Zambia’s enchanting Kafue National Park

There is silence in the dining area, and about the dinner table only a peaceful clinking and tinkling and scraping of cutlery, as we take pleasure in a mouth watering mushroom risotto. The eating home sits atop a a hill, looking eastward about Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, in the southern section of Zambia’s Kafue National Park. Antique lanterns illuminate the desk and surrounding deck and, in the peaceful, we can hear loud splashing noises coming from the water. Abandoning our places at the desk, we shift to the edge of the decking and seem out into the darkness. Impressive torchlight illuminates twenty or 30 hippos, all grazing, stomping and splashing in the shallows and on the shore. A little bit skittish, likely sensation a tiny exposed and susceptible, they quarrel with a single a different, periodically dashing toward the drinking water and sending up in plumes of spray. We hadn’t anticipated hippos, in this sort of numbers, to pay a visit to right after dark. Looking up, the stary skies overhead were being mirrored by the twinkling lights of the local fisherman’s camps, and the lamps on their dugout canoes, as they fished in the darkness. Right after dinner we retired to mattress, leaving the hippos in peace, and in the morning, opening the doors to our area, we lay in bed listening to them, still munching, as a amazing sunrise lit up the sky in a kaleidoscope of colours.

As we head to breakfast a huge observe lizard swaggers earlier in the grass, and we come across a leopard’s footprints on decking beside the dining area – it had plainly arrive for a consume from the pool although we’d been asleep. Throughout daylight hours there’s a frequently switching array of wildlife in entrance of the lodge, with puku, bushbuck, impala, vervet monkeys and a troop of banded mongoose, all extremely at residence listed here, and elephants no strangers to camp.

We are at Konkamoya, in Kafue Nationwide Park, Zambia’s oldest and major National Park, and one of the continent’s wildest. Kafue is named for the river, the lifeblood of the park, that dissects it nearly north to south. The Kafue River is the premier tributary of the Zambezi. A significant river, up to 400m wide in areas, and in other places interspersed with islands, granite boulders and speedy flowing rapids. It is the Kafue that eventually feeds the gorgeous, nevertheless somewhat undeveloped, guy-made, Lake Itezhi-Tezhi.

Kafue is an unspoilt wilderness, a land without the need of fences and with several streets, but with an incredible array of wildlife. Nowhere else in Africa can you see blue duiker, sable, roan, pink lechwe, Lichenstein’s and Defassa hartebeest, elephant, buffalo, leopard, wild pet, hyena, hippo and yellow backed duiker all in just one park. Whilst Kafue does not have the big herds of activity that can be located in other parks, what it lacks in density it much more than will make up for in range. There are at least 161 species of mammal, 6 cat species, and 22 species of antelope (Kafue boasts the best antelope diversity of any African park). The park is also dwelling to close to 500 species of birds.

Konkamoya implies “follow the wind” in the community language, Nyanja. The lodge was created in 2010, immediately after founder, Andrea Porro, identified this piece of paradise. Andrea was born and elevated in Milan, but his curiosity in wildlife, from childhood, experienced led him to review zoology and pure sciences. Combining his like of wildlife with his enthusiasm for images, Andrea travelled the environment, like Zambia, where by in 2007 he identified Kafue Countrywide Park. Repeated visits ensued, culminating in his conclusion to plant roots in the park. Andrea suggests “When for the first time I arrived in the Kafue, now more than 10 many years ago, as a wildlife photographer and passionate zoologist, I absolutely fell in like and made the decision to change my life. From Italy, my birthplace, I moved my home onto the banking companies of the Itezhi-Tezhi Lake, a magical place… My aim is to share my passion and my household in the bush with a compact range of guests… to offer a actual close-up experience with Mother Mother nature in 1 of the wildest and considerably less acknowledged parts of the Kafue NP… For me this is a make any difference of appreciate and I am in no way too drained for an additional thrilling drive late at evening, to keep track of an elusive aardvark or to locate the lions calling nearby”

Andrea didn’t waste time through covid. Freshly refurbished, and nearly unrecognisable from my very last visit a handful of years back, this compact and distinctive lodge has experienced a main makeover. Apart from his various other capabilities, Andrea has turned his hand to carpentry, and developed all the picket furniture in the lodge – chairs, beds, tables, cabinets, benches and more. With only four, spacious, luxury safari tents, accommodating a highest of 8 individuals, the lodge assures you an personal relationship to the surrounding wilderness. Every of the 4 tents are on elevated wood platforms, superior ample to prevent any unwelcome attendees! Within, each individual has an open system bedroom and sitting down place, with an adjacent rest room and shower. All the tents are east struggling with and have marvellous sights of the dawn, from your bed, your lounge place or your non-public verandah. Electric power is powered by solar, so there is no generator to disturb the peace of the bush, the roar of a lion, the grunt of a hippo, or the distant call of a Pel’s fishing owl.

Out on video game drives we have been scorching on the heels of hyena, lion and leopard tracks. Birds were being just about everywhere, from the red-confronted mousebirds to grey headed gulls. Mayer’s parrots, egrets, spoonbills, cormorants and storks, watchful fish eagles perched in trees overlooking the water and pelicans soared overhead. Halting for a consume we abruptly uncovered ourselves in the ‘thick of things’ as a herd of elephants decided to cross the highway ahead of us. The team was big and it appeared to consider permanently for them to cross. Elephant immediately after elephant walked in entrance of us, major 1, small kinds, moms, toddlers, teenagers. Some stopped to stare, others shook the branches of trees hoping to dislodge fruit, a few young males experimented with to display one particular a different ‘who was boss’. Following pretty much 30 minutes there were being continue to a couple of stragglers who experienced still to cross the road, so we determined to give up on waiting around, and turning the car all around, headed back again the way we’d appear.

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Foods is a definite highlight of your keep at Konkamoya. A basic but tasty lunch of sliced salamis and prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and pesto salad, accompanied by home made focaccia. Dinners of mouth-watering risotto, homemade pasta, scrumptious roasted meats, or traditional slim crust pizza built in the lodge’s wood burning oven. Meals are wonderful, and are all accompanied by Italian wines. The menu is arranged and individually overseen by Caterina Ferazzini who joined Konkamoya in 2019, and has been passionately overseeing all the things from reservations to human resources and catering ever considering that.  She is the one particular liable for all the delectable dishes you are going to uncover on your plate. Thanks to Andrea and Caterina’s backgrounds, the menu is strongly influenced by Italian cooking and, like any Italian dwelling, the kitchen area is at the coronary heart of the lodge.

Normally overlooked in favour of Zambia’s more compact parks, Kafue is a sleeping large. One of Africa’s oldest and most significant parks, but still 1 of its wildest, this is a remote wonderland, with amazing rivers, wide open up plains, woodlands, gorgeous scenery, wildlife and birds. The emotion of remoteness is palpable in this untouched wilderness, but at Konkamoya you are going to certainly experience at household.

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