13 July 2009

South Luangwa National Park

Our stay at Croc Village Camp in the South Luangwa National Park turned out to be quite eventful for a number of reasons.

The location of the campsite, on the bank of the Luangwa River right on the boarder of the national park, was fantastic. In order to keep you on your toes the campsite was unfenced. This meant that all the animals from the park were free to roam into and around the campsite. It provided us with some great wildlife viewing opportunities.

Every night a herd of hippos came into camp to munch on the grass around the tents. We also heard, but thankfully, didn't see lions. I'm not sure how resistant our canvas tents are to an attack from a hungry lion. As if that wasn't dangerous enough the river bank at the side of the camp was lined with crocodiles. Apparently 4 locals from the village have been munched in the last 5 years!

We were also visited on a number of occasions by a herd of wild elephants. We were even able to spend a morning following them on foot after they wandered into camp.

On our last morning there we were woken by a troupe of monkeys who were using our tent as a slide in order to get out of a tree.

The monkeys had been causing havoc around the campsite earlier in the week. When we went on a game drive on Saturday morning they broke into our kitchen supplies and made off with a box of cornflakes, a packet of biscuits and the sugar bowl. Dan tried to get some revenge by setting a monkey trap but they must have been full after eating our breakfast . . . or maybe too clever for our dumb contraption!

Unfortunately the monkeys weren't the only creatures who where interested in a bit of stealing. As the campsite was unfenced it also meant that the local thieving scumbags, as well as the wildlife, were free to roam through the camp.

In the early hours of Sunday morning Adam and Annie's tent got robbed whilst they where asleep in it. The thieves unzipped the tent and managed to get away with 3 cameras (with all their photos on), an Ipod, toiletries bag, Annie's handbag and Adam's passport. They then tried the same trick on Matt and Nike's tent but luckily Matt woke up and disturbed them before they got in.

Whilst we were staying at Croc Camp we also did a couple of game drives into the South Luangwa National Park. The wildlife wasn't quite as plentiful as in Kenya and Tanzania but we still saw a fair few animals.

And the scenery was quite spectacular too.

One of the things that made the experience a little different was the use of open sided vehicles.

Great for taking pictures but very nerve wracking when there's a wild lion about 6ft away from your leg.

One of the big draws at South Luangwa is that it's one of the few parks to offer night time drives. They start at dusk and carry on into the evening searching out the animals with a giant spotlight. This gives you a chance at seeing some of the harder to see nocturnal animals. Although photographing them is somewhat more challenging.

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