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False May 2008 Travel Zambia 41 Munali Coffee Eighty km south of Lusaka, en route to the Victoria Falls, it’s easy to overlook the small national monument beside the main road that winds through the green overlapping hills of the Munali Pass. David Livingstone first sighted the Kafue River here in 1855 on his great trans- Africa journey. Munali Coffee is now produced on a family farm on this fertile plateau at the foot of the historic mountain pass. The coffee is UTZ Certified Arabica, which means that the local community benefits from stringent ethical farming practices under an internationally recognized set of criteria. Moreover, the 3,000 farm workers from four local villages on Mubuyu Farm, together with their extended families, all receive housing, healthcare and schooling. Willem Lublinkhof, the assiduous and eccentric Dutch- born farm owner, moved to Zambia 40 years ago, met Meta his Danish wife, and settled in the sugar- farming belt just outside Mazabuka. Abandoning wheat for coffee almost a decade ago, he now feels a huge responsibility for the wider community that relies on his expertise and energy as farming boffin and businessman. Today Mubuyu Farm spans nearly 23 square kilometres. As well as the coffee plantations, the estate comprises a huge flourmill operating 24 hours a day, several irrigation dams, housing, a school, a clinic and even a football team and cycling club. At 62, Lublinkhof is still a cycling Where to buy Zambian honey and coffee Honey Tropic Tropica ? l ?? ForestFores ?? (www.( www. tropicalforest.co m) lists all UK and Irish outlets, including Waitrose and Morrisons supermarkets, Holland & Barrett health-food store, and numerous independent stores Fort For ??????????? num and Masoson ?? stocs ? ock ?? Zambian honey at stores in London, New York and Tokyo Buy online at www. ethicalsuperstore.co m and www. goodnessdirect. co. uk Coffee I ??? nterern ??? atioion ?? al ?? tr ? ra ??? de barriers continue to make it difficult for developing countries to sel their coffee competitively. However, Albert Heijn, the largest supermaket chain in the Netherlands (www. ahold.co m) stocks Munali coffee. Also Waitrose in the UK. Fi Fin ??? d ou ? t ?? m ? oreor ???? abou ? t ?? Munali coffee at www. munalicoffee.co m; www. utzcertified.or g Ch ? ececk ?? ou ? t www. ?? www. f ?? airtrir ? ra ?? de. e. org. uk for more about buying ethical, organic products from developing countries. Within seconds the bees are circling with a maddening hum as he puffs wafts of belching smoke into the opening Heritage fanatic and his passion and sponsorship spawned the Munali cycle team, which recently won the Africycle Tour in South Africa. Coffee is a potentially high- risk venture in Zambia. The planting, selective picking ( which is rare elsewhere), hand washing and drying process can take up to four years to generate an income. And with the country regularly experiencing more than eight months of drought, Lublinkhof has been obliged to invest in one of the most technically advanced irrigation systems ever invented. Known as the Open Field Hydroponic system, it carefully controls the exact amount of fertiliser, water and nutrients – in fact, everything that a sapling coffee tree could desire for strong healthy growth. ‘ It is the most expensive irrigation method in the world,’ explains Lublinkhof, ‘ but it produces the best results.’ Mubuya is also the only farm in Zambia to put the composted skins back into the ground. This level of ‘ tlc’ imbues the coffee with an exceptional refreshing taste: clean and medium- bodied, it has a delicate aroma and slightly sweet flavour, with chocolate and fruit undertones. No wonder Mubuya coffee is fast becoming recognised as one of Africa’s finest. Honey and coffee create vital jobs for people in Zambia, and make a huge difference to the lives of the average extended family of ten. One family income will provide enough money to pay for school uniforms, anti- retroviral drugs, malaria treatment and, of course, food and shelter. And the benefits spread widely: for instance, with 9,000 village beekeepers and 3,000 farm labourers receiving a fair income, approximately 120,000 poor people in Zambia have a better chance of decent healthcare and education. Meanwhile, people all around the world can enjoy the delicious fruits of their labours. ALL PICTURES STEVE BENBOW DAVID GODNY

False 42 Travel Zambia May 2008 I n the kitchen of a house in the middle of Africa, seven- year- old Poppy giggles as she decorates biscuits in the shape of lion paw- prints. An obliging chef is on hand for the finishing touches. Meanwhile her older brother Jake, back from collecting eggs from the hen house, is gathering his binoculars and camera for a nature walk with their private guide. As the children’s parents relax on the terrace with glasses of freshly made lemonade, their youngest, Tom, splashes about in the pool under the watchful eye of their hostess – plus the indifferent gaze of two warthogs, a bushbuck and half a dozen vervet monkeys. Traditionally, safaris in Zambia are based on lodges and bush- camps – an opportunity to meet other adult safari enthusiasts, share experiences and learn about the sights and sounds of the bush. But, in a unique experiment, five impressive locations in Zambia each now boast a very special private house, offering families a home from home deep in the African bush. These ‘ Safari Houses of Zambia’ are the brainchild of Jo Pope, who – together with Robin, her celebrated safari guide husband – runs Robin Pope Safaris in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. After successfully converting the Popes’ own home at Nkwali into a private house back in 2003, Jo realised that there was a gap in the market for families and other travellers who wanted privacy and the ability to plan their own safari day with complete freedom. Thus, in June 2004, Jo dreamt up the idea of a collection of houses, each individual in design, which would be dotted around Zambia to form a circuit for family safari- goers. Each house would offer all the usual safari fare, from canoeing to night drives, bush walks to sunset cruises, and each would have its own guide, chef and hostess to ensure a completely individual and private experience – complete with childcare and family activities. By chance, The African bush is no place to take the kids, right? Wrong! While the traditional game lodge may frown upon the mess, noise and general chaos that comes with children, an innovative trend in Zambia aims to turn the safari into a feast of family fun. Anna Devereux- Baker investigates. HOUSE & HOME Lodge life Top: Bush baking tips at Robin’s House, South Luangwa ROBIN POPE SAFARIS Opposite: The other- worldly architecture of Chongwe River Safari House, Lower Zambezi CHONGWE RIVER CAMP