It’s Monday 5th July 2010 and Braston’s amazing story from Nsefu

This week I joined Michelle, a travel consultant from London, on her educational trip through our camps in South Luangwa.

Tena Tena Crossing, Robin Pope SafarisBraston, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, Zambia

We met at Nsefu where we had lunch with Braston , Irene and a couple of guests Derek and Amy. Braston had an amazing story from early last month that I thought I must share with you.

“I was guiding Dorota and Chandoso in the Nsefu Sector. As soon as we crossed the Croc River, we heard a loud scream of a baby hippo. The baby hippo was being attacked by a leopard that was trying to grab it by the throat but he couldn’t because his skin was too thick… another painful scream …the leopard was now biting the baby hippos’ nose.

Hippos, South Luangwa, ZambiaLeopard & Hippo, South Luangwa, Zambia

Attracted by the noise, two hyenas appeared and started to chase the leopard. As soon as the hyenas took over from where the leopard left off the mother hippo appeared, pushed the baby into the water and chased the hyenas. The baby was so weak and at this stage was breathing with difficulty. In the meantime the leopard was watching from afar when two lionesses appeared and chased the leopard into a small tree. They followed the blood trail from the poor wounded hippo and prepared themselves to attack the baby hippo further. Luckily the mother hippo was ready to protect her baby and managed to defeat the two lionesses. The lionesses walked over to a nearby tree for some shade and rest and there was the leopard in the tree… After a while one lioness got up and decided to climb the tree and was given a good beating by the leopard and dropped from 2m from the tree. Then the lionesses went off and started hunting again, with this we decided to head back to camp as well and left the leopard in the tree.”

Carmine Bee-eater, South Luangwa, ZambiaAfrican Harrier-Hawk

After this exciting story, we were looking forward to get to Tena Tena and get on a game drive. At Tena we met the active team there, Simon , Bertie , Nyambe and Lucy. After refreshing ourselves with a drink at the bar we jumped into the Land Cruiser and started our game drive. Michelle is a birder and she got me into it, I’m finally able to identify more than fifteen birds (still got a long way to go – I know).

After the usual stop for sundowners we heard the baboons calling, Bertie and Simon followed their clues to find the leopard… and they did, we found a beautiful female preparing to hunt.

Tena Tena Camp, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, Zambia

After a wonderful and exciting game drive we headed back to the camp where a delicious traditional Zambian dinner was waiting for us. We sat in a circle on cushions on the floor, we tasted delicious and soft nshima, midden beef, beans and local vegetables.

The bush camps offer a much more intense experience with the wildlife. After an early night, I woke up at 5.00am to a lion’s roar. It seemed to me like it was just outside the tent but Simon told me later at breakfast that they were a few kilometers out of camp.

Lilac Breasted Roller, South Luangwa, ZambiaDebs, Walking Guide, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, Zambia

That next morning, was a beautiful blue sky, ideal to look for birds and take nice pictures. On our return to Tena Debs was waiting for us to take us to the next adventure Luangwa Bush Camp ! On our way we heard lots of quilicas, Debs commented that they sounded like kids at school and it’s exactly that, amazing!

The camp appeared in the shade of mahogany trees on the river bank. We were able to see a dozen of hippos lying along the river. After a cool face cloth, we had a leisurely and delicious lunch.

Luangwa Bushcamp, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, ZambiaLuangwa Bushcamp, Robin Pope Safaris, South Luangwa, Zambia

Refreshed by the usual siesta we could feel the soft breeze through the open tent. The afternoon walk was great fun, looking for new birds and following tracks, we walked for more than 2 hours.  A well-earned gin and tonic was waiting us on return. After a hot shower, the campfire was crackling away beside us and a cover of stars emerged overhead… magical!

Have a wonderful week,

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