I'd really been looking forward to South Luangwa, i'd heard it was a lovely national park and great for game viewing. We arrived about lunch time and checked into a Safari tent right on the edge of the camp grounds. There were only a few Safari tents available and we really wanted one, so when our guide asked us to decide amongst us who got the Safari tents, our tactic was to say nothing and hope everyone else volunteered for the chalets a bit further away from our camp (I know what you're thinking, tent the versus chalet why did we want the tent?! But its all part of the fun of being on safari!l) Luckily our tactic paid off and we got the tent we wanted :-) The camp site was awesome, right on the edge of a river where we could see elephants, hippos and oh dears drinking in the water. We sorted out our stuff then headed to the pool for a quick swim before lunch.
After lunch we were off on a game drive. The game drive didn't disappoint, we saw the normal giraffe, elephant, warthogs and zebras, but also went off road to watch a leopard eat a kill! It was munching on some poor animals ribs. It looked up a couple of times to stare at us, seeing as we were only a few meters away, but it wasn't remotely bothered that we were there. Our driver wasn't supposed to go off road but I suspect he was after a decent tip so went the extra mile! Then on the way back, right outside the camp gate, we saw hundreds of buffalo having some sort of mothers meeting!!
Early the next morning we had booked a game walk, something we hadn't done before. We weren't sure what it was going to be like but were up for seeing a different side of a safari. It turned out to be really good. The walk took us around the grounds of the camp site (which was about 300 acres or something) and the guide told us different things about trees, termite hills, and insects, as well as different types of poo! Surprisingly I found it all really interesting, even the poo! Its a really useful way of being able to track animals. As an added bonus we came across giraffes and elephants on our walk (the guide wasn't impressed with me and Grant for getting a bit too close to the elephants!) and also a sleeping hippo. I really enjoyed it.
We were boiling by the time we got back so spent a lovely afternoon chilling by the pool, watching the river for wildlife. It was a beautiful backdrop.
That evening I was going to go on a final game drive but the management messed us around with times so at the last minute I decided against it. I'm glad I did as instead we sat outside our safari tents with Jo and Kev, drinking wine and chatting, then all of a sudden a family of elephants walked across the river and stopped in front of our tent, drinking and bathing and giving us a show. They walked up a path next to mine and Grants tent and right past us, it was awesome. I walked down the side of our tent to get a closer photo, stepped on a twig and broke it and the bull turned round and stared at me flapping its ears! It was protecting its babies, I thought it might go for me!!
I was on duty again so after the show I helped with dinner, then afterwards we were sitting in the bar having a few drinks when we noticed more elephants crossing the river near our tents and raced over to watch the graceful animals eat only meters away, practically in silence. They are so quiet! They didn't care at all that we were there. That night yet again I managed to freak myself out, listening out for every noise, convinced that there were animals outside wanting to get me. At one point I did see 2 hippos outside my window walking past, was quite freaky and quite surreal at the same time!! I loved Africa, but I certainly won't miss freaking out in the middle of the night!
The next day we were off to our last stop-over place in the truck, Lusaka the capital of Zambia. The hotel we stayed in was a bit of a crappy place, ran by rude South Africa's who had delusions of grandeur and made the atmosphere a bit intense (not that I'm saying anything about South Africans, apart from those ones everyone else we've met has been absolutely lovely!) and then it was on to Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, our last place on tour!
We crossed the border about lunch time and headed to an adventure place for a sales DVD on all of the activities we could do, and an obligatory sell on over priced t-shirts, none of which we went for, then got dropped off at our hostel, and we were alone again! We were staying at a different place to everyone else on tour, that was about a third of the price, but everyone was going to be in Vic Falls for a few days so we arranged to meet everyone for dinner later. After 3 weeks on tour it was actually nice to be on our own again, and being back in a hostel felt like we were travelling again :-) We got on really well with everyone on tour, but you do seem to spend every waking moment together so 3 weeks I think was enough.
We chilled out on our own for the afternoon then met the others for a lovely buffet dinner at a posh hotel, where we did thank you speeches and took group photos and then it was time to say our sad goodbyes to the people we weren't going to see again, promised to all keep in touch and headed back to our hostel. :-(
Jo and Kev were hanging around for a few days extra after the tour the same as we were, so we arranged to meet them at our hostel the next day to go and see Vic falls. Stupidly we arranged to go at lunch time, in the mentally hot heat, so although the falls were beautiful, all I kept thinking was I want to jump in! We weren't expecting to see much water it being the dry season but the falls were still quite full and it was still very pretty :-) It was absolutely massive!
We probably rushed walking around a but due to the heat, then dripped our way to a cafe where we cooled off with a cold drink and hid from the sun.
The 7 'young' group members were meeting up later on for a final dinner so we booked a table at the restaurant next to the cafe and headed back to our hostel to chill out for the afternoon.
The group came and met us in the hostel bar for a few drinks before dinner that evening then headed to the restaurant. It was a really nice place, very African with a live band. It was good fun and a lovely way to spend our last evening together. After dinner we headed back to our hostel bar for a few more drinks before saying proper goodbyes. It was really sad! I got a bit teary, its amazing how good friends you become in 3 weeks!!
Then it really was just us again!!