Spectacular Sundowner and Night Safari with Malama
Night Safari with Malama
We decided to go on a night drive because it was almost a full moon and we were sure it would be a spectacular sight to see both the moonrise and sunset all on the African plain.
Malama, who had been our driver when we were here two years ago was going to be our guide tonight. In our vehicle was a couple with their son from British Columbia and Walter from Germany.
As we headed down the dirt road to connect with the main road, the first sighting was of a immature bateleur. Malama said they are the only bird of prey that has two eggs and can live up to 25 years of age. Hard to imagine a bird with that long a life. Birds were our first sightings--a red billed hoopoe and then a francolin with young. One of the young stayed on the side of the road for a few seconds longer than the rest.
And then the elephant trumpets........
We were not far into the park when we saw a herd of elephants with one very young. According to Malama, if the baby can walk under the belly of the mother, it is less than one year old. We were watching the elephants as he explained various aspects of their behavior. All of a sudden we were blasted with a very loud trumpet from the matriach of the group I presume.
She didn't seem like she was going to charge but just wanted us to know she was there. They did display herd behaviour and surround the young elephant at times when they thought it might be in danger.
In the Crawshaw zebra, the way you tell the difference between male and female is..........
well not sure. It has to do with the way the stripes go down the sides of the zebra. The stripes on the Crawshow zebra are also different on the legs and belly than other species.
We stopped at a pond and watched the hippos eating the Nile cabbage with some of them around their heads like garlands. At the far end of the pond was a buffalo sitting there resting. There were some jacana moving about as well as other shore birds.
And then there was a horrific sound--kind of like someone belching and vomiting..............
Malama explained the impala are coming into season and this is the sound the males make as they fight for dominance among the other males in the herd to be able to claim the right to breed with the female. We watched a few of their jousting matches.
As we drove along we saw puka, bushbuck, waterbuck, zebra, warthogs and we changed from one type of vegetation to another. This is one of the nice things about South Luangwa National Park- the diversity of topography that you see as you are being driven around. You can go from dense forest to the open plains and then down to the riverfront and then so small ponds here and there.
Sundowner and the magnificant sunset...........
As we approached the river for our sundowner, you could begin to see the sky lighting up for what looked like a world class sunset. As we broke through the trees, there it was magnificant...........we all sat there for a minute before we got out just enjoying all the colors and scenery around us. In the distance you can see fishermen on the shore, hippos in the water and the sunset with clouds above.
There was a skull on the ground and I asked what it was and Malama had us try to guess. It looked somewhat like a horse skull and turned out to be a zebra skull. Nice lesson.
We all took pictures and watched the hippos moving around and the colors changing and the sky turning to night. What a nice time it was.
And then the sun went down..........
When the sun goes down, it cools off quite rapidly which is enjoyable since these past few days have been quite warm during the day. Timothy pulled out the spotlight and we were off.
The animals seemed to be fairly quiet while we were driving around. You would see huge herds of impala or puka just eating or laying on the ground.
We did get to see a genet and a civet for a brief period. They were both in the grass so they were not as easy to see as before.
We passed several safari vehicles from other camps. The guides would stop and talk about what seeing and not seeing. The lions have made themselves scarce for the past several days evidently. We have heard them from our campsite during the night but they have not been seen on the drives.
Driving along and Malama says, "There is a flapneck chameleon." Huh? We could see the bush where the spotlight was pointing but couldn't see anything. He pulled the vehicle up and sure enough there was a chameleon on the branch. It kind of looked like it had been flattened but this is its regular appearance. How do those guys see these things, we want to know?
And for the evening finale.................
We come up on another vehicle with its spotlight shining on a Leopard walking along the treeline............Yeah! It walked on over to a tree and marked it territory not seeming to mind that we were there watching. After that it moved off into the bush and was lost to us but what a great sight.
Headed on back to camp passing a couple of hippos out eating on the grass, another group of elephants and then it was the end of a great adventure.
When we got back we were going to have a light dinner and Cathie came and told us she had pork and bean enchiladas for us. Couldn't resist....by the way not the pork and bean in the can we have back home but pork with beans in an enchilada served with guacamole and salsa. The real deal I tell you.
What a way to end an evening!