Luangwa national park

 

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// Nikon D7200 |-13.18397 : 31.72271 | alt. 543m

Finally, we left Lusaka. En route to Luangwa national park, we stopped in Katete, but it’s not an easy job to find a place to sleep in Zambia ! There is people or fences everywhere !!! And I had enough troubles with the locals while bushcamping, and waaaay enough problems with the police in this country.
Everyone was talking about the police in Zimbabwe, but from our experience, they were doing a great job ! I am surprised no one mentionned the problem with Zambia, each police check point is looking meticulously at our vehicles to find a problem (all working lights, including the tiny light for the back plate, tyre condition, wipers condition, insurance sticker, extinguisher, triangles, and don’t forget to put your hazard lights when approaching a police check point !!!!)
Enough !!

So here we are, en route for the biggest national park of Zambia, the equivalent of Kruger in South Africa, but sadly, my budget for this fairly expensive park was already taken by the police ! ($30usd park fee p/p/n, $15usd per vehicle p/day, + expensive campgrounds inside the park) sooooo I was even wondering why we were going there ?! We spent already so much money at the border and on the way for absolutely nothing, we kinda had to find something nice in this country to justify such a big expense.

Another story about cats…..
Remember this wild Kitty who stole cookies from our camp ?
Well this time in Zambia, we had a very different encounter, with 4 lions surrounding us !
Instead of leaving Zambia, we decided to give Luangwa national park a shot. This park is still too expensive for our budget, but luckily, we found a lovely place to bushcamp next to it. We hided our vehicles so well it took 8 days for the park rangers to bust us 🙂
This is also the first time we stayed that long next to wildlife, and we didn’t know we could influence their routine…..
It all started when we realised we were camping 70m away from the gathering spot for lions (where they discuss about the target of the day, and how to take it down, you know, those boring production meetings).
By mistake, we also camped on an elephant trail. They quickly found another way, but they were roaming around, and picking wood or elephant shits (works like charcoal, and the smoke repeals mosquitoes) was not an easy job, and we always have to check the surroundings. Elephants ARE NOT FRIENDLY !!
This is more or less what we had nearby on a daily basis :
– hundreds of elephants
– hundreds of hippos (residents)
– about 20 crocodiles
– 5 lions (residents)
– hundreds of antelopes (impalas residents)
– leopards
– 1 giraffe (died on third day, taken down on the opposite side)
– 30 species of birds
we had to check our perimeter at night, about every half an hour, and keep our fire nice and bright !
By 4 times, always on my watch, I had to raise the alarm and get back to the safety of our vehicles when cats where coming way too close.
Once, I busted a leopard crawling towards us, just 50m away !
Very powerful flashlights are pretty efficient to repeal cats, but one side of our camp is a very dense bush, and there is no way we could protect that side !
Still, we did such a good job at “keeping” our
perimeter (considering the amount of cats
nearby)…. that impalas were getting
closer, looking for that safety !
And it didn’t work so well for them…. On our last
night, 4 lions surrounded our vehicles, and gave chase to the nearby impalas, nearly killing them on my door !
That same night, hippos were grazing next to us, assuming it was safe as well, and came face to face with the lions !
Now, try to imagine the noise coming from it 😀
Once busted by the locals, and lions using
our cars as a hunting reserve, it was about time
to leave.
So next destination, Malawi !

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