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12 Travel Zambia May 2007 DID YOU KNOW? CROCODILES ARE MORE CLOSELY RELATED TO BIRDS THAN THEY ARE TO ANY OTHER LIVING REPTILE. Martin Johnson had toured South Africa as a rugby player with England and the British Lions, yet it was a holiday to Zambia last year that truly captivated him, reports Nigel Botherway. England’s World Cup-winning captain stayed at Kasaka River Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi, where he was quick to immerse himself in the local culture – travelling to Mugurameno School by boat to take an impromptu coaching session. “It was the first time they had seen a rugby ball and they loved it,” said Johnson. “Although it wasn’t so much rugby, it was just playing with a ball. They were great kids and we finished off playing football with them. You could see that they were naturals: they beat us four–three!” Mugurameno school is supported by Mugurameno Basic School Charitable Trust, a UK-registered charity (www.asiz.org). Kasaka River Lodge (www.kasakariverlodge.com) offers cultural visits to the school and village. Lion tamed: rugby legend visits Zambian school NIGEL BOTHERWAY Hands up if you think the All Blacks are useless! Eggspert A poacher-turned-guide at Kaingu Lodge in Kafue National Park has been sharing a few tricks of his trade, reports Tim Henshall. Before committing his life to conservation, Brightson Shambweka used to search for bush meat in and around the Kafue river to feed his family. Today he delights in revealing to guests the hidden treasures of the riverbank. And nothing is more spine-tingling than when Brightson goes in search of crocodile eggs. A female Nile crocodile, weighing up to 1000kg and reaching a formidable five metres in length, lays 25–100 eggs in the sandy riverbank, usually during November. She then buries them and incubates them for the next three months. Using his canny bush know-how, Brightson coaxes the female from her nest, where she leaves a perfect – and rather unnerving – croc-shaped imprint. He then brushes the sand gently aside, taking care that each egg remains at exactly the same angle, and allows his guests to view the clutch. Having delicately replaced the sand, the party then return to their small boat and leave. Within minutes, the female crocodile returns to her task, protecting the eggs until the hatchlings finally emerge. Nkani >> News · views · people · places · conservation · community · wildlife · culture KAMILI SAFARIS KAMILI SAFARIS

May 2007 Travel Zambia 13 Chisenga Bwalanda grew up in the Copper Belt. She came to London 17 years ago, where she now works as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company. Chisenga (‘Patricia’ to her UK friends) talked to Travel Zambia about how it feels to be living abroad. How often do you go home? About once every three years. It can be a challenge, especially if I leave it for too long (like now!), because everybody wants a piece of me: a two- or three-week visit is just not long enough to spread myself around my innumerable extended family and friends. Also, it can be quite sobering to see others who are less fortunate than myself. I inevitably return with a renewed zest for life, and a desire to get involved in some fundraising project in Zambia. What’s the first thing you do when you get back to Zambia? I go straight to the market to buy all my favourite foods: chapatwa (dried fish), chibwabwa ya kusashila (pumpkin leaves with groundnuts), kalembula (sweet potato leaves), ifishimu (caterpillars, yum!) and chikanda (don’t ask, just trust me when I say it’s to die for!). And, if it’s the rainy season, mushrooms, mangos and all the other fruits. What differences do you find between life in London and life in Zambia? Everything! In a nutshell, I would say the material side of life is very attractive in the UK, but the human side is much richer in Zambia. Back home everybody talks to you – even if you’ve never met them before. Before I came to England, I wondered why foreigners always commented on how friendly we Zambians are. But I soon appreciated what they meant when I first got on a train in the UK: it was deathly silent, with everyone totally engrossed in their newspapers. I found that really strange! But on the flip side, it can sometimes be quite exhilarating to just jump on a train and feel anonymous – to the point that if, say, your wig blew off, you could just place it back on your head, safe in the knowledge that it won’t make the headlines in The Post the next day. What do you most miss about home? The fruit and veg, as I mentioned, and the village chicken (I guess you’d call it free range here), which is just so tasty. Oh, and another thing is that I always feel attractive, no matter how much weight I’ve put on or lost. Zambian men are not afraid to express their appreciation for the female body, whatever its size or shape! Walking down Oxford Street, you sometimes wonder whether passing men actually notice you at all. If you could show a Londoner one thing in Zambia, what would it be? Apart from the usual Victoria Falls and safari stuff, I would take them on a roller-coaster ride to visit all my friends and relatives, and assault their taste buds at each stop with something totally Zambian. That would give them a real ‘taste’ of Zambia – pardon the pun! Chisenga is cycling from London to Paris on 13 June to raise money for the Cecily Eastwood Zambian AIDS Orphans appeal. Find out more at www.justgiving.com/chisenga. Catherine Kakumbi has worked as a scout for the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) since 2000. She spoke to Travel Zambia about her work. Why did you start working for the SLCS? To help conserve wildlife. Also I needed a job. What do you most enjoy about your job? I enjoy using GPS out on patrol, and working with the information afterwards. What does your family think? They are very proud of me. I am the only one earning a salary, so they are happy about this – even the men! What’s been your biggest achievement? I won a prize at the Zambia Labour Day celebrations, for dedication to work. Have you had any special training? I did ten weeks intensive paramilitary training. This included musketry, ballistics, court skills, GPS, tactical ambushing and tracking. Is your work ever dangerous? Wild animals can be dangerous and poachers occasionally shoot at you. But it is also adventurous. What are your ambitions for the future? To continue working to stop these poachers. I know we can succeed: we just need to keep trying. SLCS works to promote conservation and education in and around South Luangwa National Park. Find out more at www.slcs-zambia.org A London eye RACHEL McROBB RACHEL McROBB Scout and about View from abroad CHARITY PHIRI