Sunday 17 May 2015

Chundu Island, Zimbabwe

Chundu Island is a little (very little) island in the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. They run on solar power and tank water. They have no internet. There is apparently one spot where you can sometimes get phone reception if you hold your phone up in the air. And somehow, from this island, a lovely couple, one Zimbabwean, one originally British, run a lovely safari camp.

Hungry hungry (rogue) hippo
To get to the camp you drive for about 40 minutes to an hour from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, then you have to take a boat across the river. In the river, just where they cross over, there lives an irate bull hippopotamus who apparently habitually tries to attack the boat (which is really less a boat and more a raft I realise at this point). Welcome to safari!

We stayed on the island for a couple of days, doing game drives on the mainland in the morning and game cruises on the river in the afternoons. There was one other couple staying on the island, some lovely South Africans on their honeymoon who we got along very well with. Turns out we had quite a bit in common with them, they were Christians too, which was really encouraging, especially hearing about their work at LIV Village, but mostly Will and Rod bonded over being fellow bird-nerds and Ros and I indulged them. After a heavy day of safari, they would pull out the bird books and the photographs and start identifying the different species. You might think there's not much to this, but by thinking that you would just be exposing your ignorance! Sometimes, when it got particularly heated, Ros and I would get involved too. There was one kingfisher that I'm pretty sure we debated for at least 45 minutes. Did the brown on its belly extend all the way down? Did the grey on its head stop above the eye? Was there a band of white above the eye? (I don't know, is a band just like a stripe only fancy?) These are the questions that one must answer my friends! Must admit, I loved every minute. It was a bird lover's paradise. Kingfishers galore, African Fishing Eagles, ducks, heron, bee-eaters, cormorants and many more (I could name them all, I totally know what they all were now). Also hippos, crocodiles, some land mammals (including more baboons) and sunsets over the Zambezi River. Beautiful.

Storm clouds brewing over Zimbabwe
Cattle Egret flock over the Zambezi (Jackie's photo)

Giraffe first thing in the morning

 Woodland Kingfisher

Wood Sandpiper

Hawk Eagle


Baboons, mother and bub

Lizard Buzzard

White-fronted Bee-eater

Cape Vulture

Glossy Ibis

Knob-billed duck

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

African Fish-Eagle

Giant Kingfisher

Nile crocodile

Grey-headed Kingfisher


Baby Waterbuck

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