Zambia (2): Day Six : Chongwe River Camp

After breakfast the following morning, we found that we couldn’t get back into our tent, because another of the many elephants who seemed to regard the camp as being as much their territory as ours, was blocking our way (camera icon). By then Jack had had enough, and asked if we could be moved to another tent.

In fact they relocated us in a vacant family suite, a short distance from the centre of camp (although still not without elephant in the vicinity, as can be seen (camera icon). This was quite different in design from our previous, albeit very large, safari tent. It consisted of two en-suite bedrooms, plus a separate lounge and dining area, plus its own plunge pool.

Most of the rest of the day was spent fishing, both in the side channel, and in the main river, where I obtained this iconic shot, below, of a small herd of elephants crossing (camera icon).

During our late afternoon game drive, within the Park, I was reminded of Douglas, pictured here (camera icon), who I had come across here a few years earlier. Douglas, as his name might suggest, was a very relaxed and well-behaved male lion, but with quite a large pride under his benign control. During the following year, though, at a time when the river was at its lowest, a couple of big males (brothers) swam across from the Zimbabwe side of the river, and took over his pride from him.

Douglas himself was lucky to escape with his life, but if he had any cubs then they would not have been so lucky. When lions take over an existing pride in this way, they immediately kill all the cubs, partly because they’re not going to expend any effort on somebody else’s cubs, and partly because this swiftly brings the females into oestrus, allowing them to make the rapidest possible start to their own dynasty.

On our way back we saw further elephants enjoying themselves in the water (camera icon), and a large kudu (camera icon). The guide then insisted on showing us a newly deposited heap of baboon poo, revealing the varied nature of its diet (camera icon).

In the evening we had the rare privilege of being served our dinner in our own suite. The experience was diminished somewhat, though, when a large hippo wandered into our dining area, cutting us off from the safety of our bedrooms, and showed little sign of moving on.

Despite much calling out, and flashing of torches, we weren’t able to contact any of the camp staff, but when the waiter finally arrived to clear up, the hippo having departed by now, he said that this was a common occurrence, and that it wasn’t dangerous at all.

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