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Sunday, July 3

Zambia - South Luangwa National Park

Mary: Claire organised for us to take a break at Kafunta River Lodge outside the South Luangwa National Park. It was an amazing bit of luxury and gave us 3 nights out of the roof tent. We had the first 2 nights at the River Camp with its beautiful setting overlooking the wide floodplain and river. The lodge has its own natural hot spring which flows into a little Jacuzzi and then on to the floodplain, and plenty animals including elephant and hippos come to drink right by the large veranda. We went on 2 game drives per day, and on the first game drive got to watch a leopard eat an impala it had killed the day before, from about 5 meters away. We entered the park for the game drives by pontoon, which was awesome. It was the first non-motorised pontoon of our trip, and it was cool to watch the guys pull us across on the steel wire with wooden sticks. We ate like kings courtesy of chef Sean’s cooking – getting out first (and probably last!) taste of bobotie and milk tart in a while. At night, hippos and elephants regularly wander through the camp and we were woken up by the steady munching of a hippo right outside our room on the first night and an elephant on the second night. Despite the mosquito nets I got a bunch of mosquito bites, quite worrying considering this is a malaria area and we haven’t yet started taking our Mefliam.
For the 3rd night we went to the Island Bush Camp, which is another 5 hours drive into the park. It is a lot more rustic but still has luxury touches such as hot water showers. It was absolutely magic as there are no doors or windows, and the only thing separating you from the bush at night was the mosquito net. We did an afternoon bush walk which was great, sneaking up on some waterbuck and confusing some giraffe. We were with a great group at Island Bush camp which made it a lot of fun, and the manager Tony was quite a character, baking us a some kind of terrible chocolate biscuit cake out of flour, bran, cocoa powder and milk… possibly a few other ingredients too. We also came up with an alternative name for the Beast as the group we were with were fascinated by the moonspaghetti stickers and took to calling it the Moon-Buggy!
We chatted to Anke, the owner, and looked at photo albums of her trip across Africa with her husband Ron in 1990 – the routes across the Sahara and Congo that they did are currently closed. After leaving there we headed back on the bone-jarring dirt road to Chipata and stayed at Deans Hill Camp on the way to Malawi.

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