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14 Travel Zambia November 2008 Nkani >> News · views · people · places · conservation · community · wildlife · culture IN ZAMBIA Virginia McKenna OBE is best known for playing famous conservationist Joy Adamson in the classic 1966 movie Born Free. But the BAFTA award- winning actress is herself no stranger to the African bush. And, as she explained to Mike Unwin, a guided walk in Zambia's Luangwa Valley once provided one of her most thrilling encounters. Zambia comes to London A full house gathered at Zambia House on a distinctly autumnal London night to enjoy a joint presentation by Chris McIntyre, author of the Bradt Travel Guide to Zambia and MD of Expert Africa, and Mike Unwin, editor of Travel Zambia. The event, entitled ' An Eye on Zambia', aimed to promote Zambia to UK visitors, and featured some lively stories and spectacular photography. The previous night the same event had taken place in the auspicious surroundings of Queen's College, Oxford – Chris's old stamping ground. " We are delighted to be working with Travel Zambia and look forward to many similar such events," said Zambian High Commissioner His Excellency Mr Anderson Chibwa. The evening was sponsored by Travel Africa magazine and Bradt Travel Guides. Today McKenna directs most of her energies towards the Born Free Foundation, the international wildlife charity that she founded with husband Bill Travers in 1991. So it is perhaps fitting that Zambia is home to the foundation's inspiring Lunga Luswishi Wildlife Project. This refuge has provided a haven for orphaned or injured vervet monkeys and yellow baboons since 2002, rehabilitating and returning them to the wild where possible, and otherwise providing lifelong care at the Munda Wanga Wildlife Sanctuary in Lusaka. Find out more about the Born Free Foundation and its work in Zambia at www. bornfree. org. uk " We were walking between the bush and the river when an enormous hippo emerged a few yards ahead, obviously intent on returning to the water," recalls McKenna. " And we were in the way!" Thankfully for cinemagoers, the actress survived to tell the tale: " The hippo huffed and puffed across us and finally plunged into the water – to our relief, as you can imagine!" And, what's more, it didn't put her off Zambia: her subsequent visits with Norman Carr and David Shepherd are among her happiest memories. " A beautiful country and warm, welcoming people," she reflects fondly. BOBO R N FREEEE B ushcamp bride Travel Zambia has heard the distant peal of yet more bush wedding bells. On 6 July, Mtimba Zulu, operations manager for the Bushcamp Company in South Luangwa, married Edan Phiri, bookkeeper for the local Kakumbi Resource Board. Mtimba immediately whisked his new bride away on a bushcamps honeymoon: two nights at Chamilandu, followed by two nights at Billimungwe, with dinner beneath the stars, champagne in the room – the works. The happy couple even took in some game viewing, including the memorable sight of over a thousand buffalo crossing the Kapamba River at sundowners. ' The service was outstanding," says Mtimba. And as operations manager, he should know! Mike Dainesaines DEBBIE HUNTER THE BUSHCAMP COMPANY

November 2008 Travel Zambia 15 All aboard the Tazara Express Train travel is seldom on the agenda for tourists in Zambia. But in the Tazara line to Dar- es- Salaam, Zambia boasts one of the world's great railway journeys. Sara and Andrea Nolli, Italian volunteers at Meheba refugee Camp near Solwezi, went along for the ride. Sara told Travel Zambia about the journey. The Tazara Express leaves Kapiri Mposhi on Tuesday and Friday afternoons – officially at 15.00, but you should be prepared for long delays. There are tickets for first, second or third class. We opted for first class, at 200,000 kwacha each. Every first- class compartment consists of four couchettes. Our first surprise was that women and men cannot share the same compartment, so we had to separate. I travelled with three large, friendly Zambian women and their children. At first there was enough space, but at each station my companions bought more stuff: big bags of potatoes, dried fish ( very smelly!), onions, garlic, bananas... In no time the compartment was like a market place; I had to clamber across vegetables just to reach the toilet! Meanwhile Andrea shared his compartment with three very talkative men. He usually prefers to read a book and watch the landscape, so the only polite escape from the endless chat was in the bar coach. After a few hours we met up at the bar. It was fantastic! From our window we watched the train climbing the plateaux ( reaching 1,789m near Mbeya), then descending to the vast lowlands. Passing through the Selous Game Reserve we saw giraffes, zebras, buffalo, wildebeest and even a couple of lions. In theory you should reach Dar in 48 hours, but inexplicable stops in the middle of nowhere can make the journey considerably longer. You won't get hungry, however, since the restaurant coach offers typical African dishes such as nshima, chicken or fish, while women and children sell fruit and other snacks by the track at every stop. On the return journey we booked a whole compartment, which allowed us to travel together – and in plenty of space. All in all, it was a great experience. True, there are some inconveniences, but we believe that the best way to discover Africa is to travel slowly and with local people. Tazara fact file The TAZARA Railway ( also called the Uhuru Railway and the Tanzam Railway) was completed in 1975 and runs 1,870km from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi. Andrea and Sara bought their tickets at the station. But you can book them in advance by calling + 26 0211 222280 ( Zambia) or + 255 22262191 ( Tanzania) Where Eagles dares Proflight have welcomed their first female pilot to the Zambian skies. Joan Eagles, from Shepperton UK, first caught the flying bug after an hour's helicopter lesson at the age of 28. Before long she had changed career and retrained as a pilot, gaining both her private and her commercial licence. " Flying in Zambia is a lot less stressful than flying in the UK," says Joan. " I have never before been surrounded by such natural beauty and flying amongst it all is a dream come true." ANDREA & SARA NOLLI ( 2)