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November 2008 Travel Zambia 21 Building Bridges in Busanga The Busanga Plains of Northern Kafue is an unforgiving terrain for vehicles. During the rainy season the flooded plains are impassable. For the rest of the year, drivers must negotiate glutinous swamps and rickety bridges. But there's nothing to fear, reports Mike Unwin, as long as you are with Idos Mulenga. Nobody knows Busanga better than Idos Mulenga. Now chief safari guide at Kapinga Camp, he was instrumental in building the four splendid lodges that Wilderness Safaris ( www. wilderness- safaris. com) operate in this area. In fact he personally pioneered the technique of floating the timbers used in their construction and dragging them down the waterways by hand ( see Travel Zambia 2). Thus, when a bridge collapsed beneath our vehicle during a game drive from Kapinga, Idos was not remotely fazed. Removing the poles one by one – and with the aid of a panga stashed beneath the passenger seat for just such eventualities – he reconstructed the bridge on the spot, while his bemused guests ( and a couple of warthogs) looked on in amazement. When the bridge failed at our first attempt, he simply jacked up the vehicle, pulled out more poles and started again. Forty minutes later we had crossed the channel and resumed our game drive. Idos shook his head when I pointed out the radio: " I don't like to be rescued," he grinned. For some safari- goers bush lodges are not quite ' out there' enough. These purists hanker after the ultimate thrill of sleeping under the stars. Dave Wilson of Norman Carr Safaris ( www. normancarrsafaris. com), together with fellow guide Abraham Banda, recently accompanied four guests as they did just that. The weather was perfect as we set off: slightly overcast with a cool northeasterly breeze. The plan was to walk from Kakuli camp to a designated spot on the Luwi River, where overnight provisions had been dropped, before continuing to Nsolo camp the next day. Our route took us upstream through forests of huge red mahogany, navigating around numerous elephants. Sightings came thick and fast. Abes pointed out a big eland bull, who stood watching us before melting away into the long grass. Soon afterwards we walked into three big male lions, one of whom made his feelings clear with a bone- chilling growl and swishing tail. A spurt of adrenaline saw us circumvent the lions, dodge between two herds of elephant behind them, and continue on our way. The approach to the campsite was picture- perfect, with the bright yellow flush of cassia flowers against a cobalt blue sky. The sunset highlighted a large herd of impala, baboons playing in the tamarind tree and, to cap it all, a beautiful Cookson's wildebeest bull galloping away through the leadwood forest. The site was on a river bend out on the white sand. Each guest made up his own bed, which comprised a bedroll, mattress, sheets and blankets. With darkness approaching, it was done with much fervour and banter – and one or two beers. Fires were lit and popcorn prepared as we settled in for the night. After a hearty dinner, cooked over the coals everyone settled down against an old leadwood trunk to watch bush TV ( the fire). Campfire stories were swapped to a nocturnal chorus of hyenas, owls, frogs and crickets. Eventually, eyelids drooping, we headed for the bedrolls – all except for the indomitable figure of John the scout, who continued to stoke the fires and keep watch for any unwanted visitor. Practical skills can come in useful on a game drive in Busanga. Beneath the stars MIKE UNWIN ( 3) DAVE WILSON

22 Travel Zambia November 2008 PeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCulturePeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCultur PeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCulture Kingswood College Concert Band, from Grahamstown, South Africa, toured Zambia to delighted audiences in April this year. Thirty- eight students, including five Zambians, took part. The tour raised money for three Zambian orphanages: Seven Fountains Mission in Kalomo, Ben Doree Orphanage near Kitwe, and Kondwa near Lusaka. Director of Music Stephen Holder tells the story. It is my experience that musicians tend to get more tired and grumpy as a tour goes along, and play less and less well. In Zambia, however, the opposite happened: the big audiences we received were a huge boost to morale, and it was uplifting to play to people who loved what we were doing and who showed it without inhibition. We certainly got tired, but our playing got better and better: our final performance, in Livingstone, was our best. In turn it was wonderful to see how we were able to inspire people – especially children. Music is not generally part of the curriculum in Zambian schools, but certainly the children for whom we played – and children of all ages came to our performances – were very excited by what we were doing. Our excellent organising team handled arrangements, leaving the band free to concentrate their energies on the music. The logistics were daunting; a concert band has so much stuff. Most members carried their instruments as hand luggage, but some instruments ­– including much of the percussion and brass – were too bulky, and we had five huge crates for percussion alone. Venues also presented their challenges. We arrived in Lusaka to find that the Mulungushi Conference Centre, where we were due to perform, had been taken over by a SADC emergency meeting. Luckily Lusaka International School generously made their sports hall available to us. The tour also had social benefits for band members, who normally rush from class to rehearsal with little or no time to get to know one another. The percussionists in the back row, for instance, seldom see any more of the flautists than the top of their heads in front. But hours of travelling together gave us valuable time to chat and relax. At Kingswood College we believe that each of us can make a difference. Music students are well placed to do this simply by virtue of what they love doing: making music. The tour taught us what we can achieve on both a national and a personal level. It had a profound and enriching effect on us all. Made in Zambia Johnny Clegg World- famous musician Johnny Clegg owes a vital spark of inspiration to Zambia. Clegg, who formed South Africa's first racially mixed band, Juluka, and challenged the then apartheid authorities with such anthems as Asimbonanga (' We can't see him'), spent a year in Zambia at the age of 11. Here, for the first time, he attended a black school with black pupils and teachers. " Zambia had just become independent and I had more black friends than white friends," he recalls. " There was an incredible sense of freedom." This freedom clearly left its mark in the powerful messages of Clegg's music. Concert band tourS ZAMBIA ' Mtuku' shshines withth Barefeet Musical Legend Oliver Mtukudzi joined Zambian youth drama group Barefeet Theatre at Shine 2008, the third annual Barefeet festival. ' Mtuku', one of the great voices of African music, closed the festival on 17 October with a concert at Lusaka International School. The festival had kicked off one week earlier with a spectacular march- past from Arcades Shopping Centre, in which more than 1,000 people enlivened the streets of Lusaka with singing, dancing, stilt- walking and drumming. This was followed by daily performances at Lusaka Playhouse and a grand finale at Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens. Barefeet Theatre is a group of young Zambian performers who work together to address issues such as HIV/ AIDS, drug abuse and life on the streets. The annual festival celebrates their talents and allows them to showcase the work they have created throughout the year. Details at www. barefeettheatre. org. STEPHEN HOLDER ( 2) LAURA MANNI