Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chilling out at Maramba River Lodge

The great bull elephant is pulling down a camel thorn tree 3-4 meter away from our tent... We can clearly hear his deep breathing as if he wants us to know that he is there and has no intention of leaving...  Suddenly, another male appears; gigantic, standing over 4 m tall he stops in front of the tent door and looks intently inside, his trunk scouring the door like a periscope trying to identify the creatures inside.  Carmen is sitting on our bed inside the safari tent, literally feet away from the giant... I lie unmoved, frozen.  None of us dare to make a noise.  It is midnight here at Maramba Lodge in Livingstone and our self catering tent is 5 m away from the river, where the hippo and the elephants love to cross at night to feed on the watered lawn and trees in the park.

The second male is inching closer and starts pulling the front rope with his trunk.  Then I know that this is it, this guy is going to trample us inside the tent and my heart starts beating faster... I stand up slowly and then we hear some whispers outside and the first male elephant snorts as a signal to the other one and both head out in the bush.  A group of Italians, camping at Maramba, heard the noises made by the elephants and came to see what's going on, without knowing that we are inside the tent.  We get out and they are dumbfounded that two people were inches away from the largest land mammal in the world.  We thank them profusely and sleep at our friends' house that night, Ruth and Brad, the lodge's managers.

We are at Maramba until December 1st on our way for the Round The World motorbike expedition to raise funding for our Sports Academy for Orphans in Zambia.  We planned 3 years for this expedition, we worked and saved and researched options and routes and equipment and now we have done already the South Africa, Namibia, Botswana part of the trip and we will wait here until December, the start of the rainy season so we can cool off on the road. Now the heat is suicidal... 45 degrees plus 90% humidity makes it feel like a balloon of hot water burst in your face.  No rain, just moist air announcing the coming of rain.  With our motorcycle jackets, pants and boots and full face helmets we would literally die of heat stroke.
We are busy developing our land for the Academy at Mukuni village: drilling the borehole for water, installing the water system, piping for irrigation, building the 2.6 km fence around the land, planting the orchard and vineyard, etc.  Plenty of activity... 
Below you will some photos of our life here

Soon, more stories will make their way here as life on the road is always full of surprises and events, especially in Africa!
About what we do and stand for, check:

Drilling for water on our land

Riding the Magkadigkadi pans, Botswana

Having fun with the local football players

With Chalie Boorman and friends from Windhoek at Maramba Lodge

The herd that visits us almost every night

Nowhere to go: no past and very little future for this orphan

African Queen Ship resting on the mighty Zambezi

The peaceful and quiet Zambezi River

Chilling at the spectacular Waterberry Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi