Posted by: wildsidezambia | December 12, 2013

CHIKONDI’S FIRST TIME ON SAFARI


Judith Phiri, Karien’s assistant at Wild Side in Livingstone, experienced one of the three new Kayube bungalows for the first time last weekend with her husband Joseph and one-year old daughter Chikondi. This is her story:

“Having spent a weekend at Kayube with my family, and as the first to stay in “Totulalu”, it felt like Christmas came early this year. The bungalows are so fantastic with superb scenery.

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Posted by: wildsidezambia | November 27, 2013

Cowbells down the Zambezi


It took true grit and determination. Although the characteristically modest David Lemon says: “It is entirely due to not wanting to look too much of a fool by biting off more than I can chew”.

David Lemon’s new book about his epic walk along the mighty Zambezi, from its source at Mwinilunga in Northern Zambia to Siavonga on Lake Kariba tells of the incredible highs, but also of the lowest lows of his six month journey.

Cowbells

At 67 years old, most people of his age would be putting their feet up in front of the fire with a pipe. Instead, David took his feet along a 1800km walk, carrying a 30kg backpack, smoking his beloved pipe (and on occasion losing it on one of his many falls) at his various shelters along the banks of the Zambezi.

David originally set out to walk the entire length (2,574km) of the Zambezi, a project that became too ambitious even for David’s indomitable adventurous spirit. The realisation of this almost crushes him, until he meets a tribal elder, Sylvester, who tells him that ‘he is not giving up, he is just taking a break’. David decides to do just that, not giving up, but taking some time to gain the weight he lost and give his battered body a break. He intends carrying on the 1200km walk left along the Zambezi to its mouth in Mozambique in April 2014. 

He tells of his harrowing days stumbling through the sodden Luena plains, and climbing over seemingly never ending rocks through the gorges. Along the way he meets friendly Zambian villagers, who invariably invite him to share their nshima and fish with them. He also comes across lordly cabinet ministers, drug smugglers, bandits, colourful tribal chiefs and game lodge owners. Everyone metes out the legendary Zambian hospitality and try to help wherever they can.

On his trip David eats anything from roast rat, fried flying ants and boiled monkey to tender roast fillets. Despite this the weight falls off him.

It is in this state that he arrives at Kayube River Estate, where Karien has an enormous strawberry cake waiting for him. Karien refuses to let him carry on before he has put on some weight and feeds him up with plates brimming with delicious and nourishing meals.

“It was great having David staying with us, quietly reading and getting his strength back, never in the way and with great stories at the dinner table!”, says Karien. “At the same time we had this boisterous Italian staying at the ‘Mama Out of Africa’. They were two completely opposite characters. Enrico was a rep for Davidoff Tobacco. He saved David’s sanity by sending him some tobacco from Italy”.

David enjoys a quiet time at Kayube River Estate

David enjoys a quiet time at Kayube River Estate


The Kermers’ friends Sandy and Patrick Danckwerts carry on fattening David up when he catches up with them at their cottage at Sinazongwe where David spends a few days before taking on the last part of the gruelling walk.

‘Cowbells Down the Zambezi’ is a fascinating account of his 184 days battling the heat, mosquitoes, thick bush, the notorious wag ‘n bietjie thorns, the loss of his beloved Kindle and at times crippling bouts of depression. Yet the spectacular sunsets, magnificent panoramas and crystal clear daybreaks and the wonderful people along the way make up for the tough times. 

‘Cowbells Down the Zambezi’ is available in South Africa through Kalahari.com for R258.97. It is also available on Kindle.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | September 17, 2013

….and the winner is!!!!!!!!


Earlier this year we offered on the FB page ‘ I love Zambia’ a 2 night stay at Kayube Estate for the 1000 person to ‘like’ ‘I love Zambia’

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We reached 1000 sometime in August – The winner Hector Guerra from Mexico  – Hector is now enjoying Livingstone together with Amelie Sayer from Switzerland. They added an extra 2 nights to their stay.

Arriving from Lusaka on Sunday, where the two of them had attended a week long Disarmament Conference and had to work very hard on these serious issues. Amelie said that approx 100 countries were represented in Lusaka, the majority of the delegates being government officials from foreign- and defence ministries as well as ambassadors. Only a smaller group of approx 50  of the 250 participants were like themselves from NGO’s

It seems to be difficult for the couple to pull themselves away from Kayube to experience the thrills of Livingstone and The Victoria Falls.

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Amelie and Hector could not believe their luck when they spotted 18 elephants across the river, the first morning while lazing around the pool. In the late afternoon during their sundowner drink a herd of 70 buffalo came to the Zambezi to graze and drink. In between there were baboons, warthog and some other wildlife, with hippo’s cooling down in the water most of the day.

At 6 am this morning they were on the way to ride an elephant at Mukuni Big 5 which they thoroughly enjoyed. After a breakfast in town and some shopping at the crafts market in Mukuni Park, they just wanted to go back to Kayube to go it slow on the Zambezi

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Tomorrow a visit to Livingstone Island with a swim in the Devil’s pool in the middle of the Victoria Falls is on their wish list, again first thing in the morning.

In the afternoon a cruise on The Zambezi from their own doorstep at Kayube.

They are such happy winners and we just love having them around!!

Posted by: wildsidezambia | July 23, 2013

Livingstone undergoes radical facelift


Livingstone is hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Conference, together with Victoria Falls, from 24-29 August.

And the changes that have already taken place in preparation to welcome several hundred international conference delegates are quite incredible!

There has been a huge change in the infrastructure in the town, starting with the resurfacing of the airport road as all as the main roads (including the infamous ‘bubblegum’ road towards the Falls!). A new $12m arrivals and departure hall is also under construction.

Livingstone's new airports building under construction at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport

Livingstone’s new airports building under construction at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (photo Gill Staden)

Many of the minor roads have also been tarred and drainage has been put into place. Lots of new trees have been planted. Most of the buildings have received a new coat of paint and there is improvement visible everywhere. A new cultural centre is being built and there is talk of a big new conference venue for the future.

Zambia’s domestic airline, Proflight, has acquired a bigger plane and therefore more capacity for connecting flights from the capital Lusaka. Kenyan Airways have recently added Livingstone to their route and National Airports is negotiating with another three international airlines to fly into Livingstone.

Says Karien: “The face of Livingstone has already been changed and the best news for the tourism industry is that eventually the Zambian Government has accepted the idea of tourism being an important industry for the country.

“Tourism was previously never on the Government’s priority list, but now that the interest has been created Government is doing their bit to make it work. Apart from the new infrastructure, there have been many workshops for employees in the tourism industry from front office, to food and beverage, to marketing to raise the standard. Through radio communication with the Livingstone community there is now awareness throughout the town that everybody is part of this great new opportunity and not just the private operators of hotels and activity providers.

“For very many years street vendors crowded the pavements in front of shops, trading illegally and making the place look dirty with all the rubbish that was thrown into the gutters. They have all been removed and will get space in the new market.

“The more professional approach by not just the people involved in the tourism industry but the Zambian people as a whole together with the new tourism infrastructure will greatly benefit visitors.

“Now that there is so much awareness within government there will no doubt be a big change noticeable within the Government institutions that has been making entering Zambia a major headache. The visa requirements for many countries have been changed to make it easier to visit. Entering by vehicle will in the future also be made easier as there is talk within Government that changes are urgently needed.

“The offerings for visitors to Livingstone have already been plentiful for many years. There is enough to do for a visitor for a week or more, not just as an extension on a southern African holiday but as a holiday destination as a whole. With a short visit to any of our interesting neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana, not even an hours’ drive away at the most, we have quite a few added extra’s as well. Livingstone itself has had for many years a lot to offer, be it adrenalin activities or wildlife viewing and interaction, cultural visits, the Victoria Falls of course and the Zambezi River and natural beauty in general, the list is endless.

“We see it all as very positive and are already very happy with the many changes the town has seen in such a short span of time”, says Karien.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | July 3, 2013

Kayube Estate’s links to Out of Africa


Kayube Estate could be described as a Zambian version of ‘A Farm in Africa’, made famous in the film Out of Africa.

Countess Corinna von Blücher fell in love with this part of Zambia and bought Kayube Estates in 1992. She now shares this amazing place as well as part of her own residence with guests who love nature, wildlife and the romance of the Zambezi as much as she does. Countess Von Blücher divides her time between Zambia and her Bavarian Mountain Lodge.

Countess Corinna von Blücher with Karien

Countess Corinna von Blücher with Karien

Kayube River House, Countess von Blücher’s home here, was originally built as a house on stilts within meters of the Zambezi River. Once she was satisfied, after several years, that it remained far enough from the water even during floods, she built the downstairs area, which is now rented out to guests.

Kayube River House was built in two stages

Kayube River House was built in two stages

The working part of the farm has several fruit trees (lemons, orange trees) as well as cattle on the inland part of the farm. Kayube Farm provides work for seven Zambians and they live on the farm with their families.

The farm is also an important resting place for the ancestors of the Royal Chundu Establishment and every year In November a ceremony is held to call upon the ancestors for good rains and good harvest during the Lliwindi Ceremony.

Situated just upriver from the house on the same farm is the Mama Out of Africa that also has a remarkable history. The old-shaped bus, now retired under a huge sloping thatch roof has been converted into accommodation for 2-4 with an outside bathroom, seating area and game viewing platform. The bus was driven down from Munich in Germany in the early eighties by Peter Kermer, a trip that took for months to East Africa. Since then it has travelled many miles all over Africa and became known as the ‘Okavango Mama’.

Mama Out Of Africa

Mama Out Of Africa

Her claim to fame is that she once served as the dressing room on the set of the famous movie ‘Out of Africa’ – hence her current name, Mama Out of Africa.

These unique self-catering options are ideal as holiday rentals for a week or more, but can also be rented for a minimum of two nights.

Three new river-facing cottages are being built as we speak. All the accommodation options are directly situated on the banks of the Zambezi and are totally private, hidden away amongst huge Jackalberry, Waterberry, Camelthorn and Winterthorn trees. Hence the name Kayube which means ‘hide-away’

The location, 18 km upstream from The Victoria Falls and 25 km from Livingstone, is stunning and romantic. Transport to and from town as well as to nearby Chobe can be arranged.

Wildlife can be heard and spotted right across the river in The Zambezi National Park. There are fantastic birding opportunities, day and night and the haunting cry of the fish eagle is often heard.

A river-boat is available for cruises, bird and game viewing as well as fishing.

Sunset over the 12-seater safari boat, the 'African Finfoot'

Sunset over the 12-seater safari boat, the ‘African Finfoot’

A new ‘croc pool’, a wire-caged swimming pool in the river, will be installed in the summer months.

Kayube Estates is managed by Karien and Peter Kermer.

If you wish to experience your little bit of Out of Africa, click here for more information.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | June 7, 2013

More ways to fly into Livingstone


Welcomed by arches of water by the airports’ fire engines, Kenya Airways’ inaugural flight from Nairobi arrived in Livingstone to much fanfare this afternoon. The new route will be operating on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Kenya Airways gets a traditional spray down welcome on its first flight into Livingstone

Kenya Airways gets a traditional spray down welcome on its first flight into Livingstone

Overseas visitors can now fly via Nairobi into Livingstone. Up until now international tourists only had the option of flying to Livingstone via Lusaka or Johannesburg – where the South African authorities instigated the Yellow Fever requirements. Flying via Nairobi circumvents this pesky requirement (Zambian and South African health authorities are currently in talks to have it scrapped altogether).

“It will also bring a whole new market of Kenyan travellers who now see the opportunity to extend a couple of days to see the Falls”, says Karien Kermer. “There are excellent connections to various destinations overseas via Nairobi so it is great news for Livingstone.”

A stylishly dressed Minister of Tourism Sylvia Masebo welcomes the first  Kenya Airways flight into Livingstone

a stylishly dressed Minister of Tourism Sylvia Masebo welcomes the first Kenya Airways flight into Livingstone

From 2 June 2013, the new flight will operate three times weekly via Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe on the Nairobi – Livingstone – Harare – Nairobi routing.

This is Air Kenya’s second destination in Zambia as it already flies to Lusaka and Ndola.

The arrival and departure halls at Livingstone Airport are in the process of being enlarged significantly which is good news to arriving passengers who sometimes have had to queue right out of the door for passport control! The work is expected to be completed later this year.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | May 31, 2013

Huey takes to the skies over Livingstone


If the instantly recognisable sound of a helicopter does something to you, you will absolutely love Livingstone’s newest addition to the must-do list of adventures: a 20 minute skim over tree tops and a breath-taking fly-through just meters above the river in the the Batoka Gorge in the Zambezi valley just below the falls – in a giant Huey.

The Huey about to take off from Baobab Ridge

The Huey about to take off from Baobab Ridge

The open doors add to the thrill. Don’t expect to come back with your hair intact – rather with all the cobwebs blown out! And with an awesome experience behind your belt.

The big chopper, with its distinctive heavy thudding sound, takes between eight to 13 passengers. Take off is from the Baobab Ridge helicopter base, within view of the Mosi O’Tunya – the ‘smoke that thunders’.

Skimming over the Zambezi river in the Batoka Gorge...

Skimming over the Zambezi river in the Batoka Gorge…

The helicopter was developed by Bell Helicopter for the US Army and first flew in October 1956. Since then 16 000 have been produced and around 7000 UH-1’s, as the helicopter is officially known, saw service in Vietnam. It is powered by a single, turbo shaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor.

The costs per person for the Livingstone flight are US$290. For more information and bookings contact Wild Side Tours in Livingstone on info@victoriafallszambia.travel or visit http://www.victoriafallszambia.travel/Adventure_Flight

Other flight options over the Victoria Falls are smaller helicopters (US$155 for a 12 minute flip) or a microlight ((US$168 for a 15 minute flight).
For detailed info go directly to:
http://www.victoriafallszambia.travel/Helicopter_12_minutes_UAC
http://www.victoriafallszambia.travel/Microlight_Flights_30_Minutes

Posted by: wildsidezambia | May 21, 2013

Little ones see lion in the wild for the first time


Wild Side Tours last week sponsored a pre-school trip for the Bambini Asilo school (Monica Banks Memorial trust school) to the Mukuni Big Five game reserve in Livingstone, giving the over-awed youngsters their first glimpse of lions in the wild.

The children of Bambini Asilo walk in a neat file on their way to see the lions at Mukuni Big 5

The children of Bambini Asilo walk in a neat file on their way to see the lions at Mukuni Big 5

The Bambini Asilo School was set up and by Maria Oronti Mauri. She organised funding through her son in Santa Domingo and friends in her native Italy, until her untimely death in June last year. Maria was passionate about Zambia and her school, and her son Thomas Oronti still carries on with the sponsorships – along with regular visitor Gaby Hohlweck and her friends, also from Italy.

The charity, named Jacaranda, recently built a borehole for the school among other things and are in the process of building a new secondary school in the same area, near the airport. They also sponsor a pre-school in Fubo near Monze, 300km from Livingstone.

Many of the children who grow up in Zambia never get to see wildlife in their natural surrounds. “That is so sad”, says Karien Kermer of Wild Side Tours. “It was wonderful to see the excitement and the awe in the little one’s faces when they actually got to see the lions at Mukuni close up”. (Children aren’t allowed to walk with the lions, unlike adults).

A big yawn...

A big yawn…

The lions are all part of a carefully monitored programme to re-introduce lions into areas where they used to occur but where their numbers have dwindled by up to shocking 80%. By the time the cubs that form the first stages of the programme reach the age of about three they are released in a large holding area where they start fending for themselves without human help – although they are closely monitored in case there are problems. Their offspring are totally wild and grow up being taught life’s skills by their parents. These are the ones that are eventually reintroduced into the planned 80000 ha Mukuni Game Reserve just north of Livingstone the area North of Lake Kariba.

For bookings for an unforgettable African wildlife experience, no matter what age you are, visit http://www.victoriafallszambia.travel/Lion_Cheetah_Experience.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 29, 2013

Famous Dutch DJ falls in love with Livingstone


Percy Oosterveen, a popular DJ from Utrecht in The Netherlands, was invited to liven up the ‘Oranjefeest’ at the Dutch Embassy in Lusaka. The auspicious occasion is the crowning of the new King of the Netherlands, Willem Alexander, on 30 April 2013.

Percy and his friend Jesse Bobeldijk were flown to Lusaka courtesy of KLM. They of course wanted to see more of Zambia and made their way down to Livingstone, staying at the Mama Out of Africa on the banks of the Zambezi. Here Percy happily exchanged the loud world of DJ-ing for a few days of the absolute quiet you can only find in the African bush.

Percy enjoying the peace and quiet in front of the Mama

Percy enjoying the peace and quiet in front of the Mama

In Percy’s own words:

“Being at Mama Out of Africa is simply amazing! A natural piece of art right at the banks of the Zambezi.

This beautiful lodge with everything you need gave us a real Zambian experience we’ll never forget.

The stunning views of the river, the rich wild life and the moonlight over the river at night makes this place both a romantic and adventurous place.

We had the pleasure to stay over at the Mama for three days and we completely recharged our batteries. Still far too short for everything livingstone has to offer and missing it already!

During our stay we went of course to the Victoria Falls. This must see in Livingstone is an overwhelming experience! I have never seen such big and beautiful waterfalls in my life. The power of the water is enormous and the natural park around the falls feels like being in a tropical rain forest in april.

DJ Percy & Munene Apr 2013

During our second day we experienced the rich wild life. Munene Kermer (above, right) took us first on a boat trip in the African Finfoot on the Zambezi river. For the first time in my life I saw elephants, crocodiles, hippo’s, impala’s and several special birds in their natural habitat.

Percy took this photo of an elephant on the Zambezi

Percy took this photo of an elephant on the Zambezi

After the boat trip we took a game safari during the afternoon. Again the rich Zambian wild life of rhino’s, buffalo’s, zebra’s, elephants were exposed to us. Simply beautifull!

The kindness and hospitality from the owners Karien and Peter and their son Munene was amazing. We were allowed to use their truck and boat and they guided us in the area. They showed us the best spots in the area and gave us an experience never too forget.”

For more info on the Mama Out of Africa at Kayube Estate, visit http://www.victoriafallszambia.travel/Mama_Out_of_Africa. You can also email info@victoriafallszambia.travel or go to our Facebook page, I Love Zambia.

Posted by: wildsidezambia | April 17, 2013

Suni doing well


The fate of the feisty little elephant, Suni, remains very close to our hearts (we reported on her in July 2012) and we are happy to hear that she is doing well!

Suni, now 18 months old, has walked a long road towards recovery following an axe attack a year ago this month. She is surrounded by a team of carers that are constantly amazed at her resillience and her spirit.

Suni and her best friend 'Bezi'

Suni and her best friend ‘Bezi’

With Suni as inspiration, Andrew White, education advisor for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation will be cycling through Zambia along with two cousins, in aid of the Elephant Orphanage Project, part of Game Rangers International and supported by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

“Suni represents everything that is amazing about an elephant and at the same time why we must do something right now to stop the cruel and senseless act of poaching”, says Andrew.

Suni has now been fitted with an especially designed boot to support her damaged leg. Andrew recounts: “Every brace that was applied to support her leg fell apart, often within minutes. However in flew Mark and Dan from Norway and USA and with help Nigel Goodman created an elephant boot! Their first visit was a frantic week of designing; manufacturing and fitting a unique leg support made of aluminium, PVC and leather, with various strappings and looking like an elephant snow board! The excitement and emotion from all involved when Suni finally walked normally for the first time in her brand new Elephant Boot was huge.

Suni and her fancy new boot (photos Andrew White)

Suni and her fancy new boot (photos Andrew White)

“The improvements were rapid and for a few weeks there was no stopping Suni, as she charged about the bush with her elephant friends, but her increased activity and vigour was too much for her boot, and wear and tear took its toll and she snapped it across the sole, leaving her bootless over Christmas… However thanks to the generosity of Suni’s supporters, the boot team returned with an even better boot that continues to see Suni bound around Lilayi like every young elephant should, full of verve and energy, a year on from her attack. She still needs constant care but thanks to her efforts and that of the all the people involved in her rehabilitation she has a chance.”

If you would like to know more about the work of Game Rangers International, the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation or Andrew’s cycle ride please explore the following Internet links: http://www.davidshepherd.org/ http://www.cyclezambia.co.uk/@CycleZambia.

We at Wild Side Tours & Safaris are right behind Andrew White’s cycle ride, which takes place in August.

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