We arrived in Kasanka towards the end of May, just in time to catch up with Tigger and Dion who were about to leave their management roles to return to the UK. Last year we were in Kasanka for over 6 weeks where most of that time was involved in the early burning program where the intent is to reduce the fuel load by burning the tall grasses found in the open areas (Dambo’s) of the Park. Due the late and heavy rains in April much of the grass was still very green this year. So in order to fill in some time we opted to do a round trip to the main town Serengi in the region for some shopping, followed by a stay in Mutinondo, a most pleasant area with excellent walks.
The crystal clear waters of the stream and its pools and the attractive moderately sized waterfalls were really worth the trouble. There are many far longer hikes including some climbs up the inselbergs with fantastic views. Those with a liking for mountain bikes will be pleased to hear that Mutinondo have a whole bunch for guests to use. The birding is pretty good too.
We elected to have dinner on one of nights we were there and can report that the food was very good and sitting in front of the open fire was most pleasant on a chilly evening.
From Mutinondo the trip took us to Lavushi Manda, a park which is also managed by the Kasanka Trust. Regrettably this Park suffers from considerable poaching pressure and not much wildlife is spotted. Nevertheless there are some lovely campsites which are well-worth a stay, including the one at Mumbatutu Falls and Lavushi Peak. The latter offers a lovely hike to the top on the peak with great views.
Heading further West the road deteriorates progressively and you can either head North to the Bangweula Wetlands (run by African Parks) or go East past lake Waka Waka towards Kasanka. Progress is slow averaging about 25km/hour. As we had already been to the Wetlands last year we opted to head straight back to Kasanka.
This choice threw up an interesting challenge. When we came to one of the culverts that was already partially washed out last year we found that it had disappeared altogether and had been replaced by a rather rickety bridge which definitely had no civil engineering input. As it was a long way back and after a strength evaluation which involved jumping on it, we (I should really say “I”) decided to put it to the test with our 2.5T Landcruiser. Some of the loose cover beams when flying, but otherwise we got across just fine. I saw some of locals had come running down behind up, possibly hoping to earn some money by assisting with the recovery of the Cruiser or perhaps to inspect the damage we may have inflicted on their poor bridge.
The above map also shows a return trip to the DRC (Congo) border post in Chembe for extension of our Visa and import permit for the Cruiser. A mere 700km return trip. At least the renewal stamps are free...