It’s Monday 28th January 2013 and the magic and the wild.

This week we hear from Maria-Jose Carballo, an RPS regular guest, on her last trip to the Valley.

“Mid-October 2012 found me once again in South Luangwa, the place that after many visits over the years, remains my top African destination and a home away from home.

During my stay I had the privilege of being guided by Jacob while at Robin’s House, and then by Braston at Tena Tena. I had met them both on my previous trips to South Luangwa and so I knew I was in the best possible hands! What follows is just a short account of some of the highlights of a trip, which I have named “The magic and the wild”.

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Every morning at Robin’s House, Jacob and I would set out in search (in his own words) of whatever Mother Nature had to offer… which was plenty!

One morning we came upon a leopard up on a tree. After a bit of snarling, it seemed to accept our mesmerized presence and let us wordlessly enjoy its perfect beauty… awesome! Another day we drove all the way to the ebony grove, which to me, has always been a really enchanting place, straight out of a fairy tale! While driving back, we were delighted to find a newborn baby elephant, being carefully helped by its mum to stand on its still wobbly legs. This has to be the sweetest thing I have ever seen in the bush.

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A day spent amongst lots of laughter with the kids at the local school, followed by lunch in the village brought a brilliant end to my stay at Robin’s House.

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The fun was not over though because Braston was waiting for me at Tena Tena, where we were going to have the most exciting morning.

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We had driven to the hot springs in search of a pack of wild dogs which were known to be in the area. Before we got to them, we noticed several hyenas purposefully heading towards a shallow lagoon. We followed them and saw a puku in the middle of the water. Assuming it was stuck in the mud, we thought the hyenas would quickly close in on it, but they kept looking from a distance. What was going on??

A sudden splash gave us the answer! A young crocodile was trying to get hold of the puku and bring it underwater. Astonished, we contemplated how the croc grabbed the puku by its neck, its muzzle, even its ear! But however long it managed to keep its hold, the puku always managed to get away. Once it even made it out of the lagoon, but the presence of the hyenas made it jump back into the water.

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Meanwhile, not even this incredible scene could get our undivided attention, because not far from there, the wild dogs were after some unlucky impala which had wandered too close to them. In a matter of minutes, the whole pack had gone after the impala. We followed as well and before we realized what was going on, the impala was no more… The smaller wild dogs were joining their elders for breakfast…

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Back at the lagoon, the hyenas seemed to have lost interest in the affair and were heading away. The puku was still in the water, but we could find no more signs of the croc.

After all the emotions, we decided we also deserved breakfast. Before heading back to camp, we did a final check on the lagoon, where nobody was left. It was our firm belief that the brave puku had managed to live another day…

As I write this, I am already looking forward to my next trip!”

That’s all for now. Have a good week

The RPS Team

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