Honeymooners and SCUBA divers who can’t swim, Just another day on the Lake.

Over the week and long weekend we were quite lucky to get some keen clients into camp. We had a honeymoon couple who enjoyed private meals and moonlit campfires, a young group of Zambians from Lusaka keen on relaxing and snorkelling and lastly a surprise family group of Indians keen on trying SCUBA diving for the first time.

Lake Tanganyika, that rough and wily woman, has been calm and serene lately which was lucky for our clients who all arrived via transfer boats from Mpulungu.

On arrival the honeymooners were greeted and ushered into our new beachside luxury chalets. These have a private wooden deck, a beautifully designed bedroom and a specious bathroom with a bath and adjoining outdoor waterfall shower. With a bottle of Champagne on ice complementary in the room, they started straight into it. Just not quite quick enough as the vervet monkeys managed to beat them to their coconut nut squares we made special for their honeymoon… My mistake on leaving them on their deck- a lesson learned!

The first few days were all about fishing for the honeymooners, going out each day to see who is the strongest fisherman /woman in the new family.

That was won hands down by the wife who caught over 10 yellow belly and some perch and unfortunately the husband came away with only a few measly rock cods….It’s always entertaining when the least experienced and unexpected person always catches the most fish! The very first of the many things in marriage a husband will never win…:)

The other group went out on a snorkel tour to Chimba Rocks, one of our favourite sites. The water was blue and clear and perfect for the day. People are still surprised by the quantity of fish in the lake. The different coloured Cichlids  swarmed around the pinnacle to the delight of ther clients who got in several times to enjoy the calm warm waters.

That evening we took everyone on a sunset cocktail cruise in our wooden dhow. With Malibu surfer and blue lagoon cocktails on hand, we cruised the pebble shores of Munshi villages and watched the fishermen mending nets. The children laughed, sang and danced as we passed, excited by the boat of passing “Mazungu’s” or white people, as its rare for them to see them this far north in Zambia. This must be how Angelina Jolie feels when she’s spotted by the paparazzi. Its fun to feel famous for an afternoon! We then slowly meandered out and back to the lodge watching the pink sun sink behind the mountains.

The next day we had 2 activities going so it was all hands on deck.

Craig took the 4 Indian gentlemen for their Introduction to SCUBA diving in the waters on shallow sand in the front of the lodge. I noticed no one else was around and saw everyone down on the deck watching them so decided it was worth a look myself.

Ended up that only one of them could actually swim so the flailing arms and legs were highly entertaining to watch. In the end almost all the aspiring divers managed to sit on the sand underwater and breathe through the regulator apparatus so it was a successful venture. Pictures were taken and they were very happy that they were able to do something they’ve never done before.

I however managed to drag the others away from the dive spectacle to take them on a Picnic lunch in the park. It was a warm and sunny day and so beautiful that we decided to try and do some trolling fishing on the way there. Everyone on the boat managed to catch a rod cod that were escalating in size until finally one rod went crazy. Finally the one young Lass had hooked a massive Yellow belly (Nkupi) which was over 2kg in weight. Yellow belly is  the largest of the Cichlid family and an excellent eating fish.

So with fish in boat we went to set up the beach picnic. While I set up the cooking station and tables, the clients walked along the shores with spinners to see if anyone could beat the size of the yellow belly before lunch. For lunch I cooked up giant beef burgers, the lovely yellow belly fish and had salads on the side. Not bad for the bush!

With no luck on further fish, full bellies, tanning done and beers in hand we decided to head home after a lovely day in the park.

That night was their last night in camp, so we set up a big bonfire on the beach with mats and pillows so everyone could enjoy the full moon over the lake. Dinner was a big braai with salads and foccacia bread and dips along with a full vegetarian Indian meal of a rich tomato and yogurt chickpea curry, rice and chapatti breads and accompaniments.

The next morning the sun finally came out from the clouds and we bid all goodbyes at 8am on our fast twin engine boat “Frontosa” to transfer back to Mpulungu.  It’s always sad to see everyone go as they come as clients but leave as friends. That’s the nature of the job though.

Now back to maintenance and painting as next week is the exciting and huge Zambian National Fishing Competition and we are full to the brink. Until then!

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