Edit Blog Post
Published: July 27th 2013
Arriving at South Luangwa National Park we had a beautiful place to camp for two nights – right beside a large water hole where we could watch elephants and hippos. The sunsets above the water hole were just spectacular and as the moon appeared the dust in the air made it look like it was glowing a red/orange colour which was amazing to see when we had a full moon! It was awesome watching the animals all come together in the evening. I could not believe how loud the hippos were and had to make sure I had my ear plugs firmly in at night as they would roam between the tents. There was also lots and lots of monkeys, we had to make sure our tents were firmly zipped up as they had a habit to taking things. One morning the monkeys got into all our breakfast stuff, in a matter of minutes they had thrown all the cutlery around the campsite, thrown milk all over the table and had tried to eat anything they could get their little paws on. In fact they even came up to the table and pinched some food off of someone’s plate.
We went for an evening game drive whilst at the National Park. This consisted of us sitting in a 4x4 with no sides whilst a man sat on the bonnet shining a spotlight into the animal’s eyes. We spotted many animals – elephants, giraffes, warthogs, antelope, hippos, hyenas and zebras. What everyone was looking for was leopards though and they were known to be in high concentration in the area. In Africa people tend to rely on tips a lot and therefore will sometimes go the extra mile in order to get them. Despite the fact that there were 3 signs on our drivers vehicle which clearly said ‘this driver should not leave the track’ our driver did many times…Spotting 2 leopards mating he decided to drive right off the track to get as close as possible to the leopards, this obviously startled them and they stopped mating. At that point 2 other 4x4s came off road and drove towards the leopards. We were now within a meter and a half of the leopards and so began a chase from all 3 4x4’s to get as close as possible. At one point all 3 4x4’s had one leopard cornered
whilst spotlights at every angle were blinding him. The leopard was beautiful and had the most spectacular, glossy coat I had ever seen - it was great being so close but the poor animal looked terrified. It really was quite cruel. Another time during our drive we saw a huge male elephant as we drove around the corner. Instead of stopping and watching the huge animal cross the track our driver decided to drive right into the animal’s pathway so we were ridiculously close to it (it makes you feel quite vulnerable when you see just how huge the animal is and how easily it could do some serous damage.) Anyway as a result the elephant was forced to change its route and walk around us. As it walked around us it suddenly stopped (about a meter from the front of the vehicle – remember we have no windows) and gave us a big stare. It seriously freaked me out for a few long seconds before it turned and began walking on its way. It’s a difficult situation because I guess the drivers are just trying to give the tourists what they want but at the same time if there
were no tourists the animals would not be as protected and poaching would still be rife.
The following day we went to visit a local village. It was very interesting and we saw where the locals kept their corn and the little grass huts they used as their bathrooms. We were told about how when children reach 14 they leave their parents hut and move into their own little hut until they marry between the ages of 20-30. Our guide (a local teacher) told us how they have many problems with elephants and hyenas entering the village at night, taking the food and trying to enter the houses. As a result the men of the village have to stay up at night to guard the women and the children and then attempt to chase the wild animals away. Elephants can be very dangerous and have killed many locals. The villagers then played us some music and Tim and I got up and danced with two of the women, which was funny. Everyone laughed at our attempts of dancing -trying to wiggle our hips and stamp our feet. It was very interesting and all the members of the
village crowded round to see us. I wished that we could have stayed longer as there was a real community feel and everyone was so happy to show us where they lived.
Yesterday we arrived at Chipata after a day of travelling and unfortunately had our card swallowed up by a local atm machine and after much rushing around to various banks we were informed that we could not retrieve it. Luckily we had a spare card, as it was a traveller’s account. Our camp for the night, which wasn’t too far away, had a karaoke so as you can imagine we had lots of fun singing the night away. After a 4am start this morning we drove to the capital of Zambia – Lusaka which took the whole day. It amazed me just how western everything was after being out in the country for the past 3 weeks. Our accommodation for the night is little triangular cottages – very cute! The power has just gone out and I am hoping it will come back on soon, as it is getting pretty dark. There are wild zebra roaming around the cottages and I just heard a noise;
looking out of the window I came face to face with a Zebra. Sometimes I just get these surreal experiences and have to take a minute to think ‘wow I’m in Africa!’ It is our last night with the tour and tomorrow we will be sad to say goodbye to everyone as we cross the boarder into Zimbabwe and arrive at Victoria Falls ready for our next adventure.
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