South Luangwa… A destination that will steal your heart and touch your soul
It’s no secret anymore, South Luangwa has without a doubt become one of my favourite Safari destinations, if not my favourite.
A few week ago I had the privilege of once again visiting the magnificent Park, also known as “The Valley of the Leopards”.
During this trip we spent 8 days in total at two perfectly located Camps, Tena Tena and Kaingo,
October is my favourite time to visit South Luangwa. Yes it is hot, but the game viewing is incredible! Most animals make their way to the Luangwa River throughout the day, often negotiating Predators who are patiently waiting for their arrival.
South Luangwa offers a great variety of wildlife and boasts some of the healthiest populations of Leopard, Hippo and African Wild Dogs. The park is also home to a few endemic species such as Thornicroft Giraffe, Cookson’s Wildebeest and Crawshay’s Zebra.
Another attraction to South Luangwa, especially from August/September onwards is the arrival of the Southern Carmine Bee Eaters.
These beautiful birds are Intra African Migrants, making their way from North Africa down South to nest in the riverbanks.
There were so many great sightings during the 8 days, it is almost impossible to single one sighting out, but there were a few that really stood out.
Amazing Wild Dog Sightings
We were extremely spoilt to see Wild Dogs almost every single day during our time in the Nsefu Sector. It was incredible spending time with the resident pack, following them as the went from playing around, puppies chewing on old bones and even witnessing a kill from start to finish.
With it usually being very dry at this time of the year, competition for prime real estate becomes more intense, often resulting in some serious fights with the loser having to make way out of the permanent body of water to find a smaller pool that is not occupied. On the morning we transferred from Tena Tena to Kaingo Camp we came across two big individuals settlings their differences.
It is the Valley of the Leopards
Initially we struggled to find Leopards during the day, with most individuals only being seen at or just after sunset. Although they gave us amazing viewing, photographically it was always a bit tricky. I am a firm believer that if you put in the time, nature will reward you and that she certainly did. One late afternoon we found a Female Leopard, very well known to our guide and followed her as she moved from the riverbed, clearly on a mission. As we followed her through some dense vegetation, we caught the smell of what could only have been her prized kill, something she was clearly excited about getting back to.
The next morning we decided to return straight to where we had found her the previous night. We were pleasantly surprised to see that her prized kill was hoisted up a nearby tree, out of reach for any other predators.
We continued to spend the entire morning and most part of the afternoon with this beautiful Leopard as she posed for us like only Leopards know how to.
Loads of Lions
We were truly blessed with some incredible Lion sightings, from young Cubs climbing trees, to a Pride of 16 Lions resting along the Luangwa River waiting for their next meal.
The Lions in the Luangwa Valley don’t posses the large manes you would often associate with East Africa, but they do have a very “wild” look in their eyes which is not something you get in many places. These Lions often have a few battle scars, telling the story of their hard earned battles with other predators as well as larger prey species.
Overall another incredible week in South Luangwa, a place that will no doubt steal your heart and touch your soul!