We sincerely believe that Zambia's South Luangwa National Park is at least as rewarding a safari destination as anywhere else in Africa. Other locations may have as good, although not better, game viewing, but South Luangwa adds an exceptional guide quality, together with the opportunity - not often found elsewhere - to undertake night drives and walking safaris. Of equal importance, it is unspoilt by tourism, and hosts a very wide range of safari camps and lodges.
North Luangwa is very similar in terms of landscape, wildlife and so on. Its main difference, however, is that there are very few roads and a very limited number of camps, mainly specialising in walking safaris. Taken together they provide the 'safari experience of a lifetime'.
This diary, reporting a trip taken a few years ago, and incorporating both of these destinations, should be regarded as a description of highlights, rather than as a detailed log. It is also worth pointing out that the usual client safari is rather more relaxed than described here, with several nights spent in each destination. A tour operator trip, on the other hand, has to cram in as many destinations as possible within the time available, although, as will be seen, this does not detract from the actual wildlife experience.
Almost all of the photographs accompanying this report relate directly to the trip taken: if you see a picture of a giraffe then it is the very same giraffe described in the text, rather than being a stock photo. There are just a few exceptions, such as the tsetse fly shown on Day 13. The points at which the pictures reproduced on the right relate back to the text are indicated in the text by the symbol (). All of these pictures were taken by keen amateur photographers – not professionals – using only moderately priced SLR or digital camera equipment. Hence they are the kind of photographs that you, too, could expect to come back with.
There are numerous incidents, stories and points of interest that one encounters along the way, but which, strictly, don’t fit into an actual historical record such as this. Often these take the form of tales recounted around the campfire at night, over an alcoholic drink or two. Hence this is seen as an appropriate point at which to introduce these, and under the heading above.
This particular trip became known as ‘The Carpet Slipper Safari’, for reasons that will become apparent on Day Two.