Zambia’s Best!!!

Kafue National Park

Northern Kafue is where all the magic lives, we started in the South and drove all the way up. Again, we have arrived in the rainy season so we never saw all that this park has to offer at the right time of the year. It was still worth visitng though and we met some great people too.

Once we had arrived in the North after bush camping for two nights before, we met a lodge owner who told us bush camping was not allowed and that all the lodges were in the process of closing down. Once the rains start at Kafue the whole park turns into a flooded swamp and you cannot drive anywhere. Everyone we met had a different story of the severity of this based on there experiences so we thought we would still drive up North and check it out for ourselves. We landed up at Basunga Plains which is Red Lechwe, Puku, Buff and Lion heaven. The lodge we headed for was called Shumba. We met the S.African couple who runs the lodge and they had just cleared up and boarded the lodge when we arrived. They were waiting for hand-over staff to arrive before they could leave, so they were pretty much staying another night before they could depart. We cracked open a pap-sak of our finest white wine (ha ha) and we all started to tell our stories and party up a storm. Tara and Ashley showed us pics of the regular Lion visits they get to the lodge and how each night when walking a clients back to their rooms they have to deal with a regular visitor who is often sitting outside someone’s room. Tara has been charged by Lion and Leopard while working at Shumba. They have pics of this one particular female Lion lying on the deck, walking across the bridge to the guest’s rooms. Holy crack, they had some great stories and entertained us endlessly.

The unfortunate situation of the evening was when Mike was thrown into the pool with our GPS in his pocket, so yea guess where we are today? We had to drive all the way back to Lusaka to purchase a new GPS. BUT!!! As we left the park for Lusaka we stumbled upon 8 Wild dog lying in the road. We spent a while with them before heading off on a high note.

 

Kafue – Buff no more

Kafue – Wattled Cranes, my new favourite

Kafue – A great spotting on our way out

 

Liuwa plain National Park

It must be said that Zambian parks have taken on a beauty that is to date unsurpassed and quite inspiring to see. We thought arriving in Zambia as the rainy season started would be a total waste of time. Quite the opposite actually. We have seen all four National parks as green as ever, flowers bursting into full bloom and the healthiest looking animals by far.

Luiwa plain was no exception, the BBC were at this park a week before we arrived filming African storms and boy does Liuwa put on a great show for the worlds avid storm chasers. At any one time you can spin around and all that surrounds you is a 360 view of this beautiful plain full of Wildebeest, their babies with the umbilical cords still attached, Oribi, Hyena, Pelicans, Saddle-bill storks, Spoonbills, Marsh owls and seriously, the list goes on and on. If you are a nature-buff and you like your peace and quiet, Liuwa would fulfill your expectations and more.

A documentary was made called “The last Lion of Liuwa” due to the poaching of all Lion that existed in this park so many years ago accept this one female who survived. Although we didn’t see any ourselves we know there are four Lion that live here now, thanks to African parks taking over Liuwa and relocating other Lion to hopefully breed and build the population up again. Sadly a female Lion was poached just a few months ago and no cubs have turned up just yet but they are hoping  to see some next year. We are a little skeptical of the future of this park but we hope to return in 10 years time and see a remarkable difference in terms of  the survival of these big cats. Due to the lack of Lion, Hyena’s rule the roost here for sure, you see them everywhere, even sitting in water up to their shoulders in the midday heat and they don’t move until dinner calls later that evening. Buffalo are also being introduced as they were all in a quarantined area when we saw them. They will certainly love their new home when they are properly introduced to the park.

An African skyline has never looked better than it does in this park. The golden Savanna grasslands, the dark blue sky and the smell of a storm on it’s way… it’s nature in its purest form and if you close your eyes the wind plays a song that stays with you forever, it’s the sound of freedom, it’s simply spectacular!!! Luiwa leaves you feeling revived and inspired. It shares a dear treasure with you and that is simply not wanting to let go of one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen.

Have a look at Mike’s photo blog on this park – They are pretty dam awesome!

African ingenuity, a ferry powered by rope and muscle

Hyena up to his shoulders in cool water

 

 

 

 

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