South Luangwa, Zambia Part 4
The two of us were on the road by 06.15 this morning but this time on foot. Our guide Aubrey gave us the rules about what to do when walking in the bush and explained that the ranger, who was leading and carried a gun, had the final say in all matters that could be risky.
The first stop was at a hyena den who were all out or hiding below and then on in to the tall trees. We learned about the different trees and shrubs, their medicinal benefits and which animals browsed them. We followed a dry river bed to a small pool with a couple of hippo in it and a pair of hyena coming down for a drink. The route we then took had us walking over the rough terrain of black cotton soil before we reached the sand of the Luangwa River. Here we saw a huge pod of hippo of about 200 with crocs feasting on the latest hippo casualties. Then a herd of 12 elephant came down to the water on the far side. We sat and watched for many minutes before heading back to camp.
When we were a few hundred yards from home we came across a leopard. At first it ran for cover but as we headed through the grove we spotted it at the base of a big tree, watching us. It seemed very relaxed and let us stare back without moving.
It was very hot very early and the shower was very welcoming after three and a half hours on foot. But how much more exciting to be on the same level as the animals and moving at a pace that allows you see so much more, hear the sounds and follow the tracks.
A lazy afternoon built up our batteries ready for the afternoon game drive. We had seen lion from the camp just up the riverbank, so this was our first stop. It was a honeymoon couple with two other males in attendance.. Later we visited the hyena den and met the pups playing out on the dirt mound. The night drive home gave us a chance to meet some unusual smaller animals – a chameleon and 2 Western green snakes.
A day of contrasts and never a moment without something to see and watch.
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Photos courtesy of Peter Ellis