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crunch of foliage means an abrupt change of plan, as a small breeding herd of elephants materialise from nowhere. Quickly we scramble down a gully to a sheltered position below the steep riverbank where, with the Luangwa at our backs, we watch the great pachyderms move out onto the very spot where we'd been standing seconds earlier. Their questing trunks seek our scent. That leopard will have to wait. As we tramp back towards camp, Manda is explaining how the behaviour of one animal – as with those baboons – often betrays the presence of another. As if on cue, a clamour of agitated bird calls draws our attention to the canopy of a large sycamore fig. We move closer, scanning the branches, and there – high above our heads – are the gleaming coils of a large python. It freezes at our approach, suspended down the trunk like a fat, ornate necktie, while a retinue of drongos and bulbuls step up their shrill displeasure. Fast- forward four more days and I'm walking beside another, very different, river, 400km to the west. This is the Kafue, whose twisting course forms the eastern boundary to the immense Kafue National Park. Again, lions were roaring during the night, and now we're out searching for their tracks. My guide is Tom Heineken, owner of the delightful Kaingu Lodge, which is tucked away on a picturesque bend of the Kafue in the southern section of the park. Tom leads us through a riverine landscape that is a far cry from the sand banks and shrinking pools of the Luangwa. Here the river tumbles through a maze of small islands, splitting into hidden channels and disappearing among stacks of granite boulders and beneath over- arching waterberries. Dassies scatter among the rocks, trumpeter hornbills lurch overhead, and the telltale spraints of otters litter the jumbled shoreline. There is an intimacy to this riverine playground. And yet, as we move away from the riverbank and the bush thins out, I realise that we are stepping into perhaps Zambia's most awesome wilderness. Here there are no people, no lodges, no roads: just thousands of kilometres of bush stretching away to the western horizon. Game is skittish, being less accustomed to people than in South Luangwa: kudu melt into the treeline and horrified warthogs thunder A walking safari is neither endurance test nor adventure sport. But a few basic guidelines can help make it more rewarding. Wear neutral colours ( greens and browns); avoid bright or very pale colours. Lightweight longs are better protection than shorts against ticks and thorns. Take a hat ( neutral colour) Go without deodorant ( animals sniff out artificial scents) Use sunblock, even on overcast days Take a small day- pack for water bottle, field guide, camera etc ALWAYS DO EXACTLY WHAT YOUR GUIDE SAYS, especially around potentially dangerous animals. If you want to stop – even just to tie your laces – ALWAYS tell your guide. Keep binoculars around your neck, not in your day- pack. Bring a lens suitable for small, close- up stuff. Ten top tips for walkers Right: A bush walk in southern Kafue reveals scattered porcupine droppings around a false baobab seed pod ( above), and bark that has been chewed – and spat out – by an elephant ( below). November 2008 Travel Zambia 29 Making tracks

30 Travel Zambia November 2008 A comfortable lodge overlooking the Kafue River. Ideal for walking, birding, fi shing and game- viewing safaris. Full board or self- catering offered, with family cottages and a campsite. Your one- stop shop for all information and news about Kafue National Park. KNP- Promotions tries to make it easier for operators to reach visitors, easier for visitors to reach the park and easier for development to reach the communitiesT/ F + 260 211 266 927www. pukupan. com www. knp- promotions. com Mushroom Lodge – Pure luxury in pure wildernessSet on the banks of a lagoon in the South Luangwa National Park, Mushroom Lodge is the former retreat of the First Replublican President of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda. Restored and renovated by a wholly Zambian- owned company, the lodge now offers 12 African- styled thatched chalets and the original Presidential House, providing world- class facilities for the discerning traveller or holiday- maker. By tastefully blending nature with modern conveniences, Mushroom Lodge achieves the fi ne balance of being rustic, yet modern. Add to that a themed décor that will please the senses, and you have a perfect package. Excellent game- viewing drives are available, where our qualifi ed professional guides will share their intimate knowledge of South Luangwa's prolifi c wildlife. Soak in the dusk rays of the African sun on the banks of the Luangwa River as you enjoy a sundowner. A full range of modern conveniences are available at the lodge, while two new bush camps will be added in 2009. For more information visit: www. mushroomlodge. com