The morning had started early with a swift but fulsome breakfast and then set of from the camp on a walking safari deep in the South Luangwa National Park. There were just the two of us with guide, ranger and deputy guide. The adrenalin was high from the very beginning as we set off straight towards three lions and a lioness. The ranger and the guide had a quick chat, agreed that lion love was in the air and all would be OK. And so it proved but it had us all awake very quickly.
We had a truly exciting morning walking along the side of the river and then inland through the ebony trees. It was hot and the stop for tea in the shade was very welcome. We had a view across a fast shrinking pool in a bend in the river that was full of hippo and crocs. Hippo tempers frayed and fights kept breaking out causing disturbances across the length and breadth of the pool. Water flew and enraged bull hippo tried to bite chunks off rivals. Meanwhile crocs were feasting on a dead hippo, again sending spray in to the air as they spun to pull hunks of the carcass.
Finally, and within half a mile of our next camp, we came across a leopard at the base of the ebony tree were she had stashed her kill. She watched us watching her and even allowed photos to be taken before climbing in to the thick branches of the tree.
A shower and a light lunch later saw the two of us in safari chairs, in the shade watching the slow trickle of the river between sand banks. Birds a plenty were to be seen including skimmers and a steady stream of antelope came down to drink. The puku knew about crocs (and they were right to be wary as we could see some crocs in the shallows) but were tempted by the sparse green grass found on some of the island in the river. To minimise the risk they made huge leaps across the water and we spent many a happy minute trying to catch the leap on camera with mixed results.
What a memorable day and there was still the evening game drive to look forward to.
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