River Trip

22nd February 2012
I just spent a fantastic weekend on the river, a wonderful bonus of the high water at this time of the year. Very few people visit this area during the rains - and with unpredictable weather, it's easy to understand why - but those that do take the chance and book a boat safari on the Luangwa are in for a treat.

Hippos are one animal that you won't miss; they lie around in languid groups, shifting only slightly when you approach.

Waterbirds cram onto the available sandbanks and if you approach stealthily, you can get close up with some of the Luangwa's more colourful residents. Here Malachite, Pied and (a scruffy looking) Brown-hooded Kingfishers perch above the water waiting to catch fish and insects.

Baboons in the National Park are usually wary of humans, but sometimes even females with youngsters forget themselves and gawp as a tin pot filled with primates passes by.

We were lucky to catch this group of buffalo bulls as they began to saunter back towards the bush. Males rarely associate with the herd except for breeding, preferring a quieter life. Some of the older bulls may never return to the herd, knowing that younger individuals would soon drive them off.

We caught up with a herd of elephants who had just crossed the main river. Afer the breeding herd had moved on, instead of climbing out, the males played in the shallows, climbing on each other's backs and wallowing in the cool water. It was a celebration of weightlessness and a respite from the flies.

As evening came, and the light began to fade, hundreds of Cattle Egrets flew up-river to their roosting site. With failing light preventing fast shutters, blurry motion shots seemed the only answer.

And as always, whatever time of day, the scenery is wonderful.


Photo comment By leonie bayley: Again! Beautiful! I wish I could take such clear & beautifully coloured photos! I am still making a file of my last photos to send but nowhere near as fantastic as these! Amazing! Returning too in Sept will need more tips please! :-)

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