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Executive Air www. executiveair. co. zw Experience Africa Safaris www. xafricasafaris. com Gache Gache Lodge www. gachegache. com Goliath Safaris www. goliathsafaris. com Kariba Catering karibacatering@ iwayafrica. com Kavinga Safaris www. kavingasafaris. com Medical Air Rescue Service www. mars. co. zw Natureways www. natureways. com Premier Travel & Tours hayley@ premier. co. zw Rhino Safari Camp www. rhinosafaricamp. com Riverhorse Safaris www. zambezicanoeing. com Sail Safaris www. africansailsafaris. com Sengwa Safaris www. karibahouseboats. com Tafi ka Zambezi www. tafi ka. com United Touring Company www. utc. co. zw ZAMBEZI VALLEY UNCOVER THE MAGIC OF THE To learn more about these companies and the Zambezi Valley, visit www. wildzambezi. com WildZambezi. com is designed to help you learn about Lake Kariba, Matusadona, Mana Pools and other wilderness areas in the Zambezi Valley. Start your safari by contacting the following member companies: Lake Kariba. Matusadona. Mana Pools. The Zambezi River feeds one of the most extraordinary environments on earth. Breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife and activities that take you closer to nature than you could imagine. CHRISTOPHER SCOTT GOLIATH SAFARIS NATUREWAYS SENGWA SAFARISDICK PITMAN

Lake Kariba " Maybe fi ve or six of them," Craig hazarded after promptly picking up fresh lion spoor. We tracked the paw prints through parched, spiny scrubland, and I often found myself gazing either upwards at towering baobabs or downwards at the occasional fossil ( Matusadona is littered with them). After 45 minutes on the move, Craig turned to say that he was sure that we'd see lions close to the lakeshore ahead. Sure enough, a small pride eventually crossed our path. " Wonderful," I said breathlessly. The next words out of my mouth were less expressive and more panicky. " Uh- oh," I uttered as two cubs veered in our direction. The youngsters' move prompted a growling lioness to mock- charge us - twice. With the errant cubs subsumed back into the pride - and suitably chastened - we were left alone. My pulse was now racing. " That's the sort of experience you get in Zimbabwe," said Craig. " Can you believe it's not even 8am? Most people haven't even started work." As we pressed on I felt I was walking on air. We eventually crossed a causeway into the remote Rhino Safari Camp, where I found a Kiwi by the name of Phil Blake. One of a handful of tourists I'd met outside Victoria Falls, he was on a similar high. He couldn't wait to show me the photos he'd taken that morning of 16 lions feasting. They'd not only brought down a kudu, but also a crocodile who'd tried to pinch their kill. Jenny Nobes, the camp's owner, has struggled to keep it running since Zimbabwe's troubles erupted. However, she feels things are looking up. After all, the lake ferry is relaunching, and a new fl ight schedule from Harare will be bringing more visitors to Kariba. Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, which sits dramatically atop a lakeside escarpment west of Matusadona, has also sensed the shifting fortunes of Lake Kariba, and recently reopened for the fi rst time in years. Its 20 opulently-furnished rooms, all with staggering lake views, cluster around an infi nity pool that seems to dissolve into Lake Kariba itself. From its wooden balcony, where guests dine al fresco, I sipped a cold beer while being entertained by elephants on the lakeshore. With their hides caked in the ochre soil, they trumpeted with muddy glee. Good times on the horizon, quite literally. ? Mark Stratton travelled in Lake Kariba and Matusadona National Park with thanks to Sengwa Safaris ( www. karibahouseboats. com), Bumi Hills Safari Lodge ( www. bumihills. com) and Classic Africa Safaris ( www. classic. co. zw). KARIBA'S CALLING CARDS HIPPO Hippos wander up to 25km a night in search of grazing. Bulls give up their territorial claims on land, when food becomes a more pressing concern. TIGERFISH The tigerfi sh ( Hydrocynus vittatus) is what puts the Zambezi River on the angler's map. This feisty game species can reach 15kg and puts up a fi erce struggle when hooked. With razor- sharp interlocking teeth and a muscular body, it is a deadly predator of many other fi sh. FISH EAGLE You needn't be a twitcher to spot an African fi sh eagle ( Haliaeetus vocifer). The ringing call and snow- white head of this iconic bird make it an unmissable feature of lakes and rivers across Zimbabwe. In just eight minutes' fi shing time - in other words, one or two well-judged swoops - this raptor can satisfy its daily food requirements. Nice work if you can get it. December 2009 Travel Zimbabwe 39 Clockwise from top left: Elephants are often drawn to the verdant shores of Lake Kariba; Craig van Zyl guiding in Matusadona; Bumi Hills Safari Lodge; The Royal Game houseboat MARK STRATTON MARK STRATTON MARK STRATTON BUMI HILLS SAFARI LODGE