Safari in South Luangwa

(June and August 2015)

We went to Zambia only to visit South Luangwa National Park, so here is another country still on our wishlist. To enter the country you need, in most cases, a visa: furthermore if you have been in Tanzania you will also need your yellow fever card updated. That’s all, welcome to Zambia!

This park is relatively near the border with Malawi so we took the opportunity to visit it during our stay in the next-door neighbor country. And we liked it so much that we went for a second round. The spectacular accommodation, a relaxing place, semi-isolated, with a view of the park from the other side of the bank allows you to see any sort of movement of the wildlife and some not-very-safe locals.

We had two drives to the park, sunrise and sunset each of them lasted 4 hours with a small stop to rest in the middle of the route (you also have many other possible activities to enjoy). Both have their own charm.

In the morning drive, you start early, ideally, you start before the sunrise so you can watch it, it is priceless. At this time of the day animals are on the move, it is easy to spot day time animals and you might even find some nocturne ones just resting, time for you to take thousands of pictures.

When you go on the evening drive it is still daylight and you can enjoy some of the animals you saw in the morning. The stop this time coincides with the sunset… Personally, we believe there is nothing better than watching a sunrise or a sunset around nature, you find so many shades of colours… And when nighttime comes you still have two more hours to go. And here is where chasing the animals start. And we went crazy thinking that rocks and bushes were animals!

In our first trip, we managed to see 2 leopards resting in the morning drive and a third one ready to hunt during the night one. However, we couldn’t see the lions for a long time as we spotted them on our way out, pity. But we were lucky, the sky was clear and no moon out so the preys didn’t see the predators clearly so they had chances to move around.

On our second trip, we started with such an adrenaline rush that we didn’t know how to overcome it. Already on our way to the entrance we spotted some buffalo and early on we knew that a lion pack had killed a hippopotamus and they were still feasting. This is uncommon, but there were two young males so the lionesses had to make an extra effort to feed all of them. The best part was not only to watch those felines feed themselves but also to observe how the scavengers were waiting, their turns (hyenas and vultures mostly). We kept our route and we almost saw a leopard going for the kill. Just before leaving the national park we went back to where the lions had feasted and there were no longer lions, only flock of vultures over what we thought it was the remains of the hipo.

This time the night drive was very different from the first one. For starters, lions were just laying down at the entrance and they were so full they could barely move, but we were very closed. We went back (again) to the feast area, but between the lions and the scavengers there was only rolled up skin from the hippo left, it looked like a rug. We also discovered that the morning leopard finally had killed its prey and it was keeping it high up a tree branch. That night it was a full moon, so most prays knew exactly where the predators were and we didn’t see much night life. A real pity.

You might have a “good” day/night or a “bad” one, meaning, you might find lots or few animals but the experience of a safari is always a shocking one. And it is important to remember that park rangers are good at their jobs, and their job requirement is also to try to get you to enjoy just by watching wild life.

So here it is! You’ve seen the pictures so there is no way to go wrong if you go to South Luangwa.


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