In our pre-trip reconnaissance, it became abundantly clear that the better traveled Mfuwe/South Luangwa park area saw many more visitors, and organizations were better organized in getting support for schools, clinics and other projects. The Kafue park, neglected by the government for decades, has fewer facilities within the park. And, the philanthropic efforts supporting people in the area are not as evident on the Internet.
We connected with folks at the Kafue Trust, and offered to bring something small in size, but would still help support a camp endeavor. We also offered to bring something still small, but possibly more expensive, with the understanding that we be reimbursed. After several e-mails back and forth, we agreed to bring an infrared, motion-detecting camera for the Nanzhila Plains camp. (This was just one more item that TSA ignored in our bags.) The camera would catch nocturnal camp visitors on the prowl – often only detected by their tracks the morning after.
We presented the camera to Brad and Ruth. Brad, the gadget guy, couldn’t wait to get it up and running. Rather than be reimbursed in dollars or kwacha, we graciously accepted an offered trade: dinner, and an overnight stay in one of the camp’s chalets. We had a delightful dinner with our hosts, hearing tales of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and the local issues in the Kafue area. Truth be told, I think we got the better end of the bargain.
We reluctantly ended the evening – this was our last night at Nanzhila, with several hours of road, plus a fuel stop, ahead of us to our next camp. The tink tink tink of the reed frogs lulled us to sleep as we wondered what the next day would bring.