Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tiger Fish Fishing on the Lower Zambezi

Tiger Fish fishing is quite an experience.  Not only do you have to worry about crocs, hippos and elephants but you also have these prehistoric fish swimming in the water just waiting to make a nice snack out of various body parts.  I've caught a 3ft Northern Pike and thought it looked pretty scary but it pales in comparison to the Tiger Fish.  The teeth on these creatures are unreal and they will chew right through a metal leader.  We (as a family) engaged in a few short battles with these freaks of nature and Trevor almost got one in the boat, but alas, they all got away.  (A blessing in disguise I'm thinking).  Nonetheless, as the saying goes - "I'd rather have a lousy day fishing than a good day at work."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walking Safari

Hello Bloggettes.   The Lower Zambezi is known for many things: tiger fishing, elephants, hippos, crocs, monitor lizards, arts and crafts, beautiful sunsets and the original home of canoe safaris.  We were out to experience all of them.
We started out our day at 5:30 am for coffee and tea which was brought to our veranda of our chalet.  The verandas overlook the river and provide a personal view of the morning sunrise over the Zambezi River.  As the red rubber ball slowly rose over the horizon, I could hear hippos calling back and forth, elephants splashing in the river, and the king of beasts roaring off in the distance.  Each chalet is very private and set up to make you feel like your are the only ones for miles.  As we sipped our coffee, we could here some stirring and scuffling down the trail.  As the sound got closer three little faces appeared. It was the kids making their way up from their chalet.  Arguing, pushing and name calling.  Our brief moment of peace and serenity vanished.  For today was to become another day of high activity and more risk taking.  It was also Trevor's 9th birthday.
The plan for the morning was that Rianne, Deryn and I would head over to Kanyemba Island for a morning walking safari.  Trevor, because of his age, was unable to go on the walking safari.  (even though if push came to shove he can probably out run all of us).  I could tell he was disappointed but he bucked up and he and Beth climbed back into bed to get a little more shut eye.
As the girls and I boated over to the island we came across some noisy hippos who seemed to be protesting our early arrival.  As we neared the bank of the island, two crocs (at least 8ft each) scurried partially into the water.  Undeterred, our guide, Ricardo, docked the boat on a sand bank and treated the crocs as though they were a couple of stray dogs waving his arm and saying "get out of here ya bums."  Reacting to Ricado's hospitality, the crocs slithered into the Zambezi without making a sound.
Ricardo, began the safari by giving us the dos and don'ts (no sudden moves and absolutely no screaming) and making sure his .375 magnum rifle was ready for operation.  I asked him if he ever had to use it.  He said not today he hasn't.  Feeling fully reassured, I gave the thumbs up to the girls and off we went.  We walked for about an hour without seeing any animals.  During that time Ricardo filled us in on the local flora and fauna.  Then, without hardly a sound, two elephants were right in front of us about 50 yards away.  They turned to look at us and took off in the other direction.   We continued down the path and happened upon a herd of ten.  They too were very close (within 30 yards).  They looked at us, postured around a little bit, let us take some pictures of them and then disappeared into the bush single file.  For the next two hours we came upon numerous elephants.  We discovered that the male adolescent males are the most annoying as they will "mock charge" you as kind of a game to try and scare you.(It works!)  Taking about four steps toward you, spreading their ears and trumpeting.  Ricardo said, "just think of it as a nineteen year old male at a pub who is trying to impress the ladies.  As long as you don't challenge him, he won't have to embarrass himself."
When we returned to the lodge, Trevor and Beth were waiting for us with breakfast on the way.  English breakfast, two eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and grilled tomato.  Ah!! Life is good!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lower Zambezi

Hello blog readers!  I figure it is about time for an update.  The Kids were out of school this week so we decided to head down to the lower Zambezi River which is about 2 1/2 hours from Lusaka.  We stayed at Kanyemba Lodge.  I highly recommend it as the chalets were nice and clean, the food was great and the wildlife was abundant.  Kenyemba is known for two things: Elephants and Tiger Fishing.  And we had plenty of both.  Mix in some hippos, crocs, tons of birds and vervet monkeys and you have a recipe for safari success.  The only thing missing was those "friends" who keep saying they are coming to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity at resident rates.  You all know who you are.  Did I mention it was hot.  We had to utilize the pool at the lodge on several occasions to cool down. (No big sweaters or mittens and gloves for us).  
The tiger fishing was interesting to say the least.  You have to use metal fishing line and a hook the size of my index finger.  You put on a chunk of beef (2"X 2") or a half a fish (about a foot long) and let your line drift behind the boat as you float down stream.  When you get a bite you have to keep the line taut or the tiger fish will shred your metal line in half.  We spent more time re-stringing line than we did catching fish and never did get one of those medieval looking fish in our boat.  So I guess we will just have to go back and try again.

The Zambezi river is beautiful.  As we trolled up and down the river we saw tons (figuratively and literally) of elephants, many hippo herds, crocs and local people who live in villages near the banks of the mighty Zambezi.  Once again the sunsets were stunning and beyond description.  I've included some pictures but they just don't do it justice. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cricket is in the air

Now that school is in full swing the sports season is heating up.  Rianne is starting Varsity Volleyball and is team captain.  They won their first Lusaka tournament.  She also is starting for the junior varsity basketball team and has played sparingly on the varsity basketball team. In Lusaka Volleyball and Basketball are played at the same time on alternating weekends.  Deryn made the U15 volleyball team and her serves are getting better every game.  Trevor is playing cricket with the U11 team and has had three matches.  He is the wicket keeper and the team captain.  This week he was asked to play with the U13 team in a tournament in November. Cricket is the most boring game!  (sorry Peter Marshall).  Trevor's first match was a test match that lasted a total of 7 hours.  They got beat 197 to 104.  About two hours into the match on the first day, they stopped and broke for tea.  It was about 95 degrees and there I was sipping tea in Musakili, Africa.  There were no chants of "nice hit" or "way to go".  Rather it was "good show my good man" or "well done Trevor, well done."  The match took place at a boarding school and Trevor and I camped out in our safari vehicle because the match continued until noon the next day.  A few of the other participants camped also.  Let me just say this, it doesn't matter where you camp in the world, there is always going to be somebody right on your a#@.  I actually had to take a picture of it because it was too unbelievable. :-)