Skip to content

Choma, Zambia

Alison has recommended we get the local bus out to Choma, only as we are departing Joburg does she add that she has herself, never taken the bus!  I have images of being squashed into some rust bucket, packed to the rafters with people, chickens and various other animals, so it was a nice surprise when a modern airconditioned coach arrives.  Our business class fare also includes a bottle of water and biscuit! The Becketts farm is named after the Momba bird and the family have been farming here since 1924 when Mike’s Dad started the farm.  On the 10,000 hectares (or was it acres) the primary farming is beef, lamb, dairy and tobacco.   In addition, the property also has a polo field and primary school where about 100 of the resident workers send their children. We spend two days in the lovely company of Gill and Mike who took the time to share their history with us and show us ‘city slickers’ what sort of time and effort goes into running such an operation.  I also got lots of stories about Alison and her misspent youth (just joking, Alison was a perfect child). The three pet dogs are Super, Amber and Karo (spell?), Super isn’t up to much of a walk but Karo and Amber are untiring.   Karo is ducking under fences chasing baboons and bounces through the long grass like a Kangaroo. We were walking through a paddock filled with sheep and she can’t help but chase them. Then she spots a chicken and off she went! I was sure that it was going to be our dinner, but it somehow got away. Mike took us on a tour of the tobacco production.  It was an eye opener into the intense manual processes that go into tobacco farming from growing, picking, drying, grading, packing and selling at the tobacco sales in Lusaka.  The cost of labour is again a significant component into the viability of production in Zambia. Mike and Gill drive us into Choma to get our bus back to Livingston, we took the ‘scenic’ route through the haphazard markets, a maze of stalls winding through dusty streets, selling everything from clothes to plumbing supplies. We have truly enjoyed the opportunity to get off the tourist route and glimpse an insight into how people live in this part of the world. Alison, Mike and Gill, we are very grateful to you for opening up your home and your wonderful hospitality.