14 May 2011
Lower Zambezi: Game Drives
Date: 29 April and 1 May 2011
Location: Royal Zambezi Lodge, in the Lower Zambezi Valley, Zambia
Walkers: Helen, Dorothy and others, plus our guides
For more about my trip to Zambia see here and here.
While in Zambia I got the opportunity to go on two game drives, both in the late afternoon. On the first one we explored the area close to the lodge. Our guide took us in an open safari vehicle from which we had great views of the veld and its sights, smells and sounds.
We stopped at the Chongwe river. There were crocs on the far bank...
... and lots of playful baboons.
Buffalo! We learnt that these old guys who have left the herd are known as daga boys. They looked very serious and I didn't want to get too close.
Impala are very plentiful in the area; there must be thousands of them. We saw many family herds as well as lots of young males. It was rutting season so we witnessed several challenges and heard the strange explosive bark that the rutting males make. Hard to believe such a scary sound comes out of such a beautiful antelope.
As we continued on our drive the sun got lower in the sky.
We made our way down to a another body of water. In the gorgeous golden late afternoon sunshine it looked like a pastoral paradise.
As the sun started to fade the antelope began to look a little skittish.
And with good reason as there are predators in the area. We spotted an old male lion. Haha, he absolutely refused to look at in our direction.
Big sigh. Flop. Hard work being a celebrity.
It was exciting and eerie to be out in the bush after dark. We hoped to see leopard, but no luck. We did however spot a couple of genet.
A couple of days later we went out again. Another beautiful afternoon.
We saw more daga boys chilling near the river...
... and a cheery little warthog.
This time we went into the Lower Zambezi National Park proper. There is just a boom - no fences - as the game can move through the valley freely.
We drove slowly through the bush looking for animals.
Aha! A baby elephant trotted out of the bush behind us. The cuteness!
There were several youngsters in the small herd.
Elephants are always eating.
We saw nests in the acacia trees.
And a giant baobab.
We also spotted many impala, a kudu and several waterbuck.
No more lions, nor leopards, to be found unfortunately, but I was delighted to see a side striped jackal. He lay watching us watch him for a while until he got up and loped off out of sight.
And we saw this gruesome remains of an antelope.
We watched the sunset and then drove slowly back to the lodge in the dark. A couple of times our guide turned off the vehicle's engine and lights and we listened to the sounds of the night and looked up at the spectacular stars. What a magical experience.