Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust Visit, part 1

Since discovering a less jarring Mass on Saturday vigil, we had Sunday to take a nice drive.  The weather was dry and warming up, so Tom located where the Chimfunshi Wildlife Reserve was and we headed out.

Now, one thing you need to realize is that while there might be maps, there are no signs on the road.  All we had to go on was the Google Maps version, and try to approximate distances.  Outside of Chingola the highways diverge, along with a traffic cop directing flow.  About 40 km or so I happened to spy a sign that had the word Chimfunshi on it, about where Maps indicated so we turned off the highway and headed north.

On the way there we spied this road crew, complete with real equipment doing repairs to the highway.

They were filling in the road craters (pothole is not large enough to describe!) with clay, and "wacking" it down with a large impactor.  

A little further down the road there were branches cautioning us to slow down, and three young boys were also filling in smaller potholes, and tamping with the back of a shovel.  They let the car ahead of us go through, but tried to stop us, with their hands out for pay.  Can you guess why?

This highway was relatively good, as compared with the road between Chingola and Kitwe, but it did have areas with craters, and there were no paved shoulder, just a drop off as is typical here.

Where we turned off the highway, we drove on a well maintained dirt road, that alternated between being well drained to crossing swampy areas, to crossing a narrow bridge over running water.  Below are photos of this area.  It was ever changing and green, green, green!  Grass was waist high, as well as areas of ferns about head high!

This small river was crossed on a concrete slab bridge just about the width of 1 1/2 cars.  It was clear water, quite unusual from what we have seen of other flowing water.

We came across a very well built fence and gate.  After opening and closing the gate there were these dwellings (nobody in sight and they looked abandoned.)

These flowers were unusual, as most that could be seen from the road were quite small.  I suspect these are an escapee from a domestic garden.

The thought "deepest, darkest Africa" leapt to mind when we approached this part of the road.  It was only dark because of the heavy growth of bamboo on either side.

A little further we crossed this reedy area:

Earlier we had reached a "Y" in the road, wondered which way was better traveled.  And along came a mini-van, so that decided for us.  Just after that decision was another sign pointing to "Chimfunshi", though is was quite old.  

After crossing this reed lake we spied this fellow walking.  He gave the signal for a ride - right arm outstretched and moving up and down.  Tom stopped, and the man said, "Boss, I am walking to see about a cow.  Can I have a ride?"  After clarifying how far it was, the the man telling us he worked for Chimfunshi farm, we gave him a ride.  Conversation ceased, naturally, as it would have been a serious breech of etiquette on either side.

We spied a cow and he had us stop.

A bit further were some more ...

 And then a lot more.  The little black one was totally confused, and instead of giving way like the other cows, he walked backward facing toward us.

At this point the cows jumped into the water, and we crossed the last swampy area.  This time Tom needed to use the 4 wheel drive (though I suspect it was also a great opportunity to try it out!)

Looking out you can see the Kafue River, so we knew we were close(r) to our destination.

The mountains in the background are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

This building was unfinished and a sign indicated river campsites were off to the right.  We opted to drive on the left road and soon found a sign indicating the direction to the "office".

And, given the heavy rains we had earlier, and the fact that I really need to get on with my day, I'll leave our visit to the Orphanage for the Part 2 of this post.  

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