Dev and I have dreamt of South Luangwa for years. But with the limited time in school holidays we never felt we could do Zambia and its game reserves justice. However, we found ourselves camped at the picturesque Wildlife Camp along the swollen Luangwa river.
South Luangwa is more beautiful than we imagined. We knew going in January was not the ideal game viewing time with it being so wet, but with Malawi borders being closed this was our only option. But wow the “green season” is breath-taking….. everything is lime green, elephants splash through marshes with their tiny “suitcase-babies”, Puku by the hundreds span the grassy open plains, tiny antelope stick close to their mums, lions laze in shady spots, leopards creep in open plains, and the river rises and swells daily. The plains game is abundant. We even got grumpy when we didn't see leopard every day!!!!!! (We saw 4 leopard in a few days)
Overall we were blown away more by the scenery than the game. It is incredible…. Plains, woodlands, riverine forests, huge magnificent trees….Driving around you find your breath being taken away as you turn a corner. The backdrop of sundowners are huge storms clouds brewing over the plains & river, yet with bright sunshine glowing through.... it is a breathtaking place.
With it being so wet a lot of the roads are complete mud bogs or completely under water – this brought a lot of frustration and back-tracking to our game drives. Dev's reversing skills were put to the test! On day 2 we quickly learnt that bright green grass along the roadside, no matter how narrow, is NOT a good turning area. OH NO!!!! We got seriously stuck and even the recovery tracks (sand ladders) would not help….. thankfully there was a tree close by and we could winch ourselves out! Thank you 4x4 Mega World for our recovery kit! Lets just say "once-bitten-twice-shy" for venturing off the road!!!!!
Dev and I love quieter more remote places and just about all the places we have stayed so far have been very quiet (sometimes too quiet even for us). CV-19 has seriously affected the tourist industry – it is heart-breaking to see these “would be” gorgeous places void of any people or vibe. This pandemic has hit everyone. Would-be Safari guides now fish daily with stick rods and line to put food on their tables. Being here pretty much alone is incredible but at the same time your heart is saddened at what is happening world-wide to so many businesses. The quietness did however allow for friendships to form between our 2 other camp-neighbours – a fun avid game viewing Israeli/French couple who have travelled for a few years and a South African family who decided to change scenery and camp at Wildlife a mere 8kms from their home! Having these personal interactions with people and sharing meals has really warmed our souls!
The Zambian people are so friendly – welcoming, interested, enquiring and hard working. Thomas was one such man - everyday this entrepreneurial man arrived by bike at our campsite (through the unfenced game reserve) with a selection of fruit and veggies he has grown himself – avos, rocket, mangoes, oranges, pak-choy, spring onions….. it is better than Woolies! He used to be a game ranger but had to think out the box on how to provide for his family – his business not only supplies the meagre tourists but also the expat community in the area with fresh veggies and fruit daily. What a legend!
We loved SL so much that we stayed for 12 nights. It was awesome to just put our feet up and “make home”, feel the peace of the place, calm your soul, start homeschooling, game drive the day’s away and just breathe and absorb the place a little bit. We think on our return journey to SA we will venture back to see what it is like in the dry season….. but lets just see where the road takes us....
After SL we headed south for 11 hours to Lusaka, and are now taking the slow steady route up through Northern Zambia….. once more being welcomed into peoples homes and lives. Thank you to our followers who are contacting us and offering us a bed and hearty meal – you have been so incredible, and we are so blessed to have met you and your families. THANK YOU x