Occasionally the line tangles or the worm escapes the hook. Frustration mounts: I steal jealous glances at the bucket my two other companions are smugly filling with slick, flickering fish. We move to another spot, a Zambezi beer helping to numb the rising feelings of inadequacy. I cast again – and
there’s a tug! I reel in. Photographs and smiles all round. Before we head back for dinner, I snare another two more – happier than a kid at a funfair.
Leaving Pamushana after three nights feels particularly difficult – and not merely because it’s a beautiful place where you’re pampered silly. Indeed, when I reflect on my visit, what comes flooding back is not just memories of chef Shane Ellis’s exquisitely yummy food or the attentive staff, or the wildlife. There’s also a sense of awe at what is being achieved here to protect this remarkable place for generations to come.
The profit from the lodge is ploughed back into the Malilangwe Trust, a non-profit organisation guided by an ethos that acknowledges community development as an essential part of conservation. With Shepherd Mawire, the community projects co-ordinator, I visited school and clinic buildings the trust has built, passed boreholes it had sunk and witnessed children being given a meal. This is a blueprint for the future of conservation, one that is uplifting, inclusive – and filled with promise.