Countries Visited

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Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Thursday, September 2, 2010


We were in Zambia for a total of three days. We went to see South Luangwa National Park, which many hardcore travelers told us was the best park in Southern Africa. Not sure if that's true, but it is a really nice park with far less tourists than many more famous parks. We ended up getting there around 8pm, which might as well be the middle of the night in rural Zambia. After dark, the local people walk in huge herds down the middle of the road with dazed looks on their faces. I commented to Tara that I felt like I was in a horror movie (they were everywhere), at which point she aptly named this post Zombia.

Fortunately, since we arrived so late, the owner of Croc Valley, which we highly recommend, had a room in which we could stay. Had they not had a place to stay, we would have had to asked him for a ride to another hotel since you can't walk around because of all the wild animals.

We don't have a ton of pictures since we already have posted tons of elephants and other animals. Here is what we have, though.

This is a waterbok, and probably the best picture we have taken of one. They are very common in the park and we like them because they are so shaggy. Apparently, they are excellent swimmers and often swim away from predators, but we never saw that.
This is a puku, which is, we are told, a rare antelope that mostly just lives in Zambia. Cool.
These crested cranes are the national bird of Uganda, but the giant nets that Uganda put around the country were not enough to contain them all. They are beautiful birds.
Ever seen a carmine bee eater? Now you have.
We "found" (another guide told our guide) three resting lions under a tree. This one started to wake up while we were there.
It wasn't scary until awake. Then you could feel everyone inching towards the other side of the truck.
If Tara were a wildlife photographer, her specialty would be shots with more than one animal. Here is a giant, tasty kudu with some baboons.
No matter how many giraffes we take pictures of, a baby always means some more. This one is about a month old.
South Luangwa has one of the highest hippo populations anywhere. I prefer them munching on the super green plants floating on top of the water.
Sometimes an animal refuses to move from the road. This big male giraffe (this picture gives an idea of just how tall they are) stood there for several minutes before finally taking a few steps to the side.
The national bird of Zambia is the fish eagle, pictured here. Almost just like a bald eagle, but I'm confident that a bald eagle would beat a fish eagle in a fight just as America would beat Zambia in a fight.
Look! A baby elephant!
This is a genet, formerly called a genet cat, but then the wonders of DNA came along and it is more like a mongoose than a cat. Sorry for the bad picture, but it was dark and far away.
A pair of lions was resting just at sundown. Maybe getting ready for the night's hunt. This one looks pretty regal, though.
All the hippos come out at night to feed. They are really big and just about everywhere. Hitting one with the safari truck would be no laughing matter. Though then we could have eaten it, and that would have been something to laugh about.
One of the main draws for me at South Luangwa was the ability to do walking safaris. Most parks don't because of liability. South Luangwa requires that an armed guide accompany you whose only job is to shoot anything that tries to kill you. Most of the tour is spent looking at poop and footprints, which Tara and I knew ahead of time and thought was great. The Italians we were with seemed to think that we might be walking up and petting lions or something. Here is some hyena poop. It is almost pure bone and the hyena digestive system crushes it to power and spits it out.
This is a ball made by a dung beetle. It starts with poop and lays eggs in it before rolling it in the mud and making it huge like a snowman. Then, it hardens in the sun and the beetle buries it. Lots of animals love to eat the larvae, though, so they break it open about the time the larvae have eaten the poop and they eat the larvae.
The place that we stayed had a family of elephants that often comes through and sometimes cause trouble. One day, this one decided to come to the bar and order a drink. I was torn between running very quickly and taking this picture, but the elephant would have had to destroy half the building to fit completely through the doorway.
The sausage tree produces these great looking fruit that are full of a very fibrous (and apparently not great tasting) stuff. Lots of animals eat them in dry season, though. Only the hippos are strong enough to just bite into them. Everything else has to scratch bits off.
Here is a baby elephant standing outside the door of the room where we were staying.
And here is the same elephant walking into our bathroom. Had someone been in there at the time, it would have been quite the fright!
And that wraps up South Luangwa National Park. A very nice national park, though a bit expensive. Worth the trip, though the last 5 hours in the minibus is very painful (don't believe them when they say that it will be three hours).


  1. An elephant in your bungalow! Awesome!

  2. hi andy and tara im n mrs.cahills class u r so cool andfearless.

  3. hi andy and tara im n mrs.cahills class how were u able 2 b n that shark cage andy u r so coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    from rebecka jean mccullough p.s. i wrote the one above

  4. Wow it looks like you are having an amazing time. Hope you like rice! At least it wasn't a buffalo - elephants are ok my husband says (hes from Zimbabwe)