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WOW – did we see leopards
Zambia in March:: We’re home. And, as you might have guessed, we had an amazing trip!! People have asked us which place in Africa we have liked the best but there is no way to answer that. Each place is so different. This time we saw very few lions and giraffes and no cheetahs but WOW – did we see leopards!! Every day there was at least one, some during the day and some during the night drive. In general, the food was amazing, the guides all REALLY knowledgeable (some more enthusiastic than others), and the accommodations were more than comfortable. Unlike in other parks, we saw LOTS of critters on night drives – birds, small mammals (no aardvark – standing joke with the guides – but we did see porcupine) and lots of leopard sightings. Everywhere we went people were SO FRIENDLY!
At Nkwali we had a bit of a problem with the baboons. They overran the camp and, since the chalets are totally open, whenever you left the room, everything had to be zipped into suitcases. That was a bit of a nuisance and I was thinking that they should provide locked cabinets to make things more convenient. But you can’t beat sitting on your back patio and having bushbuck, mongoose, monitor lizards wander by and stop to have a look at you (10 feet away at the most). And I have to admit that baby baboons are very cute. We had the choice of going on a game drive in the a.m. or a walking safari. They always seemed to be able to accommodate anyone’s wishes.
The tents at Tena Tena were wonderful – completely mosquito proof so no need for mosquito netting on the beds. Like at Nikwali, there was lots of hot running water and electricity in the tent (amazing!) so we could even charge batteries whenever we wanted. Here we had the most enthusiastic guide (Bertram). He was so much fun and got so excited whenever he saw something – even the smallest thing. He’s young and hasn’t gotten the least bit “ho-hum.” Here, too, we had the choice of game drive or walking safari as well as a visit to the local village. Everyone always got to do what they wanted. They just shuffled around the guides and jeeps and everything always worked out.
Chamilandu was more of a typical bush experience. The chalets were beautiful with an amazing “view from the loo.” Everything is solar so there is no electricity in the tents but lots of hot running water and great showers. Since there is only one jeep and one guide, the 6 guests always did the same thing – walking safari in the a.m. and game drive/night drive in the evening. I think if I’d had the choice I wouldn’t have walked all 4 mornings, but it worked out fine. Gilbert was the least enthusiastic guide but he’s been doing it the longest of any of the guides in the park. The food was absolutely amazing. The chef, George, has a reputation for being the best chef in the park – for good reason!!
Mfuwe lodge was wonderful, too. Even though there are more people (18 chalets), they have managed to maintain the bush camp feel – porridge over a fire in the morning, toast cooked over coals, and somehow send out jeeps in enough different directions that you rarely encounter any more than 1 or 2 during the whole drive – and we never had more than 4 in a jeep! The setting for the lodge is remarkable. The decks of the chalets overlook a small plain with a permanent water source so there is always game right at your doorstep – many different kinds of antelope, elephant, baboon (of course), warthogs, and at lunch a leopard trotted across while being chased by the troop of baboons. Amazing!! And they have hairdryers! It’s really a beautiful place. We spent much of the free time at the lodge with Amy Alderman who I think is in charge of the camp managers. She apparently deals mostly with Liz at Zambezi but I told her she should get to know you so she might contact you. She’s a lot of fun – went to Zambia on vacation about 10 years ago from the US and she loved is so much she decided to stay.
I could go on and on but if there’s anything specific you would like to know or would like me to comment on, please let me know. Thank you so much for helping us plan another remarkable experience!!
Best wishes, Diana