Zambia (2): Day Fourteen : Lokuthula Lodge to Elephant Camp
The following morning we were driven out to a further ‘Walking With Lions’ excursion, run by the same people as on the Zambian side. This might sound a bit repetitive, but I’d do it every day, if I could!
After a drink and safety briefing the group went off with the guide to meet a young cub () the two fourteen month old lionesses who we were to walk with (see pictures, below, () () () ()). You have to be there, though, to fully understand what the experience provides.
Altogether we shared their lives for about an hour and then went back to the base where a cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs, beans, tomato, onion, sausage and toast had been cooked for us.
If that experience wasn’t enough, we then drove in a safari vehicle for 45 minutes further to the point at which we were to start an elephant ride. After the experience that we had witnessed on the Zambian side I was a little apprehensive here, but there were only a couple of fairly young ellies involved () – mine was called Kariba – and the strange experience of perching on top of an elephant began.
We did a circular route and saw a giraffe and her calf, but nothing else until we got back to the starting point, where there were some wild ellies in the surrounding bush. At the conclusion we were then able to sit on the elephant’s knee (), as it knelt down, and feed it through its trunk. Quite a different – and first time – experience.
After two such great interactive experiences before lunch, we thought (wrongly, as will be seen) that the subsequent night’s stay in Elephant Camp might be somewhat lacking. However the camp itself was very appealing, with huge, and beautifully furnished rooms (). In the late afternoon we were taken to interact with the camp’s own elephant population, on their return from a walk, and were able to feed them, from behind a barrier ().
But then on our return to camp we came across a male 29 month old cheetah called Sylvester casually occupying the terrace (). Sylvester had been orphaned at a day old and rescued by the owners of the lodge. He had been brought up in the house until he was too big to easily handle. He was now being used for education and awareness, especially in the local community.
Later that afternoon we headed off for a walk in the bush with Sylvester, simply setting off from the terrace down into the bush. Sylvester walked wherever he wanted to go, but he did respond, sometimes in his own time, to the calls of his handlers.
We must have walked for about an hour with this delightful and relaxed animal, to the edge of the Batoka Gorge. At one point, while resting under a tree, Sylvester came up to me and (obviously recognising a pussy-lover) proceeded to lick all the way up my arm and then on to my cheek (). What an experience!
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