Gwabi, Zambia

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Let’s go camping in Gwabi!  Okay!!

Lately I’ve been feeling the camping itch.  The weather is finally nice and we have a month left in Lusaka before the boys go home for summer vacation in the U.S.  And we live in Africa!  Is there a better place in the world to go camping?

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We left after school on Friday.  We’d heard a lot about how great Gwabi was, partly because it was only a 2.5 hour drive from Lusaka, and the boys were really excited at the idea of being picked up straight from school and going camping right away.    After school on Fridays there’s a market, where I was able to finish the camping shopping:  a bag of apples, tortilla chips, and fresh guacamole.  It’s sort of avocado season here now, also sort of watermelon season.  Thank goodness for the avocados, Zambia has been out of sour cream for months now and we needed a topping for our chili!

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The campsite was very pretty, along the river and at the edge of the Lower Zambezi National Park.  We set up our tent along river, and in the morning saw the most glorious mist rising up over the water.

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The fishermen were out early, as always.  They still use dugout canoes here in Zambia…

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Our campsite was full of huge, spreading, African trees.  They are beautiful, with storybook hollows and long branches perfect for climbing.  The canopy of shade makes even the heat of the afternoon sun comfortable.

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See that South African camping cruiser tucked back in there?

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South Africans know how to Get Their Bush on!  Eli is pretty impressed with the tires.  Mike and I went into a South African camping store just before we left, and bought this cool grill for the campfire.  Grates for meat, a smooth surface for cook pots or frying eggs, and the best part is that it is carried/stored over the back tire of the car.  The cast iron legs fit snug against the tire treads to hold it on, so it takes up no space at all.  Here, we’re using it to boil water for coffee and toast a bagel.  Very cool! Did we tell you that our kitchen helper, Mary, has learned how to make bagels?

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Eli and Jake had a good time playing around camp, helping Daddy with the fire, collecting sticks, and digging in the dirt.

Eli spent some time analyzing tree bark,

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and made a sun dial for his dinosaurs.

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Jake was the worker dog around camp, helping put up the tent and set up the sleeping bags,

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He also spent some time on the tractor.  Because you know, every good campground needs a tractor.

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We swam in the afternoon and went on a hike, and climbed around an old airplane and some damaged boats that were in the workshop for “repair.”  Mike and the boys played Life while I studied for my medical exam, and we were ready for Happy Hour by the time the sun went down.

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The second night we were kept awake by animal sounds all around us.  Being near a National Park means that animals live here too, and it was a little weird to be wondering what was wandering around outside our tent.  When the monkeys screech in warning, you know it’s not a good time to go outside to pee.  We brought the down comforter from our bed to sleep under so we were cozy warm in our little tent, but the little tent, while cozy, felt a little less safe than the big one.

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The best part about camping is spending time with our kids.  No distractions, not much to do, and plenty of time to listen.

“Not all bugs are bad, Mom.  Some are good, I would say bees, spiders;  bees because they make honey and help flowers.  Spiders because they’re scary.  They scare predators.”  –  Eli

What are the four seasons?  Jake:  “Rainy, Hot, Dry…. ”

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Music in the car.  Conversations.  Stars.  Guacamole.  Feeding guinea fowl with leftover chapatis.

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These are the reasons I love road trips.  Thanks Dad, for all the camping trips we took when we were younger.  I love it now too!

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