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November 2008 Travel Zambia 49 SAFARI Southern Afrifrifrica Tourisrisrism Expo The Zambia Tourism Board and Tourism Council of Zambia have come together to host a tourism exposition in Zambia. ' Southern Africa Tourism Expo', will take place from 2– 4 May 2009 at Victoria Falls, Livingstone. This location was chosen in order to take advantage of all the nearby attractions – not least the Falls themselves, which will be in full flow at the time – and its excellent tourism infrastructure. The expo aims to enhance the image of Zambia, and Livingstone in particular, as a tourist destination, and to promote regional and transfrontier tourism initiatives. Find out more at www. southernafricatourismexpo. com Luangwa by wheelchair Zambia is a thrilling destination for the able- bodied. But what if you have more difficulty getting around? Ron Crittall and his wife Penny went on safari to South Luangwa to find out for themselves. My wife and I were doing the ' Crittall tango': Penny stood on the wooden step next to the Land Cruiser while I clambered up beside her. I shifted one of my feet forward on to the running board, then moved her closer to the vehicle and lowered her onto the front seat. General applause! Perhaps I should explain. Penny has MS and needs a wheelchair to get around. We're in our sixties and I'm her carer. Penny's condition means we can't use light aircraft, coaches or minibuses – it's too difficult to get on board – so our travel options tend to be limited. Before booking our safari, therefore, we had to do our research. We found out that there were scheduled flights between Lusaka and Mfuwe, so that seemed OK, and that Kapani Lodge in the Luangwa Valley was accessible for wheelchair users. While there is no disabled accommodation as such, the thatched chalets are spacious and easy to move around, and there are brick- paved pathways through the grounds. The nature of the game- viewing vehicles is also critical. At Kapani they are large open Land Cruisers. The only seat suitable for Penny was next to the ranger, but higher above the ground than we anticipated – hence the Crittall tango. It also required the ranger to help steady her feet on the step. But we managed – and Penny got to see plenty of wildlife. The unexpectedly trickiest part was the flights. We had flown up from Jo'burg, where hydraulic lifts had helped get Penny on board the aircraft, but Lusaka doesn't have these. No worries. Four strong Zambians appeared and carried Penny, wheelchair and all, bodily down the steps. Then the smaller plane between Lusaka and Mfuwe had fold- down steps that were too narrow for the wheelchair. Penny was very nervous about this, but once again our helpers came to the rescue: one gripped her under the arms, another held her legs, and up she went – then down again at the other end. Penny treated every challenge as part of the adventure and we had a wonderful holiday. We are very grateful for the excellent service and attention we received from all the staff at Kapani Lodge ( www. normancarrsafaris. com) and Zambian Airways ( www. zambianairways. com). Know your limits: everyone in a wheelchair is different, with varying capability. Find out in advance whether you ( and/ or your carer) can cope with the accommodation, which – while spacious – has no disability aids. Make sure every operator ( airline and lodge) knows about your disability and what help you need. Check that the facilities offered match your abilities. Be prepared to be manhandled ( with the best of intentions) on and off small domestic flights. Game drives can last four hours, with only ' behind the bush' facilities that are not practical if you can't walk or squat. Bring pads or catheter. The airlines will carry your collapsible wheelchair, free. Go prepared for the unexpected and treat everything as an adventure. Safari tips for wheelchair users ron crittallittallittall ( 2)

50 Travel Zambia November 2008 People People Vakacha Vakacha Habitat Habitat Nkani Nkani Photographer's tips Extraordinary insights come from uncommon perspectives. I like to think beyond the usual horizontal or vertical positioning of the camera and shoot from a different angle altogether. Thus I might be either low down – to the point of lying on my back looking up – or up high. On a recent camel safari in Kenya I walked beside the camels, most of the time looking for a different angle. Then, while riding the camel, it suddenly occurred to me that I was looking down at the three wise men in shadow formation; I had not seen the elongated shadows from ground level. Carol Polich is a wildlife photographer based in the United States who specialises in southern Africa. You can enjoy her images of western Zambia on pages 8– 13. C ??????? ontact Carol at ?????? cpolich@ ????????? hotmail. com SAFARI Going deeper An exciting new initiative offers a Zambian holiday with a difference. Instead of simply moving from one lodge to another, the Amazing Zambia tourism programme invites environmentally and socially conscious visitors to encounter another side of Zambia by sharing the everyday lives of ordinary people. The programme currently offers two-to three- week tours through the Kafue National Park. The tours end either at Victoria Falls or at one of several new sites beside Lake Bangweulu, and all the lodges en route are linked to local development activities, such as women in mining, tie- dye and beekeeping, in which visitors can become involved. The programme thus seeks to combine an exciting wildlife experience with genuine involvement in Zambian community life. The idea is that participants will return home having felt more like guests than tourists. ???????????????? They will bring back encounters, memories and emotions far beyond the normal range of holiday souvenirs ?? . With luck they will then become ambassadors for Zambia, promoting the country through word of mouth. An important feature of the experience is the outstanding hospitality of Zambians. Accordingly, the programme has introduced a new management approach, with local lodge managers ' mentored' by a small group of expatriate experts. Amazing Zambia would like visitors to contribute to development directly. It thus discourages handing out gifts and instead invites them to support various more solid development activities through a trust fund account. A percentage of the overall income is allocated to community activities to promote income generation and nature conservation. All activities are well documented, with information available to guests before, during and after their visit. Amazing Zambia is funded by the Den Daas Group of the Netherlands and managed by Amazing Zambia Travel Ltd ( formerly KNP Promotions of Zambia). All lodges are joint ventures with Zambian entrepreneurs. Details at www. amazingzambia. com The Holiday Inn Hotel in Lusaka has been rebranded as the Southern Sun Ridgeway. " We are very aware of the opportunities for growth," said Richard Weilers, managing director of Southern Sun Hotels Offshore, " and our brand presence is an integral part of our new regional strategy outside South Africa." During the last year Southern Sun Hotels have invested significantly in re-branding and have also modernised many existing properties. Southern Sun Ridgeway is located on the corner of Church Road and Independence Avenue in central Lusaka. Details at www. southernsun. com Holiday Inn REBORN Visiting a women's gemstone mining project. amazing zambia carol polich southern sun ridgeway