Kasanka National Park, Zambia

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Happy Thanksgiving!!  Let’s celebrate by driving 7 hours to go camping in the bush with millions of bats!!

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And our friends, of course.

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We have to do adventurous things every once in a while, at least, to justify having these huge cars.

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And our tents!

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And plastic wine glasses!

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We’ve been planning this trip for the past three months, having been told that the annual bat migration in November is One Thing Not To Miss in Zambia.  Kasanka Trust is a nature reserve, designated to help protect the many animals living up in this part of sub-saharan Africa.  Hippos, zebras, sitatungas, not to mention bats.  If you take the Great North Road in its namesake direction for the better part of a day, you find yourself at a rustic lodge and a campsite.

Being smart people with families who don’t want to spend $600 a night to stay in anything “rustic,” we opted for the known quantity of our tents.  What we didn’t know was whether anything was waterproof, or whether the road would be difficult, or whether we’d be consumed by mosquitos and visited by black mambas during the night.  One thing we DID know was that we would have ice!  Thanks to Darren and his pair of Yeti Coolers, we had enough ice to sustain our weekend.

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The best part about camping in a big group is all the neat things people bring to make it feel homey.  We spent a lot of time under this canopy, sharing huge meals next to the campfire and having s’mores with gourmet chocolate sauce.

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Our fire was made for us twice a day by Clifford, the “camp helper,” which makes Rustic African Bush Camping somewhat easier than what camping in America was like 30 years ago.  I don’t know what camping in America is like now, maybe they have people wandering around to start your campfire and deliver you water too?  The shower was a bucket shower, in a charming little bamboo stall, but the bathrooms were pretty gross so we all wandered off into the woods when nature called.  And it turns out that the tents weren’t totally waterproof, at least not when the water runs underneath and puddles under someone’s head.  But even so, we didn’t mind the rain.

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Thanks to the Foleys, we had a complete program of musical entertainment.  Never has there been such a musical bunch around a campfire!  Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Les Miserable, Carbon Leaf, and the entire catalog from the movie Grease.  I guess we are pretty old.  Oh, Frozen made an appearance, too.  That would make us old people with kids.

I think our poor tent may be on its last legs… not so waterproof, and the zipper broke this time.  But maybe we could fix it with duct tape?  Even though it smells like “gram-negative rods” as my CDC friend pointed out, it’s just so hard to let it go.  So many memories, and so luxuriously tall.  We can all stand up inside!  Thanks tent, for taking care of us here in Kasanka.  We’ll try to hold on at least one more time…

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