We are in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. There are many people living in the park, which is huge by any standard but now they are associated with the park and its inhabitants' preservation. At one time there were several villages within the park and over time these villages were relocated. Still, many people live in villages just outside the park boundaries. There are no fences and interaction with wild animals is very, very common.
The key seems to be let them know you are there and give each other plenty of personal space. On the other hand, the game drive vehicles have become common and routine and so many of the animals have come to accept them. We were cautioned to avoid loud noises, fast movement and to not stand up. With that consistency, the animals tend to watch you but at the same time ignore you.
Now, I am so happy to be able see real wild African animals, I will bore you with my photo album.
First, Birds. Just like we have at home.
Then our first glimpse of an elephant out in the bush. This is why you don't walk around quietly by yourself.
If you need a photo of an elephant I have about a thousand I could share.
That trunk is a study in itself. Totally fascinating. If I was in the 5th grade I would do my report on elephant trunks.
I asked about poachers and they are still a problem, but much reduced in Zambia.
I was told elephant is good to eat but the poachers usually take the tusks and then some of the trunk to eat as it is all muscle and no bone to carry.
We did come upon a baby elephant that had died. The rangers didn't think a lion had killed it. It just didn't survive. We found it by following the smell.
Lots and lots of impalas. Amazing to see jump.
These warthogs looked like school yard bullies but seemed to get along with the rest of the group.
Termite mounds are fascinating to me.
Vervet monkeys kept showing up. Eagles and Leopards eat them.
Hippos are pretty quick in and out of the water.
Saddle billed Crane
Female lion with five baby cubs.
The cubs were very relaxed, while mom was on lookout.
I look at these guys below and hear Chris Rock asking me "What are you looking at?"
We kept saying, "this is just like a park," then realized again that we were in one.
Nice place to play in the water, except for the crocs and hippos.
This area had plenty of grass so there was also plenty of wildlife. Those are buzzards in the middle.
I always think of them in the Jungle Book movie asking, "What do you want to do? I don't know what do you want to do? I don't know, I asked you first, what do you want to do?" When teenagers are portrayed in cartoons it cracks me up. Of course I'll never see another seagull without saying, "mine, mine."
This is a white-throated bee-eater. I am not certain what he says. They live in holes in the mud banks of the river.
These fellows below could be heard all along the river. In ten seconds they could all silently drop down in the water for as long as five or six minutes and you would never guess they were there.
Even when moving fast there wasn't a huge noise.
Hippos spend a lot of time grazing up on land and this one died there.
This was the walkway out to our tent/cabin. We had an elephant down below at times and baboons and monkeys as a nuisance.
Checked out a Baobab tree. They are quite soft and repair their bark easily. The blossoms are a frilly white and the seed pods are extremely hard. The locals make a type of tartar sauce from them.
More Zambia. I did see a monitor lizard poking around.
This was the local elephant that has the name of "Slash" due to the cut in his ear. Everyone gives him a wide berth since the lodge came after he was there. I sat and watched him with two guards for almost an hour until he moved on.
His eyelashes need a bit of a trim.
This is where the vehicle picked us up after a canoe ride. We were always met with drinks and food.
This is the obligatory African tourist shot. More drinks and snacks.
I had to look twice to realize that a frog was in the toilet.
We found him all over the bathroom and here in the shower where I took his photo again.
He and I worried about the same things. "Would food pass by often enough? Could I get a nice shower at least once a day? Is there something out there bigger than me that will eat me? Will someone "flush" before I feel I am finished here?"
So far, we are both living the good life!