Super Wildlife Photo Diary from Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park

July 15th 2015  |  Wildlife Safaris, Zambia  |  by  Richard Smith
pair carmine bee eater birds on a branch Chiawa camp, South Luangwa, Zambia - birding safari zambia wildlife

Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is one of my favourites for a holiday in Africa. The tented camps and lodges sit alongside the Zambezi River, which allows you to enjoy amazing wildlife viewing from your room, and you’re free to safari on foot, by vehicle, in a canoe or by boat. Game drives are also possible both by day and night, adding a dimension to wildlife viewing not possible in national parks in most African countries.

Zambia wildlife

Chiawa was the first photographic safari camp in the area and combines fabulously with its sister camp Old Mondoro, with a ‘Best of Both Worlds’ special offer applicable to those spending a week between the two. A recent client, Morag, who took them up on this offer came back with some fabulous photos, which she’s allowed us to reproduce here with here commentary. (Please be advised the photo diary contains a graphic image of a lion kill)

OLD MONDORO:

– On the 1st full game drive had a rare sighting of a big rock python who initially disappeared into a hole in a tree just allowing for a small photo of its mid-section. The tree squirrels and small birds had given away its presence. rock python squirrel –       As though that were not enough, that same evening 3 leopards (a mother with a son and daughter of about 2 years) killed a big female impala in the darkness. 3 leopards –       Continuing the daily dose of awesome sightings, the next day produced 2 well-known big male lions (“Greedy” & “Snare”) on a male waterbuck kill. These 2 lions were first seen by Morag in 2010 and, though no longer pretty faces, were magnificent powerful beasts. waterbuck lion kill –       3 days later, 4 new male lions (estimated to be around 3 ½ years old) surprised everyone by strolling through open area just beyond the camp site after breakfast. Much delight at more lions in the area even if they were trying to maintain a low profile! 4 male lions –       The very same day another rare occurrence – one of the big bull elephants decided to select his lunch (in precisely the same area where we earlier saw the lions) from a topmost branch and obliged everyone by standing on his hind legs to reach. elephant hindlegs –       Although there were countless other wonderful sightings including small mammals and birds ranging from Martial eagle to a Malachite kingfisher, the next major events were at Chiawa Camp. malachite kingfisher bird

CHIAWA CAMP:

– a night drive produced a pride of 8 lions feasting very noisily on a buffalo. They were there, still eating, arguing and playing the following morning. They were led by an aggressive and very dominant female, but at least 4 of their number were full of boisterous play. lionness kil lion pride Once again, there were beautiful and impressive sightings but a fantastic scenario played out on the last full day. elephants on a game drive –       A big crocodile was spotted lurking near a tree, well away from the nearest water hole. Moving around in the vehicle to get shots of him produced a male leopard descending from the tree (and his well-camouflaged impala kill) and running away in thick bush. crocodile –       Just as the vehicle was moving off a female leopard strolled into the scene, climbed up the tree, and started to feed off the impala! Many photos were taken, despite the searing midday heat! leopardess kill in tree –       A return was made to the tree in the late afternoon, and the now-sated leopardess stood up and made soft calls into the bush. She climbed down and was met by two tiny cubs, who she moved, before she climbed back up the tree. leopard cubs –       Finally the 2 cubs managed to struggle up the tree (after a few attempts) to join her. leopard cub in tree What a fantastic way to end a trip, and what a fantastic trip as well!” impala rutting

What Next?

If you’re after a safari holiday in Zambia, particularly on the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park, please get in touch. Like others in the office I’ve stayed in the camps there and my colleague Lucinda is a real Zambia expert, having run camps there for a number of years. Please give me a call or pop me an email.

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