A sad goodbye to Jabes – though it’s really only “see you later”, as there’s always more trips to Flatdogs in the plan… but with three nights in the more remote Lion Camp, we also had great times to look forward to! Happy sad, as always…
Our arrival at Lion Camp began with wonderfully cool flannels to wipe away the game driving dust, and a nice cool drink to soothe the dust in our throats (!)
Luxurious Lion Camp
After an hour to settle in and relax, we congregated for lunch – only the three of us plus another two guests who had also come up from Flatties with us, so we had the place almost to ourselves! During lunch we watched a beautiful ellie come through past the gift shop, munching on his own version of the midday meal, providing some wonderful entertainment for us! Little did we know that he’s as regular as clockwork, and managed to do the same every lunchtime!
Stunning views from the pool/deck area!
It was a real toss-up whether to go back to the room for a siesta or take in the stunning view across the plain in front of the main deck/pool area – I was sorry to visit when it was too cold to swim as the pool looked really wonderful, but since moving to Zambia I’ve become a softie when it comes to the cold – I just can’t handle it anymore! The siesta won out, but I made use of the big snuggly chair rather than going to bed, so in my eyes, it doesn’t count as napping 🙂
Taking a break for sundowners..
Of course, the circle of life waits for no man (or woman for that matter), so we were up and about again for an evening/night drive with Hendricks – Lion Camp’s main man. While not a rock star in the true sense, he managed to get us some pretty special wildlife sightings, so he was certainly a star in our eyes! Our first night drive was massively exciting for me – we saw some young lions giving an attempt at bringing down a buffalo… a little half-hearted, or perhaps they still
Juvenile Pel’s Fishing Owl
didn’t really know what they were doing, but watching the stalk and then seeing one lion up on the buffalo’s rump made my adrenalin truly surge! Another first for me was not one, but THREE Pel’s Fishing Owls – often a once in a lifetime, sell a limb to find opportunity, we were treated to a juvenile, as well as two mature birds all in the one drive – again, attempts to explain just how lucky Mum and Dad were at this point probably started to fall on deaf ears! We managed to spot some hyena on our way back to camp as well, keeping our predator tally well up there with the best!
A very content lion!
We got back to camp to find that Sam and Louise (manager and caterer) had been having their own adventure while we were out. They’d heard the bellows of a buffalo being taken down, and headed out in a vehicle to see what they could find… the noises through the night travel a long way, though can sometimes be deceiving when trying to pinpoint an exact location – while they tried their best, they didn’t manage to locate the kill, though they were sure that the beast didn’t survive the
attack. Plans were made over dinner to see what we could find in the early morning when we headed out – confident that the kill was close to camp, we figured daylight would make things a lot easier for us than they had been for Sam and Louise!
Sure enough, not long after leaving camp (and after spotting ANOTHER Pel’s Fishing Owl – this time in daylight!!), we came across the (already half devoured)
Walking safari number 3
buffalo – and of course, the lions still guarding their haul from the invading vultures… we sat and watched for almost an hour as each lion came in and took their turn to gorge themselves, and one particular lioness harassed the vultures until they moved further away – only to start creeping forwards again! We then headed off for our planned walking safari, heading off into the bush with Sam to see what we could find – though after seeing lions, we would be happy to NOT see
Mum & Dad – sunset in Luangwa
them while on foot thanks! The walk was wonderful, with quite different terrain and bushland to those we’d done at Kanyemba and Flatties – some beautiful birdlife (sunbirds in particular), and just being out in the middle of the bush with nobody else around was a really lovely experience.
After lunch and siesta we headed back out to “the carcass” to see how things were going between the lions and vultures, and it was still very much in the lion’s possession… though seeing how fat and content the lions were, we figured that it wouldn’t be long until the vultures could come in and have their turn! In the end, we saw it turned over to the vultures the next day… with extraordinary results…..
Surprise!! A leopard right at the end of the drive
Not to be outdone by the lions and their kill, we managed a wonderful leopard sighting on our night drive – quite close to camp, and after I’d given up on seeing one (it often happens that way – I should know better by now!) – coming around the corner, there he was, just sitting in the middle of the road – as if waiting for us!
Stunning – truly stunning….
Vultures plus carcass equals BONES
As the new day dawned, we knew exactly where we wanted to head first…. “our” carcass – to survey the damage. It would have been amazing to see a time-lapse video of the gradual shrinking of the buffalo – to what we finally saw… bones, bones and bones! Some very content looking vultures had been having a field day on the tidbits left to them by the lions – the lions were still hanging around, but probably because they were still too stuffed to be bothered to move!
Our cheeky baby elephant
Our afternoon game drive took us to another part of the park, where we managed to see some wildebeest – another first for Mum & Dad… not in huge numbers, but I still think they’re one of the most fascinating animals. Truly a mix of all the pieces left behind after making all the other animals – like the left over Lego pieces, all put together to make something that just doesn’t look quite right!
Super sundowners on our last night
We were also treated to a show by a very cute but cheeky baby elephant.. I know you’re not supposed to “humanise” animals, but you can just imagine that the mother was cursing another safari vehicle for sending her baby into “performance” mode – just too cute for words!
Our last sunset at Lion Camp meant a little surprise for us all – while we were out on our drive, Louise and the bar staff had headed out all kitted up with
..an awful sunset to watch while sipping champagne…
champagne and nibbles, and set up a beautiful sundowner treat for us with a stunning view across the river… great food, great champagne and great company combined with great views and great game sightings to make a sundowner for the memory books! On our way back to camp we managed to spot a civet, scops owl and hyena – not a bad way to finish the night
Not quite ready to finish the game drives,
Wait for me, mum!
we opted for another short drive on our final morning at Lion Camp – we needed to head off for the airport and our flight to Livingstone, so could only spend about 2 hours out there, but it was most definitely worth the early morning (holidays = early mornings!), as we saw some beautiful bush buck, giraffe and zebra – and also managed to see the herd of buffalo (minus one, of course!)… not a bad way to finish things up, that’s for sure!
All too soon it was time to pack our final things up and say our farewells to Sam, Louise and the rest of the Lion Camp team, and wind our way back through the park to Mfuwe Airport, and our flight to Livingstone for the final leg of my safari with Mum and Dad…