Published: July 15th 2011June 28th 2011
Zambezi airlines doesn’t like me. I don’t know why, as far as I know I’ve never said anything crass to its sister or put my feet on its coffee table but it just doesn’t like me…
Our flight from Dar to Lusaka was scheduled for 2pm on Wednesday, which would get us to Lusaka (Zambia) by 3pm-ish, where we would overnight before our noon flight to Mfuwe. I happened to check my e-mail and was informed that Zambezi had canceled our 2pm Wednesday flight and rescheduled it for 2am (Butt crack of) Thursday morning. This change of schedule meant that A) The hotel we booked in Lusaka was a loss, B) We would have to kill from 6pm (when we made it to Dar) to 2am somewhere around Dar and C) when we got to Lusaka, we would then have to wait in the airport for about 7 hours for our onward flight… thanks Zambezi.
That next travel day was brutal… after our ferry got into Dar (6pm Wednesday), we stopped at a nearby hotel who let us hang out at their restaurant/bar for a few hours (instead of waiting 6 hours at Dar airport), but then we made
it to the airport and our 2am flight did not leave until 5am… however nobody from the airline mentioned anything about the flight being late, or even what was going on at all until about 3am, prior to that passengers just sat in the terminal and played the guessing game… eventually our 5am flight got us to Lusaka by about 6am, where we then had to wait till noon for our connecting flight… once again thank you Zambezi airlines.
Getting there was brutal but our time in South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) was great and made all the better by flatdogs camp, where we stayed. Touching down in Zambia and getting on the road was interesting as you are firmly in “central Africa” and we just sat in our ride watching the towns go by. As for the park itself… very nice but different than Northern Tanzania as it is heavily wooded (as opposed to open plains) which made game viewing more challenging.
The park is famous for allowing night drive safaris and having a high population of leopards. The Luangwa river forms the western boundary of the park and our camp was directly on the west bank
of the Luangwa river. As animals know no park boundaries the camp is frequented by (most notably) elephant and giraffe who come to feed during the day and by hippos who come to feed at night. Our tent overlooked the river and at night you could hear the hippos outside your tent munching. You could almost set your watch by the animal activity… shortly after sundown the hippos came out of the river and twice we were trapped in our tent waiting for them to move on so we could leave for dinner, after dinner the hyenas kicked in, if you were lucky you could hear lions roaring during the night. Because of the wildlife you could not leave your tent after nightfall without an escort as hippos and elephants like their personal space and can be dangerous. I would say the highlight here was finding a pretty fresh buffalo kill with 11 lions on it… or having a Leopard growl and charge our car when we got near its kill. We didn’t see as many lions/leopards as I would have liked (only 2 other lion sightings besides buffalo kill) but is there ever enough… either way the park was
good and we enjoyed ourselves.
We included pics of the “Obama pub”… we were told it’s the best club in the Luangwa river valley… lolol I wonder what kind of royalties Obama gets off a deal like that?
There are more photos below