Archive for ‘Roaming’

Posts about our travels…


We left Zambia and drove to Tanzania. The road was very bad, with lots of pot holes and trucks in the way. Getting across the border took 4 hours! It was a nice, new and clean border post, but their computers were broken and couldn’t talk to the bank, so Daddy had to wait for ages until they agreed to accept cash and let us go. Daddy was very grumbly.

We drove to Utengule Coffee Lodge where instead of camping, we rented a huge bungalow with real beds and mosquito nets that look like princess beds.  I like this place very much, but not as much as Daddy because he loves coffee.


We went on a big tour of the coffee plantation and learned lots of interesting things:

  • There are three main types of coffee plant – Liberica, Robusta and Arabica. Arabica is what they grow here, it only likes growing at high altitude. We learned that it also only fruits on what the man called secondary branches – Daddy said this was the same as apples.  He told us that the fruit are called cherries, and that unlike all other fruit they throw away the skin and sweet flesh, and keep the stone. (ed – they compost this, and feed the trees). Brown means the cherry is overripe, green underripe, and red is just right.
  • We learned all about the types of diseases coffee plants get – Daddy said this was very similar to peaches and nectarines. We saw leaves that had been hurt by rust and insects, and from trees that didn’t get the right minerals.
  • They grow all their own trees in their nursery – they have 20,000 baby trees ready to replace ones that get sick! They never sell or buy trees, as the man said the trees are their gold.  This means that their coffee plantation is unique and no other coffee tastes the same.
  • We saw the machine that they use to remove the skin and flesh from the beans.  The beans then get washed down a little river to where they get fermented just like beer!  This removes all the sugar.  They stir the beans with wooden paddles to avoid damaging them.  This is very important. There are two types of bean – sinkers (the best), or floaters (unripe or overripe).
  • The beans then get dried in the sun for a few weeks, sorted to remove bad ones that still have skin on them, then they get roasted or sent away to other people who want to roast them themselves.
  • We saw a little roasting machine and they roasted us some beans to take in the Taniwha! They know the roast is finished when they count the crackles, like popcorn!
  • I tried an espresso but it was yuck. Daddy drank it.  He said it was the best coffee that he had ever tasted.

When the tour finished we walked up a big steep hill and the view was good. Then we walked back to the bungalow and are having a restaurant dinner for the first time in ages! I like this place.

Going to the source of the Zambezi

After Lusaka we went north. The first night we stayed at a game reserve that had lions. We didn’t see the lions but we heard them roar. They were very loud, (and very early in the morning!) It had a nice playground too.

Then we drove on some really bad roads, they had lots of pot holes. Some were as big as the Taniwha! We also took 2 pontoons. That was fun. (ed. The photos don’t really do justice to the size of the pot holes!)

One night we stayed at the Kanzenzi Wildlife Camp. Seconds after we arrived, about ten children came to use the well. Mummy got the ball out and we did some catches. Then Mummy threw the ball at one of the children, and she joined in. Soon all the children were playing. Genevieve didn’t want to play with the ball, so Mummy laid the tarpaulin out and got out some colouring books. The children wanted to do that too. At the end they all took their pictures away with them. It was fun to play with the children.

The next day we had to use the well to fill our water tank. It was hard to pump the water.

Then we went to the source of the Zambezi. It is right on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Zambezi River is 2,574km long. It runs through Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and goes into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. We had to walk on some wooden paths to get to the source, but there was nothing there, except lots of mosquitoes!

That night we stayed by a river, and lots of people came to stare at us. When we had dinner, there were about 25 people watching us. Not many people spoke English. I didn’t like being watched. Some people called us Mzungu, which means white person.

Then we drove to the Mutanda Falls. It wasn’t really a waterfall, but some rapids in the river. It was pretty with lots of trees. We stayed two nights.

The next morning we walked to the primary school. We saw impala on the way, and we had to walk next to a busy road. There were lots of big trucks and we crossed a river with no hand rail!

The school has 550 children. There are only 2 classrooms. There are so many children, some go to school in the morning and some go in the afternoon. Children start school at age seven. The class room is very different to my old school. There is one big blackboard at the front, and there are lots of desks. The walls are plain cream and there are no books.  The government tells them to teach computing, but has only given them one computer! We think the teachers here have a very hard job.

Daddy drew a big map of the world on the blackboard, and we talked about where we had been and where we were going. Some of the children asked us questions.

(ed. We are considering what we can do to help this school. All ideas much appreciated!)



Chinfunshi Chimpanzee Orphanage

Yesterday we went to Chinfunshi Chimpanzee Orphanage. There are 132 chimpanzees there, and they have been rescued from all over the world, even New Zealand. We met the lady, Sheila, who started the orphanage 35 years ago. She is 89 years old, and she overlanded from the UK to Zambia, with her parents just after World War 2. It is the biggest chimpanzee orphanage in the world. A lot of the chimps are naughty and some of them throw stones. But many of the chimps weren’t treated very nicely before. We were told that in the bush, some people catch monkeys to eat them, and that monkey meat is cheaper than beef. I would not want to eat monkey.

The chimps were very noisy. They were screaming and making grunting noises. In the wild, chimps hunt and eat meat, but at Chinfunshi they only get fruit and vegetables. They eat 7kg every day. They love bananas and when we were there one chimp kept clapping and pointing at the lemons. So Sylvia, (Sheila’s daughter) knocked some lemons off the tree with a stick and threw them for the chimpanzees. One chimp went and collected the lemons for himself and even stole them off other chimps. Chimps can live for about 60 years.

When we went back to the car, there was a peacock standing on the bonnet. Daddy was not happy because the peacock did a big poo on the windscreen.


Then we drove to the big chimp enclosures. We met a lady called Manon from the University of St. Andrew in Scotland. She was an evolutionary biologist. She goes to Chinfunshi for three months every year. She is doing some research. The chimps know how to use water fountains and she has put a special fountain in their enclosure. This fountain gives juice. But the chimps can’t reach the juice when they press the button, they have to press the button for another chimp to get it. She was looking to see if they would help each other.

We met four chimps that they called the escape artists. These chimps escaped by using trees and leaning them up against the fence and climbing up like a ladder. When they escaped they broke into the food storage and ate it all. One of the chimps was called Mila. She was brought to the orphanage by Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall is in our Rebel Girl book. Mila was kept in a pub and people gave her beer and cigarettes. When we were watching, she clapped her hands to get attention, then held out her cup and pointed to the water fountain. The man filled her cup up.

On the way to our campsite Daddy saw a snake on the road! It was short and fat and we thought it might be a puff adder! At our campsite there was a little playground and the men made us a big fire! I helped Daddy make stirfry for dinner. It was yummy!

Liuwa Plains National Park

After Ngonye Falls we drove to Kalabo. This is the entrance to the Liuwa Plains National Park. To get into the park we had to drive onto a pontoon. It held 2 cars at a time. Daddy, the driver of the other car and 2 other men pulled on the rope to make the pontoon cross the river. On the other side there was a a hill of deep sand. We got stuck. Lots of people tried to push us out, but Daddy aired down the tyres and we were ok.

We drove through sand to our campsite. In the ladies toilets there were lots of bats hanging from the roof! We had a big fire. Mummy and Daddy were amazed as only 3 people have stayed in the campsite all year!

The next day we drove through the park. First we saw a sausage tree. The seeds of the tree look like big fat sausages!

We saw lots of wildebeest. We didn’t see any cape buffalo or lions. There was lots of grass. That night Daddy pulled out lots of grass from under the car.

At the end of the park we got a bit lost. A village man jumped on the side of the car and helped us through the Luambimba river.The water was really deep! There were lots of overgrown trees and they kept breaking on top of the car. We went past lots of villages.

We did a wild camp that night and had another big fire. Then we drove to the Zambezi River. We took another pontoon, but this time no one had to pull a rope because it was powered by an engine. The pontoon was on the other side of the river so we had to sound our air horn to let them know we were there.

We were going to keep heading north, but Daddy found the fuel tank had broken. So we decided to turn around and go to Lusaka. It was a long way, and the road was wretched. There were lots of pot holes on the dirt roads and the tar roads. We slept outside a police checkpoint because the campground was closed. Daddy couldn’t open the back door so all we could have for dinner was cheese!

Then we drove to Lusaka through Kafue National Park. It was dark and we saw 2 spotted hyena. Mummy saw a snake that climbed up a tree.

Because we had cheese for dinner, Daddy bought me a pizza for lunch. It was delicious!





Zambia – Ngonye Falls

We spent our last night in Namibia at a campsite outside a Protea Hotel. It was on the bank of the Zambezi river. The river is very big. We were hoping to see hippos and crocodiles. We didn’t see any hippos, but we did see a crocodile floating down the river in the morning. Mummy thought it was a wooden log because it was so still and straight, but in the pirate telescope it was definitely a a crocodile!


It took about 2 hours to get through the border. First we had to leave Namibia, then we drove into Zambia. It was crazy. There was nowhere to park and lots of people yelling. In the office there were lots of booths that Daddy needed to visit to get different papers. It was a bit boring.

Finally we were done and we were in Zambia! So we have a new flag on the car.

z flag

Then we drove to Ngonye Falls. We stayed at a community campsite. The guy lit a fire and heated water for us. Then he poured the water into a bucket with a shower nozzle on it. Mummy made us wash our feet as we were very dirty. We walked to the river but didn’t see any animals. We saw lots of prints though. There were lots of dolerite rocks and you could see where they had melted! The sand was really white.

We walked to the falls in the morning. The guy showed us where to go and we were glad he came or we would have got lost. We had to climb over lots of rocks.  At one bit you could hear water running underneath them. There were lots of waterfalls in the river. It was very pretty. He told us the river is very low because the rain had failed and all the farmers crops had died.

Then we kept driving north.