Zambia (1): Day Thirteen : Chifunda Bush Camp to Mwaleshi Camp
After getting up at 5.30 for coffee we set off on a walk, taking the pontoon across the receding Luangwa River and then crossing to a log pier to the other side. This took us into the North Luangwa National Park itself, where we walked around Mwanja Lagoon. The actual landscape was very pretty, but some very insistent tsetse flies () took the edge off the experience somewhat.
Whilst having breakfast we briefly saw a leopard on the opposite bank (not far from where we had been walking earlier), and then left to drive down to the pontoon this time and across into the Park. On our way to our eventual destination of Mwaleshi Camp we detoured to take a look at Delia Camp, situated just inside the Park, and one of the few such camps in North Luangwa. Being Spanish-owned, the camp actually caters principally to Spanish guests, but is ideally situated, overlooking the river.
It then took a further hour or so to reach Mwaleshi Camp (), passing their airstrip along the way. This would certainly be our preferred route on any future occasion. In late afternoon, we took a couple of hours’ walk (at an unnecessarily high speed - possibly because there are no game drives here?), during which we had to cross the river twice which entailed us taking off shoes and socks – such an effort to put them on again (the bearer carried towels in his rucksack) (). The scout was wearing wellies! We were then greeted by resident elephant Boris on our return to camp. During a final evening walk we saw two lionesses just metres away, whilst putting our shoes back on, after yet another river crossing. We then had sundowners around the campfire (ignoring the fact that the sun had already set) followed by an excellent dinner (such a change).
On one occasion our guide told of a group of Japanese tourists whose sole desire was to see lions – nothing else was of interest or would do. Eventually, although only after several days’ search (as happens on such occasions) a fine pride of lions was discovered in full view of the road. However it was all over in a minute – after numerous photographs had been taken - and the guests cried “move on!”. “What would you like to see next?”, the guide enquired. “More lion!”, came the reply.
A further group of Japanese guests was similarly desperate to see leopard, but were having no success. However, on their final (night) game drive, a genet () was spotted up a tree, and the guide hadn’t the heart to discourage them from their conviction that this was a baby leopard.
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