We loaded up early Sunday morning and headed off for Zambia with a Malawian safari company. The four of us, Jeff, Meliss, Sandy and me, along with 5 other excited azungu piled into a big land rover which was crowded, but comfortable, and headed for the border. Despite all the rumors we had heard, there were no issues getting through, and the ride went without incident until we passed through Chipata in Zambia. At that point, the smooth tarmac road became a red-dirt, grated, bumpy, pot-holed, endless, path through the dense Zambian wilderness. We passed small villages and herds of cattle, but not much else during what is called the three hour African massage – bumping, and winding on that rough road. It was amazing to be in such a remote area, but we climbed over one another, so excited to get out of the vehicle when the long journey was finally at an end.
When we reached Wilderness Camp in South Luangwa, we were greeted by a large group of monkeys and two house mongooses. We knew it was going to be a great four days.
Our first evening was relaxing – we swam in the pool, watched the sun go down over the river while monkeys and bushbucks entertained us on the banks. The staff of the camp gave us a stern warning that the South Luangwa national park is not fenced and that animals – elephants, hippos, lions, etc. – regularly hang out around the chalets, and that we needed to be especially careful at night.
We had a nice dinner and went to bed pretty early, excited for our first safari ride the next morning.