South Luangwa Safari

My first full weekend in Zambia also happened to be Easter weekend which is a 4 day weekend here! Of course this is a great opportunity to get out of Lusaka and explore the country – so a group of 9 of us did just that and headed to South Luangwa National Park. We got up bright and early for a 5am departure on Friday for the “9 hours if nothing goes wrong” drive to the park.

 

Lucky that we allowed extra time because things did go wrong… Both cars got flat tires which we had repaired. After the longest leg of the journey we regrouped at an objectively pretty bad yet scenic restaurant/lodge in Chipata

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We also encountered several entertaining buses on route…

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When (one group) finally arrived at Marula lodge we were met by hippos grazing right by the main lodge.

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And warnings of what to do in an elephant encounter

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We drank cider and played drinking games waiting for the other car to join us. However laughs definitely turned to worry as several hours passed and we could not get a hold of the other group… They eventually made it about 5 hours later and we later learned that they had taken a wrong turn and were driving deep through the bush. Luckily some people found them and pointed them in the right direction before it was too late!

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We had another early morning Saturday as our first game drive started at 6! The game drives were incredible and the weather was perfect

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DSC00419DSC00443We got back to the lodge for brunch, swimming, reading and napping there were tons of monkeys playing in the branches of the trees above the hammocks. On my way to take a nap this little guy was hanging out right by the path.

DSC00446.JPGAt tea time we loaded up on cider, beer and wine for “sundowners” on our evening game drive.

DSC00458 veditDSC00464DSC00474 veditDSC00479We drove on a ‘night safari’ where I got very blurry pictures of lions, buffalo and stars that are not worth sharing here. When we got back to the lodge we had dinner, drank tequila sunrise and learned what became our new favorite game “One Night Werewolf.” We turned in for an early night because the next morning we were up again at 5 am with the goal to get our game drive on the road by 5:30!

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We picked up Steven, another IDinsight Associate I had not yet met en route as we ran into his family taking a tea break on our way out of the park. Back at the lodge we relaxed on bean bags before heading back out for our final game drive!!

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The clouds made the sunset pretty spectacularDSC00615We used this sundowner as a photo shoot opportunity…DSC00646.jpg veditAnd then got  stuck in the mud.. we all had to get out of the jeep as another one towed us out.DSC00648

On the drive back to the lodge it started pouring rain and completely soaked everyone in the car. Luckily the stylish safari poncho I had been using to keep warm in combination with wearing sunglasses in the dark kept me pretty dry!

We were sad to see our adventure come to an end as we pulled back into the lodge but luckily we had 13 hours together on the drive home to continue hanging out, playing games, and talking about life.

Overall this safari left me with a much more positive impression of safaris than my previous attempt in the Maasai Mara where there were more people than animals.. air! Several people also commented that safari is a great vacation for big groups or families because you have to make very few decisions as your days events are all pre-planned!

 

 

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