It’s Monday 1st August 2011 and the Safari of Your Life

Graeme and Jennifer Bell were recently at Liuwa Plain for the first time last month. Jennifer was excited with the adventurous idea of going to the remotely located Liuwa which in the end she said was “well worth the effort! Wow!”

Zebras on the plaindriving through Liuwa Plain

Jennifer loves the wilderness and wide open spaces, Liuwa has all of that in excess. “The views go on forever on the short grass plains and you can even see the curvature of the Earth in the distance!”

ZebraLion on Liuwa Plain

They saw lion, cheetah, zebra, steenbok, red lechwe and very large herds of wildebeest. The birdlife is prolific and varied too.

PelicansSundowners

Our camp is situated in one of the largest tree thickets around and Jennifer told us that one morning at breakfast, Graeme saw one of the big male lions trotting very purposefully through the trees to take a hyena kill. Jason estimated the distance from us to be about 40 meters – “we don’t get those sights where we live, in East Anglia!” – You certainly don’t Jennifer!
Graeme also wrote some exciting words describing their experience:

Wildebeestwhite backed vulture

“Getting to Liuwa should be in the manual for ‘The Best Safari of Your Life’. A 2 hour flight to Kalabo in a Cessna Caravan, coming in over the vast flood plains of the Zambezi to be met by Robin and Jason at Kalabo airstrip. Not too much there but a large group of local school children on a trip.

Crossing Luanginga RiverCrossing Luanginga River

Then the drive into Kalabo and the exciting trip across the Luanginga River by the local ferry and a 2 hour drive to Matamenene camp with plenty of diversions en route to whet the appetite. The transfer felt like a holiday in itself.

Egrets and heronsCrowned Cranes

However, when you drive out of the woodland onto the first of the short grass plains, you really feel you’ve arrived in somewhere special. Huge horizons, massive herds of wildebeest liberally sprinkled with zebra, oribi popping up from the longer grass and, of course, the extraordinary bird-life typified by the crowned cranes. If your mouth doesn’t drop open, you’re not really taking it in.

Lady Liuwafishermen

On the 2nd day with Jason guiding us patiently, we stop to look at some bird or other (neither of us are birders but we do enjoy learning) when: “What’s that? Lion!” and Lady Liuwa’s flicking tail gives her away. Where she goes, the males follow and lying on the edge of a thicket we spot one of the males. As they wander off, we get out to see the mortal remains of their meal, a Zebra.

In fact, it becomes a bit of a lion fest as the next day, I see one of the males running through the camp while we are having breakfast and so we drive onto the plain to see what is happening. The lions have stolen a kill from some hyenas who are hanging around looking on while the lions enjoy a free meal.

Wildebeestwattled cranes

The next day we drive out onto the plain with Robin and experience the vastness of the flatlands with the horizon showing the curvature of the earth and lots of wildebeest galloping across the sandy grasslands. “Walk towards the wildebeest, Jen and let Graeme take a picture. It will make a good photo.” She did and it was! The sort of personal touch that makes a holiday perfect.

storks or ducks dinner table

More birds than you can shake a stick at, a camp that runs just perfectly, a remote experience that you will remember and will have you craving for more. Liuwa Plain, the ideal safari experience – we have to go back.

 

…this moving story, has left me at a loss for words!

Have fun this week,

Rita

Liuwa

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