A tale of two swamps – Getting to a second swamp

Two years later I was back in Zambia with Ian working on a similar project but this time in the north of the country.  He was to write fisheries regulations for the Bangwuelu swamp and I was brought in to look at delimiting the line within which the laws would operate.  Unfortunately there was no need for a socio-economist in this place so Alphart did not join us, but a lot of the liaison was to be conducted by Mainza Kalongo.  He had been the Acting Chief Fisheries Officer for Zambia when Ian and I had worked on Kafue but had now retired from the civil service and was topping up his pension with consultancy.

Bangwuelu is a large lake system in the north of Zambia  crossing three provinces – Eastern, Northern and Luapula, where I was to be based.  While it could have been a day long drive to reach Luapula, there was an option to fly north on a recently launched low cost local airline.  So I arrived on the overnight flight from London at Lusaka’s airport and instead of heading off in a taxi into town I settled down in a cafe overlooking the runway and waited a couple of hours for a flight to Ndola.  In amongst the chaos of a load of building work, I entered the small departure lounge of the domestic terminal.  This little airline, Proflight, was sending prop planes all over the country (and starting to reach out across southern Africa) at quite reasonable prices.  Ndola, one of the largest cities in the Copperbelt region of central Zambia, was a popular destination and my flight was full of travellers, mining engineers and others.  We headed out over the agricultural lands to the north of Lusaka and within an hour we had descended across an industrial landscape of mines, quarries, factories and power plants.  Ndola sprawled around us but like so many southern African cities, was so openly planned when first created that it still seemed spacious and uncluttered.  The plane descended right over the centre of the city and landed at the small airport.  I was shuttled into an even smaller departure lounge than the one at Lusaka, crammed with people, and I waited for my departure to Mansa – I took a look around to see if I could spot who might be joining me on the second flight.  A couple of flights departed and the lounge started to thin out enough for me to find a seat.

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Landing at Ndola – is one of these going to be my next plane?

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