Wargaming the Exploration and Colonisation of Tropical Africa by European powers from 1850 until 1918.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Return from Darkest Africa

It's behind you!  The Zambian giraffe is darker than its fellows in the rest of Africa

Well, I have just returned from my first visit to real Africa!  I have been to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya before but this was my first trip to Darkest Africa.  I travelled to Lusaka the capital of Zambia but did get out of the city into the countryside to see some wildlife last Sunday. 

This particular wildlife got a bit too close to the jeep for my liking!

It was all very exciting and I was unfeasibly delighted just taking in the scenery let alone any of the animals. Incidentally, when we set up our recent Belgians v Azande wargame we thought that the scenery was far too green for Africa but the countryside in Zambia looked just like that; basically like Surrey with the odd palm tree!  Admittedly, it was the beginning of the rainy season but even so...!

Landscape with Sable Antelope

I stayed in a very nice hotel, the Intercontinental, and was gratified to find that it did an excellent breakfast (always important when travelling!) and even had HP Sauce; the true sign of civilisation!  In fact the food was very good generally and I enjoyed the antelope steaks I had for lunch one day. 

£2.75 for a Vodka martini?  I paid £23.50 at the Ritz the other week!

The bar at the hotel was obviously one of the happening places in town, especially on Wednesday night which is "ladies night".  There are some very attractive women in Zambia and on Wednesdays they get dressed up (or actually undressed in many cases) and go out hunting in packs.  I had to fight off one particularly attentive young lady over the course of about four days (she worked in the health club) but escaped from this young lioness (with only a few scratches).  

We enjoyed South African malaria girl at breakfast one morning

There was also  a medical conference on at the hotel and that meant a lot more women than you get for your usual infastructure conference!  South Africans mainly but also Australians and Europeans.  And with a Vodka martini at only £2.75 in the bar it was easy to keep them entertained.

Mosi: it's excellent!

Zambia has two local beers, Castle, which is run of the mill anonymous lager and Mosi which is much more interesting and has a nice hoppy flavour.  I drank a lot of that!

The ground really is red.  It looks completely wrong on wargames figures' bases though!

On the business side things went much better than I expected so I will probably have to return in January in which case I shall try to get down to Livingstone to see Victoria Falls and the Zambezi (I only saw it from a distance but it was still exciting to do so!)  I was accompanied for much of the time by our African representative A who is a striking Masai lady!

A at the minister's cocktail party

Needless to say I am all enthused about Darkest Africa wargames again and have identified three projects.  Firstly, I want to get some of my wildlife figures painted and buy some of the Foundry giraffes!  Secondly, I want to finish my riverboat model.  This is because, thirdly, there are some great Darkest Africa scenarios in the April 2010 Wargames Illustrated, which I have only just read.  They involve a British expedition travelling upriver to look for Arab slavers.  I actually have some Foundry British started and so I want to tidy them up and see what else I might need for these scenarios.

1 comment:

Jim Jackaman said...


Nice trip! I think I'm in the wrong job :O(