Rhodesia, July 1960

Looking out over Lake Kariba. The lake is 139 miles long and 25 miles across at its widest. It is said to be the largest artificial lake in the world by volume. When the lake began filling up in the late 1950s while the dam was being built, large numbers of wild animals were rescued from islands that were being created (and later flooded) by the rising waters. “Operation Noah” saved over 6,000 animals, some as large as and/or as dangerous as elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, and leopards. Shortly after Richard and I left Kariba at 2:00 pm on Thursday, 7 July 1960, we had our own encounter with a dangerous animal when we inadvertently disturbed a black mamba (one of Africa’s most poisonous snakes) while we were waiting at the roadside. Thankfully the snake fled in a different direction to the one in which Richard and I ran, and during the afternoon we were able to hitch-hike as far as Sinoia, where we spent the night with Mr and Mrs Millar, a school friend’s parents.