.
This time, our journey from one camp to the next includes a boat across the Zambezi River. The Trip:
Land Rover to the airfield
Cesna to Kasane (small four passenger)
Bus to the River
Boat across the River
Bus to customs and airport
Flight to Kafue National Forest (Cesna Caravan)
Toyota Rover from airfield to Lufupa Camp.
Since I had elected not to ride out this morning early to see which scavengers were enjoying the giraffe caracas, I actually had a few extra minutes of sleep/packing/shower time. We processed out of Botswana customs just short of the Zambezi River. The ferry across takes one 18 wheeler at a time. There are two ferrys, one with each flag. We crossed in a small passenger vessel in two contingents and then boarded a bus. On the Zambian side we were accosted for the first time on the trip by rather aggressive souvenir sellers. Copper bracelets, wooded bowls and hand carved animals were the main items on offer. By the time one of the guys pulled out the batiked fabrics, we were ready to roll so I was completely spared from buying scenes of elephants traveling across the savanna.
(Note, so far I have resisted necklaces, bracelets, all sorts of hand woven plates and baskets, wooden bowls, beads and animals. I think I can hold out completely. After spending so much time last summer clearing out years of accumulated stuff I am loath to start adding etwas neue.)
This camp is tentage (hard floors, internal reed dividing walls, a excellent working fan, solar powered water. Shower, flush toilet, beds, mosquito netting. What more could I want? How about an outlet? Recharging of everything is at the main meeting area. There are nine cabins in the camp which is in Lufue National Preserve on the banks of the river. There is plenty of water which also means plenty of bugs. This is an area traditionally known for tsetse flies. Thrilled. Not. The up side is that we will do some wild animal drives from the river.
We went out for a late drive: vultures, lions and a civet were the high points (more about the lions and why they were hanging around tomorrow). The civet is not referred to any more as a civet cat since it has been reclassified to the mongoose family. Frankly it looks like a close cousin to a raccoon to me (colors, muzzle and dark patches around the eyes).