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November 2008 Travel Zambia 33 Interview faced with the choice, as he saw it, of becoming either a bus driver or an artist. He chose the latter and the rest is history: rejection from art school (" They said I was untrainable"); a job painting aircraft for the RAF; a trip to Nairobi; and finally his first wildlife commission, a rhino chasing a plane off an airstrip. " That painting," he acknowledges, " changed my life." Success soon brought Shepherd to Zambia. " It really was the happiest thing," he tells me, recalling how the new government invited him in 1964 to paint the Independence celebrations. " I was the only English chap to come with the governor at midnight onto the podium, and watch one flag come down as the other went up." Before long Shepherd had established himself as Zambia's artist of choice, forging in the process a close bond with then president Kenneth Kaunda, whose portrait he also once painted. He recalls the occasion when Kaunda invited Shepherd's wife to call upon him in his London hotel: " KK gave her tea in his room, personally," he tells me. " And as he poured out the tea he said, ' I was the tea boy once; now I'm the head of state.' I've never forgotten that." We take a walk around Shepherd's studio, which is packed with prints, paintings and works- in- progress. Many pictures are powerfully familiar. Others, rendered in his distinctive style, seem so. I put it to him that there is something unashamedly romantic about his work: the animals calculated to leap right out of the picture and tug at our emotions. " Oh yes." He tells me. " I'm very romantic – and I'm also very emotional. I think if you're going to portray Africa, you've got to portray the emotion." And it is this sentiment that leads us to his conservation work. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation ( DSWF), now 24 years old, owes its existence to Shepherd having witnessed at first hand the horrors of poaching. He makes no excuses for his emotional response: " I cried – literally cried tears of despair and anger – when I saw an elephant that had blown off its foot on a landmine." He also knows how much he owes to the natural world. " If I was just painting English landscapes, I would not be living in this house," he tells me. " I very rapidly realised that I was gaining so much from wildlife that I had to put something back." The foundation has recently passed the one million dollars mark in Zambia and Shepherd is now more passionate than ever about its work here. He reels off some of the projects, from the supply of anti- poaching equipment to the building, just last year, of an elephant orphanage in Kafue ( see Travel Zambia 3). " We are really at a turning point now," he enthuses, describing plans for a new ranger training programme in Mosi- oa- Tunya National Park. And although Shepherd may now leave the promotional work of DSWF to its dedicated team, he has not lost his gift for the simple, emotional message – whether in words or paint. " You can always build another Taj Mahal," he once said to a tour guide bemoaning the impact of tourism on India's iconic building, " But you can never build another tiger." So will the appeal of Zambia ever wane? In February this year Shepherd visited Livingstone with his daughter Melanie – ostensibly on a fund- raising trip for the foundation, but partly, as ever, for the lure of old haunts. " I love Zambia," he tells me, yet again. " It's my favourite country." An honorary Zambian indeed. DSWF has granted over US$ 1,000,000 to various projects since 1990, including: Choco Clubs, an advanced education programme for schools. Conservation in the Lower Zambezi: equipment for anti- poaching teams. Enforcement conference ( 1992): resulted in the Lusaka Agreement and Africa's first- ever international task force for wildlife crime. Investigations & Intelligence Unit' ( IIU): helped intercept tusks and other illegal wildlife products destined for the Far East. Elephant Orphanage Project in Kafue National Park: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? founded in 2007 after r ? ? ? ? ? ? ? escue of baby elephant Phoenix; more elephants have since arrived. Protection Project: wildlife conservation, training and employment in Western Province ( including, it is hoped, Livingstone and Kafue). DSWF works closely with the Zambia Wildlife Authority ( ZAWA) and other partners, including Wildlife Environment Conservation Society. Find out more at www. davidshepherd. org David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation in Zambia MIKE UNWIN DSWF

Wilderness in Zambia is not only about big game. Six hours northeast of Lusaka you will find a very different landscape from the safari country of the Luangwa Valley or Lower Zambezi: one where great granite whalebacks rise from the rolling miombo woodland, and empty horizons – devoid of dangerous beasts – beckon the walker. Joseph Schatz reports on the unique charms of Mutinondo Wilderness. There are no real trails up the enormous granite inselbergs that dot Mutinondo Wilderness. You just hit the rock and start climbing. So, as the sun rose over northern Zambia in early May, my two companions and I did just that: scrambling up through a tangle of scrub and boulders as our breath got shorter and our legs ever heavier. Our reward was a sweeping view like nothing else we'd seen in Zambia: miles of untouched miombo woodland rolling out to the horizon. Getting off the beaten path was a fitting way to end our four days at Mutinondo. This remote slice of nature – named after a local river – occupies 100 square kilometres of Zambia's northern Province and is far from your average Zambian wilderness. Instead of open plains, there are rolling foothills. And instead of game drives and sunset cruises there is plain walking. In many ways, Mutinondo fills something of a void in the outdoors scene. For hiking and biking enthusiasts, Zambia's options can sometimes feel limited. Safaris in South Luangwa, Kafue or Lower Zambezi, while breathtaking, generally offer little by way of strenuous activity. At Mutinondo, by contrast, there are mile upon mile of well- maintained hiking and mountain bike trails, just waiting to be explored, while crystal- clear, crocodile- free rivers and waterfalls invite you to cool off after your exertions. A stay here is refreshingly low- key. You can do your own thing all day – hiking, birdwatching, cycling, canoeing, swimming, horse riding or simply relaxing with a book – and then drop by later for drinks around the fire. Breakfast is served overlooking the woods, and dinner is in a cosy, candlelit dining house. The food, all made from local produce and ingredients, is simple and excellent. MIOMBO MAGIC 34 Travel Zambia November 2008 What goes up must come down. Mutinondo's whalebacks offer a challenge to hikers. PHOTO: Jososeph Schatz