We were incredibly lucky to have come across a leopard in broad daylight on our very first day, but by our third day we were still to spot a lion. Well, our tactic of asking every game vehicle we cross paid off already in the morning when we met someone who was on his way to pick up guests and he had spotted a male lion sleeping right by the road. We followed his directions as best we could and soon found this lazy male lion sleeping in the shade by himself. We watched him while having our packed breakfast and eventually he rolled over, yawned, looked at us as if wondering what’s there to look at. Not the most exciting encounter, but an encounter nevertheless. We soon left him to carry on his lazy snooze.
We had earlier on, while aimlessly looking for lions, come across a pack of wild dogs. This was a real treat as wild dogs are one of Africas most endangered carnivore. They were very relaxed and watched us as much as we watched them.
After driving along the river, seeing a variety of animals, we crossed a Landcruiser carrying a film crew, and they were just returning from spending the whole morning filming a pride of lions, this was really our lucky day for lions! The man behind the wheel told us, without us even asking, that if we just continued down passed the giraffes and then followed the road on the right we’d come straight to a pride of ten lions. I always smile to myself at these directions as it’s not like there are clear straight roads, but rather winding tracks in all directions, despite this we managed to find this female only pride. Another car was just leaving and shortly after we arrived the lionesses simply got up from their shady spot by the river and walked into thicker bushes, I guess they had done enough posing for the day!
After such a succesful morning drive we felt like we’d seen it all. But at the gate the man on duty told us about the pride of four lions down by Puku ridge, this gave us appertite for more! In the afternoon we headed straight towards this area, which happens to have the most beautiful gravel road I’ve ever travelled on, but then again it leads straight to the former Presidential lodge! We stopped to take in the views and then started following the winding loops along the river. It was late afternoon when we spotted a game vehiacle in the distance and made our way towards it (yes, we crashed every fancy-safari party!) Sure enough, the guests in this car was sitting right below the ridge were the four lions were resting. A couple of other cars (using our tactics?) joined and we just sat and watched the lions have their afternoon nap. It was now time to make our way to the gate, selfdrivers have to be out by 18.00, but there was no way the kids would let us leave these lions! As if an alarm had rung the lions got up one by one and slowly made their way down towards the open plain, walking right beside our car! My heart was beating a little faster and I never saw the boys sit so still on the back of the car! We now really needed to start making our way back, but action was just about to start. We managed to somewhat get into a position from where we were able to watch the lions stalk a herd of buffalo, until one buffalo senced something in the making and signalled to the others that lions are in the grass. Instead of watching a pride of well tuned lions make a kill, we saw four lions running for the trees as the whole buffalo herd came following after! Unfortunately this was too far and too dark for me to even capture, instead I just enjoyed the live show. What an amazing last day we had!
The next day it was time to get up before the sun, pack up and hit the road. We drove out of Croc Valley camp at 06.00 and headed southeast to Chipata, taking the long but (somewhat) smother 12 hour drive home. This was our first time to visit South Luangwa NP (my husband came here as a child) and what an amazing place it is. We can’t wait to plan our next trip as there is a lot more on the Zambia bucket list!