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False comprising all the original mining companies. However, the falling price of copper on world markets during the eighties and nineties severely reduced the revenues that had helped fuel Zambia’s development and the Copperbelt took a downward turn. By 1990, reinvestment in the mines had virtually dried up and moreover the industry was beginning to contemplate the exhaustion of its mineral resources. During this period, much of the expatriate population left for greener pastures ( many with a heavy heart), and many of their once- sparkling facilities fell into disrepair. In 1991, a new government under President Frederick Chiluba privatized many of the state- owned concerns, including ZCCM. The company was subdivided (‘ unbundled’ was the term used) and the new owners began a massive re- injection of capital. This foreshadowed a recovery in the region’s fortunes. Today new mines are being developed, and old mines – some dating back to the 1920s – refurbished. Engineers and metallurgists are moving back with their families, and the Copperbelt receives a constant stream of suppliers and traders eager to do business with the new management. The Copperbelt is even extending beyond the boundaries of its eponymous province, as new deposits of copper have been identified to the west in the Solwezi and Mwinilunga areas of North- Western Province. Mining makes a mess wherever you go in the world, and the Copperbelt is no exception. But there is more to the region than its industry. The many people who live on or visit the Copperbelt need their escape and recreation, and in the Kafue River – which flows in a great arc from the far north of the Province to the far south beyond Luanshya – they have a beautiful natural playground on their doorstep. Those in the know find perfect getaways and weekend retreats along its banks, with relaxation, boating and fishing par excellence. Zambia undiscovered At first glance, this landscape seems far from the ‘ Real Africa’ beloved of the safari industry. May 2008 Travel Zambia 37

False 38 Travel Zambia May 2008 And for a region defined by industry, there is still a surprising amount of wildlife. The days when a lion strolled down Luanshya High Street may be long gone ( though elephants occasionally stray into some of the peri- urban smallholdings and farms) but the river is home to plenty of hippos and crocs, and a rich selection of antelope and smaller game can be seen in local nature reserves. Meanwhile the forested riverbanks and isolated tracts of mushitu rainforest, harbour a rich variety of birdlife – much of it scarce elsewhere in Zambia. Among a good 400 species in the region are such northern Zambian ‘ specials’ as Lady Ross’s turaco, the stunning red- and- blue sunbird ( mostly yellow!), and the blackbacked and Anchieta’s barbets. Perhaps the Copperbelt’s best- known wildlife attraction revolves around an animal that is not indigenous to Zambia at all. Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, about 20km off the Solwezi road from Chingola, is a world- renowned sanctuary for over 100 chimpanzees, which live in troops in special enclosures in the bush. Dave and Sheila Siddle founded the orphanage in the 1983 when they were presented with a chimpanzee that had outgrown the Copperbelt family who had kept it as a pet. Thereafter, as their reputation grew, they received chimpanzees from all over the world, as well as other wild animals, including smuggled African grey parrots and an abandoned hippo. Despite the sad death in 2006 of Dave Siddle, Chimfunshi goes from strength to strength. Chalet accommodation and camping are available for those who book in advance, and visitors can join morning bush walks with the baby chimps and watch them learning to forage – although not much foraging goes on when there are strangers in the party who can be jumped on from a tree or whose shoe laces can be untied and specs pinched. Just south of Ndola lies Nsobe Game Camp, where a variety of wild animals roams the pristine bush. Visitors on game drives and bush trails can search for giraffe and zebra, or some of Zambia’s more elusive antelope, including eland, sable and sitatunga, while bird watchers have been known to tick off more than eighty species in a morning. Canoeing and fishing are also available, though some visitors complain that the ambience is so relaxing and the bar just too inviting to stray any further than the lodge. Day visitors are welcome, and there is overnight accommodation in the form of luxury en suite safari tents. Sable are also among a variety of antelope species to be seen at Kafue Lodge, where birders also have an excellent chance of finding the elusive Pel’s fishing owl. This well- appointed Some visitors complain that the ambience is so relaxing and the bar just too inviting to stray any further than the lodge. Above left: Sable antelope at Nsobe Game Camp Above right: Chimpanzee feeding at Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Far right: Fishing in the tranquil waters of the Kafue