Tag Archives: national park

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Elephants hanging out in the shadeAfter Malawi, we headed to Zambia for a few days. We spent the majority of our time in the South Luangwa National Park. In addition to sown time relaxing in the campsite with a view of the river, we did a sunrise game drive and a sunset game drive.

On both occasions I was in the jeep with a driver called Ryver. His english was really good, he had a great sense of humour and was incredibly knowledgeable about the area.

Hippopotamus' hanging out in a lakeSouth Luangwa National Park is the park with the highest concentration of leopards. The time of year we visited wasn’t conducive to seeing all these leopards unfortunately, as the grasses were too high, providing too many hiding places for the stealthy cats.

GiraffesDespite our misfortune with leopards, we were certainly very fortunate with the other animals. We saw many Thorny croft giraffe (a breed of giraffe only found in Zambia); Nile crocodiles; a Hawk Eagle; Vervant monkeys (the males have bright blue balls, which is bizarre, but easy for identifying the type of monkey); Puku (a bigger breed of antelope that’s all brown); Impala; Hippos; Lions; Golden baboons; Elephants, Zebras, Hyenas and Vultures. We enjoyed a morning coffee beside a hippo pool!

One of the most fascinating, but disgusting parts of the game drive was seeing the carcass of an elephant that had been dead and picked at for five days. A pack of hyenas were taking turns picking at whatever parts of the elephant there was left to eat, while in the background the vultures patiently waited their turn. It was a very visible demonstration of both the circle of life and the food chain.

Pack of Hyenas eating a dead elephant

During our sunset drive we found ourselves amongst a large herd of elephants, there were mature adults with huge tusks all the way through the baby elephants only a few days or weeks old.

Sunset over the Luangwa RiverAs the sun lowered in the sky, we pulled up by the river to listen to the hippo’s, watch the crocodiles and drink a ‘sundowner’. After dark our spotlighter did a good job of finding animals for us to observe, including a pride of lions stalking a herd of Impala. The impala got spooked and ran before the lions got close enough. But we were able to follow the lions for some time afterwards.

Morrison stuck in the mudLeaving the camp the following day after a night of solid rainfall caused some issues with mud on the road and Morrison (the truck) was soon bogged into the embankment at a precarious angle. With some pushing, good humour, dancing, singing and the help of a truck we managed to get Morrison out of the ditch and on the road again.

Then we were on our way to Zimbabwe!



Mikumi National Park, Tanzania

Mikumi National Park

A Leopard walking down the highwayMikumi National Park is the fourth largest National Park in Tanzania. It is 3230 square kilometres and shares a border with one of the biggest game parks in Tanzania.

We did a half day game drive in the National Park with some local guides. Our group was spread across three jeeps, unfortunately only one of the drivers had reasonable English so we didn’t learn any new information about the park and the animals along the way. I will say though that I was happy enough with our non-english speaking driver, as it was a much safer jeep to be in than the one with no brakes!

WildebeestOn the drive into the game park we were all astounded to start our morning off with seeing a leopard strolling down the main highway. Unfortunately it had lost it’s tail, which I am sure affects it’s ability to climb trees, stalk and hunt. Despite this, it still looked quite healthy.

Once in the National Park we were all very interested to note that the vegetation was so much different to both the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and in fact it was much nicer with a greater variety of landscape.

The park was gorgeous and once again luck was on our side. We saw: a Leopard; Lions; Giraffes; Elephants; Zebras; Impala; Hippos; Bushbucks; Buffalos; Wildebeest; Warthogs; Golden Baboons; and many other smaller animals and birds.

Bull Elephant

Baobab Valley

Hugging a Baobab TreeDeparting the Mikumi National Park on our way to Malawi, we stopped by Baobab Valley to take some photos.

The Baobab Tree is the funny looking tree in Africa (it can also be found in some other countries) that has a really wide trunk and looks kind of like a bottle with leaves on the top. There are nine species in the family and they all look a little bit different, but they all have the very wide trunk to store water in.

Traditionally the tree is viewed as sacred, it has many medicinal uses and when you hug the tree you can make a wish.

The tree’s look really cool and their bark feels lovely – I admit I hugged the tree longer than necessary, because it felt good and I had some very important wishes to make.