Described by lonely planet: For scenery, variety of animals, South Luangwa is the best park in Zambia and one of the most majestic in Africa. Impalas, pukus and buffalo wander on the wide open plains, leopards, of which there are many in the park, hunt in the dense woodlands, herds of elephant wade through the marshes, and hippos munch serenely on nile cabbage in the Luangwa River.
It was totally amazing! We went for 3 game drives, two during the day and one at night. We got ridiculously close to animals, probably too close for their comfort, but still really nice. Even the place we stayed at was absolutely filled with animals. There was strictly no walking at night without a guide, like between the restaurant and your tent, because it was filled with hippos, elephants and giraffes. They would come within 1m of tents at night! We could watch animals all day from the pool. Yesterday morning I was having breakfast in the open air restaurant, no walls, just pillars for the grass roof. My toast arrived and I went and washed my hands. As I walked back I saw a monkey jump on my chair and I shouted in futility as it grabbed my toast and egg, even though 3 other people were sitting at the table, and ran up a tree to enjoy it’s treat. They restaurant gave me another piece of toast and I started eating, watching for monkey’s this time. Preventing a “Fool me twice” incident. Suddenly a teenage elephant walked up about 5 m away and started eating plants. The staff shot it with a slingshot and it faced our table and started to come towards us. The staff shouted “RUN INSIDE!!” as they attempted to defend us with slingshots. As we ran I saw the monkey coming back, so I jumped back to my table, grabbed my plate and ran for cover. The elephant never came to our table but walked around so we could safely finish our breakfast watching it and 4 others, including a baby!
After a morning self drive (our friends from the hospital took us there so we went in their vehicle) we returned home. Just before entering the camp, there was a small pond with an elephant drinking water. We stopped and watched it drink, so quietly and peacefully. A nice ending to a wonderful morning. All of the sudden, 5 meters and maybe 1,500lbs of Nile Crocodile explodes from the water and grabs the elephant mid way up the trunk! The elephant ‘jumps’ back, lifting the croc out of the water, prompting the croc to let go. The elephant ran off with a sore and cut trunk and we saw a once in a lifetime attack!
The rest of the trip was really nice, but not as exciting. We saw most things you would hope to see, so rather than list them, I’ll list what we didn’t see. Cheetah, rhino, leopard, wildebeest. We even saw a pair of lions mating. During which a dumb tourist got out of the cab of their private pickup, walked to the back and got in the box…We were only about 80m away and apparently they are very dangerous when mating. The male half got up and really looked interested in that lady. I also liked seeing the birds of prey, we saw a few types of goshawks, harriers and eagles, including the Martial Eagle, which is the biggest species in the park. Apparently it has been recorded to prey on a 32kg (71lbs) Duiker!! (source Wikipedia)
The place where we stayed was right on the river. We could watch hippos, crocodiles, elephants and giraffes all from the swimming pool! An elephant even came one morning and drank from the pool, but not while people were inside.
All in all it was a great trip and we really enjoyed ourselves and our friends from St. Francis who joined us there.