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Trip Report Zambia photos and brief report

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Our latest trip was a return to Zambia, with 9 nights in South Luangwa National Park (6 nights Luangwa River Lodge and 3 nights Puku Ridge Tented Camp), followed by 3 nights at Chiawa Camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park. I have posted 60 photos on Kodak Easy Share Gallery – use link:
http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=jrsfo4y.bsqiumom&x=0&y=-m9yuo8

Ruth and I have so much going on in our life right now (more at a later date) that I have no time to write a full trip report. Instead I have jotted down some highlights which may interest fellow Fodorites.

Luangwa River Lodge
• Being woken in the middle of the night by “Wonky tusk” munching at the bush outside our chalet and then peering in the window at us – sleep was difficult after that!
• First sightings of newborn impala, apparently a good sign that the rains are imminent.
• 2 lions (brothers) chased away by a family of elephants.
• Watching a crocodile trying to swallow impala horns, the body having been dealt with quite easily.
• Leopard sighting at night (turned out to be the only sighting we had).
• Woken again in the night by 4 dining elephants, plus the sounds of lion just outside camp.
• Encounter with game hunters who were planning an easy kill of a male tusker at the crossing regularly used by the herd. We were out with Sean, who owns the lodge and it was thought that the hunters would not do any shooting if we stayed close by. After enjoying a slightly tense sundowner we waited a further hour in the dark, at which point the hunters gave up and drove away.
• 2 sightings of a pack of 21 wild dogs, a couple of who had just been darted to fit tracking collars as part of a wild dog project.
• Superb food, hosting, guiding and accommodation throughout our stay – thanks to Sean and his wife Maryann, Marco the magnificent chef, Victor our ever considerate and knowledgeable guide and the rest of the team who made our stay truly memorable.

Puku Ridge Tented Camp
• Family of lions sitting on a ridge above the dry river bed. We drove along the bed until we were directly below the pride and I was able to get several good photos.
• Live kill – 2 lionesses taking down a pregnant impala
• Another live kill – a hyaena taking a baby impala not 10m from our vehicle. It happened so quickly the impala did not hit the ground. The hyaena caught it by the neck broke it and simply trotted into the bush, carrying its prize.
• A python, about 3.5m long; watched it crawl under another vehicle carrying some very nervous looking guests!
• Watching the 2 lionesses devouring the impala, right next to the river, where seven crocodiles were drifting ever closer, waiting for their chance. While all this was going on, we were treated to an electrical storm, with forked lightning appearing every few seconds. This is why we keep coming back to Africa!!

Chiawa Camp
• Afternoon cruising on the Zambezi, watching the elephants and the prolific bird life. Later, enjoying sundowners on the boat.
• Seeing 2 fish eagles being attacked by a dozen or more plovers.
• Dinner in the bush, African cuisine described dish by dish so we could decide what to try and what to miss!
• A group of 15 dwarf mongoose(s) dashing across the road, causing our driver to brake.
• Spotting 3 side-striped jackals, watched them for 10 mins or so until they wandered off into the distance.
• Zambezi fishing. I landed a 11lbs tiger fish (see photo evidence!) and a 2lbs moon fish.

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