Back to Zambia
15 February 2013- South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
It’s a warm breezy afternoon, the perfect temp not too hot or too chilly (haven’t had too chilly for a long time!) and the breeze is perfect. We are sitting in a thatched lounge area at our camp site just outside the national park. About five metres away in the river in front of us about a dozen or so hippo have been carrying on for several hours- grunting, honking, snorting and yawning at each other, hippos are irritable beasts!
We arrived back into Zambia yesterday from Malawi to come to South Luangwa, and are already enjoying a few days here. As is so often the case we are the only ones here so we have our own private facilities at our camp right at the edge of the river.
This morning we went into the park and it was so great to see animals again! Before we even left our lodge area we saw some ellies and felt so happy to see them. Being the wet season the park is quiet and we only saw a few other vehicles from surrounding lodges (most people visiting fly in and fly out). Straight away we stopped to watch a small herd of zebra with a few waterbuck scattered amongst them when a solitary male elephant approached the herd, a few of the zebra nervously moved away but a few other and one waterbuck took no notice of the approaching elephant. Maybe he was cranky or something but he seemed to take offence and stomped an enormous front leg as he got closer and suddenly shook his massive head, ears and trunk flapping and let out an all mighty trumpet! The waterbuck and remaining zebra moved out of the way quickly! He continued to stomp past us turning towards us and shaking his ears and trunk once before stomping off moodily into the bush. After a bit the zebra sheepishly made their way back to where they had been grazing. We had a good few hours driving around seeing impala, puku (a buck which is new to us), plenty of ellie and zebra before going back to camp for the afternoon.
On the drive into the park yesterday on a rather bumpy road we noticed a new noise in landy (I hate that!) a rattle so yesterday afternoon we asked at the lodge if they know a mechanic – it doesn’t hurt to ask these things exp in more rural area they often have an on site mechanic which is even more likely at a lodge which has a fleet of land rover they use for game drives. The manager said they have an on site mechanic who we could show landy to. Anyway today on our drive Olly suddenly seemed preoccupied and stopped to listen to something, naturally I thought he had seen an animal. He crawled into the back, came back to the front with some WD40 and sprayed the spare wheel which sits on the bonnet. He said ‘Ah, it’s the spare wheel making the noise!’ Recently we had landy washed and they did such a good job they washed off the grease (they did an amazing job, the cleanest landy has ever been, we did a double take when we saw her)! As far as new noises go, I was happy with it being the spare wheel instead of something else! When we got back to camp Olly took landy over to the machine for a quick check over and this afternoon they are replacing some bushes we had done before we left on the trip- not bad considering the km we have done and the many rough ones. We are lucky we have a nice place to wait while she is worked on. This afternoon we are going on a guided afternoon/night drive, we haven’t done that for a while and I’m really looking forward to it. Guides in Zambia have to undergo rigorous training so we should learn heaps!
Later… We had a really good afternoon/night drive. Going out with a guide adds another dimension as they are so knowledgeable so we asked all of the questions we always wonder when out on our own. We saw the smallest elephant we have seen, so small we could hardly see him above the grass, the guide said he was about 1 or 2 weeks old, so lovely! He stuck very close to mum, going for a drink of milk at every chance, not yet able to use his trunk.