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November 2007 Travel Zambia 41bank, you too might well acquire a souvenir or two of your travels, and a lot of spare rooms and wall space on which to display them. But the collection is about more than ownership. The Sardanis family has.s.s.s.s.s.s. become synonymous with patronage of the arts in Zambia. Stelios Sardanis, Andrew’s son,.,.,.,.,.,. talks vividly of a childhood surrounded by artists who found support, sponsorship and, often, simple refuge at Chaminuka. Today the works rub shoulders around the house as the artists themselves once did – and others still do. The paintings are everywhere, not only hung around the big house itself, but also splashed across the walls of its outlying guest suites. And the breadth of styles on display is remarkable. The naïve and witty social satire of Stephen Kappata, depicting dough-faced colonials making fools of themselves, jostles for space with the unsettling calabash-headed figures of Lawrence Yombwe’s 2007 Journey series, whose landscapes are lit with the same early-Monet light as his depiction of children at play on a termite mound. Elsewhere other influences are evident: a portrait of an African man apparently lit by fire is, in reality, James Brown playing a live gig in Lusaka in the ’70s, a vibrant chief in traditional headdress reveals the unmistakable face of Kenneth Kaunda, father of modern Zambia and a Sardanis family friend. Elsewhere, the works of Henry Tayali, Patrick Mumba and Godfrey Setti reveal the painters’ artistic evolution whilst mirroring the swing in Zambian culture from homegrown to external influences and back to traditional. And paintings are not the only creations on display. Elegant stone and wood pieces by Flinto Chandia, Zambia’s foremost sculptor, are everywhere. If art is in the eye of the beholder, then the Sardanis family seems undeniably to have the gift of foresight, bringing exposure to many artists who might otherwise have remained in obscurity. ‘Most Zambian artists would agree that you haven’t made it unless you have a piece in the Sardanis collection,’ says Stelios. He adds that were his parents to place the works in trust for the nation he would have no objection. But the wryness of his smile suggests there may still be some free wall space in the Sardanis home yet to fill. Of course there is more to Chaminuka than art. The Sardanis passion for nature, once nurtured with gun in hand, today finds expression in the surrounding reserve, which provides refuge for some 70 species of mammal and 300 species of bird – a checklist many national parks would envy. Many mammal species have been reintroduced, on the basis that they were once known to inhabit the area. Today, with the exception of the lion and hyena enclosures, all the wildlife – including elephant, buffalo and giraffe – roams freely, providing tourists with a delightful introduction to the safari experience on foot, vehicle and horseback. And as if the wildlife and art were not enough, Chaminuka is also home to Zambia’s only cheese grotto, complete with diorama, cement stalactites and stalagmites, and a Flintstone-style monolithic table. The cheese, made on the property, is really rather good. Did I mention things tend towards the surreal at the House on t........he Hill? Chaminuka is situated just 30min from Lusaka International Airport, from where the lodge arranges transfers. Facilities include 30 suites, conference and business facilities, a terraced restaurant, a swimming pool and floodlit tennis courts. Attractions and activities include the art collection, game drives, bush walks, horseback safaris, fishing and boating, cheese and wine tasting, and visits to local schools and churches. Chaminuka fact file The art at Chaminuka takes many forms. Sculptures, both abstract (opposite) and figurative (above), surprise the visitor in unexpected places around the grounds, while paintings (below), both traditional and modern, splash their vibrant colours through the rooms and corridors. JAKE DA MOTTA (3)

42 Travel Zambia November 2007 Nanzhila Plains, at the southern extremity of Kafue, is not one place but two. Under the rains it is a shallow-water world, dotted with island copses and fringed with densely packed trees. Then, when the sun sucks the land dry, it becomes a patchwork of open grassland and deeply gouged streambeds that meander through the carpet of miombo and Kalahari woodland. More than 200km to the north lies its twin, Busanga Plains, where the vast savannah is pinned flat beneath massive skies. When those same skies empty rain in endless torrents, Busanga also floods, turning land into lake. The stark seasonal switch gives both Nanzhila and Busanga their beauty and character, but it also makes Kafue incredibly difficult terrain in which to build lodges. These locations are extremely Ever thought of running your own game lodge? It’s a dream that has lured many first-timers, drawn by a spirit of enterprise and the call of the wild. But getting started just might not be as easy as you imagine – especially with floods, droughts and other forces of nature lining up against you. Huw Williams visited Kafue, Zambia’s largest national park, where he spoke to two very different operators about the trials and tribulations of setting up. OPENING UP