Kiambi, Zambia

Labor Day Weekend?  Let’s go CAMPING!!!

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But Eli, you’re going to have to get out of the cooler because we need room for our drinks.

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We brought gin, tonic, campari and beer; our friends the Foleys brought some frosty mugs of Dark and Stormy….

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How cool!  This place is right on the river!  Jake and Eli were really happy to have their friend Teague along to play with.

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Kiambi is a wonderful campground on the banks of the Zambezi River, in Lower Zambezi National Park.  It’s only about 3 hours from Lusaka which makes it a an easy trip.  Most of the lodges and campgrounds in Zambia require long drives and park fees, hardly worth it for only three days of camping, but Kiambi is close enough to leave after work on Friday and come home Sunday.  There’s also a lodge for people who want to be a little less rustic and sleep on a bed, but we had ablution blocks and showers at our campsite so we were happy to be campers.  In a lodge you don’t get to use your cool camping toys, like this grill that fits over the wheel of the back tire.  Or eat breakfast burritos.

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Chris brought 24 quiches and 18 breakfast burritos for our little group of 6.  Amazingly, they were almost all eaten, along with 5 pounds of chili, 3 pounds of barbecue beef and a bunch of hummus, hot dogs, and s’mores.  Something about those boys, these days it seems like they all have hollow legs…

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Here’s a nice shot of our campsite, with the river off in the distance.  At night we slept to the sounds of hippos playing in the water, under a sky so full of stars it felt like we were really in the middle of Africa.  Once in a while it hits us that wow, we are in the middle of nowhere.

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In the morning we woke up early, and I always think how easy it is to get out of bed when you’re sleeping somewhere kind of uncomfortable.  I wonder if there was any protest after the mattress was invented, that it would soften mankind’s work ethic and make humanity less productive?  Mike started a fire (go Mike!) and as we waited for the water to boil we had a brief discussion, as we always do, about whether or not we would ever go on the show Surivivor.  Chris, Mike and I all agree that the answer is pretty much NO, they are so nasty on that show, but we might consider the Amazing Race…

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After breakfast we went down to the river, where our fishing boat was waiting.  Fishing!  The boat comes with a guide, who brings poles, bait, and drives you around the river for as long as your tank of gas will last.  Usually about 3 hours, which is about the right amount of time for kids to think it’s fun.

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It was kind of windy, as you can tell by Mike’s big, puffy shirt.

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Our guide, Steward, was great at giving us tips, showing us how to cast, and maneuvering us around the river to the places where the fish were biting.

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Those tiger fish are like huge piranhas… I would not want to be bit by one of those guys!

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We were sharing the river with a few of the locals.

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Some of them more friendly than others ….

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Stay away from the edge of the boat, kids!  Look at the razors on his tail!

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Anyway, as you can see on the previous post, Chris and I both caught a tiger fish.  Those guys are strong!  We lost a few, after they broke several of our fishing lines and even bent a hook in two.  We really fought to catch those fish!  I actually didn’t even think I was going to be able to reel mine in by myself, but I managed, thanks to all my guys encouraging me.  So thanks to them, I caught a fish!  The fishing is for sport so we throw them back in the river, word is that they’re full of bones anyway and we’re not rustic enough to actually want to gut and fry our own fish.  It was pretty fun, though.

Also pretty fun to take a little break from fishing and watch these guys.

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They let us get really close!

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Later, after an afternoon of swimming, relaxing, and exploring our campsite, we took a Sunset Safari Cruise, being sure to remember the essentials.

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It was pretty unbelievable.  So many hippos I almost got tired of taking pictures.

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Birds, eagles…

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And this fellow, standing along the riverbank under the setting sunlight.

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Our boat captain brought us really close.  We all got out and walked along the sand bar up to where he was standing.

He got a little upset.

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No boys, don’t run!  Let me get your picture first!!

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As the sun continued to sink and the hippos were getting louder, it seemed like a good time to head back to Kiambi.  I’m sure that nobody would bother us in our boat, but you know, those crocodiles and those hippos can get really big.  Who really knows what might be lurking under the water?  And do you really want to go out being eaten by a hippo?  I don’t.

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Back at camp, we mixed up another Dark and Stormy and settled in to cook dinner.

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Eli, Jake, and Teague stayed busy by making a treehouse with sticks and pieces of firewood.

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Turns out they are pretty cultured guys.  One of our favorite Happy Hour staples continues to be a wheel of Camembert cheese, and God has not forsaken me by giving me a family of boys :).

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Far from it.  In fact, I think I’m the luckiest Mommy on earth.

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