July 10

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LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 3: safari

For our first full weekend in Zambia, we headed east to South Luangwa National Park. Kindly, the government had arranged two bank holidays in our second week, and Live Well organised for us to go to Chipata for work for the rest of the week (which is quite close to the national park), so we decided to go early and do some safari. We flew from Lusaka to Mfuwe and were driven a short distance to Marula Lodge, just outside of the national park area.

Hopefully I’ve managed to capture some of what we saw; the photos are unedited and this is just a few of many! We were apparently very lucky to see so many animals; it definitely exceeded my expectations. Not just the number of animals, but the proximity (the lion five feet away from the open-sided Land Rover was possibly a bit too close…), as well as the beautiful scenery and sunsets.

A highlight (among many) was watching 27 elephants cross the river and then walk past us all; they make the journey from the village, across the river each morning and then return at night. Not so great for the villagers (as they can be destructive and even kill) but beautiful to watch.

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Thornicroft’s giraffe (also known as the Rhodesian giraffe) which is only found in Zambia, and has a different coat pattern to other species. There are estimated to be 1500 left in the wild.

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Leopard watching the impala

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We watched this leopard sit for some time, then stalk some impala, before deciding not to pursue a kill

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Grazing zebra

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Water buffalo

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Rare spot of a solo elephant; they tend to travel in families

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Puku

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Another giraffe, showing the different colouring and pattern in this species

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Adult male lion, approx. 10 years old. Rare semi-albino colouring.

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Elephants having crossed the river, making their way into the national park. 27 in total trooped past us (and yes, I then had Colonel Hathi’s March from the Jungle Book in my head all day). It’s actually just like the film; they follow single file and keep the babies close. Then they have a dust bath using their trunks to help them better camouflage into the park surroundings

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My favourite moment of the trip. Mummy and baby elephant in the dusk, heading home