Touchdown in Zambia

It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting in a small, twenty-seater plane on my way from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, to the remote town of Mfuwe in the east of the country. Looking down to the ground far, far below me, I start to wonder if those tiny dots I can see below could in fact be elephants or hippos, and wondering what the next two weeks has in store for me.

I’m a Discovery and Learning Officer for ZSL London Zoo, and when I’m not teaching education sessions at the zoo, I spend some of my time helping out with a conservation education project in the North Luangwa National Park in Zambia. This, however, is the first time I have actually been to Zambia, and I can’t contain my excitement to be nearly there.


Small aircraft on runway
The small plane that took me to Mfuwe


We touch down at Mfuwe airport at 1pm, and I am met by a super-friendly guide from the tourist camp where I will be spending my first night, before I start work properly tomorrow. I bundle into the four wheel drive vehicle with two other guests, and we set off on the 45 minute journey to the camp, bristling with anticipation as our guide tells us we might even see some animals on the way!


Roadside stalls in Mfuwe
Roadside stalls in Mfuwe


Sure enough, after passing through the small roadside shacks of Mfuwe town, we see yellow baboons, a Thornicroft giraffe, and even an African elephant. It’s strange to think that less than a day ago I was back in grey, rainy London, and now I am travelling along a dusty, orange track in the sweltering heat of the midday sun, in the heart of Africa.


An adult baboon and a couple of youngsters

As if I needed any reminder of how far I am from home, the first thing I see on my arrival at the camp is an elephant and her calf standing right outside my tent. After waiting cautiously for them to amble away, I go in and put down my bags, but there’s no time for hanging around, as I’m being picked up soon to go on an evening wildlife drive, and  get a taste for what the Zambian bush has to offer.





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