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November 2008 Travel Zambia 31into the thickets. But clearly there's plenty of it about. Lion tracks reveal the movements of the resident pride, and we come across a fruiting marula tree that has recently been plundered by elephants, the evidence scattered in their droppings at our feet. As ever when walking, though, it's the small stuff that is most absorbing: the sounds, textures, rhythms and routines of the bush that come alive when you set foot among them. And this morning we are treated to a display of one of African wildlife's minor miracles: the guiding behaviour of the greater honeyguide. This small, unremarkable- looking bird appears in our path, flitting from tree to tree and twittering insistently as we file through the bush – always keeping one tree ahead. Clearly it is leading us, and its agitation increases whenever we veer off route, rising to fever- pitch until we return to the intended path. Soon we find ourselves approaching a large granite outcrop. The bird leads us around the rocks to a statuesque baobab, whereupon it flits up into the upper branches and falls silent. And there – high on the trunk – is a hole buzzing with bees. Our part of the deal is now clear: we are meant to climb up and haul out the honeycomb, allowing the honeyguide to plunder the grubs from any scraps we leave behind. But there's no way anyone's going to risk life and limb by shinning up a baobab to stick their hands into a wild bees' nest. And so we head back towards the river with the irate bird in pursuit, venting its frustration in a paroxysm of twittering. Next time, according to African folklore, it will get its revenge by leading us to a mamba. That evening, my last in the bush, I'm perched on a great granite dome watching the sun set over the unfathomable vastness of Kafue. I reflect upon a fortnight of walking in Zambia's wildest places. It's been a crash- course in the ways of the wild in the company of those who know it best. So this time I haven't see a lion. Perhaps next time I will – after all, guides and guests at every place I've stayed have regaled me with campfire yarns of close, on- foot encounters. Yet, in a way, chasing after big cats misses the point. A walking safari is not about what you see, but about how you see it. It's a rare opportunity to experience one of the world's most thrilling natural environments from the perspective of the wildlife that lives there. Afterwards a game drive feels like watching animals on TV. Mike Unwin walked from the following camps and lodges: Old Mondoro ( Lower Zambezi): bookings from Chiawa ( www. chiawa. com) or Sausage Tree ( www. sausagetreecamp. com) Chikoko and Crocodile Trails Camps ( South Luangwa): www. remoteafrica. com Bilimungwe and Kapamba Bush Camps ( South Luangwa): www. bushcampcompany. com Kaingu Lodge ( Kafue): www. kaingu- lodge. com The best of the rest There is a wealth of other walking safaris around Zambia. The following list is just a few. When booking your trip, check whether walking is on offer. South Luangwa National Park Norman Carr Safaris ( www. normancarrsafaris. com): Luwi, Nsolo, Kakuli, Mchenja camps situated along the seasonal Luwi river Robin Pope Safaris ( www. robinpopesafaris. net): Nsefu, Tena Tena and Nkwali camps. RPS also offers superb mobile safaris along the Mupamadzi river, clients walking each day to a new temporary camp. The Bushcamp Company: ( www. bushcampcompany. com): Kuyenda, Chamilandu, Chindeni and Zungulila, towards the south of the park. Shenton Safaris: ( www. kaingo. com): walking from Kaingo and Mwamba camps along the seasonal Mwamba river. North Luangwa National Park This remote park has few roads so walking safaris are the main activity. Kutandala Camp ( www. kutandala. com) Mwaleshi Camp ( www. remoteafrica. com Lower Zambezi ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? National Park W ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? G ? A ? alking is available in both the national park and the surrounding GMA. Chongwe River Safari Camp ( www. chongwe. com) Chiawa Camp: ( www. chiawa. com) Sausage Tree: ( www. sausagetreecamp. com) Kafue National Park Northern Kafue: Lufupa Tented Camp and Lunga River Lodge ( www. wilderness- safaris. com) Central Kafue: McBrides' Camp ( www. mcbridescamp. com); Hippo Lodge ( www. hippolodge. com) Southern Kafue: Kushiyana Collection ( www. kushiyana. com), comprising Konkamoya Lodge, Nanzhila Plains and others. walking safaris in zambia Above right: Tom Heineken ( Kaingu Lodge) leads his guests into the wilds of Kafue National Park. Making tracks

32 Travel Zambia November 2008 David Shepherd No artist is more closely associated with African wildlife than David Shepherd CBE. His looming elephants and imperious cheetahs evoke the very essence of safari. And it is Zambia, his first love, to which Shepherd has turned time and again – inspiring in him a passion for wildlife that has made him one of today's leading conservationists. Mike Unwin visited the painter at his home in the UK. A green woodpecker flies across the expansive lawn as I turn up the gravel drive towards David Shepherd's house. The setting is quintessentially English: all lush greens and pastoral tranquillity. It seems a world away from the searing sunlight and ochre dust of his paintings. And yet, as Shepherd welcomes me into his lovely home, I see immediately that this idyllic corner of rural Sussex preserves a slice of raw Africa. Not only in the art and ornaments, but in the light that burns, undimmed, in Shepherd's eyes as he holds forth on his favourite part of the world. " It isn't a ' dark continent,'" he insists, recalling the tales of the Victorian explorers that he devoured as a child. " It's a blaze of light. I read these notebooks now and they make me sick. Sheer butchery!" And today nothing riles Shepherd more than the easy ignorance of privileged outsiders who claim to ' know' Africa. " It's offensive!" he fumes, recalling a woman who once told him that Zambia's independence would spell the end of its wildlife. " When it was Northern Rhodesia there were only two or three national parks; there are probably three times that number now." Small wonder, then, that Shepherd enjoys such respect and affection in Zambia today. And he was delighted when the ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? Honorable Michael Liwanga Kaingu, Zambian Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? recently described him as a ' Zambian living in the UK.' Yet Shepherd's first taste of Africa was rather less auspicious: upon leaving school he went out to become a game warden in Kenya – and was rejected. Back in England he was David Shepherd at home in his studio ( above), and with daughter Mandy Shepherd and eldest granddaughter Emily Lamb ( opposite), both acclaimed artists in their own right. Zambian at heart