South Luangwa National Park – Zambia

To the east of Victoria Falls, past the 7500 km mark on our trip across Africa we came to the little visited South Luangwa National Park.

One of the unusual features of South Luangwa National Park are the allowed night game drives. Most places, Etosha, Chobe, Serengeti, etc carefully sequester if not seal in tourists after dark: not SLNP. We saw the second of our three leopards plus a civet (sort of but not really a cat), a bush baby (fleetingly is putting is generously),  a genet and a leopard feeding on a antelope. Only annoyed by us, she pulled the carcass back into the bushes after we persisted in shining a very bright light on her.

The camp was beautiful, along the Luangwa river, with its sand bars and oxbows. You would not dare approach it for fear of becoming crocodile food. Blazingly hot during the day, heat waves rising off the long view into the park to the south of Wildlife Camp, herds of impalas and giraffes grazing in the shade, hippos and crocs in the river. The constant grunts of the hippos had become quite usual and familiar to all the travelers.

Wildlife Camp bar - park off to the right-->

The next day we took a fine game drive through the park again coming upon giraffes, elephants, hippos, antelopes of many sorts, and a very fine collection of birds: little and carmine bee eaters…

Oh, here! This is Carol’s list (thanks!): wire tailed swallow, lesser swallow, hadeda ibis, the aforementioned bee eaters, white rumpled swift, palm swift, gray heron, red billed oxpecker, lesser white-backed vulture, golden weaver, long tailed/glossy starling, great white egret, hammerkop, arrow-marked barbet, LBR (?), helmeted guinea fowl, crested cranes, spur fowl, and a white-fronted bee eater.

15 minutes before finding the leopard eating

Sunset - S. Luangwa Park

Carol’s list from the night drive: tawny eagle, double banded grouse, white tailed mongoose (that is not a bird), banded mongoose (nor that), scrub hare (ditto), lions, fruit bat, leopard, civet, large spotted genet, martial eagle, hippo, thick tailed bushbaby and cape buffalo.

More unusual from the daytime: puku, unusual sub-species of Burchell’s zebras, gray squirrel, and kudu.

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