South Luangua

On our last day in Kande, I had quite a relaxing day. I spent a while lying in hammock reading, went for a walk along the beach, updated this blog and made a couple of calls on the VoIP phone available at the campsite. I also collected my purchases from Mr Giraffe and Georgey Porgey. I was slightly disappointed with the quality, but I did spend an hour or so chatting to the latter and playing the local game I had purchased.

The next 2 days were driving days, although not too long a distance. We camped in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi, where there were more stalls selling carved wooden items. The quality of the carving was probably the best we had seen. On the second driving day we crossed the border into Zambia, which involved my most expensive visa payment of 150 USD. Fortunately, visas for all of the remaining countries are free. 🙂 That night we camped in Chipata.

Yesterday, we drove from Chipata to a campsite just outside South Luangwa National Park. The drive didn’t take too long, but it did involve one of the worst roads we have travelled on anywhere. The campsite is in a great location, right on the bank of the River Luangua. During the day we could see and hear hippos in the water. We also saw crocodiles and some elephants crossing the river. At night, the hippos come out of the water to eat. Last night, some of the others woke up and saw them among our tents. Apparently there was one less than a meter from mine and Cian’s tent, but neither of us inside woke up to see it. The swimming pool at the campsite was specially designed to allow hippos to get out.

We have done two game drives in South Luangua National Park today. For the first one, we set off at 6am. We were in a very open vehicle for the drive, which was good because we got better views of the animals. We saw a few species of antelope which we had not seen before, along with many of the usual. The highlight for me was seeing lion cubs drinking from the river. We also saw a rock python which our guide told us had eaten a whole impala a week ago. We were back in the campsite by 10am to find that Kanyo and Pete had cooked breakfast for us.

After spending the middle of the day lying in hammocks, swimming in the pool and just relaxing, we set off for our second game drive at 4pm. We saw a large lizard in the first half of the drive, which I had not seen before. We then stopped to watch the sun set over the river, it wasn’t a particularly good one though. After that, we continued to drive. Once it got dark, we had a spotter with a powerful spotlight searching for animals. We saw the same lions we had seen earlier and some smaller wild cats which we had not seen before. The night drive was not very impressive overall, but worth trying just to see what it was like.

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