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AFRICA - Lusaka, Zambia & John’s Camp, Mana Pools Zimbabwe

“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?”- Brian Jackman

Africa. Growing up in Danville Virginia, the closest I ever thought I was ever going to get to Africa, was singing “Africa” off of the the first vinyl LP I ever received, Toto’s IV. I never thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity to visit this amazing continent, meet the people, taste the food, and see the wildlife. When we touched down in Lusaka, I knew that I was on the trip of a lifetime and something inside of me would be different after this journey.

We started our trip flying from Amsterdam to Nairobi and then Nairobi to Lusaka, Zambia. Once we arrived in Zambia we had the most lovely folks pick us up from the airport and take us to a gorgeous hotel called Latitude 13. Exhausted from the trip, all I wanted to do was sleep but was way too excited. I wanted to explore this gorgeous place that has been curated with the most beautiful artwork.

I also decided to treat myself and got a massage, facial and mani-pedi. My wonderful masseuse/esthetician was from the area and told me all about the Zambian culture. I could have spent days listening to her stories of life there, her family, the country, the food and more. More than pampering, I felt so privileged and honored to spend 4 hours with this lovely woman and find out all about her world. 

The next morning at 6:30am our transport arrived to take us to Zimbabwe where we would get our visas to enter the country and board a boat for a 2 and a half hour boat ride to John’s Camp at Mana Pools.

We boarded the boat and I cracked my first Zimbazee beer as the boat sped along the water. I may have a new favorite beer! Zambezi!

It is the summer season in Africa and the temperatures climbed to 114 while we were there. I went to school in Columbia SC with no AC for the first 3 years, so I know hot, but not like this.

This is hot, hot, hot and the mist of the water felt so good. As we rode along we began to see the animals!

The hippos, the elephants and the monkeys! I was like a child seeing everything for the first time! There they were! In real life!!

The hippos swimming in the water and the elephants standing at the waters edge! I couldn't help but see God everywhere I looked. What would this earth look like without all the man has done to it? I felt like I was seeing nature as it was intended and my heart almost burst with excitement.

I would have that feeling every time I saw an animal, or the sunrise or the sunset.

I would feel it as I looked at the moon, which looks the opposite of how it is at home. Below the equator it is upside down. Who knew? Probably everyone, but I didn’t. I was seeing everything for the first time.

I had fallen in love with Africa.

Madly in love.

John's Camp is a beautiful spot with gorgeous tents and a fabulous staff. The amount of work these 11 people do to make you feel so comfortable, so at home, is absolutely amazing! Our guides Mark and Obit were so brilliant. From the largest animal to the smallest one, the insects to the fauna and flora, there was nothing that one could ask them that they did not have the answer. It was a privilege to be with the guides and I found that the entire time I was in Africa. These folks study for years and years and years and undergo rigorous testing to be a guide, and they share it all with you!

After 3 marvelous days with Tawonda, our incredible, outstanding host and his amazing team, it was time to head back to the boat and make our way down the Zambezi river back to Zambia, to head to Camp Nkwali in the heart of the Luanga Valley.

Our adventure had just begun and I could not wait to see what the next 3 camps and 2 countries would share with me!

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