Trip to Botswana

When Ryan and Sean were little, my dad (grampa) used to hook up a small trailer to his riding lawnmower and drive them around the yard. I often held them when I cut my lawn. Some say this is irresponsible. I don’t think there was much risk to safety and it was fun to get this picture from Ryan with Evan carrying on the tradition.

Ryan and Evan

June has started out slow at the Arts Cafe and unless we get some group bookings in the next few days, it will be a poor month for revenue. Zambian tourism seems to be in real trouble and 2011 is shaping up to be not much better than the previous two years which saw a sharp decline in numbers. Approximately 900,000 tourists visit Zambia and most come to Livingstone to see Victoria Falls but this number should be 1.5 to 2 million to really help the economy and tourist operators thrive.

itcMarilyn's latest group "Mama's Chocolate Cake"

As most of you know, all the staff we hire whether in the kitchen or on stage are singers, dancers, and drummers. This makes for some fun times when suddenly all the waiters and chefs get up on stage. Marilyn has been working with several of the girls and they have formed the group “Mama’s Chocolate Cake” which has nothing to do with skin colour. Marilyn makes a great chocolate cake and we have often taken one to share at work….thus the name. (In the picture above from l. to r. are Twaambo (Chef), Cecilia (Kitchen staff), Jane, Sandra, and Doreen (performers). Faith is missing.)

We don’t take much time off but look forward to Monday’s as the only day we are closed. Yesterday we took Kayleigh to Chobe National Park in Botswana. The day starts with a pick up by Walter at our house at 7am and the 1 hour trip to Botswana. A private boat takes us across the Zambezi which is quicker than waiting to get on the Ferry. On the Botswana side we were met by a driver whose name is ‘Six” who took us to the Safari Lodge for coffee. Guide ‘David” then walked us to the boat for a three hour trip down the river. Afterward we had a nice lunch and then a three hour game drive through Chobe National Park before returning to the boat back to Zambia and pick up by Walter. It is always a great day and this is our 6th time visiting the park with friends and family. However, this particular trip turned out to be one of the best ever because…………

On the Botswana shore with Walter

The other way of crossing the Zambezi

A male Kudu

Giraffes

Gentle Giants up close

Pod of Hippos

Mongoose family

Buffalo

Notice the roots on this tree

All this would have made for an amazing day but then something else happened. A group of tourists stopped our safari truck and told us they had just seen a pride of lions with cubs. Our driver asked us if we wanted to divert our route to see if we could find them and we all agreed. First we stopped to stretch our legs at a spot along the river.

Kayleigh and Six at the rest stop

THEN THIS……….

Up close with a pride of lions

Resting up for the next hunt

Meanwhile back home we all had a short nap and then Kayleigh wanted to take us out for dinner. We went to an Indian restaurant for some delicious (hot and spicy dishes)

Here’s a picture of Mwangala and Kayleigh at the Green Market

These women were fishing on the Zambezi in a dugout canoe

There are many signs of growth around Livingstone. The government is building a new ‘one stop’ centre for registering businesses, Spar grocery chain is building a new store in the town centre, and a new hotel is about to open. One sure sign of progress is the new (and very first) stop light which is being installed.

Livingstone's first stop light

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