Country : Zambia (Luangwa)
Distance : 67km
After our previous day’s admin focus (boring) we decided that an early start and a game drive through the park would be the order of the day.
So we started with an early Barefoot Barman Special – the triple tot Bloody Mary with salt, pepper, tobasco and worcestershire sauce. Followed by an early breakfast followed by another BM followed by coffee and a third BM. At which point it became patently obvious that if we didn’t pack a cooler box and hit the road to the park immediately we would never leave…
So, sufficiently fortified with enough Dutch courage to storm the Bastille in our Toy Story pyjamas, we packed refreshments, cameras, binoculars, reference books etc and prepared to face Africa’s fiercest wild animals… no, not our better halves no, the REAL wild ones on four legs with teeth that eat people in big chunks.
Of course, by now it was now closer to midday than sunrise. So much for the early start…
It was after paying for our entrance to the park for the day that we stumbled on our first wild animal. Looking disturbingly like an older Jack Nicholson, this deranged character uttered a few words of gibberish before climbing into the back seat against our wishes and proceeded drool all over the place ….
Our next sighting was of an animal not seen in South Africa and Zim – the puku. Occuring in Zambia, Conga and Namibia they are very similar in size and features as impala but differing in colouring.
We then drove around the park which has many pools and ox-bow lakes – leftovers from the Luangwa river’s meanderings around the flood plain over the past millennia.
We saw a large variety of birdlife that all have very interesting and descriptive names like Purple Crested Fork Tailed Crinkle Toed Curly Warblers and Lesser Spotted Greater Breasted Red Tits (oh wait, that might have been the teenage foreign tourist tanning topless at the camp pool…). Whatever – I can never remember their names despite Kwacha Man’s earnest tuition.
At one point while ambling around the park we came up behind a viewing vehicle which had stopped to look at some giraffe. The giraffe here are a sub-species of the ones we are used to in SA. They are much darker and the patterns appear smaller.
When the vehicle moved off we moved in closer for a better look when Kwacha Man spotted a leopard disappearing into the bush. Much excitement followed but unfortunately that was all we managed to see of him/her. Damn!
The elephant in the pic below is not dead – which is what we initially thought as it was quite motionless for a long while – but stood up a few minutes later, shook itself off and started demolishing a nearby tree.
Two hippos fighting in the river…
A while later we stopped to talk to a viewing vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The vehicle was driven by a guide and had 6-8 “Foreigners On Safari” sitting in the raised seats. They looked like refugees from an Agatha Christie murder mystery set at the turn of the 19th century in deepest, darkest Africa.
I have nothing against the pith helmets and $1000 safari outfits but in the 10 minutes that the guide exchanged info with us on what we had seen and where, not one of the Pithy Crowd so much as blinked, spoke or even cracked a smile. They just fixed us with shotgun stares over both nostril barrels as if disgusted that we, the hoi poloi, had intruded on their private park.
Kwach Man’s comment afterwards went something like this (only he was far more eloquent) :
“I felt like asking them if they were enjoying themselves, and I they said ‘Yes’ I would have replied – ‘Then crack an effing smile you stuck bunch of wankers!” Much laughter and hilarity followed along with a bit more drool from Jack Nicholson snr.
A giraffe drinking must be the most ungainly animal in the world!
Sunset at last – drinks all round !!!