Game Report: South Luangwa National Park

October 3, 2012  By: Gretchen


We’re smack in the middle of Zambia’s high season in the South Luangwa valley, so our game reports will reflect some of the excitement that’s happening there.  This latest set of lovely photos and associated stories comes from our partners at Robin Pope Safaris.

The pelicans are in, the fishing parties have started and the enormous shadows of the pelicans loom overhead before plunging down towards the ground and landing with surprising grace! They then proceed to move around the water in complete unison and really the only thing missing is some soft classical music, which would complete their dance.

There have been a couple of fleeting glimpses of baby warthogs – I think that the recent

Warthog family

random weather events have confused some mothers, so a few may well have popped out a little early. The impalas are starting to look rather round as they wait for their youngsters to be born, slightly slower as their effort of leaping gracefully is doubled by the weight gain and heat. The carmine bee-eaters are in full swing with a few really huge colonies scattered along the river. The reassuring squawk that they make is promptly followed by the dazzling array of colors as they take to the skies and line the riverbanks. To top it all off there have been a series of great sightings of Pel’s Fishing Owls which for all bird lovers is a real treat and even for those slightly less fanatical is still a pretty impressive sighting.



The camps have all been having some magical sightings over the last week with the cats rolling out the red carpet. The new Tena Tena is proving quite a hot spot as the local leopard walks through regularly and lions have been spotted on the opposite side of the riverbank while guests enjoy their morning coffee. Luangwa Safari House continues to host the hundreds of elephants, which come down to the lagoon in front of the house for a deep cool drink of water followed by glorious mud baths. The hippos now face the challenge of submerging themselves completely in ever lowering river levels – how they do it is quite something!

A couple of days ago we drove up to Tena and as we crossed the river, we could see one

Stubborn Nightjar

hippo’s eyes, ears and nose poking out. He then stood up and I promise you the water was no higher than knee height. As always, the bird life never fails to fill every single moment of the game drive with their colors and song. One particularly brave nightjar had chosen its resting place just centimetres from the edge of the road and was absolutely not going to move for the large Land Cruiser that passed it. Small but stubborn!!

So there we have it for this week. More tales to follow I am sure as there is definitely never a dull moment out here with everything that Mother Nature has to offer.

Game report and photos courtesy Robin Pope Safaris