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About unmeafrica

We are a touring and expedition company in Southern Africa. We are in the process of scouting new routes to take groups on. Our journey is taking us from Johannesburg through Swaziland,up the coast of Mozambique, over to Malawi, Zambia, and down through Botswana.

Honeymoon in Mpumalanga

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Mervyn and I recently had the pleasure of planning our honeymoon trip.

We set a few qualifying factors to get us started:

-No Planes. This was for sure to be a Landy Adventure. Towy had been laid up long enough due to busy schedules and it was time for her to get out of the garden!

-No more then 5 hours away.

-A little luxury and a bit of nature.

-Must have a spa, I wanted to be pampered!

After what seemed like a month of searching Mervyn came across Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa just outside of Hazyview. We were sold almost immediately. I had been holding out for a private infinity pool but compromised for the bath on the deck over looking the forest. Summerfields fulfilled all of our specifications and had availability for our dates. With our luxury safari tent booked and paid for all we had to do was anticipate.

From before the moment we arrived we were in good hands. A couple hours behind our scheduled arrival time and still about 30 minutes out, we received a call from Michelle making sure we were still coming and nothing had happened to us on our drive.

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Our view upon arrival.

We were greeted in the parking lot and escorted to our tent. The tent was scattered with vases and petals of roses. The manager Joan treated us to a complimentary romantic ritual bath which was set up and waiting for us to enjoy. It included champagne and these out of this world chocolate mouse tarts with strawberries. WOW!

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It was late in the afternoon and we were beat from the days activities. We opted to have dinner and wine brought to our room to enjoy on the deck instead of in the restaurant.

After a peaceful night sleep we woke up and made our way down to the restaurant for breakfast.

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Our table was decorated with rose petals shaped in a heart. It was a lovely touch and made us feel special. I wanted to try everything on the menu. With the help of Merv I was able to try just about everything on the breakfast menu. Loved them all! We never made it to lunch as we were still full from breakfast and busy enjoying our spa appointments in the afternoon. Dinner was always something to look forward to.

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We made our spa appointments in the afternoons so we would not have any pressure of a schedule. This gave us the morning and early afternoons for reading by the pool, playing cards, or just doing nothing.

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 For treatments we choose the Sabie Valley Coffee Envelopment, Summerfields Natural Signarure Facial, and the Sunny Eudora Pedicure. We both really enjoyed the coffee scrub. We are slight attics of the caffeinated bean. The smell floated through air as the most beautiful subtle breeze blew.

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The farm is a little slice of heaven on earth. In addition to the roses they grow lychee’s and macadamia nuts. There are two restaurants the River Cafe where we ate most of our meals and Kitchen which is positioned closer to the road for the convenience of locals and drive by guests. We ventured up to the Kitchen one afternoon for lunch. Below is a picture of the lovely presentation of the gazpacho which was hands down one of the best I’ve ever had. The flavors were blended to perfection. We also shared a cheese board that was accompanied by delicious house made bread.

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Summerflieds gets an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up from the Duffield’s. The staff was personable, attentive, and always available for any of our wants or needs. Joan the manager was a most gracious and lovely host. She and Precious really made our stay most memorable!

Check them out at summerfields.co.za!

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in South Africa

 

Namibia Days 10 – 18

Day 10 Epupa Falls to Ongongo

The Chief had to go to the Clinic 200km away. The day before, while having lunch I offered to take him as I was headed in the general direction.

0700

I picked up the Chief and one of his young sons.

After dropping them near Opuwu, I continued South to the graves of the Dorsland Trekkers. At the time I did not know much about these trekkers but after doing some research, find it fascinating that they were able to travel the distances they did given the conditions and areas they were in.

Near Kaoko Otavi lay five graves of the Dorsland trekkers under the tree.

 

 This is the remains of the church. I met with J. Humu a local who took me to the sites and he believes the church collapsed and the five bodies were carried a few hundred meters and buried under the tree you see above. The date he wrote in the sand was 1924. The only information I have found was the Dorsland Trekkers erected the church around 1879. This was a chosen spot as there is a spring that runs through this village.

  The roads are all gravel but as you can see are kept in a fairly good condition.

 

 Right: Continuing South to Sesfontein, one thing you cannot stop is all the dust settling in your car. Everywhere!

 Very steep pass 40km North of Sesfontein

Arriving at Sesfontein, welcomed by a Trip of Goats. This is a very scenic area with Sesfontein set to the West of this mountain range. I would like to have the names of the mountain ranges, but they are not easily found. I am told that many are just not named.

  

  Just before sunset I tucked into Ongongo to camp for the night. Ongongo is known for the clear pond you see. The water is a great temperature even in winter as a warm flowing waterfall set back in the cave feeds the pond. A swim before setting up camp was great after a long day on the gravel roads.

Distance Traveled: 408km

Day 11 – Ongongo to Twyfelfontein

The drive South you are kept entertained with Giraffe, Zebra and many Springbok.

Springbok among Milk Bush

 Looking down on into the plains to the East

Petrified Forest

 Proclaimed a national Monument on March 1st, 1950.

 The petrified forest is a 65Ha area in the Damaraland where you can see the exposed fossilized trees. In short, these tree trucks were washed down a river and buried in alluvial sands some 200 million years ago. Due to a lack of air and pressure these trees are now said to have “turned to stone”.

Reference: http://www.namibian.org/travel/natural/petrified-forest.html

  

Left: Rings are clearly visible   Right: Water that has crystalized with in the trunk

 

Left: Although hard as stone, the bark can be seen. Right: 40m trunk

The Welwitschia mirabilis

 Said to be a living fossil, can only be found in the Namibia and Angola. The oldest and largest plant stands approximately 1.4m tall, 5m in diameter and in excess of 1500 years old.

Only 2 leaves, but separate into more through wind damage.

Male Welwitschia/Khorixas plant around 600 years old.

On to Twyfelfontein – home to the engravings and rock paintings

Namibia’s first World Heritage Site 28 June, 2007

Engravings of animals

 

Animals and rock paintings

 

Rock forms and Ruins

 

 

I camped along the dry Aba-Huab riverbed for the night

Distance: 305km

Day 12 – Twyfelfontein to The White Lady

There was plenty to see on my way South to The Brandberg Mountains.

Organ Pipes right before sunrise

 

Burnt Mountain at sunrise

Gardens of Pillar rocks were fascinating

I did not take the recommended route, but instead took a more direct route with notation “Serious 4wd needed”. It was a slow going road, averaging 20-40km/h for 80km. With stops to take pictures and negotiate tracks, it took around 6 hours.

Deserted houses and cars on route

 

40km from the nearest village and there is a honesty system of “take a rock and leave a penny”

Bush road signs

The “veld” out here is fine and light in color. The blades are almost gold in color. I love it.

 

60km into the trip, the highest mountain in Namibia revealed her North side. Brandberg Mountain

 

From the cockpit

 The White 

The story of the White Lady of the Brandberg Mountains has great history and is worth looking up. Unfortunately it is far to long for me to add into the blog.

It’s a 2.5km Walk up to the paintings. The walk itself is along a riverbed, crossing streams, and between the boulders. The walk on its own is worth the trip.

Left: The White Lady  Right: Half Man-Half Animal

 

Animals and White Lady

Oldest pictures on Maack rock

Maack shelter overhang

I spent the night at the White Lady Lodge 15km away from the painting. If you recall our UK friends from previous blogs Jon, Claire, and their daughters Sophie and Lucy, as well as Steve and Samantha were also spending the night at the lodge. It was good to catch up with them again and see where their travels had taken them.

Distance: 117km

Day 13 White Lady to Swakopmund

The morning was spent saying goodbye to friends.  Left to Right: Sam, Steve, Myself, Lucy and Sophie on the roof, Jon and Claire.

Headed West toward Henties Bay from Uis

 Honesty sales system. Take a rock and leave a penny. Headed North from Henties Bay toward Cape Cross.

Cape Cross

 Seal colony

 

 Barking Cape Fur Seal

 

 Padrao left by Diogo Cao in 1486. He named this area Cabo de Cruz or Cape Cross

 

 

 West coast far different form the East

 

 Fishing Trawler Zeila, stranded in the early hours of the morning on August 25, 2008. The Vessel was on tow from Walvis Bay to Bombay after being sold for scrap. The wreck is between Henties Bay and Swakopmund. Picture taken in the fog.

 

 Coastline near wreck

 The sleepy village of Wlotzkasbaken. With 106 homes and only 6 permanent residence, this village is truly unique. No water, electric or sewage is town supplied. Water is delivered and stored in private water reservoirs seen below.

 

 Colorful holiday homes with matching water reservoirs

 

 

Night spent in Swakopmund

Distance: 368km

Day 14 Swakopmund to Walvis Baai

Off to the dunes with Da African Style Sand boarding company in Swakopmund. Run by Michelle and Raymond, and guided by Bambo and Nico. This is a very well run company and great fun for all ages.

 

 

The flat board, “Lay down Board”, was possible more fun than the sand boarding. The lower left picture shows the height of the dune for the lay down board enabling speeds of up to 80km/h.

 

Walvis Bay

Pelican showing off along the waterfront

 

 Port of Walvis Bay

Bay view sunset

As Walvis Bay doesn’t cater for campers or over landers, I stayed at Loubsers B&B / Backpackers in Walvis Bay for the night.

Distance: 54km

Day 15 Walvis bay to Sesriem

Started the morning with a drive to Pelican Point along the Salt Pans

 

Namib Salt works

 

The golden bladed grass again

The drive South to Sesriem was filled with ostrich, Gemsbok and Springbok along side the road.

Bridge over river at Kuiseb Pass

The tropic of Capricorn in the West, Namibia

Flash back 21 May 2011 Suz and I on the Tropic of Capricorn, East Coast, Mozambique


 

Solitaire is a great stop for fuel, coffee and fresh bakery from Moose MacGregors Desert Bakery.

Sesriem

 Named by the Dorsland trekkers as “Six Rawhide String”, as that was the death of the canyon. They tied six strings together and lowered their bucket to get water.

Arrival at the park gate, booked a campsite and straight to the dunes. Sossosvlei and Deadvlei are 60km from the Sesriem. The only problem is that you have to be out of the par by 1820, which is one hour after sunset. The common route is Deadvlei then Dune 45 for sunset as Dune 45 is only 45 km from the gate.

I however wanted to photograph Deadvlei at sunset, which left getting back to the gate by 1820 tricky.

This was one of the highlights of my trip. Ever since seeing pictures of Deadvlei, I have been wanting to come here.

Dunes on the way to Deadvlei & Sossosvlei

 

Deadvlei is a 1.1km walk across the Dunes from the car park

  

This is why I wanted to be there for sunset. The images of the cracked ground highlighted with the low level sun are stunning.

 

Dune 45 in the background after sunset

Distance: 522km

Day 16 – Sesriem to Betta

The morning start with a run down to Sesriem Canyon. Once again the usual route is to line up outside the park gate by 0515. Most people want to get up Dune 45 for sunrise, this meant I had the Canyon to myself which is great for photos.

 

  

Tire repairs before heading off again

Careful not to drive over the reptiles in the road!

Sociable Weaver nest. One of the most impressive structures seen along the roads, particularly in the Southern Parts of Namibia.

 

Entrances to the chambers are from below. These nests house up to one hundred pairs of birds at a time. Some are seen on the ground possibly when the nest gets too large and heavy for the structure it is on.

On returning to the car from photographing this nest, I saw a leave in my main fuel tank. Although small, I decided to repair it before continuing.

18km down the road I found a Farm with a rest stop called Betta.I removed the tank, and found a pin hole leak. The hole was too small to see with the naked eye, only once pressuring the tank with air, and drizzling a soapy water solution on the – much like finding a puncture.

Welding a plate over the pinholes

 

I camped there for the night.

Distance: 164km

Day 17 Betta to Keetmanshoop

Departed Betta for Luderitz in the South West.

200km away I stopped in the town of Aus, which is known for the wild desert horses. This is home to the Bahnhof Hotel, which makes the best take away coffee!

 

Aus Church

The road to Luderitz form Aus is 123km, and protty much a straight open road.

Deserted building

Light house and view of the Port of Luderitz from Shark island

 

Ships at anchor waiting for Port Clearance

Luderitz has a great little waterfront with bars, restaurants and a few shops overlooking the port.

 

Kolmanskuppe is the Ghost town in the diamond mining area, 10km from Luderitz. The town was deserted after WW1 and since been taken over by the sand dunes. Tours of the town are available once obtaining a permit.

 

 

From Luderitz, I drove East to head for South Africa. This concluded my journey through Namibia

A lasting memory of Namibia. The sun setting below the Dunes of Luderitz in my rearview mirror while a full moon rose up ahead.

I stopped over in Keetmanshoop for the night and continued on through the Ariamsvlei/Nakop border post the following morning.

Total Distance: 7130km

Days SA to SA: 18

My Top 5 Highlights

1: Epupa Falls

2: Himba visit

3: Deadvlei and Dunes

4: Etosha National Park

5: Sand boarding, Swakopmund

For more pictures please visit www.mervynduffieldphotography.com

Follow the icons to Travel, Africa, Namibia

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Namibia

 

Etosha National Park

 Fort Namutoni once home to the German Police Post and during WW1 the place to hold English prisoners, is now a restaurant, bar and curio shop for visitors to the Park.


 Day 6 East of the Park to Halali

Prior to entering the park, I met Andrew, an Aussie, making his way around Southern Africa in a VW supported by Hoopers Dealership in Durban. We spent two days traveling through the park, which was great as we could get off the beaten track with two vehicles. It is not recommended for one vehicle to stray off the main routes.

 The Pan with water in it at the moment

 Some animals seen on route

   

  

 

 This guy is eating a thorn bush

 One I particularly loved were the Giraffe’s in the background walking toward the setting sun

  

Regardless of animals seen, the landscapes and drives are beautiful

   

Up close with the Elephant’s

  

There is a spit that is built out on the Pan, which makes a fantastic Sunset viewpoint

 

 Back at camp, Halali in the center of the park, the guests gather at waterhole to watch as the Rhino come in for a drink

 

Distance: 248km with in the park

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Namibia

 

Eupupa Falls – Himbas

Headed to Epupa Falls in the North on the Angolan Border!

Day 7 Halali to Opuwo

I did a morning Safari in the park so I only got on the road around 1100. From the West side of Etosha, Anderson Gate, I set off for as far North as I could go until nightfall.

 The roads where all well kept, both gravel and tar

  

I managed to get 600km in and arrived in Opuwo as the sun was setting.

 It was a magical arrival, as the road into Opuwo runs East West.

 The Camp I stayed at was still high enough that the sun had not completely disappeared behind the mountain range.

 Distance: 578km

Day 8 Opuwo to Epupa Falls

 Opuwo is the last town with anything that resembles a supermarket, ATM or maintenance for that matter.  The morning was spent doing a few repairs to my suspension in Opuwo before heading North.

 

The 190km gravel road ride was filled with photo opportunities. The landscapes and rock structures would make a giant play ground for geologists and enthusiasts.

 

 With my stopping included it made for a four-hour drive through Kaokoland, also known as Himba country. The sight of the Falls peeking through the Makalani Palm tree oasis was spectacular.

 

 The Eupupa Falls were one of the most spectacular falls I have seen. Perhaps the volume of water is not as great as Vic Falls and the greatest drop boasts a mere 37m, but it’s 1.5km spread section is home to many large Baobabs clutching to the rock face. This makes it a wonder to me.

 

 

 To get a great perspective of the 0.5km wide Kunene River, which separates Angola and Namibia, a viewpoint is situated on Sundowners Hill.

 In the right of the picture below, set among the Makalani Palms is Omarunga Lodge.

 I set up camp along side the Kunene River. This was the turning point of my trip and as far North as I was heading not to mention by far the most beautiful location,  therefore I stayed here for two nights. There is a lot to do here, as far as seeing the falls, waiting for the right light to photograph, river rafting, croc tours, and visiting a Himba village.

 Distance: 191km

Day 9

 Himbas

The Himba’s are mostly nomadic and live in the Northern regions of Namibia. Daily tasks include herding their cattle and goats, milking the cows and collecting water.

 The women use a mixture of milk fat and ochre pigment to rub on themselves making them red in color. The travel guides and Internet articles say it is to protect them from the sun, but the Himba’s told me that was incorrect as it is for moisturizing and beauty. To dull the smell of the milk fat, the woman then apply a perfume from the “perfume tree”.

 

Center: Grinding corn / Mahangu

 Their hairstyles are interesting as they can tell you something about the person. The boys have a single headdress similar to a Mohawk, which will continue growing into long tails.

 

Young girls have two tails running forward like a fringe. If the girl is a twin or was not delivered head first at birth, she will only have one tail growing forwards. The same as the young boys above, only forward.

 

 Once they become a woman, their hair is warn as above.

 The Calabash is filled with milk. The woman will sit under a tree and shake it for hours. During my visit, the young children would relieve the women for a few minutes. This will form a thick butter solution, which is to be mixed with the red ochre as described above.

  

 This is the house of the Chief and his first wife. On the floor you see Calabash and wooden buckets.

Finally, the Chief invited me to lunch with him. This was under the tree with a bucket of fermented milk mixed with root of a plant I could not get the name of. The milk was trying for me to swallow, but in the name of being a good guest I pushed through. Then the corn that you see the one lady grinding above was cooked up and served in a straw basket, I know it as Pap. As it is not processed corn like the corn meal or “Millie Meal”, this dish is red in color. Chunks of pap were scooped out of the straw dish and placed in the milk, then stirred to porridge like consistency. Lunch now served, with 4 fingers, you scoop and slurp. What an experience!

 My day with the Himba family was one I will not forget…

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Namibia

 

Swakopmund, Namibia

Current Location: Swakopmund, Namibia.

I have a lot to catch up on as I have been on the road for 12 days. As you know Suz was keeping up with the blog on our previous trips.

The purpose of this trip was to scout Namibia, therefore I drove through Botswana as quickly as possible. I wanted to start in the Caprivi, which is located in Northeastern Namibia, then work my way West and then South.

Day 1 – July 26, 2011

I left South Africa at 0400 and exited through Skilpadshek Border into Botswana. From there it was several hundred km along the A2 running South of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. There were many animals on route to look out for. I camped for the night at Kalahari Arms Hotel in Ghanzi. The accommodations and facilities were very good.

Distance: 1050km for the day.

Day 2

Depart 0630

The roads were good and I had a lot of fun with photography on route. When I drove past something I could picture in a shot, I had to turn around and capture it. I photographed a man with his donkeys. He did not speak English, but we still seemed to communicate well.


After 200km I turned left onto the A35. What a beautiful drive…to some at least.The roads narrow and the wildlife is more abundant. If you are not in a rush there is plenty out there to entertain your eyes for miles. However, if you are speeding along you may just miss the ones under the tree.

There may not be street signs for village roads, but there are signs if you know what to look for.

Out here you will notice all the birds nest are found only on the West side of the trees.

Lunch on the road when Suz is not with me.

Bots/Namib Border was quick and painless, and soon I was on to the gravel roads of the Mahango Game Park.

On route to Ngepi Camp I stopped at Popa Falls for Sunset.


On arrival at Ngepi, two local children from the community greeted me. On the left is the drummer and on the right his dancing co-partner, distracted by pen and paper I gave to them. The next day I noticed the paper had been turned into a trumpet.

I arrived at Ngepi Camp to meet friends from previous trips in Africa. Jon & Claire, with there two girls Sarah and Lucy along with Steve and his wife Samantha. We stayed here for two nights, which was a pleasure after the 1500+ km drive. This camp is one of the highlights of my trip so far. Situated on the Okavango Delta Panhandle, the Hippo sounds keep you entertained throughout the night.

Where else can you have river front views while on the “Royal Flush.”

 

Poop a Falls is a play on words as the well known Popa Falls is 5 km up the road. What a view.

 

A swim in the Okovango Delta Panhandle is a must. The pool is a cage to protect swimmers from resident Crocs and Hippos.

Day 4 & 5

The next few days I spent traveling up to Etosha Pan National Park. Along route, I stopped at a few frequently visited sites. The Hoba Meteorite is the largest known Meteorite in the world, which was discovered in 1920. The Meteorite struck the earth approximately 80,000 years ago. Among other elements, the meteorite consists of 82% iron, 16% Nickel and .76% Cobalt.

   

Otjikoto Lake houses an underwater museum. The Germans dumped many weapons in the lake rather then let them be captured. Canons, machine guns, revolvers, mountain guns and a mysterious safe of unknown contents are on display on a ledge underwater.

The steam engine and pumps, built in 1907, were used to pump water from the lake to Tsumeb some 20km away.

 

 The garden surrounding the Lake is enough to make you want to visit.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Namibia

 

Victoria Falls, Zambia

We picked up Hagop and Ashley in Livingstone. They had flown in from Johannesburg to finish the final portion of our trip with us. Victoria Falls lies about 5km from Livingstone. After enjoying some margaritas and tacos at a local watering hole, and yes we are still in Africa! We caught our first glimpse of the falls. It’s amazing just how much spray the falls produce. This was truly a highlight of the whole trip for me. I have wanted to visit Vic Falls since I was first aware of it’s existence. Words simply do not explain just how amazing the falls are. Even with all the commercialism surrounding them they are still nature’s wonder and man can’t take credit for them.

After walking down to take a closer look at the falls there was not a dry stitch on our bodies. The spray from the falls makes it seem like you are in the middle of a rain storm. Before walking down the park tried to sell us a poncho to keep dry. The funny thing was that everyone in ponchos were completely soaked from the bottom up. There was just no way to avoid the powerful falls.

This photograph was taken right above the falls.

Seeing and being soaked by the falls were just the beginning of our adventures. We only had two days so we decided on a rafting trip and a helicopter ride. The rafting was by far my coolest rafting experience to date. We were picked up at our camp in the morning and taken off for a day of fun on the Zambezi River.

Our guides bundled up for the chilly morning ride.

Safety briefing.

15 minute hike down to the river. They did not tell us about this when we signed up.

Final preparations…We thought we had it tough hiking down, never mind the workers who carried the rafts down and then pumped them up for us.

A stop off on the river for a little cliff jumping. Merv showed up my basic jump with a back flip from a higher ledge.

At one point while we were surrounded by waves and cresting the one in front of us we were inches away from being flipped. It was as if we were in the ocean, not a river. The experience was intense but such an awesome adrenaline rush. Our guide expertly navigated us into safer waters.

One side of the river was Zambia and the other Zimbabwe. We took a short break in Zimbabwe.

The kayaker was our insurance policy. He was there to help if we fell out or the boat tipped over.

Merv giving the ores a go in calmer waters. We finished the trip with lunch and cold beers on the side of the river. It made for the perfect ending to an already awesome experience.

The next day we visited the falls from the air.

After Victoria Falls it was time to start heading south again back to Pretoria, South Africa. We had an incredible six weeks on the road and we were able gather lots of information for trip planning. Our route back took us two days. We spent one night near Chobe National Park and one in Francistown, Botswana.

We savored every last moment of the trip even on the road. This was a stop for sundowners on the way to Francistown. We arrived back in Pretoria late in the evening on June 23rd. I have to say it did not feel right to be back. It seemed like we should still be on the road. I guess that is the reality of a memorable trip coming to a close.

Merv is still in South Africa working on the website and pursuing his freelance photography. I’m back in the US working in the Hamptons for the summer. Stay tuned for trip itineraries on the website. We would love to be up and running by November/December.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Zambia

 

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

We left Lilongwe mid afternoon with our new Dutch friends and made our way to Chipata, Zambia. Chipata is the first town across the border and a good stop off before heading to South Luangwa National Park. The government is in the process of paving the road between Chipata and South Luangwa until that is finished it will remain hectic. We had dinner at a local restaurant before heading to our campsite for the evening.

Eating with your hands is not only acceptable but expected.

On the road to South Luangwa…

Curious onlookers

Grilled cheese for lunch on the road side.

Snack time. Merv gave the dried fish a try. We had been seeing these little dried delights for sale along our whole trip and it was time to give them a go.

Our arrival was perfectly timed with sunset.

Flatdogs is the closest lodge and campsite to the park entrance. We had heard good things about it and were not disappointed. During our first evening there our campsite was infiltrated with two hippos looking for their evening meal. We should have known something was up when we were instructed not to walk around camp with out a ranger escort after dark.

 Pictured above is a sausage tree. The tree’s fruit is a favorite for hippos. They were all over the campsite.

We listened to the grunts of the hippos while falling asleep that night. The next morning we were up early to watch the sun rise and try to catch a glimpse of the wildlife starting the day.

We are looking over the Luangwa river. On the other side is the National Park, hence the hippos in our camp. There is estimated to be at least 50 hippos per kilometre of the Luangwa River.

After watching the animals wake up they came to do some observing of their own. A herd of about 10 elephants hung out in the camp for several hours. We were a little nervous while snapping this photo. We had to run and our computers were still out. The elephants have a reputation of being destructive but not without cause. One cause is when they are looking for food and two when they are threatened or upset. Fortunately, neither of those situations applied to this circumstance.

Another cause for worry. A tree stand in the campsite. We were quite happy to be up there when the elephants started moving through.

Before even entering the park we had seen hippos, elephants, crocs, baboons (they stole a big block of cheese right off our table), giraffes, and a variety of birds. We booked into an evening safari drive the day after we arrived. It started at 4:00 and went until 8:00. The timing was nice because you get two hours of day light and two hours of darkness.

Our guide spotted this leopard in the tree about 15 minutes into the drive. Absolutely awesome to see up close and in the wild. We stayed and watched it for about 10 minutes when it decided to get up.

The leopard climbed down the tree right in front of us and walked past the vehicle. You may be wondering if this was a safe move. We were told that the animals are use to seeing the vehicles and do not see them as a threat. However, if one was to get out of the game vehicle the scenario could change.

First rate hospitality, the game drive included sun downers and a light snack along the river.

We returned to camp feeling entirely fulfilled with our game drive. We had plans to go back into the park the next day on our own. When you buy a pass into the park it is for a 24 hour period. We woke up early the next morning and set out again into the park.

This lagoon was my favorite spot to watch the hippos. They were gobbling up leaves as they walked through the water. Usually during the day they are not so lively.

Our Dutch friends were bird enthusiast and taught us a lot during our few days with them. Pictured here is a Pied Kingfisher. I had never really been into birding but found myself enjoying the birds as much as the big game. It definitely helps being with someone who already has a lot of knowledge about the types of bird and which ones are rare verses common.

We had seen this owl on our night drive and went back to the same tree to take a longer look. We were probably staring at it for five minutes when one of us realized a second one was staring at us. The species is a Great Eagle Owl. It was absolutely stunning.

The giraffe were fairly abundant both in and out of the park. During our self drive we stopped and took a nap under a tree, in the car of course. Sounds funny but it was mid day and fairly hot out. When we parked we saw a lone giraffe in the distance. It appeared as if it was walking towards us but was still far off. It slowly made its way towards us and stopped about 70 yards out. For the next hour the giraffe kept it’s distance but stared in our direction. Bizarre!

After 3 days at South Luangwa National Park it was time to depart our new friends. We had enjoyed the companionship and security of another vehicle but had to be on our way to pick up friends in Livingstone. We left very satisfied with our experience and the rich amount of wildlife we were able to see.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Zambia