July 09

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Enjoying a long weekend for a Safari trip discovering wildlife

Only two weeks after our arrival, we were lucky to get two national bank holidays in Zambia, starting the weekend on Friday early afternoon till tuesday…! We decided to enjoy this long weekend the best way by taking a Safari in Eastern province of the country at South Luangwa National Park. This is apparently one of the nicest park in South Africa where you can see the wildlife at its best! And it is true! We did 4 game drives in a Land rover 4×4 in small groups of 7 persons over two days and we were lucky to see all the panel of African wild animals in their environment. These game drives require to get up very early in order to enjoy as much as possible the sunrise, the lights and animals feeding around… Thus, we got up at 5 am, 6 am breakfast and by 6.30 am, let’s drive for 4 hours in the middle of the wildlife. The view of the countryside with the sunrise was amazing! I can’t describe the great morning colors of the light. We had the chance to see a family of elephants crossing the river to join another village of ‘animals’ in order to get some fresh food like bananas! We were surrounded by antelopes, warthogs, monkeys, baboons… We also got the chance to see giraffes, plenty of zebras and my favorite the leopard! We were just a couple of meters from the leopard: this animal is gorgeous with a perfect color! He was simply resting like a cat (but obviously larger!). Then, we followed him, getting prepared to chase some baboons and antelopes… It was amazing to track them and follow their hunting practices in such a wildlife environment. Also, we’ve seen some hyenas waiting at the foot of a tree. On this tree, a dead antelope body was stuck between branches. Hyenas were waiting for the vultures to pick in the antelope carcass and patiently expecting the carcass to fall down on the floor. We also saw a group of one of the most dangerous animals: the buffalos, having on their heads huge horns! During the sunset (4 hours driving end of afternoon till dinner time), we enjoyed nice drinks with another set of amazing evening sun lights. Then, 2 lions’ brothers came around our car, just to pass through. Everyone stayed still and very silent… I could not imagine lions could come so close to us with no risk… These animals demonstrate such an imposing and respectful presence with their massive and large paws!

We stayed at a lodge owned by a British couple, called Marula Lodge. This lodge was in the middle of the nature, along the river and we could hear morning and evening, the big hippos noise! What a weird and heavy noise… We had to be accompanied by locals when we wanted to get out of our colonial room to the common lodge as wild animals are always around, with potentially an elephant passing through or an imposing hippo! As we were far away from any stores, all food is home made here and amazing! We met other expatriates living in Zambia for a while and started friendly discussions!