South Luangwa Valley: Kapani Lodge

Kapani Lodge

This post is the first of about six that have been queuing up for an Internet connection. Forgive me if they have all been overtaken by events but I am hoping that most of you will feel better an out of date post than nothing at all…!

Also forgive me if I add photos later, if and when I can. So far it has proved tricky, as you know, so we’ll deal with words first.

After we had flushed the animals off the airstrip, and our charter light aircraft had re routed itself to pick us up from Shiwa we were picked up at Mfuwe airport by Brian, our guide for the next few days, who drove us straight to Kapani Lodge, actually just outside the Luangwa Valley National Park.

My parents loved the Luangwa Valley and as a youngster I will have visited the area probably several times but never before as a safari lodge visitor. My father had been involved in some fairly major way behind the scenes with Norman Carr’s plans for its formation into a national park. Kapani is one of the Norman Carr lodges, and apparently where Norman Carr himself settled after he retired. Two of his ‘children’ live there now apparently, but we did not see them.

The site is spread out along the river, which is already very low although the rains won’t come until October or November. There is a small number of chalets all complete with palatial double bed with mosquito nets hanging from a large frame above.  We have not seen  a single mozzie (predictive text inserts mozzarella here…) but better safe than sorry…

There is a most enticing looking swimming pool which we wondered about braving but never got further than talking about it. Winding bricked pathways lead to the reception and office and eventually to the large bar/dining area overlooking the river, where everybody eats together at the same large table. This may sound off putting but actually leads to a very friendly atmosphere and a most helpful and jovial sharing of tips and experiences.

Our last morning the sun was rising as we watched a family of elephant crossing the riverbed below while we enjoyed very early morning porridge and eggs cooked to order over a log fire.

The porridge tasted so delicious I asked the breakfast chef- a woman whose name I was told but forget now – how she made it. Her instructions were exactly as I make ours! The only difference was that she uses Jungle Oats, for my less tasty version I obviously rather unnecessarily go the the local health food shop to buy the best organic oats that money can buy… Another possibly more significant difference is the slow cooking in the open air over a log fire.

There has been the usual almost insurmountable difficulty getting onto the Internet, but Enoch, the manager, was most assiduous in his attempts to get us connected and did eventually succeed to my intense gratitude, and possibly your horror as you experienced a sudden surfeit of posts.

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Marion Fuller-Sessions

Retired and downsized, and sadly now widowed, but keeping in touch with family and friends and friends far and wide via my blog