In March 2016 We finally got the permission to build Pinnon Safari Lodge. Why Pinnon? and how did we get permission? Those are for another story. we could have built in November 2015 but the rains were upon us and building so far from the main road had multiple challenges, however the rains came in November and they came hard that year. So we had to wait till the rains eased. Ruth and I lived in the local village called Nalusanga for the months preceding the build and during the heavy rains. Life was simple yet satisfying, it gave us some time to get to know the locals who had been so kind to us since we had arrived in Zambia. We initially met, who became a dear friend, called Robin Basque. An incredible man who himself had built lodges in the same area (30Km away). Ruth an I were camping in a small tent in a garage which is based in a village called Nalusanga which is the entrance to the great Kafue National Park. He was just stopping by Geralds garage to say greet his local friends when he stumbled across two mad Muzungus (Zambian for white people) camping in a small, basic yet vibrant little village.
Now Nalusanga was then home to around 1000 Zambians and is a small little farming community but its position next to the park is actually quite strategic. It is on the M9, the main and only road on route to Angola, and as such is a fairly high profile little viilage. We had very little idea of this at the time and we loved meeting the community there who embrased us.
Robin Basque took one little look at us as he stopped by Geralds garage and was intrigued. We had a good chat and he asked us what we wanted to do. We told him about our naïve ambitions and how we had managed to secure some land from the local head chief, Chieftainess Kabulwebulwe (again another story), and he seemed surprised how much we had managed to achieve in the short space of time we had been in Zambia. Being the man he is he was quick to offer us some advice on how we could go ahead with the build. “You cant build till after the rains” he said. “You must get a gun”. etc, He gave us advice on how to build (we had no idea), when to build but more importantly who could build it for us. He gave us the name of a local builder called Lemmy. Lemmy had worked with Robin in building his lodges in Kafue and we were well aware of our misgivings in how to construct so it seemed very fortunate that Robin had stumbled across us on the day. After a fairly briefing little chat we were kindly given Lemmys phone number and advised he may well be willing to work for the right people. We gave him a call.
Now in Jan 2016 Ruth an I were getting married back in the UK so there was a lot going on but it did not stop us going to see Lemmy who lived not far away in a local village. Our immediate impression was what a lovely man he was. So Zambian and accommodating . We were offered tea and fritters (Sort of like a doughnut, which we now serve at the lodge as a dessert) and were welcomed so kindly into his home. We told him our aim was to build a lodge and mentioned the location of the build which he knew already like the back of his hand. We were asked if we had a design in mind, we only had a loose plan which went off researching other lodges we liked the look of which we pulled together to make a blueprint for Pinnon, We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and to be honest we were very conscious we didn’t have the skill set. But lemmy was willing to assist. In December 2015 we felt lucky. Again. Having somehow managed to secure land to build on, find a place to have sanctuary and meet amazing Zambians who were willing to advise us and help us. So we went back to the UK to get married far more confident we could pull this off then we had previously.
Back from the wedding in February…. and it was a good one. We realised not only had we a lodge to build but Ruth was actually 3 months pregnant, we seem to always add a bit of pressure to ourselves at all stages in life. Lodge building building was about to start.
5 thoughts on “The start of Pinnon part 1”
…and what a great lodge it turned out to be. We are looking forward to the next part of the story !
Hi I am ex South African living in Australia
I saw a movie this evening on your lodge build
Very interested in game having been to many parks in South Africa and Botswana
Not wanting to visit South Africa but would love to visit Zambia
Please advise booking procedures travel etc
Hi Bernard, the best way to book is to use the booking form on our website and Lyndon will be happy to help with any questions you may have .
Your Facebook page is a great read. Looking forward to the programme on Tuesday. I have been looking for the first tv documentary you did . Any ideas where I can find it?
Hi Aileen, how are you guys? our Pizza oven is still standing which you guys helped us build (and gave the idea!). So the first show was call Our Wildest Dreams. It was on Ch 4. it maybe on catch up. If you have any issues let us know.