2.21.2013

Into the great wide open.

My safari in South Luangwa National Park was truly an experience of a lifetime. Joanna, Janice, Debbie, and I arrived at Croc Valley, situated in a forest along the banks of the Luangwa River, a couple days after we finished our build in Malawi. I instantly fell in love with our surroundings the second we arrived. Hammocks lined the property, our luxury tents were amazing, and the bar had beautiful views of the wildlife in and around the river. Hippos could be heard snorting and screaming to one another throughout the day, and often graced us with their presence at night in the camp. It was surreal to be within feet of African wildlife throughout our safari. I was fortunate enough to spend three days in the park and go on four game drives during my stay at Croc Valley.
Our view of the hippos from the main bar at Croc Valley.  I later learned that Africa's largest hippo population is in the Luangwa Valley! 
Hippo tracks along the river. 
Every morning we woke up before sunrise and sleepily walked to the main dining area from tents 5 and 6 for toast, coffee, and tea. We loaded up into the open trucks, cameras ready around our wrists and necks, and entered the park as the sun rose over the river.
For hours each day we slowly drove around the park admiring the beautiful nature and wildlife around us. It was so incredible to see zebras, impalas, baboons, elephants, and lions roaming about in their natural habitat. I had to continuously remind myself that I was in the middle of Africa and not a zoo as I observed the animals. Everything was just so beautiful.
Morning tea with the zebras. 
After the morning drives, we headed back to camp for brunch and a bit of downtime. I loved writing in my travel journal as I sat at the bar every afternoon enjoying the scenery and an ice cold Mosi. By 4 pm each day, we were back in the trucks ready for our evening drives. We explored long after the sun went down, driving cautiously with a large flashlight illuminating the nighttime activity in the park. Dinner was enjoyed in the camp after we returned from our drives, and conversations continued by the bar as hippos wandered near by.

There were so many amazing moments throughout my safari experience and I am so grateful I captured most of them with my camera, forever frozen in time. Sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
A lion exhausted and full after an evening kill. 
Wine and popcorn at sunset. 
Lions as sunrise. 
A leopard cub lazily sleeping in a tree, with his mom below keeping watch. 
The Thornicroft giraffe, which only live in Zambia in the Luangwa Valley. 
If you ever have a chance to experience an African safari, I highly recommend traveling to South Luangwa National Park. Its beauty is indescribable.

I booked all of my safari accommodations through Malawian Style. Mike was incredibly helpful throughout the booking process and provided us with an amazing experience. 

5 comments :

  1. These pictures are simply unbelievable. Thanks for sharing. Hope you've printed several and hung them on your walls.

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  2. Oh these pictures are seriously amazing! I can't even imagine being able to experience that. I would love to make it over there some day. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. What amazing pictures, just beautiful. That one of the lion that just had his, ahem, dinner was soo amazing. Great picture! I’d love to see and read more of your trip. It’s always been a dream of mines to visit Africa. I'm so glad you had such a beautiful experience.

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  4. These pictures are incredibly beautiful! The only safari I have been in is the one at Animal Kingdom at Disney which doesn't even compare. It would be an incredible experience to go on a real safari someday though!

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