We departed Kafue NP on August 12th and camped overnight at Pioneer Lodge, just outside of Lusaka, about a 6 hour drive. The next morning we loaded up on groceries and headed out along the Great Eastern Road to Peatuke, a small town about 4 hours drive from South Luangwa National Park. As we checked in to get our campsite another couple from Germany arrived. They had pulled up in a fully decked Land Rover and were dressed the part. Safari pants and shirts, Crocodile Dundee hats and…they both wore a knife sheath and knife on their left waist. Very cool. Not! Now, no offence to the German population but cultural appropriation which they absolutely love didn’t even fit here. Joyce and I spent the rest of the evening wondering what the hell the knives were for. They did mention to us that they were going to take the off -road route to South Luangwa so maybe they were going to skin a few Impala on the way to add to their fridge and maybe make some Impala schnitzel to roast over their open fire. Who knows. It was strange.
We opted to have dinner in the lodge restaurant. The menu was varied and exciting (again not) with ultimately only three choices. We wanted a burger, they only had curried chicken, 1/4 roasted chicken or stir fried chicken or something. We split a very salted stir fry.
We departed early the next morning for a 4 1/2 hour drive to Croc Valley Camp, located on the Luangwa River on the opposite side of South Luangwa NP. We’ve become used to camping in very private surroundings. Croc Valley wasn’t what we were used to. Our site was nice in that it was on the banks of the river but there was no privacy. There were two large groups within spitting distance on either side of us. South Luangwa NP is a popular place so we really can’t complain about the crowds. We are a little spoiled considering where we have camped so far however the view from our site was excellent save for the effing monkeys who will steal the shirt off of your back if you’re not paying attention.
We arrived early afternoon, set up camp and relaxed for the remainder of the day. I lit the fire and cooked chicken paprika over the flames with a nice side of scalloped potatoes and carrots with butter. We decided to pay for a morning safari drive so we hit the sack early and arose at 4:45 am the next morning so we would have time for two cups of coffee, instant oatmeal with banana and a small yogurt before our 6:30 am departure. There were only four of us in the truck, perfect for a 4 hour drive. Zambia has been suffering through drought so the area seemed to be particularly drier than our last visit in 2017. There was less game and after a couple of hours we began to think this drive was waste of time and money but there were still good photo ops for the scenery and animals.
Fortunately another safari vehicle pulled up beside us and told us a pride of lions had been spotted about a km away so we proceeded to race to the scene where we were greeted by a beautiful male lion, three females and four cubs. They had just settled down for a nap so we were able to get up close for some good photos. They obviously had a recent kill as their stomachs were bloated, especially one of the cubs who laid on his side panting heavily as he snoozed and digested his recent gorging.
On the 16th we departed an overcrowded and no-privacy Coc Valley Camp and proceeded to the northern sector of South Luangwa to Zikomo Camp.