Having spent 4 days and too many KM's off road on difficult terrains we suddenly arrived at a tarmac road to great delight and bemusement at the strange lack of noise we headed into Mafue. We spent our first night back in civilisation surrounded by overlanders and a rather confident elephant who made itself a welcome pain preventing us setting up the camp as it grazed in our spot, necessitating a quick (and most welcome) cold beer!
After a rather noisy morning wake up call by the overlanders we decided to move to the campsite next door which was a complete contrast with acres of space, helpful staff and a well organised and comfortable lodge alongside the river! What is more the kids were totally made up with the raised platform swimming pool overlooking the river full of hippos and crocs! To add to this our camp had tree houses where Thomas and after the first night Nia slept safely above the roaming hippos and elephants that disturbed every nights sleep.
Trips into the park included sightings of the BIG beasts at close quarters and plenty of rough roads. We even after some intense tracking managed to find a small pride of lions resting after a morning buffalo kill!
It was soon after we settled in that Sarah recieved a text message from Hooke announcing that the School and Nursery were to be inspected by OFSTED in 2 days time! Thank goodness for phone/computer communications; since it was impossible to get Sarah to an airport to be back before the inspectors left, she had many conversations and late nights checking documentation before the whole process was over! Sadly we are unable to reveal any results but needless to say both Sarah and I were most grateful to the staff for all their long hours of hard work and the results justify all their efforts!
In amongst all of this we also made our visit to the Chipenbele charity. We drove out 45 minutes into the bush along dirt roads and were met by Steve who showed us around the centre and spent a long time explaining their ethos and what they wanted to achieve when they initially set up the centre. It was wonderfully well organised and thought out in the most wonderful location. We used the opportunity to Skype the UK whilst the OFSTED inspectors were there and allow the children to listen to listen to Steve at first hand. It was really extraordinary to see and hear the children in school when we were so far away from home!
The next challenge was to make it out of Zambia and into Malawi!