After our previous adventures we had to relax a bit at our campsite before we were heading into the park. The campsite is such an amazing place to stay and watch the wildlife around you. That’s why they must have called it Wildlife Camp. To give you a little impression how a day goes by. You’ll wake up with the baboons. They climb down the tree as soon as the sun comes up and warm up. Then the hippos and crocodiles get out of the water to enjoy the heath of the sun. After that you have to be careful with your food otherwise the vervet monkeys will steal it. At the other side of the river you’ll see some impala and puku. In the evening there’s another ritual with animals passing by during the sunset… (Do I need to say more?)
Thomas the vegetable farmer
The next morning Thomas came by to sell papaya on his bike. He lives in a village 20 (!) kilometers from the campsite. He has a piece of land and grows vegetables. He has to protect his land against elephants at night. He shoots them with a catapult to chase them away. We bought a papaya from him. He then told us that he would visit the campsite on Saturday and if we need anything we should just let him know. We certainly did so he would bring us some vegetables in a couple of days. That night we ate the papaya and it was delicious.
Welcomed by elephants at South Luangwa
We got up early the next day and arrived at the gate of South Luangwa National Park at 6.00 am. Before we entered the park a herd of elephants crossed the road in front us. I asked the ranger if there were any picknick spots in the park. He told us that when we have a clear view of 50 to 200 meters it should be fine to stop your vehicle :). The Luangwa river flows on the Eastern side of the park. Furthermore there are lagoons that slowly dry up in the dry season. We arrived at a hippo pool and took a turn to the right. You don’t see a lot of selfdrivers in the park. Most people tend to go on an organized safari. We saw some hyenas that were still awake. It was a beautiful morning drive. We saw a lot of animals that we had never seen before. Like the subspecies of the giraffe called Thorncroft and a subspecies of the zebra. We also saw some puku, impala, hippo and crocodiles. We drove till the ‘lion plains’, made some coffee over there and drove back.
Trying to spot Ginger the lion
We left South Luangwa and had a quick lunch before we entered the park again in the afternoon. This time we went to the left side of the park. This part is also quite amazing. The road was a bit worse and overgrown though. We also needed to pass a really sandy river. We were glad that we got on the main road again. There we got a tip that there were lions nearby. It was ‘Ginger’ the lion with ten others. They were exhausted of the night before because they killed a buffalo. His name comes from his orange hair and his light skin. Unfortunately we do not have a good photo of him. We waited for two hours but he only turned his head once. Lazy cat!
The vegetable farmer at your doorstep
The next day Thomas came by on his bicycle. He greeted us like friends. “Hello Lennart, Hello Madame”. He had a box full of vegetables that he put down on the table and we could choose what we wanted. Delicious! It was freshly picked from his garden that morning. We filled our fridge with vegetables and salad and had a wonderful dinner that night.
After five great nights at Wildlife Camp it was time to go on an adventure. A rough road to North Luangwa was waiting on us.