Some final thoughts on South Luangwa National Park

Before I came out to Zambia, I really had no plans to do any Safari. For more than half a year I nonchalantly declined to go with friends for weekend trips. Then one day I decided to go – and was instantly hooked!

Croc Valley

I was so impressed with the safari operator I visited that I went there every time. Why mess with a winning formula? The place is called Croc Valley, because it’s situated along the shore of the Luangwa River which is infested with these blood-thirsty dinosaurs. Luckily, the bank is elevated and so there’s little chance they would try and climb up.

Even without any safari drives, the place was a little relaxing oasis that provided a nice getaway from work during weekends. My favourite thing to do was laze around on one of the hammocks and read or listen to music!

A typical day at South Luangwa

You wake early, have breakfast and start the drive at 6 AM and watch the sun rise. The guides are super friendly and knowledgeable.

And the open air vehicles are perfect for viewing and taking photos.

I forgot the explanation for the clown-smile on the elephant!

Half-way you stop for a tea/coffee break which was nice.

When you get back, you have several hours for lunch, swimming or hammock time!

In the late afternoon, we went on another drive from 4 PM (or 16 hours as the Zambians would say) to 20 hours. You see different things on the evening drive, particularly as many predators are active during night time.

You have a higher chance of seeing certain animals on the evening/night drive.

The guides whip out the spotlights when it gets dark. I’m not so sure the animals appreciated the extra light!

Then you get back for dinner, some hanging around with friends or meeting other people, and then head to bed after a long day. Unfortunately, that’s around the same time the monkeys like to jump on your roof and have fights, and when the hippos leave their water-homes and roam the camp!

Where the wild things play

It’s a strange feeling driving around in such a wild place in the comfort and protection of your vehicle. Step outside and you are in a world where animals are in constant struggle for survival. The vegetarians are forever checking their backs for the next lion or hyena that wants them on a plate! If all you knew was the Lion King, you’d be tempted to step outside your vehicle to give little Simba a pat on his back. Actually, when Simba becomes ‘king’, the first thing he’ll do is find and kill all the cubs of the previous guy, so that he can mate and pass on his own genes. Hmm, better stay inside the vehicle!

If you find yourself in Zambia, look up the South Luangwa National Park to get a glimpse of this fascinating world. The park is about a 10-hour drive from Lusaka. Alternately there is a little airport in the area but I’m told the flights can be quite expensive. It really is a fantastic place to do Safari, and at a very reasonable price. It’s a little out of the way, but well worth it!

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